On Mother's Day 2004, I had a miscarriage. And honestly, it kind of put a damper on every Mother's Day since then. But, this year, it has been so different. I am so happy to celebrate Mother's Day this year with my 4 daughters and so blessed to be the mom of these 4 children that God chose for me. His plan is so much bigger and so much better than mine! Our sermon this morning was on the verse "blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted". How incredible true that is. In our mourning, we can find the sweetest and most awesome blessings because we have a God who cares about us and loves us and has a plan for us. Lean on God in all things and He will be right there with you.
As expected, I have not had time to blog lately. I think about it all the time and always have something to say, but finding the time and energy when the kids are in bed or occupied with something else is just about impossible for me! I am disappointed in myself because I really want to blog to document details of our journey for all my girls to read someday. I guess the entries I do make are going to have to be reeeeaaaallllyyy long!
Last month, I got to attend the Women of Joy conference in Branson. And I got to meet Steven Curtis Chapman. For me, this was HUGE! He has done so much for the adoption community and our family was awarded a grant from Show Hope, which I got to personally thank him for! His public grief over the death of his beautiful daughter Maria has shown how God can help us through anything. His music makes me a better mom and person. His music also is helping my big girls learn English and love Christian music, how could I ever thank him enough for that? He was so nice, down to earth, and "normal"! My friend, Aleah, and I waited for hours to be first in line at the concert and then waited together backstage to meet him (Tim had set the meeting up via email with the people at Show Hope and his road manager). It was one of the most exciting moments of my life to watch him walk off his bus and to me for a hug! He actually said "thank you" to me! I got to give him a picture of my family and talk to him about my girls! Honestly, of all the celebrities in the world, he is my favorite, so meeting him was a dream come true!
The girls have been getting along with eachother pretty well, which is great progress. Ryleigh seems to have moved passed her feelings of not wanting 3 sisters and is enjoying life a little more and worrying a little less. Totally an answer to prayer. We are busy with soccer and all the girls do a great job! I am very proud of each of them for different reasons... Reagan is so good at not being distracted by the kids who refuse to participate, she does exactly what she is supposed to do all the time and always has a smile on her face. Ryleigh hustles and tries her best even though she her coach (and I use that term loosely) uses bad words, smokes during the game, and leaves a lot of the time to talk on his cell phone. There are three girls on her team that play good and a couple of dad's on the sidelines do the real coaching for the three of them that want to win and do well. It's been a good experience as far as Ryleigh really having to dig deep to keep at it when she is tired and frustrated. I am so proud of her! Becca improves every week. She has gotten better at being a team player with her attitude and cheers her team on. She does great getting the ball down the field, but hasn't quite mastered a really good hard kick to get it past the goalie. We love her coach and all he has done to work with her and make it fun! I love watching Becca play, thinking about how far she has come and what a bright future she has. Isabella still cheers at the games and doesn't seem to mind sitting through at least 3 soccer games every week. She is excelling at piano and works ahead of what Ms. Danielle tells her to practice. Her love of music is growing every day. There are several songs on the radio that she loves and sings loudly. I am looking forward to her someday playing the piano at church.
Things have not always been easy lately (I waited to write about this, for the people who have quit reading by now that got bored...). We are seeing a lot of attitude from Isabella and it is really frustrating. She gets really mad and hateful when she is corrected on something or gets in trouble. She makes the situation worse almost every time because of her reaction. She gets mad playing games if things are going her way (like paying rent in Monopoly, getting out in kickball, losing on the Wii, etc.). It is just hard to comprehend how she can get mad at little things and not just be happy with her new life. She is happy most of the time, don't get me wrong, but when the attitude comes out, it is not a pretty thing. I am learning it is best to just smile at her and ignore it. Because my first reaction is to get angry and try to talk her out of it, which does not work! For mother's day she told me in a card that she loves me because I help her learn to cook. I know she means it and I am going to try to be a better mom to her and have the patience she needs. The more I know about her, the more obvious it is that the only thing she has been truly attached to is animals. She gets overly excited when she sees any animal, especially dogs. She rarely talks about people from her past, but gives long accounts of stories from the past that involve animals. It is heart breaking to think about. I have seen little signs from her that she is attaching to us and I love to watch her tease Tim back and see her face light up when she has something exciting to say. She is definitely opening up to people and not as shy around strangers.
Becca has been in trouble lately for not listening. She doesn't take instruction very well, because she won't admit she doesn't know something. She wants to hurry through everything still and it got to a point that we had to start giving her a consequence for messing things up (like putting the icecream away in the refrigerator after she told us she knew what the freezer in the garage was in a super snotty way, she bought a new tub with her own money). It seems like little things, but I feel like part of her attachment is going to depend on her realizing she does need us. I prayed about this and for God to give me a sign from her that we are making progress. I saw I glimmer of hope when she had a spider in her bed and she was absolutely terrified and needed her daddy to come kill it. She cried a cry I hadn't heard before and it was showing her true emotions plainly. Most of the time she cries it is out of frustration and anger. She doesn't care much about her school work and got grounded for not doing her homework last week.
We have been really praying hard about next school year for all the girls. Isabella and Becca will be moving to the Jr. High and will be in regular classes, but with an ILP (individual language plan, which will allow modifications in their work). It is going to be a huge adjustment for them to have to participate in all the subjects with their peers. We will be working hard this summer at home to get ready for this transition. Ryleigh will be moving to Boswell, where I used to teach. Honestly, I am having a lot of anxiety about this. I am praying that she will have a teacher like Mrs. Bechtel (2nd grade) and that she will form some new friendships. And then there's my baby, who will go to kindergarten! She scored a 99 on her screening and I know she is ready, but I still know that kindergarten is the beginning of the end! This is me having to let go and expose her to all the meanies of the world. There will be teasing and hatefulness to contend with and people who don't understand her adoption. I dread it, but I know that she is tough and she will prove to people what a great kid she is! I wish her Bright Beginnings pre-k class could just stay together! That would be a lucky teacher!
Tim is headed back to Latvia with both girls on May 24th for a court date on the 26th. We are very disappointed that they have to go, as it is $3,000 extra in airplane tickets and they will be in the air longer than they are in Latvia. It is so stupid the way the process is for this adoption! It would be nice to save that money for their education or something worthwhile. Oh well, as adoptive parents, we do what we have to do, whether we like it or not! The timing is good, as this is the week between regular school and summer school. Please pray for safety as they travel and patience for Tim as he deals with all the paperwork, etc. on his own and the girls to be on their best behavior!
I will try to update sooner next time, that just took me a long time to type!!