Week in Review: 2013 {Week 22} – And Some Honest Thoughts from an Adoptive Mama

Oh this week. It’s Friday. May has lingered long, and this week has lasted longer, and the mother guilt weighs heavy this week. And to even speak what weighs down seems unthinkable. For it seems that with our Haiti girl I’m not supposed to get tired or frustrated or discouraged. Because things are going so well when they could have gone so wrong. And I realize that. That things are going better than I ever hoped at this point. But our girl, she’s six, acts like she’s four, and has the verbal skills of a two year old. And I’m plain worn out. And sometimes it feels like such an overwhelming gift to have her here and sometimes it feels like I’m babysitting someone else’s kid. Indefinitely. And lately, I just want to hide from it all.

Perhaps some other mama, adoptive or not, can identify. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this emotionally isolated, this mentally alone. Probably since I last had a two year old. Add in moving and all that means for a family of seven and I’m ready for lengthy trip somewhere very far away.

And I listen over and over again to Jason Gray and his album A Way to See in the Dark and so many songs speak deeply, but this one puts words to feelings we struggle to articulate…

I’ve spent some days looking
For a length of rope
And a place to hang it
From the end of my hope
But where I thought hope had ended
I always find a little bit more


My heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not lifted up
But calm and quiet is my soul
Like a child with its mother is my soul

After a while in the dark
Your eyes will adjust
In the shadows you’ll find
The hand you can trust
And the still small voice
That calls like the rising sun

And bring your heart
To every day
Run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away
You must run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

Jason Gray, Without Running Away

And here I sit, quietly waiting for God to do a miracle in my heart and move me from where I am now.

But God is good and it will all be worth it and He writes redemption and He restores and He is doing something amazing here and I’m blessed to be a part of it. And I really am thankful, even in the midst of the tired and worn. Because it is a gift. But it isn’t easy. As one introspective child said this morning, “Nothing feels the same anymore.” No, sweet girl, it doesn’t. It’s hard sometimes right now, but it’s going to be so much better. Soon.

And I go back to a quote from Pastor Jim and cling to that…

When life is at its darkest – when the Giant Despair has you locked up, and the black raven won’t leave your door, and the demons whisper ‘give up hope’, don’t do it, don’t give up, look up…and say ‘God’. The greatest faith is born in the darkest hour of despair.

For His Glory ~



Week in Review: 2013 {Weeks 20 & 21}

All’s been quiet on the internet front lately.  Life just keeps rolling along as smoothly as can be expected when you have five kids, one of them home less than two months, and you’re moving.  Seriously, though, we continue to stand amazed at how well things are going and give thanks to God for this incredibly adaptable girl and her willingness to just go along with these crazy white people she now calls family.  I do miss one of my bio girls who just hasn’t been quite the same since March 29.  I miss her laugh, her real laugh.  And her silliness.  She’s mostly to herself these days.  I try to draw her out, but only getting her alone works, and that’s not terribly feasible in a house of seven people.  Lord willing, she’ll be back to “normal” soon.  I miss her.  A lot.  But God has purpose in this too and we trust the hard work He’s doing in her life right now.

Sweet Haiti girl received her Certificate of Citizenship this weekend.  We are super excited!  Now we begin the process of re-adopting her here.  Please don’t ask me why exactly…we just hear this can be a good move for her future and it will allow us to legally change her full name and the spelling of her first name.

Everyone wrapped up all of their school in the past couple of weeks.  We had our last “official” day on the 10th, but there were loose ends to tie up.  And as I’m writing, I realize that a couple still have reading to do.  Ah, well.  Maybe we’ll really be finished in time for next year to start!

Summer schedules begin to heat up this week and will swing into full gear next week.  June is going to be a crazy month – swim lessons for three, soccer camp (two separate weeks) for one, youth group activities for one, day camp for one, packing, painting, moving, unpacking for seven…whew!  July looks much more manageable (relaxing) though – thank goodness!

I loved this post this weekend by Ann – When All the Negativity & Pessimism is Getting to You.  And this…I know this…But the last two sentences are what we all need….

 Wondering how can we spend our lives to end poverty and stop oppression and if any of them will go out into this world loving Jesus more than their own comfort and double car garages and culture’s applause and their very lives and if their mother has wholly failed them or only just mildly ruined them. Kids eat garbage from dumps. I have yelled. They still bicker.

I see all who they are not. I haven’t hugged and prayed and asked for forgiveness enough. The economy could implode next month. I should bake more peanut butter cookies. They should be kinder. Years are ridiculously short and minutes can be relentlessly long and failures can seem eternal.

I have known it, the mornings that I have struggled to get out of bed, the days when I’ve fumed about all that is wrong in them and me and the world:

When we fixate on the worst in something, we render ourselves incapable of fixing anything.

But attend to the good in something — and we act towards the best in everything.

And as we enter a busy season and as I struggle still to communicate and truly connect with our Haiti girl and as I miss my sweet girl who isn’t quite herself, I focus on the glass being right full.  Always.  Full of His goodness.  Full of His grace.  Full of His mercy. Full of His perfect will.  And we move forward, giving thanks, trusting Him, counting it all grace.

2560.  my inadequacies, weaknesses = His strength

2561.  time out with just my Ellie

2562.  better days

2563.  snow on May 3

2564.  indoor pools

2565.  the Discovery Center and her first time roller skating

2566.  my first Haitian accented “love you!” as I tuck the girls into bed

2567.  looking at houses

2568. praying through decisions

2569.  feeding ducks

2570.  extra sleep

2571.  time in the Word

2572.  an agreement reached, a new home in our future

2573.  girls who speak their hearts, even when they don’t realize it

2574.  seeing the girls in our new house – feeling like it’s home

2575.  last day of school – done!

2576.  Mother’s Day and sweet handmade gifts and $1.00 for “shockolate for Mom”

2577.  a pair of much-needed keys missing; prayers for their return

2578.  packing started

2579.  Mission mornings

2580.  feeding ducks again and Sonic Happy Hour

2581.  warm, sunny days

2582.  whole house clean and ready – my mom and girls helping make it happen

2583.  a slower day ahead

2584.  family time after a long, hard-working weeks

2585.  the quiet of a Monday morning

2586.  sun shining through windows

2587.  heroes amidst tragedy

2588.  being refined

2589.  the realtor’s sign in the yard

2590.  daily trusting we’re making the right choice

2591.  clean SUV

2592.  a littlest one who would rather help us work than watch tv

2593.  packing and unpacking – remembering things we still need

2594.  talking long at night with my favorite

2595.  Friday again

2596.  a cup always full

May your week be blessed and may you know the fullness of His love.

For His Glory ~


Week in Review {2013: Weeks 18 & 19}

The past two weeks have been fairly uneventful.  Emma had a piano recital last Saturday.  I am still so proud of her and her determination to master a piece that, by all accounts, was too advanced for her.  Emma and Chandler attended their first track practice on Sunday evening.  We told them they could try it out and we would pray about letting them participate this summer.  A decision has yet to be reached on that, though.  Regardless, they loved it and I want to do what I can to encourage all of the girls to be active.

Today we will (more or less) wrap up school year 2012-2013.  A couple of the girls have some finishing up to do next week and some slacking to make up for in the coming weeks, but “formal” school ends today.  This has been a year of a lot of trial and error on curriculum.  We tried a lot of new stuff at the beginning of the year.  Some of it we pushed through and just finished.  Some of it we changed at semester.  Some of it we will do again next year.  Some of it we won’t.  But overall, it’s been a really, really good year.  There have, as always, been character issues brought to light and we have all grown and changed.  Hopefully for the better.  The slower pace of life after pulling out of most of our extra-curricular activities has been an amazing gift.  And while I know we probably won’t go that slow next year or in future years, I have savored every minute of the slow this year.  We are all so ready for the summer and a long break, but at least I’m not coming out of this year feeling like I just got home from a war.  😉

The big, bittersweet news of this week is that after talking casually about it for years and praying a lot and looking just a little, we bought a new-to-us house this week.  Those who know me, especially those I was texting for prayer on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, know how hard this decision was for me personally.  I love my house.  We first saw this house nine years ago today and I loved it from the moment I walked in.  We have raised our family, up to this point, in this house.  Grace has little to no recollection of our first two homes.  This is the house our girls know and have lived life in.  It will be very hard to leave this house.  But over the years we have come to realize there are certain things we want to give our girls that this house will never be able to provide.  Hence, our casual search over time.  Last Saturday, Matt was browsing through the MLS (not an unusual activity for him) and found a house within our price range that appeared to have everything we needed / wanted.  He went to the open house on Sunday.  He took me back on Sunday night.  We went back again on Monday and walked through the house for an hour and a half.  Long story somewhat shorter, we reached a final price agreement with the owners on Wednesday and signed the contracts yesterday.  Lord willing, everything will go according to plan and we will be moving sometime next month!  I was still struggling with how long it would take for that house to feel like our home until yesterday afternoon when we were able to take the girls over and show them.  Watching them walk (or maybe run) through the house, checking out all the rooms and the yard and everything, it truly felt like home.  Funny how that changed in my life without me even realizing it.  I have placed a lot of sentimental value on this home we are in and it will be hard to leave it because of the memories and blood, sweat, and tears we have put into this house.  But I realized yesterday that my home is where my people are and this is a move we are making for them.  So, soon we begin the crazy journey of packing up a large house full of seven peoples’ stuff (really just six….I can’t blame Amania for too much “junk” yet) and preparing this house to sell.  I will miss our quirky neighborhood and all the wonderful neighbors we have, and especially the friends our girls have (finally) made in the last year.  But we believe this is where God is leading us and we know God is good and we are excited, even if somewhat anxious, for this new chapter in our lives.

So that’s about it for life around here.  Not much going on really.  😉  This weekend is going to be a busy one with lots of activities the next three days.  Looking forward to some sunshine (Lord willing!) and time with family as we celebrate some birthdays and Mother’s Day.  May your weekend be blessed and filled with God’s best gifts!

For His Glory ~