Shampoo

Sometimes when you’re in the shower shampooing your hair you smell a familiar scent. It reminds you of a little girl’s wet hair under your nose wrapped in a towel and giggling with glee. She was perfectly capable of getting ready for bed on her own, but she wanted Mama.

I had no intention giving  up any of those precious moments of bonding, exhausted or not.

The scent reminded me of those adorable freckles on her nose and the way she could amaze me with her endless silliness and creativity. She had her own world and we often got to be a part of it.

It reminded me of the moments where my hand became an uncontrollable monster tickling her on the floor until she was out of breath; begging for me to stop and hoping I never would.

It reminds me of those moments when she initiated a kiss good night. When she said “I love you Mama too.” Using the word too incorrectly.

It reminds me of those hugs when she squeezed me with all of her strength because that is how much she loves.

I never got tired of holding her even though my back ached and her shoulder strangled my neck.

I savored the early morning cuddles on the couch while she was still sleepy and just wanted to be held.

I miss the moments when I felt perfectly at peace just being her Mama; happily waiting for her sister to descend the stairs so we could start our day.

Sometimes when you’re in the shower washing your hair, you miss that little girl. You hope and pray that somewhere on the other side of the world she is missing you.

We pray that she is safe, not fearful of the dark, warm and well fed. We know much of this is not realistic in her world and our hearts ache for what we wish we could give.

And we can do little but pray that God will be generous and allow us to bring her home so I can shampoo her hair again.

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I Think They Call This Nesting

Since we choose to host two sisters, my brain has been abuzz on how to make them feel at home. We chose to keep them in the same room for their comfort and let’s face it, the CDs comfort.

Pink. Beds. Storage. Fun. Teenager. Princess. Butterflies. Cramped. Age difference. Budget.

So this is what I’ve been busy doing.

Beds…

I saw this loft bed at IKEA on an inspirational walk through. I found it for literally half the cost on Craigslist. A friend took the initiative and found a twin size bed frame for nothing. Another friend told me to take her twin mattress from her attic.  One of our kids likes us so much he’s willing to put our furniture together just to be around us; talk about thankFUL.

Yard Sailing…..

Several weeks ago I had a crazy list of things to buy. Random necessities. I genuinely felt overwhelmed with everything the girls needed just to be here. Not only do I not have experience with this stuff – but I had to learn what I needed and then find it. Federal car seat guidelines anyone?? We also needed a bunch of stuff to keep our little home looking good this summer.

May 14th God reminded me he would provide for us, and this stuff is really not up to me – So chill Liz, chill. 

2 massive suitcases, twin sheet sets,a pillow, 2 lamps, 5 games, an oversized Mr. Potato Head, 2 sleeping bags, a massive bouncy ball, a car seat, curtains, 3 pairs of shoes, a wallet, a weed wacker, a hedge trimmer, screen repair it, gardening and yard tools. All in one morning, all for less than $60.00

Not to mention the fact that people who love easily have given towards this project. Our friends, family and Crossover kids have been amazing.

Chill Liz, chill.

Just yesterday things really started to come together. With the help of family and friends, as well as some inspiration from #FixerUpper on Netflix, and a few fabulous finds early Saturday mornings, this house is taking on a new life. We’re sprucing things up. Not only for our benefit, but to try and make a strangers home, feel like their childhood haven.

It’s really fun – and a lot of work. I love them already and this is how I’m showing it. I hope they like it. I hope they love it. I hope that our mysterious ability to make kids feel comfortable in our home will translate to these girls. I hope they can feel how much we love the kids in our lives, and how much we are loved by them. I hope for many things. But more then anything I am hopeful that God is leading the way in all things and He has us in His hands.

And geez, I hope they like us.

 

 

 

Taking a Detour

So I’ve been wondering and waiting. Waiting for something to come to my life that feels like IT. Something to do, get involved in, become passion about, serve with. Something missional, global, and in great need. I found it on Facebook.

While scrolling through the nonsense (no offense) I tapped on a Projectonefourtythree.org   link. Hosting kids – ahh that might be fun. I picked out a few families, sibling groups of course, (because why would you get one when you could get two?) and put the info in front of my husband.

He didn’t look at our calendar, he didn’t spend hours in prayer, he just said “Yea, let’s do it.” I love following his lead.  I called a random number to get more info and ask a few basic questions. This was Saturday night, just a few hours after my thumb thoughtlessly grazed my newsfeed.

The phone rang.

Someone picked up!

She was the President of the ministry!

She not only knew the girls, but had interviewed them!

On a Saturday night!!!

We spoke for about 30 minutes. She had answers to every question. Sisters, 7 and 15, healthy and hopeful. She couldn’t be happier for us and them. She spoke very highly of their character and was impressed with their personalities. Our excitement built as our hearts pounded.

They are from Central Asia, they speak Russian, they want to go on rollercoasters and see the ocean. They want to come. They look sweet and spunky, sassy and sincere. They hope for more then just an American summer. 5 weeks – 5 weeks they will be part of our family. 5 short weeks.

And so they are coming. I’m working on getting a bunk bed, and finding some clothes for them without knowing their sizes. I need to figure out a few Russian phrases and plan some freezer meals. I’d love to paint our guest room something a bit more feminine. Extra toothbrushes, a new box of crayons, new linens not to mention another mattress. Scheduling some dental and eye appointments, planning a mini getaway at a beach somewhere. The errands are just the beginning. Yea!

And I’m so happy. So happy to throw myself into this. This is going to be the best summer ever. Literally. Because the reality is that these girls will become part of our hearts, as all our kids do. They already are loved and prayed for and wanted.

This is missional. This is global. This is what the Lord has in store. This is better then I could have hoped for. This is…

This is so so good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in him. Psalm 34:8

 

 

 

 

This Easter means…

For years -forever, I’ve celebrated Easter. Peanut butter eggs, pastels, and a spring version of tinsel, peppers my childhood memories. Similar to Christmas, my family had a few unique but delightful traditions for this holiday. Instead of eggs, my mother would and still does hide “nests.” Coffee filters filled with grass, candy, and quarters. I always compared my stash of goodies with those of my friends. I don’t know, my pile always looked better. They never got silver coins AND chocolate.

But there’s a bigger question about today. (Says someone who sincerely appreciates the Kit Kat and peanut butter egg for breakfast.)

Why do we actually celebrate  this day? What is it we are actually celebrating?  Let me tell you in a very personal way.

Just a few short weeks ago I entered my mom’s hospital room. It wasn’t the first time I had come close to loosing someone I love. Mom-mom and Pop-Pop passed away when I was a teen; but there’s no one on the planet like your momma.

She was non-responsive for the first few moments I was in there. She was flaccid, struggling to breath, and quite honestly looked pathetic. I felt there was little I could do for her. I knew I needed to do something for me. I snuggled into her bed, careful not to dislodge any IVs or disrupt any monitoring. I didn’t care if the nurse came in and found it awkward. I was just a kid who needed her mom.  That scene was a reflection of 30 years ago; me as a little girl, swarmed by the adoration of my parents, received by me in no better way then physical affection.

As I laid there I wept  silently. I felt so helpless and she seemed so distant from life, I found comfort in her shoulder and singing to myself.

Forever He is glorified. Forever He is lifted high.

His perfect love could not be overcome.

Oh death where is thy sting?

All through the struggle and darkest days I’ll remember the empty grave!

No guilt on life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. 

It it was through these lyrics, written by many believers, over decades of time, true in their meaning, and powerful in song, that I was reminded that death and loss were not in control.

It had been conquered.

He had crushed its head.

Eternity was waiting.

This life is fragile and feeble and short; but belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the atonement of my sins, and the fact the Christ was not overcome by death but is the Living God, gives us life eternal.

He is not fragile or feeble.

He reigns forever.

Before I can understand.

After my earthly life.

Beyond my imagination.

He will not be defeated by death. He can not be overcome. And because of his great compassion and mercy He has welcomed anyone into his family. To joy eternal. To reign with him forevermore. Beyond death.

He has proven his power.

The  grave IS empty.

We serve a RISEN Savior.

And that’s what we are celebrating.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Heartbeats of Change

Recently three of my kids spoke about how their lives had been changed by a recent mission trip. (I use this term lightly – as one of my kids is in their 20’s.)

“My life was changed…. ”

“I see things differently…”

You can say this about so many things – here’s one of the many ways adoption has changed me.

I can’t watch entertainment like I once did. Stories mean much more to me, strike me deeper and at a different place then they used to. This isn’t only because of our impending adoption, but also the tragedy I saw in South Africa.

I can’t watch anything without dreaming about my kids. For example,

Annie – she suddenly stops being an annoying little perfection in a red dress and instead an actual orphan who deserves the mansion she gets.

Les Mis – The song Bring Him Home took on a whole new meaning. I suddenly had an allergy attack.

Hotel Rwanda – I wanted to jump into my TV and grab those kids out of that life and into mine!

Lilo and Stitch – When Lilo punches the little girl, I may rewind that scene more then I should.

and yes,

The Lion King

Nyants  ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama!! 

(That is not a typo – those are the lyrics to the opening anthem Circle of Life.)

I actually allowed the thought to scroll through my head while on an actual African safari “Huh this really looks like the Safari at Animal Kingdom.”

American idiot party of one.

I’ve become a documentary junkie – I want as many recommendations for education as possible. And with every one I watch I feel I find three more. Anything that has anything to do with forced labor, sex trafficking, the least of these, third world countries, adoption, attachment, interracial families, and the fact that we are consumers without thought for the people we extort and the planet we violate.

I’ve changed much of the way I shop. I will continue to do so.  I feel like I never need to go to the mall again.

I have a lot to learn about food and where it comes from – and what I can do about it.  Does anyone know where I can get humanely treated grass fed chicken for less than $26 a pound?

And parenting – I’d like a cheat sheet on parenting a non white child in a white community after they’ve been ripped away from all they know and forced to fly 16 hours “home” with total strangers. May I borrow yours??

The fact of the matter is – that people change slowly – hearts beat and with every passing heartbeat we have an opportunity to change the rhythm of our own. What it beats for. What the purpose is. What our purpose is.

I’ve struggled a lot recently – to figure out what my goal should be for the next X amount of months we have kidless.  Slowly – I feel the Lord is showing me, through what I have become passionate about, and encouragement I’ve received from people I trust. I dont know how to save all the kids. I do know I’m working toward ours. Whatever it is I need to do I’m going to do it. I’m going to make that my priority. Give it my time. Follow this calling. See where it leads.

I’m going to be changed. My worldview is shifting and I like it. What’s changed your life? If you can’t think of anything – maybe that should be your next big thing.

The Task at Hand

Several people have asked for an update on our adoption process. I explain to them that our dossier is crossing the ocean as we speak. It’s over. Done. Finished. Burden lifted.  Whew. The response is always,

“So now what? You just wait?”

Yes and no.

A few days ago our pastor who is headed to South Africa shortly, stated he wished we could join the group and go along with him. I responded in kind – I wish we could too.  But as I stood there chatting I realized no, I really have no desire to go right now. I know we have a purpose and a goal here and now. Our time to travel and welcome our little one will come. But until then we have more then enough to keep us busy on this side of the world.

 We won’t really be waiting at all.  

We will be working toward the day we all walk through the front door together.

There’s all the logistical stuff –

We have a tremendous amount of money to come up with. The paperwork that still needs to be completed can feel defeating at times. South Africa has difficult requirements. Traveling, paperwork, accommodations, in country flights, court dates, legal meetings, required vaccines, visas, all of this we need to become to familiar with.

It’s all legal jargon, wrapped in emotion, and planted in foreign soil.

You’d think I’d be able to tell you the details of the trip, but every time I read the “Travel Packet” I have more questions.  I find no comfort in the fact that I will be stressed from the details of each requirement, in an emotional fog from the idea of actually becoming a mom; not to mention the oppression that females live under in South Africa – native or not.

In addition to that jumbled mess I can’t seem to untangle,  I’m preparing to wait two years for this little one.

Let the countdown begin.

What can I accomplish in the next two years for the Gospel? How can I help the least of these? How can I best further the kingdom? What of significance can I contribute before all my time will be taken by two big brown eyes?

I have so many interests, so many things I’d like to do, sometimes I feel my heart is stretched too thin.

I want to visit new countries, experience new cultures, meet new people, see God in a new way.I want to work those who need the most both across the globe and here and now. I have a large desire to be present at home, with my family, my husband, and our ministry.

In the same way I feel a great need to be prepared for her – I understand this is the same way in which we should wait for the Lord.

Actively. With a purpose. Intentionally. Looking for results. Being cognizant of the fact that this is just the beginning.

The rest of the eternity is yet to come.

Hurry people. Time is short.
The task is at hand…

But Jeanita is in the room…

imageWe listened to her story, abducted by two men while in a hotel, taken somewhere, waking up in a dark basement. For five days she was used for the gain of evil. Then someone opened the door.

As she explained on the big screen how she escaped, processed her trauma,and gained a new life my heart cringed. The horrors of her story could not be retold. When compared to my blue sky’s life I couldn’t begin to understand. So I just died a little inside. My eyes welled up. My throat ran dry.

Jeanita met my emotions as she thanked those who helped her. Those who supported her rescuers. Those who made a difference. What a simple thing I half heartedly did once before.

Our MC acknowledged the story. He too had to gain his composure. He said “If Jeanita was in the room she would say thank you. And she would tell you that what you do does make a difference.

“But Jeanita is in the room.”

As he continued to speak – 40,000 people applauded. She remained lost in a sea of faces as a standing ovation was given her. She was not applauded because of her suffering. She was applauded because that’s how 40,000 people give a group hug.

I don’t know her – I don’t know what her life will look like. Who she is or who she will be. But I know she is free. Redeemed. Saved. Restored.

On Feb 25 I challenge you to be a part of the End It Movement. A red X on your hand signifies your support and creates awareness. Awareness to the millions of people that live in slavery in present day. Awareness of the millions of children who have a future of slavery ahead of them. Awareness of these souls. I dare you to do something about it.

Because Jeanita is in the room.

27 million people live in modern slavery today

It’s estimated that sex trafficking alone has seen profits over $100 billion dollars

A trafficked women is often forced to sleep with about 30 men a day

The End Modern Slavery Intiative Act of 2015 is waiting for your support

February 25, 2016

Shine a light on Slavery Day

#passion2016 #enditmovement #endit