Monday, June 29, 2009

Not Today

Some days I just don't want to be an adoptive mother. Some days, it is as if the enemy is on full attack on my attitude and my stamina. I even started this morning in the Word - and still I don't feel like putting the work into being an adoptive mom today.

This is work. I am in a stage that I can't let anything go. I have to be constantly watching, listening and talking with and to George. Really, today, I simply want to sit my kids in front a good movie and take a few hours to myself.

Maybe this is because I just got off several days of single-parenting the kids. Maybe this is because I didn't really get a sabbath yesterday, as I spent half the day taking Eleanor to horse-camp. Maybe it is just "one of those days".

I am surprised at my emotions today, because yesterday Joe and I reflected on just how far George has come....and how far we have come. We used to be so scared at how angry we could get. For the first time in our marriage and in our parenting, we had to call each other off. Either Joe or I would get too angry at George and was becoming irrational. That was very scary for us. But now, language is coming and we can sort of talk to George about his behavior.

Last night, George sat with ME on the couch and let me rub his back as his eyelids grew heavier and heavier. Last night, I just watched George and could genuinely smile.

So, why the feelings today? This is a long journey, and I just think I am tired today. I am frustrated with many things, mainly not being able to get a babysitter for Joe and I to go to a Brewers game - sigh. Well, that's not the main thing, but it's just been a hard weekend and I think I need a good hour to myself and that just doesn't happen these days - I am not sure that will ever happen with 5 kids who all want to spend time with me and go with me every where I go.

That is what I really want...to have children who love being with their mother, but I just want to be alone today. I just don't want to be a mom today.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The New Discipline

I don't have much time to write, but I did want to start something before I forget. From the day we picked up George, Joe and I were faced with huge challenges with George's behavior. You all know that! We poured over God's word, looking for answers and wisdom and we talked to adoption counselors and other adoptive parents of older children and we came to the conclusion that until we had some language, we would need to physically show George that we were not happy with his behavior. This resulted in spankings. And the spankings worked.

We did not feel bad about spanking, for we have spanked all our children. We probably have spanked them a total of the number of fingers we have, but when we needed to, spanking proved to be a very effective form of discipline. The same was true with George.

Until, I tried something different the other day. The offense that George committed did not warrant a spanking and so we walked home, I put George on his bed and told George to look at me. He refused. He put one hand over his eyes, put one hand over his nose, screamed and refused to look at me. No matter how much I tried to pry his hands away, he would NOT look at me. It was very, very frustrating.

But, I was determined not to give up. I asked George if he wanted a spanking instead and he nodded "yes". OK - I gave him a spanking and then insisted he look me in the eye...still! At this point, George did not want to have another spanking and so he dared to open his eyes and look at me.

I very calmly explained to him what he did was very wrong and told him that I did not want to see him do that again. I asked, "Do you understand?", and he nodded.

The next day, something else happened and we went through the same routine. Again, he finally submitted and looked at me. His "punishment" consisted of having to look at me and listen to me as I told him what behavior I did not like. He then had to say he was sorry and give a hug.

At the pool the other day, he cut in line about 20 kids on the slide. I had to march up the slide steps (humiliated as I went) and brought him back down. I told him to look at me and he shouted, "No!" - so I told him we were leaving and started getting the other kids out of the pool. Suddenly George yelled passionately, "Momma!" and he stood before me with his eyes wide open staring at me.

I posed the question to the adoption web board and asked some of the other moms of older adopted kids about this and a woman I trust replied that we have really hit on something here. As long as I continued to spank George, he had reason to continue to dislike me. I was hurting him and in his eyes, he had a right to keep his distance. Now, as I was forcing him to look at me, two things were happening. First of all, he HAD to do something he did not like to do - and culturally was instructed to never do. It is a big deal for an Ethiopian child to look into the eyes of an adult. He was uncomfortable doing it and probably scared to death what might happen if he do it. So, by following my instruction and seeing there result was not as bad as he thought it would be, trust was gained. Second, I give him no reason to be mad at me. I am very, very clear that I am not happy with the behavior, but I also am showing him that I love him by ending our "conversations" with hugs and apologies.

I still have so much to learn about raising an adoptive son! But, thankfully, God is gracing me with little periods of epiphany where I think, "We can do this!" (We, meaning me and God). Interesting side note - he has not done any of the behaviors from these episodes - yet :) Something is starting to click.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tears and a boy named H

Oh my...it is with a broken heart that I share this short post. My son, George, is so concerned about his friend, H, back in the Soddo orphanage. After a full day of swimming and playing, we came in to settle down with a short video. George had no interest in the video and instead was insisting that I pull up the picture of H, who is one of the waiting older children.

George sat for about 20 minutes in front of the computer, not saying a word. Then, he quietly said, "Good night, H", and turned off the computer. Then he sat on the couch and said, "H need bike," which I replied, "We maybe can send a gift to H, but I don't think we can send your bike half way around the world."

George burst into sobs! He shouted, "Georgie, no bike. H need bike!" over and over again.

I grabbed George and pulled him onto my lap and held him as he cried. This poor little boy has begun to mourn.

And...what a sensitive heart he has underneath all the anger and defiance. If only you knew how much this little boy loves his bike! It is the first thing he asks about in the morning, it is the last thing he plays with before coming in for bed. When we were camping, he wanted to know most where his bike was. This bike is his absolute favorite material possession. And he wants to give that up and send it to his friend who probably has very little, if anything that is his own.

Oh my dear boy. How I want to take away all your pain, and I know this is just the beginning of your mourning. You have lost your family. You have had to leave your friend. You no longer recognize sights, smells our sounds. I am sorry. But, I want you to know how much I love you and how excited I am to see you grow in this country! I can't wait to see what God has planned for your life! Something that will use your sensitivity, your generosity and your stubbornness - ha! I love you, George and thank you, for letting me love you tonight.

George Today

We just got back from camping and I had an email from a fellow adoptive mom who wanted to know if we were the family that adopted Georgebush. Her son was in the same orphanage and really wanted to know how he was doing. I responded that we were, indeed, George's new family and asked if her son could tell us anything about George.

This is what she replied:

"So far...Kyle, tell me about George. Kyle makes a pouty face and drops his head and sticks his lip out in imitation. I asked him if he was a sad boy or a happy boy and he said sad boy. I asked him if he played and he stops and thinks and said that he played with Soddo friend. Again, he drops his face and sticks out his lip and says "sad boy" This is all I have for now. I wish it were happy news. I will pray for George's joy to come, if it is not here already."

Both Joe and I took pause. Our son was the "sad boy". Our hearts broke as we heard how even to a fellow orphan, George stood out for being so sad.

Today, I was looking at the photo list of older children still waiting to be adopted when George suddenly got very excited about one certain boy! He asked me what his name was and when I told him, George's eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across his face. He knew this boy! George said, "Friend." George then tried to show this friend some of his cars and tried talking to him. He wouldn't let any of us change the screen.

Again, my heart breaks knowing this little boy is still in the orphanage at Soddo. As an 8 year old boy, there just are not too many families knocking down doors to adopt him.

How different will George's life be from this little boy if he is never adopted? How different it is already! George may still have moments of being sad, but I can tell you he is growing in his peace and joy every day. This morning, as he opened the freezer to show me what he wanted for breakfast, he smiled. Then, when I said, "yes", he skipped over to me and gave me a great big hug, saying, "Thank you, Momma."

Today, he is going swimming in a clean, beautiful pool with slides and fountains and balls to play with. Tonight, he will eat until his belly is full and then play with his new friends and his siblings. Then, after a full day of fun, George will climb into a new bed with clean sheets and four stuffed animals. The air conditioning will be humming, his brother right next to him falling asleep at the same time, and a mommy who tucks him in and says, "I love you, Georgie."

Joy is coming.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Knight ...


This blog is long overdue. My husband has been amazing! In Africa, I started calling him my hero and after being home for a few months, Joe continues to love me beyond any way he has done before.

As I look back at my journal from those first awful days in Africa, one thing stands out...the strength of my husband. I remember clearly when Joe said, "I will do this. I will carry us through until our family is whole." He held me so many times as I cried. He offered to get up in the middle of the night to take George to the bathroom. He volunteered to be the ONE who George bonded with.

I always knew the man I married was special. I knew, even back in the days of us dating, hanging out in bars, going to Reds games, and living a carefree life that he was going to be a great dad. There is a adorable child-like-ness deep down in Joe (but, don't tell anyone!). I remember talking about having children before we got married, and there never was an issue about how many. We truly went into our marriage open to any number of children that God called us to. Joe's mom often says she just knew there would be a day where he would walk through her kitchen door with loads of children wrapped around him...and I believed it.

My husband is a great dad! He sings goofy songs with the kids, he makes them laugh right after being scolded or disciplined, and he is home as much as he possibly can! We made choices early in our child-rearing days to limit the amount of activity our kids are involved in simply because we wanted to be home with them. Our neighbors back in Tosa would often comment that we were always together. They said it like, "How can you all possibly be together all the time?", but we took it as "Wow! You obviously love each other because you are always together."

One dear neighbor used to say, "I never hear you guys fight...that's amazing!" Trust me, there is a full dose of arguing, grumbling and fighting around the Weldie household, but we temper that with lots of giggles, hugs and kisses. And a lot of that comes from Joe.

Joe knows how to make each one the kids bust out laughing. And he knows when to take one of the kids out to breakfast, just to hang out. He knows when to surprise the kids with a special day at the zoo, on a weekday as he plays hooky from work. And he knows just how much our family loves ice-cream and baseball, always taking the kids to get their cones in the 5th inning of the Brewers games.

Joe went into the adoption wondering if he could love an adopted child as much as he loves his biological children. I am the one who did all the reading, all the research, all the preparations for the adoption. All the while, Joe kept saying, "It will be common sense. We already have 4 kids!" In a way, he was right.

When we noticed how angry George was, within 5 minutes of meeting him, Joe stepped up. I was numb and frozen; I could not believe that this child wanted nothing to do with me and I didn't know how to handle it! I HAD done all the reading and the research, but I thought for sure George would want a Mommy. Apparently, all George wanted in the beginning was a Daddy. And Joe was there for him. Joe held George, caressed his skin, kissed his face...all the things I could not bring myself to do. Joe constantly held George's hands and he even sang silly songs to him! I sat sullen, red-eyed and sad.

So, Joe ministered to me. He loved me and held me and read scripture to me. He reminded me how much love we had in our family. And then...he worked for two hours in a steamy hot airline office to get us on an earlier flight home, just for me.

Joe is still there for me. And for George. And for the four other kids. Sometimes I can't imagine the pressure on him right now... not only is he loving his wife and kids, he is still doing his job, which takes a lot from him. There are times that he needs to get away from it all, and he goes on a couple hour motorcycle ride to clear his head and be alone with God...but he always comes home to us with a smile and ready to play with the kids.

While we were camping, I had a horrible episode with George as he was rejecting me and manipulating me. Joe was off playing kickball with the whole gang, waiting for me to join the game. After wrestling with George for several minutes, I gave up and walked, defeated, to the game. Joe took one look at my face and knew what was going on. He walked away from the game, immediately, silently...and just held me and let me cry. Nothing was more important at that time, and I felt so loved by my husband.

Joe took George fishing after that, just spending some alone time with a boy who was totally overwhelmed with the camping experience (with 5 other families). They caught 4 fish together and came back relaxed and smiling. Not only was that good for George, it was good for me to have him out of my sight for a few hours. I could talk out my feelings with a good friend and I was hugged by many friends who didn't know quite what to say, but who just wanted me to know they cared.

My husband is my knight! That man who has come to my rescue time and time again in the past few months. I am thankful that God has giving me this time to really see how amazing my husband is. You know, we can all get so used to our spouses that we stop seeing all the great things and only focus on the negative, annoying things. Right now, there is nothing annoying (well, maybe that leaving the lights on thing)that I see in Joe. I see a man of God who is loving his wife the way Christ loved the church. And I see a man of God who is raising his children in the fear and the knowledge of the Lord. I am a blessed woman.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Pictures






Just thought I would post a few pictures of the happy kids.

God...My Medicine


It is OK to be sad. It is OK to "lose it". It is OK to be brought to your knees. As I look back on the last few months of my life, I am a bit surprised by how many mornings I don't want to get out of bed. "Experts" would say that is a big sign of depression. I say it's a case of a tired mom who can't even begin to think what this day will bring.

In those moments of being sad or exhausted (even at 6am), I take my medicine. I pray. Each morning as I lie in my bed I have to cry out to God a very simple prayer, "Help me make it through this day." I don't feel any different, there is no magical rush of energy or optimism. I simply start to get out of bed.

Some days are better than others. Yesterday was a very good day. The kids played all day outside. Some good friends came over for a visit. Eleanor got plugged into a reading program at the library. We all went to a bubble-wonders show (which was very cool) and Harry almost caught a 20" pike (apparently that is very cool, but I am taking the words of the expert fishermen around here). There was only one big temper tantrum by George, and he responded well to the discipline.

Some days are worse than others. Last week George seemed to have taken huge steps backward in his behavior and every minute of the day he was testing my parenting. I lost it, I was sad, I was angry.

But, in those moments of feeling lost and sad and angry, I found out how much God is there for me. I heard him say, "It's OK to be lost and sad and angry...it brings you closer to me."

Today, in my Bible reading I read these words of encouragement: "When I said, "My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

God's love and consolation is my medicine these days. I am so grateful to serve a living God who sees me falter and lose it and then pours out just what I need to make it through the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Monster in Me

I have been afraid to write this post, but it has been keeping me up at night that I have not put words to some things I experience. There is an ugly monster who lives inside of me. She yells, she blames, she sometimes screams...all at the children in her house. The monster lies in wait, just ready to pounce on any opportunity where life gets hard around the Weldie house. And life was really hard this past week.

For all the progress we had been making with George, he seemed to take several steps back. George became someone who was very, very difficult to get along with. He calls the kids names, he often hits them, he even began spitting on the other kids. George would sit around and wait until he though no one was looking and he would push someone, or break something, or call someone a baby. And it was constant!

The kids were getting really tired of their brother acting this way for no apparent reason. I was getting so frustrated. While George was taking huge steps back in his behavior, I was foolishly reading posts on the adoption board and hearing moms talk about their new sons home who were so sweet and kind and just "smiled all the time".

I was so angry! I was really angry at God and asked him why THIS child? Why THIS family to do this incredibly hard work of re-training or re-programing this child? Did God really know what He was doing when He chose another little president to join our family? Again, I reached a breaking point.

Then, George said, "Mommy...stinky baby", which means "Mommy - you are a stinky baby." The monster was so ready to pounce. I yelled at George more than I have ever yelled...so much that I scared my other children and they all ran to their rooms. I followed suit and ran to my room, shaking and crying. Not only was I angry at God and at George, I was angry at myself for letting that monster take control.

Soon after I noticed this book that had been staring at me for days. Anne Graham Lots has quickly become one of my favorite authors and one of her books was shouting, "Pick me up! Pick me up!" Looking over the table of contents I saw a chapter with the title, "I Need More of Jesus in My Home". Ah, God had something He wanted to speak to me.

I found a quiet moment on the front porch and began reading that chapter. I didn't have to go far before finding the simple phrase spoken by Jesus that explains why the monster was able to come out, "Abide in me.....". And I had to face the reality that I had not been abiding.

In my former life (before adoption), I could get away without "abiding" for several days, maybe even a week. I could float along on listening to Christian music and doing my casual prayers with the kids. I could live off the food of doing Bible study MOST days of the week, or maybe even a few days in the week on a very busy week. I could convince myself that I was a disciple of Christ by doing those things as it truly seemed to be enough to get me through.

But, in Africa, I was given a picture of what true community with Christ is like....and it is amazing! While Africa was so incredibly hard, I had never felt closer to my Lord and Savior. I learned how crucial it was to rely on God for every need for that day, I learned how to pray my way through a tough minute. And these prayers were so different than anything I had ever prayed before, I really thought I was not going to make it through the next minute. God blessed me with Christians being the hands and feet of Christ. I was changed.

I can't imagine the disappointment on my Father's face when I failed to abide once back in the US and things starting to improve. I did not chose to abide. I made choices to call friends, get on Facebook, or do work around the new house. I did not abide in the morning when I woke up and I didn't abide when I felt the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Oh, how easy it is to not abide!

Without abiding, I CAN NOT and WILL NOT be a mom that George deserves. The cold reality is that I have learned that I do not love my adopted child the same way I love my biological children...and I am so sad about that. But, when I abide, I let God love George the way George needs to be loved. God sees the George of 2 years from now and God sees the George of 20 years from now and there IS a reason that God placed George into the Weldie family. My charge is to love him.

I am learning that can only be done when I abide.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Tear at Dinner

We just finished dinner and I wanted to get this down before cleaning up and starting our bedtime routines.

Tonight at dinner, we were enjoying the delicacies of frozen pizzas. Ha! Joe is on his second night of being out of town and I just could not bring myself to cook a grand dinner. At least I sliced up some fresh strawberries!

Anyway - we are sitting around the table, I am reading from a Wisconsin almanac (interesting dinner conversation starter) when Harry suddenly chokes. Not a bad choke, just the kind of choke that sends the food in your mouth flying out. In Harry's case, he was drinking some water when Eleanor said something funny and bam! Harry choked.

He leaned over his chair and let everything that was in his mouth fly - thankfully, it was almost all water. After a few chest clearing coughs, Harry was fine and back to eating his pizza.

That is when I noticed George. His head was low and he was very quiet. I asked him if he was OK. Nothing. Then I noticed this one giant tear streak down his face. I quickly moved toward him and gave him a hug. He let me comfort him! George looked at Harry and seemed to ask, "Is he really OK?" I reassured George that, indeed, Harry was just fine. George stood up and walked over to Harry to give him a big hug. Harry, being Harry, did something totally funny (some crazy sound effect and a big smile) and George let out a giggle.

This whole episode stopped me in my tracks. George was truly scared about his brother. What has George seen that caused him to be so worried? So upset that he would cry over his brother coughing and choking at the dinner table? I may never know exactly what caused this reaction, but in that moment, my heart truly broke for this little boy. Obviously, he HAS experienced something that hit too close to home. Oh, what things George has been through!

He has lost a parent to a preventable disease and he has lost another to AIDS. Do you think he might have lost a sibling along the way? It is rather unusual for a 6 year old boy to have no siblings....it makes me wonder.

Lord, I lift George up to you right now. This little boy, whom you love so much, has led a very difficult life. He continues to lead a hard life as he doesn't know the language we speak or the customs we have. Lord, comfort George. Love George. Reassure George that we all love him and will never leave him. It breaks my heart that he still struggles with thinking that we are temporary. In your supernatural power, Lord, let George know that we are his forever family. Amen.

A Beautiful Late Spring Day

What a beautiful day this turned out to be! Clear blue skies, big puffy, white clouds, a cool breeze off the river. And, I look out my window and my kids are laughing and running and playing!

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am out here! I think having no fences around the houses has done all our spirit's some good. Today, the kids and I (and our neighbors) went down to the Rock River to fish. Well, one of the boys fished (he is so serious about fishing!) and the rest of us enjoyed the day watching him fish. Harry and his friend climbed some trellises up to the train track bridge that goes over the river. Most moms might chastise me for letting them do that, but they are boys and I truly believe they need that adventure in their lives. Lincoln and George climbed a little way up and then decided to throw rocks. Isabel was watching the neighbor's dog and having a blast running around with her. Eleanor had her nose in a book (as usual) but was enjoying the scene.


I think the move has been especially good for George. Despite having the adjust to a new home and new surroundings, the move has been positive. We are all now on level ground. Our new family can make new memories and establish a new normal. That is a good thing! The move has caused the children to play more with each other. No longer are Harry and Isabel running off to their friend's houses. Now, they all play together and think of new things to do as a set of siblings. We now have wide open spaces, a river, dogs that run free, horses to visit and feed. All of these new experiences they are having together. I truly believe this was God's will for our family for it has brought us a little closer.

I play more with the kids out here - probably because I secretly love going down to the river and feeding the horses. I am enjoying being outside and watching my kids play.

It really is a beautiful day today! And after all this fresh air and sunshine, I am sure it will be a peaceful night.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Turn

This came from a thread on the adoption board I frequent. I thought it was very interesting and reminded me of my visit to Ethiopia where the calls to prayer (both Muslim and Orthodox Christian) could be heard round the clock. While we could debate the bad points of feeling obligated to pray at certain times of they day, the over all culture in Africa was more reverent toward God! What has happened to Christianity that we are making such a small splash in the world these days? Why are we so afraid to even speak the name of Jesus among our friends and family? When did it become so "taboo" to be religious? Let me know what you think after reading the follow:

From Mark Noll's latest book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith:

It is as if the globe had been turned upside down and sideways. A few short decades ago, Christian believers were concentrated in the global north and west, but now a rapidly swelling majority lives in the global south and east. As [a Christian] Rip Van Winkle wiped a half-century of sleep from his eyes [after awaking this past week] and tried to locate his fellow Christian believers, he would find them in surprising places, expressing their faith in surprising ways, under surprising conditions, with surprising relationships to culture and politics, and raising surprising theological questions that would not have seemed possible when he fell asleep. [pp. 19-20]

Noll observes that "the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history. . . . More than half of all Christian adherents in the whole history of the church have been alive in the last one hundred years. Close to half of Christian believers who have ever lived are alive right now" [p. 21]. To give some teeth to these "mind-blowing realities," here are a few of the examples Noll gives, showing the magnitude of these recent changes:




This past Sunday it is possible that more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called "Christian Europe." Yet in 1970 there were no legally functioning churches in all of China; only in 1971 did the communist regime allow for one Protestant and one Roman Catholic Church to hold public worship services, and this was mostly a concession to visiting Europeans and African students from Tanzania and Zambia.



This past Sunday more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Canada and Episcopalians in the United States combined--and the number of Anglicans in church in Nigeria was several times the umber in those other African countries.

This past Sunday more Presbyterians were at church in Ghana than in Scotland, and more were in congregations of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa than in the United States.

This past Sunday the churches with the largest attendance in England and France had mostly black congregations. About half of the churchgoers in London were African or African-Caribbean. Today, the largest Christian congregation in Europe is in Kiev, and it is pastored by a Nigerian of Pentecostal background.


This past week in Great Britain, at least fifteen thousand Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia. [pp. 20-21][/color]

When Does the Love Come?

We had a good weekend! It was a little hard because of the rain on Saturday, and we ended up in the ER with Lincoln, but things with George went well.

Isabel was diagnosed with ringworm on Friday and Lincoln got some sort of spider bite on Saturday that sent us to the ER. We surely had our fill of medical issues in a few days. Both are on the mend, but we are keeping a close watch over the two of them - and the rest of us are really nervous about the ringworm spreading.

Sunday, the sun came out and we spent some time going on a long walk and then feeding our neighbor horses some apples. Actually, all the kids wanted to feed the horses, but it ended up that mom did all the feeding! As soon as the horse would reach out for the apple and open his mouth and tickle the kids' hands, the kids would squeal and drop the apple. It is so much fun to be able to stand at a fence, call on some horses and watch them come. The man who owns the horses used to live in our house - and he is so great! He enjoyed teaching the girls all about his horses and then charged them with taking care of his friends. We are happy to do so!

I have decided that I need to do some research on our house and who used to live here. Apparently, most people in town know us already because of the house we are living in. We really do love it here. Last night, as the kids were all getting pjs on, Joe and I were outside by the garden and just sighed at the quiet and the peace of our new home. Who knows? Maybe we will decide to buy this house. If we do, we will have to add on right away, it's just a little too small on the rainy, cold days. What will February be like???

So, now to point of the title. I have been battling in my mind and heart this past week about when will I ever start feeling real, true love for George. I just hate that I write these things...I wish I was overwhelmed with love for George. I wish I would feel the same way toward George that I do my other children, but I have to be honest and say that love is just not there. I still feel like I am babysitting someone else's child. Even as I tuck George into bed and say, "Good night. I love you.", I feel a knot in my stomach because I just don't feel that love yet.

A friend said, "You fake it until you can make it." Meaning, it's OK to fake the love until I really feel it. But when will that come?

George's behavior improves daily. But he is still a spoiled little child who does not like being told no or watching his siblings get attention. He also thinks that every time we go to a store, he should be able to get something. He is relentless in his teasing of Lincoln and I am fed up with breaking up fights between the two little ones. I wish George would start acting his age, but I know that his temper-tantrum throwing and his selfishness are a result of his past and I get angry at myself for expecting more out of him.

This is where the roller coaster of emotions continues to exhaust me! I KNOW better, I did all the studying and preparing...but I just can't convince my heart to accept George just the way he is. Maybe I accept him, so that may not be the right word, but I just can't seem to love him.

I don't want to forget that things are getting better. We do have more language and we can communicate so much more now than we could 4 weeks ago. George sleeps well and eats well and is generally a very happy boy. This is hard work..the work of re-training a child. He has been trained through his culture to pout, cry, whine, and take off his clothes when he gets upset. Yesterday, we were playing basketball with the neighbor boys when Joe asked George to get off the court because he was about to get hurt. George was so upset that he screamed, walked off the court and proceeded to pull off his pants. Uggghh! "Hi neighbors! This is our son, who takes off his pants when we tell him no. Isn't that nice?"

Thankfully, Lincoln busted out laughing, which helped the boys laugh off the situation, but Joe and I just sigh and think, "You've got to be kidding me!" We have to re-train George to deal with, accept and handle the times we tell him to do something.

Re-training. That seems to be the perfect word. Then I pause and realize how much re-training I am going through in my walk. What does it really mean to look like Christ? To be like Christ? It is so easy to say, "I am a Christian.", but we sure don't look like one most times.

Well, the kids are all calling, I need to run. This post seems very disjointed and a bit rambling. Sometimes I just need to get some thoughts down.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Determination

George can ride a two wheeler now! From the second day home, he spotted Isabel's old bike in the garage and has been asking us to teach him to ride. I would give it a few minutes of holding the bike on the driveway while George teetered on the top of the bike, pretty clueless about needing to balance. Our driveway was just too short and we couldn't get much done.

As soon as we moved out here, he started up again. Probably because he would see the girls and I riding off on our bikes. There are several horses on a nearby street and we have enjoyed riding out every day to say hello to the beauties. George finally convinced Eleanor to hold on to his bike while we figured out how to ride it. We have wide open spaces (granted we are on a hill, but learning how to ride down hill must be pretty fun), so George learned how to ride on the comfort of the grass. When he would fall, it really wouldn't hurt. And anyway, this kid has determination like I have never seen!

Before we knew it, he was riding this little pink and light blue bike with a pink wicker basket! At least I said to Joe, "We need to take that basket off." George doesn't care about what color the bike is, but you should have seen the smile on his face when he showed Daddy how he could now ride a bike.

I know that determination will suit him well some day. Right now, his stubbornness is protecting him from all these strange sights, sounds, smells and people.

On another note, I have to tell you about these amazing boys living around us. We have three boys (9,12, and 13) living in the houses around us and they have been so incredibly kind, fun and gracious toward our children; especially toward George! Last night, as Joe and I stood talking to our new neighbors, we watched as our 5 children and their 3 children romped about the open spaces - being chased by the puppies, climbing onto the playset, teasing the girls (but then rescuing Eleanor's hat from one of the puppies!). There was such peace on our family at that moment. Smiles and giggles all around. Squeals of delight as the puppies chased. Laughter as the swings were pushed higher and higher. We looked at an amazing sunset falling behind our house and it was just pure contentment.

We came in and Joe picked up a guitar for the first time in 10 years and we looked up praise song chords. As Joe played, Isabel and I sang, George looked on and Lincoln cuddled in my arms. Harry and Eleanor were reading in the same room and would every now and then break into the chorus with us.

Then...all the kids slept through the night! That has not happened since we came home from Africa. So....for the first time in over a month, I slept through the night!

God is faithful. I know that. He gives me these good days where He asks me to notice the little things. A boy learning how to ride a bike. Kids playing with new friends. A beautiful sunset. Kind neighbors. Pure contentment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Losing It

I lost is on Sunday afternoon. I screamed. I threw things. I destroyed a book. And then I fell onto my bed and waited. It came. George walked up and laid his head down next to mine and then asked for a hug. I held his hands and told him that he keeps hurting my heart. I don't know if he understood any of my words, but he knew.

I woke up Monday angry at God, again. Why did this child have be brought into my family? Why did God make it so clear that this child was to be ours? Why not a cute little baby? Why not a sweet little boy? I didn't even want to get out of bed, again. When is this roller coaster going to stop?

I start the day disciplining George. He responds. The day gets better.

By the time Joe comes home, he comments, "George seems really happy today." And he was.

As I tucked the little boys into bed, George motioned for momma to lay with George. He actually wanted me to snuggle with him in bed for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep.

There is hope. I know I keep saying that. But, I have to remind myself. I feel like a shell of myself most days. I am not the woman I was two months ago. Maybe that is a good thing? I am weak, vulnerable and lost...but there is a peace that surpasses all understanding.

A friend told me "ships are built in the safety of a harbor, but they are meant to go out to sea." That is my life. I was built in a safe place, but now God is asking me to really be Christ. He is asking me to lose it all, to sacrifice all I once held dear. He is asking me to pour and pour and pour into a child who doesn't love me yet. I am being tossed about on the ocean, but I was built in a safe harbor, so I know the ship is strong. I just need to ride out the storm.