Wednesday, October 30, 2013

She's still real

It seems like a lifetime ago already that she was in our home, sitting on the very same couch we sat on while talking with her while she is back "home" at her orphanage.  By the way, the words home and orphanage do not deserve to be in the same sentence.

Home is here.  With her Mommy and Daddy.  With her two sisters.  With the love of her family.

Squealing with delight as she plays like the child she was created to be...

But for now, this will have to do...

Technology is pretty much simply amazing.

We got to see her!  Our little girl.  Halfway around the world.  We got to talk to her this morning.

We got to see her beautiful face light up our computer screen.  And light up our hearts.

I almost hate to admit this, but I think I was starting to forget just how sweet Kate is.  Until this morning, it had been over a month since we lasted talked to her, but we haven't seen her since she walked up the escalator at LAX back in July.

She is still real.  A real, little, beautiful, precious, funny, sometimes shy girl who stole our hearts when we first laid eyes on her picture in back in April.

For the first few moments the 5 of us simply stare at one another...smiles exchanged from hundreds and hundreds of miles away while we wait for a translator to get on the call to help us communicate with her.

And nothing about this staring seems awkward or strange at all.  Tears fill my eyes as I see her pretty face.  It literally sends shivers down my spine as butterflies fill my stomach.  The confirmation returns that yes, this is my daughter.  Not that I've questioned it for a moment since I first laid eyes on her, but I'm not going to lie, there are times (more than I would care to admit) that doubt creeps in.

At times I wonder if she's forgotten us.  Moved on with her life now that she's home with friends.  Not forgotten that we exist, but forgotten our love.  Forgotten that we are on a mission, a rescue mission of sorts, to come get her.  That not for a moment have we changed our minds.  I wonder sometimes if she really believes that we still have a bed for her, that her bike is still on the patio, that her clothes are still hanging in the closet, that her notebook is stashed away in a safe place so that one day she can fill it with more beautiful pictures.

And then the translator gets on the call and one of Kate's first statements is...

"I can't wait for you to come get me."

And that's the moment that the doubts disappears and joy returns.

The moments when you're reminded that no, she has not forgotten us.  She wants a family.  She knows she needs a family.  She doesn't even know what family is, but she knows she deserves one.

She thanked us for the packages we've sent, telling us she keeps the things we sent close to her.  The pictures of our family together.  The blanket she left behind.

Then I ask, "Is there anything you'd like us to send you?"

Her reply...

"I just want you to come get me."

Floored.  Overjoyed.  Torn.  Elated.

What do you say to that?  Besides the obvious...telling her we are working as fast as we can to be able to get there.

So we told her just that, that we are working so hard because we miss her so much and life isn't the same without her here.  But that hardly seems adequate.  Heartache.

We showed her the poster we made for the garage sale fundraiser we did a few weeks back.

And she thanks us...again.  Gratitude.  She is so grateful.

And she gets it.  Even if only on some small level.  She gets that we mean it when we say we will come to her.

And we will.

I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
John 14:18

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Milk and horse bites

I don't like horses.  Never have, never will.  Do I think they're beautiful and majestic creatures?  Most definitely.  Do I need to ride one?  Nope.  I can appreciate their majesty from a distance...preferably behind a sturdy, high fence.

Something strange happens when you have children.  You decide that you can conquer some of your fears in an effort to make them believe that you're courageous and that animals are wonderful.  That's the only reason I pet dogs.  It's all for the children.  If I don't pet them they won't pet them, which might actually be my preference, but then I would feel like a bad mom depriving them of a love for animals.

So, on this beautiful fall morning we visited Superstition Farms for a little hayride-milksampling-pettingzoo-fun.  We did it all but I was minus the fun that day.

"Come on girls, let's go feed this horse some carrots.  The man said he's hungry...he's 150 pounds underweight.  So instead of feeding the small innocent goats or baby calf, let's go give him some carrots."  Brilliant.

"All you have to do is hold out a carrot in your hand and let him eat it out of your palm."

"Watch.  Just like this."

"Oh my gosh.  Oh my gosh.  Oh my gosh."  Apparently when a horse is 150 pounds underweight that makes him hungry and fingers and carrots are all the same.

So, as the horse has a hold of my finger, I'm doing my best to remain calm.  I want to scream, but I don't want to attract any sort of attention because that would be more scary to me than the actual horse biting me.  Not to mention the fact that if I scream the horse may decide he wants more than just a finger!

Finally, he let go.  All the while, my poor children are standing by watching Mommy as she is trying her best not to cry...didn't work.  I truly thought that was the last of my finger that day, but now almost 3 weeks later I can almost feel it entirely again and shockingly there was no bruising.

All this to say, I'm done being courageous.  It's not worth it.  So now I have an even greater disdain for horses and I'm fairly certain my children will never be equestrians!

Thankfully, the farm offered flavored milk and bunnies for petting.  That's where we spend the rest of our time...away from scary malnourished large animals.

Bunnies...such innocent much smaller than us...the way it should be...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I married a man...

This day, October 22nd, marks the day that Adam and I began our life together.  We got married.  We knew nothing of what we were getting into.  And today, eight years later, I'm happy to report, we know a little more than nothing.  And it's a real good thing because the more I "figure out" the more I realize I have nothing figured out.

What I know 8 years later...

I married a man who loves Jesus more than he did the day we said, "I do."

I married a man who serves me and our family above all else.

I married a man of great tenderness.

I married a man of loyalty.

I married a man of integrity and strength of character.

I married a man whose family I adore and cherish just like my own.

I married a man who praises Jesus in the storms of life.

I married a man.  Not a boy.  A man.

I don't deserve this man.  But this man has given me hope when I've had none, has given me grace when it was the last thing he should have given me, he has encouraged me in the hard places.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I married Adam 8 years ago.  And it was probably a good thing I was more than clueless because I quite possibly would have resisted the grace God was giving me in this man that I don't deserve.  I didn't recognize His grace then, but if I had I might have walked away because I would have known Adam was too good for me.  But God allowed me to marry him, partner with him in this life, and over time have my eyes opened to the grace that He has lavished upon me by giving me Adam.  And now I'm stuck in a place where I have a man I'm unworthy of loving me in ways beyond my comprehension and I can't get out.

And the wonderful thing is that I don't want out.  I want to stay right here in His grace with this man.  I cannot wait to see what the future holds as our beautiful Lord continues to refine us and grow us.

I love you, Adam Charles Saunders.

Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way,
showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel,
since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,
so that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7

Friday, October 18, 2013

6 years

My Charlee girl,

It's been 6 years since you became part of our family.  You, because you were our first, changed my life in a way that no one else every could have done.  You made me a mom.  So when we celebrate your birthday it is also the celebration of the role you gave me, one that will continue for the rest of my life.  One from which I will never resign.

When I think of life with you I can't even remember what life was like before you came along.  Daddy and I joke around all the time about how there used to be so much silence.  That's because there hasn't been a day of quiet in our home since you came along...but especially since you learned to talk. Sometimes it's hard to believe you didn't come straight out of the womb chatting it up...that's how much you like to talk.  You even attempt to use that gift even to get out of eating dinner, or going to bed or doing just about anything you're not real fond of.  I know that when you suddenly become talkative, saying things like, "It'll be easy" or "It's no big deal" when you're facing a new and potentially scary situation, that what you really mean is that you're afraid and you need me to encourage you to be courageous.  Because I've been with you from day one I see and hear things that no one else does because I know you, my little girl, better than anyone else aside from the One who created you.

It gives me such great joy to see you blossoming into a beautiful little girl.  For some reason, six years old seems like a big kid number.  I'm sure I'll think that again next year and the following years, perhaps it has to do with you being in kindergarten and seeing you on the playground with all your friends.  Friends that I'm so thankful for because it shows me how much you love people.  It may not always look like it right off the bat because you are an observer at first, but once you're comfortable your leadership ability shines and your goofy side emerges and that beautiful smile you got from your Gramma Sally shines.

Thank you for changing my life one day at a time since October 18, 2007 and for never letting a day go by that I don't have to continue changing because you challenge me to be the best mom I can for you for always.  I love you, sweet girl!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3

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