His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MODELING BEHAVIORS part 2

There is a modeling of a different type. :)

Mike and I were talking today, and had a great conversation while we were looking back and reflecting from our own experiences.

I love having these conversations, because we can both remember things, from different angles and be on the same page.  It strengthens us and helps us see where were were, where we are and where we want to be!  

I emphasize communication a lot, and sometimes do not talk enough about NON VERBAL communication.

Mike's observation about our girls, was SPOT ON, and I wanted to share it with you.  I wrote about modeling behaviors back in 2009.  HERE is that post.<--- link

When Sarah came home to us, she had been in Texas for  10 months. She was originally from Ukraine.  She came with a fantastic Texas Accent and even said things like, "Mama, I'm fixin' to go outside!" 
I was REALLY surprised that she SEEMED to be speaking 'perfect" English.  Or perfect TEXAN anyway. :)  We quickly realized that she did NOT understand much of what she was saying, but was mimicking others!  So, when she left the house to go outside to play, she knew to say, "I'm fixin' to go outside."  She didn't necessarily know what each of these words, separated apart meant!
We found that many times when we talked to her she would look at us, cute as a bug, smile and say YES! But she didn't understand.  She was VERY misunderstood in her previous family. They thought she was terribly rebellious and defiant. 
I have shared this before, but for my newer readers I will write it again.   One day she was jumping off the coffee table. I said, "Sarah, we don't jump off of the coffee table." 
Her reply was "Ok!"
And then she did it again.
So again, I more clearly said, "Sarah, please do not jump off of the coffee table!"
Again she said, "OK!"
And again she jumped off of the coffee table.
After the 3rd time, I said,
"Sarah, what does Jump mean?"
She looked puzzled.  I don't know.
What is a coffee table?
I don't know.
So I JUMPED up and down.  "This is JUMP!
I showed her the coffee table...."This is a coffee table!"
Nyet, no jumping from the coffee table!
And a light went on.  OH!  And she didn't do it again.
There were many things like that with the girls.
They misunderstand EASILY because language had not been GRASPED fully.
This went on for YEARS!
I realized she was also learning her language in phrases instead of individual words.
So she asked "What's justaminute mean?"
I took the sounds apart and said, just, one, minute.  "OHHHH!"
And a few minutes later I said, "Sarah, can you come here?" 
"Justaminute!"
One time in the grocery store she had a big smile and said, "MOMMY! YOU MAKE ME SICK!"
I must have had a shocked look because he countenance fell and she said, "Oh, I don't think I should say that again!"   LOL
I don't know where she heard it, but she picked it up! :)

When Alli came home almost 2 years ago, she had only been in North Carolina for FOUR or FIVE MONTHS!  She had the thickest North Carolina Accent!  In fact, I have a video of us and you can hear it very well. ( I'll share that at the end of this post.)
She now has a Texas Accent.

When you take a child who has had NOTHING, and bring them home, they are like sponges, soaking everything in.  They want to be LIKE US..... They WANT to be in a family even though they really do not know what one is. They want a mama and a daddy... and they CRAVE our acceptance and love. 
THEY MIMIC US in EVERY WAY!
INCLUDING OUR OWN BEHAVIORS!

The NON verbal part of a child coming home, is HUGE...  Think of a baby. They study our faces and our mouths as we talk starting very early.  Then, at about 5 months old they start to mimic our sounds, and soon little words of ma ma, da da, ba ba, follow.
But there is MUCH communication going on before that. 
We communicate with our tone of voice! We communicate with our body language. We communicate with our ACTIONS!

Now, take a child that is new into our home..... They do NOT know how to behave in a family setting. 
Just like that baby who studies our faces, so are our children; so what IF, when they don't do something we like , we were to YELL at them!
We have just communicated to them how we speak when we disapprove! 
Lesson learned. 
Then, we do something THEY don't like and BAM! They yell at us. 
And then, we RAISE our voices in Protest! "YOU ARE BEING DISRESPECTFUL!"

Are you seeing the picture I am trying to paint?
WE have taught them to be disrespectful, by treating them with disrespect.  As parents, we can  be confused, "How in the world would somebody not get that they can't talk to us like this?"
Scripture says in Luke chapter 6 verses 41-42
"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye but do not notice the LOG that is in your OWN eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the log that is in  your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and THEN you will see CLEARLY to take the speck from your brother's eye."
Re read it with your child in mind.
Notice, it does NOT say, that you shouldn't remove the speck.  What it DOES say is that you need to deal with your OWN STUFF so that you can see CLEARLY to take the speck from your brother's eye.

I believe this is true for parents.  If we have problems with controlling our own tempers, or with being easily exasperated, or if we have problems with impatience,  you better believe our children who WANT to be like us, are going to mimic us.

So, you want your children to behave differently?  MODEL the very behavior you want them have.

And no, it is NEVER TO LATE to start over!
  If you find yourself at the dead end of punishment based parenting, where you can't ground any more, can't take anything else away lest your child be standing there in their undercarrots.(Anna's word for underwear)....or if it is a never ending cycle of taking things away, child is sweet to get things back only to have them taken away again and the cycle becomes more and more serious where there is resentment and anger, arguing, fighting and escalating violence  ......

                                                                 STOP!!!!!!!

PLEASE STOP!  It doesn't have to be that way!Go back to square one! Take a LONG HARD LOOK at where you are and REPENT.  Seriously REPENT!  Ask the Lord to help you.  And then BE the MODEL for your children. If you  when you fail, repent and start anew.... APOLOGIZE to your children, ask them to forgive you!  BUILD RELATIONSHIP one DETERMINED BEHAVIOR AT A TIME!


THE UNSPOKEN word of our body language is STRONG in the lives of our children.  Do we have welcoming hands? <---link Do we have kindness written on our face?  Do we stomp off, slam doors, drive out of the drive way with a squeal, or walk away in frustration?  Do we do this with our spouse?
Do we do this when we are frustrated with life situations? 
 If we do, it shouldn't be such a surprise that they MIMIC not only our words, but our actions!

If our children have come from trauma backgrounds where this is how they were treated, it can be VERY FRIGHTENING for them to wind up in a situation and not be able to clearly see a difference. If you are trying to turn things around, but struggling, you are not alone.  I STRONGLY URGE you to try the "Mom Dad and Me" book method.  I wrote about it here.<---link) and I updated it here<-- link.

This form of communication can be VERY helpful because it gives your child time to express themselves, and an avenue for you to speak kind words to them.  If they can read and write even a little bit, they WORK WELL!
You would be surprised how your children can open up with just a few kind words like, "I think you are a really cool kid!" 
All children want to feel that they have been heard or understood.  These give excellent opportunities for our children to be heard and it takes the negative escalation out of it. 
Always include kind words when you are responding in writing to something your child has written.
Be HUMAN with them.  Don't worry that you are sharing a flaw... "I'm sorry I got so angry last night." I was not a good example, please forgive me. What I really wanted to share with you was...." because I love you! You are my Son! I'm proud of you!
BY MODELING an apology, it will teach your child to be open and HUMAN too!  Pretty soon, they will be writing something similar. 
"I'm sorry mom that I was mad." "I really do love you!"
"I'll try not to slam my door!"

To sum things up.....  MODELING is PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL and VERBAL....
EVERY AREA of our lives our children are watching and soaking in what we teach them.
We can teach them the way of LOVE........................... or not.

 


video
Alli's North Carolina Accent.... :)

A January Funny

Mom- "400º is fine"
Alli- "Mom, I read the ingredients and it says 425º
Mom- "do you mean the "instructions"?

This was a conversation from lunch.  Alli is trying her hand at some cooking, looking up recipes and I am happy to see her do it! :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Thoughts On Attachment: Updated

I wrote this POST<-- (linked) almost 3 years ago, before Miss Alli joined our family.
I went back to read it, to see if my views have changed or if I needed to add anything.
There is something I would like to add. 

Alli was older when she came home.  She was 11 years old and had many behaviors that most would consider "uncontrollable".....  SHE is the VERY CHILD that epitomizes this post! 

When you are "in the moment" with a child who's behaviors may be outside the box, it is HARD to remember sometimes what to do and instinct from old habits can pop up and take over.  We MUST FIGHT this with all our might!

I have documented all of Alli's journey on this blog, and it has been a journey for ME as well! 
Just when you think you have conquered some old sin, it comes back and rears it's ugly head, and there you are, once again, looking in the mirror, facing yourself.

It would be EASY to pass off a tantrum all onto our children.  After all, they need to "get over it"!
"Get with the program!" "GROW UP!" "WE CAN'T CODDLE THEM FOREVER!"  those are things I have read.....
The truth is, MANY TIMES, not all, but MANY, WE as parents are the ones who ESCALATE.
I think that is Mike's favorite word for me.... he'll sweetly whisper, "don't escalate!" :)  And HE HAS BEEN SO RIGHT! 
99% of the time, a potential problem handled gently and with compassion can go STRAIGHT to a time of bonding and learning. 

Mike is amazingly patient, and growing up in his own family, he became acquainted with Schizophrenia.  His mom had this terrible mental illness that plagued her most of her life.
I too knew about the effects of Schizophrenia and mental illness in my family. 
I think this has helped us both to relax and not be afraid of the "not so normal" We were both exposed to extremes that many never experience.
God uses our experiences to strengthen us and in His GREAT WISDOM, brings us through things for HIS unfolding plan in our lives. :)

ALL of us are human beings, imperfect, flawed.... BUT GOD. :)  Oh how I love my Savior!  He makes Beauty from Ashes!
I think these last several years have taught both Mike and I more about what TRUE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is, than I have ever known in my life.  And this spills over into ALL relationships, including marriage.

Dying to self... DYING to SELF, DYING TO SELF  is required, daily in the life of a believer!  But it can only be done in Christ.  We do not have the ability on our own, We MUST trust in His infinite wisdom, grace and mercy.  HE is our source of strength.
I am weak. HE is strong. 

As I begin to look back on the last 22 plus months, we have ALL changed, each and every one of us!  I was happy before, but I am full of grateful JOY today. 
The stresses during life changes are real. The burdens can be too heavy to bear.  Our tears sometimes stained our pillows at night, and sometimes tears flowed during the day, not because we were angry, but we so wanted to help our sweetheart heal from all of her past.  When we put it in perspective.... 11/11ths of her life was TRAUMA.  Then 11/12ths, and on Saturday, it will be   11/13ths.
Perspective helps us to FRAME expectations based upon reality and keeps us from saying, "GROW UP ALREADY!"
It is funny though.  We have discovered that by parenting our children according to their EMOTIONAL AGE, (linked), they DO in fact catch up!  We have watched our Alli go from a young toddler, to playing with and identifying with 4 and 5 year olds, then, a little older, and today, she has MANY friends that are her own age!   It is amazing.

Watching a little girl go from "Survival" to "THRIVING WITH JOY" is one of the most fulfilling things I can think of.   We have had the honor to do this 4 times.  Each time, an amazing lesson in LOVE. We are so unworthy for such a task as this.....
And I praise the Lord Jesus Christ for HIS unfinished work in all of our lives.

another related post to this subject: is HERE.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Daily Randomness


 Sarah decided to try wrag curlers.  She has the BEST HAIR EVER! :)
Sarah is also struggling with pain again.  Her leg is not fitting right since she had her surgery.... so it is time for a new leg!  This time, she will be most likely be getting TWO separate legs..... 1. A sports leg and 2 a lady leg.... :)
She is growing up!
I am giving the girlies a science test on the EAR.  Anna Took hers early because she was ready. :) (They all have until Wednesday)
I am so proud of Miss Anna!
Today we picked up Miss Alli's birthday cake for Saturday!  She wanted a Russian Halva cake.  It is a sunflower seed cake.  I ordered it from the Euro Deli and picked it up today.  We should be having Halva for a good while! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back In The Saddle

 If you have been following our blog for the last 22 plus months, you will know that Miss Alli was in 2 other homes, after coming home from Russia, before she came to us.

The last home she was in had horses and mules that she was allowed to ride.  When she was first home, she was very disappointed that she had to leave her horse Rosey, her riding clothes, boots and everything behind.   It was hard for her.

We thought about taking her to the nearest horse stable, but after learning more about her, we decided that could have probably been the worst thing we could have done. 
She needed to get to know us, and us her. And we needed to become a family.

I started looking for a place for her to ride last year and found a place about 10 minutes from our home!  She hadn't asked about horses in a long time, so I figured THAT was the best time to surprise her.
She was THRILLED!
She can go on a 1 hour trail ride for 25 dollars.  She just has to let them know ahead of time that she is coming. :)

Quotes from Christie

I am going to be speaking next month in Houston at the "Together For Them Conference"
My talk will be on what I write about:  DARE TO DISCIPLE
                                  Discipline Through Discipleship

I woke up with all of these things on my mind. It was a busy little bee and I couldn't sleep. :)
So I decided to regurgitate it onto the blog.  This is some what is on my heart to share at the conference.   These are my personal quotes.

"External Control does NOT lead to inner healing.  But discipleship leads not only to inner healing, but to external Self control!"

"If your child is pushing your buttons..... Stop having buttons."

"How can we expect our children not to have tantrums, when WE do?"

"Gain energy through LOVE not Anger!"

"Don't gear up for battle!  Gear Up for Relationship!"

"If you think Therapeutic Parenting is Hard..... Try parenting the old way;  Then you'll remember
how much EASIER it is !"

"Selfishness leads to Disaster!"

"Don't be lazy in your parenting and expect your children to do all the hard work!"

"Don't expect your children to change and allow yourself to remain broken!"

"A good look in the mirror will remind us that we are all in need of God's Mercy and Grace in our lives!"

"Be the extended hand of  MERCY and GRACE to your children!"

"Want to get mad about something?  Get mad your sin!"

"Do you struggle with loving your child?  Find something to love in them.  It could be as simple as their laugh, and then focus on loving that laugh. Then find another thing; their imagination or a kindness they have given.... love that, and before you know it.... you will be on the way to loving your whole child, and your child will be on the road to becoming whole. "

"If your children do not understand empathy, teach them by your example."

"If it doesn't come Naturally, Teach it Manually!"

"It's not personal! It's Trauma!"

"Why do we want Mercy and Grace for ourselves, but LAW for our Children?"

"BE the FLASHLIGHT that LIGHTS the PATH for your child!"

"Expecting a Traumatized Child to understand family structure, is like putting him in a dark room full of furniture and expecting him to not run into anything; and then getting angry when he does!
TURN on the LIGHT!"

"Give your Child a Tool Box.... and while your at it, give yourself one too! :)"

"Be the open book of love that your children will want to read!"

"Speak LOVE into your children!"


to be continued.....
Time to rest a few more minutes. :)






Friday, January 25, 2013

My Sweeties

Today was such a wonderful day!  Tomorrow will be a wonderful day also!
Miss Anna is going to Fencing Lessons, and Miss Alli is going horse back riding!

Almost 2 years ago, when Alli came home, she was very interested in Horses.  She had replaced relationships with Humans, for relationships with Horses.

One of the things suggested to us was to make sure she had access to horses. 
We considered it, and after getting to know our daughter, we decided that if we had introduced her again to horses, it would be a way for her to not connect to humans..... aka US.
So we went against the flow and protected her a bit.  No horses.
It was the best decision we made! 
She connected to US and she was able to CLEARLY see that she was replacing familial relationships for animals. 
TODAY however, that is not the case! So I looked for a local riding stable and tomorrow, Miss Alli will be riding a horse on a trail ride!
I am EXCITED for her! :)

Our Rooster

Isn't he Gorgeous? :)
We were supposed to get Rhode Island Reds, ALL GIRLS! 
Ummm.  Something got mixed up... but we think we'll keep him. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Big TEXAS Thank You!

video
Our sweet Dagbjort, from Iceland, sent the girls a very special surprise!  They really like it, A LOT!
There has been an awful lot of movie making going on over here for the last day and a half! :)
But before they worked on any project, This was the one they made FIRST!
Thank you so much for thinking about our girls. :)
It is always fun to get mail and especially mail from another country with all the fun stickers on the package.  :)

Can you guess what the surprise was? :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On Being A Mother To Formerly Traumatized Children

Today, Miss Alli and I went for a drive. I needed to take her with me to do a "parts run" for Mike.  It was a 2 hour diversion. I didn't think it would be good to leave her home for that long without me there. 
She is still in the midst of "Anniversary Time" which is a mix between Joy and Struggle as her birthday approaches.

Each time this week as we have been in the car, she has openly shared her early memories and struggled to remember all she can. ( I pray that some day her older brother and sister can fill in some of those blanks and tell her information about things she can't remember, such has, how adorable she was when she was little. :)  We all missed that!)
Today was no different.
At first she was a little annoyed that she had to come.  She thought she was just fine to stay home!
I knew better.
So, we were off on our trip; at first she was sullen and silent.  After going through the bank drive through, I told her, "I'm so sorry you are struggling!" "You know, you are NOT in trouble!"
Her reply?  "I'm not so sure about that!" 
She was hurting.....
I told her that mama tells the truth. And then, I waited.
About 10 minutes into our drive, I reached out to hold her hand, and her little hand slipped into mine.
We held hands for a long time, and then the talking began.
Most of her talking was about Russia and memories she had been thinking about.
It changed from that, to being thankful for her home.  THIS HOME! :) yea!

Today was edgy and raw.  I had to be ON HIGH ALERT ALL DAY!  I was waiting for anything to happen..... and we halted many possible meltdowns, just by being present and attuned!
I am so thankful for Karyn Purvis and Heather Forbes!  I am also thankful for our support group!

Today turned out to be a MAGNIFICENT DAY!  
The talks we had were so healing and raw and real.  She talked more about Russia than in ALL of her 22 months home.  And she was comfortable to do so. 
I talked to her a little bit, once again about providence and choices, making sure she doesn't worry about following in the footsteps of those who harmed her....

Tonight, we all gathered around and prayed for her. Each of our girls prayed and when we thought we were done, SHE PRAYED outloud.... "Lord, thank you so much for my family!"

What a precious day with our Precious girlies. :)

Sometimes Therapeutic Parenting is exhausting..... but it is SO WORTH IT! 
After Dinner, Mike excused himself to go into the office to work on some church things..... Our eyes met and I sighed.... He gave me a big hug and look of understanding ...That was enough to give me more energy to finish off the evening.....
And the Evening?  It consisted of wonderfulness!  Anna writing, Erika and Sarah playing Kingdom Builder, and me reading a story to Alli and then her  making something magic from a lump of clay. :)
And finally, practicing for a Science test. :)

I LOVE my life.....

IT'S ANNIVERSARY TIME!


It is Alli's big Anniversary time. She has SO MANY anniversaries, they are hard to keep up with, but her birthday is just around the corner, and our coming together is not much further away.  So, of course, that internal clock is ticking LOUDLY!

We had another  incident last night with some bossiness that I have not seen since August!
I expected that old behaviors would come back to visit, and was surprised that they didn't at Christmas time!  
My fingers were crossed for Birthday time..... but they are uncrossed now. LOL

I handled the bossiness very much like I did in my last post.... and when things were calm, she did ask, "What am I doing wrong?"  Sometimes when our kids get in a funk, they don't recognize it.... ESPECIALLY if it has to do with more abstract things like tone.

So we sat together and I told her very matter of factly what she was doing wrong about her bossiness. I used humor to demonstrate it.  Her response was, "I don't sound like that!" 
Ummm. yes dear, you do! :)

I mentioned the incident earlier  where she shut down, and told her that these behaviors have not been around to visit us in quite a while! Can you tell me what is going on in your heart?
As we spoke, I mentioned to her that it is normal to be anxious sometimes. 
"Can you tell me what is on your mind?"
At first she said, no.  We waited a few minutes and then she said yes.

She spoke quietly, with her head down.... "I've been thinking about my other brother and sister all day.  I miss them.  And then she began to cry.... And I've been thinking about my mama.
Of course, our family is so weird, I had to ask, "Which one?" After All, I'm number FOUR!  :)
She looked at me and smiled .... "My first mama, in Russia."

I took her in my arms and said, "Of COURSE you are thinking about them!" 
"It is close to your birthday and you came from your mama's body!  It is where your little life began! I am so thankful that you were born!"
"I want you to know, IT IS OK, to love them!"  "IT IS OK TO LOVE THE MAMA WHO GAVE BIRTH TO YOU!" 
"Your birth mama was an alcoholic, and had many problems, but that does not mean she didn't have love for you!" "Of course she did!"
(Alli has several precious memories of time with her birth mama, cooking, watching her mama by the stove, and walking."
She cried a little bit.  I felt this was a good time to share with her the little bit of information I received a few weeks ago from her first adoptive family.  I had been hoping for a little more information before I shared, but it didn't come.....

I let her know that they are not angry with her, and are very happy that she is happy.
This gave her some much NEEDED relief, because she has hung onto guilt for a long time over her first adoptive family.  The loss of her brother and sister has been great. :(   I pray that at some point, they will be able to exchange letters or even meet.  I pray that when they are all adults, they will be able to reunite in a healthy way.
I TOTALLY understand and respect the first family's need for privacy.  We have needed that privacy too!  But I do pray that at some point, a letter can be sent.....or pictures exchanged. 

After our talk last night, we went through the plans for her upcoming birthday, and what to expect. We talked about the good in her life and how sometimes we can get overwhelmed dwelling on the past, which we cannot change. 
Looking to the future and making the best of the life we have to live, is the best direction for success.
When we give our lives to the Lord, we are RIGHT where he wants us to be!  We can't go forward and see what is ahead, looking in the rear view mirror! :)

Life is a journey.  Alli is like a small rose bud that is just beginning to unfold.   I am excited for her, and the life she has ahead of her. I am proud to be a part of it.  
There are days when we struggle together to keep our eyes on the goal. But through those struggles we learn to be strong.

Yesterday, as we were talking, she mentioned that at 12 years old, you have barely even begun to live your life!  Such wisdom!  She is right.... And we talked about how much of a wonderful life is ahead of her. 
She then revealed to me another little worry.  She had read in an Ewitness Book about being a crime detective, (she likes Nancy Drew), she read about how there was a man who's father was a convict and the son was also a convict....and the book inferred that the son was because his father was...as if it was inevitable.  She was VERY worried about this for obvious reasons!

I told her that some of those opinions are simply Philosophical opinions, NOT based in TRUTH, just some observation.  Just because you were abused does not mean you will abuse.  Just because your parents were alcoholics does not mean you will be an alcoholic. Just because somebody is a thief, it does not mean their child will also be a thief!
These are MEN's Ideas! 
BUT GOD..... is in the business of intervention! He is in the business of taking us from the path we are on; one leading to destruction, and placing us on the path of life! He is in the business of turning us around! 180's!
We are ALL capable of walking a path of destruction, including those who come from GOOD homes where there was no addiction or abuse! 
Choosing a different way, making that decision NOW, will lead to a very different circumstance!
CHOOSE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT REGRET!!

She asked me, "Mama, what do you think I'll be like when I grow up?"
I replied, "I think your are going to be a wonderful and outstanding mama! You are already showing wonderful qualities when you are around little children.  And I think you can do whatever you set your mind to!"
It is TRUE.....  And TRUTH sets us free. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Struggle A BCLC Moment Part 2

This post is a follow up to my post earlier today about STRUGGLE.

There is ALWAYS something behind a behavior.
I think as a society we spend so much time trying to manage symptoms (behaviors) and not the root causes (real reasons).
So we scold or punish and the real reason is never dealt with.

In our own over reactions, which are BTW, REACTIONS, not root causes, we wind up having to deal with ourselves! LOL
Classic over reactors, reacting to classic over reactors is just a difficult mix! :)
Sometimes, we have to deal with our own "fears" that are underlying... before we can deal with our children's behaviors. :)
Sort of like, take the PLANK out of your own eye before you try to remove the speck from your brothers.
I wrote about Alli's meltdown this a.m.  But I wanted to follow up with how we disciple after the fact.
What is it that we do that helps bring about change?  If a behavior is unacceptable, what do we do to help correct that behavior?
I know that many people use "punishment" or "threat" to control behaviors.
I do not wish to simply "control" behaviors, but help bring about PERMANENT CHANGE in behaviors!
This requires MORE time and effort!
It is EASY to just dish out a consequence! "You are grounded for a week!" or "You lost your cell phone or computer time!"
These types of "consequences can be effective for some kids, totally DESTRUCTIVE for others; but I find them to be unnecessary."  WHY?
Because they are not really dealing with the ROOT.  They are reacting to the symptom.

The ROOT is based in FEAR, HURT and REJECTION!
If we deal with the SYMPTOM.... the blatant behavior.... we will never get to the root. We will only bring shame.
So HOW do we deal with the root issue?
VERY CAREFULLY!
First, we talk during a CALM time, not at the heat of the moment!
We affirm our love, and make sure our child is secure!  WE DO NOT MOCK! WE DO NOT USE SARCASM! WE DO NOT SHAME!   These reactions are SELFISH and have a feel of "getting back".
We WORK TOWARDS Wholeness and Relationship at ALL TIMES!

Scripture states that "A soft answer turns away wrath!"  It is TRUE!  Using a soft tone, and a loving voice, with encouraging words, is a balm on the wounded soul.

Today, as Alli and I drove in the car, we talked about what had happened earlier in the day.  She NEEDED my acceptance of her as a person, which I gave freely.  We then discussed how we could have done things differently.
She was able, in a secure environment, (no judgment) to answer that question.
She was encouraged to remember that we love her and ONLY want what is best for her.
I was FRANK with her, but in a very loving tone.  It is NOT OK, to be disrespectful! We need to be respectful to mama.  ( I do say WE, because then she doesn't feel singled out)
We need to remember to pray when we are anxious, and PLEASE tell Mama how you are feeling!
I UNDERSTAND~! I want to help!

We had the radio on in the car when we were talking, and Alli overheard about the 85 car crash that happened in Ohio, in which a 12 year old girl had perished.   She said, "Oh mama, If you had died in a crash, and I had not made things right, I would never, EVER forgive myself!"
That was an opportunity for me to say to her.... "That is why God tells us to be kind to one another! To speak to each other in LOVE! He wants us treat others how We want to be treated!
Of course we all want to be treated well!  We need to treat others well; Especially our mamas! :)
"Miss Alli, we need to live our lives with no regrets!"  That means, we need to take seriously how we speak to one another, and if we are wrong, ask for forgiveness!

Discipleship is an ongoing teaching in TRUTH.  It doesn't have to be after any particular incident.  It should be,  just normal conversation!  You can use analogies, bible stories, life experiences to TEACH your child about life.
 IT WORKS! 
Children, when they begin to feel secure and know they are loved, respond positively to the encouragement  and knowledge we pass on to them. :)
Asking a child, "How can we do things differently next time?" can bring on a conversation about life skills that will last them well into adulthood.
Parenting our children with determination towards healing is SO IMPORTANT!

Discipleship LEADS them to LIFE  and encourages them to gain knowledge!
Punishment leads to shame.

YES! They need to be responsible and "grow up"..... but the method in which we achieve that,  is just as important as the "growing up!" :)
Shaming leads to stagnation.
Encouragement leads to positive change! :)

THE STRUGGLE a BCLC MOMENT

I am so thankful that my life has not been easy.  Looking back, it is just amazing how many things the Lord orchestrated in my earlier years to prepare me for my children.

One thing that I struggled greatly with, was my education.  I was not a straight A student. We moved so much that it was difficult to keep up and just "fit into" an already existing, functioning classroom and  know what was going on.

Sometimes the different district would have already covered material that I had not learned yet, so there were gaps in my education.

I CANNOT IMAGINE the difficulty of children coming to America from other countries and adding on top of culture, food and language, EDUCATION; and  ALL in another language!   Oh the pressure and stress!

I am so proud of my girls! They work so very  HARD!  I am THANKFUL that I can design their education according to their needs.  The GAPS are filled for each individual!

Today, Miss Alli was struggling.  Sometimes she gets very frustrated because it is hard for her to read still.  She is reading for pleasure, but academic English is hard for her.  The words are different from what she is used to.  Today, her window of tolerance shut down by about 10:30 a.m.  I had her come and sit by me, which she did, but she was not very happy.

I got up to begin the process of cooking lunch, and diverted her to getting an onion and some mushrooms out of the refrigerator for me.  At that moment, she didn't quite feel she could even do that!  She was in shame. :(
I told her, "I'll help you!" So she complied.

While I was chopping up onions and mushrooms, I talked to her....
"It must be so frustrating that things don't come easy for you! " (she is not where her sisters are in History) "I remember when I was a little girl just feeling so lost sometimes when I was trying to read and find the answer to a question!"  
"Is that how you are feeling?" 
She shook her head yes, and her whole demeanor changed.  She wrapped her arms around my waist and said, "I'm sorry mama!"
"That's ok, sweetheart!"  "I understand!" 
"Just think, when I was young, I struggled in school, and I already knew English!"
"You have only been learning English for 3 years! And there was a lot of chaos in the beginning that may have caused it to be so hard to learn!"

"When we are stressed, it is very hard to learn."
"So let's not waste any more time!"

And she is back to her books, happily looking up her words. :)
Her window is now back to being wide open!

This happened in a matter of less than 15 minutes!
Brought to you by a BCLC moment! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Abortion

I wrote in my last post about some quick thoughts on today's anniversary.  It is the anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade
This photo is of our son Timothy who was born between 28 and 30 weeks gestation more than 30 years ago.  Babies like him typically did NOT survive.
In fact, he was declared "Brain dead, twice!  He had a massive brain bleed and was taken off of life support so he could die, because, like they said, he was dead.
Today, he is healthy. A husband, father, teacher, and precious son.

I am SO Thankful that even though there have been great hardships in Tim's life, he had a STRONG will to live!  See his hand on that cord?  He was famous for pulling on things.  They had to literally "paralyze him" so he wouldn't fight the respirator, and right when the doctor told us that he was unable to move, he moved it big toe with purpose! The doctor laughed, "he must have been putting all his effort into moving that toe!"  That is our time.  He WANTED to live.  He LOVES his life.
He could have been aborted or starved to death.  I witnessed in the NICU babies who had fluids withheld  so they would die.  It is done EVERY day in America. 

This post is dedicated to all of the wonderful people who never had a chance to take a first breath, to laugh, to grow, to dream, to feel, to create, to sing, to love, to live life, because they had no voice to say, "I want to live."

Now, I would like to share how I truly feel about abortion and the consequences that have resulted in our attitudes towards it.

I know this is a touchy subject that is not mentioned many times because it brings out strong emotion. But it is RIGHT to talk about it. It MUST be written about and talked about, because it is an elephant sitting in the living room of every person.  It exists! As our teaching elder Justin Wheeler so eloquently spoke today, " Politicians will reason the issue, Philosophers will debate the issue, Judges will decide the issue, but GOD has SPOKEN!"

I am so thankful for our dear pastor Justin. He is like a son to me, and an elder and a dear brother, all at the same time.  His words today, dedicated to this issue, solidified in my mind what I am about to write.

When I was younger, much younger.... I was a married woman in deep trouble. My marriage was in trouble. My husband at the time, had given himself over to sin.  That is about as blunt as I can be. It is true.
We were parents to 3 precious children who came one after the other. :) 
And then.... I found out I was pregnant again.   It was the WORST of times!  Things were simply AWFUL.  I don't talk about this much, but today, I think it is necessary.  Not only were we poor, and  my husband not doing well at all, we were about to be homeless.  In fact, the month I found out I was pregnant, we were evicted from our rental house. 
It was so depressing and sad. 
What was MORE depressing was that family members came forward and put PRESSURE on me to have an abortion.  There was ZERO support, except from the one constant in my life, my mom Dabba.  Dabba was my mother in love.
She always saw the big picture, even when the big picture was hard to see.
NOT ONLY were family members pressuring me, so was the DR.  "You have enough children. "You really should consider your circumstances." 

IT WAS AWFUL..... 
I felt like less than a person at that point in life. I was wondering where God was.  HE WAS THERE, I just didn't know it.  

It was during this time that we stayed in a motel part of the time, and with Dabba part of the time. I never EVER in a million years pictured myself as the poster girl for Margaret Sanger.  But I was.
I was poor, under educated and fertile.
I was a Margaret Sanger NIGHTMARE! :)
To go even further, my Grand Parent in Law was the PRESIDENT for Planned Parenthood in the area they lived. 
When our first child was born, she sent me information from Planned Parenthood. :/
I laugh at the irony now. I was so naive then.

Let me say, I KNOW what it is like to be scared and lonely and destitute.  I know what it is like to not know where the next meal will come from, or if there will even be a meal.  I know what it is like to not have clothing, or electricity or gas turned on.  I know the feeling of raising children and knowing that somebody else could give them so much more.  I know the feeling of feeling sub human and I know the feeling of being loathed, hated, despised. 
BUT THESE ARE PASSING! They are not etched in stone, nor are the permanent! Why? Because of GOD! Because we serve a MIGHTY GOD who GOES THROUGH ALL THINGS WITH US! He suffers WITH US.
And there is PURPOSE IN SUFFERING!
I KNOW THIS!

To make a decision based upon circumstance instead of moral law is just WRONG!  It is SHORT SIGHTED!  We cannot see what the future holds, but we KNOW WHO holds the future!

I did NOT abort my youngest son. I was not able to provide for my sons the cutest clothing, the latest toys or the best food.  But I am  proud of them.  Parenting is NOT about giving our kids stuff. It is about LOVE!
You may have heard me refer to my youngest son's  family as "The Adorables". Every day I am thankful for his life. He has been adorable since the day I layed eyes on him. And our circumstances DID CHANGE! 
He was affectionately referred to as "The motel baby". :)  He was 6 weeks old before we were able
to finally move into a new apartment.
During that time, I am forever grateful to our pediatrician who encouraged me through some really hard times.  He gave me his phone number and told me to call him every day and tell him how we were doing.  I called him several days in a row to tell him we had played together, how the baby was, what the boys were doing and how we danced or played a ring around the rosie game.
I am so thankful that he KNEW our circumstances but encouraged me and each day I called he affirmed me as a mom.  "You are a good mom!" "Keep up the good work!"  He knew we were in a terrible state.

The Lord seemed to bring people into my life that helped me through some of the darkest days of my life.

All HUMANS are created in the Image of God.  EVEN IN THE WOMB. 
From the MOMENT of conception, ALL GENETIC code is present! ALL OF IT!  There is NOTHING MISSING, NOTHING ADDED LATER!  Scientists from Harvard and the Mayo Clinic have confirmed this!  We are NOT A BLOB OF CELLS, we are PEOPLE from the very first egg and sperm coming together.
Sperm and Egg come together and do not form a Plant, puppy or kitten. They form a HUMAN BEING.
Since the earliest laws have been made, there have been laws AGAINST abortion! 
Our Justin taught us today that the original language in scripture uses the exact same word for a baby IN the womb as a baby or toddler OUTSIDE of the womb!  God does NOT distinguish between a baby who is pre born or already born.

In Psalms 139: 13-16 - the scripture elaborates "
For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.1

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

(charlie smiling in the womb, very much a baby)
GOD WAS WITH US IN THE WOMB!  What a precious scripture, to remind us that our days, EACH ONE OF THEM have been written already.  Not ONE day of our lives was not known by God.
I shared this after church with my girls.  Isn't it precious that God was with you, even in the womb!
He KNEW YOU, even then! :)  You are fearfully and wonderfully made! God makes NO MISTAKES! NONE! NOT ONE!
In the scripture, in the Gospels, Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when Mary, the mother of Jesus came to her, newly pregnant with Jesus.  Elizabeth says to her  that when she heard her voice, the "babe in her womb lept with joy"!  John the Baptist was the prepared forerunner of Jesus Christ, and he expressed JOY before he was born.  He was a PERSON!

Hippocrates was against abortion and stated he would not give any medicine to help a woman end a pregnancy or give medicine to kill a baby after it was born.  Modern scientists today have spoken regarding when life begins, and many renound geneticists and scientists have testified under oath at a senate committee hearing that life begins at conception.

Abortion is not a new thing. It has been going on since the beginning of time.  IT is WRONG!
Abortion is a result of taking things into our own hands and not trusting the Lord. 

In our society today, it has been made "Legal"..... How I will never understand.... "Legal Murder".
The results of abortion on our society have been devastating.  Those who claim to be thinking about women, have done the most to destroy them.

It is my belief, that when when a baby enters the life of a woman, EVEN in the womb, the woman no longer has the luxury of thinking about herself, of their rights to her body, period.  A woman MUST put herself aside for another. That is our CALLING.
 For MANY YEARS there has been a tearing down of women, and a demeaning of motherhood as something "less than", in our society.  Women are told they should be in charge of their bodies, and control what happens to them.  If a baby is an inconvenience, get rid of it!  If you are single, or young, or poor, don't ruin your life with a child! Do what YOU want! 
It is a LIE from the PIT of Hell itself! 
And MANY have fallen for it.  Sadly, many continue to suffer with the tremendous guilt of having taken the life of their own child.

As Christians, we bear some responsibility for this also.  Many times, Christians can be so very judgmental towards a person who gets pregnant. Instead of rallying around an expectant mother who may not be married, we judge her harshly! We judge the one who chooses to keep her baby and the one who chooses not to. :(
  Of course sex outside of marriage is sin.  But at the same time, "He who is without sin.... .cast the first stone!"  Remember we are ALL sinners.
Compassion is so needed within the Church!
Girls growing up in harsh homes sometimes would rather have an abortion than talk to their parents. 
PARENTS! This is a PROBLEM!  We need to face the facts that sometimes we have been so harsh that our children would rather commit murder than disappoint us! We need to WAKE UP!

We need to talk to our children about ALL of these issues:  Sexual relations, the REASONS we wait until marriage, pregnancy, abortion, motherhood..... IT IS OUR JOB!    GOD does NOT make laws or rules just so we can't have fun!  His Laws make sense!  A baby needs a committed mother AND father!  God's law is there with the intention for babies to have PARENTS!
It is GOOD!

There is NO WHERE in Scripture that says a child is anything but a BLESSING!  NO WHERE!
Children are precious gifts from our Lord to us. 

50 MILLION of them, have been murdered in the last 40 years. :( 
The truth is: ABORTION IS EVIL, IT IS UGLY, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST INSIDIOUS ACTS AGAINST HUMANITY EVER! 

I fear for our nation, as we continue down the slippery slope of NOT protecting LIFE.
95% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted!
I do not know the percentage of those with other disabilities.  But I do know when I was researching Arthrogryposis  7 years ago, before we adopted Erika, the only blogs I could find were those who ABORTED saying they were doing the "Loving thing!"  REALLY?  The loving thing was to decide that somebody else didn't have the RIGHT TO LIVE??  Since that time, another little girl was born with Arthrogryposis and her mama blogs so lovingly about her and her big brother who also has limb difference.  There are few other blogs that I have found, and I am so thankful for them. :)

I once had a relative come over to our house. This was when Erika was recovering from having her feet amputated.  This person said, "If I had a 'mongoloid' child, I would keep it... .anything ELSE I would have ABORTED!" 
I was in total shock at the callous hurtful statement.  3 of my children in this woman's mind were not worthy of life.  I wept after they left.
Those words were evil.  The sad part was, this person claims to know Christ.  :(

Sadly, as our country slips deeper and deeper away from the wisdom of God, and following the evil that permeates our society, we wind up with the inevitable conclusions of where the Pandora's box of abortion leads.  Consider this article to see where the future is headed. :( 

For those who's lives have been impacted by abortion, there is hope and there is healing, in Christ.
Our pastor left us with these words from Paul in 1 Timothy 1:13-15
1though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Paul, when he was SAUL, put Christians to death. He was a persecutor of believers.  He knows what it is like to be a dirty rotten sinner, blind and in darkness, and then called into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ.

Some resources regarding abortion:
http://www.epm.org/blog/2013/Jan/18/every-life-precious
http://www.desiringgod.org/searches/abortion?utf8=%E2%9C%93
http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/8/scientists-attest-life-beginning-conception/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hb3DFELq4Y  (The Silent Scream)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYRpIf2F9NA  (Infanticide)
With our society's views on abortion and the  handicapped , the next step will be in getting rid of the elderly, those who are deemed "unfit" and we will be back to a Hitlerian society where a purified race is the only acceptable choice.  I pray such evil does not continue, and truth reigns across our land once again.

A quote I read yesterday: "When a heart stops beating it is considered death. Why is it not considered life, when a heart starts beating?"
One more thought:  If you ARE in a situation of pregnancy and do not feel that you can parent a child, please consider adoption.  It is a VERY good option! 

FORTY YEARS!

In 40 years, over 50 MILLION scientists, attorneys, ministers, artists, musicians, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, hikers, swimmers, comedians, actresses, actors and countless others have been slaughtered before they ever had the opportunity to fulfill their destiny. 

More babies have been slaughtered due to shortsightedness, selfishness, or outside pressure, than all of the Wars combined!

The Holocaust of Infants in America is a TRAGEDY.

Today is the day, 40 years ago that ROE Vs. WADE was won in the Supreme Court.  Today is the day JUSTICE was trampled on, and the innocents legally murdered.

I have much more to say.... stay tuned.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A BUSY DAY!

We had an amazingly busy day!  It started with needing to be at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, because Erika has been chosen to be one of 14 teenagers going on the "Amputee Ski Trip" to Colorado!
It is such an honor to go! We are SO THANKFUL!  And she is EXCITED!

The meeting today was to fill out paperwork and to try on ski clothes.  Doctors, prosthetists and nurses will be going as chaperones, and I am excited for this opportunity for Erika. :)
You have to be 14 years old to attend. 

Mike had to rush to our rent house to fix a stopped up sink, and took Alli and Sarah with him.
Anna went to a friend's house and participated in helping set up for a funeral.  "
Our sweet friend Miss Bonnie died on Thursday night.  Her service was today.  Unfortunately, Mike and the littles didn't get to go to the funeral. :(

Erika and I left the hospital,  took our friends who flew in for the meeting back to the airport, and  then rushed to the funeral. We were a little late, but not too late.
Our friend Miss Bonnie, was such a sweet heart and dear to our girls.
Anna had a chance to speak about how Miss Bonnie impacted her life.  I didn't get to hear her speak, but several people said it was precious.  

Miss Bonnie died of cancer.  It was a bit of a surprise for all of us. She had been having stomach pain for the last year and had gone to numerous doctors, but none of them could figure it out.   On Tuesday, she was rushed to the hospital with low blood pressure and they finally did a test that found advanced cancer. :(  I was able to see her on Wednesday and her usual sense of humor  took over.  She was ready to meet the Lord and I am proud to have been her friend. :)  She was full of love!
She LOVED our girls.

After the funeral, I went to pick up Alli and Sarah from the rent house, and took them to get an ice cream, and then to the thrift store. 
SCORE!  We found a treasure trove of wonderfulness. :)

Everybody was finally together by 7:30 tonight.  

Exhausted, but a good day.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

No Sugar!

Miss Alli declared that she is no longer having sugar starting TOMORROW! :)
She may wind up finishing that jar of jam today! LOL

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Precious Treasures Found

  Anna relaxing on the hay bales
 Pulling on mama's sweater
 Anna and Marcus having breakfast
 Funny face
 Sarah and Anna washing hands
 One of my all time favorite pictures of those two!

 Anna and Daddy when she first started to let him hold her.
 Sarah
 Anna and her babies.
 Blue Bonnets
W
 what you looking at?

Here he is:

 Rehearsal dinner before Marcus and Ivy's wedding
 Cookie decorating
 Sweet Sarah
 Anna in the office
 Funny face
 A little bit mad.
Flower girl PANICKED before walking down the aisle. :)

Sleep In Heavenly Peace


Every morning, Sarah, lovely little lady that she is, gets up before everybody, puts on the family pot of coffee and then comes into our room to snuggle. It is one of the most precious family rituals that I will always remember. :)

The boys used to do this too, but they were too little to make coffee. They all wore blanket sleepers and would come in and I would wake up with four little boys all snuggled all around, peacefully sleeping. :)
Those are precious memories.

But, not so long ago, nights were not so peaceful.  Our girls each struggled with going to sleep and with  HORRIBLE nightmares or night terrors. 
Anna had so many worries and struggles when she was little, and it was hard for her to get to sleep.
Then she would wake up with fears.  It took awhile for her to get through that, but she did.

When Sarah came home, she was able to get to sleep snuggling up with Anna, but then.... she would wake up to the worst nightmares of being cold and hungry.  In the middle of July she would wake sobbing.. "I'm sooooo cold!"  She wasn't really awake; but somewhere in between. It was heartbreaking! 
We finally got every, single blanket that would fit on her bed and put them all on there telling her they were ALL HERS and she would never be cold again!  She was THRILLED.
She would go to sleep in the summer with ALL those blankets piled up and after she fell asleep we'd pull them back so she didn't die of heat stroke! :)
As we would feed her at night when she woke hungry, she began to stop waking and eventually the nightmares stopped.
With Erika, her nightmarish cries were so terrible!  They were deep and terrifying.  Her cries were that of a lost, desperate soul in torment. At first she dreamed in Russian, and after 6 months, she started dreaming in English. 
We would hear her cry out.... NOOOOO!!!! MAMA!!!!  and we would run.  She would be rocking back and forth trying to comfort herself and we would hold her.  She would wake up, and smile at us and then peacefully drift off to sleep, not remembering the horrors of the night.
I was SO GLAD she DIDN'T remember! Some things ought not to be.
The dreams that went on several times a week, then went to once a week, then once every couple of weeks and then once a month and finally, FINALLY after about 2 years.... never returned.
We are so thankful!
Alli told me that she too struggled with bad dreams, and sure enough, on our first night together, she had a terrible nightmare.  I was laying next to her and held her, gently waking her up to tell her she was safe.
She has only had 1 other night mare in 22 months! 
One of her early observations after she had been home a short time was, "Mama, I don't have nightmares any more!"
Praise the Lord for peaceful sleep!
My sweeties...... sleep in Heavenly peace! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Precious Talk With a Joyful Girl


I took Miss Alli with me to the grocery store today and she was in an especially talkative and joyful mood. :)
When our girls get like this, I know it is time to spend some time just chatting and enjoying their company. It also is a GREAT time to ask questions freely and learn something new about their past.
Today was one of those days, so we took a little detour to Chick Fila and sat and talked for a bit.

Alli was full of joy and humor.  She began to tell me about some of the funny things she remembered and some of the scary things she remembered. But now, they aren't so scary, as if she is reliving them as in a PTSD type moment. Instead, she can put them into perspective.  I am so thankful for the healing she has had in this area! 

Sometimes foods or events can trigger memories. This is what happened today.  Her birthday is coming up and she remembered being treated to a gift at the orphanage.  She only had one birthday at the orphanage and was surprised by a stuffed animal. 
She didn't remember ever having a birthday before. So I asked her, "How did you know how old you were?"   She said, "I used to pester my older sister all the time!" "How old am I?"  And her sister would tell her, until she learned how to remember on her own. :)
(I can SO PICTURE HER DOING THAT!) LOL

She then began to remember waking up one morning and the house was empty.  She was very little. Her brother and sister were gone (maybe at school?)  Her mother was gone and her father was gone. She felt scared.  She also noticed that her mother put a big bag of trash in front of the door, most likely to keep her inside.  She said she remembered, "Oh, I can get out of that!"  And she went outside to play. 
There was a small crawl space under the house she loved to play in, and she remembered getting really mad when she got too big to fit in there. :)
But her friend in the village had an attic play room and she would go there often to play.

She said, "You know mama, I don't ever remember my mama or daddy worrying about where I was, or if I was home or not, even when I was little.  Sometimes we would come home at night, and still, nobody would be home. :(
It dawned on her that we fuss over the girls if we don't know where they are, or if they are out when the street lights come on. 
That used to bother her, but now she is realizing that it is because we love her,care for her and want her to be safe.
She remembers she didn't feel safe; but now she does. :)

Alli was 7 1/2 when she went to the orphanage, and from her descriptions over the last 22 months, it was one of the better orphanages.  She remembers wonderful food the most! She has no memories of eating at home, except a memory about her mother bringing home pickles and her baby brother being very excited. She said he couldn't wait to get them.  She also remembers helping her mama cook, but just doesn't remember eating.  She was often hungry.

In the orphanage she said there was hot water but the girls had to bathe in a group and her sister would help to wash her hair.  She said some of the girls wouldn't come into the shower.

She remembered getting new playground equipment and having a snow ball fight where a boy put snow down her shirt.   She said she felt like slugging him. :)  That's my Alli! LOL

She was in the orphanage a little less than 2 years.  Her next memories were of traveling to meet the family that would bring her and her brother and sister to America.  Her baby brother was adopted by a Russian Family.
She feels badly that she can no longer remember what his name was, but she thinks it might have been something like Kolya.

On the way home, after getting beans for bean soup that she has been longing for, we looked at each other in the car and she smiled and took my hand.  I told her, "Oh, how I wish I could have held you and known you when you were so very little."  She said, "Me too mama..... but we have each other now! It's ok!"
It was a good talk. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Together For Them


It is official!  The brochures are out for the "Together For Them" conference in Houston Texas.
This year,  Alex Krutov , author of Infinitely More.  His story of being raised in the harsh Russian orphanage system and the God who relentlessly pursued him.

There are several breakout speakers this year, including somebody named Christi Minich. :)

I am SO EXCITED to be a part of this MUCH NEEDED ministry to the adoption community.
My dear friend asked me if I could come and speak at a breakout seminar. There are several speakers and I can't wait to meet them all. :)
I feel so honored. 

My prayer is that the Lord will go before me, and that the words that I speak will be those HE chooses for me to speak; no more, no less. 

I truly covet your prayers as I  put my workshop together.
THANK YOU!
May the Lord bless this Conference and the hands and hearts that have put it together. 

If you live in the Houston area, or want to take a short trip from the Dallas area, it will be a great time to learn from and enjoy the company of others involved in the adoption community.   The cost is just 10.00 per family!  That is an amazing bargain!  And the information you will glean will be worth infinitely more! :)

Hope to see you there!

Plan A and Disruption

I have had this on my mind for a long, LONG time.  Trying to find the right word to say is just hard.
Yes, this is another post about Disruption.  WHY?  I think it needs to be said.

Disruption is divorce, but instead of divorcing a spouse, you are divorcing your child. 
Just as when we enter a marriage, we vow, "For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health"..... we enter Adoption in much the same way.  We commit to LOVE a child, "until death do we part."

Now, I UNDERSTAND how difficult things can get. I REALLY DO!  I also UNDERSTAND that sometimes it is not only better, but NECESSARY and in the BEST INTEREST of a child to be moved to a new home for a fresh start.  This has happened in our family twice from International Adoption.  I also consider Miss Anna disrupted, as she had so MANY foster families. The feel is the same. :(

No matter HOW you look at it.... Disruption=Rejection FOR THE CHILD.  An adult may look at it as a loving thing to do.  But, you cannot have it both ways. It is hard to picture divorce as loving.  We try to candy coat disruption these days calling it by another name.... re-homing, softening the idea of divorcing one's child. 
DIVORCE, whether it is between adults or children, is still because of personal failure and is not just one sided.  Scripture says that Moses granted divorce because of the hardness of our hearts.
A hardening has to occur to do such a thing. 

YET..... at the same time, I strongly believe that the LORD'S PLAN A was for our girls to be with us, and I am thankful for them. 
So if it was the Lord's PLAN A,  why is there such negativity about disruption?

In the same way that it was GOD's plan A to send His Son to be the Savior of the world, that does not negate the responsibility of Adam,  for original transgression!  We are fully responsible for our sin, yet we DO have a fallen nature!  Sin is negative.  We are responsible for our sin, even though we have no choice in the deal.  We sin, because we have a sin nature.

God's ways are deeper and higher and broader than my finite mind can understand.  I KNOW that I KNOW our girls were meant to be with us.  I also know that  other's hearts were moved to bring our girls' to America!  I am thankful for them. I am THANKFUL beyond measure that they went and brought them home.
Yet, there is also a sadness that things didn't work out as they should. 
In Adoption, we are called to "Come and DIE to self!"  We are called to sacrifice ALL for the children that have come into our care.
IT IS HARD! There is NO DOUBT!
But in the process, we learn to trust on the Sovereign God.  HE has not changed or wavered in our calling.  In our weakness, HE is made strong!
Our dependence upon HIM is beyond measure! 
If we enter the adoption world in our own strength, we are in for huge trouble! 
While the Lord may use our family to bring a child home.... that does not mean we are not responsible to RAISE that child! 
The refiner's fire may be what is needed in OUR LIVES to bring us closer to Him.  And thus, if we become closer to Christ through trial and struggle, we all win.
God is so deep and rich and multifaceted.... He uses us to bring glory to Himself.
In the cases of disruption that have come into our home; we KNOW that God was at work in both families who brought our children home. He was at work in bringing our children to us, and He is at work in restoring families and bringing them closer to him BECAUSE of the disruptions that have occurred.
It is ALL a part of His Plan A.
We can rest in that, and learn what we have to learn, and He is glorified. :)


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Water Colors

 Alli was inspired last night once again after watching "Miss Potter", to work on water colors. She does such a nice job and is now reading a book on technique.
Here is another one. :)
 
 


If you haven't seen "Miss Potter", the story of Beatrix Potter.... you really should!

You Are Still Holy

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