Monthly Archives: July 2015

When Love Has Its Way with Us {Summer Flashback}

She elbowed and writhed and pulled at my fingers which were wrapped tenderly around her arm. She shimmied with adrenaline-charged strength I’d not seen before in her, determined not to know the intimacy of my hold or to hear healing words. Her body fought what it needed most.

In between her resisting my embrace and collapsing underneath it, I brushed fingers across her forehead and wiped away tears from overfull ducts. I held her head to my neck, flesh against flesh, my touch an attempt at smelling salts. I wanted to awaken her to that which was more real than her experience of years past: love.

Shame has a way of settling itself into our bones and making us believe it’s a security blanket.

And she didn’t want to release it.

Just days before, she’d told us that she thought we were sending her back after a year. Though we’ve dreamed with her about the years ahead — when she’d try different birthday cakes, and be able to ride in the front seat — and she’s even found a regular pretend role as a bride dancing with her daddy in the wedding her siblings concocted, the enemy’s words slither through her back-drop.

And, if I step back and view these moments as vignettes, separate from His story, they appear to be exactly what I’d feared about adopting an older child. (Some of you reading, considering older child adoption may feel your heart race as you read my words). But the enemy of lies fed me a lie, even in that fear.

I feared the discomfort which adopting these older children might bring to my recently-achieved placid existence.  Yet, at the same time, I prayed prayers to know Him more. It’s almost laughable now that I didn’t make the correlation: in order for me to grow in my understanding of Him, discomfort is required to produce the shedding of old skin.

Molting is often painful.

We run from the very thing through which God has ordained to align us to Him. We put baby-gates on our lives and padlocks on our hearts in hopes that we can avoid anything which hurts. We sit in the emotional kiddie-pool wearing a life-jacket.

We inhale self-protection, a path to a nice christian life that never knows the love of a fiery God who enraptures His people.

But pain grows us. Discomfort shifts our stalemate. It irritates that which was never meant to sit stable, stagnant. And it stretches us into newness. If we let Him, the pain He allows reveals new angles of His love. It changes us.

He’s reaching, wrapping, enfolding lives which subtly thrash and twist in their seeking to avoid the very discomfort that is the making of us. He’s brushing His flesh against our flesh to awaken remembrance. The scent of that same sweat which fell from the cross resuscitates. The life-nearness to Him is where we thrive.

We were made to be held. 

And the Father who knows better than we do may, first, have to break, before He can reset.

Holy alignment.

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She broke the winds of the midwestern plains which tore across our yard with her squeals. Her bike racked-up mileage as she spun the circumference of our driveway, over and over and over again. The wind was now at her back and she’d progressed from a premature adult, fending for herself, to the little girl without a care in the world. Submission was safety. Authority — another’s — gave her permission to rest.

Another of mine retells the years of her life outside our home with the same theme: no food, no water, no sleep.

There’s no rest for one who lives fatherless.

What I feared most in bringing these ones into our home — this disruption to what felt “safe”– was the very thing He had ordained to bring forth a further “yes” with our lives to His leadership.

Hardship advances us if we let it. This moment you’re bucking up under, could it be the very irritant He’s allowing to answer your prayer for more?

I’m that little girl, just like her. We’ve both been molting. My defenses aren’t strong enough to resist His loving grip. My ponytail is whipping in the wind as I ride, fearless. And we laugh, me and Nate, at the hunger for Him I can’t quite quench underneath this little life which seems to say there’s no room for anything more than laundry and dishes and kissing ouchies. Eight months post-adoption, four kids in two years, a laundry-pile unending and dust bunnies that keep multiplying … and I am resting in HimHe that good that I can find Him, even here and now in this chaos.

When we stop trudging against His tide and say yes to what He is doing in the pain of stretching, we coalesce to a Leadership meant to make us soar, over and above all these circumstances.

Now to move from conversation to reality …

Do you have a circumstance which just won’t relent? Take a break from praying the singular prayer for it to end (or rest from rebuking the enemy, if you’ve taken this route), and sit on His lap. Ask Him what side of His nature He’s seeking to reveal to you. Open His Word and receive a new perspective on that same old itch and ache.

Moving forward: when you have the urge to cry uncle, to complain, to live in that place of discontent you’ve grown to know well, take captive each of those moments and adore. Our over-arching perspectives are won in the minute-by-minute eye-shifts.

Make a practice of replacing your heart of frustration with words of adoration and start with this moment.  Adoration takes our prayers from one-dimensional, one-sided requests, and makes them fuel for engaging with God as multi-dimensional over the circumstances of our lives.

Have you hit a stalemate in your heart’s communion? I’ve grown to believe almost all “lack of connection to Him” rests in a wall we’ve built for ourselves, knowing or not. He doesn’t barricade (His cross tore that down), but the lies we believe and the wounds that forged them – even from years past– they do.

Take some time. Sit with your molekine journal and ask Him to reveal the wound, the heart-pain, which stands between you and Him.  Let Him make you a little girl again, needing a daddy to kiss her ouchie. When He surfaces that wound, the old memory or the lie onto which you’ve somehow latched, ask Him where He was when it happened and for a piece of His Word about it and for His whisper to put in place of that hurt. 

Write it all down, this exchange: the wound, the image of where He was in that still-frame of your past-now-made-live, and His new Word over that old place. You may need to be reminded.

(This may take some time. Old wounds — or, if you are new at this, at least the first ones we begin to identify — die hard.)

But these wounds are holy opportunity. Some of my greatest moments of communing with God have come from taking an old, old hurt which turned into a rancid lie, placing it at His feet, and walking forward with His new Word over that part of my story.

And once we’ve gotten comfortable tilling the soil of those old wounds, when a new hurt comes — a terse word from a friend or a demotion when you expected promotion — it’s easy to take that hurt right up to Him.

He is always regenerating.

Photos compliments of Mandie Joy.

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Sara Hagerty HeadshotSara is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the ocean to Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. Her book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet released October 7, 2014 via Zondervan, is an invitation — back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for you—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where even the most bitter things become sweet.  She writes regularly at EveryBitterThingIsSweet.com.

One step forward, two steps back . . . the attachment roller coaster

 

I love my sweet girl.
 
I love the sound of her laughter.
 
I love it when her face breaks into a smile.
 

I love hearing her precious little voice sing and prattle endlessly.

 
I love lying beside her as she falls asleep, looking at me with droopy eyes, whispering, “wo ai ni”. 
 
I love you too, dearest one.
I hate seeing fear in her eyes. 
 
I hate that she can’t quite comprehend yet that we are her forever home. No one will ever take her away. But in time and by God’s grace she will understand. 
 
Some days are good, some days are bad. 
 
Some days are easy, some days are hard.
 
Right now, I am her safety blanket. 
 
Am I tired most of the time? 
 




Of course, but just to see her smile when I enter the room makes my heart melt and the weariness fall away. 
 
Sometimes my wrist tendinitis flares up from holding her all the time, but I don’t care.  I cherish every minute holding her. I missed out on so many. 
 
She is a precious gift from God and we are so grateful that God choose to let us walk with her during this time. 
 
She grows in leaps and bounds each day. She parrots our English phrases with astonishingly excellent diction and she learns the meaning of new English words daily, but without Anthony, we would be even more lost in the sea of miscommunication. 
 
As her two month anniversary with us approaches, I am amazed at her progress. She is right where she should be. She is learning to trust, rest and relax in our love. 
One day soon, I pray she will know and comprehend the love of Father in heaven. He has great plans for her. I can’t wait to see them unfold. 

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Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for 5 years, God led Suzanne and her husband Adam to His Plan A for their lives—adoption! Their daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives in 2011 from the Fujian Province, China. Their son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family in January of 2013 from Shanghai, and Eva Hanting just joined their family in May from the Hunan Province. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates instructor while home schooling their children and working as a part of the WAGI leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

 

Our Weighted Blanket {Summer Flashback}

Stephen and I were not as prepared as we thought we were for parenting our new children. Truthfully, we thought we had this parenting gig down. We didn’t know that our adopted treasures would need something different from us. But, as with many of us who adopted before all the trauma and adoption education was so wide-spread, we figured it out pretty quickly! Yikes!

Our first clue came in those early days after coming home from Russia with our new son and daughter. Huge HUGE transitions for us all! We were constantly asking the question, “Is this behavior adoption related? (We didn’t even know to ask if was trauma related!) Or is this normal for this child? Or maybe it’s just the stress of travel and jet lag, or frustration at not being understood, or…..?”

It reminded me of caring for our three newborns, actually. “Is she crying because she’s hungry? Tired? Needs a diaper change? Sick?…..” But, our children who came home to us through adoption were older, years beyond diapers and midnight bottle feedings.

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Once the honeymoon stage was over, the rages began. It became clear that our son’s fits were actually not fits at all. There was an intensity, a deep place of anger and fear, that I soon realized was more like rage than any childhood fit I had ever seen.

I remember times when I would literally lay the weight of my body over my son’s raging little form– praying that he would know that he was safe, desiring that my embrace would keep him from hurting me or himself, hoping that maybe the strong physical presence of his loving mother would somehow communicate to him that no anger need ever overcome him, that peace would replace fear. The weight of my love was the beginning of the miraculous process of displacement that is adoption.

Whirling fear is displaced with love

Raging anger with an anchored peace

Dark hopelessness with a bright future

Over the years I have found that the trauma my son experienced before he came home requires this action of displacement quite often. Like a weighted blanket, I still cover him. Of course, I don’t cover him with my body any more for he has grown into a strong young man, but with my love, through prayer and words of hope.

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 It is so clear to me that as surely as my husband and I are creating a legacy of love and security and hope for our children, that there exists also an orphan legacy–things handed down to a child from a past marred by relinquishment, fear and lack. But in those long moments of struggle with my son, and all through the years when the legacy of fear would burst to the surface despite the weight of our love, I have known that when God’s peace rules, the orphan legacy is nullified. It must make way for life-giving peace.For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)And it has not stayed hidden from me for long that I am not so unlike my son. His trauma has traumatized me. His pain has become my pain.And I am desperately in need of the weighted blanket of my Father’s love.

And I must choose, once again, to allow His legacy of love, peace and hope, displace my fears and heal my wounds.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

Let the Grief Begin {Summer Flashback}

“When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal? Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort, it’s storming the gates of hell.”
–Mark Batterson

Let the Grief beginWe have been home almost exactly two months. It’s kind of funny how I let myself think that since some issues haven’t surfaced yet—they are not going to. Not! I have seen grief this week, like never before. I was not expecting it, yet somehow I felt prepared for this moment and did not react negatively when the grief was displayed in a manner directed towards me. Emotions erupted over small issues that could have easily been mistaken for something other than grief. Thankfully the Lord has given me the discernment to see beneath the surface of these outbursts.

My response? I did not take an ounce of this personally. I let the emotions purge from a broken heart and sat, just sat (almost silent). I was determined that I would not shrink back in fear of what I was seeing. I sat for hours, watching as ugly outbursts erupted like a volcano. Words and feelings were often directed towards me, as if somehow I was responsible for the pain, yet I could see that I was just a safe place to let it all out.

This is one of those posts that well, might seem like too much information. Still, I share it because for those praying us through you can know exactly what we need and for those who are in the same place or who will be soon, it’s good to be prepared for the grief.

You see as beautiful as adoption is—it is also very ugly.

In order for us to have the privilege of adoption there had to be great loss for our children. This is the part of adoption that tends to be glossed over when we talk about going across the world to become a father (and mother) to the fatherless. It all seems so wonderful and good that surely it should be easy right? They will see just how much we have done for them and wake up every day and thank us from the bottom of their hearts. Only they cannot. They cannot thank us for security when they cannot begin to understand what security is. They cannot begin to trust when their trust has been repeatedly broken.

This is the part of the journey that I had prepared for and understood fully that I would never really be able to prepare for it. I recognize that this is just the beginning. There is more to come, I am certain of it. So, what then? I can fear this grief or trust that the tears, the anger, and the hurt are the path to healing.

Pain precedes comfort. It’s part of the process. It’s the step where the hurt is purged making way for the comfort.

So often when hurts come we don’t want comfort—what we really want is to be comfortable. There is a difference. Comfortable is the state of ease, but God does not promise us that. In fact, he offers us the opposite, “in this world you will have trouble.” When we are grieving, the process of healing comes through feeling the pain. It literally hurts. Comfort comes as we are strengthened through our pain, not necessarily out of it.

So, as I sat yesterday, waiting and watching the torment of emotions purging from my child, I was helpless to remove the pain, but I could be present hoping that in some way it would offer some small comfort in that not-so-comfortable place.

Though I cannot change the circumstances, remove the hurt or even begin to fully understand the pain—at least I can be present. Having a mom to be present in the midst of hurt is something new for these little ones. It is what I have to offer. So I bring it, praying my actions will point towards my comforter—Jesus.

Grief hurts. It hurts to watch and it definitely hurts to experience.

Though I cannot fix it, I am reminded that in the moment when I love my children despite their unlovable behavior, I am the tangible evidence of God’s unconditional love. What better way to teach them about the gospel? After all, unless I live out the gospel message in the day-to-day moments, it remains just a story in a book; but faith lived changes hearts.

I pray that God would strengthen me to be faithful in this journey.

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Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over ten weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.

Help bring some happy to Caitlyn’s birthday

Friend, let us introduce you to someone. She loves to read, eat ice cream, explore the great outdoors, watch movies with buttered popcorn, ride her bike, read, and read some more. She’s full of energy and is loving every bit of summertime.

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Her name is Caitlyn, and she’s really cute…especially with some missing teeth, right?

She turns 8 in 10 days on July 23rd. While most girls 8 minus 10 days old are all about icing designs, balloons, and all that comes with that, Caitlyn’s not really there.

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4 months ago, Jesus called Caitlyn’s little sister Avery into His forever arms. Everyday since that day has been hard as she experiences all the firsts she must experience without the baby sister she thought she’d grow up with. Her next birthday in 10 days is one of those firsts.

Her mama, who is grieving as she faces all her own firsts, has put out a special request. With her permission, we are sharing it here with all of you.

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Wanna help bring some happy to Caitlyn’s birthday? Send TSF an email by clicking on these words. We’ll make sure you get their mailing address. Let’s show this mama and this big sister and her daddy too that they are so very loved.

happy 8th bday Caitlyn

Your permission slip

When I asked you how things were going, you started to cry. Through your tears, you told me how great your new son’s eye contact is, how he likes to be held, how he lets you know what he wants. You told me how everything is really so good, so much better than you were prepared for. But, you were still crying when you said that.

I imagine you were your social worker’s dream family. You dotted all your Is and crossed all your Ts. Not only was every form filled out completely and perfectly, but you didn’t fuss about any of the training required. You were your agency’s star student, soaking up every minute of every training with paper and pen in hand, taking notes lest you forget something. Every recommended book is now part of your library with broken bindings and yellow highlights throughout. You can channel your inner Dan Siegel and Karyn Purvis and explain the attachment cycle and define time-ins to any captive audience. You’re it—the well-prepared, ready-to-go adoptive mom equipped with a full holster of every attachment-building tool there is.

And, then you adopted your son.

You remind me a little of that friend we all have, the one who went to Lamaze classes or the like and somehow heard the message—or simply chose to hear it—that if you learn all the breathing tricks and positions that labor and delivery would be relatively painless, that somehow her own learned skills and oxygen-inhaling prowess would trump the reality of biology.

Yeah…it doesn’t that work that way.

Here’s what just happened. You and your husband, quite comfortable and relatively confident in your parenthood experience to the one biological child you already had, grew your family again. That’s always hard. And, since you did that through this incredible adventure of adoption, you multiplied that hard exponentially. While it’s normal for a mom to feel overwhelmed and tired and totally consumed by her new child who needs her all the time, you feel all that and your new child is not a sleepy infant and your child doesn’t understand English and you are scared to death that all the anxiety and growing sense of oxygen-inhaling failure on your part is going to break down whatever foundations of attachment have been built and that your adoption fund is going to be replaced by a therapy fund to pay for all the additional trauma you are going to bring into your child’s life.

{take a deep breath right about….now}

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All those rules and tools you’ve studied and prepped for—the babywearing, the cosleeping, the skin-to-skin contact, the commitment to be the only one to meet his every need, the keeping him within several feet at all times, the cocooning, the intentional regression—they are not the end all; rather, they are the means to an end with that end being relationship. That’s the most important thing. If those good rules and tools are so binding to you right now that they are actually hindering relationship, you have the permission to step away from the books and the blogs and the webinars and experience freedom as the mother God’s called you to be to your son. It’s not forever, but for now, find what it is that you need whether that is grocery store runs sans anyone under 3 feet tall, a break to go have coffee with a friend one afternoon, going back to your weekly women’s group with a sitter in your friend’s basement, or something else entirely different. Find what it is that you need so that you can get on track with building a relationship with your son rather than falling into a pattern of going through the motions that you think you need to do but growing seeds in you of fear, questions, and resentment—all of which are enemies to relationship.

Friend, this is hard, yes. But, you can do hard; you were made for hard. You are exactly what your son and your daughter need right now—in your frailty, in your weakness, in your tears.

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Kelly-NHBO1-150x150

Kelly has a passion for supporting adoptive families, specifically to encourage parents to be intentional and understand their own hearts more clearly as they seek to care for their hearts of their children. Kelly cofounded The Sparrow Fund with her husband Mark in 2011 to serve adoptive families. After a long time using her Master’s degree in counseling informally, Kelly recently joined the team at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA. Married to Mark since 1998, they have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been changed by the experience of adoption, and what life for them looks like on Kelly’s personal blog, My Overthinking.

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Adoption is my Jericho {Summer Flashback}

As I sat in church this morning listening to a lesson on Joshua chapters 5 and 6, God grabbed my heart.

We are in the middle of our third adoption. A calling from God, yes. A child chosen for us by Him, absolutely! But even in the midst of this clearly directed path by God, I needed a heart check. Sometimes He needs to step in and remind us that it is ALL about Him. Even when we are doing something He has asked us to do, our flesh can step in and take our focus off of Him.

Travel with me back to Canaan.  After 40 years of wandering in the desert God’s people are ready to enter their promised land, but there were obstacles in the way…… big obstacles, physical as well as spiritual. Big walls and armies as well as seeds of doubt and fear.

Joshua was a man of God. He was appointed by God to be the leader of His people. Yet, even as he stepped out in faith to lead his people into battle, God stepped in to check Joshua’s faith and trust in Him and His plan over their plan. Are Joshua and the Israelites truly ready to step out in complete faith, no matter what, even if it seemed a little crazy?

“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15, NASB)

When God calls us to step out in faith, it is not always easy and sometimes it doesn’t even make sense, but that is what makes God God and us not! Let’s consider God’s plan for the Israelites to defeat Jericho.

“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’’ (Joshua 6:2-5, NIV)

How CRAZY AMAZING was God’s victory plan over Jericho! He asked them to do something from a human military perspective that made absolutely no sense, so that there would be absolutely no question that victory was the Lord’s!

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Adoption is my promised land, but initially, there were obstacles in the way. Big obstacles embedded deep in my heart.

I had plans……normal earthly plans. Plans for red headed, freckled children, but God had other plans.

CRAZY AMAZING PLANS! Once I accepted God’s plan I went full steam ahead doing all I could to make it happen, and sometimes getting frustrated when things didn’t happen according to my schedule. How easy it is to forget that this isn’t my plan. It’s God’s PLAN! A plan to bring glory to His name, not mine.

Adoption is also my Jericho. His timing is perfect, and many times throughout our adoption journey, He has done CRAZY AMAZING things that could only be attributed to Him. Sometimes He whispers and sometimes He shouts, “Remember, I am the Lord, Suzanne. You are standing on holy ground.”

So let us shout at the top of our lungs like the Israelites at the Battle of Jericho as we move forward with our adoptions, knowing that our Creator and Savior is leading the charge for us and our children who are more precious to Him than we could ever fathom.

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Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for 5 years, God led Suzanne and her husband Adam to His Plan A for their lives—adoption! Their daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives in 2011 from the Fujian Province, China. Their son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family in January of 2013 from Shanghai, and Eva Hanting just joined their family in May from the Hunan Province. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates instructor while home schooling their children and working as a part of the WAGI leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

 

6 Months

I’ve experienced a lot of difficult things over the last several months.  The most difficult of my life.  My Daddy’s passing weighs heavy on me every day still, 5 months later.  So much pain and loss.  So much heartbreak.

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But this boy.  This precious boy who we said yes to and who is our son.  He has redeemed a lot of the hardships.  I will admit that the days aren’t always easy.  We aren’t living a fairytale.  But my goodness, he is special.  My heart bursts with love for him.  He is lovely and joyful and funny and goofy and stubborn and even a little bossy sometimes.  He absolutely loves life and delights in everything.  He gives me hugs and kisses all day long.  He says “I yaaaa yew” more times than I can count in a day.  He smiles.  He laughs.  He plays.  He is learning to communicate his needs.  He is learning that we will always come for him.  He is learning his place in our family.  He is learning how to love and how to be loved.  He has grown in unbelievable ways.

As I rocked him to sleep tonight, I just stared at him.  I ran my fingers over his forehead, through his hair, and over the outside of his ear as he drifted off to sleep.  I watched his sweet little eyelashes bat up and down until they eventually stopped moving.  He laid asleep in my lap as I reflected on the little person he is becoming, simply in awe of all that the Father has done in this boy’s life.

He’s been in our arms for 6 months.

Six months.  It hardly seems real.

In that Guangzhou Civil Affairs office, our lives changed forever six months ago.  I fell in love the minute I laid eyes on him.  He instantly became a son and brother; an orphan no longer.  I became a mama for the fourth time.  My husband became a new daddy all over again.  And our older three children gained a new brother.

We are forever bonded together as a family.  And with that bond, my prayer is that his many losses will be redeemed.  Not forgotten.  But redeemed.  He experienced so much heartache in his three years.  But in the short 6 months he’s been our son, he has already given us so much.  I hope that we can give the same to him.  Life is a little more complicated, but oh so much sweeter.  The days feel a little longer, but they are God-given.  I’m a little more exhausted each day, but they are beautiful.  And we are in this thing called life together.  No matter what.

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NicoleNicole is a daughter to the King and a wife to an amazing man. She is a classical homeschooling mama to four, by birth and adoption. She is a part-time newborn photographer, a founder and adoption photographer at Red Thread Sessions, a board member of The Sparrow Fund and an advocate of orphan care and adoption. When she’s not with her family or behind her camera, she loves to blog, create, give life to old furniture, spend time at the beach and read. She strives to live her life to glorify our Heavenly Father.  With His love, all things are possible.