The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Randm Thoughts Thursday

Okay, I'm leaving for Memphis in one hour for my fabulous sister-in-law's Pharm. school graduation (Congratulations Grace, I can't wait to share this moment with you that you've worked so hard for!) so I have to be quick. Here are some random thoughts floating around in my head that I just have to get out....

Can a cat die from too much love? Seriously, if this little guy survived the heart of stone that abandoned him, can my children now love him to death? They don't put him down. Ever!

I went to the African Children's Choir concert last night and let me tell you, it was a peak into heaven. Because only in heaven will I be able to move with as much rhythm as these children have. They were moved by the Spirit, clearly, and we were ALL blessed beyond measure. You should check them out and if they are in your area, please don't miss a chance to take the kids to see them. The children sat up front and danced along with the choir and it was a real blessing for young and old... and their stories are amazing. And you will realize that no matter what your situation, you are blessed if you are sitting in a house reading this blog! Of course, we had to represent our girl, Gwen, because you just know every one of us was thinking of little Joseph. So we were wearing our blue or orange T-shirts. Yes, we were matchy matchy, but it got alot of folks asking questions. What a great night!

My kids didn't attend the concert because they had a flag football game last night and LIAM ran for a 55 yard touchdown! Way to go Chiefs! :) (Sorry I missed it buddy.)

Yesterday we were in the car and I threw out a banana peel. The kids went nuts about littering and I told them it was okay to throw out food because it's bio-degradable. The car went silent for a minute and Connor said, "I just call it litter." :) Touche funny boy!

I cried all the way through the concert last night, my heart aches for the orphans of the world and all the pain! Why did God make hearts like mine and then bottle them up in a paralyzed world? There must be SOMETHING I'm supposed to do that's bigger than what I am doing. I'm telling you, people who think I'm doing a good job (and I know all three of you say that because you love me) have no idea how tiny my world is and how little impact I am making. I want to do MORE MORE MORE for Christ!

I'm going to leave you with the quote of the night. My friend Amie asked how to get involved with these kiddos and the most simple and philosophical response was given, this is my quote of the day.

"All you have to do is raise your hand!" Awesome!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday????

There are several blogs I follow who participate in a "Wordless Wednesday" carnival where you show a photo and say nothing... no thing! But I could NEVER be that wordless... once I thought there were no words to express how I was feeling, but then it turned out that, indeed, there were actually words. So, I gave up after that one attempt and decided to be the person God meant me to be... a blabber mouth!

I have a new favorite, cherished possession. My mom gave me Granma's Bible this past weekend. My grandma was the closest person I've ever known to the heart of God. Seriously, I couldn't name a fault the woman had and I heard her praying night and day my entire life. She walked with God in a way that only those who know her could understand when I say that. Her Bible is taped on the binding and there is a WEALTH of notes in the margins of this Bible. It will take me years to get through the notes, I'm sure, but it's become my new referrence material. You can be sure when I look up a verse in my NIV, I will be looking up the notes in Granma's King James. Mama, thank you so much for sharing this with me! It really means so much to have it.

Which reminds me, with all the excitement over the kitty (now being called Mickey) I didn't get a chance to mention that we had our family reunion this past weekend. Once a year, my two brothers and their families and my sister and her family all get together at my mom's house for Memorial Day. I think my oldest brother (still younger than me by one year) had the best description I've ever heard this year when he said, "This weekend is always like you crammed a family reunion into a cannon and shot it out." There are four of us kids, plus spouses (8 total), my parents (making 10) and 10 kids. So that's one adult per kiddo and my youngest brother doesn't even have any children yet. So the days are coming when we will be far outnumbered in the kid to adult ratio. And the oldest child is 9, so you can imagine a bit of the chaos. Well, maybe you can't imagine the chaos that surrounds sleeping 20 people (most of whom my mom can put in a bed, but five of those beds are in one large room, so you can imagine, maybe, what that looks like.) I have the funniest photos of the day on Saturday when the kids were all shiny and clean and cute at the beginning of the day. Then by the end of the day, I'll just show you a photo of my nieces feet and maybe you can get an idea of how much fun the kids had being together that day. I will say, for only getting together once a year (we are all pretty scattered around) the kids pick up right where they left off and there are rarely any tears, even from the littlest ones.

So, the kitty got a clean bill of health, more or less, from the vet. Brian, would this be a good time to tell you that the little u-turn you made on the interstate cost us nearly $100 with Dr. Jim? Anyway, he has an eye infection and some parasites, both of which are being treated with meds. He is only FOUR WEEKS OLD and the vet thinks someone threw him out of the car that wasn't quite still yet because he has some pretty deep little gouges on his face. Can I just take a moment to tell you how WORTHLESS these folks are! Seriously, if you can throw a four week old kitten from a moving car, you are completely dead inside. There is nothing in you that is tender or loving! Particularly, if you even have a four week old kitten in your possession you probably own the mother, which makes you a complete LOSER that you could love one cat and dispose of her offspring like that. Seriously, I really get teary thinking about it. I know that there are PEOPLE who could have been helped with that $100. But I also know that God did KNOW that kitten was on the side of the road. 100's of motorists had already passed him and no one had stopped. I was passing by at 75 mph and I SAW this poor creature, who was the same color as the road, I might add, and that is just the heart God put in me. It's not in my nature to let anything defenseless suffer. And I would have still been wondering what happened to this kitten. So in my book, I was just doing what God expected of me. If He knows every bird of the field, then He knows this kitten and He also knows the scum who dumped him and He would love to redeem that person too, so hopefully, the loser who threw Mickey out will have some pretty sleepless nights. I won't hold my breath. Besides, I think it's Deuteronomy that specifically says that if your neighbor loses and oxen, it's your JOB to care for this animal until your neighbor can return for it. Boy, am I totally the OPPOSITE of wordless or what? :)

I want to give a shout of congrats to my friend, Kristi, who has the most amazing heart. She and her family are now the proud parents of Lucy Lane, a little baby in an orphanage in Africa. They passed court yesterday and will be leaving to pick up this precious baby on June 13th. Congratulations Kristi.

Also, please check out Gwen's blog. She has some new shirts on there that are rockin' cute AND they are LOVINGLY hand sewn. I wish you could have seen Gwen, Suzanne and myself yesterday, with about 20 kids running around Suzanne's house, sewing these shirts on her dining room table and precious Maggie Oatsvall, sitting with us, cutting up the left-over shirt fabric with a pair of Kindergarten scissors. Seriously, that vision alone is worth the money for the shirt! So, if you're looking for some new "in your face" wear, check out the Oatsvall Village. By the way, the brand of shirt is actually called "In Your Face!" :)

"We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows." Lamentations 5:3

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where's Amy when you need her?

Okay Amy, I helped you out with cat names (even though you didn't use any of them.) Now where are you when a sister is in need?

Today on the way home from the lake (more adorable photos on that later!) I was on the cell phone and out of the corner of my eye, literally, at a glance, at 75 miles per hour, no less, I see this TINY kitten balled up on the shoulder of the road. I start begging Brian to turn around. He goes one exit arguing that the mama cat is in the vicinity and the cat does not, in fact, need a rescuer. But then the backseat pressure kicked in and he had no choice whatsoever. We got to the next exit and he turned around, drove about 8 miles round trip back to the scene of the abandonment, and sure enough... here he was!

As you can see, he's in pretty bad shape. He was so tiny and so weak that he literally did not move his head when I walked up to pick him up. I had a beach towel and just scooped him up. He never even acknowledged that I had picked him up.

Then my soft hearted husband, who didn't want to rescue the cat in the first place, stopped at Wally World and bought some kitten milk and a tiny little bottle for this little fellow. He was so hungry that when I put the nipple to his lips he started chewing on it so hard he chewed the end of the nipple off. :( He ate about .9 ml three times (whatever that is, I'm really bad at math.) I'd say he was hungry.

My neighbor, who's a cat lover, told me to keep him out of the carpet until I take him to the vet to see if he has fleas or not. So right now he is in the boys bathroom in the bathtub with a tiny shoe box full of litter, a cup from Meg's tea-set full of water, and a feeding schedule of every 2 hours. Ask me how much I love this kitten at 3 AM! :) Anyway, I'm such a softy and I couldn't leave the poor thing on the side of the interstate to be eaten by an owl, which is surely where he was headed.

Brian already gave the kids a big lecture about nursing him back to health and then finding him a home and for us not to get too attached. This could present a problem for this household, but I'm sure that someone out there, who actually KNOWS SOMETHING about cats, will be a great family for him. I don't want the shelter to get ahold of him, after all, I didn't rescue him from the owls just to turn him over to the gas chamber. So... anyone in the area who is a cat lover and who is up for the task of nursing this little fellow to health, please let me know.

And in the meantime, if any of you have nursed a little kitten like this into a healthy cat and you have some superb advice for a cat lover, but not a cat knowledgable person, please feel free to lay it on me!

Proverbs 12:10

"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

I have so many favorites this week I don't know if Blogger will accept them all... so without further delay, let's get started on a fun week in review, via my camera lens. By the way, I want you all to promise not to be jealous of our new pool. I know it's gorgeous and I know you all wish you had one, but not everyone can live the dream. Just try to enjoy the photos without the ugly jealousy part! :)

"VINCE! Get out of that pool, RIGHT NOW!!!!" He seems to be saying, "Who, me?"

I can't decide if this photo of Meg....

or this one, is funnier. What do you think?

As promised, here is a photo of some of the forks from the covert birthday celebration in my neighbor's yard this week. It's not the best shot because it was a drive by shooting, but you get the idea.

"For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering."

Judges 2:18

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you friend!

Kristine gave me this award so I am going to do it right now before I forget... because Becky tagged me a long time ago about picking up the closest book and turning to page 50 and writing the first sentence on the page, and I never got around to doing it because I put it off... yeah, I'm like that, if I don't do the thing RIGHT NOW, it won't get done. So, for Becky, here's page 50 of the CLOSEST book to me... (actually the book only goes to 48 pages so this is from page 48) "No one is going to catch me, lady, and make me a man. I want always to be a little boy and to have fun." James M. Barrie, Peter Pan. Also, sweet Barb over at Holm Sweet Home gave me a Lemonade award a long time ago and I never got around to that one either... SOOOO, I'm doing this one from Kristine RIGHT NOW!

Kristine has four kiddos just like me. And like me, three of them are adopted. And they are Russian. And she just discovered that she likes colored undies... so you'll have to go check out her blog if you want to find out all about that craziness. But she's a fun gal and a friend and I appreciate being named in her all-adoption list of award winners!:)

So now I have to name some blogs that I think you should check out, and I have to tag them too!
It would be my first inclination to nominate Gwen and Katie, but of course, they would not have time to participate and in fairness to those of us who have a little less of a life than these two warriors, I think I should nominate people who can actually pass it on. I want to nominate people, though who are doing a work for orphans, so who to call on? Well, who advocates more than those who have lived by example through adoption?
Nicole is a precious friend and she has the most adorable little Russian princess. She has a heart for orphans and her heart was stolen for them when she adopted Miss Ava. I'm expecting more exciting news from her in the future, go check out the photos of her little tsarina.

Lindsay has one of the most thoughtful blogs I have ever read. I hesitate to nominate her because her blog is private, but many of you may have access and she is an amazing mother and writer.

And because I love A Thorn Among Roses blog, I am adding them to the list. This is what a family should LOOK like... I mean, literally what it should physically look like... all different sizes, shapes and colors, because, you know, that's what God's family looks like.

The Carolina Girl and her family are getting ready to head off to Moscow on June 1st to meet their baby girl in St. Petersburg on June 3rd (who will be joining two big brothers when she comes home.) Stop by her blog and wish her well and maybe a few prayers to go along!

Get a little bit of This and That, but mostly you'll get a woman living for Christ, loving orphans, and pursuing God's dream for her life. She found my blog by pure accident Divine intervention and we have commented back and forth to each other since. It's exciting to see what God's doing in her life!

Okay, I could go on and on and on, like I love to read the musings at "This IS the fun part" and Heather at Highly Caffeinated has me cleaning my house, which is no small feat, but it's probably wrong of me to keep rambling on and on while my daughter sinks further into her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse addiction, so I am off to get her into the sunshine and water my garden. I promise to post photos of the forks VERY soon! :)

And don't forget to "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed." Proverbs 31:8

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm not a doctor, AND I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night!

I know I'm turning into my mother, who always has a bit of medical advice for me whenever I have an ache or pain. Although I haven't told her yet, I do have poison ivy (first time in my life) and I don't know how to get rid of it. Although my mom works for a doctor's office, she's full of HOME REMEDIES. And she believes a good round of anti-biotics can kill anything in the world! :) So... mom, how the heck do I get rid of this poison ivy?

On another note, my friend told me today how she has been having certain unmentionable symptoms for like six weeks. I have her convinced that she might have Hepatitis A (I had it in 2001 and it sounds alot like what she's experiencing) so she went off to the acute care clinic to have her blood tested. I really am becoming my mother, aren't I?

If you ever click on any of the blogs links I follow, you might have noticed a recurring theme last week... my friends are CLEANING their houses... yawn, sigh, GUILT! So, my friend Kristine had me really inspired and I actually spent a good part of Sunday afternoon cleaning and decluttering my downstairs. My problem is that I am absolutely obsessed with floors! So whenever I start to clean, I get bogged down in the hours I will spend trying to make my wood floor shine! The carpet, on the other hand, gets NO attention because I hate carpet and no matter what I do it never looks good... but my wood floors... oh yeah, right, I was decluttering. So anyway, Heather posted about how much FUN it was this week to do her five minute per room tidy, so I am thinking that I might be missing the boat. Never one to let a little thing like peer pressure go unyielded, I am determined to start this 5 minute miracle clean tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Last but not least, three neighbors and I relived a little of our high school mischief tonight. A friend and neighbor is turning 50 tomorrow (happy birthday Janet) and the bus-stop moms all did a little yard decorating tonight! It was tons of fun. We hung 50's all in her bushes and trees and forked her yard. We used 500 plastic forks and wrote a big 5-0 in the grass and lined her front walk as well. I will try to get a photo tomorrow morning so you can see the maturity level happening in my neighborhood. I hope we didn't give any of the teenage kids any ideas... school's out on Thursday, they are probably prime for some mischief of their own.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shearing Day at the Farm

We went from this....

To this....

Signaling the official arrival of SUMMER! at the Harrison household! And just for the record, my son's hair is so thick that I might need to invest in an actual shearing set because the $8 set from Wally World that has worked so beautifully for MANY SUMMERS (see proof from 2005)
with my other kiddos, bogs down multiple times on this kiddos head and has to be cleaned and restarted! On another note, I think this might be the only photo I own where Jack and Liam are spontaneously showing any sort of affection for one another... they are holding hands (AND SMILING?) What!?! It must have been a full moon or something!

Happy Thursday!

"...that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:10

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life is crazy here....

and it's about to get crazier. The boys officially have seven more days of school. Today is Connor's last day of Pre-K 4 and in one short hour I will pick him up from The Little School to which he will NEVER return! :( Next year it's off to Pre-K for him. My baby boy is getting too big! I will also have a FOURTH grader and a second grader... along with a little Mother's Day Out diva... take two. Remember last year it was just too early for her to be apart from me, but this fall I will officially start to have some free time after nine years of mothering the masses.

These two are thick as theives.

Meg decided to get a head-start on her painting skills for next year. Yesterday she asked if she could paint. Luckily, I had the foresight to set her up in the garage because she thought it might be fun to dump ALL FOUR paint bottles into a pile and rub it with her hands.... multiple times... she came inside to wash her hands several times before I realized that she had walked through the paint too and was putting little green footprints on my new area rug... gasp! Needless to say, that was the end of the painting session. Sorry to thwart your creativity, little Picasso.

And making a rare adult appearance on the blog, here's a photo of my amazing hubby with the main lady in his life... Oh, I know that I have him forever and she will eventually leave him for another man, but he doesn't seem to acknowledge that right now. He's thrown his heart under the bus completely! And he can't say "no" to her. Seriously, he will say yes to her ten minutes after telling the boys no to the same request. Oh, brother, are we in for a long road to adulthood with this one!

Meg and I celebrated our last day of just the girls by taking a nice long walk. I rewarded myself with a breakfast of half a loaf of Hawaiin bread! YUMMY! :) Hope you have a great day....

Saturday, May 09, 2009

In honor of Mother's Day...

Because I "de-Mommed" my own ride yesterday (otherwise known as cleaning out the car), I thought you other mothers out there might think this was as funny as I do....


And Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 08, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday (or Saturday???), I hope...

Okay, I am going to attempt to upload a very short compilation of photos that plays more like a movie than a slideshow. Let me set it up for you.... I think I posted a few weeks ago about the robin that built a nest in the Birch tree right off our patio. We have had a great time watching her feed her babies, etc. However, I wasn't prepared for how quickly the babies would leave the nest (or maybe this was the pesky brother and his sisters pushed him?) At any rate, he wasn't very smart to hit the ground at my house without proper flying ability... uh, did anyone mention that I have a 90 pound RETRIEVER... of.dead.birds! Anyway, survival of the fittest right?

After us trapping Vince (the dog) in the house ALL MORNING so that the bird would be safe, and Googling what to do with Fledglings that leave the nest before they can fly, and BUILDING THIS FLEDGING A FALSE NEST and nailing said nest to the tree and lining said fake nest (also known as a milk jug with the top cut off) with paper towels and cotton balls, and fetching the ladder, and catching the baby bird while his mother (or father) swooped down on us and tried her best to distract us away from her infant, and then climbing the ladder using NO HANDS because, uh, my hands were gently cradling the baby bird who was trying to screech at the top of his lungs to let him go.... after all that... the ridiculous bird would not stay in the new nest either! Turns out he had not actually fallen from the nest, he had left voluntarily and no amount of coercion or frustration or pleading was going to keep this determined little fellow away from the big wide world that awaited him. So what was left to do but have a little fun at the poor birds expense? Like I said, survival of the fittest. And I'd say this little bird can survive anything after living through this day.

By the way, turns out the dog isn't much of a hunter of live birds... it seems to be the lifeless kind he prefers to retrieve. Since this day, we've had two others from the bird family land in the yard and he seems not to have noticed them in the least. Oh well, good news for the birds, I guess. Now if I could just figure out how to keep them out of my garden....

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

This is the truth...

I am cautious about posting this because I don't ever want to deter someone from adoption. However, if the truth deters you, the reality is that you probably should be deterred. You don't do anyone any good if you bring a child into your home "just to rescue a soul" and you aren't prepared for the reality. The truth? It's HARD sometimes. The older the child is at the time of adoption, the longer the child has been in the orphanage, the degree to which the child was parented or not, all are factors in how easily the child will transition into your home. But this is something that not many agencies are talking about and I don't really understand why. I know there are SOME agencies out there that are presenting the information and some of the ownership of this is on the family to seek and find the probability of what adoption is going to look like, but in the end, not many people are talking about the hard stuff.

There are tough issues to deal with no matter how old the child is, but if a child is very young (say, under three) the likelihood that you are going to deal with prolonged attachment issues is greatly decreased. There are exceptions to every rule and some five or ten-year-olds come home and hit the ground running. But the reality is that not everyone can be an exception to the rule and it's better to prepare yourself to fall into that statistic and be PLEASANTLY surprised rather than the other way around and be shocked when you are not the exception to the rule.

So many agencies and families want to focus on the exciting and glamorous part of the adoption process. We want to talk about how much we are going to love the child, how we are going to deal with well-meaning (or not) comments from folks in the grocery store line, we want to make sure the family has working smoke detectors and safe stair railings, we want to talk for hours about what to take when we travel and what to expect in court. But the real rubber hits the road when you've been home three weeks and your new child is totally overwhelmed, scared, angry, sad, confused, grief stricken, and immature in her/his ability to deal with emotions that even adults don't know how to process. Add to this the fact that you, too, are overwhelmed, exhausted, confused, angry, worn OUT from both adoption and travel, and you have this stranger who is DEMANDING EVERY OUNCE OF YOU because they are scared, confused, etc. and you have a combination for a complete mental breakdown. If you aren't prepared, if you don't see it coming, if you don't have a strong support network (not of birth parents, but of folks who have done what you're trying to do SUCCESSFULLY... you know, don't take financial advice from broke people, and don't take parenting advice from people who haven't successfully navigated what you are trying to do either), if you don't REACH OUT when you FIRST start to feel overwhelmed by it and if you aren't prepared to totally batten down the hatches, circle the wagons, and BUCK UP, then you are going to fail.

It's okay to fail to an extent. It's in our failure that God can be glorified, but here is the important part, when you fail, you HAVE got to be ready to cry out to the Lord, with your face in the dirty fibers of your unvaccuumed carpet and let Him know that you CANNOT love, parent, care for, protect or heal this little wounded one. You cannot do it, it's not humanly possible, and this is the place where God steps in and fills the gap. What I am telling you is this... you CAN'T do it! You CAN'T!!!!!!! But it CAN be done! It CAN and it will be the greatest blessing of your life. It will change you forever and you will never regret it for a moment. But you have to know that you CAN'T and it can't all be done perfectly and you have to give up some of yourself to do it well and you can ONLY do it if you are willing to let the Lord do it through you. If you are one of these people who has it all together and can't function if it's not all together, I can tell you from experience (not personal experience, but counseling experience) that you are going to have a much harder time than the people who are sort of willy-nilly to start with. That is not in any way to say that you shouldn't adopt. That is to say that you should walk through that door with your eyes WIDE OPEN and know that you are going to hit a wall and you will hopefully see the wall coming way off in the distance and reach out for help before you hit it. And you will already know who you are going to call WHEN you see the wall coming so you're not looking around for the rescue boat while the storm is raging!

I am a passionate advocate for orphans. I am PASSIONATE about adoption. But I am also fiercely opposed to people adopting for the wrong reasons or becoming so bogged down in the forest of transition and attachment that they lose their way and can't get back. "Saving a child" from an orphanage and then abandoning them either through disruption or continually abandoning them through little abandonments day after day is NOT "saving a child", it's abusive and they would have been better off in their home country. (Gasp, I dared to speak the unspeakable!) It's not a noble thing to bring a child into your home in a foreign country for ANY reason other than a desire to parent a child. If you are motivated by the "romantic notion" of being part of this glorious rescue, boredom, or missions, then I would question whether or not you can sustain the level of energy that is going to be required of you to wade through the thigh high muck of attachment parenting and the bog of transition!

I am not writing this to discourage anyone from adopting. I think we are ALL called, EVERY ONE OF US, to serve orphans. But that doesn't ALWAYS mean you are called to adopt them ( though clearly, many are called that never answer the call because I know it's not the will of our Lord that any should languish in orphanages.) My point is, know that it's going to be hard, knwo that you are most likely going to need to spend some money on an attachment therapist, know that you need to reach out to other parents and be VERY closely involved in the daily stuff with someone who knows. If you don't have that support network, find one! If you're call IS to adopt, then by all means, PROCEED in the total light of truth in knowing that it is the most rewarding, life-changing, blessed, amazing and beautiful experience that anyone anywhere has ever been part of. But walk through that door aware of the reality and seeing the valley you will be required to traverse if you are to experience the glory of that promised land. The Israelites wandered for 40 years.... there is no prescribed time for how deep the valley is that you will have to cross, but if you are persistent and prayerful, you will come out the other side and your reward will be greater than you ever expected. God is abundant and extravagant in His love for us. But His burden is not always light and children don't typically come into your home thankful for every single thing you give them that they never had. They don't say, "Wow, I'm so lucky that I was plucked out of poverty into prosperity and I just want to be the most obedient and thankful child that ever lived." It just doesn't happen that way in real life. So by all means, ADOPT! ADOPT many! Live, eat, sleep and breathe adoption, but don't be fooled and don't be dismayed when you are asked to empty yourself into this child. To whom much has been given, much is expected!

Luke 4:25-26
"Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner...."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Ebenezer

As of today, May 5, 2009, I have known my daughter for one year! What a tremendous blessing she has been for me. What a gift and privilege God has bestowed on me to allow me to parent this precious little feminine soul. She is everything I had hoped a daughter would be and more. I could never have hoped or asked for a child as beautiful to the eye as my daughter. AND I could not have been given a more "girly" little girl. She loves all things girly and feminine. Her favorite color is pink. She likes Hello Kitty band-aids and plays sweetly with her Polly Pockets. She can play dolls for hours and is already asking me to "babysit my grandchildren" (she brings the babies to me when they are crying.) She also has girly fighting habits.... she will pull your hair faster than you can say "scat" and she likes to pinch and scratch if her brothers fall out of line. Even that is a reprieve from the fist punches and full-body tackles I am used to with my boys.

One year ago today, this is the little girl we met at Baby Home #12 in St. Petersburg. I will never forget that day. She was shy and cautious. She eyed us with suspicion and wouldn't get anywhere close to us. She stayed close to her physical therapist, who is in the photo with her. We only got to visit for about 15 minutes because this was our "unofficial" meeting. She's gorgeous and healthy and still such a baby in this photo. When I look at her now, it's so hard to believe she has grown SO much in a short year. I don't have a "baby" anymore, she's growing up TOO fast!

Today, I am so filled with emotion for what God has done for our family. This "thing" for the children He has given me to fuel my life and form an instant bond with so many other mothers and blog friends. The way He chose to build our family has taught me so much more than I ever would have known without this plan. All these things that God has done, He did for OUR good, which is the thing that blows me away. In the end, all the blessing, all the struggles, all the money spent, all the time away from individual children, all the frustration of dealing with foreign governments, all the pain and all the joy, it was ALL for US... not to rescue a child, not to serve Him (although those are certainly by-products of adoption), not to save anyone but Brian and me. The mind-boggling truth is that God does all these things, allows us to serve Him in a way close to our hearts, so that WE could be changed and saved and blessed. He does it for us, out of His great love for us, and out of His desire for us to know Him in a deeper way. I'm blown away by the tender and extravagant way my Lord loves me!

And today, this is my baby girl. She talks up a storm, is still cautious with strangers and eyes them suspiciously until she is sure they are not going to try to peel her away from her mommy. She is watching "Barbie Fairitopia" right now, which is the first girly movie we've watched in our house, maybe ever. And she wanted her hair in pig-tails today that look like this....

It would have been "enough" to parent a little girl who wasn't as beautiful as Meg. But in His abundance, He saw fit to go overboard with His blessings and I want to let this post and my whole life even, be a monument to how far He has brought us and how richly and overly blessed we are.
1 Samuel 7:12
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Not one to live in the past....

but it's hard to resist remembering that this time last year, Brian and I were sitting in the Cincinnati airport watching the Kentucky Derby at a little airport pub. We were edgy with excitement and also alot of nerves as we were on our way to Russia to see our baby girl for the first time and explore a new foreign city. I'll never forget that trip. I'll post more over the next few days as we relive the one year marks of the days we experienced on that first trip. My favorite moment from arrival in St. Petersburg was when the driver saw our massive amounts of luggage and his eyes got HUGE! Brian and I rode all the way into the city with large suitcases on our laps because for some reason, Nina had thought it might be okay to pick up the Americans in something close to a "Smart Car". :) Remember that Brian? Funny!

While you enjoy this brief intermission (also known as the last weeks of school when Mom's are running to and fro trying to over-achieve the other classroom moms! :) please enjoy this bit of musing from a fellow blogger... Granny in FL. It's so funny I laughed out loud through many parts of it. By the way, Granny and others out there, for some unknown reason, I cannot comment on blogs where the comment section is set up to make you choose an identity to go with your post. For some reason, it will recognize my log-in, accept my comments, but never post them. It always says, "Error Loading Page." Could this be yet another problem with my aging computer? Or maybe more like a user error?