Our days are full but so is my heart. Caleb has adjusted really well. He is speaking English and counting to ten, saying his ABCs, tracing letters, and playing hard each day at pre-school and at home. Caleb and Ella-Lu have become great friends and play well most days together. Some days they fight as would normal siblings:) Caleb is so much fun and provides us with so much joy. He has a big smile, a great attitude all the while testing the limits and learning the boundaries. I have been most impressed with his transition:) He has had 4 surgeries and we still have mountains ahead of us with more doctor appointments and tests and procedures. There is so much joy and fullness and love and encouragement and strength and peace….and we are so thankful for God’s goodness. We appreciate so many who continue to pray and encourage us. We press on. Some days are easy while others are harder but there is not a day that God doesn’t provide and show his faithfulness to us.
We are coming into a busy spring with both boys playing soccer. The 3 big kids are going to attempt archery for the first time. Ella-Lu, Isabel, Caleb and Mattie will all have birthdays in that order:) And Isabel will have 6th grade graduation. I am not even ready to go there:)
We are finding a new normal and routine but it is taking time…..and in the time I ask God to quiet my heart and allow me to be still. I am encouraged by Luke 10:42 “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” My prayer for me and you is that we would allow our Lord to be our portion in every circumstance and season. He is enough.
What an amazing day celebrating Thanksgiving and all God’s goodness. This particular year we are very thankful to have Caleb home. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, playing outside (we have had some beautiful weather), learning house rules, and snuggling. We are amazed at all the things God has provided.
We appreciate your prayers this week. Caleb received a great report at the dentist. No cavities nor rotten teeth. His teeth are stained but at this point we will keep brushing and in a few years he will lose those baby teeth. Monday we spent 3 hours of testing his vision at Vandy. He did great! He has perfect vision in his left eye. This is a huge praise! He will wear glasses to protect his good eye:) Total vision loss in his right eye….we already knew this….but it is still good to have all the test completed and written up for vision therapy, etc. We are awaiting a consult with the glaucoma specialist at Vandy and for a surgery date.
This coming week Caleb has two surgeries scheduled for Thursday. We hope his glasses will be ready. And we have a home visit as we are approaching our one month post adoption date. More paperwork is in our future as we will continue to have home visits for the next 5 years as part of our agreement with China.
Enjoying Thanksgiving today but I have promised the kids to put up Christmas decorations this weekend. Looking forward to celebrating Advent with Caleb this year and making memories with all the kids as we continue with many of our family Christmas traditions.
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:13
We entered the locked gates of the orphanage and were taken up the stairs and down a long hallway to a room. Several Chinese women were there rushing about. We were asked for particular documents and then we were asked to sign some documents. One particular orphanage staff person took Ella-Lu as she was amazed by her skin and hair. We were given this amazing baby book full of pictures and stories. Of course I will need to get it translated. 🙂 I was also given a small photo album. This made me so happy to see him growing throughout both the baby book and album.
After some time, Caleb was brought to the door of the room. He was told something or another of which I could only understand was that this is your mama and papa. He looked us and began to cry. He pulled back out of the room. My heart ached. I went to the door and got on my knees as any mother and spoke to him calmly and reached for his hand. He pulled back and continued to be tearful. I picked him up and brought him in the room with Jason and the kids. I sat in the floor holding him. The women spoke to him. I am not sure what they were saying but that yes we were his parents. He was wearing a small blue backpack. They pulled out pictures of us that we had been sending in care packages pointing to us in the picture and in the room. There seemed to be some connection in his mind as he pulled the pieces together. He knew us from the pictures. And he could now see that it was us in the room. Honestly, this all probably happened in about 5 minutes.
Caleb was calm and laying in my lap. But we had to make a decision. We were planning to go visit his foster family at the orphanage to ask some questions and take pictures. Jason and I looked at one another and thought it would be best if Jason went with camera and questions to the foster family. Mattie went along. I took Caleb, Isabel, Noah and Ella-Lu outside to the playground to play and connect. He held my hand outside but was still a little shy and uncertain. He climbed up a small slide. Noah and I sat there talking to him all the while me holding his hand. Then I pulled out my phone. What is a momma to do but take a picture and show it to him. He started to show interest. We played a few minutes with the camera on my phone and he began to open up. He slide down and went and sat on the side of the playground. We took a few more pictures with Isabel and Ella-Lu. Then I turned on Slugs and Bugs music. Isabel pulled out the fruit snacks. When I opened his pack. He first handed me one then Ella-Lu. So sweet to see my boy sharing:) He really began to open up and smile and laugh and allow me hold him and hug him. Soon Jason and Mattie returned and we headed out in our van. I though he might tear up again when we were leaving but he didn’t. He rode in my lap and really snuggled with me on the ride back to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel we took some things upstairs to the room and then went out to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate!! He did great eating and having fun.
Thinking back to the foster family. Jason said that he had only been with this particular family for about 6 months. He started with foster families when he was two years old and a new set came along about every 6 months. I am sure he looks at us and is uncertain how long we will be around. But we will be certain to continue to tell him that we are his forever family through both words and actions.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
Our family is going to be embarking on a new journey. The past two years have had peaks and valleys. And we anticipate the days, weeks, and months ahead will be similar. However, the Creator who holds the whole world in His hands, will be holding us too! Would you join our family in prayer? Praying boldly that the Creator would orchestrate every detail big or small from travel, health, bonding/attachment, sleep, attitudes, food, and safety. Pray for Caleb heart’s to be prepared as we love him, teach him and guide him. We are prayerful that our journey would be pleasing to God. Thank you for journeying with us and encouraging us along the way. To God be the Glory!!
ALL the kids have been preparing for Caleb in their own way. Isabel has been his advocate at school with teachers and peers. Mattie has also shared about him with others BUT she also created a travel chain. It is so sweet each morning to see her remove a paper link and report to everyone in the kitchen how many more days. Noah has his room ready and prepared. He can not wait to share his room, toys, and clothes:) AND Ella-Lu is Caleb’s constant prayer warrior. Praying and talking about him daily. This morning she asked me “Can I go to Caleb’s house?” Soon and very soon we will be traveling and holding our boy for the first time. My heart is full and I am eagerly anticipating those first moments of when our eyes will meet for the first time and we can snuggle! Caleb will have so many “firsts” in those first few days. We can not wait to share and experience them all together as a family of seven!!
October 20th, 2011 was a difficult day. We received word from our agency that Ethiopia had denied our case. It was if I had been hit in the gut. It was a loss. The son that we had been praying for was not in Ethiopia. We soon updated our home study and fingerprints to Congo. But as the paperwork was being transitioned to Congo I had no rest….no peace about being put on the official waiting list. I pleaded to God where is our son? I had prayed and believed that he was in Africa. Another loss. Then God moved and there was Caleb on a waiting list. We requested medical and pictures and any available information. We prayed, we sought counsel, we asked others to pray, and ultimately we trusted and rested in God and His sovereignty.
A year later and we are going to bring Caleb home. Adoption is hard. Adoption is messy. Adoption is a process of sanctification and faith. Adoption is the heart of the gospel.
We are thankful that God is sovereign. We are encouraged that we can look back on the past two years and see God’s fingerprints on our adoption journey. We are humbled that God chose us to be Caleb’s parents. And we are blessed by God’s provision and love and faithfulness.
Caleb….You were chosen. You are God’s child and our son. You have been prayed for. You are loved and adored. You are in our hearts. AND You have been pursued.
God has written your story. God has written our story.
In one week. 7 Days. We will be a family of seven!