Saturday, June 25, 2011
Our challenge was to transform our home office into a bedroom for Tyler and Jordan. And, since these things tend to have a kind of domino effect, there also needed to be a significant amount of work done in the basement to transform some dead space into a useful storage area.
Had I done this on my own, it would have taken the better part of my summer.
Enter my friend Al, and 10 volunteers who I met for the first time today. Al is a pastor at Storehouse Church in Plymouth Meeting. In the span of ten hours, he and others from his church removed wall paper, scrubbed basement walls, painted with Drylock, painted with primer, and painted again! Some even did some weeding in our garden while they waited for paint to dry! Then, because we're gluttons for punishment, Al and I put together the bunk beds Kim and I bought last weekend.
Wow. All that in one day. It was a little bit like Extreme Home Make-Over!
What motivated this group to do such a thing? Simple. They heard about our adoption efforts, and they just wanted to support us in a tangible way. I am so glad that these folks didn't just *think about* doing something good, but actually gave up a big chunk of Saturday and *did it!*
A HUGE thank you to those who became the hands and feet of Jesus to us today.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Aside from his performance at bat and on the field (which, I must say, was impressive for a rookie) I was very pleased to see Jordan adapt to and thrive in a new circle of friends. He really enjoyed paling around with his teammates.
For most of his games, we were all able to come as a family to watch Jordan play and cheer him on. At one such game in May, Jonathan and Ben wandered over to the dugout. The following conversation ensued:
Jonathan: (to Jordan's teammates) Hi!
Jersey #11: What's your name?
Jersey #9 / Jordan: That's my brother, Jonathan.
Jeresy #11: He's your brother?!
Jersey #9: Yes. I adopted him from China!
Jersey #11: Then who's he? (Pointing to Ben)
Jersey #9: That's my brother, Ben.
Jersey #11: How many brothers you have, Jordan?
Jersey #9: Three. But I am going to adopt one more, Leo.
Jersey #11: You're adopting ANOTHER brother?
Jersey #9: Sure. Why not?
Jersey #13: (To the assistant coach) What's adopted mean?
Jersey #5: (To his dad) Can we adopt too?
Kim and I watched all this transpire, and we loved it. It was funny to see the other kids reactions to Jordan's matter-of-fact proclamations, and even funnier still to see how adopting Jonathan and Leo had, in his eyes, become something that *he* had done.
Its funny, sure. But its also a powerful reminder to me to keep my perspective in check.
Yesterday was a hard day for Kim. After she had made the extensive preparations necessary to get Leo to a (mandatory) meeting with his birth-Mom, the meeting was abruptly cancelled, with very little notice. This not only complicated Kim's day, but added the burden of having to make another set of extraordinary arrangements for another mandatory meeting, someday soon, in the future. Of course no one could tell her exactly when the rescheduled date would be. All the agency could say was "we'll let you know."
Pepper all that with a hefty amount of sleep depravation and you have a recipe for a heavy, emotional, blow.
But later that same day, dear friends bought us all Chinese take-out for dinner.
Also, that same day, a volunteer at the local library offered to come teach us sign language for free. (An important thing, given Leo's hearing imparement!)
And this coming Saturday, another long-time friend has marshalled volunteers to help us with some adoption-related painting and wall paper removal.
So, just as Jordan really didn't adopt a brother all by himself, I am reminded that Kim and are not all by ourselves in this process either.
We have friends. We have family. We have God. Sadly, all this doesn't insulate us from emotionally draining circumstances like Kim faced yesterday. It doesn't insulate us from all harm. It doesn't make it all easy.
It does make us interdependent on others. It does make us depenent on God.
Truth be told, I would readily trade much of this interdependence for double the personal resources. Think of it! Double the house, double the salary, etc. etc.
I am shallow like that, I know.
But that's clearly not the plan. Maybe in the new Heaven and new Earth that the Bible talks about that will be the plan. Maybe on Earth 2.0 God's provision will abundantly, extravagantly and clearly accompany His will.
Until then, we have a different plan. And the key elements of it seem to be:
... and ...
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Doesn't every dad want a spiderman pez dispenser and a Hulk travel toothbrush?
On Saturday, we celebrated father's day with my family and had a cook out in honor of my dad, Jeremy and Uncle John. On Sunday Jeremy's day began with breakfast in bed, church, and then watching the Incredible Hulk movie with the kids. It was a good day!
Friday, June 17, 2011
I spent the morning on the phone scheduling appointments for Leo. As of now, he has an appointment scheduled with our pediatrician, who we are switching him to, an appointment with a general surgeon, to be evaluated for a g tube, a hearing test appointment, an appointment with the feeding clinic and an appointment with an ENT. Thankfully, all of the appointments are spread out so it doesn't seem so overwhelming. Last night, we had our last visit with his current pediatrician. She was very pleased with his 1 pound weight gain and shared past history information and recommendations with us. I think we are on the right track or at least headed in the right direction.
I then began feeding Leo at 11:15 with his bottle and then transferred him to tube feeding and decided it was time to make lunch. In the coarse of an hour, Emma stole a sandwich, I dropped the vita mix filled with smoothie stuff which spilled under the frig, I then discovered the front panel does come off the frig and discovered years of gross, icky stuff, cleaned up the gross, icky stuff so we could walk and Emma would stop licking the floor. Leo decided he wanted to be held in the middle of all of this and so I recruited Amanda to do that. Finished making lunches and finally sat to eat. Thankfully, most lunches aren't so tiring.
I am hoping for a quiet afternoon.
So much for a quiet afternoon, we all piled into the big van and went up to Micheal's Crafts. In the check out I encountered the most ignorant cashier ever! She had the nerve to ask in front of all my children (who for the record were actually behaving and waiting patiently by my side) if they were foster children. I replied, no and she insisted they had to be foster children, they couldn't all be mine. Let me tell you, she got my mamma bear blood boiling and we will just suffice it to say it was mighty hard to show love and grace to someone who was being oh so ignorant!
Leo is napping, others are playing and I am going to attempt to get a head start on dinner while my hands are free.
Monday, June 13, 2011
I told Jeremy last night that I feel like we are beginning to get back to normal around here or at least our new version of normal. We are developing a routine although it seems to change from day to day so not sure how much of a routine it is. Anyway, we are settling down and feeling more comfortable having baby Leo as part of our family. Even though he is 13 months old, he really is a baby- eats every 4-5 hours, can't leave him unattended, doesn't sleep through the night, etc. Probably the hardest adjustment besides lack of sleep, is figuring out how to feed him if we are not home. He is not taking the bottle too well and gets most of his nourishment through a tube feeding which can take up to a half hour. We have seen more and more of his personality come out a little more each day. He really is a happy boy!
We have been reminded of how God wants us to live our lives with action not intentions. We can have all the best intentions but if we don't act on them they are worthless. Sometimes we think the only actions that “count” are those that are big, but I have been reminded that some of the best actions are really just everyday acts of love. We have been blessed with meals being delivered to our home by friends and family. This may not seem like a big deal, but to a mom with a new baby and 5 other kids, who is not getting enough sleep, this is HUGE! I am so thankful for family and friends who didn't stop at having good intentions but went the extra step and acted on them.
This week should be a quiet week- Jordan has his last baseball game of the season tonight, Amanda and Jonathan go to the dentist on Wednesday, Leo and I go back down to his pediatrician on Thursday evening (I am hoping after this visit we can transfer his care to our pediatrician who is much closer). Please pray that I am able to get all information I need from his pediatrician so that we can make sure he is getting everything he needs. Please also pray specifically for his reflux- seems like a small thing- but I believe God answers small prayers too. His reflux is really no small matter when you have to change his outfit up to 4 times a day because it is soaked. Thank you to all who are praying for our family!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Leo is right here in the thick of things. So far, so good. We're just starting to develop a routine around his special feeding needs. We have had friends who have brought us dinners these past few nights. THANK YOU, friends. That kindness has made a huge difference in our home this week.
I wish I could say that I have made some significant contribution to Leo's care. But really, for me it has been a diaper here and a bottle there.... and really it is Kim (a.k.a. Super-Mom) who has born the brunt of this. Still, she remains up-beat. I tell you, though, Leo is a pleasant little guy to have around, and it is neat to see his siblings make a fuss over him.
So, we're up to day 4 here.
And then there's some other news. I got a call from Ron Wint tonight. Ron, you will recall, is a missionary stationed in Zambia who was in need of a laptop.
This past weekend I purchased the laptop he needed, got it set up, and passed it off to the care of Pastor Carlos at Calvary. Ron (who is on a short furlough here in the USA) had called me to say thank you, and that "the impact of this gift will only be known in heaven" and also that "because we have this, we'll be able to broadcast Gospel radio programs in Zambia."
Neat! I told him that I didn't do it alone and that I would be sure to pass his comments on to those who had contributed to that effort. So, friends, you know who you are ... and God does too. THANK YOU.
I am thankful to have the acquaintance of so many generous people. :-)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Our day began with meeting Leo and his birth mom at Bethany around 10:45. The meeting was extremely emotional. I have never experienced anything like that. It has led to great conversations with the other kids especially Amanda. What 12 year old has the opportunity to experience the heart wrenching decision of a mom entrusting her only son to another family. We are not taking what we experienced today lightly. I can not begin to imagine the grief that a very special women is experiencing this night. She choose to give Leo life and she loves him enough to want him to have the best possible life possible. There is no doubt in our minds that this was an act of love.
We know the days and nights ahead will be long, but God will give us strength. We have definitely felt the peace of God and every one's prayers. Just when I feel like life is hard, I read a blog post like this one and realize I have no reason to complain. God has blessed my family so much. May we never take for granted what we have been given.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
This post will be short and real. This has been a hard week. I have come to the realization that although going to China for two weeks was a lot of work, in some ways it was easier then trying to daily visit Leo, keep things going on the home front and for Jeremy work. We have had wonderful family and friends helping us by watching the other kids while we visit with Leo, but we have still come home to baseball games, church commitments and well life.
Today was a special day in that Leo came to our house for the first time. I picked him up this morning and Jeremy left to take him home after dinner. We had a good visit and Leo did great, but I am exhausted. Jordan was probably the most enamored with Leo and paid him the most attention.
We will continue visits through the weekend and then on Monday we will all go to Bethany's office where Leo will come home with us permanently.
I wouldn't be being real if I didn't admit that both Jeremy and I are scared, overwhelmed and questioning ourselves. All of this is only drawing us closer together as a couple and forcing us to lean on God. The future is uncertain, but we believe God is in control.
We would covet your prayers as we continue to transition Leo into our family.