Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This and That

Time goes by so fast and so slow.  Weird.  Riley, Merline, Emmie, and Molly are growing so fast and changing so much.  One of the reasons I've decided to blog about our journey is to document, for our kids and for us, what we miss when we get caught up in the everyday chaos.  It can be so hard to see the massive blessings that are being poured out onto our family when homework has to be done, fingers get smashed, or when the kids are missing Daddy or Merline.  These are just a few tidbits of life that I don't want to miss...

Riley is getting so big and he's starting to change.  He's starting to get a little quieter and really watches things that are going on around him.  He's very aware.  He's always been aware of people and their feelings, their needs.  He loves hard and feels deeply.  All of these things worry me because, as a mom, I want him to feel as little pain as possible.  Given how God has created him, this will not be possible.  I am thankful that he already understands that God is in his corner and will never leave him.  Still, the mommy in me wants to shield him from the bumps and bruises of life.  On the flip side, I still see bits of my little boy and the silliness of a child.  He told me that I was his valentine on Valentine's Day and that he was a Mama's boy.  I know these things will change and he will grow into a sometimes surly, angst-ridden teen-age boy soon, but for now I will gather up all the sweet moments I can and tuck them away for the day that little boy turns into a man.      

My little Emersen is also starting to change a little.  She no longer likes pink or Dora the Explorer.  As Emmie has grown we have seen that she has a quirky sense of humor and she is happy being her own person.  She doesn't need a lot of people around to have fun, in fact, just give her a book and cozy spot to curl up in and she's content.  In the past year Emmie has made the decision to accept Jesus into her heart and she did it in typical Emmie fashion.  She told me on the way home from school one day that she prayed by herself at school and asked Jesus into her heart.  I asked her a ton of questions, including why she didn't wait until she was with me and Daddy, and she just said "Mama, I asked God if it was time and he said yes, so I prayed."  I wish I was that confident in what I hear God saying to me.

Little Molly...  Molly is beautiful and sweet.  I watch her as she follows behind Emmie wanting to be bigger.  She lost the second of her two front teeth last night and she was so happy.  She finds it fascinating that she can fit her whole tongue in the hole.  She's funny.  She is so excited about getting to go to Haiti with Brian and I when we go to get Merline to bring her home.  She thinks that is so cool and she wants to see her sister more than anything.  There's a lot of anxiety around the unknown for Molly and we are excited to be able to put some of those fears to rest for her.  We can't wait until then too.

We are lucky that Brian gets to visit with Merline so often, and that we can call her, but we are ready to bring her home.  We pray everyday that she will feel our love for her all the way in Haiti and that, even more, she will know how God loves her and has a plan for her.       
I think we all, as mamas and daddies, have times when our babies are little and we're tired, lost in a sea of diapers and are unsure if we can speak coherently or when they are older and they challenge us at every turn that we wonder what God was thinking trusting me with these little people.  I have had that thought so many times in so many different situations, but I have to say, I am so glad He has allowed Brian and I to be Mommy and Daddy for these little ones.  I can't imagine my life without them.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Faith Is Not My Own...

It's been a few days since I've been here and it's been quite hectic around our house.  Brian came home and the kids are off the wall excited that he will be home for at least another good week.  We are close to having the house finished and we will be ready to bring Merline home.  Just hoping things will get moving so we can get her home.  I miss her so much.  

This has definitely been a walk of faith to where we are in the adoption of our daughter, and to be honest, it's not done.  Here's a recap...  We no longer have a retirement nest-egg that we had from Brian's stint in the "corporate" world.  We now pray that one of our kids will do well financially and have mercy on us when we're old. : )  We have put our trust in people far away from us (who don't love our little girl like we do) to follow our paperwork and make sure it gets through the appropriate channels in a government that can't even hold an election without massive chaos and widespread fraud.  We have added onto our house to make room for her to be here because according to the U.S. government, our house was just not big enough for another person, even though no one would have had a problem if I popped one out the "normal" way.  Here's the kicker - even after all of that - we could still be told no.  Nothing is written in stone.  Nothing is final until we go and get her and she plants her feet on U.S. soil.  

It's okay, and here's why...  Because God started this process, we didn't.  He started it many years ago when He planted the seed of adoption in Brian's heart.  Regardless of whether or not Merline ever gets to lay her head down to sleep on a soft pillow in her new purple room, she's still my little girl and I will be a part of her life for as long as God allows.  Of course this would be very ugly and I know that only God would be able to get me through.  

All of this is tough.  Leaving my child after spending a week with her in Haiti is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  It is no different for me than leaving Riley, Emersen, or Molly there while I come back here and do life.  It's harder than I ever could have imagined.  I am so grateful that the faith Brian and I walk in is not our own.  If faith were something I had to conjure up every day, I would be a mess and would have jumped off this crazy train long ago.  Instead God gives it to me every day.  I know that He has started us on this path and regardless of the outcome he will be made more and we will be made less.  And in the end I pray my little girl will get to come home...
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."   Romans12:3 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So Brian has gone back to Haiti again and it seems like the kids have been re-energized by having their Daddy at home, even if just for a few days.  I am thankful because the less drama this week the better!

We are close to being finished with construction on the addition to our house.  We started the addition before Christmas to make room for a new addition to our family.  When we moved into this house we knew that someday we would be adopting a child from Haiti because God had already revealed that to us.  What we didn't know was when it would happen and we just didn't think about trying to fit 4 growing children, 2 adults, and a 80 pound hairy dog into a 1500 sq. ft. house.  No, our thoughts were focused on getting into a position, financially, for Brian to walk away from his career to follow where God was leading.  (I still kind of freak at this a little.)  Just like many parents all over the world, God gave us a little surprise.  Only this surprise isn't in the form of a 7 pound baby girl.  Nope.  It's in the form of a 12 year old, prepubescent girl with a wicked sense of humor and some mad dance moves!  Oh my goodness...  I can honestly tell you between Merline's dance moves, Riley's indoor basketball, Molly's constant game of chase with the dog, and Emmie's strong desire to have a quiet place to disappear to,  this house was too small.  : )

So, as we reach the end of this most recent adventure of adding onto our house, I am getting excited about the start of the next adventure...  Bringing our baby girl home!  I can't wait to bring her home and watch her experience all kinds of firsts that the other three kids have already experienced.  I can't wait to see the world through her eyes and recognize the blessings we have in our life.  We take so much for granted.  My little girl cannot even fathom a refrigerator with food inside right now.  I wish we could save her from the depravity of having much.  Where is the balance?  Where she is now, she has so little and those around her have even less.  I don't want her to think that how we do it here in America is the right way.  It's not.  I don't want her to think that living with nothing, eating only enough to keep your body from shutting down is the right thing.  It's not.  Somewhere in the middle is where I pray we land.

I so desire for all my children to know that we are only blessed with "things" because God chose to give them to us.  The "stuff" we fill our lives with can often be distractions from the life we need to live.  Distraction from what we should spend our life doing, loving people.  We only have a short time here on this earth and it's easy to spend that time thinking about how things aren't going our way and how we need more.  Brian and I want more than that for our kids.  I read a blog post a while back that just nailed it for me.  It was titled "I don't want my children to be happy."  It spoke to what I want from my own life as much as what I want for my children's lives.  For the time we have here on this Earth, I just want to be in the fat middle of God's will.  Wherever and whatever that looks like...

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today, at the latest, tomorrow—we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money."  You don't know the first thing about tomorrow.  You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.  Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."   ~James 4:13-15,  The Message

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where We Are...

Brian's been in Haiti for a while and he came home today.  I cannot put into words how nice it is to have him here for a few days.  There is so much to do and so very little time to do it, but I'm trying to shut that out for just a bit so we can just focus on being a family, even if it's just for a few days.

The kids have struggled with Brian being gone much more this time.   I'm struggling with how to teach them to trust that God has us where He wants us.  It's tough and I do a really stinky job at it.

Riley still seems to be okay, but I know he tries to be tough.  He seems to know when his little sisters are close to the edge and that if he loses it, they lose it.  I don't like that he feels the need to hold it together for his sisters.  Responsibility will come, I just want him to be able to be little for a while longer. 

While Emmie seems to deal with Brian being gone well most of the time, she has reached her limit.  a few nights ago we were discussing two birthday parties she had been invited to and I reminded her that Brian would be leaving early Saturday morning before she woke up (in hopes that she would see the Friday party was a better choice than the mid-week party).  Her eyes welled up and she said she didn't want to go to any birthday parties, she just wanted to stay with Daddy.  After lots of conversation and hugs and kisses, she and I finally made a decision together that she would go to her friend, Maddie's party since Daddy would be leaving before she woke up on Saturday anyway.  I have no idea how to manage all these little feelings.  I hate the hurt she feels and I hate that there's no easy fix.  So hard.

And little Molly has really just struggled from the get-go this time.  She just has a strong need for all of us to be together in the same place as often as possible.  Molly is a home-body.  She is most comfortable at home with her doggie and her peeps (in that order).  Take her out of that for more than a few days and the melt down starts.  It's very difficult to keep her in a good place so she can find her "happy" and do well in school.  She doesn't get this Haiti stuff, she's never been where we we've been.  She doesn't understand getting a new sister, she's never played with her and never hugged her.  It's hard to expect her to understand these things when even we have a hard time getting it.  I pray for peace for my little girl and for words that will build her up, not tear her down.

We walk with one foot in one world and the other foot in another world and it's so hard.  I know that God has our family where he wants us, and that we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing.  Making sure our family, our first ministry, is safe is hard.  Exposing ourselves to the hits that come with walking in ministry is something Brian and I can handle, maybe not well, but we do handle it.  Exposing our children to those hits...  not good at that.  Can't seem to find the balance between letting them understand that things aren't always easy and this stuff is just too much.  Praying for God to pour out wisdom.  Until then I'm just gonna crawl into Psalm 91 and rest...

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you...