Monday, July 30, 2012

Saturday several families who have adopted from Ghana came together in Knoxville.  It was a wonderful time with lots of food from Ghana!  The kids were excited!  Me....well, a fish with eyes and everything intact...not so appealing. :)   In Ghana they eat the bones and everything...I mean EVERYTHING.  They even eat chicken bones.  I had to take the drumstick bone from Moses Saturday.  He was digging right into it.  There was a lot of "football" (American soccer).  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  There are several kids from the same home as our kids.  It's been interesting to watch them.  At first, they didn't really want anything to do with each other but, I think they are feeling more safe and have started to play together a lot more.

It's been kind of sad with Moses.   I made jollof rice, one of their faves from Ghana, and we had a lot left over.   We had some that night for was obvious something had been triggered in Moses.   He was inhaling his food and kept asking for more.  After 3 large bowls we told him no more.  He lost control and sobbed...heartbroken.  It has continued since then.  Tonight was the worst.  He finished his and then was aggressively trying to take Christy and Luke's food.  He's been fussy, clingy and upset...begging for more all night...all the way until he was finally asleep.   

Food was an issue when they got here...we expected that.  For a long time, Moses had to have his sippy cup of water tucked under his arm to go to sleep at night.   But, they have been so much better for a while.  So, it's been kind of shocking that this effected Moses the way it did.  He's only 2!   Can a 2 year old really know hunger so much that it would do this to them?   My 2 year old has been HUNGRY.  I don't mean, like, missed a meal, or has to wait til we get home to get a drink of water.  I mean, he has gone days with NO water.  He has gone days with NO food.  Can we really even fathom that?  In America...even the homeless can usually get 2-3 meals per day.  I'm not saying there is no one hungry in America...just that most of us cannot fathom the severity of what a huge percentage of people in the world experience every day.  I can't fathom it.   But, my heart is broken.  All I can do is feed him, hold him, tell him I love him and it's ok.   His fear is so real...he's 2...but, he remembers real hunger and thirst.  I pray for Christy and Moses.  I thank God that He promises to heal and restore.  I thank God that He loves these children more than I can ever imagine.  I pray for peace where there is fear and insecurity.  I pray they will have confidence...not in me...but, in the God who holds the universe in His hand AND knows the number of hairs on their heads.  Sometimes I feel like my words are not making sense, but, I'm thankful the Holy Spirit can minister to their hearts so much better than my words ever could.   

Today, Chad was leaving the house.  Moses ran to the window and was banging on it as hard as he could and yelling "Daddy bye! Daddy bye!  I yuh you!".  Chad came walking back and I opened the front door.  Moses ran out the door and threw himself off the porch and grabbed onto Chad's legs and just buried his face and held him.  That moment has torn me up for some reason.  He has a daddy.  It's the most precious thing I've seen in a long time.  But, it's also so sobering.  I see the faces of kids just like him...they've never known a father's love...they never will!  I can't imagine Ethan or Luke...sitting in the dirt...hungry....parched....lethargic....unloved.

And as I write that, I realize that is ME without HIM.   

I'm overwhelmed that He has adopted me...that He has allowed us to adopt these kids...praying these children in my mind will know He has adopted them as well.

Creation Study

Chad started a "kids catechism" with the kids while he was off work.  It was really cool and started some great conversations and observations about creation.   The kids are always catching little critters, but, now they were looking at them asking "why did God create this?".   The also were seeing how everything that God made brings glory to Him.   Chad is wanting to start a new blog with the kids just about this stuff.  So, hopefully soon they will have their own blog where they can keep track of the things they study and observe about God's creation.  I pray they will stand more and more in awe of Him!

Bath Time

Moses and I were at home by ourselves for a few hours the other day.  On of his favorite things is playing in the bath.  That doesn't happen to often since we're usually trying to rush 4 kiddos through shower time.   So, I just let him play for a long time while he could.   He was in heaven.  

He's talking SO much!  The cutest thing is that he talks in third person and calls himself "Odie".   It's super cute...but, that might be just because I'm his mommy. :)  Love this little guy.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I cannot believe it's been about a year now.  About a year since our lives were completely jolted.  We were about 9 months into our adoption journey.  Things had been really stressful and scary with the adoption.   Chad had already visited the kids...we were longing so bad to just get them home.

What a lot of people don't know is that we knew before we got married that we would adopt one day.   We didn't know when...just that God had definitely called us to that.   Actually, Chad stipulated that we would "have one, adopt one".  Ha!   I had faith God would change his mind. :)   When Ethan was just a little over a  year old, Chad said he was ready to try again! We got pregnant the 2nd month.  Again, after Luke was almost a couple of years old, we had a deep desire to have another child.   So, we tried for several years.    We finally just gave it to God and came to the realization that we probably would not have anymore biological children.  We grieved that but trusted God.  We knew it must have been time to look to adoption.   We went through foster care classes and after we finished up, things happened with Chad's job and we had to put that on hold.  In the meantime,  God had lead us to some other things...we started working with a homeless ministry in Knoxville and got to know some boys that became very dear to us.   Their father was alive, but, they were still "fatherless".    Through our time there, we met people who were adopting from and ministering in Ghana.   Eventually we were lead to our kids.    I had let go of physically giving birth again.  But....I don't know if all women are like this....there was always this little bit of hope in the back of my mind...every month I wondered if it could be.    So...last July....when I took a test and it was positive....I was absolutely shocked!  I just could not understand what God was thinking.  How in the world could we handle this?  I knew then I would not be able to make the trip to Ghana.   I cried and cried and cried.   Not even I could believe my reaction.   It took awhile before I came to terms with it.   Finally, while I was out one day, I bought a little baby dress.   From then on, I dreamed about the baby and was so excited.    

At our first dr. appt, however, things were obviously not ok.   I was put on meds to try to save the baby.  For weeks it was an emotional roller coaster.   Finally at one appt, the baby was gone.   I was told my baby was about the size of a pea.   Well, I was not prepared at all for what was coming.  I had not gone into labor with my first two.  I went into labor and delivered the baby at home, all by myself.  My drs were amazing through the whole thing....but, the one thing they did wrong was not preparing me for this.  I was so traumatized and heartbroken.  I felt so guilty because of my initial reaction to finding out we were pregnant.    Little did I know that about a month later, we would find out I'd been carrying of which was tubal..and I would almost die.  Also at this time, CHad had broken his foot in four places and was goign to be out of work for months.  Those few months of my life were like nothing I've ever experienced.   The most precious part of those months, was that I experienced God like I never had before.   He was so good to me.   So close.  I'm so thankful for friends...I don't know how we would have gotten through this time without them.  But, God was such a comfort.  He brought such peace when there should have been none.   Death had new meaning to me.   I could truly say for the first time that "this world is not my home".   I long to meet my babies.   Lying in the hospital bed, knowing I was dying, I realized that I was holding too tightly to too many things and people.  I begged God to not let me die over and over.   I just wanted to be with my kids one last time.  I didn't want Christy and Moses to lose another mommy.  I couldn't leave them all.  For the first time I realized that I'm just passing through and everything I have...including my kids...are His.   This life is but a vapor.  Lord help me to live like it.      

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Well, tonight Chad goes back to work after a week off.   We didn't get everything done that we wanted to, but, we got some desperately needed down time as a family.  It's been great.  We've worked hard together and also had lots of fun together.

One of the things we wanted to get done this week, was "covering" our garden.  I'm so thankful a friend shared the Back to Eden Film with us.   I'm excited to see the benefits.  It was hard work...a LOT of shoveling!  But, it was fun.  HOpefully one day we'll have enough food to feed our family and share with those in need.   Plus, we all enjoy eating healthy food a lot more when we've worked hard to grow it. There's just something so rewarding about it.  

We still have to get a few more loads of wood chips, but, we're getting them free from a tree service near our house. 

We let the praying mantis go in the garden.  We're hoping he sticks around.

Watching these two has blessed me so much.  I snuck this picture without them knowing.   They have been going on different adventures together.  It's crazy that they can both be so deep into the same imaginary world that they don't even notice any of us are around...unless we want to enter with them. 

I started using a tip from another blogger.   She uses a rug for each child to play on.  THey have to keep the toys they are playing with at the moment on the rug.  Then...if they want to play with something else, they have to put everything away and then keep the next things on the rug.  It really has worked so well.  I was shocked that Moses picked up on it so quickly.  It has helped a lot since he loved to just go through the house pulling everything out and throwing it everywhere.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Zoo and our latest pet

We got to the zoo first thing so we could take advantage of the whole day.   We had a blast and were worn out by the end of the day.  

Moses was the only one who didn't have a totally positive experience.  I didn't think about how overwhelming this could be for him.  Really, the only live animals he has seen are dogs, and farm animals from afar.   He could not grasp the concept that the animals were behind a fence or glass.  He was scared to death if we got close at all to any animals.   He begged the whole time to see "Elpans" (elephants).  We went by twice and they were always inside with the vet.  SO, 20 minutes before closing we tried one last time and they were close to the fences!  Yay!   Well, he was so scared of them.   When we got home he kept saying, "scared elephant, scared snake, scared lion, etc".   He could not sleep last night and kept having nightmares.   I felt so bad for him!   He was fine today though...maybe next time will be better.  

He did enjoy the show, but, the animals were mostly birds and were all at a safe distance :)

Luke was grumpy for some reason, so Moses gave him kisses to try to cheer him up.

He looks happy here...that's just because Chad stepped several feet away from the fence before he would stop screaming.


Today as we drove through the bank, Ethan spotted a praying mantis.   We happened to have a cup and lid so he jumped out and grabbed it!  I kept it up in the front with me.  I was having visions of the boys letting it out and it attacking I wanted to keep an eye on it and out of their hands.  

They are really such cool animals.  We'll probably put it in the garden tomorrow so it can help with the pests.