Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Milestones, messages, and miracles...

It's been one week since our children came home with us.

Life is a journey marked by milestones, often of the most unexpected kind. Six months is a big one in NJ adoption, because after six months the court can finalize our adoption, sealing it forever. I also remember when my baby was around 10 months old that it suddenly struck me that she had been with me longer than she had been with her birth mom.

Today marks one week of being a family of seven. One week means we've made it through the varying schedules of each day at least once. For me, that's a tiny milestone.

Lots of words have been making their rounds in our home this week. Words ranging from "this is the best family ever" to "you make me mad" to other nastiness I'll not print. Some of it is normal childhood interaction (that my sister and I NEVER experienced, I'm sure, right mom?). Much of it is trauma based.

We have one who likes to scream at the top of her lungs when angry, another who spits (and got me squarely in the face this morning), and still another who pinches, hits, pushes, etc. This sometimes even all happens at once! My sweet oldest seems to be the punching bag, and she is struggling to learn that I am the mom; she doesn't need to be. My precious baby pickle has decided that slapping, pushing, and screaming at the others is the way to solve her frustration at the intrusion.

But, amidst all the chaos, mean words, bad attitudes, and messy mealtimes, one conversation has haunted me since hearing it.

Last week, I took two of my girls grocery shopping, and on the way home one said to me, "mamma?" I replied. She continued, "I called you 'mamma.' Whenever I get a new mom, I call her 'mamma.'"

Whenever I get a new mom..... 

Tonight at the counselor's office, another one of my kids said that we were going to keep them for a few years. Another asks every time we go out, "can we go back to your house?"

It's only been a week. It will take time to overcome years of ingrained experiences.

But, woven throughout this past week have been some good moments.

Despite the meltdowns, interrupted sleeping patterns, sickness, tantrums, and fighting, we managed to start homeschooling (even learning a few Latin words!). I also discovered the my kids really like cleaning house (not cleaning up toys or rooms, of course, but I'll take it). Our downstairs windows are sparkling, and our bathrooms are shining! My 5 y/o insists that she should do all the vacuuming. They really seem to love working together, and they take pride in a job well done. Even the 3 y/o wants to dust and little A loves (and I means loves) to empty the bathroom trash. So much so, that she'll often throw something away in there just so she can empty the can into the kitchen.

We also have had the joy of routinely talking to our kids about Jesus as they have asked good and insightful questions. Tonight as we were driving, I commented that we should pray for daddy as he went to a board meeting where the men have the important work of making big decisions for our church. One of my girls asked if we could pray right then. If only we adults would ask the same question when raising a prayer request.

So often, it is tempting go into these sorts of situations thinking about all of the things we may teach our children, when in reality, God is gracious enough to use them to teach us along the way. Today, when my little one spit in my face, I was so angry I had to walk away and let my husband discipline. A few moments later as I was loading the dishwasher and chewing on my insulted pride, I was struck with remembrance that my Lord was spat upon.

God specializes in tearing down our idols and cleaning our hidden ugliness. 

I can handle screaming, hitting, fighting, tantrums, etc. But spitting insults me. Because somehow, the dirty truth is that my pride wants it all about me.

And yet, as I realized that the God of the universe endured spitting and oh so much more, my eyes filled with tears. Because suddenly, I was on the other side of the equation - no longer the victim, I was the offender.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Vast. Unmeasured. Boundless.


(S. Trevor Fracis, 1875)


  1. You're living the life of surrender to grace, and gifting your hearts to your dear children, and it's such a blessing! He will carry you all along the way. -Brooke

  2. Beautiful!! Grace Grace God's Grace Grace that is greater than all our sin. Jesus totally amazes me in you!! So thankful these kids have you and you have these kids. Praying many many blessings on you in the midst of daily healing and growing trust and sanctification for each of you.

  3. Supporting you in this journey with prayers. As a mom, I look back at how I should have done something different raising my children, but we do the best we can in the moment. Rely on God and He'll help you through each step of the way.