Sunday, April 04, 2010

Joyous, Restful Easter

In lieu of photos you will have to settle for writing. Why? Because dummy me forgot to put the card back in the camera and took pictures all day without realizing there was no card! ARGH! So mad at myself!

We had a really wonderful Easter, and I feel more and more blessed with our new version of Team LaJoy with each passing day. As someone said to me today, there are lots of Kodak moments right now (even if mom can't be bothered to remember to put the card in the camera!). Many of those moments are more verbal than photographic in nature. Quiet conversations of shared histories again in the car tonight when I had to run back to our friends to get my purse...which I forgot there (see a theme here at all???) but it was worth it as it allowed me to have time to laugh and giggles as times at the orphanage were recalled and Kenny's first days here were discussed. Why is it so much easier in the dark to open hearts?? Need more late night drives I think...

I can not tell you how much I love the fact that all of our kids totally believe in the Easter Bunny...yes, even Matthew. I am sure this is the last year for that with him, but my heart smiled as I tucked them into bed last night and he sat up saying "Mommy, I don't think I can sleep tonight! It feels almost like Santa Clause is coming!!", and I was told later that he was on the stairs to Angela's bed early saying "Angela...Angela! Get up...the Bunny was here!". In today's world with the early loss of innocence and childhoods ending abruptly far earlier than they should, this was important to me. I said long before we ever had kids that I thought the biggest challenge would be letting them have a real childhood in our modern world, that keeping them innocent would be the single most important and most difficult task we would ever have. When kids grow up too soon, they miss out on so much that is important to healthy development. I don't want my kids approaching adolescence at 10 years old!

Thankfully, we have somehow been able to pull it off and one of the reasons I think we have managed to do so is our strong limitation of TV time, where images of pre-maturely jaded kids abound. It has also kept the "I wants" at bay. Sure they watch some cartoons are their favorite, but monitoring it carefully has made a big difference. I am sorry, but I find most of the Disney shows that are designed for kids to be inappropriate, demeaning of adults, and flat out snarky in nature. They also push an attitude of lack of gratitude in general which I personally don't care for. That doesn't mean our kids haven't watched some of these shows, but it is a rare occasion, not a steady diet of it.

It was a lot of fun to watch the girls this morning as they really had no understanding of the concept of the Easter Bunny, an egg hunt, etc. It took a few minutes for them to connect the dots and then they were off and running in the cold, bare footed, dashing here and there to grab as many eggs as they could! Lots of wonderful firsts we have had, despite missing so much of their lives.

We played Monopoly last night, and tried Life the night before. The girls understood the mechanics of the games easily, but it was quite obvious that we have a LOT of work to do with math as we saw them both struggle with simple tasks with the fake money. It also reminded me just how much our children learn from us without us really knowing it, by merely being part of a family from a young age. Angela was buying a property for $350 and had no clue what to hand me to purchase it. She didn't understand at all that if she gave me $500 she would get change back, nor did she know how much. It seems in her case, she has decent math facts skills but practical, real life application ability is non-existent. Olesya was totally lost in almost anything having to do with the money, but she was a land baroness before we knew it! Hahaha~!

There is so much work ahead of us, and I have to constantly remind myself that it is 1 day at a time, Rome wasn't built in a day, right? This will take years of making up for lost time, but every day they are absorbing so much! I can't let myself feel too overwhelmed by the loooooonnngg road we need to walk, or I will be so scared I will turn back and give up.

We ended the day at our friend's home for dinner, with us bringing a turkey which the girls kept calling a chicken. We tried to explain but it didn't stick. So I guess we had an Easter chicken! Hahaha!

We also may have been connected with a wonderful resource for Kenny when someone came up to me after church today and offered her assistance to work with him one on one beginning in late summer. She is a retired teacher who specialized in reading issues, and herself is dyslexic so understands what it feels like to be intelligent and not be able to read well. Our family is touched on so many levels by the most amazing people whom God has brought into our lives. At moments like that, I feel far less alone in this and realize that this new phase requires as much...if not than our adoption of Angela and Olesya did. At least with the adoption, I had a clue what was going on, felt seasoned walking into it, and was as well prepared as anyone could be. This is a whole different realm, and homeschooling is something I am definitely walking into unseasoned, uncertain and unprepared for.

But how could I forget God is with us always? And sometimes with great risks and challenges come great rewards. If this is truly what God wants for our children and our family, then we are never going to be left dangling all alone! How could I forget that after all the trust we have placed in God thus far? Once again, I fail, placing myself incorrectly as the Lead Player rather than as minor bit part actor who simply puts myself out there to be used in whatever capacity God sees fit. It's been made abundantly clear that we should be making this step, regardless of how foolish it might appear, so as of today I am going to trust in that guidance 100% and look for ways in which God sends reassurance, for I know it will be there in the form of many people and experiences that I can not begin to fathom.

And as I remind myself daily right now, Kenny already can't really much more damage can I do to that? The worst thing I could do is not make any progress, right? The worst thing that happens with the girls is that they gain in verbal skills but I stink at everything else and we put them all back in school. The best thing that happens is they all graduate from Harvard at 18! HAHAHAHA!!!! NOT! I'd take reading and writing on grade level for all 5 of them and be pretty satisfied with that.

So today's message that I will carry forward into the year is Courage Always.

And I sure wish I had photos of the kids in front of the rainbow draped cross today, all holding up their "Love Wins." stickers. Can't believe I missed that opportunity!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,

Here is a link to Bob books for beginning readers:

Don’t know if they would help?

I think raising children is a marathon, not a sprint – pacing yourself a bit might help in the long term, A little bit day by day will add up to much progress. When you look forward to the road ahead, it may seem impossible, but when you look back to all God has accomplished, there is so much progress to celebrate!

God knew what He was doing when He placed each of your children in your heart. He will either equip you or send others (like your friend from church) who are equipped.

I know from my own life how hard it is to trust Him day by day – still haven’t reached that peace He promises us when we trust in His strength and not our own.

And forgetting stuff ... I do it all the time. I make lists and loose the lists! I keep asking The Boss for a larger Hard Drive in my brain as I need more memory capacity, but so far it hasn’t happened. I think we moms are so filled up with what everyone’s needs and the house needs, etc that our brains just go on overload. And also, the frequent interruptions that go with a busy family often mean that I start out to do something, get sidetracked, and completely loose sight of what I originally meant to get done. I am a mean bear right before a trip, because I am trying to remember everything that needs to be done and won’t let anyone talk to me unless it is an emergency.

You are such and encouragement to me. We all struggle.

Much love,

Peggy in Virginia

Anonymous said...

One lesson I thought I'd learned as our first four older girls were growing up...and I used to take all their issues or failures or struggles so to heart...I thought I learned not to look ahead too far into the future.

But once again with our two newest who came home at 10 1/2 and 11yrs, I find myself having to fight that. I know how overwhelming it is to think into the future, knowing how much they still have to learn. I work hard at not doing that, taking one day or one school yr at a time. They have both gained a lot...but our newest especially is still struggling. I can especially relate to the math issues. She is very low in math. I did read somewhere about trauma and how it can effect their learning..and I was thinking it said specifically their math learning. I'll have to do some research on that, as it's very interesting to me and might explain some things here.

I've had to try to learn to readjust my thinking and not expect them to catch up to peers and do things in the same time in head off to college, even jr college at the same time as their classmates. What does it matter, since we've missed so much time with them already. It would only give us more time at the other end.

Keep on and take courage! Maybe that's a good motto for some of us moms of older adopted kids.

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

"Once again, I fail, placing myself incorrectly as the Lead Player rather than as minor bit part actor who simply puts myself out there to be used in whatever capacity God sees fit."

I would suggest less a play than a partnership in which you are the junior partner, but a key, vital part in an enterprise that would not happen if you were not there. (God would be doing a different thing in a different place with a different partner, and you would be engaged in some other partnership.)

"It's been made abundantly clear that we should be making this step, regardless of how foolish it might appear,"

It is a partnership because you and the rest of Team LaJoy have entered into covenant with God to create anew this family.

" as of today I am going to trust in that guidance 100% and look for ways in which God sends reassurance, for I know it will be there in the form of many people and experiences that I can not begin to fathom."


"...which I forgot..." And then there are the times when I forget--forget to lean into that reassurance, to trust. May it be with you that you forget purses and camera cards, but not that you are a junior partner in a construction enterprise whose senior partner is a master builder.

To Family LaJoy,
Happy Easter and love,

Anonymous said...

Hey Cindy!

Any chance that your camera has memory as well and that the pictures are on it? We've had cameras like that and were able to move the pictures onto the card after sticking it in. Worth a look to see ...

Glad to see the roller coaster is doing better lately. It's always up and down, but I hope it stays up for a long time now (you've had enough down to last quite a long time).

Hugs, Debbie T in Texas

Anonymous said...

I also was going to ask if your camera has some internal memory. Mine doesn't have much, but it will save some photos. I hate when I do that, though it's not that big of a deal. I just have to plug my camera directly into the computer with a USB cord and download to my computer program as I would with the card. Here's hoping your camera has a little we feel we have a very little of some days, too.

And don't feel that you need to apologize or justify your decision to anyone. I know that might be tempting, but you've prayed about it and are convinced right now that this is the best thing to do for your kids. We all know you'll do your best. And we assume you might even make a mistake or two along the way, as we're guessing you're not perfect yet either. But I'll bet that like me, many are excited to hear about all the wonderful things you'll all learn along the way. The nurturing and bonding that are going to take place are priceless. As you've said and I agree, the time frame is adjustable. There's no laws or hard and fast rules about how long a child should take to finish their schooling. We just sometimes fall into the trap of letting society dictate how we should make or feel about decisions. And when it comes to raising kids, everybody's got an opinion! But only God's and yours count concerning the children He's given to you to be responsible for.

I'm convinced you're going to better than fine. And your homeschool won't look the same as anyone else's homeschool. That's the beauty of it, getting to shape it around your own kids.

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

I just had to leave a note and say how on target I think Lael's comment is. Unique Junior partner with the Master Builder -- what a beautiful image!

Peggy in Virginia

Anonymous said...

Since you don't have any pictures, why don't you preserve the memories of this Easter by having each child draw a picture of their experience? It would be an interesting keepsake