Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Fundraising!

          Next week is going to be a busy one around here!  If you're local and looking for some great deals, here are two great opportunities.  The first is the RI Kids Consignment sale which starts on April 3rd.  Once again we are consigning in order to raise money for our adoption.  The flyers below can be handed in at checkout (one per person) for a chance to win 100% of our sales.  

        The second is our Adoption Benefit Yard Sale which will be Saturday April 5th (weather permitting!).  We have a basement FULL of items that have so generously been donated and we are eager to have our sale.  It will be from 8am to 1pm, and we will share a post on facebook as it gets closer.  As usual, we have a large variety of items from furniture to kitchenware, shoes and toys!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Living and learning

      As things continue to worsen in U, we are getting closer to finally submitting our documents.  Yet, we have no reason to stop moving forward at this point, and as this is not about us and our comfort or a smooth process, we continue on.  We were so blessed to be able to have our fingerprints completed earlier than expected, and despite a small hiccup with our home study and USCIS, we should still have our approval by next week.  At that point, all of our documents will be complete and ready to make their way to U!  From what I've heard, the general timeline is that it takes around a month to be registered and then you are given an appointment (which could be anywhere from days to weeks away) to travel to U.  I'm not sure if the timeline is being affected by all that is currently taking place, and I'm trying not to count out (over and over again) when we could potentially travel.

           Other than preparing documents, life continues to move along as usual......cold, fever, strep, virus, cold.....  We've pretty much been house bound, or gone places outdoors where we can keep the germs to ourselves, for the past few months.  It's been bittersweet - for obvious reasons bitter, but sweet in that we've spent a LOT of quality time together.  No running here and there, rushing out the door, rushing back for lunch and naps.  In all honesty, it was a challenge at first......and I had to learn to be more creative with our time.....while the playroom is wonderful, you can only spend so much time day after day in one room!

We've had some dance parties with musical instruments - always a fun time!

Lots of crafts....especially with daddy since he's much more creative!  Yes Levi decided to taste one - hence the blue lips.

TONS of reading books!

We started our garden and the boys love checking to see what's happening, and watering when needed. 

More time in the kitchen.......

Pretzel X's for X week in school (which has been super sporadic since none of us have felt too great)

More projects

And getting outside whenever possible! Zoo trips and....

Playing out in the yard......boy we can't wait for the warmer weather when we can do this all day everyday!

First ice cream of the year!

And just being cute!  
          Turns out there's a lot to do, even when you're stuck inside! : )  Oh and Caleb's on this new joke kick, so that's been it was, "Why do chickens sit on their eggs? Because they don't have chairs! HAHAHAH.  Why do people blink their eyes? Because they don't have eyeballs! HAHAHA.  At first I found it challenging that he just assumed we had a full library of jokes memorized, but soon realized just about anything goes.  Oh the humor of a three year old!  He seems so big these days.  I always thought I was such a baby person, but each stage really is so fun (challenging!!! but fun).  It's nice to be able to sit down and play board games, or card games.....and to listen as he tells me in great detail about everything.  We had to sit and wait for about 45 minutes the other day as our documents were apostilled and I wasn't really sure how he was going to do.  Levi and Luke were home sleeping, so it was just the two of us.  It turned into such a blessing.....some unexpected one on one time, and he even said it was fun! Sitting in an office for 45 minutes, fun?!  We looked for shapes in everything, talked about what letter sounds things began with, he told me all about what he does in Awana each week.....just a sweet time to really listen and focus on him.  He loves that undivided attention, and it reminded me how often I'm too distracted....too focused on things that maybe just aren't as important.  And I dust off my 1000 gifts journal and start remembering to be thankful for this...this grace in everything.    

        Levi's newest pastime is serenading us with a song on his guitar.  He is obsessed.  Unfortunately you can't hear his adorable lyrics that go along with the playing in this one....but the way he so accurately plays the guitar is the best!  I'll be preparing a meal, doing laundry....whatever...and suddenly I hear him singing....and I'll peek in to find him sitting contentedly with his guitar.  Before he would always stop when I came in....but now, he points to the camera.  Smart boy!

       I think being home has made me realize even more that we don't need to be doing so much....maybe it's actually more like we shouldn't be doing so much.  I still always feel like I have a million things to do, to catch up on.....but I feel like we have spent so much more quality time together.  Like less really is more.  Which seems to be another theme of our life.  It's sort of been that way since we started preparing for Levi's adoption, as we cut things out of our budget that weren't necessary and started saving in an even more disciplined way.  And every now and then we start to feel the maybe we really do need more...or better.  The other day I had to call verizon for the millionth time over an issue with our bills and the representative had to confirm that just have, uh...basic phones?  So you don't use any data...hmm....sooooo....yeah you really shouldn't be paying that much for just basic phones with no data!  So later that afternoon I was excited to see that our antenna amplifier had come in the know, the thing you hook up to your indoor antenna so you can get a few free basic channels?  To top off the day, our internet wasn't working properly that night, and when we called the company the representative informed us that we have the most basic possible internet, and he didn't think it was possible to stream videos with that internet, hence the problem.  He was surprised to learn that we'd been doing so without any problems for the past TWO years.

       I'm looking forward to everyone being well (I think we're finally just about there) and getting out of the house.  But I'm also thinking we may stick to more of this.....

            “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” 

“Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.” 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hosting & Courage

           Friends of ours have a precious thirteen year old girl on hold for them to host this summer.  I could not be more excited for them, for this child....for the lives that will be changed!!  They are currently doing an online auction to raise the money needed, so if anyone is interested in joining, let me know and we can add you on facebook.  They also have a donation site set up!  I don't know how realistic it is, but I'm praying that our girls may be home this summer so they can all spend time together!

           So all of this hosting talk has got me thinking.  Last night I was praying for this girl and this upcoming experience and I really started to consider what it may be like from her perspective.  I realized how incredibly brave these young orphans are....really, think about it!  Even just the initial interview....I can only imagine for some how difficult that may be.  And then to travel to a new place.....unknown language, new smells, sites, sounds.....  Seriously, I don't know if I'd have had that kind of courage.  I think it'd be difficult even now as an adult, without the history that an orphan has, to travel to another country to stay by myself with a family I'd never met.  To say I'd be nervous is an understatement.  But for these children.....who know that maybe, just maybe, there's a chance that they'd get to come back.....that this family may not be temporary.....I can't imagine that pressure.  I talk about how exciting it is, how wonderful, how life changing....and those are all so very true, so real.  But, don't let me mislead anyone to think that it isn't hard....challenging....requires courage......

            So when I think about how many of us, myself included, find ourselves worrying....afraid of the unknown.....unsure if this is something we can really do....a change we're really up sort of pales in comparison to what these children are facing.  We have family and friends to support us....we are remaining in our homes, with all of the familiarity of life......I could go on and on.  I so admire these children....children being hosted, children in foster care, children being adopted.....what strength...courage....hope....resilience.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Big strides, Reflecting & Blinders Off

        Each week when our amazing EI therapists come, they ask me if Levi has done anything sounds, new words, more walking.....  Most weeks I try to keep in the back of my mind the few things we can add to his list of accomplishments (whether I remember when they ask is another story).  This past week I had to get an actual list going.  More signing, willingness to try new signs, new sounds, new words, more imitating......more confidence....letting go and cruising on his own.  At this point he's constantly walking all over the house by choice!  So exciting! 

        And it seems that whenever he makes big strides....whenever I'm feeling the most proud of this amazing, resilient little one, that I can't help but think of what could have been.  I guess it's just a natural think about the what if's....and the what was.  Before I knew how the first surgery had affected him, and only knowing there was a date set for the second, I remember feeling so helpless that I wouldn't be able to be there by his side.  And at the same time, also thinking that maybe it was good that his surgeries would be done prior to coming we could focus on attachment and healing.  I feel ignorant in a sense for thinking the latter.  Because when I imagined surgery, I imagined the hospitals here.....the care here.  My concerns were for our son going to have a procedure without his mommy and daddy.  There was so much to come that would remove the blinders from my eyes, but at that point I just had no clue.  I would later learn the sickening truth of the matter, and watched as God allowed a cold to delay the surgery....and again.....and then made a way for the surgery to be put off indefinitely.  And then, just recently, I found myself again feeling so I saw the reality of hospitals, in this blog.  The "care" that Levi experienced was one blow....but seeing this was another.....I was speechless....physically sick to my stomach.  I couldn't help go there....imagining our son, for the first crucial three months of his life, in one of those cribs.  For his surgery.  For the parents faced with caring for children with medical needs, knowing this is what they are up against.  For the people of this country.  I'm not trying to be depressing or dramatic, just real.

       People asked before, ask now and will continue to ask in the future....why adopt internationally when there are children here that need a family.  The real simple answer for us was that this was where God called us; but as my eyes are opened....when I see these conditions, when I know the unnecessary harm my child and others endured (and continue to endure) because of corruption and injustice.....when I realize over and over how blessed we are, how much we have at our disposal, what we think is standard and commonplace....I can't help but think this is maybe one reason why God chose Russia for us....why He chose Levi.

       A couple of years ago this was all so new to me, something that seemed out of left field and too crazy and impossible to be a part of.  I then thought it would just be a chapter in our lives.  And is all so rooted inside of me.  Sometimes I think maybe I've gone too far.....just because this is what God's put on my heart and has for our family, doesn't mean everyone else needs to keep hearing about it.  But the more I know, the more compelled I am to do something....have to do something.  I can't help myself from sharing posts about orphans in need of host families and articles on adoption.  I'm now constantly checking to see updates on the situation in U, praying without ceasing for these people.  I truly don't expect everyone to have the same passions as me, but I can't help but share them....because you just never know......

      There are two local families currently considering hosting children this summer.  I really can't express how excited I am.....for the children, for these families....for how lives will be changed by this experience.  I see myself in them.....the overwhelming number of questions you have, the uncertainty and excitement, and the constant tugging on your heart.  And I see the what if's in another light.....what if we hadn't take the leap?  Don't get me wrong, it's not about us at all, but Levi's life was not the only one that was changed.    

"If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?"
Proverbs 24:12