Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On the Move...Again

Yes, it is true that our family is moving back to Kansas City. It has been a most amazing (and challenging) year of growth for every member of our family. We have been awed to see both of our girls mature in their relationship with God. (Not to mention their parents and little brother.) We have learned a great deal while living in a community setting. And we DEFINITELY would not give up the time we've had with our dear friends the Grahams. While here, we've seen the maternity home plans take shape, helped get the 501c3 non-profit status in place, built an apartment in the basement that will help fund the home, and even served our first birth mom. Best of all, we have the privilege of remaining on the Board of Directors for the maternity home!

Keep reading if you'd like to know how our upcoming move came about:
The Lord first started talking to us separately a few months ago that our time in Alabama was coming to a close. We kinda tried to ignore it since our time here has been so short. (Just so you know, we moved down here believing we would only be here for 2-5 years.) However, we began praying and asked some of our most trusted mentors to pray with us and share their thoughts. Their thoughts confirmed what we were hearing. So, we began casually looking for houses thinking it would be 9 months to a year before we moved. (We should have known better given how we moved to Kansas City in the first place. Back in 2007, we expected to move in a year but it ended up being six months because Paul's job of 10 years ended.)

9805 Eastern Ave, Kansas City, MO
Our new house (well, once all the paperwork is done anyway)
A few weeks ago we found two houses that fit the bill for our family. (Namely some land to do some of the homesteading things we've dreamed of for years.) Paul and I made a two-day trip over one weekend to see the houses because the price for the house/land in the area we desired was just too amazing to ignore. By the end of the weekend and after hours of praying on the way home, we decided to put an offer in on one of the houses. Our offer was accepted last week and the seller requires a closing date of less than 45 days.

Needless to say, our timeframe for moving has sped up a great deal.

It is with both heavy and excited hearts that we are packing our things once again. We are sad to leave beautiful Alabama and the wonderful friends we have made here. We are sad to leave the Ramp where we have grown and matured so much.  However, we are excited for another adventure with the Lord. We are excited about the house He is providing which has many elements we have dreamed of. And we are excited to rejoin some of the amazing friends He has allowed us to do life with over the past 7 years.

We truly feel we will have two homes as we leave Hamilton. We will look forward to trips down to visit and be refreshed and to see the continued work of the maternity home that we've had a small part in launching!

As we take our next leap of faith on this crazy journey the Lord is leading us on, please be in prayer for our family, our move, and our hearts as we leave behind some of the most amazing and God-loving people we've had the privilege to know.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What is Adoption Consultation Anyway?

I have a good friend who puts it very well. She says whenever she tells people she is an adoption consultant she gets mostly blank stares. So let me explain:

As an adoption consultant and adoptive mama with Christian Adoption Consultants, I walk with an adoptive family from the time they first inquire about adoption through finalization. I help them: 

  • identify ethical agencies who provide good care to adoptive and birth families
  • create the perfect family profile
  • identify some of the best ways to finance their adoption (Did you know that most families working with an adoption consultant average $5-10K more in adoption grants and fundraising money than those not working with a consultant?)
  • help families steer clear of high-risk situations that could result in their losing thousands of dollars
  • provide support, guidance and education on interacting with their birth family, agency and attorney
  • help shorten the waiting time for families through applying to multiple agencies
Also, as a consultant, I have access to situations and children available with other agencies and attorneys the adoptive family has not applied with. I am able to share these situations with waiting families.

If you have been considering adoption, call (816-237-8242) or email me to find out how I can help! I would love to walk with you on your adoption journey, sharing my own expertise as an adoptive mama as well as my fifteen years of adoption experience.

Remember, Christian Adoption Consultants is offering a 10% discount on our full consulting programs if you apply by Friday. What better way to kick off your summer than beginning the process to answer God's call to care for the orphan?

Monday, June 2, 2014

My New Career at CAC Begins!

Today marks my first official day as a Consultant and International Adoption Supervisor with Christian Adoption Consultants! Christian Adoption Consultants is committed to helping families realize their dreams and answer God’s call to add to their family through adoption. I am beyond blessed to use my lifetime of previous adoption experience...both personal and professional to help families navigate the often confusing adoption process.

AND...to make my first day even better, Christian Adoption Consultants is offering a 10% summer discount on our full-service consulting packages! 

This discount applies to all applications received from June 2nd-6th. We only offer discounts like this a few times a year – don’t miss out!

  • Basic Consulting Service- normally $2130 is NOW $1977
  • Consulting Plus Basic Profile Preparation- normally $2680 is NOW $2412
  • Consulting, Profile, and Paperwork Preparation- normally $3430 is NOW $3087

This discount does not apply to our Do It Yourself Program or Special Needs Program and may not be combined with any other discounts. No discounts on any other packages

Sign up with me this week and I will personally walk with you on your adoption journey as well as provide you with invaluable information on financing your adoption, connecting with reputable home study and adoption agencies, and creating your adoption profile.

Contact me with questions about adoption consultation or how I can help you realize your dream of growing your family through adoption at angela@christianadoptionconsultants.com or 816-237-8242.

On Moving Down South with my Multi-Racial Family

Originally posted May 2013
IMG_0363xWhen the Lord first started whispering the idea of a move to us, I said I would never move my multi-racial family to the south. I particularly abhorred Alabama because of the racist looks we received at gas stations on our way through on our return trip from Florida after adopting Christian. I revised that very quickly since it is not my place to put God in a box. I said, “I would really have to hear from God to take my boy into the south.”
So, here we are, moving south with our multi-racial family in a few short months. On the outside it seems crazy. One thing I know is that God said go and to disobey would be far worse than any racism we may face as we enter the deep south.
 Being a multi-cultural family isn’t easy, no matter where we are, but some places are definitely more open than others. We are thankful that the church we are entering has other multi-cultural adoptive families and is a fairly diverse community.
More than once, Christian has received prophecy that he would be a bridge between the races.  We pray that would be true more now than ever.

Asking Questions

Originally posted November 2012
Christian, who just turned three a few weeks ago, is starting to gain an awareness of his adoption. Reading all the adoption books and working in adoption never gave me a clear picture of when this might happen, but more of a vague “you’ll know when they are ready.” So, I’ve faithfully read his story to him from the book we created to tell just that.
Lately, he’s been putting things together which has lead to statements like:  “I grew in my birth mama’s tummy. And then I came to you! And you were so happy! Right?”
Or questions like: “The girls (his sisters) grew in your tummy? But I grew in my birth mama’s tummy?”
He’s also gaining an awareness of the difference between his skin and ours. Recently he told a friend at church that her skin is brown and so is his. She honestly wasn’t sure how to respond, but I was thrilled he was identifying with her.
A few days ago, I overheard a conversation he had while playing legos with a 10 year old friend of my daughters. Christian was digging through the lego bucket looking for something:
Friend: “What are you looking for, Christian.”
Christian: “The chocolaty brown guy.”
Friend, confused: “The chocolaty brown guy?”
Me: “He’s looking for one that has brown skin like him.”
Christian: “Yeah”
Both dug intensely for a minute until the friend produced the chocolaty brown guy whom Christian put at the helm of the boat they had just built and proclaimed that the guy was him leading the battle charge.
Each time Christian brings something up, I say a prayer that the Lord would give me wisdom to speak to his heart and that He would help Christian understand his story and yet fully embrace the good and the difficult parts of being adopted. In a split second I ask for God to make him strong and give him joy despite losing his birth family or the difficulty of being the only black person in our family.
Anthen I launch in with an answer that often includes a reminder that God knew and loved Christian before He even made the world. That way back then God knew Christian would live with his birth mama for 18 months and then he would need a new family to love and care for him. One that included a daddy since that was the most important thing to Christian’s birth mama. Though he has no concept yet, we talk about our family being  forever and that Christian’s birth mama and sister also love him forever, even though he doesn’t live with them. I’m sure my words aren’t perfect, but I trust the Lord to work in my weakness.
I’ll be honest, I love that he is putting things together and asking questions. I love the dialogue and that I am getting many chances to remind him that he is loved and wanted and cherished. God help me lead him to You so that he gets his identity from You and not from all the losses he’s experienced in his short life!

She's Come for a Visit

Originally Posted July 2012
Today Christian’s 9 year old biological sister flew in from Florida for a visit.  She will be here for ten days visiting Christian and her other little brother, Asher.
We’re thrilled she’s here…and also a little overwhelmed.  This is our first visit with any of Christian’s birth family since they are in Florida and we are twenty plus hours from there.  Also, we have some interesting dynamics in place since Christian was 18 months old when he left his birth family and joined our family.  There are memories there for him.  Not the conscious kind any longer, but definitely memories.
Already we’ve seen him try some behaviors he used a year ago to get his way.  Behaviors we worked long and hard to see leave.  He hasn’t quite figured out how to handle her being here.  He knows her from pictures, but this ‘in the flesh thing’ is different.  He’s testing his boundaries with us and her.  It is nerve-wracking to lay our family so completely open knowing that we do things SO VERY differently than her family does them.  We look different, eat different, discipline different, and live different and she will see just about every detail of our family in the next week since she’s living with us.
But it is SO worth it.  Already she has regaled us with stories of Christian’s life before our family.  What he liked and didn’t like.  Stories like the time he was blasted by a wave at a year old. (Which explains why he freaked out in the water the first 50 times we went swimming.)  She brought a stuffed animal that was his when he lived with them.  He latched right on and carried it around all night.  She’s giving us a glimpse into where Christian came from that we simply didn’t have before.  It is invaluable and precious and meaningful.
Right now he certainly doesn’t understand the dynamics of who she is and how she is related compared to his forever family.  He’s open and accepting because we are.  Some day, the fact that he gets to stay in contact with his big sister will be important to him.
So, however awkward this feels.  And whatever the enemy tries to say to us about what she may report to his birth mom regarding our home and the way we are raising our son doesn’t matter.  We aren’t doing this for us.  We are opening our hearts wider to include a sweet little girl who is significant in Christian’s life and story.
And maybe, just maybe, she will see our love for Christian and her and carry that home in her heart along with all the fun experiences we will we have together this week!

Four Little Words

Originally posted May 2012
We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday because we were out of town the previous week.  It was kinda nice because all the places weren’t packed with other blessed mothers.  This mother’s day was amazing compared to last year’s.  This year Paul planned to let me sleep in… I couldn’t wait.  And then four little words shattered that dream.  Let me explain.
Last year we were in Florida to adopt Christian.  On Mother’s Day he had been with us less than 72 hours.  The day before Mother’s Day we had been at a meeting with his birth mom that was required by our agency.  He was with us at that meeting.  Understand, Christian was 18 months old and had been away from his birth mom for four days when he joined our family.  He had no idea why he was away from her nor why he was with all these white people.  We hadn’t come close to finding our equilibrium in parenting him yet.
When she walked in the door, he went nuts with excitement.  He wanted to be with her and in her arms.  Her heart wasn’t at a place where she could handle that.  When he couldn’t be in her arms he went nuts with anger and frustration.  We were there only one short hour, but it felt like four hours.  My heart was breaking to  not have more more time getting to know, loving on, and honoring his birth mama and big sister.  My heart was breaking even more to see this little boy so sad and confused.
As soon as we left he calmed down and it seemed okay.  We went back to our place and Paul put him down for bed later that evening.  Whew.  The next day was Mother’s Day and I offered to stay behind and put Christian down for his morning nap while Paul took the girls to the beach since we had been in the car much of the day before.  I anticipated rocking him to sleep and then enjoying some reading for the hour and a half, two hours of his nap.
Moments after they left the peace was shattered.  This angry, confused, and scared little boy wanted nothing to do with me.  He didn’t want to be held, but if I put him down he writhed around in misery.  He screamed for the next three hours straight.  If I touched him, sang to him, or prayed, he screamed louder.  If I put him in the playpen, he threw himself against the sides.  Exhausted he would doze for a minute and then resume.  I couldn’t call Paul to come help…you don’t take your phone down to play in the waves.  If I thought the hour the day before seemed like four, those three hours seemed like an eternity.  I alternated between desperate prayers and a few of my own tears sprinkled with a hefty portion of fear.  This was certainly not my best Mother’s Day.
After that day, things began to calm and we realized that initially, Paul needed to be there.  Christian hadn’t had a dad at home so he relished his new dad.  Within a couple weeks we were home and getting into our new “with toddler” routine and Christian was getting more and more okay with me.  I could do naptimes, Paul could leave for short times – it was getting better.  Within a few months his most painful memories had dulled and been covered over by new ones of adoring big sisters, steady and loving parents, and a constant environment with few changes.  He relaxed, became loving and joyful, and the tantrums slowed to pretty much nil by the fall.
Fast forward to yesterday morning.  To show me love, Paul was letting me sleep in.  We did church Saturday and this would be relaxation/fun day.  He got Christian up and brought him in for a good morning hug.  Christian snuggled on my chest and we talked about his night.  Sweet!  Then he and Paul headed downstairs to watch a show and have breakfast.  As Paul was closing the bedroom door so I could rest more, Christian yelled, with no prompting from Dad, “I love you, Mom!”
That was it, I was done in.  Sleep evaporated as I realized that God completely redeemed last year’s Mother Day.  I thanked Him over and over for giving us strength for the past year, for helping Christian in his new life, for bringing us to such a good place.
The rest of the day didn’t matter – that was the only gift I needed.  Happy Mother’s Day to me.

THE Party!

Originally posted August 2012
Last weekend we celebrated Christian’s adoption.  We did it up right with a potluck, lots of friends, and the Lord  blessed us with lovely weather.  The food was good, the friends were fun, and the icing on the cake was meeting Christian’s little brother, Asher, and his sweet family.  It ended up an all day even with folks dropping by most of the afternoon.  Christian’s favorite part was when we finally gave him the tractor off his cake.  It was driving him crazy!
A few pics of this joyous occasion:
His cake - says "Forever - Christian Micah Caleb Kopplin, April 16, 2012"
As soon as he saw the cake he grabbed the tractor. When I yelled "no!" he promptly shoved it back on top of the cake. :-) No damage done...good thing since I hadn't taken pictures yet.
Dad praying before the eating and partying began.
Mom and dad had fun, too!
Meeting Asher for the first time
Holding little brother, Asher. At first he didn't want to see Asher - probably because 15 people were watching him meet his little brother while he had no clue the significance of the situation. A bit later he came and wanted to help me hold him!
Finally getting his prize - the tractor!
A very tired boy from all the partying. He's hanging out in his new camo tent received as a gift from our sweet neighbors.

It’s Really True and Finally Here

Originally posted April 2012
Yesterday was a long time coming.  We thought it would happen in 2011, we thought it would happen in February.  We are just thankful it is finally done!  Christian is officially, fully, completely, and legally a Kopplin.  The attorney said “Legally, he is no different than the children born to you.  He’s yours.  Congratulations!”
A lot of prayers and waiting went into this day.  Every prayer was worth it.  The actual event seemed a bit anti-climatic since it was all of 6 minutes long, including our hold time waiting for the judge to get on the line.  :-)  We finalized over the phone with Judge Day back in Jacksonville, FL.  We had a notary friend (Mitch Yap) present to administer an oath to us.  We stated our names and address, told why we wanted to adopt, and heard the judge say he was signing the papers.
It wasn’t until we got into the car to go home that the reality hit us.  He’s ours!  We must have said that a couple dozen times yesterday as we watched him play and run.  He’s ours!  No more paperwork, no more wondering, no more waiting, and no more being listed as his “foster or temporary mom” on hospital paperwork.  Did I mention that he’s ours?
God has been good and faithful during the entire 11 1/2 months he has been with us.  He has given us the strength and wisdom to help Christian transition into our family.  He has helped him bond with us quickly and strongly.  He has caused us to not worry over every bump in the road towards finalization.  There were many bumps, but He just kept smoothing them out and we tried to keep trusting Him.
Now we pray for the rest of our lives – that we would raise this little man as the Lord would have us.
Thank you for those who prayed for us.  Thank you for those who encouraged us.  Thank you for those who stood with us through all the waiting.
Waiting for the judge to come on the line. Our friend/notary standing behind us.
Administering the oath.
Right after - official family of 5 first picture
Kopplins and Hourihans, minus their dad - a mini celebration picture of our big event!

About Adopting A Toddler

 Originally posted November 2011 
The most handsome little two year old in the world!
Christian has been with us for six months and 10 days now.  I can hardly believe it has been that long and yet there is still so much I don’t know.  There are times he does things that I know have an origin not of our family.  I find myself asking him if he has seen or done something before.  Of course, he can’t tell me, but I still wonder if this is really his first time to _____ or just his first time with us.
A few weeks ago he had his first haircut at the barber since he joined our family.  Before he joined us, his birth mom kept his hair shaved so I know it wasn’t really his first time.  Unfortunately, it was traumatic.  He sat still as a statue and cried the whole time.  I had to wonder why?  What made my busy two year old sit perfectly still for 45 minutes in obvious agony?  Had he been spanked for fighting in the barber chair before?  What do I do to reassure him?  How do I make sure he feels safe?
The reality is that I just don’t know.  He has 18 months of experiences before our family (positive and negative) that I have no way to know about.  I realize that while he feels totally a part of our family, it will be another year before he has been with us for half his life.
A child adopted older may eventually be able to talk about their past – what they hated or feared, what they liked or miss.  Adopted at 18 months old, my son will never be able to verbalize those early months.  He won’t have conscious memory of them, even if feels the loss, anger, rejection, etc., inside.
I am constantly faced with good and not-so-good behavior that I can’t explain.  Who taught him to play dead?  Why does he get upset over that?  Why is he screaming for “no reason”?
I try to walk through each situation in prayer.  I am constantly asking the Lord if what is happening is due to age or loss.  I find that if I take a moment to pray and listen, the Holy Spirit often drops a nugget into my mind that focuses my prayer on the root issue.  I pray and many times feel a tangible release in Christian.
I don’t always hear that clearly, but I remain watchful and prayerful for behaviors that have some extra element behind them.  I try to remember that while we’ve poured love, boundaries, and security into his life for these past months, he still has more experiences outside of our influence that drive who he is, how he handles each situation, and how he reacts to new things.
Don’t take this wrong, I wouldn’t give up the joy of having this little guy in our family for any “easier” situation.  I can tell you that we’ve come a long way in six months.  I think back to the first days and weeks and praise God all over again.  My son’s anger and frustration at all of the out-of-control and scary changes in his life was palpable.  Simple things often became major events when he expressed his frustration and anger.  We had to teach boundaries with unending love.  We had to provide love even when he pushed away with all of his might.  We had to get up a dozen times a night to love, encourage, and reassure him.  Even comings and goings of us or family were traumatic for him.  He must have been wondering if we were going to disappear like his birth mom and sister did.
I remember vividly when people started commenting about how much more settled he seemed.  That was a balm to my heart.  That change came with much sacrifice of time, but was worth every minute.
Now he loves to “go, go, go” and sweetly yells “Bye!” while blowing a kiss when one of us leaves.  Yes, he has come a long way.  He’s gone from non-verbal to talking and repeating EVERYTHING.  He’s gone from frequent anger and extended tantrums to normal toddler cries and frustrations.  He’s gone from eating fries and chicken nuggets to gobbling celery, lettuce, and cucumber like they are candy.
So while I don’t know all that he experienced those first 18 months like I know for my daughters, the Lord knows.  I trust Him to reveal to me when I need it.  When I turn to Him, He gives wisdom in how to act, what to say, how to proceed, and how to pray.  He is the only One I can lean on or look to when what I see before me just can’t be explained or seems too big or hard.
Thankful I’m not in this alone!

So Much Alike

Originally posted June 2011
Many people know that I am adopted.  Officially I was adopted at 8.  However, I started living with my adoptive parents when I was about one.  Not much younger than Christian.
This similarity in our stories really hit me last night when I was praying over him and talking to him about how much he is loved and wanted.  I was telling him how I know it is hard and all so different.  As I said that, I realized, I really DO know!  I know it is possible to want to be with both sets of parents so bad it hurts.  I know it is possible to love your first mom and dad and your adoptive parents equally!  I know how important BOTH of my moms are to me now.
I tell him as many good things about his first mama as I can.  She is his mom.  So am I.  She is part of him and always will be.  I don’t mind sharing because I get it.  Some day he may have the privilege to tell his children that he is lucky to have two moms who love him so much.  I don’t know if we will get to meet her again in the future, but I will embrace her if we do.  I will tell her everything her heart desires to know about her boy and shower her with pictures and stories.  I will bring her into our circle, our family, and love her like I love him.
She is, after all, the reason I get to hold this boy in my arms each day and get lost in his smiles and snuggles.
I could never have imagined it would be this good!

And Today Makes One Month

Originally posted June 2011
I know, I know…it has been too long since I have updated.  We have had to jump a bit back into life and that has really been something.  Not to mention that I have roughly 90% less computer time than I had before. :-)
But today is a good day for an update because Christian has officially been part of our family for a month!
You can't so no to that smile!
Each day brings more knowing.  More knowing how he ticks, what he likes and doesn’t like, more of him knowing how life rolls in the Kopplin house.  We’ve got our routine fairly down.  Mornings are mom time.  We wake, we snuggle, we get ready for the day, we get the girls up, and play and eat.  Yep, that’s some pretty awesome time!  Then he gets VERY excited when dad comes home and part of the afternoon is mostly dad time while I work.  In the evening, we visit the prayer room for a short bit before bed.
I wish I could say every day is that smooth and lovely, but some are tougher than others.  Teething, too many changes, bad dreams, and sometimes just looking at me and wondering where his first mama is can add challenges to our day.  The tough days come and go and overall we see him relaxing into the rhythm of our family.  (The new rhythm which is a bit slower than before, I might add.)
I walked in the door a few days ago to be greeted by a pointing finger and the very clear word “mama”.  There was no doubt he meant me that time.  Yep, that feels good.  He’s starting to look to us when he bumps his head, he’s learning to stay out of the duck coop and the dog’s water.  The other morning he heard a loud noise outside and ran to the comfort of my arms.  That may not sound like much to you, but let me tell you with an adopted toddler who has experienced as much tearing
apart of his world as he has, it is HUGE!
With all of that, we are tired.  Wiped out really.  Just keeping the family fed and the house cleaned is a much larger challenge than before.  Keeping up with work and email seems impossible.  We miss our friends and find running errands very trying.
The end result?  I am fully reliant on God for my daily strength.  I don’t have what it takes to walk this out on my own.  I don’t have time to do everything I did before so I do what is needed.  I prioritize, I ask the Holy Spirit what is most important in the hour I have when he is sleeping.  Sometimes it is work or email or laying on the couch with one of the girls.  (The latter being my favorite, of course.)
Even with the hard times, this boy has my heart.  I love his hugs, his smile, his sweet voice as he coaxes me to sing his favorite “Jesus Loves the Little Children” before bed.  I love his belly laugh, wiping his tears, watching my girls give him a bath, and seeing him explore the world.  Thank You, Father for this amazing gift you put into my family.  Thank You for the grace, strength, peace, and wisdom to raise Him.
I love you, Christian, my son!
Playing with Isobel and Scooter
After nap snuggles with Jessica
Meeting the goats at Deanna Rose Farm
Feeding a goat...lasted about 1/2 a second.

Such Sweetness as This

Who needs toys???
Originally posted May 22, 2011
We’ve been home nearly a week now.  It has indeed been a whirlwind, but we are finally unpacked and the laundry is finished just in time to start again tomorrow.  I am constantly amazed at the places in my house that are still not toddler-proof despite hours of installing locks, gates and other things to deter curious fingers.  We installed a gate a few days ago which he promptly figured out how to open.  Today, he came close to figuring out how to open the cabinet latches.  What does one do when they beat the system?  Double latches? :-)
I have to say this week has had its ups and downs as we’ve all learned how to be a bigger family.  The best ups happened yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I was doing the dishes when I felt a little hand go around my leg as he peeked around me at someone else.  I knew he recognized me as that safe place to run to.
Today I had to leave for about an hour and half.  Towards the end he disappeared up the stairs with dad following to see what he was doing.  He went into my room and called “mama?”  He was looking for me!  He missed me!  Oh still my beating heart.
I cannot tell you how much I relish the hugs and even the times of juggling him on one hip while I try to do something in the kitchen with my other hand.  With my girls being 9 and 11, I know that these times of snuggling won’t last long.  I intend to make the most of them!
I also relish the times when we rock him to sleep.  We never rocked the girls, but that is his way.  It knocks him out in a few minutes and then I can pray over him and enjoy his sweetness without all the wiggliness.
Yep, it doesn’t really get any sweeter than sticky banana-mouth kisses and handing me chewed food that he decided he didn’t like after all.  It doesn’t get any sweeter than blowing kisses and snuggling on my shoulder when the world overwhelms.  Could God have blessed me any more than this?
They all three love swinging!
Doesn't he look ready for a nap?

And So Begins the Chaos

Asleep on the long car ride home.
Originally posted May 17, 2011
We made it home!  Actual arrival time was around 4pm Monday the 16th.  Christian officially turned 19 months old just two days before.
We had a grand four day adventure back and he was a trooper.  We traveled about 6 hours each day with stops at hotels and one wonderful visit with friends in Alabama.  That was about Christian’s car seat limit even with breaks to run around and ignore 4 people’s calls to come back or stop.  (Yeah, we need to work on that one – he’s FAST!)
When we got home and began to unload and unpack, we began to realize just how NOT toddler proof our house is.  I mean, really, everywhere we turn are things to push, pull, mess with, climb on, or bang that really shouldn’t be messed with by tiny fingers.
Today, naptime ended earlier than expected.  Christian hollered out to let us know he was awake.  About a minute later he met dad at the bottom of the stairs after climbing out of the crib and down a set of fairly steep stairs.  Tomorrow we get a crib tent!
As I type, Paul is busily adding cabinet and drawer latches as needed as well as coming up with a plan to keep Christian away from computers.  The girls school books are safely tucked away in a cabinet secured by a dog collar.  (All those child proof locks for cabinet doors were also nearly adult and big sister proof.  The dog collar is too hard for him to unbuckle right now. :-)  Go dad!
I’m sure Christian is wondering when we will get back in the car and go to the next place.  We, however, are relishing the fact that we are home and plan to stay for some time.  We are working on a routine and looking for our new normal of when we get up, go to bed, eat, play, work, and do chores.  We spend every moment we can speaking love and truth over Christian.
Truths like:
“You were fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Psalm 139
“The Lord knows the plans for you, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
“He chose you before the foundations of the world.” Ephesians 1:4
“Before you were formed in your mama’s tummy, God knew you and loved you.”  Jeremiah 1:5
You are loved and wanted.  You are not a mistake.  You are not a throwaway.  You were prayed for many months before you joined our family.
These are the truths to combat the lies of rejection from the enemy.  If you have a moment, please pray these over him with us and any other adopted children in your life.
Our bigger family!
A very tired boy playing with a new car toy before bed.

And He Stole My Heart!

Originally posted May 9, 2011
Hello All!  So sorry for the lack of updates the last couple days.  We’ve been livin’ and learnin’!
That sweet boy currently sleeping my bedroom is truly amazing!  He has a smile that absolutely melts my heart.  We have spent the last few days learning about his likes and dislikes.  So far he likes pretty much any food expect good healthy fruits or vegetables.  He’ll try anything, but rarely eats more than a bite of that healthy stuff.
He loves music and especially enjoys sitting on dad’s lap watching the prayer room.  One of these days you’ll see him bopping and dancing his way around the prayer room.
He loves his big sisters who can make him laugh quicker than anyone and are diligently teaching him bad habits like turning lights off and on.
He loves to hug and snuggle…for a few minutes until he is off to check out what someone else might be doing.
He is big and strong and enjoys muscling boxes of toys, strollers with the brake on, or anything else that looks fun to push around the room.
He also likes buckling any buckle, but particularly his stroller or feeding seat thereby making it nearly impossible to put his squirmy body in the seat when you want to. :-)
He LOVES sitting up high on Dad’s shoulders anytime and anywhere.  That is the foolproof method to calm him down when he gets overwhelmed.
He thinks waves are a riot, but is completely unimpressed by floaties in the pool.
If he gets away from you for a second, he’s off like a lightening bolt.  You can’t imagine how fast that little guy can run.
Truly to see him, you think he is 3 so we have to be constantly mindful not to expect him to act like a 3 year old.
To finish up my bragging, I will also report that he is speaking dozens and dozens of words.  He will be talking up a storm very soon.
Yes, we have our moments.  He throws toddler tantrums, which are getting less and less as we consistently work and love him.  Yes, he misses his first mama.  So we pray over him, love him, speak scripture over him, and speak the truth that he is wanted and loved.
We have no doubt that God provided this amazing boy to our family!  We’re beginning to find a daily groove that works for all of us.
Enjoy a few more pics.
One of Christian's favorite places on dad's shoulders.
Love that look.
Playtime before the girls get up.
Happy to have the big sisters up!