Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back In the Saddle Again: Hello World

Someone remind me to never go this long without blogging again! (To be fair, actually, lots of you did remind, my bad!)

My goodness. The longer I wait, the more there is to say. The more there is to say, the more intimidating it is to write. And thus it has been months of nothing. Nasty cycle, eh?

Here’s to getting back on track!

Now, on to the good stuff...

I LOVE being a mom. Seriously. I love it.

There’s not been anything in my life so far that’s been this fulfilling or that even makes this much sense. Mommy-hood and adoption very much feel like a vocation to me. There’s something so sacred, so holy about another human soul being entrusted to my care. I just know there’s not anything more valuable or more important that I could be doing with my time. 

Sure there are challenges. Lots of them. But nothing God can’t help me to handle. And God truly has been very present, guiding me all along the way, and changing me in order to equip me for the work at hand. 

These changes haven’t been happening overnight, mind you. I was quite delusional at the start of this process, thinking motherhood would magically domesticate me and give me mad organizational skills. Worst of all, I dreamed up this crazy idea that it would bring out the morning person in me. (Oh, how I still wish!)

While I sadly was not magically transformed into Mary Poppins, as I had hoped I’d be, I can proudly say that God has been hard at work, slowly growing and stretching me. Fitting me to the task.

One change that really excites me right now is in the area of health and food. I’ve been reading and learning all about nutrition, responsible consumption, shopping local, etc. etc. I received the “More with Less” cookbook for Christmas and promptly read every word in a night. I never thought I could enjoy this stuff, but truly I am loving it. It brings me great satisfaction to feed Sammers food that I know is fueling and healing her body. Food that I am making myself, no less. I’m doing things I never thought I would (or could) do and it feels pretty great!

Being a mommy has also forced me to evaluate the efficiency with which I live my life. Excess and non-essential stuff is slowly being sorted through and exiting our house. While other things, things I never used before because I didn’t cook much, for instance, are being added. A great example is a hand blender that I use to puree Sam’s meals. She’s not able to chew yet, so I use this tool multiple times a day as I prepare her meals. I’m also (slowly) learning to plan ahead and to multi-task as there are sometimes not enough hours in the day. I am still a far cry from supermom, but I am happy to say that I am starting to get the hang of this parent stuff!

One of the biggest changes in my life is, of course, the way I spend my time. As a single person without a family I was free as a bird. I could leave the house to hang out with friends at the drop of a hat. Someone was having a crisis? Needed a ride? Could use a listening ear? I was available. If I wanted to go out to eat, watch a movie, go shopping, take a trip, I would just do it! I never needed to ask anyone. But things are necessarily different now. And I’m finding that I truly don’t mind. It’s sometimes awkward or uncomfortable to have to tell people for the 100th time that Sam and I will be staying in again, but thanks for the invite. Or, “Sorry, but we need to be alone today.” Or, “Have you been sick? Is anyone in your family sick? Sorry, but maybe you can stop by another time.” I’ve yet to leave Sam with a babysitter other than while I’m working, but that’s how I like it. I have no desire to be without her, or to have a break from her. We’re a great team. (I do however enjoy my evenings after Sam’s down for bed. I use this time to cook, tidy up the house, watch a t.v. show, read, etc.. I need to work on limiting this time and getting to bed at a decent hour, however...)

One of the greatest ways I can tell that God is at work in our lives is in the way He continually give me grace to handle difficulty. I am typically a person who is prone to sadness. I can easily empathize too much, or fret over things that are beyond my control (even things in other people’s lives). But God has supernaturally, over and over again, given me the ability to, for lack of a better word, buck up. Sam and I have been to the doctor probably upwards of two dozen times since her homecoming five and a half months ago. Each time, Sam is traumatized. She hates any kind of instrument, whether it be a forehead thermometer, a stethoscope, or the tool they use to look in her ears. Shots? Blood work? Watch out. For the simplest of procedures, my Sammers has to be held down by three people. She screams and cries and thrusts herself about. And when she is free, she struggles to allow me to console her, and inevitably ends up wriggling her way down to the floor, making her way to the door where she will endlessly cry and rock until we are allowed to leave. On one occasion I had to ask that we be moved to another room so she could calm down. On all occasions, God has given me a strength far beyond anything I could muster up on my own. I promise you, the old Grace would have cried right along with Sam, every time. (And sometimes I still do.) But God gives me what I need in order to love my daughter in the way that she needs. She is, after all, the one who has suffered so much. I praise Him for this perspective. It is all too evident, from these experiences and more, that my baby has been terribly abused throughout her life at the orphanage. And so God gives me right what I need, just when I need it, for her sake. (And, you’d probably also like to know that Sam always recovers beautifully once we leave the doctor’s office. She’s usually back to smiles in no time.)

For all of the challenges and changes occurring each day of this new life of mine, the rewards are always much more. God is good all the time, and He is all the more present in this new season.

More to come!

(The following photos are old and off topic...but this is a catch up post, right?) 

Another day at the office.

By the time I got to her (and took these photos) she had opened 24 new windows. Truly a prodigy.

Sam has trained herself to go potty before getting in the tub, so generally, she stands up at the side to go #2 before I undress her and put her in...

On this particular day I realized, as she was going potty, that I didn't have any wipes in the bathroom. So I ran 10 feet down the hallway to grab them. When I got back I found her here.

Shout out to Huggies for superb leak protection. Not only did her diaper hold in 18 gallons of water, but it also kept her bath free of poop. Thank goodness! (And for those wondering, I do believe she entered the tub face first. And that is the morning, matted hairdo that she is sporting.)

She loves her new winter coat :)

Never mind the unladylike pose in these next few photos. Or the evidence of lunch on her tights. Concentrate on the adorableness that is her face :)

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We caught this incredible sunset through our living room window! I told Sam all about how God set the sun in the sky and made it rise and set. She was, obviously, very impressed.
This is Sam meeting her Great Aunt Gail in October. Gail was one of Sam's greatest prayer warriors and advocates throughout the adoption journey. Aunt Gail was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will have surgery this coming Wednesday. I know she, and our whole family, would very much appreciate your prayers for her full recovery.