Sorry it has been so long. The days end way later than they should, with more on the list to do than day to do it, so posting here waits. I have the day alone while they are all at the farm working, having fun playing soccer and enjoying the day, so laundry, catching up on paperwork and updating here are on my list for this quiet day at home.
Quick overview, we are all fine. We’ve been in the US six weeks and had three medical emergencies but no illnesses. This week was a toothache in our little guy that had him in tears. Our dentist was willing to work him into a very busy day and filled 2 cavities that seem to have been the culprit of the problem. He has five more fillings to go. Not sure why I was surprised there are so many when this child welcomed us each day in Ukraine with a piece of candy and had an unlimited supply the entire 10 weeks we were there. We still wonder who supplied these children with candy but few toothbrushes.
One of our favorite blogs is our Texas friends, the Bollinger’s, More Love to Give. They are doing a series titled “Adoption is Hard” and their post this week on Spiritual Warfare is a must read. They say it all well. We have walked this road for 23 months and now more intensely than ever. We learned this week of a cancer diagnosis for our friend, the dear mother of 8 children, 4 adopted from Ukraine and Russia. We met at the SDA in mid-March and spent a wonderful afternoon in Donetsk a month later. We would ask that you remember this family in your prayers as they are thrust into this new arena of warfare.
Having read many blogs of adoption of teens, when we stand outside the box and observe we always agree that we are doing well although everything is not perfect. A friend wisely cautioned us while we were in Ukraine to not “over-analyze” these children. They have ups and downs, good days and bad, responsive moments and non-responsive ones and can be unbelievably sweet as well as downright ugly and impossible. We’re seeing every one of those…many at the same time. It is a roller coaster ride and we see that this transition is so huge for them that they have no stable footing to stand on or hooks to hang anything on, for them to be consistent is not even an option.
In recent days I’ve reminded myself of an analogy of a tea cup I have used many times in reference to marriage and the addition of children. In my college years I saw so many young people who struggled with their cup half-full searching for someone to marry to “fill their cup”. I saw the same happen in struggling marriages and a baby was seen as the way to fill that half, or even less, full cup. I realized that nothing and no one can fill our cup but Jesus. Our cup has to be full and overflowing onto the saucer so that we can give the overflow away and never miss it when we add others into our lives. God has been reminding me of my old analogy in recent days. Our cups individually and collectively in our marriage are full to overflowing and we are intentional about keeping them full through our time together and with the Lord. God called us to pour the overflow into these children. I remind myself daily that they have nothing to give…just as a newborn demands and never gives, the same is true of these children. In our family, they are newborns, 6 weeks old in family age. While they can do many tasks for themselves and sleep through the night (after an intense and often lengthy struggle and standoff) there is much that is reminiscent of having toddlers. And we have quadruplets.
Church is still hard for them, especially for one of them. Satan is warring for the heart of this child beyond anything we have ever seen. We pray without ceasing for Jesus to win the heart of this precious child.
Many thanks for the many food suggestions…they are open to more new things. It is still tough to plan meals but we have relaxed on it and many encouraged us to make yogurt, fruit, etc. available to anyone who does not care for what is served. This has worked well and reduced the stress.
We have selected a cottage school for Algebra 1 and Chemistry for our English speaking one who is ready for this level of academics. We have been working for several weeks on these subjects along with English grammar, Rosetta Stone English and a typing software and he is doing extraordinarily well.
The other three will be doing a homeschool co-op with many acadamic, music and other classes. Barney will be teaching two levels of woodworking classes so preparing those projects will involve us all.
The boys will be doing a four day robotics camp this week. Next Saturday they have evaluations for team placement for soccer which starts in two weeks. The oldest girl was interested in volleyball camp two afternoons this week so this will be our first week of chauffeuring and them being involved in outside activities. We look forward to the extra dimension this will bring to their lives. One of our greatest issues has been an obsession by three of them with every move the other one makes. We hope more activities and hopefully new friends will help diffuse this and be the spark for mastering English.
We cherish your prayers, please keep them coming, the greatest warfare is yet to come as our children’s hearts turn toward Jesus. The task often looks overwhelming and we have some issues that are intensifying as the newness wears off and reality sets in. We said from the first day that this was not going to be easy, and right now very little is easy. We remember that this is not about us…that our call was to go to them, open our hearts and home and He will do the rest. It often takes us farther than we think we can go, but we pray that with God’s grace we will be stronger and more like Him.