Sunday, October 26, 2014

Love....

We heard many times before we began the adoption journey that children from hard places need more than love to heal.




I've been thinking about this a lot lately...

Does this all depend on what our definition of love is?  What does He say about love?

We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.    John 3:16

This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?   Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.   1 John 3:16-18

My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:12-3





What is love??



From 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.

Love never fails.

We've learned so much more about what real love is---laying down our expectations of how we thought things would be and accepting and embracing where we are at as a step in the journey of healing for our girls.  Love is trying to view things that happen through the eyes of our girls--the limited experiences that they had with so many things and the many hard and traumatic experiences that they did experience and how those things changed their view of people, life, trust, and fear.  Love is always trying to remember that our girls won't act their "age"--that an adoptive child is often at about half of their age behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally when they come home.






Love is being humbled and realizing that even though we are experienced parents, God is teaching us that this isn't about us and our success or ability to raise decent kids--this is about Him working through us to show His unconditional love for our girls--for them to see and understand the love of their Heavenly Father through the hands and feet of an earthly mother and father (and sisters and brothers).  Love is realizing that "downtime" and "me time" and so many other things focused on what I want can be given up---often for an opportunity to connect or love on two precious girls who are experiencing "me time" and "focused attention" for the first time in their lives.



Love is seeing the joy of playing peek-a-boo and "This Little Piggy" with your girls---the nightly snuggling up time with Vaida, stroking her hair while having her sweet body cuddled in my arms and thinking about the many, many nights she slept alone.  Love is giggling with Sima under the covers about the goofy and silly things that happened and having her give kisses and sigh a contented sigh.





Love is experiencing the joy and thrills of so many new things for our girls--splashing in puddles, raking leaves, finding caterpillars and bugs and holding them, making sure the cats have a full bowl of food, eating marshmallows and hot dogs roasted on the fire.....



Hope Sima's dentist never sees this!  She just got lots of dental work done---
marshmallows aren't the best for her teeth but oh so fun......










Love is trying to help your children work through how to deal with anger, how to share and take turns, how to calm when their bodies start to get overwhelmed.  Love is hearing your child say more and more words and understand more and more of a new language.  Love is seeing how brave your little ones have been as they have had all they have known taken away from them and adjusted to so many new things.





Our first hike at a nature center--with Hazel.  The girls had such fun--
Sima lost her boot in some mud.  So many firsts!

Love is having Him help you realize more and more what your daughters' day-to-day life was like--what they did and didn't do, what they had and didn't have, what they experienced and never experienced--and how all of those things have shaped how they view us, a family, and the world.


 Helping haul wood at Baba's house.  




Love is realizing that some days you can only love with His strength and you are tired but He fills you with what you need.  Love is recognizing that you are a work in progress and some days have no clue how to respond to things that have happened and why they happened but trusting that He will reveal what you need to know.  Love is making mistakes and knowing you are forgiven.


 A breakfast of brown bread--we call it snakus (which means garlic).  The girls had this at their orphanage as a treat--sliced up rye bread fried in oil with fresh garlic rubbed on it.  They both love to rub on additional garlic.  They were so excited to have this "comfort food"!  Precious!


Love is the feeling deep in your heart when you gaze at your precious new daughters sleeping---praying that they will feel they have worth and know they are treasured and loved by God and by their family.






Love is telling your daughters that they are loved--by you, your family, and by God--that they are precious, of worth, beautiful, special, funny, kind, loving, gentle and loved deeply.  Love is trying to fill them with words of hope.  Love is trying to help your daughters understand what the word "love" means---the deep love of a family for each other.




Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay,
the time it is willing to give, 
the hardships it is willing to endure 
and the strength it is willing to spend.

Love never thinks in terms of
 "how little"
but always in terms of 
"how much".

Joni Eareckson Tada


Monday, October 13, 2014

3 months home....

How hard it is to believe we've been a family for three months.  In ways, it seems like so much longer!

Lots of full days lately--and a full heart.  Such a blessing to see the girls growing and blossoming.


Sima loves finding bugs---a caterpillar this day.... 




Going to check the chickens (in their pajamas)...



Running barefoot across the gravel driveway....such a joy to see Vaida running!


So many thoughts I want to share about "love" and a child who was institutionalized...
soon hopefully....


Sima loves helping with leaves....





Vaida was pushing her baby around for a ride and decided to try out the doll stroller.....



Sima was so proud to make her own plate of "chips and cheese"...



Sima loved spending time with Baba...the true joy of a Grandma!

How blessed we are to call Sima and Vaida our girls...God is good!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Family....

Love to see our girls beginning to understand more and more what a family is--



Shoulder rides--



Playing games together--


Dancing and singing..



We are still cocooning and seeing the importance of it.  So many thoughts about how children from hard places need that time at home--hoping to do a post on it soon.

Adoption is about loss--loss of so much for our two precious girls.  They have been hurt through relationships and their healing will come through relationships.  We have seen that loss shown in many different ways in the last three months--many of the ways not things most people would see as an expression of fear or trauma/neglect.

So thankful that we serve a God of restoration.  We are so blessed to see first hand the beginning of understanding of family and forever--seeing our girls beginning to work through their coping strategies and learn so many new things.

Grateful that as we continue on this journey, God will continue to provide all we need--that what we are doing will be done through His strength and with His wisdom.  Praying for healing.  Thanking Him for the continuing to help us see what is important and keeping us on our knees.  Thankful for His adoption of us and seeing so many similarities.

Asking Him to help us throw off those things that hinder and recognize the sin that is entangling us.  Asking Him to help us keep our eyes fixed on Him and His desires and to run with perserverance--

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.... 
Hebrews 12:1-2






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our idea of "heavy work"...

Many adoptive children struggle in one way or another with their sensory system.   One (of many) suggestions for activities to help a child regulate is to have them do "heavy work"--to push, pull, or carry heavy items.

At our house, this was our "heavy work" last week--





Yup, got three of the kids' sensory work in.  Vaida was just along for the ride.  Don't worry, the engine was off, and we were watching carefully:)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What we've been up to....

We've been busy starting school and trying to get into a routine during our days.  Truly, Sima and Vaida's school for this year is Family 101---learning so much about trusting and feeling safe.

Our first day of school we have always had a treasure hunt for the kids' backpacks with clues and surprises in the backpacks.  I never thought it would be tradition that the kids would look forward to--but they do so each year I try to stump them with clues and have some fun surprises.












Another day we went for a nature color walk (with backpacks!)--







And some painting after reading Mouse Paint to Sima and Vaida-








We are starting to get into a groove with school.  It is fun to see how the girls are liking different things and great to see them continue to grow and change before our eyes.