Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

Yeah, I know, the title's not right, but it's not Monday, so it is what it is.   I have the blues.  Sigh.

Ya see, Gatlin has been talking a lot about going to "regular" school for high school.  We've home schooled Cooper and Gatlin their entire schooling years.  This has been a great joy for me - all three of us have loved it.  But, Gatlin is a very creative, dramatic, social child and some time spent in a more structured environment might actually be really good for her, so when she brought up the whole "going to school" thing, I didn't say no.  I agreed that we should check into it.

There's a small private Christian school very close to our house and that's the school she has been interested in.  We have gone to the school and met the faculty and they have interviewed Gatlin.  Both of those things we did together.   Today, she is at the school all day shadowing another student.  And I, the momma who has always had Gatlin here with me, is sitting in my bed listening to it rain outside and fighting the urge to bawl like a baby.  Yep, I know it's silly.  But, I've just never been a mom who looked forward to my kids being out the door.  I love having them here - on the same side of the door as me.  I LOVE it.

We're also considering this school for Bennet.  Bennet is doing great in school, but I just can't imagine putting her in public middle school right now.  I think middle school is a hard place, especially for girls.  I'm not sure that Bennet has the discretion to pick good friends (because of a lack of maturity, not any type of rebellion).  I think she'd be drawn to whomever picks her, and that's not always safe.  The 5th and 6th graders are in a class together and that will be perfect for Bennet.  So, we will pray for a little financial aid and send both girls to this small private school.

Speaking of Bennet and Gatlin, they are doing better.  It's not perfect, but it's much better.  And, of course, we're not expecting perfection....they are sisters, after all.  I grew up in the middle of three girls, I know how sisters can fight.  Boy, do I.  LOL    To be honest, Gatlin is really improving in the area of grace, so we are hearing less bickering, but Bennet is still needing to improve in the area of kindness.  I am now sensing that there's definitely jealousy playing in to her behavior.  For instance, last night we went to Moe's for dinner (because on Monday night kids eat free!).   Walking from the car to the restaurant, I was holding hands with Gatlin.  Well, we got in the door and Bennet squeezed in up next to me and basically pushed Gatlin aside.  Gatlin gave me "the look" and I continued to reach out and touch Gatlin to stay connected to them both, but Bennet would pull my hand back, away from Gatlin.  I had to tell Bennet that she couldn't do that and had to get stern with her when she began talking ugly to Gatlin.

Later, Gatlin let Bennet know that it was really hurting her feelings that Bennet kept being so mean to her, and then she said, "Bennet, I will always love you, I want you to know that, but when you are mean to me, I sure don't like you very much".

So, last night while I was tucking Bennet in, she said her prayers and said, "God, please help me not be mean, help me be nice to my sister, Gatlin".   Progress.

And speaking of prayers....on Easter night as I was tucking the twins in, I was telling them (again) about the cross and Jesus dying for our sins and how He rose from the dead.  I asked them if they understood what sin was, and we talked about that.  Then I told them that one day when they were ready, they could pray a prayer asking Jesus to live in their hearts and be their Savior.  Then I proceeded to say a "regular" bedtime prayer with them.  But, when I finished, Kaleb said, "I want to pray the other prayer" and Kali said, "Me, too!".  I said, "Well, can you tell Mommy what you know about that prayer and what Jesus did for us".   Kali said, "He made my heart clean."  Um, precious.  I hadn't used the word, "clean", so I loved that she had that understanding.   They asked me to pray for them, so I told them I would pray a line and they would repeat, and I prayed a prayer of salvation and those precious kids repeated line by line and accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Hallelujah.

We believe in baptism as a symbol of our salvation so when we feel like they are ready, and can really explain and understand what they believe, they will be baptized in front of our church family.

So, HAPPY EASTER.  Isn't that just AMAZING!!  And I know this post is long, but let me share one more thing.  I have always prayed that my kids would come to know Jesus as their Savior before they were seven years old.  I have no idea why that was the age, it just always was.  Cooper accepted Christ as a three year old (seriously!!).  He was so smart for a little guy and his intelligence was well above his age level.  Gatlin accepted Christ when she was six.  Both of them were baptized when they were seven.  Bennet says she already accepted Christ (and we will get more information from her about that as we continue to talk about her life experiences).  And now Kaleb and Kali accepted Christ.  I am BEYOND blessed!

And you know I have to end this by asking you -- can you see the eternal perspective thing going on here?  I know it's not necessarily convenient to bring an orphan into your home.  But my goodness, wouldn't you, couldn't you do it in order to save their life, not only physically, but spiritually?  Oh, please think about it.  Don't convince yourself that you're not called to it.  (:    Come spend some time with our twins and then think about them never having this Easter experience.   Never having a Mommy or Daddy pray with them before bed and tell them about how much Jesus loves them.  DYING physically from starvation or disease and DYING spiritually because nobody brought them into a loving, Christian FAMILY!   Jesus DIED so that WE could be ADOPTED as the children of God.  Can't you and I die a little to ourselves to save a life?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And So it Goes...

Bennet, Kaleb and Kali have been home with us now for two months.  Isn't that amazing?!   Can you believe from the very first time I laid eyes on their picture to right now, it's only been 7 1/2 months.  That's just really crazy.  And ya know what, it's actually pretty "normal" already, whatever that is.  LOL

The kids are doing great in school and their English is fantastic.  Bennet already spoke really good English when she got here, but she is understanding better now.  Kaleb and Kali only spoke a tiny bit of English when they got here, but they are all over it now.  They rarely speak Amharic at all anymore, which I know some people will think is sad, but to us, it just shows how happy they are here and how much they are loving being a part of things the way our family does them.  We never have any instances anymore where we need Bennet to speak Amharic to them to make sure they understand -- they get it.  (:  

Gatlin and Bennet are doing SO much better.  We definitely have moments of sibling rivalry, but it is much fewer and farther between.  Praise God.   It's an interesting thing to see how much more grace and compassion a teenage girl has for an orphan BEFORE they are living in their house, sharing their room, and often, being a bit of a pill bug.   LOL

And, it's an interesting thing to watch an orphan come into a new house and be very purposefully mean to someone who they so desperately wanted to become sisters with.  There were some pretty rough days between the two girls and we had to take things away (iPod, Bennet and computer/phone, Gatlin) and force the girls to really stop and think about how Jesus would want them to treat each other.  So funny, cause they are SO much alike.  We now call them twins - the black and white twins.  They laugh about this now, but, for a couple weeks, there wasn't much laughing between them.  I share this with you to let you know that it hasn't just been smooth sailing around here.  I just don't want anyone to get a false impression.  The transition can be difficult.  Ours has had difficult, challenging moments, but we have been triumphant, by the grace of God!

If you were to come over right now, we just have a normal, 5 kid, house going on.  It's a little chaotic, a little messy, there's some laundry that isn't put away (speaking of laundry, I really do think that has been the biggest adjustment -- it's just never-ending!!)  I know that all siblings argue.  All 6-year-olds fuss sometimes.  All big sisters get a little bossy (or maybe a lot).  All little sisters want to be the one in charge and don't like it that they're not, all oldest kids - no wait, Cooper is perfect, got nothing there.  ha ha ha ha ha

Brian and I tell each other all the time that these kids BELONG in our family.  We are a creative, performance, dramatic, musical family.  All three of these kids love to sing, dance, play instruments and perform.  Sunday night they were all in the church choir musical.  They had been to choir rehearsals all of six times and they got on that stage and sang out with confidence.  It was amazing to me.  There were probably 500 people in the audience and they weren't fazed one bit.  They see me and Brian and Cooper and Gatlin up on stage and I guess it just seems normal to them.  Bennet said to me a couple days ago, "Mom, I want to be an actress....not today, but when I am 11".    Of course she does!  I love it!!

And that's it right now, just pretty much routine stuff.  Busy, busy life filled with a lot of laundry and a lot of love!  (;