Friday, April 30, 2010

Adoption Day!

It's official! Ava is now and forever a Kolman. We had our adoption finalization on Wednesday morning amidst a whole host of family and friends who insisted on coming all the way to Denver to be a part of it. Initially, I always feel a little sheepish about that. I mean, the ceremony itself is all of about 5 minutes and it's not like, once the ceremony is over, things feel any different. In our hearts and in the hearts of our family and friends, Ava has been a Kolman since the first moment we heard about her. Nothing really changes in our eyes.

But, what I've come to realize is that, for my children, even though they are too young to really know it, that ceremony changes everything.

In that short ceremony, several key things happen. First, Loren and I agree to be providers of all that our children need. What a privilege, as one friend put it, to "take vows before your child, promising your life to her." If only all people were required to verbalize their commitment to love and provide for their children. *sigh*

Secondly, the court legally changes their names to reflect the name we have given them as well as our last name, and they are given all the rights and privileges of an heir. For better or worse, they officially become identified as a Kolman on that day. It's a good name to have, and brings with it an incredible legacy of service and compassion towards others and deep commitment to knowing Christ. But, as proud as I am to bestow that name on my kids, in that moment, what always makes me tear up is the fact that God has taken this child, separate from us in many ways, and placed them in our family. He has grafted each of my children into this family and somehow made them so fully ours that it is overwhelming.

Finally, the judge declares the final adoption order irrevocable. It's forever, and I don't need to reiterate the significance of that. It just is.

So, yeah. This ceremony. It's a real big deal. And I need to stop apologizing for thinking that. It seems only fitting that we, along with our family and friends stampede the courthouse, go through security and insist on bringing in cameras even when they aren't allowed, overwhelm the courtroom, cheer when it's over, require the judge to take a picture with everyone, and have a sweet little celebration party afterward. It's the least we could do!
All of us with the judge

The spread. My friend, Amy, offered to host all of us for our celebration. Brave...very brave. Thanks, Amy!

Ah...early signs of love. We are praying that at least one of our girls picks a Paschall boy as a mate. :)

Some of the women who make me a better mom...and who also act as surrogate moms, amongst plenty of other things. Love these girls and missed the ones who couldn't be there. You know who you are.

The girls with all the grandparents. They all traveled big time to come. So sweet.

Thank you to all of our family and friends who made it to the courthouse and to those who we know wanted to come and just couldn't. We are so grateful for your presence in our lives and for your commitment to us as well as to Ava. She is one lucky little girl to have all of you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CAUTION: Gushing Ahead...

This week, my little Hope has taken my breath away.

We had parent/teacher conferences this week and I left her little Kindergarten room with the biggest smile on my face. Most was what we expected. Hope is very smart. Hope has a lot of friends. Hope likes to talk a lot. Hope is a leader...even when no one wants her to be. :), e tc... And then, there was this.

Her teacher: "I have to just tell you this. Hope tends to see those students that other kids don't want to be with. She picks them to be her partner when we pick partners. She plays with them. She helps them with their work. And, we have one special needs student who we often can not understand when he speaks. Hope tells us what he's saying and she is almost always right."

I wanted to burst into tears. And I couldn't help but think that my little girl, who is, for sure, pretty stinkin' cute, but can also be such a sassy little thing at home, has a heart whose depths I am only just beginning to discover.

Then, today.

Our church, along with most other churches in our town have come together this weekend to share Christ's love all over our community in tangible ways. We are doing hundreds of projects all over town for anyone and everyone who needs it. So today, our small group, complete with the older kids in tow, got to be at the home of a sweet older lady who needed some fence and house painting done. Hope took an instant liking to Alfreda. I watched her gently take the hand of this older woman and walk up to her house with her, chatting all the time like they were old friends. Later, Alfreda invited all the kids in for cookies. (As a side note: Hope had already gotten a cookie when she went inside the first time and so Loren told her she could only have one more. Alfreda promptly told Hope that she was the boss and she said she could have two! If they weren't friends already, I would say their sassy spirits bonded right then.) After she got her cookies, Hope scampered off outside to play again with all her friends. But, I saw her head back there before too long.

Me: Where you goin, Hope?
Hope: Back inside to talk
Me: Oh. To who? Who's still in there?
Hope: (looking like I'm a moron) Alfreda
Me: Oh. (Be still my heart...tears pooling...blurred vision...overwhelming love for this child)

In the midst of all the hard parts of parenthood there comes this incredible richness. This constant discovering of my children. Bits at a time. In small doses. Because to see it all at once would most certainly cause my heart to explode. This week, I am thankful that somewhere along the way, Hope has learned kindness and compassion. And she has figured out that there is beauty waiting to be discovered in all kinds of people. Including herself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Think I Can....

I'm gonna blog about this only because I need some accountability. A place where I have to write it all down and know that others will see it so that I make better choices. I'm not blogging about it because I think you might be the least bit interested in it. Sorry about that.

I am on a quest to eat healthier with the hopeful outcome that I might also lose about ten extra pounds while I'm at it. I AM NOT dieting. I hate dieting. So, here's how it's going...

Day 1:
  • tuna with apples, walnuts, and celery in a pita pocket for lunch...very yummy, very healthy and very friendly to my goals
  • hubby asks if he can take the family out for dinner...Chinese food - dinner out makes me very friendly towards my husband...not as friendly towards my diet.
  • successfully resisted the left over Easter candy I have been secretly sneaking from my children's baskets.

Day 2:
  • went to the gym and found out that my healthy choices last week (before I actually even started) have paid off. I'm down a pound. Here's hoping it's not water weight.
  • for lunch, a truly terrible Select Harvest soup called Roasted Chicken with Italian Herbs. It apparently had diced asparagus and chick peas in it. I hate chick peas...unless they are ground up, mixed with oil and garlic and called hummus.
  • for dinner, I have prepared lots of fresh steamed vegetables and a truly lovely chicken recipe from my sister. After trying to justify all day why I should have some of the gooey sauce that goes with the chicken, I have now resigned myself to the fact that tonight I will be eating a plain old chicken breast while everyone else gets the good stuff.
I think I can, I think I can , I think I can....

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Saturday was the first totally free Saturday we've had in a long time. Too long. So, we decided to take full advantage of it. It was one of those beautiful overcast days where the cloud cover makes all the new greens and bright buds of spring look amazingly vibrant. So, even though it was slightly drizzly and a wee bit chilly, we just had to be outside. And we had to be on the riverwalk.We decided to go geocaching, which is kind of a fancy word for treasure hunting, using GPS navigators. The girls were totally into it and we found a couple of "caches" near the riverwalk.Of course, Ava did a lot of this

...which she seemed most pleased to do.

We walked for a while and relished the time we had to just be us. To just be together. It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Recent Conversation

In the car....

Hope: Dad, do you know the song, "Smack That?"

Loren: (cough, sputter) Uh. Yeah. Why?

Hope: Well, do we have it on our iPod?

Loren: No, Hope. That song is super inappropriate. Why do you even know about that song?

Hope: A kid at school has a little thing that plays songs and it's on there and he told us about it at show and tell. (nice...would have loved to see her teacher navigate that one)

Loren: Well, it's not a very nice song. (And then a fatherly dialogue about how some songs are like that and why we should be careful what we listen to, etc)

Hope: (trying to digest it all) So, is it rude?

Loren: Yeah. It's really rude.

End of story. And then, later that night...

Hope: Mom, did you know that there is a song called 'Smack That'" that my friend told me about and it is really rude.

Me: Yeah. I heard about that.

Hope: Yeah. It's really rude cause the song says, 'Smack that, get on the floor' and he doesn't even say PLEASE!

Me: (stifiling laughter) Well, that's terrible. You should always say please.

Hope: I know. It's really rude! gotta love the innocence of kids.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts on Lent

For Lent, Loren and I decided to give up sweets. Not sugar. That’s different, and obviously necessary for coffee and tea. Basically, things that were an extra treat, dessert, so to speak. Here have been some of my thoughts throughout the last 40 days:

I mean, sure, I’m not gonna eat the cake I’m making but can’t I just lick the bowl with the batter? It just seems wasteful otherwise.”

“A dessert that someone makes especially for you must be eaten. It would be rude not to.”

“Cinnamon rolls are not dessert. They are breakfast. That’s different.”

“It’s Spring Break…and vacation! I’m not so legalistic that I can’t have one lousy dessert to celebrate!”

Yeah...I suck at Lent. So thankful for Good Friday and that it means that my Jesus gave it all, without cutting corners, when he sacrificed his life to give me mine. And…so thankful that Easter’s coming. Mostly because He is RISEN! And it has changed everything. But a little bit because I can eat cake again.