|Me as a mom of two before becoming a mom of three! We are waiting for our driver to come get us from our guesthouse|
|So happy with her Daddy. His first moment with her|
|She is such a happy brave girl|
|I will introduce you to this amazing staff, but this gal is pretty amazing. She loved our girl big!|
We (me and the girls) took everything out of the pantry and laid it on the kitchen table (and floor). I showed the girls what an ingredient list was on packaging. I told them that whatever foods they could read every single ingredient they could keep. And they tried. But then they realized that they didn't even know what some of the things were in their food and they realized that fruit snacks doesn't really have fruit and mac and cheese doesn't really have cheese. One girl exclaimed, "my life is over!!" And I sort of thought the same in my head as I was panicking inside over what I will actually feed my family! But I then explained that eating real food is not depriving ourselves of the things we love, it is making the food in a different way.
I called my best friend and offered her all the food that we were not going to be keeping from the pantry and being a mom of four she gladly took me up on the offer! Cleaned off the shelves and sat down with the cookbook.
We walked through the recipes and pictures. I asked the girls what they wanted on the list for the week and we headed to the store for our first adventure.
This week has been crazy schedule wise. So I knew that planning ahead was important. But I was surprised at how simple all of it really is. I made homemade granola for our cereal. The prep for that was 5 minutes, then stick it in the oven, then let cool and store. Pretty much the easiest and yummiest thing ever. Homemade pizza was fun and simple as well. The crust is like 4 ingredients. Pancakes. Salmon with fresh veggies and a fresh salad. It's not rocket science. And the best part? Being in the kitchen with my girls.
Maren loves to cook with me and has been all in with us! She saw the recipe for the carrot cake and that was what she wanted to make most. So we did. And one of my favorite summer staffers from church came over and joined us in the kitchen fun as well. It brought people together in my kitchen. We made a big mess, talked, laughed, and made something together.
This real food thing made me begin to think about real in general. I was so surprised by how non-inconvenient it really was and how much we enjoyed it. How much it brought us together. How much time we had. How we really knew how to stretch our food because we had most everything we needed right on hand since our pantry was longer full of food but of ingredients to make things.
Then I thought about how convenient we have become in general. I was challenged on how I lean into convenience with most things rather than the real. And as I look at my facebook feed these last few weeks I began to wonder how necessary real is for our society now.
I wonder as opposed to posting a facebook status with an attached article regarding marriage equality or planned parenthood or politics or.....what if we sat down for a real conversation. What if we took into consideration that reading that status on the other side of the screen is a real person. With real feelings. With a real past. With real tenderness. With real wrestling. And what if we decided that we would have a real conversation and hold those feelings, those tender places with integrity and love all while wrestling together? Knowing that in the end we may not see it the same way, and that that doesn't need to be our goal. But maybe the goal might be to actually see each other. See each other as....well.....real.
I want to live more authentically in this life and the truth is, I don't really think being vulnerable on social media is the same thing as authentic. I think we are just fooling ourselves into community. Because community is lived out. It is messy. It is not simple. And it is not convenient. And I have seen myself desire simple and convenient far too often while in the end missing the richness of community. I also realize that I say all of this all while writing a blog post. Haha. Rest assured, that this post that I am writing, I have fleshed out with a real person first.
So this first week of real food obviously brought more to the table then food for our tummies but food for our souls. It was a rounding to the table our people. Who do you need to round to your table? Join me in the fight for real! Make a phone call. Round people to your table. Cook. Talk. Laugh. I'm wanting more real in my life.
Why is Tuesday so important?
*Two years ago we got a referral for a little girl in Ethiopia. She is blind. I had just picked Maren up from school when I got the phone call. We spent a day of big prayer and fasting. We were going to say yes, but there was this deep ache in my heart. Deep. I knew that I could be a good Mom for this little girl, but I knew deep within me that I was not her Mommy. Since that day I have been praying for God to redeem Tuesdays for me. Not only that, but Tuesday school pick up. Almost every Tuesday since that one, I prayed that prayer driving to school. And wouldn't you know this email from our case worker came while I was waiting in the pick up line for Maren? Tuesday redemption.
Why is the 5th so cool?
*We changed to South Africa in November.
December 5th our social worker came over to update our home study
January 5th we mailed our documents to immigration
February 5th our completed dossier was sent to South Africa
May 5th we were presented with our sweet girl
I poured over her file a zillion times over those 6 days. Going to sleep was hard. I read the Psalms when I feel anxious or can't sleep. I was reading one of my favorites, Psalm 34, one night. I came across verse 18 and the words that I wrote above it struck me. I went and grabbed her file. I couldn't believe my eyes. Tears rolled down and laughter came too.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
Above this verse I wrote, "prayer for our baby and their family 10/2012"
Our baby girl was taken into care October 2012.
God was so gracious to align all of our hearts in that moment. While adoption is one of the most beautiful things, we have to remember that our gain comes at her loss. There is deep loss before there is a deep gain. So yes. October 2012 is a month of great hearts that were broken and spirits that probably did feel crushed. Because the weight of this world is great. But in that moment, God aligned this Mommy in Kansas with a Mommy in South Africa. Words fail me in even trying to grasp this mystery. Even while reading Jen Hatmaker this morning, she nailed it exactly, "Their tragic circumstances didn't lessen their worth but raised them to the highest level of divine attention." While the pain of this world, the loss in this world, the hard.....all of that seems to say that there is no God. That He has forgotten. That He isn't there. Truly, it is those moments that raises us to the highest level of divine attention. I had no idea that when I prayed that night in October that I was praying those words so precisely, so timely, so exactly.....but God knew. He knew because He raised our baby girl and her family up to the highest level of divine attention. I am eternally grateful.
So she is ours.
What comes next?
We are currently waiting for our approval letter from the Central Authority. As soon as we have this we will apply at Immigration. As soon as we get immigration approval we wait on a court date. As soon as we have a court date we travel. As soon as we travel, we meet her and keep her forever! Phew!
Big prayer right now is for that letter to come so we can get the ball rolling. We would love to leave late July but that isn't looking like it could be. But our timelines are not His timelines. We would love your prayers!
I cannot share her picture or name publicly just because she is not legally our child. So when you see us ask, we will tell you and show you! Our girls are so excited for a new sister!
We love sharing her with people and we love answering questions. But also know that we won't answer all your questions. Our baby girl's story is hers and hers alone. Imagine if you had a file for your life, and I mean the most broken place of your life. That is probably not something you want read by everyone or told to everyone. It is your story. It is hers and hers alone. We hold it with such tenderness, dignity, and love. And we will hold it for her. I will write a little more on what coming home plans will look like for our family as we begin to knit each other to one another. Why I won't be dropping her off at Sunday school or not having a big party when we get home or not hanging around a lot of people or not wanting you to hold her or not going places much at all. So many have forged beautiful paths of this knitting together so I can share with you their insight. I hope my words don't make you nervous to ask me questions or to draw near to our family. That is not my hope. My hope is that you wouldn't be offended and that we can all have permission to learn together.
Thank you for being on this journey with our family! We are so grateful for you!
More to come!