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joy in such little things

He was more or less a different child today than he was just yesterday.  There was never a moment that he seemed overstimulated, but was focused on us, looked into our eyes, and melted into our arms every chance he got.  Kids are resilient I tell you. 

But he is just so painfully thin and small.  At a year and a half, I would be surprised if he weighed 12 pounds.

As we delight in him, rock and cuddle him, I can’t begin to imagine even a fraction of His love for this boy, while we pray over his heart, as we hold him close.  Today was a day to pamper our son, so first he had a lotion massage with Dr. Bronner’s lavender lotion.  He just loved it, and when I rubbed the dry spots on his feet, he stared deeply into my eyes, wondering.  Peaceful.  Contemplative.  “Where have you been, mama?”

I even got his little face, which he thought was pretty funny.

Then it was time for the covert mission to feed him the baby food pouches, even though, “lunch is soon…”  

my poor, thin baby
He eats the food faster than you can imagine, and when it’s gone, he lays in my arms and cries pitifully.  I rock him and he finds his thumbs and soothes himself, as I promise him his days of hunger will be over soon.  
When I hold my tiny boy in my arms, his weight almost nothing, I gaze at a boy who used to be unfamiliar with eye contact, as he looks at me while I feed him, calm and sweet, knowing he liked everything about this moment, food and mama.
  Me too, son.
Then it was time to turn into…a CARDINALS FAN!  This outfit never fit Finley with it’s  3-6 months size, but fits Elijah almost right.

 Oh gosh, I may be biased, but I think this child is just the sweetest.  How did we get so blessed, I can’t believe there was a time that Andrew and I were contemplating for more than a minute whether or not we should bring this child home–shifting our gaze from God to concern and fear, but reading and remembering that the only true freedom is surrender.  In a moment when our flesh was consumed with “what ifs,”  and “hows.”  But remembering who Beauty is, and the freedom and joy in a yes to Him–and today it is so tangible. 

Massages, watered, dressed, fed, this may just be the best morning he’s had all month!

Then it was time to take some visa and passport photos, cause you know, this boy’s got some traveling to do soon.

I love my mommy and daddy!!!

No ‘cuddle therapy’ needed.  All he wanted to do today was be held and rocked and kissed.  I can’t believe how fast this boy has learned.  I just can’t wait to get him home and hold him all day long, which is pretty much the plan.

 “but in Him, it has always been ‘Yes!’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all ‘Yes’ in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1: 19-20)
“Me too, mama!”

While Andrew was feeding Elijah, I got up my nerve, and pulled out one of the stacks of blankies donated by Comfort Silkie.

I have learned it’s easier not to ask permission for something that seems so simple, because, well, I’ll explain some other time.  I slipped into one of the open doors, and quickly pulled one blankie at a time out of the stack, pink, yellow, white.   I quietly held it up to the babies’ faces, who looked at me in silent wonder, stroking the silkie part along the curve of their cheek.  Their tiny fingers touched the blankie.

They couldn’t get enough.

As quick as I could, I gave one to each and went back to the room with Andrew and Elijah, even though I still had more blankies.  A little while later, I went in to see how the babies were doing with the blankies, did they cast them aside, did the pay no attention to them?  The blankies are specially designed to bring comfort by simulating the sensation of amniotic fluid within a mother’s womb, bringing comfort.

Much to my happiness, the babies tenderly clutched their gift of comfort and had dozed off to sleep, the silkie part brought up to their little faces.

I tried one more room, and gave blankie to two more girls, but then I was told to give the rest to the person in charge.
Dear Lauren Hubbard:  Thank you for mailing money to us through the mail.  We went to the baby store today, and look what your donation got the kids!!  So much good, healthy baby food, diapers, juice, baby wash, diaper cream, wipes, and so much more!

The drive from Elijah’s orphanage to Maria’s is beautiful, and shorter now with the new majestic bridge crossing over the the golden horn bay.  We parked in a jutting wedge on a hill outside the crumbling, cement building, and gathered up a few belongings.  I eyed the other stack of comfort silkies, and wondered.  
I packed them into my bag as well.
Maria was all smiles, breathing in the sunshine as she bounced out the meet us, arms open wide for us.
The kids greeted us warmly, so happy to see us.  
When we saw the children, we knew it would fit. 
These children have never once been comforted by an adult, by a mother or a father, we thought that although they were all over 10 years old, they may want a baby blanket of their own.  So we started to pass a few.

They held them in their hands silently, and stared at them in awe. 

Each child held onto their blankets tenderly, many growing very quite. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw around a little hall, a boy had taken his blankie and was carefully, slowly folding it, holding it under his chin to line up the edges just right.

Smoothing his hands over the silky side.

I asked him if I could take a picture of him with his blankie.  He held it up to his face, and a smile crept across his sweet face.  His own blankie a mommy never gave him.  Finally all his own.


I had purchased this “cool” tiger art project at a garage sale for 50 cents, thinking we could do it with Maria.  But the moment we poked all the pieces out, Andrew and I were over it.  “You must work hard, never give up!”  Dasha and Sveta said, and our two R friends diligently worked at it.

Someone donated a transformers toy, and the moment I saw Vanya, I knew I wanted to give it to him.  I don’t believe if you don’t have one for all, don’t give.  Any giving is good, they all can benefit.  Two boys came later and just wanted the empty box, and poured over it, looking at all the details.

I think he wishes he was in our family as much as we do.

I invited some of the older girls to color with Maria and I, since we had so many markers to go around.
An 11 year old boy slowly walked up watching the kids coloring.  He sat down too, holding his blankie to his face to watch.

“Do you like your blankie?”  I asked him.

“I love it,” he said in his soft voice.  What other 11 year old boy would say that?  He is the sweetest thing.

Then we got out some bows handmade from a friend who is starting the adoption process, and Maria picked out two she loved for her hair.

I asked some of the teenaged girls if they would like one too, thinking they may be too old for these little bows.

“Yes please, ” they said.

None of these children have had a typical childhood, they have never experienced the things most children take for granted, and so when little bits of comfort, care or fun are offered, they humbly accept, relishing the love.

Two big girls, coloring Russian book donations.

Oh, this sweet girl.

 We even got to hook up their new cool pencil sharpener which was donated.  It works amazingly well.  Now the pencils will last longer!

Wow, they did really well with the art project, right??

Little Tanya, with beautiful bows in her hair.  “A mommy made this for you!”  “Wow!” she said.

Maria passed out all the jump ropes to the kids outside, and the children were in heaven.  We saw a cat, tip-toeing along the edge of the roof, and they all wanted to make sure we saw it.

We had to leave early because we had our medicals at 4.  But we had time to see some cool sights from early times in R.

Then we got some green tea at this lovely place called, Face Control.  Haha, I am not sure they realize how funny that name sounds.

“Do you want to take a picture in front of our new monument?”

“No thanks.”

“You don’t?”

“Oh, I mean, yeah!”

Medicals went fine.  Tomorrow is our last visit with Elijah, we will visit Maria too and give her her court outfit.  Thursday is court (prayers please) and it is also the start of our 30 day wait, after which the children will legally be freed from the confines of cribs and walls.  Friday we leave, just two more days.  This trip is flying by.

Thank you all for your sweet support and donations.  Honestly, no words can describe the difference so many people have made in the lives of forgotten children, we are forever humbled and grateful.  We received some books and markers in the mail and a note said, “Sorry it couldn’t be more.”  SORRY!  Never, ever say sorry for giving, no matter what it is, no matter how much.  I think this post so perfectly describes the 25th chapter of Matthew, when  Jesus said, Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Everything given, whatever it is, is a blessing.

Also, thank you for the kind words after our last post, which mean so much on a journey so far from home.

Amy and Andrew

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  • Julie Rakay October 9, 2012, 1:27 pm

    It’s so wonderful to see you there with Maria and Elijah. It’s hard to explain to Kaitlin why you can’t bring the kids home NOW–I tried to explain that it is all part of the process in their country. Tears through this whole post–especially the older kids with the blankies!


  • Betty October 9, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Your adoption story is so inspirational. We are praying for you guys!

  • nicole October 9, 2012, 2:51 pm

    Ill forever remember this post about blankies..please have a blankie drive when you come back for your next trip..we’d love to donate some for sure..

  • Jason White October 9, 2012, 3:43 pm

    I am full on crying here at work! Your story touches me so much and know that Uncle Jason, Aunt Mindy, Laylie and Rael CANNOT WAIT to meet your treasures.

    I’ve been practicing… “Priviet! Meenya zavoot Jason. Kakdila? Harasha! Paka!!!”

  • The Whites October 9, 2012, 4:26 pm

    Amy and Andrew, You get me every time…Tears, tears and more tears!! Thank you for bringing comfort to those little babies and kids. I pray those Comfort Silkie blankets bring overwhelming joy and comfort. Praying every step of the way for you both and i love seeing how much Maria and Elijah already love you so so much. This post was truly an amazing one and so glad the kids loved their silkies. We love you guys!!

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff October 9, 2012, 4:30 pm

    Cried my way through your post. So happy for your two and the joy you brought to the other children. So heartbroken for all the orphans. If only tears were $’s the children would want for nothing.

    Is your little Elijah in the same region as Maria? Did you see Wyatt 26HA in the baby hospital? I’m so eager for any sightings of him.

  • The Vails October 9, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Your little boy reminds me of our daughter. So tiny and yet, so full of joy and ready to be loved. We too were astounded at how much she changed in such a short time. God has been protecting them and preparing them for us! I am praying that your pictures will touch hearts and spur other to go adopt those angels!!!

  • The Whites October 9, 2012, 6:06 pm

    I can’t get enough!! This is the 15th time I have read this post and it makes me cry Everytime. I have looked at every pictures and read every word…over and over. You and Andrew are amazing and blessing those kids so much. Your love, your gifts, yours words and hugs. You both are going to be the best parents to your 3 treasures and can’t wait to watch it all unfold. Come home Maria and Elijah..we are waiting for you!!!

  • Kimberly October 9, 2012, 6:41 pm

    Wow! Love this. You just don’t realize how much those little things mean. Love the blankies! Such a sweet gift and those older children just break my heart. I am so happy they could have some joy today in your visit. My favorite is seeing Elijah and Maria’s faces just light up in your presence. So beautiful! ~Kimberly in Indiana

  • 56bd11fa-1253-11e2-a355-000f20980440 October 9, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Judy Giusta
    WOW!!! Praying for you and Andrew, it is so precious to see you with Maria and little Elijah!! You really know how to tell us all of your experiences so we feel like we are experiencing it somewhat with you. We continue to pray for all the details along with your hearts.

  • 56bd11fa-1253-11e2-a355-000f20980440 October 9, 2012, 9:03 pm

    WOW!!! It is precious to see you with Maria and Elijah! You do an incredible job of taking us with you, we feel like we are experiencing some of what you are. Praying for all the details to come together along with your hearts. You are an amazing inspiration to all of us!

  • Jenna Anderson October 9, 2012, 11:09 pm

    baaaaahhhh!!! Amy- just amazing. thank you for consistently sharing this journey with us all. absolutely beautiful.

  • Kat October 9, 2012, 11:18 pm

    Oh goodness, the babies in the cribs…my heart can’t take it. My baby has been sick for a week so I’ve been holding her nearly non-stop. SO OFTEN I think of the orphaned babies who, when sick, have NO ONE to pick them up and comfort them. It is nearly incomprehensible to me, but then I read your post and realize the reality of it. Your baby and your girl are precious. But so are the others. Thank you for continuing to share your journey.

  • Kat October 9, 2012, 11:22 pm

    Oh goodness, the babies in the cribs just breaks my heart. My baby has been sick all week and I’ve been holding/comforting her for 3 days straight. SO OFTEN I think of the orphaned children and how they have NO ONE to snuggle, cuddle, console them in their time of pain. It is nearly incomprehensible to me but then I see your photos and read your posts and I realize the reality of it. Your baby and girl are precious, all of the children are just precious. Thank you for continuing to share your journey. Praying for you in MN!
    PS I am a sponsor for a sweet girl in Ukraine, Victoria on RR, I am going to look into sending these little blankies in a shipment of goodies we are sending to her!
    PPS I tried commenting yesterday but it must have sent you a blank comment, sorry about that! Wanted you to know we are thinking of you!

  • Melissa October 10, 2012, 2:11 am

    I want to go get every single one of those precious loves, right now. Especially that beautiful girl in the red striped shirt with the jumprope. I have been thinking about these kids all day long… some of those kids that you gave the blankets and hair bows to are probably about the same age as my fifth graders. I just want to go hug each one… there are no words. Praying, praying that some day we can include one of those precious kids in our own family.

  • PerniPwr October 10, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Aaron and I both woke up thinking & praying for you and the babies today. Thank you for being His hands & feet! All that matters. Love you guys & miss you.

  • Laura Marino October 10, 2012, 8:43 pm

    Thank you for being so detailed in your post. I too feel like I am on the journey with you, with your photos and descriptives. I just know that hearts will be stirred through your experience and more will be inspired to eaither donate or adopt themselves. It makes me so happy that these children received happiness and comfort. It makes me want to do more. Please get another list together of things they could use or want so we can get some more donations together for your next trip!

  • Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife October 11, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Kristi keeps sharing your posts on Facebook, and I keep clicking through and reading more of your adoption process. This one has me crying. We have so much. So little is bringing comfort to the children in the orphanages there. You are a blessing. I’m praying for you and your family as God is using you to share His love.

  • Danielle November 14, 2012, 7:30 am

    Just going through your past posts tonight, my heart is aching one moment and overflowing with joy the next. We have been in the process for almost two years for our little guy. We are so close! I have to say this line you wrote touched me deeply “In a moment when our flesh was consumed with “what ifs,” and “hows.” But remembering who Beauty is, and the freedom and joy in a yes to Him–and today it is so tangible.” I understood this to my core and hope that you don’t mind if I use this to explain my the feelings of our Gotcha Day? God bless:)