Please Pray!

Sometimes, in America, important news stories can get lost in the shuffle of the latest Hollywood happenings. Right now in Ukraine, there is STILL major unrest. Now, the kids are right in the middle of it. Below is a link to a news story specifically about Olya’s orphanage. Separatists showed up and tried to send many of the children to Russia for “better” care.  They’ve currently been stopped from doing that but the unrest is huge. Please read the article and pray for these kids who are surely terrified.

Donetsk Orphans

“Mom”

100_7754

The other day I found a treasure on my bed.

It was a sweet gift from Abby and her tender heart. The simple “Mom” written on the front of the card took me back to the first time I earned that title. I knew SO little back then. (I know only slightly more now–mainly from making mistakes. But having kids seems to shine the light much brighter on God’s grace, doesn’t it?)

I still remember those days before “Mom”…when I wasn’t called anything—-there was just this little infant who cried when she was hungry or tired or wet. And we tried to figure out which of these things it was and fix it.

Then, I remember when her face would light up when she saw me. Still, I wasn’t called anything, but she knew I was special. And that made my heart swell.

Then came toddlerhood and all the new words that seemed to appear overnight. In those days, I was called  “mommy”.

Suddenly, time’s flown by at light speed and I’ve got this teenager who calls me “mom” and leaves gifts for me and prays for me when I’m weak. Instead of looking up at me, she now pretty much looks me eye-to-eye. Now…she calls me “mom”. I’m amazed at this gift from God. I’m overwhelmed as I watch her relationship with Jesus unfold. And I’m having mixed feelings about the fact that she’ll one day go off and make a life of her own.

100_7756

Adoption Myths Debunked

Myth #1:  “Your family looks so happy & well-adjusted. Things must be going wonderfully at home!”

Please understand…the way things look on the outside (a.k.a. “in public”) may not the best indicator of what’s really happening on the inside (a.k.a. “at home”).Things seem great in public because it’s easier/safer there. What I mean is, “public” relationships are surface level. This means the child feels safe and secure (no one’s getting too close). That translates to a happy, well-behaved child. And, let’s be realistic here…even a non-adoptive family doesn’t air all their dirty laundry in public, right? ;)

At Linville Falls

At Linville Falls

Myth #2: “Adoption is HARD and only certain people should do it.”
Yes. Adoption IS hard. But those who adopt aren’t special. If I’ve learned anything through this process, it’s how weak my weakness really is. And how MUCH I need Jesus. Without Him, nothing is possible. Before this (I’m ashamed to admit) I felt like I sort of had this Christian walk thing down. Now, I see I’ve got NOTHING without Him.

This is real. Yes, we're tired. ;)

This is real. Yes, we’re tired. But happy! ;)

Myth #3: “I have other kids. Adopting will be too hard on them/ruin their lives.” 
We knew going into the adoption process that this was a family decision. It was going to effect all of us. And, though it’s been hard, it has grown our family in ways we never would have imagined possible. For that, we are eternally grateful.

100_7044

Abby_Olya_pool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure there are many other myths true for other families. I can only speak for mine. My main reason for writing this post is to provide some food for thought…

If you know an adoptive family and they seem to have fallen off the face of the earth or pulled back majorly, maybe it’s because they’re going through some major adjustments as a family. Don’t write them off as MIA. Just understand they’re working on building this new version of their family. And they can use all the friends they can get. (And, in our case, being at home is just currently a whole lot easier still than committing to a lot of outside activities).

I have a sweet friend (Patty ) who’s the mom of 4 boys and personally understands adoption because she’s walked that road a few times herself. I value her so much because she knows we’re still friends–even if we don’t see each other NEARLY as much as we did before. ;)  She completely understands what it’s like to pull back and focus on family. Thanks for that, Patty.

Anyway, hope this helps answer some general questions. But, to be honest, Sam and I pretty much don’t know anything (and we’re well aware of that!) ;)  We’re just trusting God to give us what we need when we need it.

Intercession

Holy Spirit

Some days are hard.

There’ve been many nights Sam and I pray, with heavy hearts, that the Holy Spirit would bring peace to rest in our home. Not knowing how to make it happen. Not knowing how to make things right. Just asking God to somehow fix the seemingly unfixable.

And, more often than not, we wake the next morning to find that everything has changed. What was so huge the night before is now blown away like chaff. Only God can do that.

{Side note–difficulties happen in every type of family…adopted or not…And God works in EVERY type of family as well.}

I’m thankful that all this doesn’t depend on me. Oh that I would remember He’s in the business of making us new.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.–Romans 8:26-27

 

This Time Last Year

100_7621

It’s hard to believe that this time last year I wrote a blog post detailing Sam’s travels back to the Ukraine. Words can never express how much he means to us. He’s the rock of our family. You see, just a few days before, I was given the news that we were stuck in Ukraine for an additional nine weeks… For a test we knew nothing about. We were in shock. Our family was devastated. We had NO idea how we would make things work. All we knew was that we could trust God. Even if we couldn’t see the outcome, couldn’t see around this huge bend in the road, we could still trust Him.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
Don’t try to figure out everything on your own…
Proverbs 3:5

Today, a year later, I’m sitting in my kitchen listening to the sounds of cucumbers being turned into pickles. Cucumbers picked from the garden that all six of us tend together. While I’m home canning, Sam’s at the pool with all FOUR of our kids and I realize we made it around that huge bend in the road. It’s funny how gratefulness can overwhelm you when you least expect it. How amazing is our God. How incredible are His ways.

Sisters

Sisters

I guess I just want to encourage anyone reading…if you’re going through a tough time, it’s okay to be scared. We can go to God with our fears. He can handle it. ;)  You may feel like there’s no way around the mountain standing in your way. I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy because it’s not. I’m not going to minimize your hurt and fear because they’re real. But I am going to remind you that He is here. Always. He is with us. He’s got a plan. We can trust Him. We can believe Him and His Word:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
–Isaiah 43:2

Just Keep Swimming…revisited

This summer, we’ve been spending a lot of time basically every day at the pool. It’s a great place to hang out and the kids get to burn off some energy. Oh, and the big bonus? I can tell them to clean their rooms while I throw dinner in the crock pot. Then, we head to the pool, stay most of the day, and head home for dinner with dad. It’s a win for all. :)

At the end of this blog post, I’ll share one of my favorite (EASY) slow cooker recipes.

Here are some snap shots of our fun at the pool:

 

Abby chillin' in the pool

Abby chillin’ in the pool

Olya leaping in

Olya leaping in

 

Ben...jumping(?) in

Ben…jumping(?) in

Here’s my quick and easy slow cooker recipe:

Take some frozen chicken breasts (however many you need to feed your family). Pour in some zesty Italian dressing. Sprinkle on some Tony’s cajun seasoning. Put the lid on and turn it to low for about 6 hours. Serve with lettuce and your favorite salad toppings. We also like tortilla chips and ranch dressing.

Dancing Generation

We recently got to enjoy the fruits of our girls’ weeks and weeks of dance practice at their recital. Everyone was so excited to perform (and watch!). Well, maybe the boys weren’t completely “excited”. ;)

Outside the venue for the recital

Me and my girls outside the venue for the recital

What made the day even more special is that my parents got to be in town to watch as well. PopPop doesn’t really do pictures, so here’s one of  MawMaw and the girls:

100_7623

And here’s a shot of the girls in their other dance costume:

100_7605

 

I was so proud of our girls. They worked hard and danced beautifully. This has been a good time for them. Learning new skills, making new friends and building confidence. A big thanks to Dance Unveiled. We’ll see you guys next year!