This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First glimpses

A year ago (March 27, 2009) we received this first glimpse of our children.  

The email that came with their pictures said, "I know this is a big group but just in case.  They are little and the report is very positive." 

And then there was a fury of emails and phone calls and lengthy conversations about why we were still talking about the idea of adopting four children.  And after only two days of mulling it over, we said this to our caseworker:  "We have the distinct impression that God might be up to something crazy here.  And we've decided that where he leads, we will follow.  We will trust him for all the details."    

What he was up to was forming our family.  I think we heard him whisper it from the moment we saw these first pictures, and we knew it while we waited for approval, and we knew it when we first laid eyes on them, and it's still as clear as day that these four beauties are as much our sons and daughters as if we had met them in the first minute of their life on this earth.  

They have grown so much in a year's time, which makes us a little sad.  But it's a beautiful thing, because no matter how any of us grows or changes from here on out, we're a family.  No matter what.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adrenaline vs. Real Life

I've said this to several friends who have asked me lately how I'm doing:  I think the adrenaline I started running on in October just before we left for Brazil finally wore off.  And it wore off all of a sudden and without much warning.  I've read that the effects of adrenaline on the human body are only supposed to last a few minutes, but this must have been a supernatural adrenaline.  The side effects of 5 months of supernatural adrenaline are (in case you ever need to know) exhaustion, iritability, grumpiness, low motivation at work and home and senseless arguements with loved ones.

All of this is my clever way of confessing that I've not been a very tender mommy during the last couple weeks.  Everyone tells me this is a normal part of life and motherhood, but I think I can do better.  Fact is, it's not easy being a mother.  And it's not easy keeping 4 very individual individuals clean, happy and fed while at the same time trying to teach them compassion, empathy, respect, obedience, togetherness, patience and manners.

Loving them is easy.  Being nice to them sometimes isn't.  But they deserve the best, so we keep trying.

On the drive home from a weekend getaway, we pledged to keep our patience and respect levels high and our grumpy levels low.  We asked the children to work extra hard on following our four family rules:  Respect, Obey, Ask Permission and Stick Together.  I think it was a talk that Supernanny would have had with us if she'd happened by our corner of CT.

So far, so good.  Sunday afternoon we took a family hike through the beautiful spring air and got some ice cream on the way home.  I managed to keep my cool almost all day today (except when Brayan was sticking his face in the dog's bowl while Oscar was trying to eat his dinner) and I feel measurably less haggered now that the only sounds in the house are the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer all humming away while little ones sleep soundly in their little beds.

Just need a little more grace to keep it going.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Life's an Adventure

While Papai was away for work, Mamae took the children out for sushi (something that would not happen if Papai were home).  I'm amazed at how open, adventuresome and flexible my children are.  Their whole world changed right before their eyes just four months ago and they're still up for trying sushi for the first time.  There's nothing they won't try!

Meeting Family

Last week during our February vacation from school, we took a trip to meet Great Gram for the first time.  After visiting Great Gram, we had some lunch with Great aunt Jackie and Great uncle Al.  We had pizza and built some wooden toys.  Gramma and Grandpa came for a visit too!
The trip was fun, and it made us think about what a multigenerational miracle adoption is.  God did not simply put four kids with new parents, He is weaving together a whole family.  Adoption is not a miracle that last only a moment, it stretches far into the past and far into the future changing much more than one branch of a family tree forever.  Nothing will ever be the same. 

Right now it's hard to imagine our children as they will be when they're older.  It's hard to imagine our babies will ever grow up.  But they're already growing and changing so much and so fast.  Last night at bedtime Lucas asked me to pray that God would make a girl from his class his wife someday.  As silly as that sounds coming out of the mouth of a second grader, the truth is that somewhere out there is the girl who will someday be the woman that captures my little boy's heart.  And nothing will ever be the same for them. 

Maynara will be 11 next month.  I'm getting the impression from my teacher friends and more experienced mommy friends that 11 is the top of a slippery slope toward teenagerdom.  We're trusting that God will bind us together quickly and tightly so that we can navigate those confusing and tumultuous years with wisdom and grace.  But even so, nothing will ever be the same!

But... we didn't sign up for "the same" when we decided to follow the call to adopt.  Everything is different, true.  And this is the kind of different that changes lives for the better.  Lots of lives.

Monday, March 01, 2010

One Silly Boy

If ever life starts to feel kind of heavy, we just need to take a minute to soak up the joy that oozes out of our dear Brayan.  He is SO silly!  

Dress Up

Here's what I've learned as a mother so far.  Parenting can be serious work, but sometimes it's good to step out of reality and be a little (or a lot) silly.