Posted in Adoption

2.5 month update

Good Day!

Its been awhile since I have posted an update. I haven’t even though about it. Oh well! Here it finally is…

The adjustment to family life is going well. The kids had no frame for family structure, so we are teaching that.

At this point we have adjusted to a daily routine, places to play and not play, and some trust. One thing that may come as a surprise to you is how bossy the kids tend to be. We call this an ‘overdeveloped adult voice’. Its challenging to work with, though it is similar to a stubborn streak. Basically the kids have had to be self-sufficient and therefore have an inner drive to be the boss, no matter what. For me personally this is easier to manage than for Adam. Ya’ll pray for him. As the big kids say, “they are fine until mom leaves.”

Joy likes to pretend she can read. I love that she understands that those letters are supposed to tell her something. It shows us someone had been reading books to them enough to develop an understanding. She loves to care for her babies and make mud pies. Her language development is less verbal, and more of just understanding what is being said.

Ethan loves to pretend he is Super Man! He will say that he is not Ethan, but Sumer Man. When he first joined us it was clear he had 99% female influence in his life. He has really enjoyed the nerf wars, wood burning, hotdog eating, and rough housing! Micah helps me with him daily, however Ben is the champion who has won his heart. Ethan’s language development is surprising us weekly! He picks up short phrases and uses them at just the right time. He understands less overall, but uses English more than his sister.

Bikes are probably the favorite thing to do. I love seeing them transition from needing to be pushed to racing anyone who will dare!

Overall we are enjoying our newbies and looking forward to the completion of their adoption. Our adoption court date is in early June! (in Latvia) After this court trip we will have one more trip to Latvia to finalize things. This last trip is, thus far, unfunded. I will need to travel with the two littles and a helper. Plane tickets make up the majority of the expense on this third trip. We will have a full week in Riga, doctor visits, passport office and US Embassy appointments. At the end of the week our newbies will be officially our newest little Americans.

Posted in Adoption

Daily Doses of Coffee

Yes. I drink coffee. With milk. Here that is something you can get from any gas station machine! And you can buy packets of yummy coffee & milk that just need some hot water to be your BFF. Or your brave son can go order a latte to go from the local coffee shop!

I could stay here longer, but not without you.

Coffee
Coffee Delivery Guy – Him so Cute!

Of all the things I miss the most, its really just you that I miss.

The way our busy lives weave together, intersect, or collide at times.

I miss my people!

Other than missing you, things are going well. The amount of time we have had in Latvia with the new kiddos has allowed us to get to know them as a pair. And what a pair they are! At 15 months apart they are more like twins, same level in everything.

Our gal is spunky and comes up with her own plan for most anything! Just today at nap she let me know that we were going somewhere in the car. RIGHT NOW. Her day bag was packed. Oh dear me! Her younger brother was on board with her idea, no questions asked. I’d better get some sensors on the doors at home…

Brother is a charmer. Hold onto your hats ladies! He is going to burst into your lives with as much charm as an old crooner, or more. He is absolutely loving having some rough ‘guy’ time with Adam and Micah. We bought him a new pair of shoes at the Crocs store the other day, he chose camo. I think we will be just fine together.

Overall we have learned enough about one another to be able to transition quickly to our new routine back home. My Latvian is good enough to communicate with them clearly. Their English is growing. They are so sweet to help me with my vocabulary & pronunciation. Seriously love speaking Latvian with them! We’ve has some good laugh about silly words. Bubbles, for example, makes them laugh. If only our older Latvian kids would have been so kind about our efforts. Bus labi.

Per education, the kids will not be citizens, so they cannot attend our regular schools. I will probably look for a two day a week program that they can attend. Any suggestions? It needs to be something where they actually get some instruction. At 5 & 6 they have had nothing. Not exaggerating. Can’t count to 10 in any language, and they are learning their 3rd language now. We are working with them, but have observed that they are very motivated when observing other kids their ages.

We will be home in a few days and then waiting on our next travel dates. Today we should get their visitors Visas that will get them through until they are citizens. Our next trip dates will be determined by how fast USCIS processes our next round of paperwork, and the Latvian courts’ schedule. Adam can travel solo for the next trip, no need to bring the kids back for that.

After that trip we will be waiting on the Latvian courts to process paperwork and send it to the US Embassy in Riga. When they received everything from the Latvian courts then they will send us dates to appear in Riga for finalization of the adoption. The kids and I will have to travel back here for a week at that time. I’d like to say it will all be done by this coming school year, but I don’t know if it will be.

Through all the details you can know one thing, the kids are with us and will remain with us from now on!

Our official ‘Gotcha Day’ is March 6, 2017.

Thank you for your prayers and private messages!

Posted in Adoption

Love Is

There are those who ask, and those who wonder, how I can love the children whom I adopt ‘like my own’. This is a question I have also asked myself. How? As the years of being an adoptive family have unfolded I have found my answer in the LORD’s Word:

 Love Is Patient.

Patience is continuing without complaining.

Love Is Kind.

Kindness is showing gentleness and a desire to help others.

Love Is Humble.

Humility is not thinking you are better than another person.

Love Is Faithful.

Faithfulness is true and constant support and loyalty.

Love Is Honest.

Honesty is not hiding the truth.

Love Is Just.

Justice is impartial.

Love Is Forgiving.

Forgiveness is to stop feeling anger towards someone who has done wrong.

Love Is Hopeful.

Hopefulness is to expect with confidence.

Love Is Steadfast.

Steadfastness is devotion that does not change.

Love Is Strong.

Strength is the ability to do something difficult for a long time.

Love Is Joyful.

Joy is to delight in.

 So then, the answer for how I can love our adopted children is the same for how I can best love the children who were born into our family. Love is not merely a great emotion that overtakes in times of happiness and ease. Love is making choices to give to another that which God, in Christ Jesus, has also given to me.

Here is the place where the road takes a ‘Y’. Relationship vs Love. The love I have for each of my children is the same. The relationship depth and breadth I have with each of them is different. Born in or adopted into, all have a range of connectedness that is unique. This relationship connection is based on so much more than merely how they became mine.

Relationship has an ebb and flow that Love does not.IMG_8822

   I am certainly not a perfect mom. Neither are my precious peeps perfect . Perfection is not the goal. My goal is living everyday loving them each the same, in the slight imperfections of our unique relationships. And in that imperfect loving effort,  we grow stronger relationships as one of a kind as the snowflakes that fall from Texas to Latvia.

Posted in Adoption

Marco – Pillow

Yes, I may be the worst blogger on the planet. But hey, I am an involved Mom! These past few weeks have been very involved to say the least! We have had a great time and it has taken work, grace, prayer, patience and a little wine.

Lets back up. So, when I last wrote we were talking about making ‘It’ happen. Well, good news is that we are making progress, big progress! I know all kids have ‘triggers’, or things that just set them off. However, when adopting older kids from hard places there is no clear set of identified triggers. Great. We have identified several and are learning new ones as the days pass. It is helpful to know these triggers when in a situation or interaction that these triggers are going to come up in. Prevention and preparation and patience and prayer. Oh dear…maybe a glass of wine for Mom at the end of the day.

No that we have been together for 2 months things that were new are becoming normal. I cannot begin to tell you how good that is! The stress is way down. The normalcy of the new is now comforting. Yes, I said comforting! A daily routine is setting in that includes a quiet cup of Joe and some bible reading for me and Cookie, the dog. Well, mostly quiet. Sometimes Cookie feels the need to bolt to the far ends of the earth to chase a cheeky squirrel she will never catch.

Moving on. The kids are making friends! Kris is playing basketball with a great group of guys. We are so thankful and see it as the Lord bringing him something that was an immediate need. He has even been involved in community service and expressed that our family could do it together as well! He is easy to connect with and ‘gets it’. Not easy, but not the most difficult child in the world either.

Now to Katelyn. She is making a few friends but most of her energy focus is at home, as it should be. She needs to let me in. The walls of fear and self-preservation were high for this one. We are making progress that is lending to consistency in emotions, and that is beautiful. She is learning to be who she is an not what she has to be to just survive. Finally, a safe place to build that cocoon so she can be transformed in Christ!

As a whole we are doing well. Leaping from 3 to 5 is challenging! Especially when the two new ones are older and have such a void to fill. We are all loving being together! We will travel as Dad, Mom and big kids to the final court date in Latvia in July. Your prayers are appreciated as we make plans to travel once again, and finalize some paperwork.

 

The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases! Amen.

Posted in Adoption

The Name Game

So, today our kids learned their new American names. They like them! We pick names for all of our kids the same way, through prayer and name meaning/ origin research. For these two we had the added benefit of knowing them a bit to add to the mix of why this one or why that one. In the end they have great names and really were excited to learn how to say them.
Now, many people who adopt children who are older choose to keep the children’s names. This is great. However, our children are teens and have strong opinions about these things. Therefore, when you meet our kids and they tell you their names, and the names are very American, know that they are choosing to be called by the new names. We have not forced or convinced them. They are proud of the new names and want to be called by their new names. They were, in fact, very excite to tell the other children at their orphanage their new names!

We love them either way, and respect their decisions to go by their new American names…

Caleb (full of heart) and Katelyn (pure)

(In a few months they may decide to go back to their Latvian names, and if they do we will let them. The main thing we want is to give them our last name anyhow!)

Posted in Adoption

The Count Down

Finally, well almost.

That sums up the life altering journey we are on with international adoption. I have said ‘Were done!’ more times than I can count. I have given up saying it and replaced it with ‘Were closer to being done’, seems appropriate after 8 months of paperwork, interviews, fees paid and finally tickets purchased. But oh no, we are not done, just closer to being done.

Lets take a trip back to 20 years ago into the lives of two people we will call

Mr & Mrs W

Twenty years ago Mr. W was in Eastern Europe helping to renovate an old and beautiful building to be used as a YWAM missions base. He hauled dirt from the basement, he put in glass for the windows and he built a sturdy wooden pic-nick table that would stand the test of time. All the while he prayed for the people of that country, for the people who would love them and for the ministry to be a light in a dark place. Twenty years ago, when he left that country, he thought he was done there.

Twenty years ago Mrs. W was in high school in small town USA. She was struck by the reality of children living all over the world with no mommy, no daddy and no home to be safe in. Then and there she knew the desire of her heart was to give these kids a family, a home and hope. Twenty years ago she began to pray for that day and for all of the precious children who would be waiting.

Flash forward to 1999. Mr & Mrs W. become Mr & Mrs W. Now you have a family a home and a dream. Well, almost a dream she had that dream, he – not so much. You see the two had to get on the same page about a few things, OK a lot of things! So, the work began. After a short time with Mercy Ships the desire to adopt was in both hearts. (though swelling in one and birthing in the other) You also get her, feeling that someday she will have a voice of influence in Eastern Europe, though unsure as to how, when and about what. Oh baby #1 is also born, family growing!

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I love watching what the Lord is doing! More than that I really love it when we get to be apart of something he is doing. In a month’s time we will be home with our two kids, from Eastern Europe, 20 years later. Amazing to see the Lord’s way of weaving the threads of our lives together. Introducing new threads with skill and purpose. Removing worn-out threads with gentleness. Filling the spaces left by finished threads with wisdom.