As I write this post, my 5 boys (this number includes the daddy and the canine) are in the den watching the season finale of Clone Wars. Savanna has drifted off to sleep and I am putting off the 1000 other things I should be doing right now. (Why ruin a peaceful moment with responsibility?...)
I just spent the last 20 minutes reading the posts we made while in Africa. It brought tears to my eyes, and actually made me a little uneasy as I was reminded how absolutely hard and tiring those 2 weeks were. Meeting your new children for the first time is quite amazing, but the whole process probably sounds more romantic than it actually was - we were tired, hot, unsure of ourselves as we dealt with completely out of the ordinary child-rearing/caring issues, doubting the wisdom of getting 2 preschoolers at once, and stressed out over various paperwork issues that inevitably come up no matter how detailed you are.
But here we are, a family, enjoying things we never dreamed imaginable that first week! (A good reminder that God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!). We have good days and bad days - but who doesn't? There are days I bask in the wonder and joy of being a mother, and days (like yesterday) I'd rather be laying on the beach with a good book! Days I make great parenting decisions and display amazing patience, and days I think my actions or words have screwed my kids up for life!
At then end of the day, you just have to look at the bigger picture - not where you are, but how far you've come, not who you are, but who God can help you become, and not how you'll do, but how much you will trust God to do in spite of you! At least, that's the perspective I'm trying to have these days.....
Saturday, April 24, 2010
As you can see, I've finally gotten around to giving our blog a "facelift" - hopefully it is a bit easier to read and navigate these days! Speaking of faces, I wanted to share a photo from our trip to Africa that includes 11 of the 12 children who were adopted on our trip by 9 families from the USA. The precious lady in the center is the POA for those of us who adopt through AWAA, and she does an amazing job when families are in country, getting them around, providing them with touching and special detailes of their child's life, and introducing them to Rwandan culture. (She does quite a bit of paperwork before the families ever get to the country as well!) I mainly wanted to show this for the benefit of those who follow our family blog but may not be in the process of adopting. There are many parents prayerfully WAITING for an email that basically says "here is a photo of your new child, and here is when you can come and pick them up!" I'd like to ask for your prayers not only for them, but for the Rwandan Ministry of Family and Children whose job it is to read every dossier thoroughly (and these documents are LENGTHY), approve the waiting families, go to the orphanage and select a child that fits their request, photograph these children and then get in touch with the waiting families with the good news that their wait is coming to a close! I know these families would appreciate your prayers!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"Silas, would you please read some books to your sister?"....."Silas, would you please watch Samuel while I'm out of the room to make sure he doesn't feed his food to the dog?"......"Silas, would you please turn on the Wii for Josiah?"......"Silas, would you please take out the trash?" ....."Silas, would you please go in the garage and get an extra oxygen tank for the outing?"....."Silas, would you please fix your brother a snack?"....."Silas, would you please balance the checkbook and do the taxes?"....
Okay, so maybe I've never asked you that last question, Silas, but after shooting this cute photo of you and Savanna today, I was reminded of how much I expect, ask and require of you each day to keep our lives running smoothly (or at least, running!). You are an incredibly responsible 8 year old and live up to such high expectations on a daily basis. But you also make me laugh so much (like today when I told you something very ordinary, and with very sweet sarcasm you replied, "how touching." ) I love the things you draw and the machines you "build" on your engineering computer game. I love your voice, your compassion, and your insatiable appetite for anything Star Wars and a stack of saltine crackers. I love how you love your brothers and sister, all of which have had "celebrity status" most of their lives because of their unique entrances into our family.
But you are incredibly unique, and uniquely able to put up with my impatient outbursts, constant requests for help and constant nagging about the messes your hourly craft projects incur! I love you, son, and am proud to be your mother. I know God has great plans for your life, and I just wanted to say publicly that no one is more excited about seeing them unfold than me!
Your loving mom
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Today was Art's 39th birthday...its interesting that the more kids you have, the less focus the adult gets on his birthday! But we tried to make it special for him!
As many of you know by now, the Snead clan will be packing their bags (and everything else we own) and moving to Nashville, TN - where the elevation is around 600 ft above sea level.... which means Josiah will no longer need oxygen on a regular basis. We knew this day was coming ever since the doctors and specialists told us that Josiah's lungs were "as good as they're gonna get", but we never imagined how quickly the opporutnity would arrive, or how well-adjusted our newly adopted children would be this early in the "game". All in all, it is apparant that God has been the orchestrator in the events of our lives over the last 6 months or so, and has paid attention to every detail (even though I still have a few questions about "timing" for him when I reach heaven, I have to say, he's got my full support on this one!)
As I am living each moment of each day, it feels so normal - tiring and patience-depleteing at times, but normal. But if I stop to think about the last 6 months or so, I think, "wow, we're CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" A 7 week stint in the hospital with Josiah, followed by a 2 week trip to Africa to pick up 2 new additions, a few weeks at home to teach them English...and how to sit still....and how to speak without yelling...and how to keep food on their plates instead of putting it in their pockets....and that list could go on and on...., a quick trip for Art and I to TN to buy a house, and now 5 weeks to get ready to move there. Oh yeah, and before then, we'll have 2 kids in the science fair, finishing a year of homeschooling, end-of-year testing, soccer games and practices every week for the boys, a couple of classes of co-op PE to teach, and that list is going on and on too!
I told someone back in January that I wanted the year 2010 to be boring! (did God think I said "roaring"?...not sure...another question for heaven...) However, in reality, I'm not sure I could have it any other way. For better or for worse, we have been put in positions or put oursevles in positions where "boring" is not an option. Sometimes that means sleep is not an option, giving in to my natural tendencies can't be an option (something I am working on constantly), keeping the house clean or straight isn't an option (no laughing from the "peanut gallery" - my husband and friends who are wondering what my excuse was "before" crazy) and maybe even eating healthy can't be an option (right now I'm being sustained by coke and cookies!).
But the one thing that IS constant is peace. Sure, Art and I can get on each other's nerves, the kids can argue over the DUMBEST things, and I hear myself saying several times a day to various children, "you're making me coo-coo!" But in the midst of it all is a constant flow - or at least an intermitten flow - of serenity reminding us that he who called us is faithful, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, that "this too shall pass", and that when we have finished the race, we will receive the crown of life that God has for us, as He says "well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into eternal rest!"
Eternal rest...ahhhhhh. But for now, I'm content with crazy. I laugh so many times throughout the day when my children do hilarious things (Like Samuel's "putting on my clothes happy dance")! I pat myself on the back when my children learn new things in our homeschool and understand new concepts (even if Silas does seem to be figuring out his math problems while I am re-reading the lesson plan that I don't quite understand...), I feel my eyes water when I hear Silas telling his brother in the other room, "you know, when I trusted in Jesus as my Savior, Mom became not only my mom, but also my sister!", I smile when I hear my youngest two singing praises to God with their native accents and unspeakable joy, and I rest peacefully at night beside a man who loves all 5 of us dearly and does so much to take care of us not only physically and materially, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Are things perfect - no way! Are they slow and reflective - not a chance! But as long as I can count on the Lord to sustain us at this pace, I guess I'm okay with crazy!
(Next year, though, might be a good time for "boring"... and God, that was "B-O-R-I-N-G!"....)