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Math and Cookies

Her face suddenly looked pained, she started whimpering, nervously moving in her chair, which wasn’t like her, so I took her hand and looked at her.

“Maria, it’s ok,” I told her.

“Mama, I don’t know, Mama, I don’t know, I can’t…” she couldn’t even look at the paper in front of her, she was fidgeting, nervously moving. 

I had never seen her like this, she couldn’t hear me over her whimpering, distressed, she couldn’t hear my words. “Maria,” I said calmly, “it’s ok, I will help you,” one digit addition problems on the paper in front of her, but she couldn’t hear me.

“I don’t know, I don’t know…” on the verge of tears, she wasn’t present.  She was somewhere else, somewhere sad…

Which is when I remembered the words that were spoken to me a couple months ago.  In a tiny room, wedged in the corner of a crumbling building, filled to the brim with big children, who were really babies in our eyes.

“Who is it?” asked the woman absently in the white coat, sitting behind her desk, Andrew and I brought in to sit on a couch in the corner.

“Maria,” we responded.

“Let me see,” she said without looking at us, she chose one of the hundred of files, we heard the children outside the door.

“Ok, let’s see, she has flat feet, so no running sports or anything, maybe perhaps, swimming?”

We nodded, unsmiling, wanting her to wrap up this charade.

She listed a few other things, “Oh, and poor at math.  Yes, very low math, but you know how these kids are…”

No, we didn’t.

I put my hand on her hand and put the paper away.  
“Let’s count rice,” I said.  We counted 5 pieces plus 2 pieces, we added, she counted, she was right, she could breath again.
I brought out the sheet.  9+5 was first.
“Ok, put 9 in your head, and 5 on your hand, and we’ll count fingers from 9.  
She wanted to do such a good job, and she put her hand on her head, and closed her eyes, putting the 9 in her head, focused, much more calm.
We did a few together, she was getting most right.
“Nine, ten, ‘leven, twelve, firteen, fourteen, fifteen!”
“Wow!” I honestly exclaimed.  “Wow!  I am so  proud of you, and you are so good at math!”

She looked at me shyly, eyes gauging mine, with a, “me?  I am?’ expression on her face.

She dove into the rest, happily.

It’s ok mama, I can do the rest,” and she did, no problem, maybe ten minutes later.

When papa got home, he was so proud of her as she showed off her math sheet.
“My smart girl,” he beamed.
Our fifth grader who was never taught how to add, labeled and told she was poor at math.  Who is so, so smart.
This afternoon she did word problems, geometry and more addition.

Today we made cookies.  We piled all the ingredients it called for onto the counter, each one pretty unappetizing on their own.  We threw them all into the bowl, and when we turned on the mixer the blade turned and turned, churning up each of the ingredents, blending them together so that they couldn’t each be all on their own, and Maria started dancing, 
“Sounds like music, Mama.”
And as it mixed, she danced around our kitchen.
Before we dropped Maria off at her art class this morning, the kids and I stopped by the thrift store, we had some items to drop off and we looked around.  Finley found a little tykes hard hat, two men in work clothes stopped, “Que guapo!” they smiled kindly.
I turned the corner, Elijah in his carrier, my other two close behind, “Oh my,” said a woman in a wheel chair looking at Elijah in his carrier, “what a treasure he is,” she said. 
“Yes he is,” I said smiling.

“What is his name?” she asked.

“His name is Elijah,” I looked down and he was grinning at her.
“Oh wow,” she smiled wide, looking at my tiny boy, “he has a big name to live up to.” 

“He does,” I said. 
“He could light up any room with that smile.”  Finley walked up to her, put his hands on her knees, looking up into her sweet face, “Hi?” he said, like, what about me? And she spoke sweetly to him too.  It was so cute, what a treasure she was showing my kids so much love. 
We even found a new toy basket for $4
Happy Valentines day from our family to yours!

Someone recently emailed me, interested in adoption, but what about the fear that comes along with?

The truth is, there are no guarantees, except that God will give you the grace you need to parent the children he has planned for you.  Our kids are not perfect, but never before have we had the same personal growth, the same joy and life satisfaction.  Yes, there is fear involved, unknowns, but it’s all worth it.  We were almost certain she’d say no when she met us, at which point we’d make other plans, but she didn’t and things were great, well, that’s an understatement.  God’s gifts are true gifts.

It’s one step at a time in adoption, pushing past fear into the glorious plans God has just for you and your family, and the little one you will take out of darkness into beautiful light of family. 

Its worth every single step.

“I don’t always knew where this life is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter getting out of the boat, stepping out onto the water with complete faith that Jesus will not let him drown.”
Katie J. Davis

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • godhasnoproblems February 15, 2013, 6:25 am

    Love, love, love — as always!

    And your words at the end are so eloquent. In a weird way, you could remove a few that are specifically adoption related, and they could apply to so many things and still be as relevant and powerful (obviously I get why would wouldn’t want to…but I’ll have to explain why that especially struck me…so remind me!) God’s really gifted you with a way with words!

    Looking forward to next week! 🙂

  • ~CCC February 15, 2013, 7:12 am

    What a beautiful story! Happy Valentine’s to your precious family! You are so very blessed!

  • April February 15, 2013, 8:24 am

    Wonderful post to celebrate the love in your family!

    And the kids are growing! I can’t believe how healthy Elijah is looking! What a blessing!

  • Kym February 15, 2013, 1:40 pm

    i hope your family had a happy valentine’s day! that basket is awesome. an $4.00?! love a good deal. what a sweetpea maria is. math is not my strong suit, and i remember being in tears over it- both in elementary and college. lol. i’m glad she was able to overcome her frustration. i love seeing kids swell with pride at their accomplishments, it’s why i’ve always known i wanted to be a teacher. with a patient and loving momma, maria has nothing but opportunity to thrive. i bet she’s a mathlete by next year 🙂

  • Kathy February 15, 2013, 9:31 pm

    You are a beautiful momma to beautiful children!!!

  • Tonya Garrick February 15, 2013, 9:52 pm

    So very sweet!

  • D clan 4 February 15, 2013, 11:05 pm

    I just can’t get over how HANDSOME your little boys are. 🙂 Hope you guys are doing well!!

  • Sally February 16, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family! Thank you for your gift of sharing your family with me through your blog! So much love! I work at an elementary school and tutor math and reading. I wish every child had parents that loved them and wanted to help them as much as you do! Always brings tears to my eyes when I read your blog! True tears of joy! Thank you!

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