We’ve been in the US 4 weeks and will have been home 4 weeks this Tuesday. All in all, we’re all doing well. Far better than Mom and Dad could have expected or imagined. We’ve had an uneventful week for the most part…just the way we like it. Don’t misunderstand, we’re not talking perfect…we’ve got some attitude stuff going on at times that we could live without. But, most days are calm, everyone gets along well and things go very smoothly.
Our biggest praise and answer to prayer is a calmness with church the past two Sundays. They go willingly and there is no fallout afterward. We are beyond thrilled that this is not a huge meltdown each week as we experienced the first two weeks. One of the girls took her Russian New Testament this morning and had Alex looking up the scriptures in it for her during Bible Study class. We have Russian English parallel Bibles bought for them and hope to get their names on them tomorrow so they are ready to give. The current four week sermon series at our church is AHA, the moment when realization about God comes that changes everything in a person’s life. Our young teaching minister, Kyle Idleman, is preaching this series and he is dynamic and they can relate to him. We pray that God is opening their precious hearts to His love and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for them on the cross.
We’re deep into research about school options within our homeschool community for this fall. One is ready for serious English academics and will be taking Chemistry and likely Math at the cottage school. We’ve learned of two other co-ops with excellent classes that are options for the others who need more time with English. We continue to pray for wisdom and direction in this area.
Here’s a little rundown on the laundry list of “how they are doing”….they are eating better and more open to a few new things. Thanks to our local friends and our blog world friends who emailed and talked with us about this issue after I blogged about the stress over food. Unanimously everyone advised that it was not a huge stress point. Keep fruit yogurt and ramen noodles and fruit and if they don’t like what is served they can eat from that stash.
At the very same time we started getting calls from a homeschool neighbor friend who works for a local fruit and produce market. She gets the produce at a great discount that cannot be sold as first quality. She shares the surplus for a fraction of the retail cost and it has literally been manna from heaven. The cost of fruit was breaking the food budget and four days this week she has called with nearly whole cases of produce…peaches, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers, corn on the cob, onions, it goes on and on…we are blown away by God’s provision and figured out that we need not stress about food. Literally the same day we decided to no longer make it an issue they started eating what we serve. Isn’t that the way? There are still meals that one may not eat as well but with this fruit stash and the yogurt we just let it go. They also all love tomato juice and we found an economical source for 64 ounce cans so we open one and divide it between them at each night meal so that is another source of a vegetable.
They sleep great. They all read before bed and are quieting down much earlier. We had a pattern of them staying up way too late for a couple of weeks so this week’s mission was to get that moved back an hour and it is accomplished. They ramble longer than we would prefer running in and out of the restroom but eventually they get to sleep and sleep well for 10-12 hours per night.
Friday I took them to Tom Sawyer State Park for swimming and we had a great time. We stayed so long that our sunscreen let us down a bit so we’re all sporting more sun than we would like but it was a fun afternoon. The 3 younger ones enjoyed the diving board and did well swimming to the side and doing it again and again. It brought back fond memories of my many summer days at the Sportscenter Pool in Owensboro.
Today the boys went home with our friends after church for a swim with their boys at their aunt’s. We took the girls out for lunch and then home for the afternoon. Nicole used the afternoon on the computer doing Rosetta Stone English while Pavlina enjoyed a movie with us. We met back up with the other family and another adoptive family at a park and shared a picnic dinner and fun at the park for a few hours. We are so blessed by time spent with the other families who have walked this path and have children so near in age to our children.
English is coming slowly…very slowly. In all honesty, I look forward to the day it is spoken around our dinner table again. It has gotten old to sit through a meal listening to them chatter in Russian. We know that there are times that some of them are not kind to each other and say things that should not be said so we will be glad when English is the primary language in our home so we can address character and kindness issues when they arise and all be a part of the conversation.
Vanya’s English has improved alot this week, he understands most of what we say and can communicate most of what he wants to say. He’s still loving being his Dad’s shadow and has never seen a job he does not like. He adores the kittens and he and Pavlina give most of their care.
We still take our nightly hour long bike ride to the park and enjoy playing on the many things there. We all look forward to this all day.
There are the highlights of life at our house at the four week mark. God’s provision through our produce manna is amazing, just what we need when we need it. The kids are doing well and Mom and Dad are as well. We have times that we feel really overwhelmed with the responsibility and have to remind ourselves to not overanalyze their every move and mood. We remind ourselves that God called, we followed, and our main responsibility is to continue to follow His lead. We are inadequate for the task…that is certain and we know it. But, He is able…and we are honored to be a part of His work in their lives. So, we rest all we can, take deep breaths, remember that we are just messengers of His love to them, and do the next thing. It truly is all we can do…and all we are called to do. Thank you for your prayers, love, care, and friendship to us…we are so thankful for each of you that God has placed in our lives to journey with us. You remind us of just how much Jesus loves us when we see Him in you…thank you.