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More than we could imagine

 “Where do I get my tubes tied?” 
 -Andrew  
😉

Would you believe that it actually all sounded pretty cool together?
Philippians 4:4  //Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him!//
yes. 

Life is good.  Oh so good.

But,  Andrew and I have been …sad… since hearing the news in Russia…

who outlaws families?  Oh yeah…

Yay buddy!

***

While driving I asked Maria, 

‘Did any of your friends in Russia hope they would get a mama and papa?’ 

‘Oh yes,’  she nodded,  ‘all of them.’ 

 ‘Would they talk about it?’ 

 ‘Yeah, they all want a mama to come take them away.’ 

‘Did anyone not want one?’ 

‘No.’

 ***
This is home, sweet boy.
We love to hike together

Finley recently found out he has something called, ‘muscles’ and that they make him strong.

‘Strong!!’

Last week, Andrew and I commented how different Elijah was.  Like a burden had been lifted off of his shoulders.  When he laughs now, it’s out of silly, uncontrollable joy,
not a hollow reaction–hoping for help.

The skin on his hands is like a baby’s; soft and chubby.  No more miniature man hands, skinny and chapped.  He is our resident koala, and when he needs mama or papa, he climbs us, wrapping his tiny arms as far around us as he possibly can, laying his head on our chest, soaking up every minute, making up for lost time.

Since he spent his days in a crib, he never got to explore, and never had a chance to play with toys, so now that he is free, he is a man on the go.

The first weeks home, he would pick up a toy, and just as fast throw it to the ground, toy after toy.  I think part was inexperience with toys, and partly he was protecting his emotions in case it was taken away.  But now–he holds, he inspects, he rolls wheeled cars along the ground, delightedly rolls mama a ball.

We are starting to train the kids in a couple areas while showing lots of grace in others.  We decided to teach Elijah the phrase, “Don’t touch,” and even had a training morning with 10 thirty-second ‘time-outs’ in a row until the last time, when I said ‘don’t touch’ with a smile by the oven, he backed away grinning at me, the other kids cracking up.  “He did it!”

And when he started saying, ‘no!’ I would quickly kiss him on the lips, which is very surprising and weird when you have never been kissed.  He would look at me shocked like, ‘Mom, seriously, did you think this thing through, what are you doing!?’   But it was two birds, because not only did he stop saying, ‘no!’ but he also got used to kisses, and last week while feeding him, he looked me in the eyes, pursed his little lips and leaned his face into mine, expectantly staring at mama.  I leaned down and kissed his lips and he grinned SO big.

“Elijah just kissed me!”

“He did what!?”

Um, hello sir, have we met?  I don’t recognize you, but you sure are cute!

***

And Maria…

Maria is such a blessing.  I honestly can’t believe how close we came to not bringing her home, how close we almost caved into fear of the ‘impossible task.’

Best friends playing babies.  Maria’s are Tanya and Dora, and Finley’s is Tanya, what a coincidence!

Something most surprising to me, is how close Maria and Finley have become, they are truly best friends.  I am surprised, because if I was adopting in order to have a playmate for Finley, I would have adopted someone so much younger and a boy, not a 10 year old girl–but I guess that’s the beauty of listening to what God has, not what I had.  (I honestly scanned so many, so many younger children, hoping, just hoping someone else would have the same calling we felt about Maria, anyone, please, anyone a better fit….)

But God was clear.

Fine then, God!  A ten year old!’

 

When driving, it’s hard to take care of chubby toddlers strapped into seats, no matter how demanding their protests.  Which is why, I can’t even describe the sweet joy and relief I feel when I see Maria, unprompted, sharing food and her own water with her little brother.  How is this even happening?  What kind of child shares so readily, with such tender kindness?

HANK you, ‘aria!” -Finley.

The rest of the time in the car, they spend laughing, just laughing together over their own little jokes.  How can a mom even describe this?
She also taught him how to use a jump rope as a microphone, to which they sang song after song together.
“One, two, buckah mah shoes!”
And last week when Andrew was sick, and I was rocking Elijah to sleep and Finley came up and needed me right then.  “Mama?  Mama?”
Maria saw, walked up, tied a cape around Finley’s shoulders, put a truck in his hands and took him to the living room to play trucks with him.  And as Elijah closed his little eyes, his chubby, warm cheek resting on mama’s chest, bundled up warm and cuddly, I thanked God for this life that only he could think up.

It’s funny, the changes happening within Finley.  Things that I have prayed for, hoped for, and only now see within his little heart with the addition of his new siblings.  He is happier, more confident, more talkative and spilling over with laughter.  He readily shows kindness to others, even gives complements.  He and Maria spend so much time making forts, creating and imagining together.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.
//Romans 8:28 //
There are 5 minutes per day that she’s not smiling and it’s when she first wakes up, but Finley LOVES it.  “MARIA!!!  HI!  Cute, maria, hi!  I lub youuuuu!!  Cute, Maria!”
Most of our friends have little toddlers, but what’s sweet is Maria loves play dates with them.  The little ones love her, and when I see her playing with them, I see her making up for the childhood that she had missed.
 ***
At lunch, while Maria ate her favorite sandwiches, strawberries and milk,
“Did you eat strawberries in Russia?”
“Um, one or two.”
“Sanwhiches?”
“No.”
“Milk?”
She showed me that they got 1 inch of steamed milk, which was probably about 2 tablespoons.
“Bread?”
She started laughing, “Ohhhhhh yes.  Lots of bread.”
At the one month home doctor visit: Maria had gained 6 pounds, grown half an inch and could see because of her new glasses. Elijah had gained FOUR pounds, his head circumference was now on the charts at 4% and had grown an INCH! 
Adoption is powerful medicine 🙂
***
And when I think of myself and how adopting two children has changed me, I see changes within myself as I see changes in my children.
It’s funny to me, that even though I have more kids, and at times more to do, I feel more freedom in my heart and on my shoulders, more joy and less burden.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but when it was just Finley and I, I would at times wonder, did we have enough activities, did we have enough conversations, enough exercise, and all the silly things us moms put ourselves through.  
But now, at the end of our days when all three children are tucked warmly into bed after even simple days, with full bellies and having had so much fun together, I feel good, I can’t describe it.  All we did was grow, thrive, reveal and take delight.  And freedom is powerful. 

//I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.// john10:10
And when my two kids would step out of a bath and their tiny bodies are convulsing from the cold because of how skinny they are, and I demand that they instantly drink a pediasure while we dress quickly by a space heater, I look at my own body fat differently.  I think, “Wow, great job God creating something so useful and needed for me,” instead of something to roll my eyes at.  Funny right?  So random, yet freeing on a subconscious level.
And even though there is more to do, it’s a good more, the stuff that fills your life and makes you know, and I mean really know that your time is well spent.  And seeing children grow and heal before your very eyes and in your very own arms, in your living room, while laughing at the dinner table, singing or even having time-outs, you know it’s good, and your spirit responds.
How dreadfully close we came to missing out.  How close we came to being like Finley, crying hot tears and clutching onto his 99cent store firetruck with the broken ladder in his chubby, sweaty little hand not wanting to let it go, not realizing it’s because his parents are taking him to legoland, something so much better than he could ever even prepare for, better than we could explain to him.  How close we were to being like our toddler son, demanding our way, thinking our way is better, our life was our own.  Clutching onto a life that we thought was so much better than what God would have for us.
***
Gramma and Grampa came to visit this week, we had so much fun!  Maria thought they were the coolest, and they are!
 We celebrated New Years together with friends.  We celebrated a new year filled to the brim with family, love and so much joy.  To hope and redemption and to new beginnings.

How blessed we are to even be called servants, to share Your love with others.  May we never stop saying yes to you, yes to more, let us step out across that water, eyes focused on you, and not down at our feet and fears.  May we never feel like serving ‘just one’ is not enough, but do so with gladness.

And to all you mamas out there, I truly hope you know that you are doing an amazing job, and that your little one is so fortunate to be in your care.  You fill such an important roll, and I know many children who would love to know the same kind of love you give your little ones.
First time she got to say, “mama hug?” when she got a boo-boo

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Holly January 7, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Your blog is wonderful. I look every day for a new post. It is great seeing the wonderful chnges happening in your sweet family. I am sure that there are still hard times, but the kids look happy and are growing and becoming all they can. The love of a mama and papa does wonders!

  • leah beamon January 7, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Thank you. I always read your posts but never comment because there just aren’t words. But thank you.

  • Tonya Garrick January 7, 2013, 3:34 pm

    I LOVE reading what you write. Straight from your heart. Love it-

  • Kathleen January 7, 2013, 8:00 pm

    So precious! Thank you for sharing! You have such a way with words!

  • The Life of Blights January 7, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Wow what a powerful reminder of our role as parents, as mamas. Thank you for truth and perspective.

  • Tiffany January 7, 2013, 10:32 pm

    Ok, this did it! Sign me up for two! 😉 We were on the fence, but man are you a great conveyor of the double joy that you have received through God’s love!

    • The Deutsches January 8, 2013, 5:40 am

      Go to Reeces Rainbow to see all the beautiful faces that need a home.
      http://reecesrainbow.org/

      They just need people to commit to walk by faith and say yes to adoption. We are awaiting the lifting of the Russian ban so we can make our first trip over there and work on bringing a 10 and 13 year old home. As Maria said, they all want to be adopted. Tiffany, I pray God would make it clear for you to bring home two!!!

  • Joanna January 8, 2013, 1:03 am

    Maria you are looking GOOD in those glasses. Rock it girl!!

  • jade January 8, 2013, 1:16 am

    Oh man, I LOVE your family! why aren’t we neighbors?! <3

  • Annette January 8, 2013, 2:27 am

    Finley’s face shows the transformation of a family. God knew that you would bringing two home which is why Maria was the first committment. He knew you would need help sharing love with two young boys.

  • J January 9, 2013, 5:43 pm

    I love this post. And I’m so happy for all of you. xo

  • forgoodblog January 9, 2013, 9:25 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve ever commented, but I have been following your blog since before you brought your kiddos home. I have to say that God is using your story mightily in my life as an encouragement! My husband and I have a daughter close to Finley’s age it seems, and we are excited to adopt as soon as the door opens. Your testimony has spoken volumes to us as we pray about all of the little and not-so-little decisions. Thank you for writing and for sharing!

    • The Tiny Team January 12, 2013, 9:21 pm

      Oh yes my friend, I hear you. In the end of it all, God is good, and if we’re lucky, we get to play a part!

      xoxo

  • the partons January 15, 2013, 6:04 pm

    I’m a new reader, and I just love this post.
    Adoption has taught me so much already – our sweet boy has been with us for only 4 months.
    So blessed to read through some of your journey. Thanks. 🙂

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