Week in Review {2013: Weeks 16 & 17}

The past two weeks have been mostly good. Life rolls along as we work to wrap up another school year. It’s starting to look like a couple of the girls will get to go past our official end date this year, but I guess that’s just one of the beauties of home schooling. ūüôā

Last week I bought Amania a preschool workbook at Walmart. To say she loves it would be an understatement. She asks to do school and is eager to share her knowledge, most of the time. She is especially fond of naming her colors right now. We borrowed a book from the library called The Color Dance about ten days ago. I’m pretty sure we’ve read it at least 87 times. ūüôā I will also catch her singing the alphabet song to herself. She enjoys singing along with songs on the radio, winning (usually by cheating) at board games, and generally just being silly. She really is closer to a four, maybe five, year old, not only in physical size, both in emotional maturity and academic skills. Some of that will catch up, some may not, and it’s all fine. It’s just interesting to observe. I’ve said for a long time that four is my favorite age, mostly because of the incredibly (unintentionally) funny things they say. But I had forgotten how hard it is to keep one entertained. Especially when she has no concept of playing independently like all of our other girls did. On the other hand, it is a blessing to see our other girls step up and help. Everyone is (usually) eager to play or help out, especially if it means a break from school. Grace is definitely her favorite sister right now, but the others are working to win her over, especially Chandler. ¬† It’s funny to think about the fact that the last time we had a baby in the house (which Amania obviously isn’t a baby, but she’s definitely someone new to adjust to who needs lots of help and attention), my oldest child was 5! ¬†No wonder I’m surprised by the amount of help my girls are this time around! ¬†lol

Friday we had to go have some lab work done on A. ¬†I’ve been putting it off for fear of the trauma it would be. ¬†I was right. ¬†Bless her heart, she sobbed and sobbed and then would barely look at me the rest of the morning. ¬†By the time we got home from running errands and picking up big sister, though, she was all smiles.

I finished a new chore chart this week that I will hopefully post about soon.

This week I decided that all of the adoption books and blogs and other things telling me how to parent and attach and bond needed to go. ¬†A couple of good conversations via Facebook messenger followed by re-reading this post shared by a friend a while back convinced me that while many good things can come from reading those books, the One I really need to be consulting is the One who made her and knows her heart and mine. ¬†And just like He showed me her fear that day before her welcome home party, He will show me what she needs. ¬†And that can be hard to remember, but it applies to all of our children. ¬†A three step formula would be so nice. ¬†A ten point list to live by would be superb. ¬†But that’s not what God wants for us. ¬†He wants a relationship and a relationship is built on continual communication and what better way to get me to communicate than to keep me on my knees in prayer? ¬†So I picked up Sacred Parenting the other night. ¬†We had put it away a few months ago. ¬†It was too soon after finishing Sacred Marriage and the book seemed flat and predictable. ¬†But this week, it has been a balm – comforting, encouraging, and pointing me back to the One who loves me perfectly.

In other news, all of the above sat on my desktop all weekend, waiting to be published and just never quite made it. ¬†So, it’s Monday, and rather than say I’ll count God’s gifts tomorrow, we’ll combine the two and make this a Grateful Week in Review.


2552.  sunshine and birds singing

2553.  an afternoon at the zoo

2554. ¬†character training one of the littles….and me

2555.  rainy days and feeling shut in

2556.  making summer plans

2557.  sounds of youngest two laughing early on Saturday morning

2558.  start of a new week

2559.  Haiti girl Рone month home

May your week be blessed abundantly and God be glorified!

For His Glory ~

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Pushing Out Fear…

Fear, it creeps in and threatens to cover like a heavy fog.  Fear of the unknown, the uncomfortable, the uncertain.  And the only way to combat the consuming fear is to intentionally whisper the thanks.  All day long.  Every day.  To combat the clouds outside that start to overwhelm the inside, a constant listing of the tangible gifts to push away the fear of the intangible, the unseen.




2483.  an afternoon with Chef Ruth, eight meals stacked in my freezer

2484.  a Thursday to be home all day

2485. naming the enemy out loud, in prayer

2486.  peace in our home

2487.  sunny and 70*

2488.  a day to go slow and be productive

2489.  windows open, fresh air blowing in

2490.   86* in March Рyes!

2491.  bare legs and sunshine

2492.  choir and art and awards ceremonies

2493.  catching up on so much with my beloved

2494.  allergies Рknowing spring is coming even though snow is forecasted

2495.  long talks with my big girls, learning more about their hearts

2496.  that they still want us in their world; that window still open

2497.  choir spring concert Рincredible talent and leadership; a beautiful evening of music

2498. ¬†nearly a month’s supply of groceries bought

2499.  girls who encourage and help me put them all away

2500.  Haiti girl turning six

2501.  a Visa for our Haiti girl Рwhat a birthday!

2502.  Maacs over for another year

2503.  art ribbons and beautiful music

2504. ¬†third-born’s brave speech – eager to try again

2505.  time to catch up a little with a dear friend

2506.  friends taking girls to the Passion Play, us on one last date for a while

2507. ¬†craft room cleaned out, organized; a place I’d actually want to craft something now!

2508.  a bathroom sink

2509.  husband who spends his Saturday serving his family

2510. ¬†two more sleeps….

2511.  being covered in prayer and encouraged by so many

2512.  three hours of sleep

2513.  a venti caramel mocha

2514.  traveling with my favorite

2515.  delayed flight

2516.  arriving in the dark, her smile lighting up the compound

2517.  meeting her birth parents

2518.  her joy as she realized she was really coming home with us

2519. ¬†Pastor Daniel’s prayer over us

2520.  an unbelievable Good Friday

2521.  watching her mix in seamlessly with her sisters

2522.  a party to welcome her home; her staying close to my side

2523.  introducing her to so many that have prayed her home

2524.  Resurrection Sunday Рan empty tomb, death defeated

2525.  three quiet hours in my bedroom Рmuch-needed rest

2526.  back to the school routine

2527.  her just fitting in so well

2528. ¬†calling “mama” to get my attention

2529. ¬†nodding “yes” to a hug from Matt

2530.  a week of inside hard

2531.  a loneliness that turns to God

2532.  an encouraging note that makes one strong

2533.  laughter and sunshine and being together

2534.  the gift of meals in the freezer

2535.  an overwhelming homesickness Рsigns of healthy emotions

2536.  prayers Рcountless prayers; love and support from so many

2537.  her eating food; a whole new child by Friday

2538.  all the girls laughing

2539.  kitchen dates

2540.  just talking with my mama

2541.  long talks with my girls

2542.  swimming

2543.  early morning walks

2544. ¬†winter that just won’t end – this too a gift

2545.  sunshine

2546.  garage sales

2547.  date night Рglorious date night!

2548.  happy girls

2549.  chips and salsa on a Sunday night

2550.  Jason Gray playing on repeat

2551.  time with my Jesus

For His Glory ~

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Week in Review {2013: Weeks 13, 14, and 15} and giving thanks…

For three weeks I have tried to write this post. ¬†It has sat in various stages of completion in my drafts folder. ¬†Here I sit again, hoping to finally click “publish”.

Her first full week at home went amazingly well but my emotions grew increasingly raw as the week progressed.  Two years of prep and planning and praying and waiting followed by two weeks of crazy cramming life in all came crashing down on Friday night as tears flowed and simply would not stop.  And Satan he whispered all week to my weaknesses and my mind spiraled in ungratefulness to God until I was nothing but a hot mess of tears.  And I messaged a friend who replied with so much grace and love and I talked long with Matt and I slept long with the windows open.

And Saturday morning I woke up to this:

Bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun. Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.

When you focus on what you don‚Äôt have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is ‚Äúfixed.‚ÄĚ

When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through. Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
‚ÄĒPsalm 116:17 nkjv

The woman said to the serpent, ‚ÄúWe may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‚ÄėYou must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.‚Äô‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúYou will not surely die,‚ÄĚ the serpent said to the woman.
‚ÄĒGenesis 3:2‚Äď4

And Satan, he still whispers, but my heart turns to giving thanks….thanks for weakness that makes me strong in Him, thanks for hard days that make good ones shine brighter, thanks for the gift of being a mama to these five girls, thanks for husband and friends and family and so much love and support. ¬†And thanks for hope for all that lies ahead.

And God in His great mercy and wisdom walked me through my dark places knowing that hers were coming soon. ¬†On Tuesday of her second week home, Haiti baby became home sick for her native land. ¬†We have no idea what triggered it, but for three days she would not eat and barely drank. ¬†She slept and cried silently. ¬†We looked at Haiti photos and watched the Jesus Story for Little Children in Creole. ¬†And I held her. ¬† A lot. ¬†(A nearly broken toe ensured that I spent most of that week sitting.) ¬†Two friends spoke to her in Creole, trying to comfort her and encourage her in her native tongue. ¬†A doctor’s visit showed nothing physically wrong, but by Thursday we were looking seriously at a trip to the ER for IV fluids. ¬†But some wise advice and the prayers of countless friends all over the country led to her deciding that popsicles were tolerable and that day she ate five. ¬†Followed by a small amount of water and some white bread, if I remember well. ¬†Friday dawned and a new child was before us. ¬†Her food preferences were still more “refined” than when she first came home and would eat anything we put in front of her. ¬†But she was happier, more talkative, more comfortable, more¬†her. ¬†And she’s been that way ever since. ¬†We know more struggles will come, but we are so thankful for where we are right now.

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I’m in love with this child’s hair.

The other girls continue to adjust. ¬†The older two seem fairly unfazed while the younger two have wrestled more. ¬†This transition has provided many opportunities already to learn about compassion and putting others first and that it’s okay to cry. ¬†It’s given us many new chances to talk to the girls as we try to keep the attention-giving somewhat in balance and we help them try to understand why things are different right now.

The girls are also trying to finish school. ¬†This living, breathing, walking, giggling “toy” that has come to live with us has made school a near impossibility. ¬†And while I have adjusted my expectations, we still have to finish the school year. ¬†And I don’t want to be wrapping this one up just in time to start the next one. ¬†So we plow ahead and I try to maintain some sense of structure. ¬†School wraps up here on May 10. ¬†I.cannot.wait. ¬†Neither can they.

I think that’s about it here. ¬†Have a wonderful rest of the week!

For His Glory ~

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Quiet

Haiti girl falls sad last night and the language barrier makes trouble shooting all but impossible.  She skips lunch and dinner but shows no sign of being ill.  She falls asleep on my lap late afternoon and spends the evening moping about, not interested in play or food or anything.  We pull out Haiti photobooks and turn pages on her past and remember friends and her Haitian home.  She asks to go to bed early and I pray over her as she falls asleep.

And today she continues to mourn her former home and we mourn with her. ¬†Even the sky is cold and grey. ¬†No food. ¬†Very little drink. ¬†An occasional silent tear. ¬†And today is the first day I ask if she’s ready to go home when we are out and she shakes her head “no”, so I ask if she wants to go back to Haiti and she nods “yes”. ¬†And my heart breaks for her. ¬†Homesickness and sadness can be so consuming.

And this inability to really communicate has so far been the hardest part for us. No easy way to understand what she’s really feeling. ¬†No easy way to convey what we want to say. ¬†And if this is the hardest we get then praise the Lord, because we know that this is only temporary and the words will come. ¬†The Lord is merciful and gracious and He is with us, but right now the silence is deafening.

For His Glory ~

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Coming Home

(The journalistic account, because I’m afraid I’m going to start forgetting the details….)

My head, it swirls, as I try to process the events of the past week.  My heart vacillates between disbelief and overwhelm and outright glory.

Monday and Tuesday were a whirlwind of getting ready to go.  Leaving behind a household of four children, a dog, a cat, and a small business is no small task, even for just a few days.  But we did it, and at 3:15 on Wednesday morning we pulled out and headed to KC to begin our journey to Haiti.  Travel went well until our last layover in Miami where a flight attendant shortage kept us grounded for an extra 2.5 hours.  Once we landed we had trouble finding our driver and holiday traffic made the relatively quick drive to the orphanage painfully long.  But reach the orphanage we did and once we pulled in and got out of the vehicle, she was beaming.

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Thursday we¬†traveled¬†to Petionville to get our paperwork from the attorney. ¬†Sarah was beautiful and confident and capable. ¬†The drive to Petionville took over two hours (again, due to holiday traffic) and would be at least an hour in normal traffic and we learned that Lovelie (the orphanage assistant) makes this trek nearly every day (and that’s after riding a taptap two hours, one way, to the orphanage from her home). ¬†We were reminded of how difficult it is to do anything efficiently in Haiti. ¬†Delivering or picking up files, which would take an hour, maybe two, here in the States is an all day affair there. ¬†Everything is so difficult, so inconvenient. ¬†It made me so grateful for the work that Lovelie and Sarah are doing on behalf of these children and the families so eager to bring them home.

After that we stopped at the market to buy some groceries. ¬†Then we returned to the orphanage and held a party in Amania’s honor. ¬†We hung streamers and served hot dogs, chips, and cookies. ¬†Amania handed out lollipops and small bottles of bubbles to everyone. ¬†It was a precious, precious time. ¬†One I hope she never forgets. ¬†The children were so happy for her and rejoiced along with us.

Thursday night her birth parents came to the orphanage to say goodbye. ¬†For two years I have prayed that the Lord’s will would be done in regards to meeting her parents and getting a photo. ¬†I have wanted this for her, for her future, for the questions that will come that I really won’t have many answers to. ¬†But I also didn’t want it. ¬†For reasons that probably don’t have to be explained. ¬†But the Lord willed and there they were. ¬†We were sitting in the guest house after the party and she was outside with her friends when Matt noticed her just staring at some people on the porch and put it all together. ¬†They looked so young…younger than us. ¬†And so poor and helpless. ¬†And my heart just broke. ¬†And as I noticed her mother’s rounded belly betraying another child on the way I wanted to scream. ¬†I know they can’t afford to do otherwise, but oh my heart ached. ¬†Will this child too end up at the orphanage? ¬†We learned that she has two brothers and a sister, all older, and we learned that she wants absolutely nothing to do with her birth parents. ¬†And as one child tried to tease and say they had come to take her home (all in Creole, so I had no clue), she turned their back to them and silent tears rolled down her face as she clung to my leg. ¬†As I picked her up, she cried heavy on my shoulder, holding on with all she had. ¬†And after awkward introductions and an assurance to Amania that she was still going home with us, we went in and went to bed.

Friday morning we woke bright and early. ¬†Our Amania, she loves mornings about as much as her white mama, but Friday morning she awoke with a huge smile on her face. ¬†We’d never seen her as happy as she was that morning (and most of the day, really). ¬†She got dressed with enthusiasm and helped us pack our bags eagerly. ¬†Sadness returned as she saw her birth mother sitting outside waiting to say goodbye again. ¬†And as we circled to pray, Nicole had to force her to hold her birth mother’s hand and she stayed as close to me and as far from her as she¬†physically could without disobeying Mama Nicole. ¬†And Daniel, he prayed the most amazing prayer over us and tears flowed on every face that understood English. ¬†¬†And we drove to the airport, feeling both somber and surreal about it all.

At the airport, Amania came alive again. ¬†Pulling me through lines, her face aglow with a giant smile. ¬†On the airplane she was giddy with anticipation and even squealed when it took off. ¬†She slept an hour on the first flight and was excited when we landed in Fort Lauderdale. ¬†Our long layover was there – four hours – and she appeared to be somewhat unimpressed with her new “home”. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I pulled Google maps up on my phone and tried to explain to her that we had two more plane rides and then she would see her sisters. ¬†That seemed to help. ¬†We played ball in the airport and let her play on our phones. ¬†We walked around and looked out the windows (not much of a view) and just sat and waited. ¬†Finally that plane took off and she slept the entire three hour flight. ¬†Dallas was a super-fast layover and we fed her on that flight trying to keep her awake. ¬†We almost lost her, but as the plane started to descend she woke up a little.

She was tired and a bit moody when we landed in Kansas City and we were honestly concerned about how she would respond to everyone waiting for us. ¬†Boy, did she rise to the occasion! ¬†That child brought out a side of herself we had rarely seen. ¬†Friendly with everyone, posing for the camera. ¬†It was hilarious. ¬†We went to McDonald’s for ice cream with everyone that came to the airport and she just fit right in. ¬†She loved being the star of the show. ¬†As soon as we loaded up to head home, she crashed in the back seat. She slept all the way home and the slept all through the night.

Saturday she got up and played hard with her sisters. ¬†I am so thankful for the warm weekend we had so everyone could be outside. ¬†They played “futbol”, jumped on the trampoline, blew bubbles, and more.

Then it came time to get ready for her party. ¬†Everyone was showering and putting on nice clothes. ¬†I gave her a quick bath and put her in a new outfit and she started to become very sad. ¬†At first I assumed it was because she didn’t like her dress (it was very cute, but just grey – no bright colors), and I was a tad annoyed. ¬†I figured she was tired so I had her lay down for a bit. ¬†Matt went in to talk to her and check on her and said she had tears running down her cheeks. ¬†I tried talking to her and even caved in a offered her different outfits. ¬†No go. ¬†She was cold and sad and not budging.

So I had her come sit with me while I did my hair. ¬†And silently I prayed. ¬†Lord, you’ve got to help me with this. ¬†You called us, you will see us through. ¬†I don’t know what’s wrong and she can’t tell me, but you do and you can. ¬†Please show me how to help her. And the Holy Spirit revealed to me that she thought we were taking her somewhere to leave her again. ¬†And my heart broke. ¬†I bent down so we were eye to eye and told her we were going to a party and we would never ever leave her and she was safe with us and would come home with us and that we loved her. ¬†And her entire countenance changed and she was happy and playful and content. ¬†(Later at the party, Emily, who is fluent in Creole, asked her if she had in fact thought that we were going to take her some where and leave her and that was the case. ¬†She reassured her, in Creole, that we would never ever do that and that she was safe and loved and home.)

And we went to her party, hosted by our families and attended by so many people. ¬†We were blessed to have everyone there to share in our joy. ¬†She was much more timid at the party, willing to go to those she knew, but not particularly warm to strangers, and glued to me most of the time. ¬†I took this as a good thing. ¬†ūüôā ¬†We shared about her name and why we chose it and we sang Happy Birthday to her (although she still doesn’t believe us that she’s six) and we sang The Stand, sort of our Haiti theme song. ¬†It was beautiful and wonderful and I’m so glad we did it and that we did it right away.

On Saturday night we took her out for our family standard – Mexican food. ¬†It was warm enough to enjoy the patio and it was fun to introduce her to chips and salsa and quesadillas. ¬†She has eaten like a champ ever since we got to Haiti last Wednesday night and has sampled quite the variety of foods – standard American fare (hot dogs, chips, cookies), pizza, chinese, and mexican. ¬†She didn’t like sliced apples but enjoyed the whole one she ate today. ¬†And I don’t see food hoarding being a big issue (something I was little concerned about), as she seems content to just eat whenever we do and has had no trouble throwing food away when she’s full. ¬†I have not yet introduced her to whole wheat bread. ¬†Considering how they love white bread, that may not go over well. I’m sure if I slather enough peanut butter on it, though, she’ll eat it. ¬†ūüėČ

Sunday was church and Sunday school, followed by a long, quiet afternoon and evening.  Monday we laid low and the girls all played most of the day.  Today she has sort of bounced from sister to sister as they do their school and I have spent some time doing a few things with her too.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for things to go any better than they are. ¬†She sleeps amazingly well. ¬†She does all of her own toiletting. ¬†She is getting along remarkably well with her sisters and is completely comfortable and at home with them. ¬†I don’t think she quite knows what to do with Matt or me. ¬†I think her concept of adults and their role in her life is different than what we think of. ¬†She is warming up, but it takes time each day. ¬†She did call me “Mama” today when she wanted my attention. ¬†The only other time she did that was last June when I got off the truck at the orphanage and she was beyond excited to see me. ¬†She speaks a little more English every day and is becoming increasingly tolerant of the dog. ¬†There is work to be done and a honeymoon phase that will come to an end, but I am beyond thankful for how well the past few days have gone.

Please continue to pray for our transitions and for her bonding to us, her parents. ¬†I admit we feel like we’re flying blind here, but trusting the Lord will lead us.¬†Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

For His Glory ~

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