Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Samuel is probably the hardest of the kids to write about and this is mostly because he has had the hardest time. It has been devastating watching my deep, thoughtful little boy wrestle with grief. He still has days where he is so consumed with it, or with anger, that he just can't pull it together. We are so thankful for the Amelia center and all the help that they have offered him, but this will be something he struggles with his entire life. He just misses her. His only wish is for her to come back and he can't process that this won't happen.

In the beginning , he was so desperate to be with her that we we were worried he would find ways to send himself to heaven. We are less worried about that these days, but he still has that longing. We all do.

Samuel is my ponderer. He is still and thoughtful. He is quiet, but when he speaks, it is usually profound. He always surprises me with the things he comes up with and the things he is thinking about. Ask anyone that has spent one on one time with him, and you will hear what a character he is. But you have to listen for it. You have to wait for it. It is easy to miss.

He is also a cuddler. That boy can not get enough of snuggles and love. He will quite happily climb in anyone's lap for a snuggle and he hugs everyone. I love his heart. He is very sensitive to other's emotions. I think because he moves slower and is super observant, he just catches more.

I thought his age would protect him with losing Abigail, but I was mistaken. No, he is far too bright for his own good. His intelligence has made him very aware of all that happened that day, and his deep nature has left him pondering it again and again.

He is doing very well with his new siblings. He was the only of the 4 children at home that did not get to travel with us in the adoption, and that was hard on him. When we first arrived home, he had a hard time wanting our time and attention, which was in short supply trying to get new kids adjusted. But after those first couple of weeks, he was getting caught up with lots and lots and lots of touch and the newbies were adapting. He is learning to play with them and is super proud and protective of them. He loves sharing a room with Malachi.

But his favorite always has been Anna Faith. He would move mountains for her. Their relationship is so incredibly special. I love that they have each other. He always stands up for her.

Samuel is a special, unique kid. Please continue to pray for him and his daily struggles with grief.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anna Faith

My oldest daughter is a little momma. She knows how things work and is capable of running this house without me I think, lol. She is my helper in all things-because she wants to be. She likes to be in charge. Before I am fully awake, she will have 3 little people dressed and fed. She blows me away.

We haven't always had the best relationship. In fact, I would say, before losing Abigail, we would butt heads more often than had a conversation. She is incredibly strong willed and so am I. It can cause tension. But grief has a strange way of smoothing out those bumps. Anna Faith has gone through heavy grief and trauma at losing her sister. She has been torn down in ways no little girl should have to be. She still struggles with anxiety and fear of losing another sibling. And oh, how she misses her sister.

One of my best memories of those 2 girls is the morning I woke up and found them decked out head to toe in princess gear-sashes, crowns, jewelry galore-each holding a microphone, having a concert and dance party to taylor swift songs. I cling to that memory. Anna Faith and Abigail had struggled to find common ground at first, but that morning, my heart was so warm that they were finally clicking. They were finally the sisters I had prayed they would be. To watch Anna Faith lose that is equally heavy with my own loss.

She is a fighter though, my stoic one. She feels deeply, but doesn't let most see that side of her. I have held her weeping so many times over the last year. I know those depths of loss. But she goes on. She embraces her new siblings with a passion I wouldn't have expected from her before wrestling with grief. She nurtures and loves, and expects nothing in return from those 2 and her youngest brother.

We were also blessed to bring her with us on the second half of our adoption trip. She still has moments of crying for those left behind. I know the experience will shape her the rest of her life. I pray that she never forgets. That she remembers the desperation and the need. That she acts.

On of my biggest worries the first few months after losing Abigail was that Anna Faith and Samuel's relationship seemed to have
disappeared. Before, they were inseparable. They didn't know how to be apart. But the pain is very isolating. Now, however, they are back to being best friends. They adore each other and have the best time. They are a pair. As they get older, that relationship will change, but so far it is growing right along with them.

Samuel soon...and then the ones you are waiting on, our newbies...


I told you I would update you on the kids so here we go. I'm going to start with the oldest and go down. Nathan is my soon to be 14 year old first born. He was Abigail's best friend and protector. Basically she told him what she wanted, and then he did it. No questions asked. He was more than happy to be wrapped right around that little finger. I had thought he wouldn't be very interested in her when she was born. How many 10 year old boys spend much time with their baby sisters? But I was so wrong. She lit up his world from the first day. I don't think there is anything he wouldn't do for her and she knew it. It was a mutual affection.

Losing Abigail has crushed Nathan and has been so painful to watch. But God has used that tragedy to shape him into a young man. Did Nathan need to go through grief to become the mature young teen he is? Of course not. But it would have been so easy for him to become bitter, resentful, rebellious, angry. I struggle with those things myself. Instead, he has shown maturity and strength I didn't know he had, and maybe he didn't know either. He aches for her. He is lost without her bossing him, but he is letting his pain shape him into a thoughtful, strong young man. What a daddy he will be one day!

We were blessed to have Nathan with us during the first half of our adoption trip. He witnessed a new culture, poverty and wealth, and historical struggle, but most importantly, he was able to look into the face of hopelessness and see God bring hope. He saw into the belly of the orphanage and the desperation in those children's eyes, and he has watched our 2 come alive in a family. I pray that the things he saw will never leave him. That they will shape him just as grief has. That one day, he will do his part to make a difference in those little lives. He truly has such a heart for those children. I pray he never gets caught up in this world, as it is so easy to do as a teenager in our culture. What a battle he faces!

He adores his newest siblings. He is the first to jump at any chance to help with them or play with them. At first, they were a little afraid of him, and that was hard. He is so used to children just loving him. He is learning about being patient and loving and sacrificing and caring for someone with no affection returned. He is learning to give of himself without the reward of even a smile. What a beautiful, but so hard, lesson. But now, at 2 months home, I can honestly say those 2 children adore him as much as his bio siblings. They have learned that he is always up for playing, and he will keep them safe. They are learning to trust him, and he is learning to be patient with them. In a couple of more months, I imagine he will be wrapped around their little fingers as fully as he is wrapped around Abigail's. Does this make losing Abigail any easier? Definitely not. He will ache for her the rest of his life. But my prayer for him is that he becomes an active person in response. That he allows God to do a work in him and instead of curling up and giving up, which would be so easy, that he focusing on and points others to what is right and true.

I love you my first born. You taught me what a joy this thing called motherhood really is. I will be thankful every day of my life for you. Even on those days you drive me crazy. I can't wait to see where life takes you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bad blogger

It has been too long since I last posted. Sorry about that! I've been lazy, and a little busy, lol. Things continue to go crazy well here. I know you want a full update so I am going to work this week on getting caught up (with pics!). But for now...

Today we walked for Abigail. I can't express how much I love having the baby steps 5k memorial walk. It feels good to DO something to actively remember her. We are so blessed with good friends who will get up early with us on a Saturday morning to walk or run in this heat. Thank you.

Homeschool starts back the week after next for us. I can't wait. Yes-a little terrified by the thought of teaching 8th, 3rd, 1st, 2 preschoolers, and a 1 year old-but I am just so thankful that I will have them home and we can learn together. And the chaos of summer will settle down into the routine of the school year. It is nice to break, but good to get back to work.

The kids are thriving. I never imagined they could so smoothly transition into our home. No, it isn't always easy or perfect, but it is good. They are learning English so fast, learning boundaries, how to be big siblings and little siblings, how to swim, how to play with toys, and most importantly how love works. They are learning empathy and how to share. They are thriving! They are such blessings here. More about each of the soon.

I have been told by parents ahead of me on this grief walk that the second year is harder than the first. I get that. The pain is just as fresh and real to me today as it was last year, but the world around you spins on and people forget. It is so important to us to not gloss over her. She is real and a part of us. Meeting new people is impossibly hard and I probably scare most of them away, but I'm not leaving her out. She is my treasured daughter, just like my daughters you can see. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to grieve and plod through this life while longing for our future reunion with every breath we take.