I feel a little weird not blogging for almost a week, but the fact is that I have had nothing all that interesting to write about (as if ANYTHING I write about is interesting! Why in the heck do any of you read this thing in the first place????). We have been very busy, lots of little things going on, but nothing all that earth shattering after the drama of last week :-) So this post is just going to be some random things, not in any necessary order. And as soon as I have some spare time I will break out the camera. I realize this blog must be completely boring with no photos to post, but it always seems that during winter I take very few and then suddenly when ski season is past I deluge everyone with pictures.
We seem to be the House of the Tooth Fairy this week, with the loss of two teeth, one Joshie's and one Kenny's. With Kenny's we were pretty worried at first as he had loosened one of his bottom teeth trying to take the cap off a marker with his teeth. Of all the kids for whom we DON'T need more dental work, it is him...and at first we thought it was a permanent tooth that came out. One of the downfalls of adopting an older child internationally is you have no information at all to go on. We don't know how many teeth he had lost in the past, which ones, etc. and he didn't remember either. It was only today that we saw a permanent tooth poke through the gum and heaved a sigh of relief that we don't have to look at another implant.
Fittingly with the onset of Lent, much of what seems to be surrounding our life this past week has been faith oriented. We participated in Ash Wednesday service this evening, which is not really well attended at our church but I was really glad we went. I am enjoying this point in time where thus far, the boys have yet to complain about going to church, and I am often surprised that they aren't bored and don't complain. They love the singing, which is quite traditional and not at all contemporary. They follow along with the prayers, and of course tonight there was a lot of explaining to do after the service on the way home. They are beginning to understand the symbolism of many things surrounding our faith, and it is important to me that they have a strong sense of something greater than themselves. I also want for them to have a solid religious education, as I feel that aside from what it adds to their life in terms of their soul connections, it is important from a cultural standpoint to have an understanding of the religious traditions that make up a large part of the American culture. In time, we will add in Muslim teachings as well so they might better understand their birth culture too.
This past Sunday at "rug time" the kids were all gathered at the front of the church as usual, and the children's message was an attempt to help them understand the meaning of transfiguration. They were asked to close their eyes and think back to a time that was so special, they knew their life would never be the same. Can you imagine how hard it was for me not to totally lose it when Kenny quickly volunteered that his moment was the day his mommy and daddy came to the orphanage to take him away?? I never really think of these things from a certain perspective, as I hate the whole "saint" label that is often attached to adopting parents. If only people understood the selfishness that really is the motivator they would never use that term...I wanted children so badly and I couldn't imagine life without them!! Some sainthood, huh? But, that being said, once in awhile it sneaks up on you that something you did really did change a life forever...Kenny went from being an unloved 8 year old boy to being a cherished and adored son of ours in the blink of an eye. And with the addition of each of our children my life was transformed as well...what a gift for all of us!!
It is also at moments like that when I shake my head incredulously at anyone who thinks we shouldn't be adopting the girls. Sure, it is not something I had ever considered...having a family that large. But when you have the opportunity handed to you and you have the desire, why WOULDN'T you jump at the chance to change a life? I KNOW it will make our life harder, it will mean a lot of financial sacrifice post-adoption, it will mean more work around the house, it might even mean lots of turmoil for a long time with emotional issues. But what purpose are we hear for? Is it only to breathe air and take up space? Imagine someone (God) saying to you "Hey! You! Yea, YOU! I will give you the chance to alter the course of life for two little girls. These kids will face a certain future of drugs, prostitution or death. You can change that. Wanna do it?".
Why wouldn't you say yes??
And harking back to one of my much older posts, "Just because something is hard, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it." Hearing Kenny this weekend, knowing what his adoption has meant for his life and his future, knowing what an incredible child he is who will definitely do something in this world...and thinking of him begging or worse on the streets in a mere 5 or 6 years from now, well all I can say is I am so glad God asked "Hey, you wanna do it?".
I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday before Scouts visiting with a small group of ladies, all of whom I admire a great deal. They are forming a prayer shawl group, to knit prayer shawls for people in crisis or celebration, and the person who will receive it will have been prayed for as the shawl is being knit. Ok, so don't laugh at this because I really don't see myself as a knitter...or a crocheter...or a quilter or a sewer or a potter or a crafter!! Haha! I don't have a gifted bone in my body in that regard, but I love the concept, and I love the women, so I just might find myself surrounded by knitters a couple times a month even if not really participating myself. I might try it, or I might just sit and gab. Regardless, it was a very special get together and I am often so surprised at the incredible company of amazing people God seems to put me together with.
Part of the reason I have not blogged as much lately is that I am struggling with my Lay Ministry homework. I never expected this to be as intriguing and fulfilling as it has been, nor did I expect that it would bring me face to face with many internal conflicts over my faith, causing me to really think about my own theology and not just gloss over it. Writing usually comes quite easily to me, when I sit down to write a blog post, for example, especially one which has been bubbling in my mind a bit and not one like this where it is quite rambling with no real point or focus, I usually sit down and rip it out quickly...some of my longest and what I would consider to be my deeper, better posts have taken the least amount of time...maybe 20 or 30 minutes. My written assignments for class have been arduous at best, I find myself struggling over every nuance, every phrase...mainly because I am examining things from all angles and over-analyzing things, which is something I tend to do often in "real life". Dominick and I always joke about how, I have to think things through from every possible direction. I know that must be exhausting for him after all these years! The important thing is that I am really growing through this process, and it is incredible how much when I consider I have only attended one retreat and one class! When I have hopefully completed the program two years from now, I will walk away from it a very different person, a more faith-filled person. What I will do with all that training remains a mystery which I am trying to be patient about.
I took a little step this weekend, a tiny one hardly worth mentioning but I will anyway. I have been so reticent to purchase anything for the girls, half of me believing it would be heartbreaking to return or give things away if this all falls apart. We have had so many ups and downs that despite my confidence in God's plan for all 7 of us, there is still a small part of me that is protecting myself. We were in Walmart Sunday afternoon, scouring the sale racks for the closeout clothes for the boys...we found some $3 shorts for Kenny and Josh and a couple of $3 shirts for Matthew. We wandered over towards the girls items, hoping to find some winter clothing like jackets or gloves but we evidently missed the opportunity to stock up. We told ourselves that even if this should not work out, we could always send stuff over to them.
And there on a rack, was the cutest pair of jeans with rainbows on them, and little peace signs. Size 12. Girlie. Marked down to $7. Without a moment's hesitation, I bought them. The first real piece of clothing to be waiting for them here. If it hadn't had rainbows, I never would have grabbed them, but silly as it may be, I have been a sucker for rainbows since I was 13...and if I could have talked Dominick into it I would have a big ol' rainbow plastered across our bedroom wall or the side of our minivan, dontcha think a "Rainbowmobile" would be totally rockin' cool??? I LOVE rainbows, but sadly grown women of a certain age look silly with rainbow shirts or jewelry, or rainbows on their bedroom walls. I have always gotten such a sense of joy out of them...yea, that and sunshines. So sue me, I am juvenile, at least it isn't daisies or Hello Kitty!! So, I felt like I made a little progress in opening my heart this weekend. Of course the jeans are buried in a bag on the floor of their bedroom-to-be, in a place where I won't see them for awhile. After all, don't want to get TOO carried away, right?
For Lent we have all agreed to what will be a big sacrifice for certain members of our family...we are going TVless at home for 40 days. While we won't go so far as to say they can't watch TV at a friend's house, we are unplugging for the next 40 days and will see how it goes. This will be so hard for Kenny and Josh, our little TV addicts, but it will also be great as we will spend more time playing games together, going for walks, etc. We actually watch far less than most families do anyway, but when we do allow it those two are transfixed in front of the screen! For me, I could honestly care less as I watch so little TV it is almost meaningless to give it up. Now, take away my computer and we would have a serious hardship!! I would go through withdrawals I think! I am considering doing away with Diet Coke again, as that is honestly very hard for me to give up. I went today with none, but we are at a stressful time right now, and I am not sure I even want to do it. Isn't it quite sad that I am addicted to something like that?? We'll see how the next few days go, but I just don't know if my heart is in that one right at this juncture.
Well, I told you this was going to be rambling and pointless...no deep thoughts, no conflicts, no heartfelt confessions. Just boring old life. Guess I kind of like it like that.