Archive for August 2013 | Monthly archive page

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One of the things I just LOVE about Eva is that her face is ridiculously expressive. You guys, you don’t even know. If you spent even 10 minutes with her, you would be dying over all the expressions she makes. Of course, corresponding to all the faces are all the feelings. ALL THE FEELINGS. About all the things. When she’s happy, she’s ecstatic. When she’s sad, the world is coming to an end. I don’t even want to think about the teen years.

The point is, she makes the best faces. And I felt that I should share them with you. Eva, please forgive me in those teen years when you have ALL THE FEELINGS X 1000 and you hate me for posting these pictures.

There’s laughing face…

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(That’s my dad, who picked both children up upside down the moment he met them and now they are in love with him forever.)

And then there’s “Oh my gosh I’m going to pee myself I’m laughing so hard” face…

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(This laugh got us through a long hard day of waiting at the Ugandan passport office)

Oh, and speaking of laughing face, This post is about Eva, but here’s Titus tickling his own feet and laughing hysterically about it. You’re welcome.

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Then there’s this face, which is reserved for things she’s never seen before or things she finds yucky…

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This particular face is for that big thing in the movie Cars that repaves the streets or something. Some little boy somewhere knows the name of that thing. Anyway, she told me it was yucky. And she’s correct about that.

She made that face a lot while watching popcorn pop for the first time. And if you haven’t seen that, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it and then walk around with a stupid grin on your face for the rest of the day because it makes you feel like a little kid again.

Then there’s angry/sad/pout face, which we are all familiar with, because every child alive has perfected it (and quite frankly, I make a pretty good angry/sad/pout face myself)…

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She’s got nothing on Charlotte, though

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She has a face she makes when she’s concerned about something or afraid that Titus will get in trouble (I knooooow. Cue the waterworks. She is so protective of her brother and it’s heartbreaking).

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And finally, there’s this face, which she makes most often when I point a camera at her, and which I can only describe as her “Why, yes, I AM so gorgeous!” face…

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Take some time to delight in your children today! Even if they’re making “angry/sad/pout” face. They might just need mama to laugh at them to get them out of their funk.

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Hey. Remember me? Katie? I was going to write all these awesome posts about adoption?

Oh, wait. I have 4 kids now and my brain doesn’t work anymore.

Actually, there have been many days that I have thought of great things to share. But the problem is that I think of those things at 10 am while I’m cleaning or running errands and then sit down to write it down at 8 pm. And I find that I can’t remember anything or even really how to type at that point.

And, if I can be totally honest, most nights lately we get the kids down and I eat ice cream and watch TV or internet loaf. I may or may not be eating ice cream out of the carton as I type this…

Oh, but here’s the good news! I’ve been steadily losing weight anyway. Here’s a winning weight loss program idea: Just fill your house with kids 5 and under and you’ll forget to eat all the time! Except ice cream. I never forget ice cream.

Things are slowly but surely settling into a normal rhythm around here. It’s strange, but it’s hard for me to remember life being any different than it is now. It’s sort of like when you have a baby, I guess, and before you meet the baby you can’t imagine him/her. But once the baby arrives, Bam! Life before baby becomes a foggy memory.

It’s hard to believe that just 8 months ago I was in Uganda on that brief trip, meeting these 2 sweeties, completely unaware that they would change our lives forever.

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That’s Eva in the blue, the day I met her. She sat in my lap for 20 minutes, wanting nothing more than to stay with me. Oh gosh, stop. I’m making myself cry. (I’m happy to say that the other 2 children standing by me have been adopted as well).

And there’s Titus, making classic Titus face. Totally inscrutable. Now he’s mostly smiles and laughter

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Although he does still occasionally make inscrutable face at me. Especially when he’s mad at me.

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(I literally just said no to him when I took this picture. He’s stunned that I would refuse him anything)

Eva is a total girl. I remember looking at her, and all the other girls in that orphanage and thinking how indistinguishable they were from the boys, all with shaved heads, many in boys clothes. However, that girl is 100% GIRL on the inside. She and Charlie are currently neck and neck for most dramatic person in this house. She also talks. And talks and talks and talks.

Here she is talking to me…

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And talking…

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Aaaaaand taaaaaalking.

 

 

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I love it. At first it was frustrating because I couldn’t understand a word she said. But she picks up English super fast. And you know how when your toddler starts talking you totally understand it and everyone else is like, “huh?” That’s how it is with her. Sometimes she tells me a whole story and only like 3 of her words are English and I still know exactly what she said.

Eva and Titus are so weirdly well adjusted, too. They do great at church and school, they eat and sleep great, and hate bedtime and fight over toys just like other kids.

But seriously though, folks, it didn’t start out that way.

There were some really hard moments in those first few weeks. For me, the hardest thing was how both kids, but especially Eva, reacted to Reagan and Charlotte. For the first couple weeks they rejected all affection from their sisters. Oh, and Reagan was so very eager to love them. Charlie is 3, and she couldn’t care less about anyone but herself right now, so I think she was oblivious. But it was hard on Reagan, and hard on me.

It was hard for me to understand my own feelings. Think of how you’d feel if your daughter encountered a kid at school or on the playground who was unkind to them. You feel defensive, and usually angry toward that kid’s mom. BUT I WAS THAT KIDS MOM, TOO. And of course, I knew deep down that Eva wasn’t being intentionally unkind. It’s just that it had been her and Titus against the world for so long, and it would take time to let someone else in, especially someone she viewed as competition for our affection.

I had to accept that while I loved my new children as dearly as my biological children, I hadn’t known them nearly as long, so nurturing them and teaching them wouldn’t come as naturally as it did with Reagan and Charlie. It would take time.

 
But God’s been answering prayers in this area, and I’m amazed at the improvement even in the last couple weeks. I now regularly hear Eva yelling out, “Reagan, look!” wanting to involve her sister. And they seriously make each other laugh. And Titus lets Reagan carry him around like a baby and copies everything Charlotte does. It’s pretty amazing that they are learning to love each other so quickly.

Thankfully we have a God who is a million times bigger than these things and nothing is too difficult for Him. He was able to take these 2 kids and give them a love for us as though we were there biological parents. You can’t imagine the delight of going to pick them up from school or from church and hearing the excited, “Mommy! Mommy!” that comes from their mouths. It’s as though they never knew anything else.

And He took my heart and gave me a deep love for them, too. I am their mother, plain and simple. I did not give birth to them, but they are mine just as though I had.

So every day now I’m getting twice as many dressed and making twice as many sandwiches and kissing twice as many boo-boos and hearing twice as much noise. There’s twice as much fighting, but also twice as much hugging and snuggling. And I’m definitely twice as tired, which is why I eat ice cream instead of blogging at the end of the day. But it’s all worth it.
Reagan, Eva, Charlie, Titus. All mine, forever and ever.

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I’m bone-tired y’all.

I never really understood that expression until now. But it literally feels like my bones are tired.

And it’s not the newborn kind of tired (which is the worst kind of tired if you ask me). That’s a sleep-deprived tired. This is a I-haven’t-stopped-moving-since-I-woke-up-this-morning kind of tired.

And I love it.

I don’t love it because it feels good or because I’m one of those people who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. I love it because it’s bringing me to the end of myself and I’ve never depended upon God more. To be honest, my flesh doesn’t love it so much. It’d kind of been crying out against it. But the renewed me knows that when Christ is all and in all in my life there is lasting joy. That me is loving it.

Every day this week I’ve come to the end of myself and said, “OK God, you’ve got to strengthen me.” I think of 1 Thessalonians 5, where Paul says “He who called you is faithful, He will surely do it.” Or of when he says in Colossians 2 that he is “struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within.”

This is one of the great lessons of our trip to Uganda, and it is the enduring lesson thus far. God’s in control, He’s acting, and He’s sustaining whether we acknowledge it or not. In the month that Josh and I were in Uganda, not knowing how long we would be there or whether or not the kids what get their passports approved or if the U.S. embassy would approve them for travel, we were really faced with the fact that we are literally in God’s hands.

I thought often of that old song that I sang as a child and that my own children now sing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” Yeah, He really really does.

We have very nice organized lives here. We plan out our days and our lives and like to live according to our schedules. We say with our mouths, “God is in control,” but we live out our lives substituting “I am” for “God is” in that sentence.

It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but oh how sweet it is to be humbled and then see Jesus, whose blood covers our sin. Yes, I said it. Sin. Trying to take control from our creator God is definitely sin. But that’s what makes His forgiveness and His sustaining grace that much sweeter.

So in these beginning days of being a mom of 4, I’m exhausted, but there’s Jesus, that great Savior and friend of mine, carrying me through. I look at the 2 who I still barely know, whose language I don’t speak, and I say, “Jesus, carry me through.” I look at the 2 who I’ve known since birth, whose demanding language I understand perfectly well, and I say, “Jesus, carry me through.” I look at all 4, clamoring for attention and affection and food (always food), and when I think I don’t have enough in me, I say, “Jesus, I know you will carry me through.”