Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

Small Miracles

Nov
2016
30

posted by on Adoption, Faith, Joy, Parenting, Prayer

5 comments

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This morning one of my children woke me up before everyone else and the two of us went downstairs and settled on the couch to stare at the Christmas tree, me with all my coffee, her with all her words.

She wanted to read to me from a book she had finished the night before (Mercy Watson, in case you’re wondering, and kids go nuts for these books…I recommend). I asked her what the book was about and she told me.

This doesn’t sound interesting or remarkable, but in fact, this little moment was huge in our home. Because this little one was adopted at age 5 and has huge mountains to climb in order to catch up. Thus far she has shown little excitement about reading, and I’ve never been able to get her to tell me about what she’s read.

So when she tells me that Mercy is a pig who gets scared and searches for buttered toast and all the hijinks that ensue, my heart swells and I praise the Lord. Here is an answer to prayer, seemingly small, but gigantic in my eyes.

But here’s the thing, this progress wasn’t made in some dramatic, miraculous way. It’s been the slow and steady work of three years. Evaluations, adjustments, making mistakes, trying again. God’s guiding us on the slow journey through all of this.

It’s easy to dismiss these moments as just the product of a lot of hard work. As a Christian, even though I profess trust in a sovereign and working and planning God, I often forget to see His hand weaving these small moments together.

I think it’s also tempting to ONLY see God when He does the big impossible things. He cures cancer or provides the money at just the right time or changes the hard heart or restores the broken marriage.

He certainly works like this. I’ve personally witnessed all of the above and stood in awe of His hand at work to do what man could never do. But I’ve felt the frustration of Him not moving in all other areas in this same way.

Why doesn’t He just fix everything all at once? Why do I still battle sin? Why the sickness and the struggle and the pain?

The answer to the above is essentially I don’t know because I’m not God, and there’s a big theological answer to the whole thing but it essentially boils down to us trusting that He knows what He’s doing and can do it better than we can. This is what it means to believe.

As I’ve grown in my faith and gotten older, I’ve learned to rest and wait on his grace to show up in the small and surprising moments instead of constantly searching for the miracle. The miracles come, but the little moments come much more frequently, and they are so sweet.

Talking to my 8 year old about a fictional pig this morning, I remembered that He’s caring for all the little concerns in my life, that I oughtn’t give up on Him working, and that His goodness and beauty can be seen everywhere and at all times, if I’m just willing to look.

 

 

HAIR

Oct
2015
28

posted by on Adoption

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There are many very hard things about adoption. Really, a case could be made that everything about it is hard. It’s totally the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my short life. Some of those hard things are serious and painful. But some of them bring a lot of laughter. The language barrier for example. Like to think back to the fact that I had two children living in my house who literally knew less than 10 words of English is hilarious to me. Anyway, I thought I’d take a blog post to focus on one of the funnier hardships of adoption rather than going all serious and emo on you poor people like I always do.

Hair. You guys. Can we just talk about the hair for a minute? Sit back and relax and grab some tissue (for the tears of laughter, obviously) because Katie Hughes trying to learn how to do black hair is a comedy routine. Let’s reminisce and enjoy my hair journey together, shall we?

So first of all, as any of you who know me can attest to, I have a pretty laid back personality. I am NOT type A. In many ways, I think this has helped me through the adoption, and continues to help me in this nutso life of ours. But in some ways it’s just the least helpful thing about me. I’ll go ahead and say from experience that with specific regard to the hair issue, it’s probably more helpful to be like super duper type A. Like this chick, who clearly adopted a little black girl and made it her mission in life to learn everything there was to learn about her hair. BTW I’ve had this blog recommended to me like 10x in the last 2 years. I watched about 5 of her videos and was like “Yeah, OR I could just hire a professional. Peace out nice type A adoptive mom.”

When we were in Uganda, Eva’s head was shaved. All of the children had shaved heads. This made life much easier for their caregivers in the orphanage.

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What this meant for me is that the entire month we were there I didn’t really think much about Eva’s hair. In retrospect I kind of wish she had had hair then, because I know my Ugandan friends would have taken me somewhere to have it done and at least pointed me in the right directions product-wise. As it was, I had to do nothing, which was fine by me as I don’t think I had the emotional capacity for hair concerns while I was in a constant state of anxiety over things like getting passports from the Ugandan government.

But a few months later I found myself with a little girl who SCREAMED every time I touched her hair. With anything. Comb, pick, brush, shampoo, conditioner, etc. Because her hair was so short I just tried to pick it out every morning which was AWFUL. Oh, FYI, never try to comb/pick out dry black hair. Must. Be. Wet.

After a month or so of the screaming and the crying every morning I started to feel a little desperate and began to approach total strangers about her hair. For example, when I was at a medical office I noted that the receptionist had lovely hair and, being me, was like “Excuse me, my daughter is black and I’m basically a moron and have no idea what I’m doing and you have lovely hair please help me.” Y’all. this total stranger went on her computer, printed out pictures of every product she uses, and told me how to/how often to use each product. I need to go back and thank that girl. I mean, come on. I’m such a weirdo and she was so nice to me.

I then took said pictures to Target, where the girl stocking the shelves in the hair aisle ALSO happened to be black and have lovely hair and I again word vomited all over her and told her my whole story and she helped me find all my products and gave some additional tips. I took my various supplies home, determined to make some progress.

It was at this point that I learned that there is a reason there are A LOT of products out there. Because when it comes to taming black hair, every hair type is not created equal. After this it became my mission to find the right products for Eva’s hair. As it turned out, there were certain things that simply would not work in her hair. However, the problem with this mission was, once again, my laid back personality (see paragraph 3, please). So it didn’t take long for this mom to say “OKAY enough is enough, we need to find someone ELSE to tackle this nonsense.” My mornings were still filled with screaming and I was over it.

Eva’s hair was long enough at this point for her to have extensions braided in. I found a random, very nice lady who did this in her home and she plaited Eva’s hair for the first time. She was so nice and patient with Eva’s…emotions…and we walked away with THIS beautiful ‘do.

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So have I mentioned that the glorious thing about doing this is that it LASTS? Like 4 weeks (or, ahem, if you’re lazy, 6) I was so. happy. 4-6 weeks later I was like, yeah we’re doing that again, and had an appointment to go back. The day I was taking Eva in to have her hair done the second time, I got a text from this lady reminding me that I needed to bring the extensions this time. Oh. Crap.

First, there was the fact that I had no idea where to go. No. Idea. You can’t buy this stuff at Target, guys. Or Costco, or Trader Joe’s. Which are the 3 places I shop. So I sent a facebook message to my friend, who is black, and asked her where to go WHICH WAS SO RUDE BECAUSE SHE WEARS HER HAIR NATURAL AND DOES NOT USE EXTENSIONS but whatever, she was gracious about it even though she, too, had no idea, because of the whole not using extensions because she has beautiful natural hair thing.

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But miracle! I found a place. Which brings me to the second “oh crap” moment which is that, and I am not exaggerating, there are THOUSANDS of different kinds and colors of extensions. I walked into that store and almost laughed out loud. I wandered the aisles for like 5 minutes before I thought, “This is dumb. I’m not fooling anyone in here.” And went and asked yet another person to help me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I can’t simply say, “Excuse me, could you help me find Kanekalon braiding hair in black #2?” No, I have to tell my whole life story in order to explain why I am in the store buying black hair extensions. Poor people. I just apologize to all people everywhere for doing this to them. It’s a sickness. I’m sorry.

After making it through my life story the girl knew exactly what I was talking about and HURRAY we had our hair. Whew. Well, Eva had it done again and again it was beautiful. And let me repeat that this girl was so sweet and patient. BUT, she was also a perfectionist. Which meant the hair was perfect but it took between 6 and 7 hours both times. And guys? Just no. Even my laid back self can’t do 7 hours for hair. I just can’t.

After we went the allotted 4-6 (ahem 8) weeks with that hair, I just took it out and left it as a fro for the summer because swimming and I’m not getting hair done only to have it ruined by swimming. And Eva needs to swim. And run and jump and dive and skip and just move constantly all the time. So no hair for the summer.

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When we were back in school and our daily routine again, though, I was in the same boat. Fighting her every day to get it done, all the tears. Thankfully at this point my friend who also has an adopted black daughter told me about her hair girl. Enter Brittany.

Ah Brittany. My knightess in shining armor (yes I made that word up). Brittany is the Eva whisperer. I don’t know how but she managed to do Eva’s hair in an hour (not with the plaited braids, but with this sort of ‘do, but still an hour is FAST).

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She also managed to make Eva worship her even though she made Eva cry. I kind of just stood there dumbfounded when I picked her up and she was jumping around with joy and could not stop hugging Brittany. And then Brittany totally unveiled the mystery that was Eva’s hair drama for me by informing me that yes it hurts to have your hair done but all black girls just learn that that’s a part of life from when they are very young. But Eva didn’t have it done until she was 6 so she was a mega drama queen about it. And she just needed to get used to the fact that this is part of her life.

All this time I kept thinking “There’s no way this should cause so much screaming. Am I really hurting her that badly?” And thanks to Brittany, I have the answer. Yes and no. Yes it hurts. No she shouldn’t scream that much. She just needs time to get used to it.

Brittany not only gets Eva, she gets me. Like when I show up with the wrong hair and she just laughs at me and tells me she’ll just straighten Eva’s hair and I can bring the right kind next time. Or when she has to explain to me that it really is so much easier than I think it is and I really can do certain things myself. And she’s not condescending at all even though she would be entirely justified if she were. All that to say, we love this woman and she is stuck with us foreeeever.

Now Eva BEGS to go have her hair done. Not by me. By Brittany, of course. By now she recognizes that I am terrible at it. She’s been rocking the ‘fro for the last few months because I just keep forgetting to make an appointment and she’s kind of like “MOM. Please get my hair done. This is embarrassing.”

Sorry, babe. I’m a mess. And so are you. We’ll just both be messes together.

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Eva Loves Mommy

Mar
2014
16

posted by on Adoption

2 comments

A couple of nights ago we were all sitting around the table after dinner; Josh and I enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet before the crazed bedtime routine that would follow. OK, it was neither peaceful nor quiet but at least we were sitting. And the children were (sort of) sitting. Reagan said something about how God made everything and that started us on this conversation, common to Christian families with small children…

Dad: Who made _____?

Children: GOD DID!!!

But of course Josh is a wonderful, perceptive father, and he is always determined to go beyond that simple truth and get to the hearts of our children. He talked to them about what is said in the Gospel of John, that “a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27). So he changed the conversation to…

Dad: What do you LOVE?

Children: juice/school/playing/friends/stuffed animals, etc.

Dad: And who made that thing you love?

Children: GOD DID!

Because knowing that God made all things is different from knowing that we are to love the creator rather than the created thing.

He had been making the rounds, asking this question, when he got to Eva, who had climbed in my lap at that point, and asked, “Eva, what do you love?”

She pondered this for a moment, putting her finger on her chin and going, “Hmmmm,” a gesture that makes me laugh because it’s so clearly an imitation of something she’s seen adults do.

Then she smiled and said, “I love my Mommy.”

Aaaand, Josh and I burst into tears. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. We were full on crying and you could tell the kids were like, ‘Uhhhh. Can we go take a bath now? This is really uncomfortable and weird.” And normally one of the kids saying they love us would not be the catalyst for such a dramatic outpouring of emotion. But this was Eva. And she didn’t say she loved Daddy. She said she loved Mommy.

See, Eva took to Josh immediately, but has only recently begun to allow me to enter in in the same way. There are many reasons for this. Primarily I think it was because she craved the authoritative and protective love of a father, but was threatened by the nurturing and instructive love of a mother. Josh brought the safety and affection she craved. I brought competition. She had been running the show with herself and with Titus for a long time and she didn’t know that she could trust me to take over.

This led to many frustrating moments for us. Seemingly simple moments, such as me asking her to eat the oatmeal squares I’d put in front of her, were met with tears and hiding. Not because she didn’t want the food (the girl is obsessed with oatmeal squares), but because she wanted to be in charge. And as much as I wish I were always sweet and patient I have often had to repent to Eva for how I’ve responded to such moments, with ill-masked irritation and sharp words.

By God’s grace – seriously, His unbelievable, transformational grace – the last few months have seen immense improvement for Eva and me. She’s beginning to loosen her hard grip  and let me take care of her. I’m learning to see the signs of a meltdown with her and to stop and breathe and ask God to be with me right then in the moment. Where there used to be a look of distrust and suspicion there’s now a look of pleasure and ease. She’s even learning to trust me with Titus, not jumping in to defend when she sees the discipline coming after he’s disobeyed. Giving me time to respond to his needs instead of always trying to attend to them herself. She is learning how to be a child. And not just that, she’s learning to be my child.

It is a weighty thing, knowing that I am re-defining her entire concept of what a mother is. But anytime I feel the weightiness of something it is an opportunity to put into practice those precious words of scripture, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” This not only takes the burden off of my shoulders, the burden of taking the 5 year old orphan and making her a daughter, but it also gives credit where credit is due when she does begin to understand that she is an orphan no longer. It is Jesus, whose yoke is upon me, who has orchestrated it.

So when those words come out of smiling lips, “I love my mommy,” there are many tears indeed. We see that God is doing what we could not do. He is able to begin to undo the damage of years of neglect, and give little Eva a heart full of love. And in that sweet moment, once the tears begin to subside, Josh is able to say to Eva, “Yes Eva, you love Mommy, and God made Mommy. He gave her to you to be your mommy. Isn’t he such a good God?”

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posted by on Adoption

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This morning in church we dedicated our new children to the Lord. I always like child dedication. I like saying the important things out loud. That our children are not our own. That they have been entrusted to us by God. That our roles are important and good and right. That family was created by God and ordained by Him. That parenting doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but with a family of believers to help and encourage and admonish. I like that our Elders lay hands on us and pray for us, shepherds supplied for us by The Shepherd, to care for our souls and watch over us.

Of course, while all this solemn important stuff is happening, Charlie is rolling around on the stage showing her pink monkey panties off to the entire church, but whatever. I kinda like this, too. Because it’s real. We parent REAL children.

As we stood there, together with our friends who dedicated their adopted son from China, I was reminded again how great the church really is.

I have loved our church and been loved by our church since the moment I entered it 11 years ago, even more so since Josh and I entered ministry life 6 years ago. But going through this adoption with our church family was knowing that love on a whole new level. I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating, I do not feel like Josh and I adopted these children. I feel like our entire church has adopted them.

As I write this my little boy, the new baby of the family, comes toddling down from nap, huge grin when he sees his mama. Gone is the distended belly and the dreadful cough and serious serious face. Eva is pressed against me, no longer hesitant to seek out affection and receive hugs and kisses. Our church made this possible. Our church loves these children.

A third of the cost of our adoption was covered by the gifts of people in our church. A THIRD. On top of that, a couple let us come into their house, load all of the furniture in their living room ONTO A TRUCK and transform it into a little concert hall so we could have a benefit concert to raise said money.

Someone completely covered the cost of our airfare. And if you’ve traveled internationally you know that is no small thing.

My dear friends threw me the most beautiful shower. They showered me not just with clothes and toys but with promises to be IN this with me. To pray and cry with me, to answer my phone calls when I needed help, even in the middle of the night.

Over and over I was asked, “What do you need? How can I help? What can I do?” All wanting to be a part of this beautiful thing God was doing.

Then came the time to go and leave our 2 children to get our 2 children and the emails were sent out and people were PRAYING. Praying for us, praying for Reagan and Charlotte, praying for Eva and Titus, praying for our extended family as they bore the brunt of the childcare while we were gone. Praying for health and safety and endurance and joy. Sharing our joy as we sent pictures and stories.

One friend emailed me regularly, long emails about her day, what was going on, funny things that had happened. She’s a busy mom, but she took time to do this because she knew how hard it was on me to be so far from home.

And then we came home. And oh how our church LOVES these children. That first Sunday, coming home, being with family again is one of the best Sundays of my life. It was as though these children of ours had been here all along. Covered in hugs and kisses as they met family after family who had prayed them here.

All I can do is pray that we would continue to be a church who does this. That our story would be the story of many other families in our church. Today is Orphan Sunday, a day to consider the physical, emotional and spiritual need of millions of children worldwide. Children without homes or families. Children in need of saving. Our children were orphans, but they aren’t anymore. Would you join me in asking God, seriously asking him, what would You have me do? It’s a terrifying question to ask. I KNOW. But I can guarantee that if you open your heart to it, whatever He might have you do, He will give you joy in it. That is my story every day. This is our story, the church’s story.

 

 

 

posted by on Adoption

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Here’s what an average day looks like for me:

I get up at 6, sometimes before, if I can drag myself out of bed the first time the alarm goes off. I get my coffee and read my Bible and eat my bagel (sigh. I love bagels). And I run upstairs at 6:40 to get my shower in before the little alarm clock in the kids’ room turns green at 7 and they all come running out shouting “THE LIGHT IS GREEN THE LIGHT IS GREEN THE LIGHT IS GREEN.” They all sit down to eat and while they bicker and giggle and eat their cereal (Apple Jacks this morning if you must know), I run around getting clothes and socks and shoes and hair brushes and bows and snacks and jackets and backpacks. I answer what seems like 1,000 questions while I do this

“Mom, can we go outside?” No, it’s still dark out.

“Mom, can Mimi pick me up today?” Yes (T, TH) No (MWF)

“Mom, can I have goldfish?” That is silly, you are eating Apple Jacks. Why would you need goldfish??

“Mom, can I live at Nama and Ganpa’s house?” Gee thanks, Charlie, and no you can’t. You poor thing, you have to live here with me.

“Mom, can we go on a treasure hunt today during rest time?” That doesn’t sound restful.

“Mom, can I be done?” No, you’ve eaten 4 bites.

Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…

And it’s only 7:30

I get the kids dropped off at school, all 4 if it’s Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Just the big girls if it’s Tuesday or Thursday. First Reagan at her school, and then the little ones at theirs. By the time I leave their preschool I am sweating. Doesn’t matter if it’s 50 degrees outside. I’m sweating. Because it’s 9am and I haven’t stopped moving since they got up.

At this point I typically sit in the van and think, now what was I going to do today? And sometimes I honestly can’t remember and I forgot to write it down and I’m just staring into space trying to figure out what I should do. But, of course, even without a plan there’s always the laundry and shopping and cooking and cleaning. The rest of the morning is usually made up of a combination of those things and maybe a few moments of just sitting quietly and reading or catching up on email or maybe wandering around Home Goods for fun. Because sometimes I think it’s more important to wander aimlessly around Home Goods than it is to make sure every box is checked off.

I’ve got 2 1/2 hours and then it’s back to pick up the kids, first the little ones, then Reagan. They pile in the car and the questions begin where they left off. So many questions. Everyone is hungry, wants to show me what they made at school, everyone wants to dictate what is going to happen for the rest of the day and I crush all their hopes and dreams when I say no. But sometimes I say yes and we DO skip nap and we DO have a tea party with the china and we DO eat cookies for snack and that’s fun. But usually it’s No, you have to take a nap, you can have a cheese stick instead and mommy needs to fold laundry, she can’t have a tea party right this very second.

They eat their chicken nuggets and grapes and beg me to let them skip their naps (Why?? Why are they so surprised by nap time every. single. day??). The 3 littles go to their separate rooms and Reagan proceeds to have “rest time.” I do her homework with her and then set her up with a movie or some toys or a computer game and tell her it’s time to be quiet, but of course this is completely impossible because isn’t she a huge extrovert? And doesn’t she want to talk to me nonstop for the next 5 hours until she goes to bed?

The kids “sleep” (really, at this point, it’s only Titus who ever falls asleep). And they get up around 3 and then I’ve got 4 hours until bedtime and I think, I’m so tired, how will I do it? But the mid-afternoon slump passes and I grab some coffee and keep going. They play, and I wish I were someone who gave them super fun organized activities to do, but mostly they just destroy the house while I finish up the things that need to be finished up. Fold the laundry. Empty the dishwasher. Load the dishwasher. Make the dinner. Pick up. Set the coffee pot for tomorrow (most important task, obviously).

And then it’s 5:30 and DADDY’S HOME!!!!

This makes everyone happy. We eat and then I clean up while daddy does bath ’cause he’s awesome. And I didn’t used to think doing dishes was fun, but doing dishes in a quiet kitchen filled with music I want to listen to (ie, not Raffi) while my kids are upstairs contained in the bathtub is one of my favorite things. Then it’s the bedtime ritual, Teeth brushing, all the medicine for my poor kids with all the seasonal allergies, go potty, have a sip of water, no you can’t have juice, pray, sing the songs, 30 minutes to read and then LIGHTS OUT.

And then Josh and I, we look at each other and it’s, “Hello, dear, nice to see you. How are you?” Because really, we’ve barely had a moment together, and certainly not a moment when we can have any kind of real conversation. And sometimes we talk about our days, but sometimes we just collapse onto the couch and watch TV. And then we go to bed, because it’s all about to begin again.

Here’s why I share this:

Adoption seems very radical. But really, it’s one radical leap of faith followed by normal life of faith. That moment that we said, yes, we will do this. Yes God, this is scary and expensive and crazy, but we will do it. That moment felt kind of radical. And flying to Uganda for a month to bring 2 children home. That was a little out of the ordinary, for sure. But now? Now, honestly, it’s just life again. Normal, everyday life. And of course there are exceptions to this for some people, but for us, it has simply been a radical act of obedience followed by all of the same acts of obedience God called us to before. Just with 2 more kids now.

For me, there was always this kind of mysterious aura surrounding the idea of adoption, especially the international adoption of older children. What on earth would that be like? It felt so unknown. Kids who don’t speak my language. No knowledge of their past. But there is nothing mysterious about children who need a mother and father and a place to be known and cared for.

I also share this because I am asked, almost daily, how it’s going. And there are certainly difficult moments and it’s somewhat exhausting, BUT, overall, it’s amazing, better than I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. Grateful for normal everyday obedience.

 

 

posted by on Adoption

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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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And we’re back!

Jul
2013
22

posted by on Adoption

1 comment

So I know I promised all sorts of updates while Josh and I were in Uganda adopting our new son, Titus, and daughter, Eva. And I really intended to. But then we got there and were informed that it would be wisest not to talk about the adoption/post pictures until completing our exit interview with the U.S. Embassy. Which happens at the very end of the process.  Like, the day before you leave. And then I wanted to tell everyone why I wasn’t talking about it, but that would be talking about it, right? You see my dilemma?

But now we are back in the beautiful U.S of A. and I’m free to talk about it as much as I please! Yay! Only I’m kind of drawing a blank. I knoooooow. So obnoxious. We were there for a month so obviously a lot happened. But I think my brain is a little overloaded. Before we left a couple who had adopted from Uganda told us in an email, “Adopting from Uganda is not for the faint of heart.” They were not kidding.

Aside from the obvious result of our trip, that we have two more children, God taught us so much through this experience, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. It was a very difficult month, but as with most difficult things, this has shaped us and, I hope, changed us for the better.

So, I promise stories and details, but for now, how about some awesome pictures, yes? I know that’s all you want anyway, is pictures of our cuties. You’re welcome.

Our first night. The kids were waiting for us at the airport here they are after we put them to bed.

Our first night. The kids were waiting for us at the airport here they are after we put them to bed.

Riding in the car together. Really bad photo bomb on my part.

Riding in the car together. Really bad photo bomb on my part.

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The girl LOVES to color.

The girl LOVES to color.

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Kampala, where we spent much of our time.

Kampala, where we spent much of our time.

 

Most naps happened in the car.

Most naps happened in the car.

See the resemblance??

See the resemblance??

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Eating fried grasshoppers.

Eating fried grasshoppers.

Running around with his shorts on his head. 'Cause he's super silly.

Running around with his shorts on his head. ‘Cause he’s super silly.

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Hello beautiful African sunset!

 

Eva would have done this all day every day if she could.

Eva would have done this all day every day if she could.

Waiting for the kids' passports. We sat there for 4 days. The kids were total champs about it.

Waiting for the kids’ passports. We sat there for 4 days. The kids were total champs about it.

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

We’ve been home for a week now. There have been difficult moments and there’s definitely a lot of adjusting happening, but honestly we can’t imagine things going any better. The kids, all 4, are doing really well.  Thank you to all who have supported us. God has been incredibly good to us.