Thursday, April 26, 2012

By the Numbers

Our lives have definitely moved from busy to super-busy since the boys came home. Just for fun, I thought I would try to capture our first two months home in numerical fashion.

18--times I've used the rice cooker. Although, when I made rice earlier this week, Joshua didn't want it. He said rice is boo-hao (bad). It is amazing how their tastes are changing. Lasagna instead of stir-fry? Incredible.

56--nights in their own beds at HOME.

57--mornings they have woken up at HOME.

25--doctor appointments with lots more in the near future.

2-- CT scans and 4 MRI's for Joshua

2--x rays for Isaac

6--x rays for Joshua

50--baggies of goldfish crackers packed for car rides. Yesterday Isaac told me, "I like goldfish!"

100--loads of laundry. About two per day. My parents have been coming over one day a week to help me keep up, which has been a huge blessing.

24--(maybe more) trips to the grocery store. I didn't think adding two more mouths would make such a big difference in the amount of food that we eat...especially yogurt and bananas.

45--circles around the driveway that Joshua makes daily on Moriah's pink tricycle. We are in the process of getting this boy something appropriate to ride. Moriah will be so glad to have her tricycle back. She reminds me every day that we need to get Joshua a bike!

4--large bottles of bubbles

35--pounds of rice that I dumped into a tub with some measuring cups, plastic funnels and toy cars.

5--number of children who want to play in rice tub.

8--pairs of 3-T pants that I have purchased for Isaac before finding some that are actually skinny enough. (Thank you Old Navy.)

8--Sundays that we have been able to worship the Lord as family of 8. We fill up a whole row! Our church family has blessed us again and again with their loving acceptance of our boys. Our boys know that they are special and loved. They are experiencing what it means to be part of God's family.

2--number of days left that we will not all fit into our car. We are hoping to upgrade this weekend so that we can all travel together! Hooray!

Too Many episodes of Sponge Bob that the boys have watched. They were allowed to watch this in China and get very excited about it. I never let my other kids watch it, but I have caved. Some things are simply not worth a battle.

100,000,000--trips to the bathroom. Moriah and Isaac just do not think it would be right to go into a public place and not explore the bathroom. Moriah reminds me that at least there aren't squatty potties here. We explored more than our share of those in China.

It is amazing when I stop to think about all of the things (mostly quite insignificant) that make up family life. Yet, for these boys, each one is significant as they learn what life in a family is all about. It is my joy and privilege to serve this big family (I'm reminding myself of this daily.) Each member is a blessing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Ugly-Beautiful of Our Life Together

When I think about adoption, the idea of the ugly-beautiful seems to describe my feelings. I think I first began to think about this term when I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Some of the ugly things related to adoption are obvious at a glance. There is nothing pretty about a baby being left alone under a bridge. Nothing attractive about nine years spent without a family. Having five living situations before nineteen months of age is ugly.

There was also beauty in their lives before us. Each of our three children from hard places had loving foster care for part of their lives. Each of them had parents who gave them life. Each of them was listed for adoption. Their Father was watching over them before we knew about them.

Now that we are home, we are finding each day filled with ugly-beautiful realties. The beautiful things include seeing six little faces waiting for breakfast each morning. An unsolicited hug. Happy giggles as the children explore the deck and back yard. "Shank you, mommy,"(there is no "th" sound in Chinese.) And little language lessons exchanged back and forth. Meeting Isaac's friend from his foster home in China who has been home for about a year. Seeing the boys baptized and watching our church family embrace them with open arms. Spending time with our parents as they serve us selflessly and get to know their new grandsons. Watching the boys experience new things like frozen yogurt and water color paints. 

The ugly is always present as well. Hard moments when tears cannot be held back. Frustration when communication doesn't happen. Challenges to discipline with limited common language. Struggles in self-regulation when there is is sensory overload due to so many new experiences. Fights over toys between children whose survival instinct is strong. Blood draws, immunizations, and multiple doctor appointments. New and frightening diagnosis. Older siblings struggling with the new family dynamic. Little ones fighting over my lap and attention. So many unknowns concerning their past lives.  Grief for the years we did not share. Sadness when we think about their birth parents.

It would be overwhelming if we had to walk this journey alone. It is our trust in God that gives us hope. He is our Redeemer. He lived the ugly-beautiful perfectly. Coming from perfect beauty, He clothed Himself with humanity and walked on our soil. Our dirt on His feet. Our hatred poured out upon Him. Our sins overwhelming Him on the cross. Yet, the salvation that He achieved for us...Oh how beautiful! One day the ugly will be swallowed up in beautiful and we will see Him face-to-face. We place our hope and trust in Him knowing that He can work to use the ugly for our good and His glory. He takes the hard things and uses them to mold and shape each of us into His image. He didn't promise an easy road. But He promised never to leave us or forsake us. So we walk in faith and hope. We trust that each day's ugly-beautiful will be useful in His hands. He lived it for us and we are privileged to catch a glimpse of His beauty as we walk this journey after Him.