I've been quiet on my blog for quite a while. I've had a lot of things stirring in me the past year or so and I've been trying to sort them out. I struggle to continue to put pictures of my family and our daily activities on the blog when there are children who are fatherless and forgotten all around the world. It's a bitterness I struggle with every day. Why are my kids so lucky? Why are there millions of others who are not? What am I supposed to do about that?
We needed time and change. We had been feeling an urge to change churches, which was a really big deal for us. We couldn't explain it, but finally gave into the urge in January. Now looking back over the past year, I can say "Ooooohhhhh, now I get it!" Yep, God knew what he was doing when He called us to our new church. It's been a fresh start for us, a re-awakening that we didn't even know we needed. Our new church is also so close now that we walk or bike most Sundays, and the kids go to church with friends from school. It's pretty neat and we're feeling more connected to the community we live in, and we're very thankful for that.
We also needed time. For the past 10 years, Jeremy and I have either been having babies or bringing home babies. Ben was 15 months old when I got pregnant with Sam. Sam was 5 months old when we started the process to bring Allie home. Allie was not quite 2 when we started Maggie's process. We were always planning for that next baby, which kept us busy to say the least. But I like busy, I like projects, to-do lists, things I can accomplish.
But after Maggie came home, we clearly felt God telling us to STOP. Not necessarily stop forever, but stop for now. And that was really hard for me, not because I wanted another baby- in fact I was pretty sure I DIDN'T! - but because it's so hard for me to be still. To just be where I am, fully present with no big plan to work on other than regular life. I get bored and restless. But I knew that I had to restrain and be more comfortable in a quiet place. To hold back on dreaming about that next baby or some other next big thing in our lives. It's hard, but also really good for me. I've enjoyed more one-on-one time with each kid, more time to read, take naps, etc. I continue to have to be very purposeful in that surrender.
Honestly, I went to that place of surrender kicking and screaming at first. I would lay awake at night wondering why we had to stop, there's so much more that could be done. Were we supposed to adopt again? Were we supposed to move? Was I supposed to go back to work? My mind was all over the place for a while, but I kept hearing God telling me to just be still.
Looking back, amazing things have come from that surrendering. I now have 4 mornings a week to myself while all 4 kiddos are at school. I am giddy to have a little bit of time to myself for the first time as a parent. We've also been able to address some needs of our kiddos and are seeing some positive progress. It might sound silly, but addressing some ongoing problems and getting help for them feels really good.
Allie was diagnosed with sensory issues, which explains a lot about her behavior struggles. We spent the summer going to a wonderful Occupational Therapist who helped us help her to cope with daily life and her emotions better. We also spent time with a fantastic counselor who helped us get a better window into Allie's broken heart and how we can help mend it a little bit more. We're also praying like never before for her. And boy does it feel good to report that the progress she has made is amazing! She went from a child who cried at the drop of a hat over nothing to a child who is more joyful and content. To be clear, she's not "fixed", those struggles may never be completely gone. I think she'll probably always wrestle with all that she has been through, but now we're much more equipped to handle that and help her.
***Side Funny: We've always been super open with both our girls about their adoption stories. Allie can repeat her story verbatim. But yesterday she told me that she was born in an airport in Michigan and is telling her friends that fact. Um, no, my dear. You were born in Korea and you were escorted home to an airport in Michigan. :) :) :) Funny, but clearly demonstrates her lack of true understanding of her story.
Maggie's speech delay was becoming more alarming by the day. There was just very little progress and by the time she was 3, she had the speech skills of maybe a 15 month old (that's probably being generous). But we're thrilled to report that she qualified for speech services at our local preschool (same building where Allie attends kindergarten) and is on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that will better address her needs. She is even riding the bus ( oh yes she is and she LOVES it ) and is finally, finally starting to show some steps of progress. It's going to be a long, slow process for her, but we're so thankful for the peace we've been give knowing she's in the right place. She has literally come alive since starting school 3 weeks ago, so independent and confident. Comparing that to the terrified baby in the orphanage crib 2 years ago and WOW. God is so good.
So much focus has been on the girls in the past few years and their very big needs. Our boys are affected by that of course, but have mostly handled it all very well. Having the time to slow down, though, and just enjoy them has been precious. They are getting to the age that we are hesitating to share too many details about their private lives. They deserve privacy. So while I'll refrain from going into their specific details, I'll say that there are some things they struggle with in their lives too and we are of course 1000% behind them every day. They are blossoming in their own ways and I'm so lucky to be their mom.
Thinking back on all of that, I totally get why God told us to not consider another adoption or any other big "thing" in our lives since Maggie came home. We had a whole lotta big things going on right inside our home. Those big things aren't going to just disappear, we'll always have to deal with them, but now I feel like we are getting a better hold on things. It's been so amazing to see prayers answers and burdens lifted. We also needed time for ourselves, both in our marriage and personally. Frankly, we needed to rest!
I'm chuckling to call where we are "restful" because every day is
insanity with 4 young kiddos. Let's be real -someone is always sick, hurt, crying, pooping, hungry or mad. There is always a mess and always someone who needs something. We are exhausted by 8pm. But it's restful in comparison to
adoption paperwork, trip to China, cleft surgery,etc., that's for sure! And we wouldn't trade any of it.
I don't know where we're going from here, only God knows that. What we're sure about is we want to live our lives according to God's will for us. I don't know if He'll lead us to other "big" places or if this place of "rest" is our new normal. Either way, we're okay with it. Regardless, we're very grateful for the healing that's happening in our house, for the peace coming with it, and for this sweet time with our babies.