So my new thing I do when we get our occasional photos of her from the orphanage, is trick my mind. I pretend that it’s the first photo we’ve seen and would we commit? Yes! How exciting, and wow, what a short adoption it would be, we should hear soon when to travel. Helps me not feel impatient in the moment, looking at her sweet face, kind eyes, her bright smile. It helps when you’re a hands on mom, who likes to have a say in all the little things, and seeing just behind her all the cribs in the background of the photo, with little hands reaching out. I wonder if someone is coming for them, too, what are they doing each day? It’s true that God works things best in his timing, it’s also true that impatience never helps anybody, but both of those truths help only 75% of the time.
It feels like fall here in California, we’ve even had some rain. It streams down our windows, and soaks into the soil, just what we needed. Left over seeds from our food that we had hidden in the ground are sprouting, baby trees and plants, papaya, avocado, Hass and Fuerte.
We have our first Cherimoya growing. We don’t have the right kind of insects here, so with a paintbrush, Andrew pollinated the tiny flowers himself one afternoon. And it worked, a little bulb on the thin branch, fuller each day so it bows with the weight of it’s glory. Everything is such a miracle on this this earth, the systems of our life and existence slowly circling around us, mostly unseen and unnoticed as we move about. It’s sometimes the smallest things that seem so spiritual to me, causing me, if I am lucky enough to slow down and notice, to thank God for his creativity and detail.
Maria had her second piano recital. The pictures were deleted from my camera, but her teacher sent us this and told us Maria is a joy to work with. Her first recital last year, she was first to play, she announced her songs in a meek voice.
This year, she was 6th, and marched up to the front of the church smiling in front of all the eyes on her.
“HI!” she announced. “My name is Maria and I will be playing three songs.”
She sat down and played beautifully, gracefully, not a moment of hesitation as she was met with claps and cheers before we headed to a country chili cook off to bring Rose home, it was incredibly fun as the boys chased goats and rode tractors.
For Finley’s birthday we kept it simple and small. One night I whispered to Andrew I wish we could take him to Carsland. But after our day spent with family and his joy shining out, genuinely surprised and grateful from the couple toys from us and his siblings, I felt thankful. He had more than he needed, thankful for his gifts, hugging his brother and sister.
His favorite toy of all, the one he loved most? The fire truck that came on top of the cake.
This week at lunch, I asked the boys their favorite things about God. I told them one of mine is His compassion.
Finley said, “Mom, and He is mighty.”
“That is true,” I smiled, “Did you learn that at BSF,” and he smiled at me. As we talked, Finley looked at me deeply, “Mama…sometimes I tell lies,” he seemed reflective, but confident.
“Oh honey, I am so glad you told me that, and that you would share that with me. Sometimes when we talk about God and his love and goodness, does it inspire you to make good choices that make your God heart feel good?”
He thought about it, and said, “Yes, mama. I don’t want to tell lies,” he told me seriously, but smiling, he was finding the freedom meant for him, wisdom I wish I had at his age. My prayer is always for an innate desire to love God and to grow their character fueled by the inspiration of love, not from parent pressure which is fleeting. I am thankful to see God working in His little heart in such simple, sweet ways. We talked about how telling the truth can be tricky sometimes, but how it’s always better. How God cares about relationships so much, and how lies hurt those and getting in trouble is better than hurting relationships.
He smiled, like he didn’t even need to hear that, his mind about the issue was made up. God is mighty.
Sweet cousins who grew up in orphanages and who’s favorite thing is to take care of their babies. They wrap each one in blankets, and know in their hearts, deep down what babies need, despite what they experienced.
One night he told me, “Your daughter, Maria, she is from an orphanage?”
“I don’t like orphanages, I just like families.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
“When I was in Ukraine, I only knew a little bit about God, but now I can learn so much about Him. I think I’m really lucky.”
“I think we’re all lucky,” I told him, and a smile burst across his face, “Yeah,” he said.
Maria and I collected wild succulents growing while on a walk one day, and Papa helped us fashion a living wall.
Andrew is adament on solo time with each child, so that they know their importance to him, so he can teach and encourage them. To be honest, Maria has become better at tools than me. She is an eager and humble learner, nothing brings her more joy than being with someone she loves, learning from them.
And it pays off. After our Both Hands fundraiser, Annie gave her a toy organizer, but it was wobbly.
“Papa will be home soon, you could have him fix it.”
“That’s ok,” she told me, as she came back from the garage with the drill.”
When she was done she shook it, “Look! All better!”
“Pretty awesome, Maria, good job.”
We are eager for our newest little one, and excited for other families who are close to us bringing children home, as well. In the meantime, we feel happy and filled with God’s grace for this life. Workin’ on our patience.
In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
Meanwhile, it’s our children that are our wealth