To which Maria and Finly burst into such huge laughter, they are literally laying on floor, before they pick themselves up to hop around papa, who is trying to change the teeny baby, who himself is cracking up.
“Ok, well, he’s officially grown out of size 2 diapers,” he tells me and he holds Elijah away from his body as he carries him to the bath tub, two laughing kids right behind him each step of the way.
Finely, Papa and Maria line up the edge of the bath tub, being filled with warm water, and piles of bubbles, and as our tiny love splashed in the warm bubbles, I saw him look up to three adoring faces, what a change for such a little boy. But, also what a changed little boy.
When we got home, I wasn’t sure it could get better, but with each passing day, we learn new things, our children grow each day, we learn what best suits each kid, and we settle into family, and well–what can you say about that?
|Putting the Vlad Motor Inn to shame with this borsch we made, seriously|
All my children take a nap after lunch at the same time. I put Finley down, rock Elijah to sleep, then read to Maria and rub her back before she drifts off, “I love you, mama.”
“I love you baby.”
Maria wakes up from her naps first, and we have been able to do a little activity while the boys still sleep, and sleep–it’s a special time that I get to spend with her, pretty sure I am more blessed than she.
One day this week, with the rain streaming down our windows, I put on my apron, and pulled out the matching apron made just for her, and asked her if she wanted to bake muffins with mama. She was giddy, and jumping up and down.
“Yes, mama! Yes! Thank you, mama!” She has no problem showing so much joy.
I asked her to watch as I measured one cup, level it, and added it, then allowed her to do the same, as I watched, “Good job, wow!” She learned how to crack eggs, what flour is, she learned about measurement, and you would have thought it was the best day of her whole life. When Papa got home, she presented him the muffins, so proud she was bursting. She listen to me as a bragged to him how well she did, beaming.
Over the weekend, Maria and I went to a Christmas tea with an orchestra and fine china. The night before I showed her pictures of what a tea party is, and layed out our dresses, she was so excited. We did her hairl, and even let her wear a pearl necklace, she felt so special.
|Maria’s first Christmas Tea party with mama|
|My sweetheart at her first tea party|
Maria is a gift, and it is a gift to us to be her parents. Even just being within a family has caused her to grow so much in the last three weeks. Within one person, she is such a mix of ages. I think she is finally feeling free to go through many of the stages she had always been denied. At ten, she loves playing baby dolls, loves being held, loves being taken care of, loves playing with her baby brothers. We allow and welcome it, she is free to be her, and we see growth through it, a maturing in her little spirit, we see a new balance and confidence that wasn’t there before. But even with her growth we are parenting a child who has had much abandonment, much heart ache, and too much change for any one heart. Grief is a very normal, and healthy part of adoption, and one day last week, she asked to listen to Russian music as she gazed at a picture of Kate. I pulled her into my arms and rocked her as she sucked her thumb. She has always had to change, always had to say goodbye, but this time is different, because she has parents to help her through it.
A tear slipped down her cheek, soaking into my shirt,
“Mama no bye bye?”
I stroked her hair, “Mama no bye bye.”
She typed this to me on my phone:
|Maria loves her siblings, and it melts my heart|
And she loves her papa.
Communication is very easy, most days we forget we don’t speak to same language becasue we communicate so well. But sometimes we pull out the phone, and will have long coversations. “Maria, what is your favorite food?”
“Maria, what is your favorite thing in your whole room?”
She spoke in Russian into the phone, and showed me, her face alive with giggles and urging me to read,
“Like everything!” it read.
|Our animal lover|
Over the weekend a friend gave us their daughter’s old bike for Maria, and she was just so happy. She was really wobbly on it at first, but now you should just see her go!
We have been having so much fun in the afternoons in our street. Our sweet neighbors have even been joining us. I mean seriously, so fun. I just love the ages on my kids.
Is it possible for a 2 year old and 10 year old to become best friends? Recently when we went to the park, it was filled with other kids, and Maria and Finley were suddenly glued together, without looking at each other. She needed his confidence, he needed her stature, and together they slid down slides and swung on swings, I’m not even sure they were aware. Sometimes he gives her a run for her money, and he’ll flip out when she tries to get him to come with me, she shrugs her shoulders, and she and I just laugh. “Finley…” we say, with a smile.
Finley is daily a new boy after our adoption, I could write a book about the changes I see in him, this thing truly is about the good. Things we’ve prayed for his little heart, are becoming parts of his little being as he lives life with Elijah and Maria, that just weren’t there before.
And if you’ve ever wondered how an adoption will affect your biological children, all I have is pictures–
|First hand sharing experience, which is already a part of her being.|
Today, Maria was too scared to go down a really big slide, but then Finley wanted to. Maria told him she’d go with him when he asked, and together–they slid down that huge slide. At the bottom, she lifted him safely onto the ground.
Finley is still our most demanding child. I’m also pretty sure he is our most special needs child, since he has the special need to break dance in the middle of the doctor’s waiting room while Elijah sits perfectly on my lap, and Maria giggles at him into my shoulder. He has the special need to clear out all sound barriers within the tiny office when he stubs his toe, meanwhile Elijah gets 7 viles of blood taken and barely makes a peep. But I believe this adoption was one of the best things that has ever happened to Finley, he is growing so much, just as they are.
Someone asked me recently is it hard. Is it hard to parent them, to have three kids now, to have such a mix of ages.
And the answer is no. Our life is not hard.
I think about the people in my life, the people I have met. The women who I have gardened next to on the hills of Fiji who have spent their life being sex trafficked, raped, their teeth punched out, now being healed in this safe haven, and who smile at me through gapped teeth because of the joy God has placed within their hearts where there was once void.
I think of the children left in the orphanages.
I think of Katie Davis, living away from the home and country she grew up in, raising 14 girls as a single mother while simultaneously serving and feeding hundreds of children and people around her, praise to the creator on her lips.
And I think of our little home, my husband, who I love and admire, probably more each day, our family, and I don’t think one bit of it is hard. Our life may look different, but it is good. Just too good that I am mostly certain I don’t deserve it. And even though I am also mostly certain we are unqualified, I guess that’s who God likes to use best, because then we can ask Him how to do it.
|Andrew ran them through the street after the parade in a curvy line, “What a great dad,” someone commented as the kids shrieked with laughter. I agreed. Meanwhile, Elijah was passed out in the carrier.|
Although our life may look different than the average person where we live, it is not hard. I feel my daughters tears, and praise his name that they land of the shoulder of a mother who loves her forever. I hold the body of a tiny boy, crying in my arms as he learns he doesn’t have to rock himself, and feel his little body become soft in my arms, his head sweaty against my chest, his fuzzy hair slicked back by my hand, and I praise Him for allowing these children to know love and comfort.
|Pacifier training this little birdy, his thumb nail is about to fall off! Poor thing only had his thumb as comfort for a year and a half, but no more of that!|
I am thankful for the expereinces in my life that will forever let me know my life is not hard, but filled with blessing, and moments where I can’t help but to thank God, aloud.
I have written before how to process to adopt has brought us very much freedom from things in this world, well, now we are feeling a new kind of freedom.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver,” Dr. Maya Angelou.
I want to write more details about what we are specifically doing for bonding for some of my friends in the adoption process, but the only thing I can offer right now is the example that Jesus has given us, which is to give and then, give, and to trust so much that you can only just enjoy and not worry, or calculate. We are not the healing gurus, we can only serve out of love, to have fun, enjoy, to pray and give thanks, and that’s when we see the most growth in each of our children, the most fun and most bonding. We also feel freedom from ourselves, which is good cause we aren’t that great 😉
Also, our children don’t need to be anything but themselves. The love we find in Jesus daily allows us to not need our children’s love. We don’t need them to fill a void in our hearts, to make us feel good, to make a holiday special. While we don’t need their love, we love them, and we would give up our lives for them in a second, but they are free to be themselves, two little ones just learning what love and family mean, and that no matter what we offer love.
//Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. //
We haven’t quite yet read all the books, and to be honest, we just always try to have fun and play, cause that’s what childhood is about, and if any child is going to feel comfortable or good, it’s when they are playing and relaxed or laughing. We may not have finished the laundry, but we did make a special trip to a field where all the kids rode bikes for an hour, while Andrew and I held hands, praised new moves, laughed and kissed boo boos.
|Daily blessing us more than one could even believe|