Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Leavin' On a Jet Plane....

Daughter G left today for her grand adventure flying solo to WA and spending two weeks with our WA loved ones.  Safe travels, G!  We know you will have so much fun and make so many memories ~ we miss you already but are so thankful you have this opportunity to go!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Sons G and L got back from their week long mission trip on Saturday.  They had a fabulous week, serving alongside staff members from an organization that works in the inner city year round.  They came home with so many stories to tell, and so much fresh perspective!

To celebrate their return, we had a home-made milk shake/family game night.

We played the old youth group standard, "Honey, if you love me, smile."  It was pretty hilarious!

But these pictures are special not only because our boys were home and we were all physically back together.  They represent emotional unity, too.

Leaving and cleaving can be hard work.  It can be hard in the early stages of marriage, and it can be hard in the early stages of adopting an older child.  We had done some hard, hard work in the hours leading up to G and L's return.

God gives us so many incredible gifts.  Of course, salvation!  And daily grace and wisdom.  But there are just so many more.... forgiveness, mercy, love for one another, the gift of listening, the gift of humility, the gift of understanding, the gift of perspective....the gift of being at peace with a situation not of your choosing and not in your power to change.

Only God can give all that, out of His abundance, and only God can make good come from hard, yucky things.











Monday, July 22, 2013

A Whole Day to Myself...

for school planning and prep work.

Thank you, God!  And thank you, hubby!!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Some of my regular readers will know that I have long had a heart for adoption.  I have read online and experienced through friends and relatives many adoption stories.  I have cried tears of joy and tears of anguish, and been exposed to the possible challenges and milestones unique to the adoption process.  So I felt that I wasn't a complete adoption novice.

Until our own adoption story began. 

Every adoption story is unique.  It centers around a unique, specific individual, with a name, a history, a past.  A person, made in God's image, with their own thoughts and emotions and dreams.  Each person comes to the moment of adoption through different, though often similar, circumstances.  And every family who enfolds the new member into their hearts is also a unique family with their own story and history and dynamic.  So it is no wonder that every story is different.  No-one's adoption story is exactly like another.

But the process of grieving the losses involved with adoption and accepting or cleaving to the new life has similarities for many adoptive children.

Learning it by living it is entirely different than learning it by hearing about it.

Not gonna lie.  It's hard.  It's also wonderful, exhilarating, heart-wrenching, and painful.

Part of the uniqueness of our adoption story is that there wasn't and isn't a clear break from the first family and the life the first family represents.  Our new daughter is not completely "ours."  Her heart and loyalties are divided.  Her process of grieving and cleaving is continually interrupted by contact with her first family.  How confusing and painful this is for her!  And how painful it is for us, to watch her suffer, and to help her navigate through the turmoil and despair her suffering brings.  Yet, it is still in her best interest to see her first family.  This is the path God has marked for her and for us. 

How can this be? 

That this is God's plan is an awesome, terrible, mysterious, tragic, beautiful thing.  It is not the way I thought adoption would be.  The details are not what I would have chosen.  But our girl...... is amazing and beautiful to me beyond description.  That she has endured all she has and is who she is, is nothing short of miraculous.  She is worth every long night and every difficult conversation and every moment of hardship.

And she is even more amazing and beautiful to God her heavenly Father, than she is to me.  I can trust Him with her. With this.  I do trust Him.

Daughter H has started a 7 week girls group with our counselor.  It is for adoptive teen girls, and the first session was this past week.  Each week they will be discussing one of the 7 core issues of adoption.  H was very apprehensive, but she loved the first day.  Loved, loved, loved it!  And I, who had intended to drop her off and go grocery shopping during the 90 minute session, loved it too.  I sat in the waiting room with the other moms and we had our own impromptu "adoptive moms" group.  I didn't realize how much I needed that support until I got it.

Oh the blessing of being with moms who get it!  Who get how different the issues are for adoptive teens, and how our parenting must address those issues. After the children were tucked into bed that night, I poured out my heart to my husband and had a really good cry.  They were tears of anguish, and relief, and gratitude, and wonder.  I was processing a lot of stuff ~ stuff that happened on our camping trip, stuff that the moms had discussed that morning, stuff between H and I.  It was good to share it, name it, take it out and look at it a bit before putting it back in its little compartment in my heart.  God is so good.  Just so good.

Our adoption story is still young.  It will continue to be a process, probably a very long one.  But I know that it is God's doing and that He is in it with us.  There is much I do not understand.  But both daughter H and I are cherished by the One who does.

My heart is full of gratitude.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Camping Vacation - Part 2

We camped near a large lake, and that was super fun to go swimming in one day!  Lovely, sandy beach, shallow for a long way, cool water.  We had minnows nibbling at our toes and that kindof tickled.  Lots of fun!!

Our lovely spouting statue!

At the end of the lake day we cooled off even further by watching Despicable Me 2 in an AIR CONDITIONED THEATER!!!  Everybody liked it ~ very cute movie.

We spent the morning of our fourth day packing up, and once that was accomplished we headed off for one last play time in the pool.  Hubby got a good workout that day, lifting up every child in turn except for son L, who is the biggest, heaviest kid, and therefore took pity on his father. :)  This is Little Man.

Daughter H, trying to balance.  Trickier than it looks!

Little Man, going up...

...and all the way up!

Then they started getting fancy shmancy.  Here is son C balancing one footed.

Two at a time!

Our beautiful daughters.

We had a very late picnic lunch near the pool as our grand hurrah, and then headed for home.

Despite the heat we had a wonderful time and made lots of great memories!   Thank you, Lord, for the amazing outdoors you created for us to enjoy and rule over.  And thank you, mom and dad, for having the foresight years ago to purchase the campground membership!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Camping Vacation - Part 1

Our first camping trip of the summer, and first time for daughter H to go camping EVER occurred during the hottest (so far) week of this year.  Yes, we know how to pick our weeks!  It was SO hot and humid.... it threatened multiple times to derail everyone's attitudes.  But it was the only time this summer that all of us would be together until the end of August, so we seized the opportunity!  I seriously did not think that my husband would be able to fit everything in this time, but he did.  He's amazing like that.

It was so hot already, a fire did not do much to add to our discomfort, and it did a whole lot to add to our camping experience, so we ended up having a campfire every single night.  First night s'mores!

Smoke writing. :)


This was our campsite.  Two tents with our "kitchen" in the middle.

The big family tent.

And the boy-man cave!

My beautiful girls, as we set out on a hike.

Daughter H had a goal to overcome her fear of spiders.  I'm not sure she completely overcame it, but this was a huge milestone for her to HOLD a daddy long legs!  Whoo-hoo!!  Go H!

Here's one of me to prove I was there too.  In spite of my red face I was NOT about to have a heart attack.  Red is my natural color in summer. ;)

Our children!

A really cool beaver dam we came upon.  There were signs of beavers amidst the trees as well.

After the hike, during which time our clothes got so wet from sweat it literally looked as if we had been swimming, we went swimming for real.  What a great way to cool off!

Daughter H taught us how to do trust pushes.  We had to stand on the edge of the pool and strike a pose without looking behind us.  At some point, we were pushed into the pool from behind.  You had to trust that the person pushing you was not going to push you too hard or hurt you in any way.

Yes, I was there too!

Ignore my in-need-of-polish-toes, and look at where I am..... POOLSIDE!  (with a book!!!!!)

Daughter G spent a lot more time telling us about her mission trip.  It was a bit of a debriefing time, or processing time for her.  She learned SO much.... about God, His Word, herself, what God wants from her.... it thrilled my heart to hear her articulate what she learned and how she is thinking about what she learned.

 My hero.  How I love this man!

We got back from the pool with just enough time to set up our canopy before a thunderstorm struck.  So we got the "full" camping experience, complete with rain.

Inside activities during the thunderstorm:  making duct tape wallets,

and having quiet time.

After the thunderstorm, another fire for cooking hamburgers!