Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care {Summer Rewind}

It was a Wednesday. We received a call from our foster care agency at 3:30 in the afternoon – a newborn baby girl had been taken into custody by Child Protective Services at the hospital and was in need of placement. “Are you interested?”, they asked. Of course we are.

By 7:30 that evening they were at our front door, holding a tragically fragile little girl who needed a home to live in and a family to love her.

It was the best and worst day of her life.

She was wholly unaware of all that had transpired in her short 3-day life. Tragedy, abuse and brokenness brought her to our front door. Hope, love and healing welcomed her in. While we celebrated the opportunity to care for her, we also ached over the reality that someone had put her in a position of needing to be protected in the first place. Two years later, it’s now our joy to call her our daughter and to hear her call us her Momma and Dadda; it’s also our heartache that any of this ever had to happen in the first place.

EQUAL PARTS GOOD AND BAD

Everything…everything about foster care is equal parts good and bad, joy and sorrow, beauty and brokenness. It’s a good day when a child is placed in your home. It represents safety, security and an opportunity for a child to be loved and cared for in a way they likely would not have had available to them otherwise. It’s indeed a good day when a child is placed in your home – it’s also a really bad day. It’s a day marked by hurt and brokenness, that while so much gain has been made available to a child, it’s ultimately loss that has led them to that point. Generational cycles of brokenness within families have perpetuated themselves now into the lives of the next generation – abuse, neglect and abandonment have become a part of their stories. They didn’t ask for this, it was unjustly handed to them by those who were most responsible to protect them from the very things they’ve now been harmed by.

While the opportunity to love these kids is good, no doubt the circumstances that brought them to us are probably very, very bad. This is where the call to foster care begins, what it exposes us to and the perspective it demands we keep in order to rightly and lovingly care for vulnerable kids.

THEIR TRAGEDY OVER OUR EAGERNESS

As excited as we may be about fostering kids, they certainly aren’t excited about being foster kids. Our personal sense of excitement does not drive our efforts. Their personal tragedy does. Heartache does. A desire to see good come out of bad does. A willingness to embrace what is broken and do whatever it takes to bring healing does.

Celebrate the opportunity to open your homes to kids in need, knowing that if it be for just a few days or an entire lifetime, you’ve been given the unique opportunity to offer them something special – love. Yet at the same time, never let your excitement about being involved in foster care be separated from the heartache you feel over the tragic reality that something like foster care even has to exist in the first place.

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jason johnsonJason Johnson is the husband to Emily, a dad to four girls (youngest adopted in 2013), a pastor for 13 years, a former church planter and now the Church Engagement Officer and creator of the ALL IN Orphan Care Church & Ministry Campaign with the Arrow Foundation—an organization committed to equipping, resourcing, and mobilizing the Church to help kids and strengthen families around the country. You can follow his ministry at Jasonjohnsonblog.com and find this post originally published on that blog here.

Nothing is Wasted

Although few people would speak the words out loud, sometimes adoptive mamas, who didn’t grow their child in their womb for nine months, who didn’t labor and physically deliver their child, are looked at as less than a mother. Sometimes they do not receive the same support, celebrations, empathy and understanding as the mamas who have children the “traditional” way. But the reality is that all of us mamas, regardless of how we came into this title, need help, support, love, and empathy.

I think for many of us moms who have adopted, we have had to fight so hard for our child, we have had to answer so many questions, we have had to battle through emotionally grueling months. Some of us have suffered infertility. Many of us have faced judgments and criticism, and because of this, we feel like we can share nothing less than a perfect picture of the inside of adoption with the outside world – less we get more judgments and criticism thrown our way. We feel as though we are not allowed to feel anything short of extreme gratitude and joy.

I was there. I was right there.

And it led to something that is hidden, dark, and not talked about very much. It led to post-adoption depression. It is such an ugly word – it is misunderstood, it is ignored, glossed over, and it is shrouded in so much shame, but today I am bringing it to light. I am giving voice to this, and I am admitting my own weakness, because despite believing a lie for a long time, I no longer believe that I am alone in this. I instead believe that there are many of us out there, suffering alone, feeling ashamed and isolated.

Today, although my hands are literally shaking, I am sharing brushstrokes of my story with you, because it just might be your story, too. For too long, I was so desperate for someone to tell me that I was not alone. You, dear sister, are not alone.

We went through grueling months becoming educated to adopt, completing paperwork, going through intense background checks, etc. Every area of our life was picked through with a fine-toothed comb. We jumped through all of the hoops, and we were “approved” as parents. And that’s a lot to live up to. I came home from Ethiopia with a beautiful 15 month old son. He was amazing and more than we dreamed he would be. But we left behind his birth country and his culture, and we knew that this little baby carried with him more loss and trauma than we could comprehend. We left behind a country and people that had destroyed our hearts, and we left behind another son who we knew was supposed to be inside our family. That alone was debilitating – trying to parent three children here and one there. Those things alone changed me. I saw and experienced things in Ethiopia that I was not prepared for. I was exposed to a world that I knew nothing about – poverty, death, starvation, disease, ugliness. My emotions were all over the place, I struggled with guilt, anger, self-righteousness, and heavy, heavy sadness. I came home with a child who needed me in a way that I had never been needed before. We only knew one diagnosis at the time, and we had little to work with. Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity inside our home for those first months. I poured my life out in an effort to make our sweet Jamesy feel secure, loved, and wanted.

And while I was pouring my life out, life didn’t just stop and wait for me to catch a breath.

The dust settled, and all around us people moved on from the airport homecoming, and life returned to normal for them. And we, in an effort to bond and attach and help Jamesy heal, isolated ourselves for weeks. I do not regret it, it needed to happen for his sake, but it took a toll on me. I didn’t quite recognize my life anymore. Nothing was the same. I was seeing the world with different eyes, my heart was so bruised, I was exhausted in a way I had never been before, and our family was completely changed. Things were hard. I loved my boy fiercely from the beginning, but his needs were so consuming.

I remember many nights where after rocking Jamesy for literally hours, only to have him scream with terror as soon as I laid him in bed and had to start again, and after missing again the nighttime ritual for my other two children, I would lay on my bed and sob feeling so guilty as I whispered to God This is what I was fighting so hard for? I remember nearly choking on cries as I cleaned up vomit again – sometimes for the third or fourth time in a day. I remember looking at Cadi and Scotty and feeling such sorrow and so much guilt for not being able to be the mommy to them that I used to be – I had no energy. I was exhausted, but I never slept. I was a shell of who I once was. I was distracted, irritable, unmotivated, and sad. I was so sad. I felt worthless as a mom, as a friend, as a wife. There was so much guilt on my shoulders. But I was good at faking it, because that is what I felt like everyone was expecting from me. I was scared that if I told the truth, then I would get slapped with an “I told you so”, and I just knew that would have been my breaking point.

We followed God in adoption. I have no doubt that He led us to Ethiopia, and to Jamesy. I regret none of it. But I do regret not asking for more help, not allowing people inside the pain, and not being honest with the ugliness that we were dealing with. I thought that because I had wanted this so badly that I had to be the perfect mom, and that had debilitating consequences. We hit the ground running, and I was running on empty.

Slowly God has been healing me. I finally communicated my post adoption depression to my husband this summer. I believe giving voice to my struggles began the healing process. I found other adoptive moms who were struggling with the same, and knowing that I was not alone lifted some of the isolation. This has been a long, dark road, BUT these past three years have not all been dark. I think that is a misunderstanding with depression as well. It has not all been fake. I have felt intense joy, peace, and purpose in my life. There were smiles, cuddles, and memories made. I have loved big and received love in return. I have cherished moments with each of my children, and my marriage is strong. I have laughed and danced and lived. I have seen more of Jesus and needed Him more than any other time in my life. I have been at His feet over and over again. There has been more of Jesus and less of me, and His strength has been magnified in my weakness. I believe He chose me because of my weakness. He is still working on me, and I still have dark days. But morning is coming! I can see the sun rising, and it is warm and beautiful and beckoning me out of the dark.

I am not defined by this, and even this serves a purpose and will not be wasted. God is making something beautifully new with this broken mess. I trust that – even when it hurts and is hard. God is busy, even now, redeeming this. The same is true for you. This is my story, and I pray that it brings mercy to someone else’s story. I know this is a strange story to share for National Adoption/Orphan care month, but today rather than advocating for the orphan, I feel led to advocate for you – the adoptive mama who is hiding in shame. Dear sister, I see you.

[If you are struggling with any kind of depression, I encourage you to please seek professional medical and emotional help.]

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darlings-106Tiffany has been married to Jim for almost 12 years. They are blessed to be mommy and daddy to 4 children. In 2010 God opened their eyes to orphan care, adoption, and Africa. Their third child came into their family via Ethiopia and adoption, and at the same time they fell in love with a teenage street boy from Ethiopia. Today, they call that teenage boy, “son”, and now have two children from Ethiopia. God had bigger plans, though, and He opened their hearts to the needs of street children in a way that could not be ignored. The Darling family is preparing to move to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, early this summer to serve by reunifying and preserving families, advocating for domestic adoption inside of Ethiopia, and discipling street children into godly adults. To learn more about their ministry visit www.mercybranch.com. You can read about their adoption stories, raising a special needs child, and how they are preparing their family for a life overseas at Tiffany’s personal blog A Moment Cherished.

There May Never Be a Good Time, but Now is the Time {Summer Rewind}

9509983801_48ea3d05e7_oThis has been a busy and exhausting week.  We are hosting 2 sisters for 3 weeks at our home through Safe Families for Children.  Some days I’ve laughed and felt my heart burst at my girl’s ability to share, love them, and be welcoming.  And some days I’ve cried and felt defeated at our inability to get anywhere on time, the selfishness that emerges so quickly from the girls (and myself..ahem), and the death of our “normal routine.”  It is hard but the best kind of hard. The kind of hard that Jesus asks of us so that we know for sure with every ounce of our being that we are not self sufficient.  It has been almost one week and there have been days I was ready to say “this is just too much” but in those moments God has sustained.  I have visited a friend who is on the journey with us and has 2 of the siblings from this family as well.  I have remembered that when we come to the end of ourselves then God shows up and we cannot take credit.  And He does things better and more beautiful then we ever could.

The timing may seem crazy but as I sat in the Safe Families conference last week I felt so convicted that I always can think of a reason why right now is just not the right time.  And my reasons are pretty good ones:  I’m still feeling sick, I am almost 8th months preggers, we have two kids, we don’t have tons of extra space.  But as I examine my heart I know that those are excuses.  The truth is there is never a “great time” to serve and love and welcome in a stranger into your home because it is messy.  But yet that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do.  It is so important to Him because it costs us something, it transforms relationships, and it requires us to live in faith and not just talk about it.  It changes others but mostly it changes my selfish heart.  I read that the Bible instructs us to love, welcome, and care for the stranger over 100 times.  But yet I can always think of a reason why now is just not the best time.  I cannot recall a time in recent history when I have sat happily on my couch while perfectly behaved children played in a completely clean home while dinner cooks in the oven.  There will never be a “good time” to do this.  Our life is messy and real hospitality means inviting people into that mess and chaos and saying we love you.  We don’t love perfectly but because we are desperately loved and have received outrageous grace from our heavenly Father we gladly can extend what we can to others.  The grace we have been shown is not just nice or great it is ridiculous and life changing.  And it spills from us.

We want to support their mother in a difficult time and really show that we take seriously the command to love our neighbor as ourselves.  You see it is easy for me to think I am pretty good at that until my personal space and time is threatened.  It has been hard for us all to share our lives, our space, our stuff, and our time.  And the opportunity to do so has allowed us to loosen the grip on those things.  Anni and Evy are counting the cost with us and I am so proud of them.  Not because they perfectly share but because they are struggling through and living what it means to love others.  It has afforded us so many great chances to talk as a family and work through this all.  I am bursting with stories and it has only been a week but this morning as I was puking in the sink and thinking to myself “I just cannot do this one more day” I saw this….

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The girls getting their hair did and then Annikah brought me this….

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A note the oldest girl wrote about her time here so far (we eat a lot of fruit…be still my heart).

And I remembered that God knows best and His grace is enough.  And friends and family are supporting us in this and one will be here with pizza in an hour (crowns in heaven I tell you).  It is these things that convince me more and more we are meant to live exhausted and spent for His glory but full of abundant love and peace because of His scandalous grace.

Boasting in my weakness because that is where He is shown to be strong.

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finalRoxanne Engstrom is a mama of 3; Annikah, Evangeline, and the newest little boy Abishai. Roxanne and her husband Jason now live in Chicago after returning from 4 years learning, loving, and living on a small island in Africa. They have a heart for adoption and supporting vulnerable families and are now back stateside after a failed adoption overseas. They are currently a Safe Family through Safe Families for Children and becoming Foster parents in the hopes of adopting. She blogs about their family’s adventures and what God is doing in their lives at www.roxengstrom.blogspot.com. She is grateful that even though the journey can be difficult God gives joy and promises abundance along the way.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

A couple of nights ago, I had a dream about Sergey. It was our first meeting, and in my dream, the time with him was tender and sweet. So, it was surprising when I woke up with this 80’s worship song running through my mind:

“The Battle Belongs To The Lord”
In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord

We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord
[repeat]

The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord

When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord

It was a surprising song, in light of my dream, but on the other hand, not so surprising, considering all of the circumstances surrounding Sergey’s adoption.

This one has been hard, my friends.

Along with the initial problem of Sergey not being allowed to come to the US for hosting, we have also encountered crazy delays, having to re-do our paperwork multiple times, and opposition almost every step of the way. At moments, it has caused us to question whether or not we were on the right path. But, as we have prayed, we have become more and more convinced that the enemy of our souls would love for us to give up on Sergey. Our Glorious Savior, on the other hand, never will (and because we love Him and long to be like Him, neither will we!).

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So that’s why, when I went to my first DHL service center to mail our dossier, and they told me that they no longer mail things DHL, I could actually begin to see the humor of the situation. And when at the second service center (in a very scary part of town), I had to literally yell above the volume of the music playing inside the building (“No. That’s okay. If you’re not sure that it will make it there, I think that I should probably go somewhere else.”), I could laugh out loud while exiting the building.

I could laugh because I know who will win this battle.
I know who already has the victory, my friends.

But, I also know that we need you. We need each one of you, our precious friends, to pray along with us. We need you to pray for Sergey, that his heart would be kept in peace and joy while he waits for us. We need you to pray for our family, that we would continue to trust in the Lord and not get discouraged by all of these crazy delays. We need you to pray against the powers of darkness, that would do everything conceivable to keep Sergey right where he is at.

We need you, dear friends.
Your prayers matter.
Thank you, for fighting this battle along with our family, and ultimately, with our Lord.
He will be victorious!

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sarah-bandimere-picDavid and Sarah have been joyfully married for almost 18 years. They have been blessed with 6 wonderful children (one homegrown son, a daughter from Ukraine and four children from China) and are waiting to travel to Ukraine for another son.  They love Jesus and are grateful that He has recently led them to the urban core of Kansas City where they are learning to give their lives away as they build His church in the inner city.  You can read more about what God is doing in their lives at http://davidandsarahb.blogspot.com.

Beauty from Ashes {Summer Rewind}

Every single adoption starts with one thing: loss. Perhaps not always on the side of the adoptive parents, but certainly always on the side of the children and birth parents. Always. That part, the beginning, the loss, cannot be ignore or glossed over.

There’s a whole lot of pain and separation and loss that happened in my children before we came along. There was nine (ish) months of growing in the womb and bonding to their mothers. There was, for one of my children, at least several weeks of bonding outside of the womb. Then there was separation and trauma and loss. Another period of adjusting to a new environment … and then we came and though we love them fiercely we were still strangers. So when we took them from their home country it was another trauma and great loss. Familiar smells and sights were gone. Their once familiar language was no longer heard. Yes, they were gaining so very much… but in order to gain they had to lose a lot.

This part of adoption breaks my heart. This part feels largely ignored by the world. Comments like, “He’s the luckiest boy in the world….” or ” she won the lottery when she got adopted by you two…” are proof of that. I understand the sentiment behind the comments, I truly do. What they mean to say is that it is such a work of God’s grace and mercy that out of such brokenness and heartache and loss could be hope, restoration, and redemption. Yes, I see that, I promise I do. But that’s not lucky or winning the lottery or getting the best deal in life. It’s beauty from ashes… but you can’t discount the ashes.

When talking about adoption we need to start in the ashes. For so many reasons I cannot be a whole, loving mother to my children without first acknowledging, examining, and being willing to dive into the loss they experienced. Out of that I get to dig and search and help them find the beauty, yes, and I am so honored to be that person who gets to stand with them. But if we ignore the loss, shove it aside and pretend it never happened and that now is all that matters, the restoration cannot begin.

There must be a balance. The temptation is to always portray adoption as all happiness, roses, rainbows, puppies, and the like. On the other hand, there is so very much hope and joy that comes with adoption. So we shouldn’t solely focus on the painful parts either. I believe when we give our picture of adoption we should not be shying away from the ashes while portraying the beauty.

After all, let’s be so thankful that our children’s stories don’t stay in the ashes… that there is so much hope and beauty and grace in them. Because isn’t that the gospel picture? Suffering, pain, loss, darkness … then dawn, redemption, restoration, hope, and completion.

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Lauren Casper

Lauren Casper

Lauren Casper is the wife of one handsome pastor, a mother of two beautiful toddlers, and worshiper of the King of Kings. She uses her voice to share her broken story of traded dreams and overwhelming redemption with the hope that others will see God’s work of restoration, healing, and grace in their own lives. Lauren is currently writing her first book about her journey through infertility and the surrender that led to adoption. She dreams big and writes with a transparent heart on her blog, http://www.laurencasper.com/.

Happy Birthday Artem Kayin

To my long awaited child,

Three years ago you broke forth on the world on the wings of the dawn. Night threatened to engulf your brand new existence but it could not because the Spirit of God himself held back that midnight tide, saying this far you may come and no farther. Every force that would threaten to undo you was pushed back and you, my child, were born into promise and light.

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In His hand, you rose. Smiling, eating, growing, and learning, becoming your tender self. When I met you, you were so fragile. Your joy easily tempered by fear. I remember your silence as we took you from your orphanage. I remember how you shut down and fell asleep in the car, just to escape it all. I remember how you pulled your brow together in worry and how you whimpered and shook when we took you to that Russian doctor for you visa exam. I remember how you stayed awake until 1am when we flew home, too scared to sleep. I remember how you sat silently in your stroller, hands folded in your lap, with a blank expression in your face.

You didn’t know. You didn’t know what was happening. You didn’t know who we were. You didn’t know who was going to take care of you or even that you didn’t have to take care of yourself. You didn’t know.

Even in the middle of your fear, we saw you shinning. We saw the proud look on your face when you met us in the orphanage with the monkey we gave you. We heard joy in your voice when you laughed, tickled under Papa’s hands. We saw the way you coyly smiled at the Russian doctor when he shook your belly and called you Baby Buddah. We recognized your mischievous smile when you tried to sneak up out of your airplane seat to play with the window shade. We saw your little mind finally finding peace between flights home as you at last lay down on a bench and fell asleep.

Since you’ve been home, over six months now, the fear and anxiety is slowly slipping away, making room for that joyful side of you to shine. You loved to be tickled and you love to laugh. You put the towel on your head after bath and shout, “Where are you???” through your giggles. When we first left our house with you, you stuck right by our sides not daring to wander even a couple feet. Now you RUN down our sidewalk to the park and yell for us to push you on the swing. You used to rock yourself to sleep and now you ask us to stay and run our fingers through your hair until your eyelids can’t stay open anymore. You used to push us away if we touched you too much and now you snuggle in as close as you can and rest your head on my shoulder when I read you a book.

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You are brave. You were scared of the bath and now you plunge your face in the water and tell us to watch while you blow bubbles. You were upset when your feet were without shoes and now you run through sandy shores in bare feet. You were scared to ask for what you needed and now you demand, “More!” a dozen times per day.

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You are my long awaited child, but you were a long-waiting child too, weren’t you?

You were rising, even still. Even without us, you were rising. I know why. It’s because even if you rise on the dawn or settle on the far side of the sea, even if you go as deep as the depths or as high as the heavens, God is there. His hand will never leave you. He knit you together in your birth mother’s womb and since your conception, all your days have been ordained for you. Your life is on purpose.

Your story is just beginning little one. Keep rising. He will lift you up.

Happy Third Birthday.

All my love,
Mama

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Jillian Burden is still adjusting to this beautiful thing called motherhood; she and her husband are parents to a son by way of a Russian adoption. While her belly might not have expanded, her heart and her faith sure grew as her family did! You can read about this soul stretching journey to parenthood on her blog.

We Look A Little Different {Summer Rewind}

We are your average, American family; dad, mom, three boys, and two dogs that are constantly causing trouble.

Except we look a weeeeeeeeee bit different.

We are actually two white folks, including one with a bunch of freckles who doesn’t tan well, plus three black boys, ranging in age from five months to 18 years old.

Ok, we’re an anomaly and we know it.  Some people think we are just plain weird. I’m okay with that.

To be honest, Brian and I really don’t care what people think of us.  The choices to form our family have quite obviously not been due to public opinion.

We didn’t plan on adding three children in one year.  We didn’t plan on adding children of all one specific race to our family.

We agreed, from the start of our marriage, that our family would include children who needed homes, stability, and love.

This year, three children entered our lives that needed just that.  They just all happen to be boys and they just happen to be black.

One through legal guardianship.  One through foster care.  One through adoption.

At this point, just one has our last name.

But don’t be mistaken, each one has our heart.

A year ago today, I wrote a post about our city and our family.  At that point, we had just welcomed our J-man into our home a few months before.

Thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr., his impact, his life, and his role in the city that we live rang especially deep in my heart last year.

Today, I can say that MLK’s words and his mission for equality bears even more weight and significance in my life.

Now, as parents of a black teenager, we have witnessed that misconception and prejudices about race are still prevalent and thriving.  The road for our boys will not be easy.

We feel a very strong burden to give them the foundation in which to navigate a world where color is often still the first thing a person sees when making a judgement on character ability.

We believe that their culture and their heritage is paramount to who they are and needs to be cultivated.

We pray that the first and foundational thing in which they identify themselves is their faith in Christ.

We envision a future for them where their relationships and community is not defined solely by their race, but instead by common values and beliefs.

We hope that one day, our son will not be feared because he is walking down the street in a grey hoodie and jeans.

We pray daily that our boys will become Godly men of integrity and honor, who do not believe anything is owed to them, but instead stand and fight for justice of those around them who cannot.

‎Brian and I know that the choices we have made to form our family won’t be accepted by everyone.

We know that we don’t have all the answers on how to raise our boys.

We are quite aware that we will make many mistakes along the way.

But we are very sure that the three boys placed in our home this past year are here because they belong in OUR FAMILY. Not just anywhere, but here, with us and our two crazy dogs.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We have faith that though we don’t know what the road with our boys looks like ahead, we are a family formed with a purpose.  And we are going to move forward and figure this out this crazy life together.

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Leslie Word

Leslie Word

 Leslie and her husband, Brian, live in Montgomery, Alabama where he is a youth pastor and she coordinates ONEfamily, an orphan care ministry. She’s a mom to five boys, some with two legs and some with four legs. All of them are amazing and usually stinky. Leslie enjoys quiet places, watching SEC football, and drinking an entire cup of coffee –  none of which happen on a regular basis. She blogs about life with her boys over www.waitingonaword.blogspot.com   

 

Tiny Steps to Victory

One of my greatest joys in life is to see my children learn new things. Some of them master new things fairly easily. Others have to overcome incredible obstacles in order to have the smallest victories.

There was a time in my life when I understood victory as being highly successful in the big things.

Win a big race.

Achieve great grades.

Quit an addiction.

Climb the corporate ladder in record time.

Win a pageant.

Beat an opponent.

But these days, I understand victory to be so much more than crossing the finish line ahead of the pack or mastering the most difficult of skills.

I see great victory in the small things. The things the old me would surely have taken for grated.

Every doctor and therapist told us that Kael would definitely learn to walk within six months of being home. No doubt about it. They were wrong!

Fifteen months down the road, our tiny little guy (who is ten years old and weighs 32 pounds) is still not walking independently.

BUT…

We see victory! HUGE victory in the baby steps that he takes.

Like standing on a balance beam for the first time (instead of putting his feet on either side).

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

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And mastering the art of cruising!

I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.

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These are the things that make me tearful.

Seeing my darling boy learning to overcome such huge obstacles.

Each little step, an unfolding miracle.

A gift.

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And one of these days, we know that he’ll be running all over the house.

But for now we’ll go at his pace and trust that our God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly MORE in his life.

And restore EVERYTHING that the locusts have eaten.

Shine, Jesus, shine!

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_MG_4340-EditAdeye is a blessed daughter of the King of Kings, wife to the most amazing man in the world and mommy to nine beautiful children. Three sons the good old fashioned way, two special needs princesses from China, two angelic treasures who have Down syndrome from Ukraine, and two amazing blessings who also have profound special needs recently adopted from Bulgaria.  We’re crazy about Jesus, learning daily about total surrender, passionate about adoption, and learning every day how to live life to the fullest with various special needs and medically fragile children.  I share my passions, my heart, my victories, my struggles, and my daily life on my blog, No Greater Joy Mom.