Monday, June 25, 2012

Peace, Surrender & Stirring

Something has stirred in my soul that I can't quite explain. With each child we set out to adopt, we say 'it's the last adoption.' While we (maybe tongue & cheek) say 'as many as the Lord calls us to'. And, well, we honestly mean both statements if that's at all possible. In the flesh, we only ever wanted one child. So in the flesh, we keep thinking we are personally not making plans for another. Yet, God intervenes into the thoughts and plans of man and stretches us a little further each time, challenging us (for His Kingdom) a little more each time. Each time He calls us to add to our family, at first, my heart is hard. I go through the 'no' list. And the no's are very reasonably validated. No money, no time, no room, no patients, my pride (what will people say?), we stand out enough! But, my no-list slowly dwindles over time. 
Pastor hit me with a doozy one Sunday. I'm pretty sure it was around summer time. We dress casual at our little church. And so his suit seemed to stand out that day as we passed in the foyer. But, then, when he got up to preach, he had added a Christmas tie and a ball cap to his attire. And if that was not enough to strike peculiar glares, he stood up on the front pew. Yes, our crazy little pastor was standing on the pew which caused us all to wonder 'what is he doing now?' and then he began to yell. We were all either laughing or had heads cocked because, to be honest, it made us all a little uncomfortable. But if I know our pastor, I'm pretty sure that was his point. He wanted us to squirm in our pews. He began to preach on John the Baptist. He began to tell us that we, like John, need to stand out for Christ. And that is when I knew. I knew I had wanted to follow Christ as long....as long as I fit in. And here, in this place, with all my kids and homeschooling, I stood out and it made me uncomfortable. So even then as God was calling me to add to my family, I had been struggling with it for months. That day, I laid my pride aside and began a deeper journey of a life surrendered to our Lord. 
It was some time before the Lord showed us our next child. Our newest daughter, Joy, is now home. But on that Sunday in Church, it was not necessarily Joy that the Lord spoke to me about. It was about a heart surrendered, a life surrendered. Not just one more child. But my whole life given over to His service. I know in my heart, somewhere there could be another child waiting. And if so, I'm okay with that, already. So as we move forward in a life surrendered, we wait. We sit and we wait and see what God has in store. 
And since Joy came home, I have a peace I've never known in my entire life and maybe that is why her middle name is Ning Guo (peaceful fortress). I have a peace that all is well. That God really, really does orchestrate events for those he's called, those he predestined. 
A few Sundays ago, all my children and two teens were sitting with me at church. I looked up and down the row of seven children and my heart swelled with a pride and a peace that only comes from God.

I was walking in a field looking for horses with eight young ladies this weekend and as they raced ahead of me giggling, again that swelling of pride and peace occurred once more in my heart.

I am realizing....Gods not done with me yet and finally, finally I'm free to embrace Him.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Make a joyful noise

Today was one those special days in a child's life. One of those days when a parent gets to beam with pride.

Kya's first piano recital.

The kids were even excited just getting ready to go hear thee 3-K's play today.
~ Kya, Kaitlyn & Kathryn ~

A little extra sweetness was added to the day since her just-like-cousins, 
Kaitlyn & Kathryn, where part of the event as well. The girls take lessons at our church with Momma Jean who gives so much of her time, resources and heart to the girls. 

After the recital, the 3 young ladies were presented with promotion certificates from Momma Jean and roses from their very proud Father's.

~ a time of celebration was in order ~

~ a little pandora musical charm to remind Kya of her 1st recital ~

We are so proud of all the hard work these sweet young ladies have put into their piano lessons. It was a beautiful day to celebrate them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Off to busy summer

We have been having a lot of fun, a lot of activities. Bonding is going really well. I mean REALLY well. I just don't even know what to write because it seems as if life is normal.

Except....my exhaustion.

I am so very tired by night fall. I have nothing left to give to anyone but my immediate family right now. I should have realized that would be the case. After all, this is the 4th time we have brought a new child/children into the family. And every social worker under the sun reminds you the transition is 4-8 months (sometimes longer if things are tough). But I sort of forgot how exhausting it really is. Lily and Aaron were pretty easy transition since Dale was home full time, I had help. Now he's working full time, it's just me. And that is a different ball game. I'm not about to begin to list what all it takes to help a new/older child transition & keep a household running normal so I don't personally lose my mind, because I would surely forget something and then it would sound like whining anyway. And I have nothing to whine about. Life is good! Really really good! But it does end up just taking all of me.

But even in my exhaustion, as my head hits the pillow at night and my feet literally ache so terribly from the days work, I am happy. We are all happy. And I can see what an awesome God I serve. He is faithful and true. He has helped me with our tough adoptions, he's us blessed with each child, he's given us immeasurable Joy, shear Joy. And it feels good to serve him emotionally & physically each day in a life that is surrendered to my king and his kingdom.

About the pictures....we have lived in this house over 3 years now and I'm not sure why we never did this before, but we decided to built a fire ring this weekend for Sunday night hot dog roast in the summer. It was so much fun. Being our first, we took tons of photos and enjoyed hot dogs, s'more and firefly catching.

On Memorial Day we went to NYC. Years ago Kya and Autumn badly wanted a Chinese doll and AG is one of the few doll companies that actually sells Chinese dolls, so after about 18 months of begging, we finally drove them to AG in NYC to get their Chinese dolls. That was such a sweet day, that now we have sort of made it a tradition after the age of 6. And here we are with our 3rd Chinese blessing and well, she wanted a doll, an AG doll of course like her sisters. Turns out Memorial Day is the perfect day to visit the city. There was basically about 1/2 the traffic. We visited AG, Carnegie Deli, Central Park, FAO, the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center and had pizza before leaving the city. We were gone from 6am to 10pm but it was a great day! And....Lily cannot wait to go back in April when turns 6 to get her Bitty Twins from AG. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Three Weeks Home

Our Joy has been home a whole 3 weesk!

We had friends fly in from Florida and spent a few great days with them. We spent Mother's Day with a few Maryland friends. It was great being with friends and family over the first few days home.

Joy acclimated well to her new surroundings and to our friends. She has enjoyed Church and on our 1st Wednesday night church shew'd me out of the room, she didn't need or want me watching over her with the rest of the kids around.

She just adores her daddy, which is grand. He had a few days off work and was able to spend time giving her rides on the lawn mower, teaching her about the guitar, how to kick a ball, throw a frisby and most of all how to ride a bike without training wheels! The next weekend he took her to pick out her 1st bike.

She loves playing outside which I was happy about since she also loves electronics and tv so much. Its nice to see she has a good balance of activities she will do.

She is a fantastic sister so far. She is patient, helpful and tenderly-playful with the little ones. And she gets along and plays wonderful with Kya and Autumn (the new triplets). And all the other kids accept her with hearts and arms wide open.

It took 6 nights but all the girls are now sleeping happily in their own beds without us asking and without hurt feelings. It's as if they all mutually agreed it was time.

The 1st week home, Joy started to open up with some small signs of physical affection; accepting our hugs so we started squeezing her and spinning her around, which makes her giggle. And finally on week three now puts her arms around us and hugs us in return.

We really have had no food or behavior issues that are noteworthy.

Really, honestly, all is going flawlessly. We can't claim to really 'know her' all that well 'yet' of course. We are learning her likes & dislikes, she is learning ours. That part is a slow process and so is the language but all in time it will come.

God is so good and we are so blessed.