Friday, June 24, 2011


Sitting here rocking my newest son...praying for God to heal his deep scars...they are so deep...and I am so overwhelming saddened that we have let this crisis develop. We, the Church, the hands and feet of the creator of the universe, sit by and let these kids suffer and wait, for years. How does that happen? How do these very real children sit and suffer while we debate politics, culture? While we complain about not having enough time, or money, or patience, or not having the "calling"? When we have been commanded to take care of them. The fatherless. Those who can't care for themselves but have been forced to live in a state of hyper vigilance for years for their own survival. Those who have to be taught what security and safety is. That it is ok to relax and play. They have to be taught to play-sweet babies.

You see, my kids were in a good place. And they are doing so good. And yet, they have suffered without families. Without love. Without touch and security and safety. Oh how they have suffered. Why are we not screaming? Protesting? Demanding life for these kids? Why do we put the problem off on someone else and give a hundred excuse why we don't go? Is adoption easy? No. Is it worth it? Oh yes.

But beyond that, no matter how little money or time or patience you have, it is far better than what these kids have now. They have nothing. If you don't go, who will? How is nothing better than a family? Can we even comprehend nothing in this country? Even those in the best places have nothing. Oh how my hearts hurt for them, and for those in the not good places. I can't even think about it. We think, now is not a good time for me. We need to save money or we need a better job or we need more space. We can't deal with their needs. Someone else will go. In the mean time, the kids sit. They wait. They are real. I have seen their faces. I have held their hands.

Thinking to my time in orphanage around the world and the most overwhelming thought is the poverty. These kids truly have nothing. Even the clothes of their back-as too small, and old, and so very out of style those outfits are-even those things aren't theirs. They are labelled with a number. They are communally shared. They own nothing. I look at my son's feet deformed by wearing shoes too small for him for years and I hurt for the time he waited for me. And he didn't even own those blasted shoes. Nothing.

And here we sit in absolute luxury in this country. And we wait till it is convenient to us if we do anything to help. We give excuses and we say not everyone should adopt, when in fact we need to just step up and do something.

God show me how I can make a difference. Don't let the trappings of comfort and money block me from doing Your work. Abigail has taught me so well how this world and all those things we are concerned with every day just Do. Not. Matter.

Watching my newest son violently rock himself to sleep every night reminds me again and again of those still waiting. Babies with such hope and such pain. Where are we church?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home again!

I know you are probably wondering-yes we made it home, yes I'm still here, and yes things are going crazy good. I've just been a bad blogger. I'm trying to soak it all in, remembering the important moments this first week, and work out the quirky parts of my new kids' personalities. I honestly never imagined it could be this smooth of a transition. I am not sitting back though. I'm being proactive. We are working on attachment, behavior, and how to be a part of a family. But all in all, the kids are thriving, the original kids are welcoming, and everyone is getting along. Praise God!

Ira Grace continues to be the little firecracker she has shown herself to be. She spends her days dressing up in every princess dress and piece of jewelry she can find. Her favorite English word at the moment is beautiful! Which she loves to shout every time she catches a glimpse of herself in the day's finery. We celebrated her birthday with hibachi, family, and cake-all of which she is a huge fan of and she is so proud now to tell everyone she is 4.

Malachi continues to be timid and fearful of new things, but he is really coming out of his shell with our family. He is a poppa's boy, but is also quite found of Samuel (or Lo-man which they call him...?). He is a Lego-loving, dog-hating, ball of nerves lol. His new favorite game is asking momma for kisses. All. The. Time. Love it! He is finding his inner snuggle bug and how much fun it is to climb into momma's bed for morning smuggles.

Communication is going well. We are excited as they are learning more and more english, but we are also so thankful for iPhone translator apps when we need to communicate something a little more complicated (especially to prevent a Malachi panic attack lol)

But continue to keep us in your prayers. Our absence was particularly hard on Samuel. Also, those of you who know grief will know that the happiest times are also the hardest. I am so thrilled to have these babies here, but the aching absence of my missing daughter is overwhelming. It feels like a punch in the gut at the best of times. My arms still ache for her. She is so real to me and less and less real to the world and that knowledge causes so much suffering. We still talk about her all the time. Even Grace and Malachi know her name. But, grief is an isolating beast. It deceives you into feeling all alone in your suffering. Abigail, I long for you. I see you, smell you, hear you at every turn. I am desperate for the day where we will all be together.

And I'm hurting for the ones we left behind. The beautiful faces of the fatherless on the other side of the ocean haunt me. I hear them cry for mommas and poppa's. I see their eyes hungry for love and family, attention and touch. I am so thankful for the women who take tender care of them while they wait, and for the facilitators and drivers who work tirelessly to help them find families. But their eyes haunt me. The HOPE shining in their eyes when they reached for me each day-please Lord let that hope live until the day their families come. God raise up families to be bold. To step out of their comfort zone. To step into the crazy ride of adoption. To sacrifice to fulfill Your clear command. If they could only taste this blessing. They would know that the reward is far better than the sacrifice. They would know that these children are so much more valuable than the vacation, the tv, the comfort they are giving up. Give them courage.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On to the last step!

Today we had our first embassy appointment and medicals for the the kids. Tomorrow is the last step before we can go home! Pray this step goes off without a hitch and we can get on a plane early early thursday morning. We are so incredibly thankful the whole process has gone so quickly. Adoption is stressful enough without the added stress of problems arising that so many people have to deal with.

The plan is to be picked up at 3 am (Ahhh!) on Thursday morning. We will be traveling a long long time with kids who have only seen the outside world for a few days now and a baby that is awfully fond of screeching right now. But we can not wait.

I can not wait to see my boys at home and to introduce Samuel to his 2 new siblings. I can't wait to show these kids their home, and their dog, and their clothes, and their very own machina (car).

It will be an exhausting trip but we are just ready to get on with it and past it.

Tomorrow we will take Anna Faith to see a little bit more of this city before we leave. She really wants to see inside one of the beautiful churches and ride the metro. At 2, we go to our appointment at the embassy. Then we will come back to the apartment and pack and clean and get ready. Can you tell I'm excited? We will be home just in time for Ira Grace's 4th birthday on the 12th.

And please pray for us to have peace as well. Being exhausted and sleep deprived makes dealing with grief that much harder. I am missing my Abigail something desperate.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New lessons

Everytime we leave the house, these sweet kids run to frantically pack up everything screaming airplane! in Russian. Lol. We have put into our translator that we are going on an airplane, but not now-later and they are not getting it. They are just so excited!

They are learning that they don't have to wear house shoes-barefoot is ok. They still aren't too sure about this one.

They are learning they are allowed to walk up and down stairs without holding handrails and they are allowed to alternate feet.

They are learning how to watch after and take care of Eli. If he is out of my sight, they run to get me screaming Eli! and dragging me to wherever he is. They share food and toys with him and they both say "gentle, gentle" and pet his hair when he is close.

They are learing so many English words. Malachi intentionally practices the words he has learned. He wants to sit and review all the time. Ira Grace parrots everything, but has a few words she actually uses. Their favorite English words..."good job!". Both run around all day saying good job with huge grins. Ira Grace wants to be taken to the potty every few minutes just so we will tell her good job lol!

And they are learning that they love being cuddled-especially Ira Grace. Put her and Samuel in a room together and there will be blissful cuddling. The life of a cuddle bug at an orphanage has to be difficult. Sweet baby loves me to hold her hand, rock her, rub her hair, and cuddle with her. You should see her grins. Malachi is quite the poppa's boy. He follows michael around wanting to help whatever work poppa is doing. He is reminding me so much of Samuel in that way. But he is stiff and not cuddly like Anna Faith. He is warming up to the idea though. They are opposites in just about every way just like Samuel and Anna Faith.


Sorry it has taken me so long to post! With no wi-fi and having the kids out now, it just wasn't feasible to walk to the mall to blog. We are back in the capital now as of an hour ago. 3 kids are napping and 1 is walking with her daddy, so I am taking advantage of the wi-fi to blog!

Gotcha day was Friday and went wonderfully. We went with our facilitator in the morning to the orphanage to pick of the kids bearing gifts of chocolate, champagne, and cookies to celebrate. We brought new clothes for the kids. Nothing there belongs to them. There were no bags to pack, no special things to grab, not even the shirt on their back belonged to them. We brought new clothes, clothes with no groupa numbers marked on them, and shoes that fit! The kids were a little giddy. One of the nannies asked Ira Grace if she knew where she was going and she said, yes! To ride in the car and then on an airplane! They might not understand the full implications of it all, but there were lots of giggles! They made their rounds telling everyone there goodbye. There were lots of tears, but none from the kids. We promised to send pictures and we were out. They marched out the gates of that orphanage for the 2nd (and last!!) time!

The car ride was smoother, but Malachi is still very nervous. When we made it back to the apartment there were lots more giggles and a lot of exploring. We had lunch and naps, a short walk, and bedtime. I can't tell you how smooth it has been in so many ways. The kids are telling us when they need to potty, letting us know if they get hurt, being so gentle and sweet with Eli, and generally quite content. Bedtime and naps have been no more challenging than any pair of 3 year olds would be. Both are being snuggly more and more and both are doing their best to process all this change.

Saturday was spent playing and getting to know each other. They LOVE baths! Oh my-that's and adventure! They had their first mcdonald's. Ira Grace loves chicken nuggets and Malachi loved the fries. They were very impressed with the fountain in the mall. I'm so glad they have each other. I love listening to their little conversations in Russian as they talk through the things they see. They can both be so animated. Imagine seeing the world for the first time. They have seen so many things in books, but to see things, to go places, to make choices, all that is new. They are making that change so much better than I imagine I would. They have to learn how to be a part of a family, how to trust us, how to just be 3 and not rely on their own survival instincts. Keep praying for their little hearts. I know they will heal. It just takes time.

Today we took a 6 hour train ride to the capital city to get ready for our embassy appointments and coming home! The train was oh so much fun lol. 6 hours in a compartment with a drama queen 7 year old, a busy busy 1 year old, 2 3 year old newly adopted kids who have just discovered that they can go potty whenever they ask, and a sleep deprived husband...we made it. That's about all I can say. Eli is the only one who bled (small injury-all is ok) and we are safely in our new apartment and napping now so it is all ok.

I forgot to mention our grand adventure on gotcha day. Anna Faith and Eli managed to lock themselves in a room at our apartment. Michael couldn't get in, so we called our landlord who came and struggled and after about an hour stuck and a whole door dismantled, they were finally out. These new kids must think we are completely crazy. I imagine it is a bit Alice in Wonderland for them.

Pray for us that our passports come back tomorrow and our embassy appointments are smooth on Tuesday and Wednesday. And pray for our travels home Thursday. So ready to get home to my 2 boys!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gotcha day is tomorrow

Please be in prayer for us all and a smooth transition as we break these kids out of the orphanage tomorrow!

First car ride

Well it is Thursday morning. Yesterday was....ummm...interesting...?! Lol! My 2 newest children had never been in a car before yesterday when we took them briefly to get their passport pictures made. I had to pick Ira Grace up and put her in as she was more than a little reluctant to get in. As we started driving, she started screaming. It was so cute and sad at the same time. Poor thing. There is a whole world out here she has never seen. Malachi had been ok up to this point but as she started screaming I'm frightened, he started crying and never calmed back down. About half way there she decided this was ok after all. She was still tense, but was dancing to the radio and waving at the people. Malachi was terrified!

In the passport office they did great. We had a bit of waiting to do but they were mostly content with the toys and snacks I brought. And then it was time for the car ride

Ira Grace was fine this time. She didn't want me to hold her. She was content with my arm around her and she was bouncing along to the bouncy car ride. Malachi was panicked. Even getting him into the car involved screaming. He relaxed about halfway through when the facilitator gave him to me. They both told her that they wanted momma. Love! But he still asked a million times if we were almost back. Poor little guy. The capital city is going to terrify them and oh that airplane ride home. Please be praying for their little hearts to be calm and trusting as they meet this whole new world. My Ira Grace who is taking it all in, but it is so much more than her little brain can even begin to process and my Malachi who is terrified of everything outside those concrete walls. And pray for them to get over car fear. To be fair, the driving and roads here can scare even me more than a little lol.

And then last night we had an interesting experience at the grocery store here. The store here is a bit of an adventure anyway. Most everything you want to buy can be bought unpackaged. There are bins of pasta, flour, rice, frozen veggies and meat, produce, bread, cookies, and snacks, which you scoop up, bag, weigh, and label yourself. Most of these things are also available pre-packaged as well. Anyway, we have found everything we need and have had really no problems shopping or cooking. We are used to the european selections and buying bags and their cashiers wanting correct change. Although there are some differences here than in England, the store we go to here reminds us a lot of tesco. Anyway, michael's philosophy at the store is just don't talk to anyone. That way, they have no reason to talk back and the language barrier is a non-issue. Yesterday, the sweet employees were not cooperative lol. It started with one whom I'm assuming asked us if we needed help in the stuff part of the store. After a lot of charades, I think he finally understood we don't speak the language. Then the very sweet cashier wanted me to find 5 cents so she didn't have to make change. I understood that much, but as I was digging the change out of the bag, the manager came over and there was a lot of discussion going on. We tried to tell them we didn't understand but that just led to further explanation in Russian. I understand about 5 words. That's it. Further explanation of the issue won't help lol. We were contemplating calling our translator to interpret over the phone for us but it was pretty obvious that they were not upset. All the body language and tone of voice were friendly and the cashier smiled at us several times, but we were a little concerned when we were being clearly directed to follow the manager and he had our receipt. We couldn't figure out what was wrong lol. In the long stream of words I didn't understand from the cashier I thought I had heard discount card, but I wasn't positive. After being escorted across the store to another desk, the manager told us it would be 2 minutes. We once again though about calling our translator but he came back and handed us our receipt and a discount card! I'm not entirely sure what it does or why we got it but they were so excited to give it to us, so we just told them thank you several times and acted excited and left lol. The card apparently offers discounts to several stores in the mall. Too bad we will only be here a few more days!