Our family is doing well. We had VBS last week, which means lots of late nights and hard work, but the payoff is totally worth it! We had more kids attend than ever before and so many awesome volunteers to help things run smoothly! What a blessing it is to have such a great church family! I am proud of how well things went! The girls all had fun and it was so neat to watch Isabella and Becca participating and learning! They all memorized the verse 1 Timothy 4:12 and the big girls got up with the music leader and sang. I was so proud of them, my heart was just about to burst. I think they are starting to understand more about God and why Tim and I are so passionate about serving Him. It is hard to remember that is definitely takes baby steps to change the way the think about things and to teach them what the Bible really says.
We had our first major issue with Becca. To make a long and hurtful story short... their birth mom contacted them via email after Becca searched for her on a site kind of like Facebook. We have handled it the best way we knew how and are praying that Becca will be able to move forward without too much curiosity to find out what her birth mom is doing. I took the liberty to email her and explained that she could not contact them and that I was their mom now. I know that she just wants money. I pray that she will find the Lord and someday understand the impact of her neglect on Isabella and Becca. I want us all to be able to forgive her and move on, but it is so hard. The more they open up about their life with her, the more I want to cry and punch her in the face. The other night at dinner Reagan said she wished she were still a baby and Becca said "Me, too, I wish I could have been a baby in this house." It breaks my heart.
Summer school is going so well! I love teaching the elementary kids with Bridget and Lauren. We have been having so much fun! It makes me really wish Bright Beginnings could expand to include elementary school. If only money wasn't an issue...
Our third and FINAL!!!!! trip to Latvia will be at the end of July. Tim will go with the girls alone again. The tickets are just to expensive for us all to go. All of the Latvian side is done, so now we just do the American side, so they can be citizens as soon as they land on American soil. There names will be officially changed and we can celebrate the finalization of their adoption. It seems like it has taken forever, yet it was one year ago this week that we met them for the first time! Wow! That is hard to believe! I think about how going into it, we knew there would be difficulties and struggles, but we weren't sure what they would be. Now we know some of it, but I wouldn't change any of it for any thing! There are people, I am sure, that look at our life and think we are crazy or hear about the negative things and think we made a mistake, but when I think about it, I can't imagine not having them in my life. As much as we are teaching them, they are teaching me so much, too, about life and love and trust and faith. It is amazing and frustrating and wonderful and difficult all at the same time. But do I regret it? NO WAY! God made us a family and every gift from Him is a blessing. Tim and I are learning that you can love all of your children in different ways and that the love for our big girls is naturally different than the love for Ryleigh and Reagan because we are still getting to know them. It is hard to admit that, but it is a different feeling and that is okay! We continue to bond and it just takes baby steps to integrate them into life here. It is definitely not something you can rush! There are lots of things to teach them, show them, and let them experience. I am so proud to have the privilege of being the mom of all my girls! And I can't imagine parenting without Tim by my side. We have learned more about eachother through this experience, too. Truly a blessing!
We have started a job chart for the girls that is working like a charm! They each have a list of jobs that doesn't change and then two jobs that rotate between the three older girls. It's nice to have the help and they do a great job with the chores. They get paid a dollar a day if they do their jobs. If they don't do one and someone else does it for them, that sister gets the dollar. One of the "jobs" on all their lists is Obey the first time. This is a phrase that has become quiet popular in our house! But it quickly ends the arguing and talking back that sometimes happens with preteen girls! They all chipped in last weeks allowance to buy Just Dance for the Wii and we are having tons of fun with that! It was nice to see them agree on something worth spending their money on. And they all bought Daddy gifts for Father's day with their own money and also donated to our VBS Mission, which was the Red Cross. Hopefully we are teaching them a little bit about money!
I am looking forward to July. We have my family reunion with my dad's side of the family, so the big girls will get to meet a lot of new relatives. Becca is playing in the Show-Me soccer games so we will all go to Columbia for that. And we are trying to work out a time to go to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents so they can meet Isabella and Becca, too. I am eager to rearrange and organize my office and have several little projects to do at home, too. And hopefully we will have time for swimming, family games of whiffle ball and Hillbilly golf, and lots of rest and relaxation!
I have realized lately the people in our life that can really be counted on and I am so thankful for the love and support that our true friends have shown us. When we are having trouble with the girls or something and someone just stops to pray with us, it is such an awesome feeling. I really appreciate those friends that know just the right things to say to build me back up after a difficult day. It would be so easy for people to judge us or criticize, but instead we are surrounded by people who love us and appreciate our hearts. We may not be perfect, but we try to live a Godly life, and when people can see that and know our hearts, we feel so loved and cared for. So, if that is YOU and you are reading this, THANKS!