Well, I finally made it back to the blog... It's funny, but the format to post, etc. has all changed.... Mercy - it's been a LONG time!
We are doing well... Days where things go great and days when things are stressful... Much of the stress is just the pure fact that there are 4 kiddos. We've gone through some changes lately - but, I don't have time to go into all that... BECAUSE - in about 8 hours I am heading on a journey back to Kazakhstan!!
Bailey (our oldest daughter) and I are going with a team of 8 to Ust-Kamenogorsk on a mission trip with Two Hearts for Hope!
I will be writing daily about our trip on the Two Hearts blog... and hopefully will have internet and time to post here on my blog as well!!! :)
Two Hearts Blog is: www.twoheartsforhope.blogspot.com
We are SO excited and know the Lord is going to use this team in AMAZING ways...
There are so many things I'd like to share, but many need to be kept quiet.... just please join us in praying. I feel in my spirit that the Lord is at work here and GREAT things are about to happen!
SO.... if you're interested - check back often - hopefully I'll be posting LOTS in the next few days!
Our trip is from May 3 - May 12th!
Blessings and thanks for praying for us and the entire team!!!!
I don't have much time - LOTS still to accomplish before it's time to head to the airport!!!
SO SO SO excited and honored that Bay and I have this amazing opportunity!!!
Here I am again posting after a LONG 5 months... SORRY! I really do mean to do better, but life is sort of CRAZY most days!
In fact I couldn't help but remember in the midst of the crazy normal of life today where I was and what I was doing 2 years ago today...
Phil and I were in Kazakhstan FIGHTING the biggest battle of our lives... we had yet to receive a positive court verdict... and we were yet again WAITING on the next court date... I think we'd had 5 court dates... and had 2 more to go... MERCY!!!
I can't get through this time of year (from Oct - March) without remembering lots of details... and I remember the shear desperation I/we felt on these couple of days 2 years ago...
The Internet in our apartment wasn't working... we were BROKE, tired, worn smooth out, and honestly EXHAUSTED.
I will never forget throwing myself across that bed in that little apartment SCREAMING into the covers...
Friends, My Lord heard EVERY. SINGLE. CRY.... He was there the entire time and He had a plan that I knew not of... It appeared hopeless. The in-country staff were telling us that it looked hopeless. EVERYTHING in our entire world appeared to not be ok.... but, guess what? My LORD had a plan... and just as he had a plan for us and our little family... HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU!!!!!
I had to just stop in the middle of the chaos tonight while making dinner and sigh... you see it was a fairly typical day. It was CRAZY and insane and intense... 4 children is busy and everyone needs something (at the same time - ha ha)! Phil was home (not out of town - thank you Jesus) but, working late so I was flying solo with dinner, homework and listening to the antics of the day. Trying to NOT be upset with Faith because she yet again had to go to the principals office for being disobedient... Trying to not scream at the new dog Santa brought us ;).... Trying to be patient as Grace reminds me for the 12th time that I promised her she could play with play-doh after school. Bailey has news to share from the drama of 6th grade... and Brook is mad because SOMEONE went in her room and messed with her books! ;) Grace then proceeds to tell Faith that only babies throw fits. Faith informs her that in fact she was born first and that makes her older... as Grace yells, yeah, but you are a baby... you have baby feet and we both grew in Mom's heart anyway!!! Brook starts complaining that it's TOO loud to concentrate on her homework. Bailey decides that this would be a GREAT time to start practicing her saxophone.... AND about the time I'm about to blow a gasket... Brook says quietly, "Mama, the dog pooped in the floor!"
At this point you can't help but love the normal everyday life of a working mom and busy family!
You see... in the midst of all that craziness that is our life... sometimes I forget that 2 years ago TONIGHT Faith and Grace were laying their heads down in a cold institution in northern Kazakhstan. They had NO idea that there was a God who LOVED them and cared for them and CALLED them his own.... The most likely (Grace says) cried themselves to sleep that night because they were so cold and hungry. They were malnourished, starving, and dehydrated. They were alone and sad... Grace says that sometimes she could hear Faith crying across the room and she knew her tummy was hurting... and then she asks me if I knew that Faith and her cried for me and Dad a lot?!
Two short years ago...
I will at some point share more about some of the heartbreaking things Grace remembers... but, tonight... I just wondered if anyone would be as encouraged as I was to read about our life and my thoughts from 2 years ago this very night...
Goodness Lord... to say I'm thankful doesn't even seem like anything... Thanks for it all... EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND!!!!
Click to read my post from 2 years ago tonight... and REMEMBER that NO matter what you are facing.... There is a plan and if you will give it to the LORD and trust him... HE will NEVER leave you!!!!
Thank you everyone for the SWEET comments, messages, and prayers! We are SO blessed!! Just wanted to share the picture that I wanted to share last night... Insert this pic in the bottom of last night's post: ;)
Goodness gracious... aren't they precious? :) Their little personalities come shining through in this pic... Faith's hair is blowing in the wind like a glamorous run-way model. Grace's head is to the side a smidgen with that million dollar smile about to emerge! Am I not the most blessed Mama in the ENTIRE WORLD!!!! Precious babies.. thank you Jesus for all 4 of my precious babies!
A long overdue post is the understatement of the century. I have not neglected posting on my blog on purpose. In fact, I’ve had very good intentions to post lots of things. There is very rarely a day goes by that I don’t wish I had the energy at the end of that day to post. There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to share…. Creative ways I’ve attempted to help my family grow and be more like the Lord… and then there has been pain and hurt and discouragement as well. I intended to keep this blog going… and not be one of ‘those’ blogs who falls off the earth when the kids finally do come home… SIGH…. I had NO idea what it would ‘really’ be like when I had those thoughts… BIG SIGH!!!
It really is with mixed emotions that I sit tonight to write this blog post. I am just as tired as I was last night… and honestly, it’s most likely the Nyquil high that I’m on that is pushing me to write this. Here I sit another night when Phil’s out of town with work (there have been SO many of these nights since March 15, 2010 that if I start adding them up I get sick).
Actually this day was fairly good… I’d classify today as a “good” day for our family.
Yes, it was stressful, and there were times that were INTENSE, but overall it was a good day. Faith and Grace both had decent days at school and that honestly makes EVERYONES day better.
Yesterday was one of the worst for them.
I really feel as if I’m rambling and going in massive circles here… but, that’s what my heart and brain are doing as well… so I guess it’s just normal that my writing would follow suit.
I decided tonight that I was going to write about some of the HARD stuff we’ve experienced. I have yet to really be honest and share for many reasons. Please don’t keep reading my blog if you are not here in LOVING support of my family. And…. I AM NOT KIDDING! I really can’t handle it… and am not interested in listening unless you really care about me and my family. Friendly reminder… this is MY blog.. my families blog! Thanks…
Ok… so, please know that I share these struggles out of a place that is SO hard to describe. I love these babies. I can promise you that there is not ANYONE anywhere on the face of this earth that loves them as much as I do! I would do everything I did again and again and again to bring them home even if I knew what I know now…. I would CHOOSE to start over at day one and fight for them! I would choose to fight for them…. It is out of that very place… this DEEP amazing love that my heart cries tonight.
Faith and Grace have been home for almost 18 months. 1 ½ years that they have been OUR daughters… in OUR home… in OUR care!!
There have been times in those days/months/weeks that have been truly amazing. They have bonded with us in ways that have been astonishing. There have been serious triumphs and gains and astonishing ways they have grown YEARS in advancement. Their language has blossomed, their gross motor skills have sky rocketed, their fine motor skills have increased. They have advanced and changed and blossomed before our very eyes. That has been beyond amazing to watch. There is really no way to express in words how it has felt to watch them grow and develop and mature. Amazing and God’s prints were/are ALL. OVER. IT! Love watching him work!
In the midst of those amazing gains there have been bad days, and even worse days… and days were I struggled to hold it all together. There have been days were I wanted to crawl away hide. There have been days were I wanted some peace and quiet. There were days were they spit on Dr’s and nurses, family members and each other. There have been days were my heart broke for Bailey and Brooklyn and I begged God to please please help them to see past it all and know it was HIS plan. There have been days that I’ve just taken B and B and we’ve gotten away.
There have been days were all things went great. Everyone was happy, smiles, love abounded and all seems fine! There were and are days were the slightest thing triggers someone and they are over stimulated and over the top. There have been days were Bay and Brook were the stimulants. Sometimes we know and sense these things/triggers. Sometimes we have NO idea and are broadsided with it.
I have read books, attempted to educate myself, and brush up on all my childhood development/behavioral management classes. I’ve tried to remember what I learned in Grad. School…. I’ve called in help from co-workers, friends, etc. I have asked friends for help, asked Dr’s for help and tried every single trick I feel I have in my bag of tricks.
We’ve spanked (don’t read that if you don’t spank), put in time out, loved on, and tried so many different behavior management tricks. We’ve made charts, earned stickers, and had our favorite things taken away. I have educated family, friends, etc.. attempted in my feeble little mind to wrap my mind around and understand things like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder/syndrome), CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) and RAD (Reactive attachment Disorder). I’ve tried so hard for not one second to dismiss that either of my babies could be suffering from one or all the above diagnosises. I’ve gone back and forth from trying to figure out the ‘why’ they are acting the way they are…. To not caring about the ‘why’.. just helping the now!
I have friends who are OT’s, SLP’s, and trained in behavior management, sensory processing stuff…. I’ve asked for favors, and ideas and thoughts.
There have been days (like last night) when I put my head literally on the table and bawled. Days were I’ve not known what in the world to do to continue to help them.
I’ve begged others to pray, taken them forward for prayer, and begged God to help us/them. Please don’t think for one second that I am discounting prayer or the amazing power of our God. I am not… Anyone who knows me or has been reading this blog for anytime at all KNOWS that I Love the Lord with all my heart…. My main focus in life is to serve him…. My life to GLORIFY him in all things!
People ask me how we are doing and I always second guess my answer and what to really answer. I want to be open and honest. I know that lots of times a humble heart and willingness to truly share our trails really helps others. I promised myself and the Lord long ago that I would attempt to be transparent before others…. Therefore hopefully helping someone to be more like him. I would never EVER want to not tell someone the truth, but at the same time I don’ t want the world to know how badly we struggle sometimes. How badly I struggle. I wish I had the answers. I wish I knew what to do… I wish I could see that I’m ‘really’ helping them. I wish I could just erase all the pain and hurt and sadness from their little lives/hearts. I can not…but, I know WHO can… and I TRUST in that! The word says to “lean not to thine OWN understanding, but with prayer present your requests before the Lord…” I am SO SO SO thankful that in the midst of feeling like a rag doll tossed about on a stormy cliff, I know who calms the storm.
Lord, In all things – I trust you!
I will continue to try new things, be consistent and love them despite the struggles. I will continue to support adoption and advocate for the babies still without forever families. The babies that I still see almost every single night when I close my eyes. The babies still starving, malnourished, and aching for love and affection. Babies who are being mistreated and neglected and babies who are tied in their cribs at this very moment. My heart BREAKS for those babies all over the world. However, I now realize that adoption IS not for everyone. It is NOT easy and there are times that are almost more than this feeble Mama can bare, but you know what… one day this will all be behind us and o what a GLORIOUS day that will be!
Anyone have some GREAT advice? Anyone have a super amazing trick in your bag o tricks that has worked for your institutionalized child? I am completely out of tricks…but, goodness would love a few new ideas!
If you really will pray for my precious little Faith and Grace (and us)…. Will you please let this Mama know? Reading that a few of you are ‘really’ praying would mean so much to me… and goodness we could use the prayers.
Big sigh…. Now to decide if I really post this or not! ;(
(Disclaimer: I wrote this last night, but didn’t post it.. Today they had another GOOD day! I can not even tell you how exciting it is to know they had 2 good days in a row at school. Believing and trusting for Day 3 to be amazing as well! Today – after day 2 in a row – We got to go to the ice cream truck! Yes, I know… sugar, candy, etc…. but, sometimes YOU are DESPERATE to find a motivation that is strong enough to work… . Guess what tomorrow’s motivation is - Nana promised them M & M’s… Honestly if that is enough to help them to have good days and make good choices... well, a little chocolate never hurt anyone… and maybe, just maybe they’ll gain a pound of two in the middle of all this! ;))
… and just so you don’t forget how stinking cute and adorable they are….
Here’s a precious picture I snapped the other day:
(well... I will attempt to post this pic later - can't get it to upload... darn Blogger - You'll just have to trust me.. They are BEYOND stinking adorable! ;))
It's been one year since they came home... ONE year!! I remember wondering if I'd be able to stand - I knew God's presence would be so unreal in that airport... and I. WAS. CORRECT! Amazing... and miraculous... just like my Jesus!!!
Here's the video from the airport! Goodness how all 4 of the girls have changed SO much. I knew Faith and Grace were shocked and overwhelmed, but re watching the video made me realize how scared they were.... Poor babies! :( Makes me sad realizing they were SO overwhelmed. HELLO... wonder what I expected! Big sigh... I'll just treat it as another 'rookie' parenting moment! Ha!
(Scroll to bottom of blog and pause the music playing in background BEFORE playing video... ;)
The twins were VERY excited about this day and we've talked about it for a week or so gearing up for the day! They were SO excited to watch the video over and over and over! We all sat down as a family and watched it after dinner a couple of times. There were TEARS all around! Everyone was VERY touched. It was such a special day for ALL of us! Bay and Brook LOVE watching the video too... and honestly, it's just the sweetest family event for all of us!
Bay and Brook had softball practice that evening, so we only watched the video together (all 6) a couple times, until they had to wipe their eyes and rush out the door with Dad for practice.
Faith and Grace and I stayed home and they watched the video OVER and OVER and OVER.
They were making such sweet comments and talking about it and remembering stuff... it was precious. After watching the 9th time... I thought - I should video them watching this EVERY year on this day. That would be a sweet keepsake and fun thing to have and watch and see their comments change, ect! :) Ok... so I grab my phone and take the following video.
Now... keep in mind that this was NOT planned! LOL!
(All you super moms out there will have to cut me some slack... they are in mismatched PLAY clothes - their faces are dirty (they'd been playing outside in the sandbox, trampoline, tricycles, etc), their hair needs to be brushed, etc....)
BUT, I just had to share... I think you will enjoy watching them!
Here they are ONE year later:
Amazing... aren't they amazing? :)
Phil and I stayed up LATE watching video of them from the airport and from the first few weeks home. They are different kids!
We have ALL learned so much in this year and are so excited to watch God's perfect plan unfold for all 6 of our lives!
Have a BLESSED day!
I have mentioned a couple of times recently about the promptings in my spirit lately... and I just wanted to share with you a couple of things tonight!
I have signed up to receive updates from several blogs of woman that really encourage my heart... I received an email update from one of them today, who completely resonated with my heart regarding, "Tearing down the Impossibles in YOUR life!" Click here to read the post and visit her blog!
SO... as I read what she wrote today, I could relate in SO many ways.
I can not even tell you how glad I am that for one time/journey/situation in my life - I DID NOT allow the dream to be silenced.
There were many times/ways/people/things that attempted to silence it. SOME didn't even know they were attempting to silence it... some KNEW! There were days that it all looked so impossible that it was OVERWHELMING!
The silencing was attempted from the VERY beginning.... and continues EVEN today. There are always going to be people who are just going to be negative and tear you down with words, looks, comments, or with their absence of words, looks, or comments.
As I've also mentioned before about Faith and Grace really teaching me/us so much - this has never been more true than when looking at this journey from this angle. I have learned SO SO much during this journey, and I've grown in ways that humble and amaze even me. BUT, there are times that I still fight against the voices/things/feelings who try to silence it.
I have seen God move in ways that are unbelievable... in fact, some think/believe that it wasn't even God who did this very thing in my life... some think it was just part of the big plan of life and regardless of a God being there or not - it would have happened if it was 'meant' to be.
Thus attempting to "silence the dream!"
I could give you specific examples of things that happened, things that didn't happen, family members who hurt us, friends who deserted us, and close family and friends who just ignored us and walked away.
PLEASE today... consider these words and know that they were for you! Find the possible inside the impossible... It's RIGHT there! I know some of you are struggling with things/people/ situations who are silencing you.... PLEASE focus on the possible that is right inside the impossible. BE encouraged today... have FAITH and trust that God never calls us to do anything that he's not already equipped us with the ability to do!
I have to leave you with the last portion of Lysa's blog post:
"Oh how impossibility loves to scream into gaps of silenced dreams.
But here’s the thing about impossible- there is some part of what we’re attempting that isn’t impossible.
All impossibilities have a weak spot.
And that’s the exact place where we must attack.
A book might seem impossible. But that’s not where writers should start anyhow. There’s an article that could be written. Or in today’s world a tweet that could be crafted. Or a blog posted.
Write there. In the weak spot of impossibility.
Maybe it’s your marriage that seems impossible. Go against the grain of your hurt feelings and silent brush-offs. Think on just one thing you do love about that man of yours today. Send him a text about how much you appreciate that one thing. Praise him for that one thing. Tell someone else about that one thing you noticed today.
Start there. In the weak spot of impossibility.
I don’t know what impossibility you might be facing today.
But remember- all impossibilities have a weak spot. It’s there. Ask God to show you where it is. Ask God for just enough strength to attack there. Tear it down one good decision at a time.
And soon you will see, inside every impossible is the word “possible”… if only we dare to see it."