Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You got me, mommy.

I held one of my little boys for his whole nap today.  I don't always do that.  Actually, I have not done that much at all lately. When the twins nap, I am often found with a cup of coffee, folding and ironing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, washing floors, making dinner or doing something fun like creating a crafty project ... simply because it is so much easier to do those things without the help of twin toddlers.

But, today ... I laid with and held my baby boy the whole time he slept.  I watched him cuddled in.  I took this picture right before he woke up.  Peace.

As soon as he opened his eyes he smiled.  Barely awake yet he said "mommy. you got me."  To which I replied, "Yes, forever, baby ... I got you forever".

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Questions of the heart

Well, Grace and I have been back from our school field trip for some time now.  It was a great week spent with Grace and an awesome bunch of kiddos from her school.  I went from taking care of my 7 kiddos to rooming with 7 fifth graders for the week.  We learned to use a compass in the woods, built forts to survive in the wilderness, started fires and melted snow for water, threw tomahawks, cross country skied, drilled holes in the lake, studied the stars, had outdoor campfires and much much more.  To say we were tired at the end of the week was an understatement!

The little boys did great with their daddy for the week.  They had lots of fun and Ryan did an awesome job of managing our home and trying to work from home some at the same time.  Not an easy task.

It was very fun to have time with Grace alone.  I loved it!  I should create those times more often!  And at the same time, I missed Ryan and my other kiddos like crazy!  Here is one of the many thoughts that have run through my head since my return.

I've said it before, but I am simply amazed at how God creates families. I've always known that I would love any child that God blessed me with.  There is something so sweet about the children that God gives us.  I love all 7 of my children with all my heart.  So much it seems to almost hurt sometimes!

Now, I'm going to speak honestly here.   That can be a scary thing, especially when it's out there for everyone to critique. I did have a question in my heart before we brought home Buche and Burka.  Does a "mother's love" differ from "adopted" children vs "biological" children?  Don't get me wrong, it was not a nagging question that I wrestled with wondering if it was possible.  I never once thought I would not love any of my children.  I compare it to another time in my life that God blessed us with more children ... while I was pregnant with our second child, Amanda.  At this time in life, Zachary was 2 years old and the center of my world.  I loved him sooooo much.  Still do.  I was pregnant with Amanda and I had a question in my heart.  It was this.  "How can I possibly love another child as much as I love the one that I've cared for the last two years?"

I had a miscarriage right before I got pregnant with Amanda, so it took a few months into my pregnancy with her before I let myself really dream about this new baby without being fearful that I would never get to hold this new miracle.  But as things happened like hearing her heartbeat, seeing her fingers and toes in an ultra sound, felt her move inside me, felt her get the "hick-ups" and I started bonding with her.  As this pregnancy neared the end of nine months and she was born God had done an amazing work in my heart and as soon as I held my precious baby girl I now loved two little beings more than I knew I had love for.  God did the same thing in my heart as he blessed us with Hannah, Grace and Greta.  And, today I know that God did the same thing in my heart as he blessed us with Buche and Burka.

I didn't get the special times of pregnancy or get to experience the things that happened in the first years of Buche and Burka's life.  If fact, my sons were grew inside their first mommies tummy on the other side of the world from me.  They experienced the first years of their life on the other side of the world with family and friends that loved them as much as I do.   It hurts my heart beyond words to know the circumstances that lead up to them becoming my sons.  But, what I know today is that when God blesses you with children ...however he does that he also puts a love in your heart for your children that is amazing.   A love that tugs at your heart and opens your eyes to the needs of your children.  A love that puts a band aid on the skinned knee while seeing and feeling the pain behind the obvious injury.  A love that checks out the "scary" thing under the bed of the toddler, listens to the young girls dreams, sees the joy in the eyes of the child who is learning independence and yet still crawls in bed and holds the broken-hearted teenager.

Brings me back to the big picture.  I believe we are all Children of God.  "How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that we are"  1 John 3:1.  God has given me a love for each of my children beyond measure all because he loves me!  

Monday, February 6, 2012

A trip up north

I get to go here this week with my Grace and the 5th and 6th graders from her school as well as another area school.  Its a four day field trip ... We are very excited!  We will get "play"outside all week long while we learn new things.  

Going with Grace for the week means that it will be the first time that I leave my little guys.  Other than a few hours at a time ... just a handful of times they have been with me.  Buche has been telling me for the last week "mommy no leave Buche".  Oh, does that pull at the heart strings!  Then Burka follows suite telling me not to leave too, but he is a daddy's boy and isn't nearly as concerned about mommy leaving for the a few days.    They will be with their daddy or grandma they days that I'm away.  I know they will be well taken care of.  I know that it will be good for them to depend on their daddy alone as work has taken lots of his time since they have been home from Ethiopia.  It will be good for their attachment.  It will be good for me and them to be separate a bit.  But, I'll be honest, I'm dreading leaving them!  They'll have their big brother by there side for the week, too. He's such an awesome brother!  I will miss him too! 

And, I'll miss their daddy!  Thank you for being the dad you are, Ryan.  I know that the kids will have a great week with you.  They will get to eat out lots, have junk food for snacks, do little cleaning and lots of playing and know they that are loved by their daddy.   

And, leaving for the week with my Grace means leaving these girlies at home too.  I sure do love my girls too!    They are such a blessing to me.

It will be a good week :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Incredible Journey

The boys have been home for almost 8 months.  It has been an amazing, stressful, fun, sad, exciting, tiring 8 months.  You get the idea?  A full range of emotions.  I am stunned by how God can heal hearts and create families.  Life is a journey, be it with children, spouses, friends, family.  It is an incredible journey.  

Just when I think we've made so much progress I am reminded that life is a journey.  That is okay.  Life feels like a handful of emotions for me these days and I'm learning to be thankful for that. I'm glad I can feel emotions.  It would not be healthy if I could not.   I'm trying to live in the moment and choose the joy of the Lord that is indeed ever present.  Sometimes that is very, very easy.  Sometimes that is very, very hard.

I have a little story to tell.  My little boys are always with me.  It is rare that they are not by my side ... hanging on my legs ... tripping me as I try to walk.  I love it.  I get irritated with it.  (There is that dichotomy of emotions again)  One morning about a week ago I was getting ready for the day.  I turned on "Curious George" for the boys so that I could finish getting dressed and do my hair and make up.  I plugged in my hair straightener and turned around to grab my sweater.  While I was putting on my sweater Buche touched my hair straightener.  He knew he was not supposed to touch it.  I've told him many times it is hot and it would hurt him.  I also know that he understood.  I don't believe it was a language issue of him not understanding me.   He touched it because he is a curious toddler.  His finger got burned.

But, here is the deal.  It is his response that shows me that there is so much more healing that needs to be done in his little heart.  It shows me that life is a journey ... for all of us, really.  He walked out of the bathroom holding his finger.  Totally emotionless.  I asked him is he touched my hair straightener.  He didn't respond.  I asked him if his finger was hurt.  He didn't respond.  His face, his voice, his body language was all quiet, expressionless ... shut down really.  The first words that he said to me was "I love you mommy".  He had a blister on his finger.  I held him.  He did not cry.  It was not until later that day when he was playing with his tractor and it was hurting his finger to push it that he told me he was hurt.  

Now, this child is not always emotionless.  He fights everyday with his brother and sisters and is very quick to come crying and whining about someone else's behavior or a wrong that was done to him.  And, I am feeling really, really good about where his attachment is to me.  But, when he did something that he knew was not okay; something that I had warned him not to do and got hurt, he didn't want to tell me.  He didn't want to talk about it.  He let me comfort him, but he didn't ever cry.  It reminded me of the first months we were home from Ethiopia.  Whenever he was hurt he never cried.  He cried to get his way but not when he was hurt whether that be his feeling hurt or at times like when he got his cast off his leg and his leg was physically hurting.  I thought we were past that, but I can see that is one place we need to work on.  From what we know he has been the strong one of the two boys from the very beginning.  He takes care of his brother yet to this day.  He makes sure he gets his food, gets his clothes, gets his toy, gets to have his turn.  

Sweet Buche is teaching me a lesson.  Sometimes I do not do what I am supposed to.  Sometimes I get burned.  I may even burn others in the process.  Sometimes other people in my life burn me.  Sometimes it is the people that I love and trust.  I know my little guys can relate to that thought process at their own developmental level.  But I do believe that allowing ourselves to feel the emotions of whatever situation we are in is okay.  I'm learning that what I do with those emotions is the critical point of either healing or not healing. Sometimes it feels like I spend a lot of my prayer time crying out to the Lord asking why there seems to be so much hurt in this world.  He is reminding me that He is the joy.  In Him ... in His Joy I have strength to carry on.  I have strength to make a difference as He calls me to. I can forgive and I can ask for forgiveness.  Letting the ones that love us comfort us or rejoice with us in each given circumstance feels right.  And, then moving on in truth and love is where I need to walk.  That's the path I am trying to teach my kids to walk in too.

"... the joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10