Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Last week it happened.  Our baby turned fifteen.  I am in awe of how quickly this has occurred.  

I remember when she was the only one.  I spent all day just playing with her and marveling at all the amazing new things she learned each day.  Everyone said that those days would fly and to take time to enjoy each moment.  There are many wonderful moments that I hold so dear.

 Now I have the future to look forward to.  She is almost grown.  She is such an amazing young lady.  She absolutely loves the Lord and wants to honor Him with her life.  Her heart is soft to His ways and we are extremely thankful and very proud of her.
Happy Birthday dear sweet Elsie!  God has amazing plans for you and we can't wait to see what they are.  May God bless you and may you always stay close to His heart.
We love you!!!
Sweet Momma and Stand-Up Dad

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our August Birthdays

Summer has flown by and we have just completed our third week of school.  

I can't seem to get on top of my blogging.  Ugh!

I want to take some time to celebrate our little ones who both celebrated another birthday - almost a month ago.=)

Sunshine (Who is obviously Sophie, from the picture - Oops!) celebrated her seventh birthday in the middle of August.  In July she started talking about her birthday and I could see that it was making her very anxious.  We took the time to talk through all the events of the day and I reminded her that I would make her day special.  It would be a birthday that was just perfect for her.

It was perfect.  It was just right.  Not too much excitement as to overwhelm her, but just enough fun to make it a wonderful day!

Sunshine is such an amazing young lady.  She is super smart and very determined.  She has grown by leaps and bounds since she came to live with us.  She has just started second grade and just loves to learn.  She is reading independently and loves art.  There are so many things that she is good at, she has trouble choosing her favorite.

She struggles greatly with yielding to me.  I know God has an amazing plan for her.  I know that He can be trusted.  So we move forward each day in full faith that He will work everything together for His good.
Sunshine loved the special treat I had planned for her on her birthday.  I took her on a Mommy/Daughter date to get her nails done.  She got her toes and fingernails painted while I had a pedicure.  She even got beautiful flowers painted on her big toes and thumbs.

Happy Birthday Sunshine!  I adore you!

Little Buddy had a birthday the next day!  Yes, that is right.  We do not know their actual birth dates as people in Ethiopia do not keep those kinds of records.  But to be adopted a birthdate had to be chosen.

Their birth dates were chosen by their oldest sister.  That is what makes these dates special to our family.  If someone at the courthouse had chosen them, we might have spread them apart a bit.  In this way we honor their sister who had no idea that two days of birthdays can be quite busy!=)

Little Buddy requested Ethiopian food for his birthday dinner.  I was happy to oblige.  It is fairly easy to make if you can buy the injera, which is what we did.  It was delicious and his tummy and his heart were full.

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!  I love you SOOOOOOOO much!=)

Birthdays for kiddos from hard places can be difficult.  This year was hard for Little Buddy.  Our therapist told me that how a child does on their birthday can say a lot about how they are doing in general.  It made a lot of sense to me.

As you can see, this little guy is adorable.  His hugs and kisses melt my heart.  He has come so far.  Not only has he learned English and adjusted to a new family, he is also reading independently at just five years old.  I am so thankful that he does not have to struggle with school as he struggles in other areas.

My greatest desire for both of these precious children is that God would heal and transform their hearts. This would allow them to trust and be free of the hurt that they carry daily.

I guess I really want them to be free to be kids before they are grown.

That is what I want...I am waiting to see what God wants.  His plan is always better than anything I can dream up.

Sweet Momma

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of School

We started school last week.  This is a great shot of my class of kiddos.  

This year Elsie is a Sophomore in High School, M&M is in Eighth grade, Fifth grade for Sweet Pea, Third for Pumpkin, Second for Sunshine and my adorable Little Buddy is in Kindergarten.

It has taken me weeks to get everything ready to start.  I am a person who likes to "feel" organized and with this many kids to school I have been pushed to a new level.

We have worked out a daily schedule that almost works for everyone.  I hope to work out the kinks in the next couple of weeks.

Enough about school.  I haven't blogged much lately.  I have many excuses, but mostly it has been a challenging summer on the kiddo front.  Most days I am just trying to figure out my next step or if I need to step back.

I would love to write that everything is wonderful all the time and everyone is completely adjusted to life in our family.  That would not be the truth.

This summer has been a time of adjusting expectations.  I am generally an optimist who hopes the best of people.  That has not changed.  There is much to be thankful for.  Lives are changing and adjusting and trusting a little at a time.  This is just a much slower process than Stand-Up Dad and I expected.

The process of teaching a child to trust you while you wrestle (at times) for control is daunting.  Giving up control has proven to be the biggest stumbling block for our littles.  When the first years of your life are spent taking care of and protecting yourself, it is like reprogramming brain function to ask them to give up that control to Daddy and I.  They are scared.  Can they trust us enough to let it go?  It doesn't look like fear on a regular basis.  It comes out in behaviors that will drive you upside down crazy.=)

Through this process we are learning a lot about our original family and how our expectations for parenting have to change and flex to accommodate children from hard places.  Do you think you have a stubborn, strong willed child?  Our two littles have multiplied strong willed to a level I did not know existed.  And all that "will" comes from those early years of life experience, much of which we are unaware of.

The result of almost two years together is that they both want to be a part of our family! Praise God!  They want to be "family kids."  But they are not quite willing to go to the next step. They can't do it their own way and be "family kids."

And this is where we are.  Trying to love, lead, guide, and encourage them to the next step.  It is their choice.  We can't force this in any way shape or form.

You see, God is the shaper and the former of our lives, when we allow Him to work.

When I look at the picture above I see six transformed lives.  Yes, we hope the greatest change will come in the lives of our littles, but our big kids are learning to exhibit compassion, patience and understanding that they would have never experienced were it not for our little ones.  This weaving of the family is an amazing, overwhelming, and worthwhile experience.  I thank God daily for the privilege to be right where I am.

Sweet Momma