Even though we are two full years in, each day still feels like an undeserved victory. It could be how soon after we brought them home that Russia closed, or having to travel there three times to know well the extent of their living situations, but still, even now, seeing their progress never gets old, a fresh gift each day, exciting, new. It’s hard to describe, to be living it, in your own home–a gift God planned, must have been from the beginning. There are hard parts, or tired parts and all that you’d assume, but so much more that you wouldn’t expect, all the good stuff. Like, we were really built to experience life in a more selfless way than we allow ourselves normally. I don’t think of myself as a particularly selfless person, sometimes I feel like my faith has me in constant rehab from selfishness and the lack of passion, and zeal and satisfaction it brings. Andrew and I sometimes think, “Thank goodness we just ended up listening to God in those moments, when it made no sense at the time.”
So close to not following through, it’s almost embarrassing. Finances, unknown, travel, fear, all of which we could just laugh about now, all fears the are erased with how it played out. I mean, if you’ve followed our journey, it must just be easy to see how good it is now, but oh my gosh, it was scary. I hope that’s an encouragement for you. It’s ok to be scared. So ok. Whatever the ‘thing’ is, it’s ok to be scared when you know it’s the right ‘thing.’
Andrew and I just found this message we wrote to each other on messenger while he was at work back from June ’11. Maria’s Reece’s Rainbow name was Maya, this is when we were messaging each other about the thought of adoption, we only had two bedrooms at the time and a baby Finley.
We had just about counted it out, and moved on.
I heard Elijah tell me brightly.
“Finley say I can lay on him.” I went to investigate, and the two were snuggling on the couch.
“Mama?” Finley asked me.
“When I was in Russia, I saw a big, big duck.”
“You did? When were you in Russia?” I asked as he looked at me amused and quizzically, taking care to answer such an obvious question tenderly as to not hurt my feelings, “Mama,” he smiled, “back before when I was in your tummy.”
“Ohhh, I see…. how did you like it there?”
“Not that good, and cool!”
The boys did such an awesome job at gymnastics, that I decided to forgo any early home payments to get them these special, seasonal cookies. We did it up right because the teacher sought me out to tell me how stellar they did. (I told him I used Vetiver oil on them)
I asked the boys who wanted to share with me, Finley grinned and shook his head no, while Elijah immediately broke me a big, generous piece, “Me mama! I share with you! One for you, one fo’ Finley and one fo’ Maria!” breaking little pieces for people who weren’t there, and for someone who had his own cookies, a little for everyone.
The most eager sharer this side of the Mississippi, joyful giver.
Sometimes, when I am telling Elijah encouraging words, and how much I love him, it’s still too much for him. He covers his eyes, buries his head or makes loud sounds so he can’t hear me.
“EYES the whole time!” I tell him to get eye contact, “This is so important, more important than Ballerinas and Lightning McQueen (his two strange obsessions) which wakes him up, and he’ll catch my eyes for a moment, you can tell it takes him some courage as he forces his eyes to meet mine.
“You sir….are special.”
He struggles to keep his gaze, starting to waver.
“I like you so much, I like spending time with you. I like your heart and your cute face….I love you Elijah….”
He flings his tongue out and shakes his head, too much, trying to drown it all out, so I tickle him as he doubles over in my arms. It was a little longer this time than last time, success
We celebrate every small success, even the ones other people wouldn’t see. So we celebrate often. It makes for a fun life.
Have you read the book Chalk? Three children draw in chalk and their drawings pop-out and come to life in delightful and terrifying ways. We often imagine our pictures are popping out, too.
We made so many little cookies. Sugar cookies are so forgiving, they can be no more than a toddler smash, and they round out just right under the forgiving heat of the oven. Sprinkles, nasty white frosting galore. I love having kids, loving these stages so much. I love allowing them to see themselves do everything with their own hands, when they thought they couldn’t before, embracing the mistakes, cause who cares, our chickens ate many of them anyways.
We believe in giving our kids responsibility. Not the pretend kind, but real things, that adults would do, too, but on their level. We want them to be proud of themselves, and appreciate their playtime after putting good effort into their work. They love it, they live for it. Recently in the mornings, I have been asking Finley to help Elijah get ready by taking off his jammies, and helping him get dressed. I notice a better bond between the two of them during playtime on the mornings when it’s Finley’s job to take care of Elijah’s clothes.
Shhh, don’t tell–she’s going to FLIP! It’s the new one
My boys, equal parts mud and squishy love hugs.
Two days ago we got into a minor ‘collision’ with a man, there was no dent or damage, but he screamed at us, at me with the kids in the car. I felt sorry for anyone in his family, and told him he was rude and didn’t need to talk to me that way. Finley is so sensitive and took it all in from the back seat, he was so upset. He didn’t want to hug Andrew when he came to meet us, or talk to Santa that night, but clung to me in fear. I feel upset just thinking about it now.
I was upset too, but I held his two little arms in my hands and told him, “Honey, let’s just pray for him, God says to do that.”
“God says to pray for people who are mean to us and persecute us, I think it will make you feel better.” I didn’t want to either.
“God…please help that man be good….amen.” He lifted his head, and he was smiling. He joined Elijah who was playing in the shrubs in the parking lot, he looked happy again, his precious carefree self again. I was telling my friend Savannah about it, “I’m so thankful for the Bible to tell me to do things I would never think of or want to do to restore everything…” Thank you, Lord. For everything.
All the Latvian kids are here for hosting, I’ve been seeing the sweetest pictures, hearing awesome stories. S is here, too
SO, my question to you reading right now is this, and I will respond to each person who shares, WHAT do you think your big thing is, or if you had one, what was it and the current outcome. Is there something you know, deep down in that quiet place in your soul that you only hear when you aren’t busy and hurrying, when you feel fearless and have a flicker for justice and right-ing wrongs. What is on your heart, whether you think you can be a part of it or not, what stirs a warm flame in your soul? I would be SO amazed to hear, so stoked to hear about that little flicker of your heart.