Friday, May 15, 2015

Sifa's birthday

Our little Sifa turned 4.  Our baby.  This is the third birthday she has had since we were matched together.  There are many ways to look at this:

We have missed all the toddler years. We have watched her baby cheeks disappear through pics, longing to kiss them.


We have had the privilege of making sure this child of God is watched over and fed.  Because we were allowed to adopt her, she is healthy and strong. We are incredibly blessed that we have always had the extra money this adoption has required as it has extended over a year past the date we expected.

The first part hurts so much, but I can't forget the second part.

We sent Sifa's foster mom a little extra money this month to throw her a celebration, and decided on some ways to celebrate her here at home.

First I took Carina and her girl cousins that live here shopping for a dress for her.  A summer dress, so she can wear it THIS summer :)  When they get home, there will be five girl cousins here in Charlotte who are within a year and a half of each other.  It will be so fun.

We also picked up some rotisserie chicken, which we paired with bread from the Farmer's Market.  These were Sifa's two favorite things to eat when I visited her last fall, so we had them for dinner in her honor.  Then we topped it off with Elsa cupcakes and a candle for each year.

The first day I met Sifa, I showed them Frozen in French. I was shocked when it started and Sifa blurted out, clear as day, "SVEN!" and then gave me the first twinkly eyed, eyebrow-raised smile that I would come to love over the next week.

So it turns out that they had a much grander feast for Sifa's birthday in Kinshasa.  Look at that delicious chicken, beans, rice, and plantains.  Topped off with Fanta, of course.  And look at our adorable girls!  I am so thankful that Sifa got this special day.  She deserves it, and so much more.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Field trip to the Farmer's Market

Every year the first graders from Waddell Language Academy go on a field trip to the Farmer's Market the Saturday before Mother's Day so they can learn how to use money and buy their mom something sweet.  I have been lucky enough to chaperone for all three boys, and today was Oliver's turn.

It was the best field trip experience I have ever had.  Oliver's teacher - let me just break in and say this woman has my heart forever.  She is so warm and full of happiness.  She is the first teacher my kids have ever had who has NO color-change system in place, and the kids listen to her anyway. Anyway, Oliver's teacher put him in a group with his cousin Liam and their two other very close buds (one more reason to love her).  She told me that the four of them are always together, and they never ever fight.  Do you know how awesome it is to see four little 6 and 7 year old boys group-hugging on a field trip?  All four of them listened so well to me, with no talk-back and no whining.  Rare thing, I am tellin' ya.

Oliver and Liam have grown up together and have been very best friends from a young age.  I think I have heard them get angry with each other maybe three times.  They are both the youngest of three boys and they just get each other.  They all go to Waddell in the Chinese immerson program but they are the only cousins in the same grade.  There are only two Chinese classes for each grade and they were not in the same class last year.  This year when we found out they were going to be separated again, we requested to have them put in the same class. I am so glad we did.  

Oliver bought me three red tulips and we shared a a bacon, brie and apple croissant.  It was the perfect way to start Mother's Day weekend.  I am so thankful I get to be a mom to this brown-eyed sweetheart who is always good for a smile and a snuggle.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tender and small

I have had a hard time blogging for the last two years.  When we started our adoption, I was determined that I wouldn't be an adoption blogger.  I had been blogging for years about everything else and I wasn't going to change that.  But I think in trying not to post too much about that, I stopped posting at all because my mind has kinda turned to mush.  And then every once in awhile I would just HAVE to post some things I needed to say and of course it was always about adoption. So there you have it.  Now?  I am determined to just blog again, whatever that may entail.

We have not heard any news yet. In pregnancy terms, it has been over a month of painful contractions but no baby.  The worst kind of waiting.  We have been told we might hear something this week but I am not really letting myself believe it because just waiting is easier than anxiously waiting.

Yesterday I substitute taught a Primary class of 8 and 9 yr olds.  We were learning about Jesus healing the sick.  We talked about the faith of the woman with the blood issue, and the man with palsy.  I told them that I used to think faith was just a feeling.  Sometimes you felt it, sometimes you didn't.  But now I have learned that faith is often times a choice.  You choose to believe even when you don't feel it.  You literally stop the fearful thoughts that are crowding your mind and focus on the Savior.

We also talked about the many many times that Jesus doesn't perform the ultimate miracle that you would love to have.  I told them about my mom, that she has this disease that has robbed her of her speech and her understanding and how hard it has been on her and our whole family .  I told them that Jesus has not taken this sickness away but instead has comforted her and us through it.

As we were ending the lesson, I had them write down miracles that they have seen in their life, and I remembered one in my own that related so closely to that.

Over two years ago, when Chad and I decided to adopt from the DR Congo, we kept our decision within our immediate family for awhile.  It had been a decision 10 years in the making and it still felt very personal and raw.

Shortly after that, I was thinking about my mom, wondering what I could do to be a part of her life and bring her any joy.  I spontaneously stopped by when my dad was at work and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. She was already having a very hard time understanding words at that point, but I probably motioned enough that she got my point.  It was a nice day - I had Carina in the stroller and my Mom had their dog Cici on the leash. She seemed happy, which made me happy.  I had this huge and very sudden feeling that I should tell her that we had decided to adopt.  I had not really told her anything that was going on in my life for a very long time before this, because it always just led to her being frustrated that she couldn't understand, and me feeling bad that I frustrated her. Plus Chad and I had agreed not to tell anyone.  But the feeling was strong and felt right.

So I did.

"Mom, Chad and I decided to adopt."

Her face lit up with a huge smile and she gave a little celebration noise with her shoulders scrunched up. She completely understood.

Holding up two fingers, "Siblings, from the DR Congo."

More happy noises and a little victory dance.

She understood so well that later that night my Dad called and said, "What's this I hear about you adopting from the Congo?"  She had gotten enough words out to him to share the happy news and, if I remember correctly, had even pointed it out on a map. I was astounded.

This was the last easily-understood conversation I had with my mom.  It may be a small thing, but it was still a miracle.

My mom hasn't been healed and my girls are still not home.  But every time I seek my Savior, He comforts me.  And I am learning what "exercising" faith really means.