Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Month of Crazy!

This month we have been planning for quite a while, but in all the planning, I am not sure I could have been ready. Nathan has been working for quite some time on a film, it has always kind of been just a "maybe" then more of "it will happen" to a "REALLY big deal!" And we kind of just said, this month he makes a movie and I will have this grand adventure with our children traveling, on the road for five weeks.

Next time I suggest this someone quickly remind me that traveling with four children for five weeks is INSANE. It has been everything fun and exhausting. We started the week with a trip to Wisconsin for the fourth of July, which since I was a kid has been one of my fondest memories.

 This was followed by a week at a cabin, with my mom, grandma, sister and her family, my brother who I have not seen in about eight years and my cousin and his family. That is right, eighteen people in a cabin for a week, there was so much fun had by all. A lot of chaotic fun. We had our own summer Olympics, adults vs. kids, miniature golf, boating, fishing and lots of ice cream. Pretty much this whole vacation has involved a lot of ice cream.

The week after was spent in the Chicago area. We traveled up to Kenosha to visit friends and had sleepovers and lots of catching up. We swam, roller skated, played and wore ourselves out.

The week following is the week we are in. A visit with my sister in Michigan. We have been catching up with cousins. And plans are the zoo, swimming, an indoor play park, roller skating and trampoline jumping. We met a new friend that  is adopting a little boy from the same orphanage as us in Bulgaria. And we are planning a trip to Canada to visit friends we have not seen in years, it seems, maybe one year, but it seems like more.

We will then head back to Wisconsin until we end up back in Chicago and finally get to head home. And if you notice none of these lists of things involve sleep. Which means that there is not a lot of that going on.

I have learned things about my children this trip. Things like Verity is apparently an extrovert and thrives in new environments, she has made so many friends and is SO much fun. She is brave and loves to try whatever is new. But she also misses her home and her bed and her friends. I have learned that Anya in the midst of heartbreak is strong. Two of her best friends in Arkansas are moving before we get back. What are the odds, two dear friends, whose dads have taken jobs in Minnesota and Montana, and both will be gone before we get home. There have been tears, but also, Anya encouraged her friend who is so afraid of moving with how many friends she will make and that things will be okay, even when she is so sad to lose her friends. David has discovered a love of fishing and has turned into a fish himself, swimming every chance he gets and facing many of his fears. And Karis has worked everything in her to control herself. Her biggest struggle, and she has done a great job. They have all risen to the occasion.

All the while Nathan is working on a film, around 12 hours a day, plus prep work, and that means sometimes 15 hours with set up and take down and meetings, and he is exhausted. The film is going well and I am so proud of him and all that he does.

But when the time comes we will be ready to go home!

On the adoption front, things continue to move. Our appointment for biometrics is set, for the week we get back to Arkansas. We have something extra to do to get our apostille done in Arkansas, so our forms were sent back and we are going to have to get that done, but I found out we can drive them down and get them done that day, so I think we will do that also the week we get back. So things continue to progress, but it will be easier once we are actually in Arkansas.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Waiting and Praying and Celebrating with Hope!

I have been overwhelmed! I wrote a week and half ago about our waiting and waiting. And a few weeks ago I wrote about the cost of adoption. And we asked for prayer. As a Christian, I absolutely believe prayer makes a difference, but so often it is my last resort. And then God answers prayers and I am reminded how this should be my first resort.

First I want to share a perspective that I find amazing. A friend of mine has been going through the adoption process. He and his wife were one of the families adopting from Russia when the government shut down all adoptions and their story is again not one for me to share, but a story of lots of hope and disappointment. Moments with a lot of "why's." Two times the children they planned to adopt or host were adopted elsewhere. But my their mom said something to the effect of, "But look at how many people these two girls have had praying for them." Things did not turn out as planned, but these two girls may have never been prayed for. Wow! Thousands of people praying for these two little girls that were nobody's. Faces in seas of faces. An orphan without a voice or a person to be their voice. This couple was their voice for prayer. And what a change that will make in their lives in the long run. They were covered with prayers from thousands. And I believe THAT will make a difference.

So please keep praying for these children without voices!

And prayer works. These requests for prayers that we made, God has shown up so big. We got our final homestudy approval last week, and received the notarized copies yesterday. I-800a application was sent off today, and the rest is being sent to be notarized this week. We still need prayer that this takes on the shorter side of things, but I am waiting and praying and celebrating, with hope!

AND did you see the little thing on the side of our blog that says how much support we have raised? If you have been keeping track, you will notice that it has almost doubled. Our church has been amazingly generous. We have been humbled to be part of a church that lives out their faith in loving orphans, in particular our Hamilton. But also in just helping those in need. They seem to give with faith, seeking wisdom, but knowing that God will continue to provide. And we are humbled and thankful and without words.

So keep praying for the paperwork and for Hamilton. God is working and hearing these prayers!

Thank you!!!

She is 3!

It is becoming a habit of mine to write to my children on their birthday, to tell them publicly how proud I am of them and how much they mean to me. It is my version of scrap booking, of commemorating a year in moment, a memory to look back on. Maybe it should be more often. But here it is, another birthday. Verity turns 3 today.

Verity, you have been full of life since the day you were born, fighting fiercely to never be forgotten. Possibly this is a fourth child's distinct personality. I was certain that I would have had this parenting thing down by now. After all I had lots of practice with the other three, but when you came into this world, you humbly showed me that I still have a lot to learn. All the tricks that worked with the others and the advice given by experts, none seemed to work for you. All that really has ever worked is to hold you and wait. So, for three years I have waited and held you, and loved you more with each passing day as I realized that this is what is right for you. And you are turning out okay. You can talk and play. You are brave and smart. You seem to know and understand far beyond the three years of your life, but you rarely let on. You are madly in love with your big brother and one of my favorite things in the world is to see the two of you set out on an adventure, superhero partners in crime, swinging through the house battling bad guys.

Your laugh and your smile make every other moment of stubbornness worth it. You fight in this world for all you believe, and my prayer for you is that one day that fight will be one worth fighting, and that your courage and stubbornness will make a world of change.

You often like to be the life of the party, dancing on the side of the swimming pool in your little swimsuit, pretend-singing in a microphone to whatever song you hear on the speakers. You will never be left out no matter how much harder you have to work or how little you understand; you HAVE to be part of it. And sometimes you surprise me as you pull up a chair, "I just want to watch," you say. Because, you know that just watching makes you a part of it.

This year of two has been full of new things. You are learning to ride a bike and bravely taking on the pool - something a year ago you would not have even put your big toe in. Today you jump in the deep end, demanding "Again! Again!" You are learning your shapes and numbers, letters and sizes. You love to make up silly songs. You also learned every adjective that describes two and took it on with gusto.

And now you are three! I am looking forward to all it brings. My only request is a little more sleep! Happy Birthday sweet Verity!