Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
George got it.
What is "it"? It is the thing that Joe and I had been praying for from the moment we decided to adopt Georgebush from Ethiopia. It is what we felt motivated our adoption. It is leading a boy into a saving relationship with Jesus.
Oh, how I wish I could have run to the computer to write down everything that happened that evening. But, I couldn't. So I will do my best to share that moment.
Joe and George were on the front porch the evening of Father's Day. They began talking about fathers. George likes to talk about his "Africa-Daddy", and when George asked about what it means to die, Joe naturally thought he was going to talk about his "Africa-Daddy" passing away. They talked a bit about this, and Joe is so frank about death. George likes that. For George has experienced more death than I have! It was a huge part of his life, so talking about it openly and matter-of-factly is fine with him. George said, "My Africa-Daddy stopped breathing and went under the grass. He is still there. I don't want to go under the grass."
Joe replied, "Well, if you believe in Jesus, you won't stay under the grass. You will go to heaven and live with Jesus!"
"Oh, Daddy! Tell me more about this!"
At this point, Joe sent George in to get me so I could join the conversation. He could tell this was going to be a special moment. So, George asked me, "Tell me about Jesus and not dying."
I began by talking about how sometimes we all do bad things, we sin. George nodded his head. He understands. In fact, when Joe was on his way home from the DR, he called and asked George if he had been a good boy. George answered, "Sometimes good. Sometimes bad."
Well, I set up a scenario for George. "Let's pretend that you did something really mean, something really bad to Lincoln. Let's pretend that you took one of his toys and broke it. It was ruined. Then, let's say that I found out and confronted you about this. When you admitted that you stole and broke the toy, I told you there would not be a punishment."
George nodded his head. He understood that if we do something "bad", there is usually a consequence to that behavior and at this point in his life, that consequence is a punishment given out by mom or dad.
"But...here's the good news...let's pretend that Harry heard about what happened with the toy and the punishment. And Harry steps in and says, 'I will take George's punishment, Mom. I love him and don't want to see him get in trouble.' So, I decide to forgive you of the bad thing you did, and take Harry to his room to punish him for what should have been yours."
At this point, George busts into tears. His face is flooded with tears and something sinks in and touches his soul. Something that George never knew about in Ethiopia! I have learned that there are not even words for "sorry" or "forgiveness" in his native language. No one has remorse for their sin, and no one offers free forgiveness.
"George, this is what Jesus did for you! When he died on the cross, when the bad men hurt him, Jesus did that because he loves YOU, George Weldie, so much! He knew that you would sin, and yet He wanted to take your punishment so you could be in heaven some day."
I went on, "This is because God is so holy, He can't even be in the same place as us because he hates sin. So, when we do bad things, we can never be with him. But, even while God is holy, he desperately loves YOU so much that He sent His son to die on the cross."
George is still crying, but looks up at us. "I believe this. Jesus really love Georgie that much?"
"Yes, George. He loves you that much!"
Joe steps in and suggests that we pray and he leads us in a beautiful prayer, just the three of us, standing now in the front lawn. George believes. With this precious faith of a child who suddenly understood his need for a savior.
After the prayer, George threw his hands into the air and said, "I need to sing to Jesus. I need to tell him I love him!"
So, there we stood, all three of us singing at the top of our lungs "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so! Little ones to Him belong. They are week, but He is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."
George looked at me and said, "I want to hear Jesus' voice, Momma! How can I hear Him? I want Him to tell me how to live."
We told George that Jesus doesn't talk to us with a voice we can hear, but the best way is to read His Word. George ran into the house and brought out his easy-reader Bible and said, "I want to read all about Jesus. I want to know Him. Read with me, Momma!"
We sat on the grass and I read about Jesus calming the storm. George was amazed.
After calling it a night, we tucked the kids into bed and George said, "I'm a Christian now. I want to tell everyone about this. They need to know about not going under the grass, but what Jesus did."
You are so right, Georgie! And I pray this fire in you never goes out. I pray that you tell the whole world about this Jesus and what He did for them! I celebrated my son and I praised my God who loves us so much that He gave His one and only son to die on a cross to cover all my sin.
The next morning, George ran into my bedroom at dawn and exclaimed, "I dream about Jesus last night. I see Jesus."
My breath was taken away thinking of how much our God loves one small orphan boy from Ethiopia. He moved our hearts to adopt. He moved governments to allow an adoption. He changed my life; He changed George's life all out of love: relentless, amazing love!
Do you know that He loves YOU with that same love?
So, I wonder...is this story over? Has the final chapter been written about our adoption?
Friday, June 18, 2010
We don't talk to our children that way. Our children used to not talk to each other that way. But there are not times that I hear them saying those same phrases to George...and I don't blame them.
George can unleash fury of mean words on us. And when it is combined with a look of disgust on his face..well....it just gets old. We are all so tired of his mean ways.
I know, this is understandable, usual, I should expect nothing but this...but I want you to know...this a possible reality of adopting an older child. He can be so mean.
I talk and talk until I am exhausted about being kind.
"What does kind mean, Momma?" George will ask, totally frustrated.
"Um, well, being kind means thinking of others, caring about others..."
"I don't want to think of others." He walks away.
How does a child become so hard-hearted? How many more children are sitting in hard places right now, just becoming more and more hard-hearted because NO ONE is showing them love, mercy...and kindness? It is unfair.
I know we are in for years of character development. I am in this for the long haul. But some days, I am just ready for George to be kind.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Let me see if I can even begin to describe this...
George is wearing camouflage head to toe. He looks like an army guy - yet with an interesting flair. The jacket is tucked into his pants and the pants are then pegged and rolled up at the bottom. For some reason, George thinks pants are too long if they touch the top of his feet and he insists on rolling things up. I think this is from years in the orphanage where clothes never quite fit right. Then he has an army hat on with ear flaps covering his ears. That combined with bright read flip-flops!
Then Lincoln...oh, he is the funny one. He is wearing this metallic, shiny sliver body suit. Yes, we have a metallic, shiny silver body suit - doesn't every family? It's not tight, it is more space-suit looking, but it is one piece. And it billows in the wind. This is topped off with a Green Bay Packer helmet. And blue flip-flops.
And as they chase each other around the yard and call each other names I can't recognize (I think they are Rex and Ben), I am simply humbled by these two boys. They are so different!
One from America. One from Africa. One with fair skin, blue eyes and blond hair. One with chocolate skin, brown eyes and black hair. One has had everything he ever needed and most of what he has wanted. One has experienced death, hunger and abandonment.
Yet, here they play as if they have everything in common.
As I was walking in I heard George say to Lincoln, "You are my best friend. You are my brother."
Monday, June 14, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
But, before all this fun started...God gave me another gift. George has been obsessed with ONE song since he came home. He sings this song every day, and if we hear it on the radio, he goes berserk. Personally, I could probably go about 5 years without hearing the song again and be just fine..but I realize how much my son loves this song, so I sing along with him. At one point during the service, we were asked to rise and sing....then the first few chords began and I knew right away...sure enough, "Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful..." George almost squealed, he jumped up and down, he clapped his hands and then he began to play he air guitar!
"Momma! It's Blessedvbenadmaneme", Yes, that is what it sounds like when he says it...he hasn't quite figure out it is 4 different words.
When the chorus hit, I looked over at my son...my beautiful brown skinned boy...beaming, smiling from ear to ear...and singing!
Yes, Lord, blessed be your name!
I couldn't keep my composure and I started crying right away. Just one year ago, I was shoving George into Sunday School class because I needed an hour away from him. Just one year ago, I was dealing with hourly temper tantrums with war-screams. Just one year ago, I had no idea what George was saying, and he had no idea what I was saying.
After the song was over, George picked up a note pad and wrote something. He then handed it to me and this is what it said, "Dere Mom, I liv you mom. Mom is niec."
I'm saving this one in my Bible to remind me of our first year as Momma and son.
Friday, June 4, 2010
First, we visited Isabel's classroom and enjoyed reading many writing projects of hers. She is really following in her sister's footsteps as her teacher said, "I really think Isabel will be an author some day!". For the record, Eleanor brought home her writing yesterday and this was a response from one of her teachers, "All I can say after reading your work is, this is AMAZING! I have NEVER known a seventh grader to write like this! What talent you have. Not only did I read this aloud to my husband, you brought tears to my eyes with your insightful ending. Someday, when you write a book, I'd love to have a signed copy!"
OK - wait, this is not about the girls' writing ability - although I just had to share because I am so, so proud of those two girls!
Back to George....well, we knew he was going to be making his acting debut at the evening celebration. And in typical George fashion, he began shutting down as soon as he got home from school. The shutting down came first, and then the angry, nasty boy came out. This time, Joe and I understood that George was scared and nervous, he was about to do something out of his comfort level. So, we boosted him up, encouraged him and told him he would do a great job.
The time came for his classmates to start their play. I saw a frightened little boy up at the front of the classroom, keeping his head low and eyes down - reverting back to Ethiopian cultural ways. When it was time for his line, he froze....for about a minute, he stared off in space with a very angry look on his face.
I was squirming in my seat. What would he do next? Would he run out of the room screaming? Would he ever say his line? Would the play be ruined now?
Eleanor, sitting next to me, quietly reminded George of his line, "I am Mercury. I live closest to the sun..." He must have heard because he suddenly snapped "to" and said his line. He even was able to say his last line correctly, "I am very warm." This was a big deal because for weeks he had been saying, "I am very worm."
He did it! And despite the minute freeze, we all praised him, hugged him and told him he had done a wonderful job!
It was a good close to a wonderful school year. George has learned so much in one year's time! His teacher was telling me that in the last week, he was reading books that were the beginning books of 1st grade! So, in one year, George has done the following:
- learned how to understand the spoken English language
- learned how to speak accurately the English language
- spell 50 basic words correctly needed to be mastered in 1st grade
- learn how to count to 100 by tens, add (sometimes) and know some money values
- write his thoughts in sentences (with help from an adult)
- and...read! He can read...and when he sees words, he wants to read more and more and more!
I am so grateful for how far he has come academically!
I am also grateful for the friends he has made. Last night, one of the boys in his class sent his mom over to me to set up a play date! I really did not think this would come yet.
Oh, we still have our bad moments, our selfish Georgie who makes us all want to pull our hair out...but we are getting more and more glimpses of the George to come - the hard working, school-loving, friend-having boy who makes all those around him happy.
A great finish!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Several years ago, Joe and I made this decision after listening to a respected couple at church share their views on sleep-overs; they don't do them. After talking, we were on the same page and told the kids. They were not happy, after all, EVERY ONE does sleep-overs.
Well, we don't.
I'll share some of my experiences at sleep-overs, starting in the 3rd grade up until I graduated form high school. Let's see...I saw my first pornography at a sleep-over. My hosts' father kept a huge box of Playboy in his basement, and as soon as mom and dad were upstairs, my friend dove into the box. I was 8 years old.
As a middle schooler, I had my bra frozen, and had warm water poured down my legs to make me think I had wet the bed. Both of these incidents horrified me; why would my "friends" do this?
As I got older, I got into mischief. I toilet papered numerous "rivals", even going so far as to use shaving cream on a garage door - yup, took the varnish right off and they had to spend a lot of money getting that repaired. I also broke plastic forks into yards - I am sure the owners loved that when they went to cut their grass. And I was a good kid!
The high school years found me sneaking out of my friends house and hanging out with guys...all night long. I had my first beer doing this. All of these forays were egged on by my "friends". Peer pressure at it's worst!
Again, I was a good kid with attentive parents who I knew loved me and cared for me. I was not the troubled kid who was looking for trouble, but I sure found it when no adult was watching. The least of my troubles were no sleep and feeling horrible the next day, usually sleeping for hours during the day. The worst..well, you just read them.
And these are my stories...Joe's are worse!
So, we decided our kids can hang out with friends until 10:30 or 11:00 when they are invited to a sleep-over and then we will pick them up. They will fall asleep in their own beds, getting a good night's sleep and being safe at home.
Many parents don't agree with our stance - probably most of my friends think we are crazy for our rule. But, Joe and I are standing by it, trusting that this is part of what God meant when He called us to raise our children. (I want to be clear that I am making NO judgements on your choices, just sharing what God led Joe and I to.)
So....in light of our ultra strict policy, we often set up sleep-overs in the living room! We just had one last weekend. The kids spent hours gather every blanket and pillow in the house creating elaborate "tents". Once the pajamas were on, Joe brought out the "Grab Bag of Fun". This is when Joe sneaks to the gas station and buys several Little Debby snacks - you know the ones that go for .35 each. He puts a bunch in a paper bag and calls it the "Grab Bag of Fun". Each child gets to reach in, without looking, to pull out their evening snack - this night, they each got TWO!
They put on Star Wars and watched until their eyelids could no longer stay open. And then...they all ended up back in their beds! As one child put it..."It's just not that comfortable sleeping on the floor when you know your comfy bed is right there."
Here are some pictures from our sleep-over.
PS - Eleanor was babysitting that night
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Brothers....not much more to say other than I just love this picture!
But George ended up with the most on his head!
Boys getting Pop-pop!
Another picture of the brothers :)
The fun is about to begin.