One of the things Finley has said most since the arrival of Elijah, through laughter is, “Haha, Elijah so
funny, mama! Elijah so funny!”
Which always made Andrew and I laugh because Elijah was probably the least funny kid, ever.
Those first weeks home, he was shut into himself, a life of neglect leaving a little boy very vacant, distant. A look of concern etched deep into his eyebrows, eyes constantly roving to survey for danger, which he prepared all 16 pounds of himself to deal with, by himself. Sorrow and pain.
And as the weeks passed, and he learned, for the first time that he was safe, as his needs were met and he wasn’t hungry, as he slowly changed the hearts of two parents to believe Jesus’ words more deeply; that sacrificial love is truly ideal, pushing past ourselves to find a hidden boy deep inside a weakened body.
As time passed, we would sometimes comment to each other, “He’s kinda turning into a real boy…”
But this week, he has surprised us again. Ok, actually kind of shocked us.
For the first time ever, Finley is right. He is funny, and he’s trying to be funny, and he’s good at it.
And kinda of hilarious.
|Oh my gosh, crazy goofy.
“Mama! Elijah so funny!”
We officially have a house full of comedians.
Yesterday I told the boys to help me weed and water, so they doused each other with the hose instead.
And thought it was hilarious. Actually, I did too.
Life is fun, even soaking wet.
|Face etched now in laughter.
Last week, as Maria cuddled with Mama and Papa. She soaks up these moments, burying her face into our arms, unable to wipe the huge smile off her face, often, in between sharing her heart with us saying, “My papa. My mama,” as she hugs our arms. When the boys are sleeping, she loves telling us all that’s on her heart, last week she shared, “Yesterday, at school, I feel scared, so I pray, ‘Jesus! Help Maria,’and I feel better, and Maria no scared.”
“That’s so great honey, you can always pray when you need God. Did you used to pray when you were in Russia?”
“No mama, Maria don’t know pray in Russia.”
Today at lunch, I promised Elijah a special treat if he finished his meal, a yogurt covered raisen. He got all batty eyed, and bounced in excitment as he finished up his meal.
“Yaaay!” I clapped, “You did it!” as his whole face lit up, while I dramatically, slowly put his treat in his hand. He squealed in delight.
Finley, who shares an equal love for yogurt raisins, had just finished, was just walking by Elijah’s seat. Elijah saw Finley, and slowly, gently, put his hand up to Finley’s mouth, careful to cup his tiny hand around the yogurt raisin so it wouldn’t fall out, holding it up to his brother’s lips so that his brother could have it, slowly feeding him his special treat.
One of the things God is revealing within Elijah as his personality is beginning to surface is his tender heart. He has a really sweet spirit, hidden for so long in the crib, the one furthest from the door in the orphanage. Oh, it touches our hearts so.
It’s really feeling like summer these days, and we are soaking up the longer days, the warm weather.
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
// Luke 6/35-36
A really tough part of our adoption was Elijah’s eating. We had the hardest time getting him to eat at first, anything. And he would scream. And we would stare at each other, like whaaaat? as he recoiled from us. And we’d stick little bits of food in his mouth, but it just didn’t feel right. Andrew and I are both in bsf, where we have been studying Genesis for the good part of a year. In Genesis, God would tell someone that he has this big, fatty blessing for them, and the person would respond, “Sweet! I so want that! But, actually, now that you bring it up, I just want to get it myself, my own way, and not stick with you in this, peace.” At which point their lives when to crap. It effected their kids, spouses, all their relationships. And you saw the same issues in the lives of their kids, grandkids…
It took a while for it to sink in for us, until we finally realized that this was God’s promise, this whole healing broken kids thing, not us. So, we prayed, like dropped what we were doing and flash prayed, like right then, “God, you are the healer, not us. Please, we give it all back to you…”
And I’ve told this story to friends and family before, but as soon as we said amen, he picked up his tiny fork, for the very first time, put food on his fork. And ate it.
|I got this, suckas
And this huge relief swept over all of us. It was this really big step for us, in so many ways.
We’ve been trying to pray first more often these days, cause God knows, and he will lead. And I see why God would lay this so heavy on our hearts, why he would impress this story into both our minds through his word, because Elijah’s comfort level with food has given way to so much of his inner healing, it is connected to so much.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.//
, when asked how it is she does her ministry in Uganda…
“I don’t. It’s just a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus!”
//Bits and pieces//
1. We watched this Amish documentary, and this family really touched my heart, I mean once you get past the beards and hats and all. Andrew just watched it with me, and has so much respect for the father, “He’s a man all men should look up to.”
2. A sweet young family, who’s orphanage was just down the street from Elijah’s, has had the door shut in their faces because of the Russian adoption ban, all after they met him, held him. As they prayed, they just committed to two older boys with special needs in another country: http://reecesrainbow.org/38706/sponsorpittman Dang, they are such blessed little boys, and Dale will always be in all of our hearts.
|If it has wheels around here, it’s the coolest thing ever
4. And never forget:
I love your story about the shared yogurt raisin. What a generous spirit!
And what a blessing to hear Maria turning to Jesus when she was scared.
He is really developing a sweet heart 🙂
You are so sweet! Seeing you guys adapt to life as a family of 5 and trust God with your journey has made such a huge impact in our hearts! One day we will ALL have to get together and just love life!
Yes, we will get all our Russian speaking children together SOON! Can’t wait until your 2 boys come HOME!!!! xoxo
I am crying. (What’s new – hee hee).
I am taking our son to therapy tonight and decided to pick mashed potatoes as the food of the day we will try to get him to eat and like…While I believe in giving things up to God, I often forget its the things I am desperately trying to fix myself that need to be given up to Him. I will still bring him to therapy and I will still have spuds in tow…but I will be praying for God’s healing with my sons eating….and asking others for that prayer too. Thank you for the reminder!
I love that you are stopping to see evry detail with these kids-down to the smallest of raisins!
I love how healthy and peaceful he looks now! Such a difference. I so enjoy following your sweet little family, thanks for letting us have that peak. I’m totally jealous of your summer weather and beautiful scenery though. In Canada we’re still pretty much stuck in winter (the coldest spring in 114 years!), still snow drifts all over the ground!
Reading your post about Elisha’s laughter and there are tears pouring down my face. Praising God, our Healer, for His work in your little fella. Thanking Him for the loving, nurturing, God trusting family your little ones are growing and thriving in.
Thank you for sharing. Was reminded of something I need to truly “hand over” to God.
I have been following you blog from Reece’s rainbow. I was born in Ukraine but immigrated with my parents at a young age. I have been back, seen the orphanages and hoping to start the adoption process within a year, because my heart stayed there. You have been an inspiration, by the way you and your husband trusted God even though you were scared! Blessings to you and your family!
Oh your sweet kiddos! Thanks for continuing to share what God’s up to in your family!
Im sitting in the bathroom, reading on my laptop, as my two littlest ladies play in the bath. As I get to the raisin part, my eyes start tearing up, and Gracie, my 6 year old asks me why Im crying. (she knows I’m often crying as I read this blog!) I show her a photo of your boys, telling her again about Elijah- where he’s come from, how far he’s come. And then how this tiny boy gave up something unselfishly to his brother. How that’s just about the best thing we can ever do- and how Jesus always sees, even if no one else does, and that He will remember that forever.
I just love seeing Elijah blossom! And those cheeks!! Be still my heart.