Saturday, September 19, 2015

One year home

What a year it has been.

Thank you all for continuing to pray for us and check in on us! I can’t imagine where we would be right now without the huge support of our family and friends. God has blessed us tremendously through all of you helping us limp through this time.

I have held off from posting since what has happened this year has been so difficult to get through, let alone process into coherent words. I don’t want to go into detail, since I want to protect the boys’ privacy, but I can share that they both had to be removed from our home due to extreme safety concerns. They both ultimately had been through so much trauma in their short lives that they were unable to live safely in our home and rejected us completely. I still love them. But we also have been left with trauma of our own. We are recovering from PTSD like symptoms as we try to move on and put our family back together. 

Happily, there are positives that I’m choosing to focus on instead. The boys formed an attachment with some local friends of ours who were planning on adopting. The boys wanted to move in with them, and they agreed. So far, the boys are managing to behave safely in their home. The family now plans on adopting both boys as soon as they can, and Alden and I are very grateful to God for providing the perfect family for the boys at just the right time.

As traumatic as this year has been for us (and I'm still processing through it and what it all means for us and other adopting families going through similar situations...) God has still blessed us in so many ways. Sophie has been our light through all of this. She is doing so well! She has attached to us, she is growing, she is learning new things and her self harming behaviors have reduced drastically. She loves school and loves life! I can’t imagine our lives without her- as cliché as that sounds it is absolutely true. I’ll try to share some pictures of our princess soon so you can see how much she is changing. We love you all and thank you again for all your support- it has meant the world to us.

Friday, November 14, 2014

3 months in

Hey all! Today marks 3 months home with our kiddos and what a crazy 3 months it has been. I'm not going to lie to you- we weren't prepared at all. We thought we were. We "planned" and "researched" for 3 years before we brought our kids home. We joined adoption groups and took hours of training and read all the books and blogs out there and thought we were ready. We knew it was going to be hard. We thought it would be like trying to swim across the Atlantic with nothing but little floaties on our arms. We were mentally prepared for that long distance swim- trusting that faith would keep us from drowning. We got as ready as possible, put on our floaties, and jumped in feet first. But then we realized it was never an ocean we were going to swim through at all. It was actually an erupting volcano full of lava. And now we were dead. No going back or starting over- dead. Disintegrated by the scorching heat. My thoughts were as follows:

Um...where the heck is the ocean, God? The ocean would have been hard enough! Impossible to cross without you! Where the heck did this lava come from? No one told us about the lava!!!!!! We weren't ready for lava! We didn't choose lava! If we had known it was lava, we would have been too scared and we would have said no! This isn't fair! I don't want to be dead! What are you doing, God? 

 Our first month post volcano can be summed up into one word: Terror. Second month was more like, Freak Out. This past third month? I almost want to say Bearable, but the truth is none of this is bearable. Adoption is not bearable. It's brutal and it kills you. You cannot swim in lava. It's not possible to survive jumping into lava. But at some point in these past 3 months, after we were long dead, I started to notice something strange. None of this was bearable, and I was dead, and yet...somehow...I was still getting up every morning and trying again. And again. And again. Failure, despair, sleep, get up, try again. Failure, despair, sleep, get up, try again. Over and over. And I thought, wait, this isn't possible. It's not possible for a human who is dead to be able to get out of bed every day and keep trying again. Not humanly possible.

And then it clicked. Not humanly possible.

Oh yeah. Hi God, you died when you adopted me, but then you came back to life, didn't you? You are powerful enough for that. You can cause a bush to burn, but not be consumed. It's not humanly possible, but with you all things are possible. 

So, in light of all that, I would have to say this past 3rd month has actually been more like...Hope. Which doesn't make sense to me at all, because I'm dead. Our old life will never be again. The old me will never be again. And yet we have hope? Not humanly possible. Only because of God and his amazing power and mercy.

Adoption is brutal. It's awful. If I had known the truth, I would have been too afraid to say yes. Because I am human and flawed. Thankfully, God knew best for me and my kids. Thankfully, He brought us together. Thankfully, he kept holding on to us as we were dying. Amazingly, He is still getting us through each day and making us into a stronger, brand new family.

To Him be all the glory for this. Because only God could have brought my family back to life.

Maybe someday I'll write more with actual details, but right now I'm sure my kids wouldn't want their business blasted over the internet by their mom ;) As proof that we are seeing glimmers of hope in the darkness, here are some pictures of my amazing, brave, survivor children :)

First camping trip

 some OT shaving cream fun- had to sneak this one ;) 

First football game

Bleary-eyed for first day of school

And then our princess :) First pic is first day of school, about 2 weeks home, second two pics are from just a few weeks after that :) 

We still have a long road of healing to walk down, but if you were to come up to me now and ask me "Was dying worth it?" I can honestly look you in the eye and say, "Because God is who he says he is, yes. Yes it was."

Saturday, September 6, 2014


We are home!!!!! Actually, we've been home for two weeks and one day now ;) Things have been so crazy busy that I haven't had time for blogging. I ended up flying out to our kiddos' country the day we passed court for Salome! On August 11th, she officially became our daughter :) Her name is Sophia, but we also call her Sophie. We have gotcha day pics but they are somewhere on Alden's phone at the moment haha. She is stunning- such a fighter and her giggle is the best. Seriously. She has been such a blessing. After Alden busted her out of her mental institution and brought her back to the capital city where I was waiting for them things were pretty difficult. All 5 of us were crammed into a tiny apartment while we waited for passports and visas so we could all go home. And I was sick. Everyone told us that last part in country after you have all the kids out is the hardest part and they were right! But God got us all through it in one piece and all 5 of us flew home on August 22nd. The boys did great on the flights- they were such troopers and Alden and I were so proud of them! Sophers had a rough time but the flight attendants were super sweet to us and even drove us to all our connecting gates. They even took us to a private waiting area while we waited for our connection in Munich. It was such a blessing to be able to give Sophie a break from the stroller (which was too small) and let the boys play some games they had there and nap for a bit. Our last flight from Charlotte to our home was cancelled last minute so the airlines called a driver for us to take us the rest of the way home! So many people were reaching out to us to offer us assistance during that day of traveling and we were so grateful. Once we got home we crashed since it was after 10pm that night. Here are some pics Alex took of our first awake day at home :)

Alex loves photography and hiking and Mark loves riding his bicycle and playing football and soccer. They both are loving their new schools! There have been some wonderful moments with them these past two weeks and some hard moments too. Imagine being a teen boy who has grown up in an institutional setting your whole life until now- not really having any authority figures to answer to before, and now you are in a new culture, new environment, with a new language to learn, grieving the loss of your old country and way of life while also learning what it is like to live in a family with parents who care about you. It's hard! Alden and I are learning how best to reach each boy and every day we are seeing little glimpses of progress. There are some really hard days, but some wonderful days too. We are taking things one day at a time, not taking anything personally, and praying a lot. 

Here are some more pictures of these past two weeks we have had together :)
 my old graduation robe from college with his soccer medallion

 hiking one of my favorite trails growing up!

And now for Sophie girl :) What a blessing she is! Her new doctors and specialists are phenomenal and her teachers at her new school adore her. She is doing so great! She eats like a champ and sleeps through the night. She responds to my voice with huge smiles and giggles. She's also a total daddy's girl :) She's pretty heavy so I'm getting some decent biceps from carrying her around ;) Can't wait to get a specialized whellchair for her and other adaptive equipment. Her OT specialist discovered yesterday that she loves swings. As soon as we placed her on a platform swing she stopped all stimming and went into her nap pose- it was amazing! We are learning more and more each day what she can do and what she can learn. She has already gone from not having any interest in toys to being able to grasp them and explore them for up to 10 minutes at a time! Smarty pants ;) 

Thank you all for your support and prayers! We need them :) Will try to post more pictures and updates as I am able! One of these days I might actually remember to get a family photo! haha