Yes, looooooong overdue. Over a year overdue. So overdue that I've had 3 people in the last 2 weeks tell me that I needed to write something. Well OK, here we go...
So, what most of you will want to know after all this time is, Did they fall off the edge of the earth? Did they move to Australia and forget to let us know? Did they contract rabies and die horrible deaths? No, no, and no... we live on. It's just been a crazy season of life, and the first thing to go was any activity that required extra time and energy. Writing on a blog, for example.
So- here's the update on life and other random things: (and beware- this will be long... proceed at your own risk)
God is INCREDIBLE and FAITHFUL. Let's just start with the most important thing. We would have fallen off the edge of the earth if not for Him. He has sustained us and my heart truly cannot keep it in. That's why, if you got a Christmas card from us, you'll notice that I can't help but bring your attention to Him. I just can't make you understand how much I have learned about His greatness and my weakness in the past years. I'm not getting down on myself, I'm just being real. I honestly have nothing good in me except what He puts there. I have seen my lack, and it makes His fullness all the more incredible. If you don't know Him, ask me about Him... I'd be happy to introduce you.
Our kids are growing at an insane rate. Literally. Anika has grown 2.5 inches in the last few months alone. But, as I implied, they are also growing up... into big people. Yikes. Anika is in 7th grade now, is loving youth group at church, and is doing hard-core science where she is studying words like "dendrochronology" and "uniformitarianism"... things that even a science-lover like me has to go look up. She is loving her horseback riding lessons, and even enjoys mucking out a stall when she gets a chance... what can I say, it's in her blood. (No, I did not brainwash her, she chose this on her own, thank you very much.) Asher is tackling 5th grade, and enjoying his new-found love of piano. He is a serious lego-master. He's like a super-hero at building things. He's bummed that Anika has grown so much lately, as he used to be only a quarter of an inch from overtaking her in height. He's a cool kid - I really dig him. Kelvin is working at a second grade level in school, and really has amazing handwriting. Seriously, it's nice. He likes to dance and sing with the broom when he does his chores in the morning, and he has learned to be nice to Hawa on most occasions. HUGE. HUGE. HUGE. Hawa is a first grader and has not had any major house-ruining kind of moments lately. We can smile now, but when water starting running out of Anika's room lights downstairs from Hawa's shower (upstairs), Mama was not happy. Anyway, the house is still standing, despite our little hurricane Hawa. She is an amazing little reader now, and loves to talk. If you've met her, you know that I am putting it mildly. They're all pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Our family is meshing. We love adoption, and are thrilled to be used by the Lord to be a family to the fatherless, and a part of His plan to care for the orphan... but again, I'm gonna be real. This is hard. I have been on my face many times since our two additions came to join our family. I have wondered if we will ever be ok again. I have been so selfish and so hardened that I wondered if this "new me" would ever go away and leave the "used-to-be me" in my rightful place again. I have envied the families whose adoptions were simpler. I have dealt with (and continue to deal with) anger and bitterness and resentment and loss... and so have my kids... all of them. For each one of these scenarios, God is the answer. He shows us the hope that lies ahead. He softens me and show me a way out of my selfishness. He is showing me that I will never be the "old me" again, but that that's ok because he has better plans for the "future me" anyway. He forgives me as I deal with my ick, and reveals that He's the only one without any. He has been helping all of us to learn new and difficult things - the kinds of things that are the stuff of family.
It's amazing, the perspective you get on God as a Father to us, when you become a parent yourself. I would go ever further and say that is is uber-amazing to get the perspective of Him as a Father as given through adoption... especially older child adoption. You just get this glimpse of yourself... coming to him just as you are. All your baggage, all your need, all your bad behaviors, wrapped around you and hanging off you like so many over-full laundry bags tangled around your flesh. He doesn't require you to shed your baggage before He will extend grace and love to you. He simply loves you and offers you a way out, and patiently waits to see what you will choose.
So often, I have found myself ashamed that I seem to want my children to shed their baggage before I "feel" like extending them kindness and love. It's gross, really. I can't seem to stop myself from this... which is why I have been so aware of my lack, and so grateful for God's overabundance of mercy. I want to be like Jesus. He loves so tenderly and without demand for perfection. He wants ALL of his followers' hearts, and that means obedience and sacrifice... but He is so patient to lead us to holiness, knowing that it takes time, and a heart that is cultivated in love with Him, to shed the junk that comes stuck on and in us all. It shows me that I can't expect my children to shed the stuff they've come with without time and a relationship with me that's been cultivated in love and acceptance. It also demonstrates to me how beautiful it is that I am the same as they are; a child with so many entanglements... coming to a perfect Father who loves me so patiently and shows me a better way.
Kelvin and Hawa are doing well. They have learned how to live in a family, how to be respectful, that it's best to tell the truth, that friendship is earned through being kind and thoughtful, and on and on. Most importantly, they've started to trust us more. We've not conquered that one fully yet, I think it will take more time to flush out those fears that hang on and cause them to rely on themselves rather than believe that we'll take care of them. But overall, they have so much more ability to trust us than they used to. I'm so proud of them.
Anika and Asher are doing well too. They have learned how to live in a larger family, how to speak up (at least more than they used to), that mom and dad are still absolutely crazy about them, that doing what God called our family to isn't easy, yet it's still right and worth it, and on and on. We've not conquered all the issues with them either, but they are back to thriving instead of coping by hiding, and I'm so grateful for their perseverance and resilience. I'm so proud of them.
Jason and I are doing well also. We've learned to lean on Jesus and one another, how to ask for wisdom and how to be amazed when God gives it so promptly, that we are broken vessels that need to be filled in order to do what we need to do, and on and on. We've not conquered it all, there is still so much that needs to be worked on and worked out, but overall, we know that our strength comes from the Lord, and that He is good and that we can trust Him. I forget all that so often. Everything; that we need to ask for wisdom, that we have to get filled in order to pour out, that God alone is my strength. I focus on what I can see, and sometimes that is messy. And I don't like it. And I get grouchy. And I complain. If only I could remember to keep my eyes on Jesus, I'd have so much more peace and joy. I'm working on that one.
That's the gist of it. Gist is a weird word, isn't it?
Our lives are full of school lessons, life lessons, and piano lessons. Honestly though, I don't feel we have too much else to report... just living life and teaching the kids and doing the day-to-day stuff. Jason is battling Lyme disease, after trying to figure out, since June, why he was feeling so strange and crazy tired. So, pray for him if you think of him. He's getting treated, but it's a long term thing not a short fix. (He's had to go gluten, sugar, and dairy free - YIKES. We are so NOT high maintenance food people - this is strange to have to put so much thought into what we prepare!!) We have seen both sets of parents in the last few months, which is wonderful. Our trip to Oregon this fall was a blast and much needed after not seeing my parents for a year and a half. And just this past weekend we had Jason's parents stay and get snowed in with our 18" snowfall! "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" took on true meaning around here.
Well, enough is enough. I told you it would be long.
I plan to try to write a bit more often from here on out, but don't hold me to that. I love to put my thoughts down, but certainly don't expect anyone to care! I just wanted to finally update people on our family since I have been so grossly negligent. Now you have the scoop.
No longer overdue,