Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Feelings are such a fickle thing.  One minute they tickle your fancy and the next they shake you at the core of your being. Adoption can stir them like a whisk stirs a cake mix!  Its been a little over a week since we received our 4 new children.  What a week its been.  We are feeling the need to be transparent about our adoption on this blog, knowing that many readers are either (a) parents thinking about adoption who need to understand some fundamental truth and emotion around adoption, or (b) already adoptive parents who will know when we are “shooting the bull”!  So for better or for worse we’ve decided to make our posts as transparent as possible without violating focus on the reason why we did this to begin with:  the deep, abiding conviction that God is calling His people to care for and win an enter generation of orphans for the Kingdom of God.  No matter what happens we are very much aware that we are simply “pinch hitting” for God here on earth with our children.

With that said, let us try to sum up our first week.  There are certain words that come to mind when we think of this week:  chaos is one.  Overwhelmed at times another.  Other descriptors include perpetual energy and perpetual crisis.  Yet others include needy, crying, broken keepsakes, interruption, screaming, stubbornness,and movement (lots of it).  But then there are some smilesoccasional moments of contentment, and laughter.

The reader may wonder at this point why in the world would anyone want all of this?  It’s a legitimate question.  We have asked ourselves the same question.  In fact, yesterday in my prayer time (driving in my car to an appointment) I (Russell) found myself a little overwhelmed, despairing and maybe even a little self-pity about the situation.  I asked the Lord to refocus me on why we did this.  That refocus came last night while reading Spirit of Adoption by Randy Bohlender.  He brought out an interesting point about the very last words in the Old Testament in the book of Malachi, which just happened to precede 400 years of God’s silence.  Those words tell us that before that great day of the coming of the Lord that the hearts of the fathers would turn to the children and the hearts of children would turn toward the fathers.  But as Randy points out, there were a few more words tacked on to the end of this prophecy.  “Lest I strike the land with a curse”.  The Old Testament ends with this beautiful prophetic picture, but also with a warning. 

We chose to enter adoption because we felt the call to do it.  We knew that the process would require battle and to some extent, we knew the process of raising the children would require battle.  Every time one of our new children, ages 2,3,4 and 7, ask us “Are you going to take us back to the shelter?” we understand the battle all over again (its been a common question this week).  It’s the same question that many of us Christians ask our Heavenly Father:   Are You going to disappoint us all over again?  Is it when I yell and scream?  Or maybe its when I don’t do what I’m told.  Or maybe its just because I’m too difficult, unlovable and needy that will send me back to the shelter this time.  It’s a question coming from the innocent, but war-torn, broken spirit of a child that wonders if there is anything in this world that can be trusted.  We have the chance, no the privilege, to answer that question with a resounding “No. You’re not going back to the shelter.  You are with us now forever!”  Its the same answer God gives His children:  No, you're not going back to darkness, no man can pluck you out of My hand now!  (see John 10:29).

Over the next few weeks we will be making some candid posts about what its like to adopt 4 sibling children at one time all who function on a social, emotional and behavioral age of about 2 years old.  We promise that we will be open, for better or worse, richer or poorer, about the pros and cons of such a decision.  We recommend that all Christians become involved in adoption is some tangible, direct way.  Start by reading Randy’s book Spirit of Adoption.  We must reverse the curse! 

We close this blog with a request.  If you are reading this blog and are blessed or in any way touched or affected by it, we'd love to hear from you.  Please leave us a comment and let us know who you are and where you're from, and your thoughts.  Perhaps you have been through adoption and have a story to tell.  We're all ears!  Just leave us a note!

God bless you! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally arrived!

FINALLY!  Waiting for 9 months for a newborn baby was a piece of cake compared to waiting for our 4 new children!  But like the delivery room, when you hold that newborn baby pain is quickly forgotten.  Yesterday, our four new additions to our family arrived.  If this were football, they'd call it a "broken play".  Waiting on paperwork, missed flights, much later than anticipated, and one big Christmas party were all part of the moment.  We had planned to have them well before today but God's timing is always impeccable as 20+ people arrived at our house only a few short hours after our children.  In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if many of the guests passed the social workers as they sped back to the airport to catch a late afternoon flight back to their hometown!
But the scene was beautiful.  The social workers called when they were but a mile or two away from the house.  Jeffrey (our 10 year old) decided he would stand on stump of our recently fallen oak tree in the front yard.  As the social workers were looking for the house they inadvertantly passed by but would received some assistance from the kids: "You missed it!  You missed it! You missed it!  There's Jeffrey! Go back, go back!"
When they turned around and got back we could hear them screaming in the car when they came down the driveway :-).  Before the vehicle came to a complete stop, The oldest girl and boy literally jumped out of the  car and ran to us, immediately referring to us as "Mom" and "Dad".  Karen quickly got the 2 year old out of his car seat while the 3 year old got stuck in his car seat due to some mechanical malfunction with the seat belt.  He was getting irritated that he couldnt get out, mostly fearing that his siblings were gaining an edge in seeing their new rooms first!  They immediately wanted to see their rooms and when they did you could see the delight on their faces.  The boys proceeded to take out every toy in their room and play with them.  While snapping a number of pictures for the records, the social worker uttter the words "ya'll were REALLY ready for them...this is great".  The paper work went fast and then the 2 social workers wisked away in order to return to the airport by 4.  The good byes were quick as the kids continued to be enthralled with with their new home and in particular, their new toys!  They hadn't eaten lunch yet and it was already after 2 so we took the easy way out and got them mcdonalds.  There was an attempt to get them all down for a nap but excitement trumped fatigue and only the 2 year old nodded off.
Even as we were attempting the whole nap thing, family and guests were trickling in for the party.  There were over 20 people in the house and alot of activity ensued.  We weren't sure how all the stimulation would effect the children but they fit right in.  They played, ate and acted like they were part of the family since day one.  Each acted as if they never meet a stranger and blended in with whoever was here.  Our oldest daughter's fiance and his brother brought his guitar and played Christmas music.  As we all sang traditional Yuletid tunes, the kids sat amoungst us and listened.  To our surprise, they were amazingly so calm during that time.  We wondered if they had ever been around anything like that before but each seemed to enjoy the moment as they sat on laps and felt the warm embraces of new mom, dad, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers and friends.  Karen said it felt like the scene in the movie "While You Were Sleeping" when Lucy (played by Sandra Bulluck) goes to the family Christmas dinner and even though there's all this activity and even chaos, feels for the first time the family she never had.  If the moment had been a movie they would have zoomed in on each kid and narrated their thoughts.  At the end of the party when everyone was leaving, Justice (7 year old girl) gathered all the punch cups and asked if she could do dishes.  She did and was so proud of it...and Karen was too!  I asked why she was washing the dishes and she replied, "I just wanted to help mom, she's worked so hard today". 

The evening came to close with friends and family saying their goodbyes and Karen's parents sharing Christmas gifts with the children.  The 4 year old boy opened his Buzz LightYear figure and instantly proclaimed "this is the best toy ever!" Later, as I got the boys down for bed, Karen spent some time with Justice, where she gleefully sported her new PJs.  She wanted to open her new Barbie doll and in a few minutes she softly said to Karen "this was the best present ever".  Karen thought she was refrerring to the Barbie and wondered what exactly the doll meant to her.  But then Justice clarified and asked "do you know why?"  And when Karen responded "why?" she simply said "because I got a family". 
The special moments continued this morning when Judah awakened to tell Karen that he had a dream:  "I dreamed about being in the shelter".  Then he quickly added, "I like this place alot better!" 
Words cannot capture the plethora of "special moments" that were packed into the evening.  From Justice's "I got a family" to Jaden's "I like you dad!" to Judah's "mom, I was dreaming about the shelter and I like this place alot better!" it was a special time.  In looking back over these first few hours with our new children I am again reminded of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus said "let the children come!" as He hoisted one up on His lap as the words rolled off His lips.  It is a wonderful thing when a child finds his or her home.  It reminded me of the verse in Luke 15 when Jesus spoke of the scene in Heaven when somebody finds their Heavenly Father and family:  there is joy in the presence of angels [when one finds their Heavenly Father].  As I watched our 4 new children enjoy all the benefits of family, I could not help but think about all the Heavenly benefits that we enjoy as part of God's family.  We are so abundantly blessed.  While some people get to talk about what the Kingdom of God is like, we got to see, first hand, what the Kingdom of God is like.  Friends, family, kids, all together, rejoicing in the His presence, flourishing in the connections that support and bind us together.  This is life at its best!  We are so thankful to all of our friends, family, children (the older ones), blog readers, and everyone else that have supported us and blessed us along this journey of finding our children.  The best is yet to come!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas gifts

"The only thing left is to finalize the flights and buy the tickets" the social worker said on the other end of the phone.  We've been waiting for so long and the day is finally here.  Within the week, we will have our 4 new children and all of a sudden the struggles along the way seem to fade as we busily prepare for their arrival, as well as the holidays.  Karen is busy with holiday shopping and last minute preparations while Russell is working around the clock to remodel a bathroom.  Right now, we're a little numb from the process and even more overwhelmed with the last minute preparations.  But the excitement is hard to contain and we can't wait to receive these precious gifts into our home in time for Christmas.  We'll write a little more later in the week.  Until then...