Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Going After Their Hearts....Going After God's

My baby boy turned six years old today.  It’s been five years since we’ve had him.  We were signed up for older child adoption but God plopped a 13 month old boy right into our laps.  He was and is such a blessing to us.  For at least two years it felt like Christmas morning every day…..I’d wake up and he’d be the first thing I thought about.  He is delightful in every way and him becoming my son is one way that I know that God really likes me!


Fast forward five years later, and we’ve added six more children to the mix….they are ages 14, 12, 11, 11, 10, and 7. (We also have 5 adult kids!) Each one is unique and beautiful and special, but none were as easy to adapt to as our baby was.  Of course not.  We knew they wouldn’t be when we got into older child adoption.  They already have their personalities formed and you're not going to change that—all you can do is learn to blend and bend and adapt to one another…..and to keep improving—both you and them—little by little.  By the grace of God.  Learning humility.  And when you are learning it and moving in it yourself, it’s a lot easier to teach it to your children.


My husband and I met a couple the other day and we got to talking about our kids, and they were amazed that we had adopted seven children.  I have so many adoptive Facebook friends that I forget that to most people we are unusual.  They asked us what made us decide to adopt so many children.  We told them that we are Christians—adopted by God…..and that this is his heart.  We told them we feel it is a mockery of God that there are 2 billion Christians in the world while 20 million orphans sit legally free to be adopted.  We told them that these children are the Church’s responsibility.  The couple is Muslim. 

Then they said something that we hear All. The. Time.  They said, “Wow, you must really have a lot of patience to be able to do this.  WE don't have that kind of patience.”  I told them the truth….No, it’s not that we HAVE patience naturally...we don't!  But we do want to have patience, and I guess nothing will develop that better than putting yourself in a position where you have to get along with other humans who come with all types of issues…..behavior, personality, or learning, etc.

This adoption road has been challenging.  For sure, more challenging than if we had had seven children biologically.  The love and bonding don't just come naturally, like with birth.  It takes cultivating and purposefully going after it.  It’s sort of like going after God.  Like when you WANT to love God more, and you WANT to be close to him, but your natural man just wants to watch the fun shows on TV and read the novels and do the online surfing, etc.  But then you take the time.  You put down the remote and you close the computer and you read his Word, which seems really dull and dry right now.  But you know that you must go after God.  You aren’t hungry for him but you WANT to be hungry for him, so you start feeding your spirit with the stuff that will nourish it, and then, lo and behold, this passion, this fire, starts burning within you and you are falling desperately, deeply in love with your Father.  This wonderful thing has happened to me.  I’m so madly in love with my God….zeal burns within me for his Name and for his Word. 
 
And this feels similar to the cultivating I’m trying to do with my relationships with my children.  Sometimes I just want to say about a particular one—“This one and I just won’t get along.  Our personalities are too different.”  And maybe in the end it won’t turn out all lovey dovey between us.  But, it’s not an option to give up.  I must go after this bonding just as I go after God.  And as I go after their hearts, I’m at the same time going after the heart of God.  Because he LOVES people.  People whom we find annoying or rude or draining….he loves them.  So as we purpose to love them, we are loving him.  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-11

The Spirit of God is all over adoption.  This is his heart.  Norman and I never adopted in order to get a pat on the back from God or any person.  We did it because we knew this is the right thing to do and that no matter how hard it would be, God would be in our midst and he would bless it.  And he has.  Bringing these children into our lives has made us fall more and more in love with Jesus!  Sometimes, when I have a moment’s peace, or when I’m lying in bed, I just tell him how crazy in love with him I am.  And what amazes me is that I see this same passion for God and his truth in several of our kids—our three recently adopted Bulgarian boys included.  They love to pray—they pray with boldness and fervor. They love to sing and worship and study his Word.  They are his beloved.

So I just want to thank my Lord for the gift of my little King David, and for all twelve of our children.  He was the beginning of this long, hard, beautiful journey that Norman and I are privileged enough to walk together...... hand in hand with the One who first loved and adopted us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Homeschooling--Down to Six:)

I'm a huge fan of home schooling for so many reasons, particularly because it encourages bonding...especially when your children are adopted and you didn't have the benefit of bonding with them as babies.  Home schooling feels natural and peaceful, and I like the content of what my kids are learning as opposed to what they'd be learning in public school.  I'm glad I can have my kids around me as much as possible, as I am growing in my relationship with Christ and encouraging my children in the same.  

Last school year I home schooled all seven children, and to be honest, it was a huge challenge with having three boys who are YEARS behind academically and didn’t speak English.  But I chose to keep them home and work with them because the only alternative would have been for them to be placed in a special ed class for moderately mentally disabled students, and the IEP goals set for them by the school team were pathetically low (they are not moderately mentally disabled, but did score poorly on their IQ tests).  I knew they had much greater potential, and now, one year later, they have FAR exceeded those pitiful goals that were set out for them (draw shapes, listen to a story, cut on a line!!)  Benjamin, for whom they had the lowest expectations, is reading simple books and spelling simple words and adding and subtracting with manipulatives….things I’m sure he wouldn’t be doing if we had taken the advice of the IEP team at our local elementary school.

This year is going so much smoother now that everyone understands English and has learned the alphabet!  We decided to send Luke (13) to public school because home schooling wasn’t contributing to the love a mother and son should feel for each other. Lol   I believe in home schooling, but when you have to be on top of your child ALL. DAY. LONG. then it’s time to let someone else be the bad guy.  And this has improved our family dynamics a lot.  We are also in the process of having Steven tested so that he can go to public school—not because I have trouble with him completing his work, but because there are some services for visually impaired students that we are not giving Steven and we would like to see if these can benefit him. So, soon, it’ll be down to 5 over here! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Simple Life is Over! LOL


I have to hurry up and write this before one of the other football moms from Luke’s team finds my blog.  No sooner did I write my sweet little post about “The Simple Life” than Norman and I felt tugged to sign up our son, Luke (12) for football this year.  He has wanted to play since he came to live with us in the summer of 2011, but the first year it was too late to sign up, and in 2012 we were raising funds for our Bulgarian adoptions, and in 2013 we were adjusting to three new boys in the family and having seven kids.  But this year, there wasn’t really a good excuse and we decided to bite the bullet and sign him up, because playing football has been Luke’s dream for a long time.  Here’s a short snippet from a text conversation between Norman and myself, the night we were having Norman’s older children over for dinner to celebrate his son, Sammy’s, birthday.  It should give you a little insight into how we feel about the football commitment:
            Me:  Who is taking Luke to practice tonight?
            Norman:  Practice again??
            Me:  Yep
            Norman:  Let him miss tonight
            Me:  He can’t
            Norman:  Why not??
            Me:  Because he’s new and he needs to learn everything
            Norman:  It seems like Luke has practice every single day!
            Norman:  We did not sign up for slavery!!

Oh yes we did! Parents should beware that if they choose football as the sport of choice for their child, it is tantamount to slavery.  It’s only been two weeks and I’ve already screwed up in several ways.  One night I picked him up 30 minutes late because I forgot about the time change.  He was at the park all alone, in the dark, with two dads from another team staying back with him.  Then, the night of Sammy’s party, we left Luke out in a lightning storm.  It was only 8:25 and practice doesn't end until 9PM, and even though it was lightning outside like crazy, it never dawned on us that practice would be called short.  DUH  So, before I know it, some random dad from another team is calling me asking me what I am going to do with my poor son who is the ONLY child there without a ride.  We finally agree that I am sending my son with a complete stranger (he did have his son with him as well) to meet my husband at a nearby gas station.  On game day, it turns out that I never pressed the button on the dryer, so his football pants were still wet, and I never turned on the washer with his football shirt in it, because I ran out of laundry detergent and then forgot!  He’s gone to practice without a mouth guard, and without a water bottle (his own fault, not mine!!!) and we’ve dropped him off for practice at the curb, instead of parking first, which is “against park rules.”

Can you tell that this isn’t the life I was cut out for?  But once again, God calls us to stretch out of our comfort zone….even in things that seem to have no importance whatsoever.  But it was important to Luke.  We had hoped that the importance would dwindle once he lived with a non-football loving family for three years….but it didn’t.  If a kid hasn’t watched a football game in three years and is still passionate about it, then I guess it’s time you do something about it.  So, we are officially a football family now.  You can totally disregard my last post about “The Simple Life.”  And I really mean that, because, guess what….we decided that the chaos of football practices and games just wasn’t enough for us, and we went and signed up our two youngest for soccer!  Much less of a commitment than football, but time driving and away from home nonetheless.  The cuteness factor kind of makes up for it though!


Maybe I wrote that last post because I had a stirring inside of me that things were about to change, and I wanted to convince myself, in writing, that sports was NOT the way to go.  Either that, or God just wanted to shake things up a bit and let us see that the peace we have doesn't come from NOT doing extra stuff.  It comes from being connected to him and centering our lives completely around him.  And there's no way that a couple of hours of distraction per day is going to take that away from us!  We are our Beloved's and He is ours!!  Let the games begin!! (And November will be here soon enough :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Simple Life!

I love our simple life.  I don't mean 'simple' in that it's easy to raise and home-school seven children (My husband wanted me to add that part so people won't start asking us to babysit!) But 'simple' in that we're not committed to and involved in all kinds of outside activities. Actually, the Lord has blessed us with a period of being financially strapped, living paycheck to paycheck and sometimes wondering where the money will come to pay the next bills that are due.  Because of this, we've been forced to stay close to home and not sign up for activities, and it has honestly been a blessing to our family.  Sometimes I look at other families and I think, “How on earth do they do it?” Or actually, "WHY do they do it?" Do people from my generation remember growing up driving all over the place to one activity after another?  I don't.  All I remember is day after day playing outside with my sister and the neighborhood kids....riding our bikes, learning gymnastic tricks, playing jump rope, roller-skating, playing "Charlie's Angels" (lol) and then coming inside to have dinner and watch a bit of television with my parents.

Some of the blessings of living 'close to home':  We eat our meals together, spend lots of time outside and at the pool, watch movies, ride bikes, read the Bible and pray together, drink tea and talk. With seven children, there’s always someone “new” to play with and sometimes the kids keep themselves occupied for hours playing outside or doing crafts or playing with toys, and I will pay bills, or cook the next meal, or sometimes just sit and rest!  My kids might be just "so-so" at basketball and gymnastics, but, thank God they know and love his Word!  If we had had the money to sign up for all kinds of activities, we may have missed this huge blessing! (I'm NOT saying, of course, that you can't be excellent in a sport and still know and love God's Word!)
Photo: Little guy's last day of swimming for a few days. Tomorrow is surgery to repair a hernia and get a bone anchored hearing aid. Pray for all to go smoothly and no complications with his heart/lungs.  Thank you!!
Since being forced to stay at home, and falling in love with it, the thought of having to pack kids up, take them to a class, wait around for an hour and then drive home makes me cringe.   

I've learned that having a lot of money isn't always a blessing from God.  Sometimes the Lord draws us closer to himself by keeping things tight and keeping us relying on him--and that is a blessing that beats money any day. That is the road we are on right now.  I don's say that it is the road God has for everyone at every point in their lives.  But for now, this is us. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The New Normal

This is an exciting week for us. We know five families who are bringing home their children from Bulgaria….one of them is a boy from Benjamin’s orphanage; and one is a girl from Steven’s orphanage! We are hoping to let the kids Skype soon. Our prayers are with these kiddos and their families....we remember how hard it was, ten months ago, when we first brought our three boys home! And we pray for the ones still waiting for someone to choose them. How hard it is for the kids left behind when one of their orphanage mates leaves to unite with his or her family.
                                         Nine of the twelve of our Kiddos...plus one grandbaby:)
I haven't blogged in a few months...partly because all these kids keep my time 95% occupied, but mostly because things feel kind of ordinary now and I guess I don't have that much of interest to write. We have officially become a boring family of nine....have found our new normal! And while, in the past, that feeling led to us starting the adoption process again, we are not quite THAT normal yet, lol. I always want to blog, but what I want to talk about is how Christians need to be fathering the fatherless, and I want to say, “What good is it to call ourselves Christ’s followers if we won’t lay our lives down for another person?”….. And “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10) I want to plead with the body of Christ to wake up and not ignore the 20 million children around the world who are legally available for adoption. “So, Lisa, are you saying that ALL Christians need to adopt?? Don’t you think there are other causes as important as adoption?? Don’t you think that some people are more cut out for it than others??” Let me not answer those questions, but instead say that there are only 20 million legally free adoptable children…..but 2 BILLION self-proclaiming Christians. Even after weeding out the children, the elderly, and the disabled from this number, you still have a massive excess of families for the children available. Therefore, ALL Christians CAN’T adopt a child……BUT…..ALL of these children should be adopted by Christians. Can I get an amen?! These are the posts I want to write, but for some reason I stop myself, and I hope that with the little bit I do write about the story of our adopted children, God will touch someone’s heart and maybe one more orphan will find his or her parents.

Redemption Story
We had a beautiful Christmas holiday—it was our Bulgarian boys’ first Thanksgiving and Christmas belonging to a family and they were all smiles....they appreciate every little thing, especially when extended family spends time together. After Christmas we went to PA to visit family and we got a TON of snow, so I was happy they could play in the snow their first winter in America.
 

The most appreciative, happiest 13-yr-old we know.  xoxo
In January, both Steven and Benjamin had eye surgery. Benjamin’s was to correct his strabismus, and he looks so handsome now! One eye still strays a bit so he is wearing a patch. Steven’s surgery was more serious. He is legally blind in one eye and was completely blind in his right eye, due to a large cataract. Doctors didn’t think that removing the cataract would help because they believed that his brain had probably shut off all communication with the eye. But praise God, his eye did receive sight, and when the doctor took off his bandage, he exclaimed, “I can see! It’s so bright!!” The vision in that eye is worse than the left, so he is still legally blind, but we continue to pray for the Lord to bring complete restoration and vision to him and are waiting and expecting a miracle. He always talks about driving one day and prays to the Lord to completely heal his eyes.

Our sweet WGS died, causing us lots of tears
Little Josiah is getting ready to have another surgery. The enormous hernia that he had repaired in September ended up popping out of the other side, so he has to have that side closed as well. And he will also be getting a bone-anchored hearing aid right behind his right ear, which has no ear canal but does have an ear drum. After a cat scan the doctor concluded that he could not have a canal put in, but the hearing aid, implanted into his skull, will result in a significant increase in hearing in that ear. He won’t be getting the deformed outer ear fixed any time soon, as insurance doesn’t cover “cosmetic” procedures and we’d be looking at around $90,000!! We are trying hard to fatten him up before surgery. In September, he lost a significant amount of weight after his multiple surgeries and we have been struggling to help him gain it back. He is so active—the kids are always playing outside, jumping on the trampoline—his heart defect and low oxygen levels don’t hold him back at all!

Nothing holds this little guy back
All three boys converse very well in English….it’s amazing how quickly they learn. Even though our boys have "special needs" I really don't think of them in that way. To me, they are just typical kids...they have some differences in how quickly they learn things, but I guess I'm used to it and it doesn't feel like they are any different from my other kids most of the time. Steven (13) has become pretty independent in his home schooling. His reading and writing are coming along, though his impaired vision slows him down…he’s working at about a second grade level in both math and reading but making progress quickly.

This took a lot of bravery from these two!
Benjamin (10) wants to do school work All. The. Time. He is sounding out and spelling simple, three letter words and his writing is improving—everything he does takes longer for him to learn, but he does learn, and when I think about the fact that in four years of school in Bulgaria he learned not even a single letter of the alphabet, nor how to write his name, and that now he knows all the letters, sounds, and can write all of them, I think that is huge progress!

He held on the whole way!

Concerning Josiah, I have backed off pushing him with academics. He is seven but is developmentally more like four or five and really doesn’t show much readiness or interest in academic work. Sometimes he’s interested and we do book work, but mostly I let him play and explore and enjoy his new-found freedom, which he never had at the orphanage. I see how quickly Benjamin learns, having the desire and readiness, and I know with Josiah, in a year or two he will be the same way and academic learning will come easily, as opposed to me pushing and forcing him right now to learn all of his letters and sounds, etc. Anyway, half the time I would ask him, “What sound does this letter make?” he would say something and I had no idea if he was right or wrong, because of his speech impediment…..so the main focus with him right now is helping him pronounce his consonant sounds, and helping him develop in his social skills, fine motor skills, logical thinking, etc. This little guy is a pip. He pretty much does whatever he wants regardless of the consequences...touches whatever, goes wherever....you name it. And he's no respecter of persons, meaning he'll talk to me and Norman as if we were just one of the guys. It's still funny because he's small and cute, but we are teaching him boundaries and how to be respectful, etc. and slowly but surely he's learning. Hey, he had a good day in Sunday School this week....no sneaking out of the classroom and no stealing the other children's snacks! lol None of this is to say that he isn't absolutely charming and sweet and affectionate, because he is. He is a little love bug! Just with a very independent spirit!
 

Jojo has charmed his little 4-yr-old cousin!
If you read my blogs last summer you might remember me saying that I don’t know how anyone can adopt without having a swimming pool. The transition with the three boys was so smooth and I think it was because we spent so much time at the pool. But over the winter was a little harder. We had already pretty much adjusted to having seven children, but with them being indoors most of the time, it felt a lot more stressful. So much so, that I started to seriously consider sending Benjamin and Josiah to public school (along with a couple of others!). I had already started the school evaluation process back in August, not because I was considering sending them, but so that I could gain information about their needs that would better help me teach them. But around January I was thinking, “You know, when this evaluation is all finished I just might go ahead and send them to whatever class they are recommended for.” When all was said and done, the IEP team recommended both boys attend special ed. classes for children with moderate mental disabilities. This was primarily because of the low scores on their IQ tests. I’m pretty sure they did so poorly because of the language differences and because of not having any experience answering these types of questions. Anyway, I signed the IEP and decided to observe their respective classes before making a decision. Once I did, the decision was clear. There is no way that these classes would have been best for either boy. It’s sad that the school district doesn’t have more experience with children from orphanages. The boys are very developmentally behind and possibly have learning disabilities, but because of their low IQ scores they couldn't qualify for a class of this sort. I was so surprised that the team had recommended this placement for them and I asked one of the evaluators, “Have you ever observed a moderately mentally handicapped classroom?” And she admitted to me that she hadn’t! Anyway, we went through all those evaluations and meetings and I didn’t learn a Single. New. Thing about either boy….nothing that would help me teach them better. But the one good thing that came out of it was that after the observations, I felt confident that I could probably teach them nothing at all….just let them learn from being around their older brothers and sisters…..and they’d learn more than if I enrolled them in school. So it took a lot of the pressure off. (Of course I AM teaching them....but I’m not stressing myself out doing it!) To overcome their developmental delays, they are better off spending their days with their older siblings than in a class with children who struggle more than they do.

I get Worst Mom of the Year award for sending these five up alone!! Thanks to the random mom and dad behind and in front!
I wrote in December that we were looking for a new church….a second church, really, because we are still a part of the home-group church we’ve attended for many years, but we wanted a place where our kids could be a part of Sunday School, Wednesday night programs, plays, etc. We decided on a small “start up” Church of God congregation not far from our home. We love the fellowship there…..family dinner every Wednesday night and once a month on Sunday. The kids love this, as we rarely go out to eat….and they always rush to finish their food so they can go play with the other children. They were in their first musical on Palm Sunday. Gracie had a speaking part, and Sara and Steven both had solos. People were in tears listening to Steven sing. He has a beautiful, strong voice, and his sweet spirit is so touching. The three youngest enjoyed being angels in the choir. Josiah was so funny….every time it was time for the choir to stand and sing, he was like, “OK, come on everbody! Get up!” and the congregation would be laughing while he ate up the attention. The kid knows he's funny!
 

We have a bunch of angels living in this house


In February, we lost our beautiful White German Shepherd to old age and a ruptured spleen. This was a heartbreaking day for everybody and the kids and I cried a lot of tears. They still talk about him all the time and imagine what he’s doing in Heaven. David even had a dream that he went to Heaven and saw the angel Gabriel playing with Lucas. He said that Lucas was running super fast and jumping really high with his (Lucas’) mother and that Gabriel told him, “Always remember this dream.” Recently, Josiah said that he wanted to die and go to Heaven to be with Lucas. Norman, not understanding Jojo’s speech told him, “You have to wait until after you finish your breakfast.” So Jojo’s eyes got really big and he looked at Norman and said, “What…..DIE??” Haha. The next day, when Benjamin told me that he wanted to die and be with Jesus, Josiah, quickly let me know, “I no want to die.” The kids were so depressed by Lucas’ passing that we decided to get a new dog right away. I’ve always been a big dog person—but with all the young children and hyper-activity in this house, we went with a small poodle/terrier mix. She doesn’t shed and she’s very playful and smart and she’s white just like Lucas. This little dog brings lots of joy to everyone. We still have one large dog—a 12 year old Vizsla, and he will probably pass away in a year or two as well…poor guy is really slowing down and turning grey:(


Our new dog, Luna

This week we’ve been celebrating Holy Week with the kids. We made our first-ever Lap Books, and it is the one thing I will allow myself to brag about because they are soooo darn cute! I love these lap books and now I’m thinking of what we can work on next. Norman and I are really into celebrating the Jewish feasts….we love the prophetic significance of them…they are fascinating! So on Tuesday night we had our traditional Passover dinner, explaining all of the prophetic signs that pointed to Jesus. When it was time for the kids to open the door to look for Elijah (in hopes that the Messiah would be returning soon) the kids fervor showed and they were yelling, “Elijah!! Elijah!! Come on, we are looking for you!!” If any of our neighbors heard them they probably thought we were nuts! Tonight we were watching The Gospel of Matthew movie, and at the point where Jesus was telling off the Pharisees, Steven clapped his hands and was like, “YES! That is AWESOME! I LOVE him!! Calling them hypocrites!” When Jesus was asking the Father to take the cup of suffering from him Steven asked why God didn’t answer his prayer. We told him that God had to have Jesus suffer so that we could go to heaven one day….that Jesus did it for us. And though he already “knew” this, Steven was really touched tonight in a deeper way by Jesus’ sacrifice.
 

Celebrating Passover
In my desire not to embarrass any of my children, nor to be negative, I might make this whole ‘adopting seven kids in four years’ thing seem easy, or maybe give the impression that I’m just so good at it and so it’s worked out for me. I really have an aversion to speaking negative things over my family or my life…..I feel that once I start telling the world, “This child is like this, or this child and I really clash,” etc. it will solidify the problem and make things less likely to change. And so, usually I wait until after things have turned for the better before sharing….so that I can share the real struggles of adoption but not make it seem hopeless. That being said, I’ll share that over the winter months I was having a difficult time with two of my children (not the Bulgarian boys) who were just so hyper-active, couldn’t or wouldn’t stay on task, and who goofed off All. Day. Long. I was beginning to be angry all the time... “Are you seriously still sitting here doing that math lesson?” or “You’ve been up here for three hours and your bedroom is still a mess!?” or “WHY ARE YOU ON THE FLOOR WRESTLING WHEN YOU SHOULD BE DOING YOUR SCHOOL WORK??!!” With one of them, it was getting to the point that we didn’t even like each other for a while....personality clashing at it's finest.... and sometimes I'd just feel annoyed and think, "Well, it's not my fault....this child is just going to have to learn what we expect and straighten out," And then conviction would set in and I'd take it to the Lord saying, “God, I cannot have this attitude toward this child. I cannot have this child grow up without a mother…..and right now I feel no motherly love toward this child! God help me, please!” Then I changed around the way we manage our home school day and that helped tremendously. But the Lord also did something for me and the one child who I couldn’t tolerate. This child decided to read the entire book of Revelation one day, and after reading the whole book, the said child came down to me and said they felt a change in their life. From that time, I haven’t gotten the normal bad attitude when asked to do something, and this child is now much nicer to the other kids....no more bullying or condescending. I know it’s something I will continually need to keep before the Lord, and that the child….and I….will probably need to read that Book of Revelation many more times! lol…..but these last two weeks I have felt so much more kindness and appreciation for this child of mine, and I’m thankful because this child needs a mom who loves them with all her heart! And so that is my request to God….to open up my heart towards all of my children so that they will feel loved the same as if they were all my biological children.

At the Lake.  Jojo said, 'I want to swim in THAT pool!'
For me, personally, it isn’t just “natural” to love an older adopted child as if they were “my own” right off the bat. Of course that is the goal and that is what you fight for and pray for God’s grace for, but sometimes I read other adoption blogs and it seems as if the new mom is head over heels in love after only a couple of weeks, and it makes me feel terrible about myself...as if I have some type of love deficiency....and maybe I do! I wish I was naturally made like those moms! Maybe I’m the exception, and I hope that’s the case…but I want to encourage other believers who are apprehensive about adoption….because I’ve heard this so much…”I just don’t know if I could love the child as much as my other children.” And to them I say, “It’s ok. You won’t love them as much in the beginning….maybe not for a long time. But we, the children of God, adopted into his family, made joint heirs with Christ, are the ones who owe it to the Lord to LEARN how to love those who are not “our own flesh.” Not every Godly pursuit comes “naturally.” If we cater to our flesh we won’t move into any of the higher things God has for us. So we humble ourselves and trust in God’s grace….trust him to help us be the vessels of love and hope and redemption to the fatherless. And God changes us….changes us into his image! How glorious to be being transformed into the image of Christ. This is one of the blessings adoption has brought to me and Norman. It has pushed us, bent us, challenged us more than we could ever imagine….to become more like Christ. And the Lord has shown us his grace over and over again. Oh how I pray for the children who still wait…..and wait……and wait…..because Christians are scared of what adoption will do to them and their family. And scared that they won't learn to love! If they only knew the life-breathing change it could bring to their homes......... Lord, awaken your Church to the cries of the Fatherless! Jesus, come quickly and rescue the innocent from this dark place!
  

I'm longing for this sweet angel to find a family!



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