Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Isabella Grace

Ah sweet Bella! My baby is officially two! Now, I am really not prone to saying,"my how time flies." Most of the time, I feel like it has gone exactly as fast as I needed it to. Slow enough to really enjoy each stage with my kids and fast enough to make me really appreciate it. For some reason, on Bella's birthday, I had a "my how time flies" kind of day. It's just that, I have been thinking a lot about what we were doing on that day, two years ago, (mostly sitting by the phone and waiting for updates about Bella and about her birthmom who had a very difficult post-pregnancy hospital stay...and then...counting the minutes until we could hold her.) and it just doesn't seem that long ago. It feels like...dare I say it...yesterday.

And then, I look at Bella and she is so big, able to communicate all she needs to, so opinionated, so independent in the ways that a two year old can be. And I can hardly believe it. My how time flies.
What a sweetness she has added to our lives. It's funny to think about what life was like before and, even though, at the time, it was full and rich with our precious Hope, it is now fuller and richer with Bella. She captured our hearts in her own special way and has delighted us with her own take on life. A quieter, more introspective, observant take...although no less distinct or captivating. She is a lover of shoes, her blanket, bananas, baths, puzzles, purses, and dollies…in that order. She's a sucker for slapstick humor and the only child I've ever known who throws a fit in a tasteful and dignified way. Her sparkly eyes and easy smile light up a room and her sweet disposition gets her showered with more kisses and squeezes than any child should be required to tolerate.

It has been so fun, in the last few months, to watch her language increase exponentially every day. She is still really quiet but we have started to figure out that it isn't because she doesn't know words. She surprises us often by identifying something that we had no clue she knew how to say. Her nature is just to be quiet and observe. And she has taught my overly articulate self about the value of that. Bella reminds me that to be passionate about something doesn't mean you have to be loud (who knew?!?) and that a quiet spirit can draw people in, in a different kind of a way that puts you at eye level with people and causes them to rest for a bit and settle into the moment.

So there you have it. I am smitten with this little girl. This one who came charging into our lives two years ago and instantly settled herself in our hearts, as if she had been there all along. And I am overcome with gratefulness for the gift of Bella...cause she is just that.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa'a Helpers

It seems that there are some Christmas elves hard at work tonight. Since we are celebrating Christmas tomorrow as a family, before heading down to Texas, we had quite a lot to accomplish today. Let me ammend that. Loren had quite a lot to accomplish today.

He took on the challenging task of making the doll bunk bed that Hope asked for this year for Christmas...the ONLY thing she asked for...besides the money for the kids in Africa (see my ealier post about this). The bed is going to be absolutely adorable, but since the plans didn't come in the mail until Tuesday, it has made things a little more down to the wire than we had hoped.

This brings me to the really cool part of the story. We have great friends. We really do. And so it shouldn't have suprised me at all to see some of the guys, the ones Loren has long-standing plans with after small group on Sunday nights, show up at our house while we were putting the kids to bed and offer their help. They have been in the garage now for a couple of hours...sanding, sawing, and laughing...a lot. I can not even begin to tell you what a precious gift this is to me. Not just that they are helping, but that they came. I am so glad that Loren has these kinds of friends. They serve each other, they challenge each other, they have way too much fun together, and they have a genuine affection for one another that runs deep. It does a man good to have friends like that.

So, thanks know who you are. Thanks for helping with the doll bed. Hope's eyes are gonna light up tomorrow. Mostly, thanks for being the kind of friends who show up for stuff like this. You are a rare a good way...but also in a weird way. I'm not gonna all can be kind of weird sometimes.

p.s. pictures of the bed are really is soooo cute!


For all of you anxiously awaiting pictures of the bunk bed for Hope's dollies. Here they are. I know you have been holding your breath. I love how it turned out, though. Kudos to

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hard Things

There are so many lovely things about adoption. I could talk all day and into the night about the beautiful way that God works and the way that his hand is on it all. In fact, I have done that often. Our stories of adoption are pictures of his grace and his provision and his power. They really are.

But, there are some hard things, too. One of those is the grief that my babies are bound to experience…have already experienced, in Hope’s case. Today, Hope told me that she was so glad I was her mommy. She has such a sweet heart. A beat later, she said, “but I wish you looked like me.” I do too, frankly, not because I don’t believe that God is working out his own plan for her in our little family, but because I know it would be easier for her sometimes if I looked like her…easier for all of us. Just eliminate the pain, right?

But then again, I know it isn’t my job to eliminate all of her pain. As frustrating as that can be (I mean, what mom wants to watch her children suffer), I DO know that God placed her in our family. And, because he says he has good plans for her, for all of us, I know that it means that her suffering is meant to “bring about a glory that far outweighs them all.” As hard as it is for me to understand, my God was there as both my kids were conceived, loving them in the perfect way that only the Father can, and allowing them to be born to parents who loved them, but because of that, would place them for adoption…knowing they would hurt because of it. He also planned for my womb to be closed and for us to begin the processes of adoption at just the right time so that Hope Olivia Liywalii and then, Isabella Grace, would become a part of our family…knowing that we would, at times, hurt for them and with them.

The thing is, this part of the story…this pain… is no less beautiful than the other parts. It is messier for sure, harder guaranteed, but it is not out from under the protection of his hand, no less orchestrated than all the rest of it. So, what am I to do with that? I pull Hope up on my lap and assure her of the things I know to be true. That this was not all a mistake, that God has a wonderful, unique plan for her life, that it is okay to be sad about looking different than me, and that I could never have planned this crazy journey any better…that she is a beautiful gift of God’s grace and provision and power in our lives. Then, I let her scamper off to play and have a little cry in the shower…cause these truths don’t make it hurt any less.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gone Country

We are so countrified! Last night, as Loren brought in a load of wood that he had freshly split and started a blazing fire in our wood stove, I sat opposite him in the chair, mending his red, full body, long johns. (He tells me this is called a union suit.) Which, along with our two hound dogs and the vegetable garden in our backyard, led me to declare, "We are sooooo countrified!" It's true. And I'm kinda proud of it. Is that weird?