Saturday, January 19, 2013

Three Years Together

We celebrated three years together as a family.  It is truly crazy to look over the last three years and try and put into words all that has happened, all the ways the Lord has used this adoption process to change who we are as a family, as parents, as siblings, as children of God, as people.  We would have never been able to imagine what this road has been like.  More difficult than we could have ever imagined at times, and more beautiful than we could have possibly dreamed at others. 

There are still days we struggle.  There are still days I feel like we get it all wrong.  That bonding is a joke and the looks I receive from behind their chocolate eyes could slice me to the core of who I am.  And other times when one look from them melts my mommy heart and I fall more in love with them and Jesus at the same time.  We adore Bekeh and Caleb's spirited personalities, we love having them in our family, and we are excited and expectant for what God is preparing for their lives.

They are precious beyond words and we are still thankful and in awe that God allows us to be their family.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Caleb!

I can't believe the round face toddling tiny thing we brought home from Ethiopia is now a lean, mean, high fiving machine.

He's precious and crazy and got moves this white girl can't dream of doing.  He loves his family, he loves tv, he loves preschool.
He struggles with his letters, we work til the cows come home and he still can't spell his name, but he knows every word to every song, except his name song, that we sing and listen to.
He loves to cuddle, FINALLY THANK YOU JESUS!
He loves to flirt.  He loves to make people laugh.  He loves to prank.
We love you Caleb Wesley Dereje Root and are so thankful God chose you out of all the precious chocolate boys in the world to be our son.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two Years Together!!

It's been so long since we've updated the blog, I almost forgot my login information!  But today is the two year mark of the day they placed Bekeh and Caleb in our arms forever.  What a blessed day indeed.

I've spent the morning reading other beautiful post from families marking similar anniversaries and it's such an amazing time to build an altar to the Lord concerning the work He has done and to praise His name for the gifts He gave along the journey.

I could spend the entire post here telling you all the adorable ways Bekeh and Caleb have changed our lives for the better, the struggles we overcame that God used to break us and rebuild us better, the hilarious things that come out of Caleb's mouth on a moment by moment basis, the leaps and bounds by which Bekeh is learning in school, and so much more, but then I'd have to spend equal time doing that for the other three vanilla kids that live in this house, and the vanilla great-grandmother too, and you guys do not have hours to spend reading this blog about my six precious charges!  Because, somewhere along the way over the last two years, Bekeh and Caleb became part of the family.  No longer the center of all attention, no longer the "difference" that was infiltrating every fiber of our existence, just two more of us that made us The Crazy Roots.
What just leaves me flabbergasted, speechless (yea right), teary, giddy, joyful, and in awe this morning as I look back over the last two years, is what the Lord has done for us.  When I look at our marriage, I see such an overwhelming, beautiful transformation from where and who we were when we started this journey.  When I look at my three biological kids, I see such an incredible maturity and patience in them because of the lengths they've stretched their hearts and their comfort zones.  When I look at Bekeh and Caleb I see two babies who went from being alone and orphaned to being a contributing part of an amazing family that the Lord is using to change this world. 

I see how it could have not been this way.  But we chose His way over our way ever time there was a choice.  I see how we've laid our lives bare for the Lord to change, to mold, to discard, to use.  I see how we've continuously relied on Him for the wisdom to survive, for the resources to thrive, and for the direction to live.  I see the fruits of giving Him our finances completely, and I am so thankful for His multiplication.  I see the blessings of turning to Him for all of our parenting dilemmas and we are so grateful for His provision.

Our wants are different, our needs are greater, our desires are deeper, our grumblings are fewer, our hearts are tilled, our futures are open.

We are not in a season of Spiritual Highs.  As if like a sports team, a winning season can't predict what next season will look like, that championships are fleeting.  No this is not a season.  I can see now how the adoption was a season. It was a specific time that everything was on high alert.  Everything was in chaos, everything was in constant change.  Beautiful, but nonetheless, always active.  Checking in with fellow in process moms every minute of the day, constantly talking about bonding and transition and parasitic poop, and embassy issues and paperwork!  And then somewhere over the last few months the season came to an end.  But that season broke the scales from our hearts, our eyes, our ears.  We emerged from that season changed.  This is a lifestyle.

A lifestyle that depends on the Lord for every source of wisdom, provision, direction, and joy.  A lifestyle that knows the lengths He goes to to provide for us, bless us, rescue us, deliver us, escort us, and BE WITH US.  It's beautiful, it's invigorating, it's thrilling, and it's anything but fleeting.

When we began this adoption journey 3 years ago, I anticipated the love of new children and the joy God had in store for us through them.  But I never dreamed or imagined the radical difference in the way we think, choose, and spend our life.   We never could have known to ask God for the beautiful friendships we are now honored with, we love our fellow adoptive families so truly!  We never could have understood how near to God we could draw, how hard He holds us daily, and how exhilarating giving up and letting Him move could feel.

Two years.  Might as well have been a lifetime or the blink of an eye.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life Lesson in a Lost Tooth

This morning Bekeh was complaining at breakfast that her teeth were hurting.  Usually this means she has something stuck and needs to floss, so when she finished up we headed to the bathroom.  As soon as I inserted the floss, her front tooth wiggled like crazy.  Aahh hhaaa!!  Her first loose tooth.  Upon further examination by the tooth fairy, I realized it was ready to come out.  I told Bekeh she was going to lose her first tooth, and immediately the look of complete terror overtook her face.  As I began to wiggle and yank, she began to scream out in pain.  I quickly realized that my biological kids always endured the trauma with anticipation of what was happening, and the reward it came with, but Bekeh had no understanding of this.  To her, this simply hurt and was something she wanted to stop immediately!

One final, hard yank, revealed why it was a difficult little bugger. . . the longest tooth I had ever extracted.  I swear I thought, how in the world is a permanent tooth hiding in those gums underneath with that thing buried in there?

As the blood began to spew, and she's practicing the ritual of spitting and swishing and spitting and swishing, I began to go crazy, jumping up and down, hooting and hollering about how awesome she was, and how cool it was that she lost her FIRST TOOTH!  I was giggling and congratulating her for being an official Big Girl, and kissing all over her tiny cheeks.  She on the other hand, was looking at me like I had lost my mind.  Her pained face quickly turned to bewilderment, and slowly began to turn to curiosity.  Brooklyn soon came in to the bathroom to see what the fuss was about, and her first reaction was pure joy and excitement for her sister.  She held out her hand for a big high five, which Bekeh returned very apprehensively.  I could see Brooklyn's joy registering on Bekeh's mind.  She began to smile a bit.  The kicker came when, fully packed with paper towels in her mouth, she went out to the living room where Nathan, Corban and our neighbor Evan were sitting.  She quietly said, "Hey, boys, I lost my tooth," and immediately they rang out in a loud chorus of, "Really?  How awesome!  Let me see!  That's cool.  Super Bekeh!  That's so exciting!"  She began to give in and enjoy it, returning their fist bumps and high fives energetically.  We called daddy on the phone in Virginia, and she told him with pure joy and a smile on her face, "Daddy, I lost my first tooth!!!"
Bekeh had never watched her older siblings loose their teeth, never seen that the joy it brought was worth the moments of pain it took.  She had never begged with anticipation and excitement for me to check every tooth for signs of the slightest wiggle as her brothers had done before her.  We had not anticipated this, and explained to her what would happen.  For her, it was a scary and painful experience that she didn't want to go through, that is until others around her changed her perspective.

How often do we behave the same way?  I was talking with a sweet, sweet, dear friend of mine last weekend about all of this.  And what a beautiful example God provided me this week in a lost tooth.  Our children are blank slates.  They do not know how to be afraid, to be offendable, to be hurt by things in this life, to be conquerors, to be joyful in the fire, until we teach them.  Especially with our adopted children, whose life book was written so strongly by parents who are no longer around to explain their storyline, we do not get to pick and choose what is part of their plot.  We are handed a set of circumstances and must teach our children how to deal with them.  We must also show them how to handle criticism, racism, diversity, loss, grief, freedom, joy, love.  It's in these most difficult parenting challenges that I have to turn to my God for my example.  How did our Father teach His one and only son to deal with it?

Hebrews 12:2 NLT teaches us, "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne."

Jesus solved our Sin problem on the cross, He also solved our shame problem. It says He disregarded or despised all shame, meaning He didn't even let it in, and we must do the same. To the degree that God is present in any situation, there is no shame, because God does not operate in shame. We cannot teach our children to be ashamed of their story, we can't teach our children to be ashamed or apologetic for their past, their present, or their future. We must teach them to be more than conquerors, to let God into every situation so that shame flees and redemption and freedom whooshes in. To see every fire as a refinement, every pain God allows as a purifying gift, and endure with overcoming joy the trials of this life. We teach and model for them. We must celebrate and recall God's rescue and redemption more than we focus on the attack the enemy waged against us.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

I love Bekeh and I knew that the amount of pain she was going through was going to be worth the joy. That the relief the tooth being out would bring her over the next couple of days would be worth the temporary pain this morning. She didn't, but I'm her loving parent and she needed to trust me.

How I wish I could see the throne of Heaven and the mighty armies of angels who celebrate with me and my family when we are enduring pain and trial. How I wish I could see them giggling, kissing my cheek, hooping and hollering, high fiving me for the next step into maturation that I have just taken. But although unseen, I know they're there, and my heavenly faith and sight changes my perspective. I have to teach that to my children, model it, live it.

In all this, Bekeh still didn't know the best part was coming. She still had yet to understand the reward that will be under her pillow tonight. I know the tooth fairy, I know how she rewards extra for those teeth that were a little more stubborn and painful than others. I know how she rewards the trust and faith she sees. And she's just an earthly gal. How much more does our heavenly Father look forward with anticipation to rewarding us for the trials we endured without shame, with joy, and with a heavenly perspective. I just get goose bumps thinking about it, anticipating it. It almost makes me feel like I'm six years old again with a really wiggly tooth.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

17 Months Together!

Summer is in full swing at the Root House.  We've been keeping ourselves uber busy with Tae Kwon Do lessons 8 hours a week, Gymnastics 7 hours a week, piano lessons, guitar lessons, clarinet lessons, swimming non stop, visiting friends, church camps, and reading books and frequenting the library like mad men.  It's exhausting just typing it out but it really is a ton of fun and we're often commenting on how lazy we feel we're being.  Our new normal.
Bekeh's favorite time of the week is her gymnastic classes.  She can do an amazing cartwheel, roundoff, handstand-kickover-bridge, one handed cart wheel and is working on her back walkover so she can get to her back handspring.  She and Brooklyn practice non stop around the house.  She shares her second favorite thing with Caleb's all time favorite, and that's swimming.  They live for the pool.  They jump and swim and splash and kick in it for hours.
Caleb has been growing up in leaps and bounds the last few months.  He has S-L-O-W-L-Y began to use his words for communicating more than he uses his tears and whining.  We're working it out.  Zero tolerance worked much faster with the other four, he's a stubborn one though and seems fearful of asking for help or for what he wants.  We're sure it's some ex-orphan untrusting where's the bond issue, but we're just going to keep praying and working through it like everything else.  He's so darn adorable every other minute of the day we'll make it.  He talks non-stop, and now that he's transistioning into talking for himself and not just mimicking EVERY SINGLE THING others say around him, his personality is coming out more and we're finding out how his little mind processess and thinks through our crazy life.  It's a ton of fun.  His favorite thing to say is, "I changed my mind."  And he sure does, all the time.  I think we're going through the toddler indecisive stage he missed a few years back!  We got a lot of complaints helpful advice from his fellow chocolate brothers and sisters in the world at large about his hair not being appropriate and what not, so I caved to the pressure and shaved it off.  CPS letting you know someone felt strongly enough about it to take your license plate and call with concern about his hair being matted will do that to you.  Seriously.  We went through the pain daily of brushing out his hair, matted my foot, mind your own business people.  I do not need your advice.  He didn't want to cut it either, but now that it's so much easier to comb, and cooler for summer, we've all come around to being ok with it.  The joys of being a multiracical family and getting judged and stared at non-stop in public.  Bring it!!  And I dare say I enjoy the large target on my back.  Being ridiculously persecuted by the enemy of our souls means we're scaring the heck out of him with our faith walk.  Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

It occured to me yesterday as we were driving down the road that Bekelech is past "learning English."  She can understand and communicate anything she thinks, experiences, remembers, imagines, and questions.  She's still struggling with pronouns, but that will all work itself out.  She's really looking forward to starting Kindergarten again in the fall and we're looking forward to her being up to speed and master school this time!  She keeps asking if she's going to be in Mrs. Neel's class again, and I honestly don't know.  Pray with us that the US Governement would release our tax return funds so that we could move on to the next season of life that God has in store for us.  We've been waiting very patiently Mr IRS Case Examiner, much more patiently than you would be if we owed you money.  Please, Lord, just have them release our money soon.
Hopefully I'll find some time soon to document the amazing trip back to Ethiopia that Nathan and I took with the Rowell family in May.  It was incredible.  God was so present and miraculous. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

15 Months Together!

So, I've been "getting in trouble" with many of you lately for going too long in between blog updates!  Things have simply been crazy around the Root Casa, and I do apologize!  As if life as a family of seven is every not crazy, nonetheless, the last few months have been a ginormous roller coaster of ridiculous life moments one after the other.
Let's just get right to it.  March was a fantastic month.  We celebrated Corban's 8th birthday while on a family vacation to Sea World in San Antonio, Texas.  It was a total surprise.  We told the kids we were going geocaching at a spot, and about an hour or more into the drive, they finally began whining, "Seriously?  Where is this cache at?  How much further?"  To which I casually responded, "According to the map, 5 hours or so, depending on traffic."  "5 hours!!!  WHY?  (In the most whiny of all voices they collectively cried.)  "Well, it takes awhile to get to Sea World guys."  It took a second or two for the idea to sink in and then the whoops and hollering began!  Bekeh and Caleb loved the dolphins and whales.  The shows were amazing and we had such a wonderful time. 

We were also blessed to run right smack in to the Patteson Family while waiting to get into Sea World our first morning.  I didn't recognize Danielle behind her glamorous sunglasses, but I recognized her chocolate cutie immediately!  That prompted us being able to get together with them and the Boddies for dinner and we had such a wonderful time chatting adoption and life talk with them!  Leanne Boddie suggested we meet up the next day at The Witte Museum, and the kids had an absolute blast.  The Boddie girls are adorable and Bekeh and Caleb were giddy with excitement to get to play with them all afternoon.  
This vacation was the first without any major bonding issues to deal with, so we were thankful to be at the point where we simply enjoyed the time as a complete family.
Jason began a new job the week we returned home and so we are excited about all God has in store for our family with this blessing.  The only two drawbacks are Jason now has a longer commute and is traveling a bit more.  God has redeemed even those things as He always does.  Jason actually gets home earlier in the evenings than he used to, and we're hoping to have a lot of great family trips in the future with all the frequent flyer miles he's beginning to rack up.  I'm learning how to navigate the weekdays with the kids schedules and just me, but all the kids are so awesome, helpful, and fun, it's been easier than I expected.
Jason and I celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary in April.  Unbelievable.  We talked a lot about the goals we set for our family over dinner on our 10th Anniversary.  We laughed at how completely naive we were at the time for the plans God had in store for us.  We never imagined just a short time ago how radically different our dreams for the future, our family, and our marriage would look!  So, as we looked at the year ahead, with 12 months until our 15 year goal setting dinner will arrive, we decided our only goal was to let God be in control, and to wait with anticipation for the blessings He has planned for us! 
Jason recently shared with me that God has it on his heart to adopt again. A baby girl. I can't even imagine. Seriously, when he told me this, I believe the words, "Get behind me satan" escaped my lips. And while God has not placed the desire and call in my heart at this time, He has been actively ministering to me and reminding me of so many things. I have opened my heart to defend the fatherless, and whether that's through mission work or being a mom to more, I'm abandoned and willing. In God's time. I have submitted my family, the way it looks, operates, functions, forms, grows, and lives to Him, and He is free to do with it whatever He knows is best. He'll prepare me and call me when it's time. If it's His plan for our family, which, when I look in Jason's heart, I see the reality that it already is. Someday.

Bekeh, you are crazy child.  If I didn't know how perfectly personal our God is, and how perfectly He places personalities and types of kids into families, you would prove it to me.  You are a CRAZY root, CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY.  Most of the time you make me laugh hysterically, some times you just make me hysterical.  You never stop.  You never stop talking, you never stop turning cartwheels, you never stop drumming, asking, eating, drinking, poking, banging, begging, whining, pouting, laughing.  You never stop. 

You've transitioned lately from the delayed toddler stages into the full blown little girl appropriate for your age. And with that, has come a lot of growing pains for mommy. It was easier to keep you in a box of, "You're too little to do. . ." and now you're not too little, and you understand everything and you want it all. When I say no to you running in the street like your older brothers, or to your crazy choices in clothing, which you are very particular about, I get this look from you that slices me to the core. You look at me as if I've killed your puppy, destroyed your self-esteem, squashed your personality, and abandoned your happiness all in one word. Had I raised you from my womb and bonded with you for 6 years, I would tell you where to take your look, but I can't. All the worry and frustration of what condition our bond is in, how you perceive your life in our family, how much you feel comfortable expressing your needs and desires and yet maintaining boundaries of obedience and respect of others all comes crashing down on me in a wave of insecurity and I feel lost!! Thank Goodness the Friend, the Author of Truth, the Comforter is there with us feeding me wisdom and helping me see the things unseen. Thank God He's there in those moments with us helping us limp along and figure this all out together. Thank God He redeemed you into our family. Thank You Jesus that you're my daughter. I love you completely. In a way I once wondered if it were possible. You are a delight of our day. You are a tender minister. You spread joy and warmth to everyone everywhere we go. You are hilarious, and your giggle changes everything.

Caleb, My little dude.  Who would have ever guessed you had such a bubble and adorable personality waiting in there to explode on us.  Geez.  You are a wild man.  Since our encounter with God in your hospital room last February, you've opened up and let yourself free.  We've had a two, maybe three, days in the past months where the old RAD issues have returned, but I have to get on my knees, confess my wrong thoughts, cast down the lies, and reclaim the ground we've conquered.  The dynamic change between you and I has infiltrated the whole family.  Everything is calmer, happier, and more normal.  You're enjoying learning how to be a four year old at preschool.  You're talking up a storm, questioning everything, playing hard.  While Bekeh's cartwheeling all over town, you're doing handstands (donkey kicks more accurately) all over the place.  You've gotten pretty good and you think it's hilarious when you fall on your head.  You still whine to the point of hysterics, every single time we ask you to go get your shoes.  It's insanity.  We've worked and worked on it, but if we say, "Go bring me your shoes," you lose it.  And we lose it, and it's a lost moment of ridiculousness on all our parts.  And it happens 2-3 times a day.  But, alas, our whole day used to be filled with RAD drama, so we'll keep working through your shoe drama in the same fashion, and soon we'll be on the other side of it too.   Your scar is healing beautifully after your surgery.  You hate when we rub on it to break up the scar tissue, but you love that your lips aren't cracking and bleeding constantly!  Thank you Jesus for all the healing you've brought to us.

We celebrate your 4th Birthday on Friday.  You're 4 but who would know it.  You couldn't guess by the 18 month tag in your loose pants, or the 2T label on your shirts.  You couldn't guess it by the way you form your words, or the tone of your giggle.  Even the tiny size 8 shoes on your feet mask your years.  And although you've been slow to grow this past year, I look back at pictures and I see you becoming a little boy.  The round baby face is fading away.  I love you precious.  You are perfect just the adorable size you are!
And no Spring update in Texas is complete without Bluebonnet pictures.

Nathan (our 9yr old) and I will be heading to Ethiopia next May 19th.  I'm anxious and excited about returning to visit Bekeh and Caleb's birthfamily in their village.  It will be a great opportunity to introduce Nathan to the culture and people that we have fallen in love with, as well as check in on Bekeh and Caleb's 3 bio sisters still living there.  We are preparing pictures of B&C from this past year of growing to present to their father and we know it's going to be a great time of fellowship with them.  We are traveling with the Rowell's and I can't wait to meet and hug and kiss and love all over their new son.  Please keep us in your prayers this next month!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

13 Months Together!


It's been a major love fest around the Root house for the last month.  To get things started, it was finally time for Caleb to undergo surgery for the repair of his cleft lip.  His poor lip protruded into his right nostril causing him all sorts of trouble breathing and the wet skin portion of his lip was pulled up where it was constantly exposed to the air and would dry out non stop.  This produced a lot of painful cracking and bleeding for him.  The surgery went better than expected and we are prayerful this will be the only time he needs to have work done on it. 

Being alone in the hospital during his surgery, and again at night with him (after the wonderful visits from family in the evening) was a God send.  Knowing I would have a mountain of time alone, I went prepared with an iPhone full of praise music and sermons I had been wanting to listen to for some time.  I told the Lord ahead of time I was expecting some major breakthroughs to happen, and I wasn't leaving the hospital without them!
That night in the dark room, while he lay sleeping, God and I encountered each other powerfully.  I, yielded, heart broken for Caleb, submitted, desirous, begging, and God willing, loving, giving, and all powerful. 

Let me share an excerpt from a great book I had just read. .  .
This Means War - Equipping Christian Families for Fostercare or Adoption by Cheryl Ellicott

So we survived and continued on, but I still struggled with guilt because I didn't feel as strong of a bond with them as I thought I should.  In my mind, I was passionate about being a loving mother, but my emotions felt. . . anemic.  I was so tired.  Many times I prayed, asking for forgiveness for my feelings of apathy and for help to feel a deep parental love for these kids; it was still lacking.
One day I realized something vital: The only love that was missing was the "natural" love - the feeling of a bond between mother and child.  Under natural circumstances, this strong emotional bond motivates and guides parents as they protect and raise their child.  However, adoption isn't natural and these children are not as they should have been (without damage); they have extra challenges and I've been called to have something higher than natural love.
"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?" (Matt 5:46-47NIV)
My lack of strong emotion actually was the natural response to this situation!  You might not form a strong emotional bond with this child, but that's okay because you can still love them; God's love is supernatural.  Yes, I'm parenting, but under these circumstances, the typical parental feelings may or may not blossom; it doesn't matter.  My mission is to nurture these kids, include them as part of a loving family, teach them scripture, and pray God will touch their lives in a powerful way and call them into a relationship with Himself.  Nothing else matters.
My mission has been hard and will continue to be so - because I'm weak.  But God is strong and faithful; He answers prayer, and I still truly and wholeheartedly believe in miracles.
The song Stay Amazed by Gateway Worship was playing on my iPod.  The climactic point of song began to build in which it cries out to God, "I'm pouring out my love on you," and I began to shake uncontrollably as everything in my soul and spirit began to cry out to God.

Was she staring into my soul when she wrote this?  Surely she was writing about me and not herself?  This helped remove the guilt.  A huge first step in healing so you can be set free of something.  It was necessary for me to let go of the guilt, and once that was gone, the desire to bond with Caleb was not prayed for out of guilt for my own feelings, but out of  pure desire for him.  I knew I loved him and was giving him a life he deserved.  I knew he might never know the difference, and God had bonded us to a beautiful point.  But I began to desire more in the last months.  I began to realize that he didn't remember life before me, and so he loved me completely.  Didn't he deserve that in return?  As a child, didn't he deserve to be loved like every other child God had created and placed in families?  The ability to ask for this type of love was gained through the prior 13 months of breakthroughs.  One laid the foundation for the next, and I pray I continue to have breakthrough after breakthrough after breakthrough.  I had prayed for God to fill me with love for Caleb a thousand x a thousand times before.  But "WE" - Caleb and I - had a lot of growing together to do before I was capable of allowing the miracle to manifest itself, and I fought hard for 13 months to become capable.
So there I was, in a dark hospital room with this child just hours out of surgery, and I felt sad for him in his pain, but I was still on the outside of it.  I comforted him, and soothed him, and loved him . . . but it was still. . . anemic.  And then Stay Amazed by Gateway Worship began playing on my iPod.  The climax of the song began to build and cry out, "I'm pouring out my love on you, I'm pouring out my love on you." and everything in my soul (my mind, will and emotions) and everything in my spirit (which was SO alive with the presence of the Holy Spirit) began crying out to God in pure desperation.  As I lay there, fully prostrate, face buried in the plastic couch a thousand worried parents had slept in before, I began to shake uncontrollably and my body went numb.  I began to cry out to God, "Take it!  I'm pouring it all out to you!  I'm giving everything I have to you Lord.  There is no love left within me, I'm pouring it all out on your feet.  Take all of it Lord, but fill me back up.  Fill me back up Lord and when you do, fill me utmost with a true parental love for Caleb. nothing lacking, nothing missing, nothing forced.  100% natural, 100% genuine, 100% complete, 100% mommy to pure born son."  Over and over I wept and shook and cried out.  I swear if the nurse had come in to check his vitals at this point he would have admitted me next door to the psych ward!  The song ended and I stood up, the feeling coming slowly back into my body, and my breath and heartbeat returning to normal.  I looked over to Caleb lying in his bed, and of course I wondered.  Is anything different?  I crawled in bed with him, I promised him things would be different going forward.  I whispered how much he was loved and how much mommy was going to love him unconditionally for the rest of his life.  But I've done that a thousand times. 
I laid back down on my plastic couch with the sheet that wouldn't stay on, and I slept fitfully through the night with the nurses coming and going, and we were released.  Same motions, same care and concern.  We met daddy for lunch, we picked the kids up from school, daddy came home from work, it was time for dinner.  And then God revealed himself.   Headed to my room to change, clothes half way off, I hear a scream from the other side of the house.  It's Caleb.  I knew Jason was just feet from him, I had just left them, and for the past 13 months that would have been enough.  Daddy will comfort him, his needs will be met, and that would have been enough for me.  But not this time.  Instantly, I changed course and half naked ran to him, ripped him from daddy's arms and checked him over.  He was shaking violently - pointing to his lip where Bekeh had slammed the door in his face.  I confirmed the stitches hadn't busted, and more pain meds were administered, but then as I held him, I began to cry with him.  I hurt with him.  I felt his pain to the core of my being, and I knew I would do anything to take it away from him.  I recognized this feeling.  I had it for my three biological kids, and often for Bekeh, whenever they were hurt.  I had never experienced it with Caleb.  Like I said, I had always felt sad for him when he was hurting, but I had never felt his pain with him.  I began to cry harder, this time in thanksgiving that God had truly thoroughly answered my prayers.
10 Days After Surgery
Let me tell you, Caleb is a different child.  I didn't share with my family for days what had happened between God and I and Caleb at Children's.  But they began to say, "Man, Caleb's a whole different child since his surgery."  How much more joyful, happier, brighter, talkative, skippier and crazier Caleb has been is the most talked about thing in our house to this day.  Everyone has noticed the difference in our relationship, but more so, the difference it has made in Caleb.
I believed the lie that Caleb would never know the difference.  I needed to let go of the guilt and understand that stage was all part of the process, but Caleb understood the difference.  He knows what it is to be COMPLETELY loved like everyone else and even though the behaviors and interactions between us aren't really that much different, he still knows something is different, and he's flourishing in it.
I know in my heart of hearts adoptions is unnatural, and the things that result have to be formed by supernatural ties.  But I more so know that MY GOD is in the business of supernatural relationships and He desires to completely redeem, completely heal, completely bond, and completely set us free to be who we are created to be both in the supernatural and in the natural.  I know that it took 13 months of fighting like a mad woman to receive the miracle of a pure natural love for Caleb, and I would fight it over again and will continue to fight for the rest of my life to continually gain more and more breakthroughs for my good, my families good, and FOR GOD'S GLORY! 

To say the least, celebrating Valentines Day was a beautiful day around here.  We had a blast.  Caleb and Bekeh both started preschool this month, and they are loving it.  They have a long way to go to fit in academically and socially with their peers, but they are so excited, so adorable, and so friendly, they're fitting in fine and doing amazing.
Valentines Day - 4 Days Post Surgery
His lip is healing beautifully.  I keep standing in authority over it and telling it to heal and for the pigment to return evenly and appropriately.  It will happen.  God is good.   We continue to grow, experience setbacks and breakthroughs, and most of all we continue to gain wisdom and be filled with the Holy Spirit and His love daily.  Life is good, so good.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ONE YEAR TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One year.  We looked toward this day all through the tough times of waiting, and transition, and bonding.  We looked toward this benchmark with hopeful hearts, and faithful eyes that surely by this date God would have grafted us together, made us one family, united, totally in love, and bonded.  It's amazing how hard we've worked over the last two years.  First to get them home to us, and then to make them part of our family.  One of my favorite quotes of Dr Phil is, "Time heals nothing, it only provides the opportunity for healing and growth."  We have made every use of every opportunity, especially the ones we failed initially, to grow, push harder, claw towards each other with commitment and love.  We've still got a long way to go, but I'm in awe of our Heavenly Father who has shown Himself so close, who has spoken to our hearts when we didn't have the words to say, who has shown us how to love these strangers as our own, just as He first loved us and adopted us.
It's unbelievable that in 12 months they've gone from speaking no English, to talking non-stop.  And I mean, non-stop.  One of the most frequently heard phrase in our house is, "Bekeh, please, hush for a little bit!"  The two of them have such different personalities, but they are so perfectly designed for this family, just as goofy, off the wall, crazy, and a bit dramatic and emotional at times too!  Caleb's gone from being a baby to a little boy this year.  No more diapers, no more crying fits for hours, no more whining constantly.  He now talks, demands, and manipulates our hearts with his adorable smile.  Bekeh is learning so much every day.  How to write, recognize her letters, and how to open and break everything in the house.
They don't really remember life in Ethiopia anymore.  The things they regurgitate are things we've told them.  It makes me sad, but I know it was inevitable at their ages.  We are mom and dad, and they are our children.  We have the five best kiddos on the planet and I'm so glad God gave them to us in His perfect timing and by His perfect plan.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December - 11 months together!

December was an amazing time at our Crazy home.  We had a fun family activity planned for every day of the month and had a time of reading the different scriptures in the story and prophecy surrounding Christ's birth each evening.  We went on hikes in the nature reserve, had late night trips to Starbucks, Marble Slab runs, made special holiday treats, celebrated Christmas with all of our friends and family, and had a wonderful night with many of Bekeh and Caleb's Ethiopian "cousins" in our home.  Bekeh and Caleb thought at first Christmas was just something in our house, and then became overwhelmed and shocked every time they saw Christmas lights, trees, and decorations up in other people's homes and businesses.  They soon caught on that everybody loved Christmas too, and they ate it all up.  They were thrilled with Santa's visit to our house, and are already talking about him visiting next year and what they want.  It was truly a time of peace between all of us.  It's amazing how much these two little precious kisses have been grafted into our family and are just "one of us" now.  We are constantly reminded of how grateful we are that God adopted us into His family through the birth and sacrifice of His precious Son.  We believe, oh how desperately we believe.