March 30, 2010


When I started the journey to become a mother, I was pining for a little girl.  Hair-bows and pink and flowers and shoes...oh my.

And then it went haywire, that process (you all know the story...) and so we found ourselves in Africa holding the most precious of little baby boys I have ever set eyes on.  

All things "girl" were set aside.  All things "boy" were brought to the forefront.  Pink for green and blues and (gulp) camouflage...I know, I know. Hair-bows for baseball hats and flowers for toy cars and dinosaurs and robots.  And I don't want to stereotype what boys and girls play with or colors or any of that.  I just want to make a clear distinction between the two.  Quint is ALL BOY.  There is no middle of the road.  He loves all things boy and if he had spider-man hands, he would climb the walls of my living room.

I had so much fun learning all about him and loving him, that I forgot what I ever saw in all that pink stuff anyway.  And when the time came to actually get back on track with ribbons and lace, I had no idea where to start.  

Don't get me wrong, I had quite a collection going in that nursery of hers.  Ahem.  Cough.

But I was intimidated by the idea of a little girl coming to live amongst our new way of life.  Boy, boy, boy was written everywhere.  In every nuance of our home.  A little boy lives here.  You couldn't miss it.

I actually thought "I don't even know what to do with a girl".  And we all know that's just silly, because I am a girl - hello.  

But she fixed it.

Oh yes, she did.

I forgot what I was pining for, and buddy she is worth every single second of it.  

Pink.  Oh, the pink...the lavender, the haiiiiirrrrbboooooowwwwsss.  I die.

I forgot how much I loved her clothes.  Until she was wearing them.  

Until I could see how much better they look on her than on the hanger.  

How much her smile and her personality brings every single thing I was saving for her to life.

How much she brings us to all her girly, sweet smelling, soft baby, silly smiling, chubby leg , pink wearing goodness.

March 28, 2010

On Painting a Pretty Picture

I received a particular comment after writing THIS post, that subsequently prompted the post you are about to read.  

The comment, and you're free to read it because it is published, challenged the statement I made that Keira had been "unwanted".  How did I know she was unwanted or unloved?  How did I know she was suffering or hurting or brokenhearted? Asking me to think of her parents...and I assume, what they might have went through.

I actually appreciated that comment because it did produce some dialog in our household and prompted some honest realizations about where I stand on this issue and even some others as well.

I've decided that however unpopular this might make me, I'm going to share.  Because after talking with AB - there is no point in worrying what others will think.  Our life and my thoughts are often unceremoniously lumped onto this blog for you to read - and for the majority of the past four + years, you've been amazing!  So I'm moving ahead with putting these thoughts out there - not because I'm trying to enlighten anyone (good're not here to be enlightened by little ol' me are you?) but rather to express myself.  And maybe it won't be a pretty expression for some.

If you're offended, I won't take it personally.  Just like I hope you'll take my opinions with a grain of salt...and that you'll kindly remember these are just my own thoughts.  They are not meant to cast judgement on those who feel differently, nor are they the gospel according to me.  They are just my feelings based on what I understand at this present time.  They are open and hopeful, even though they are somewhat dark and sad.  This post is certainly not intended to hurt or devalue anyone, not the least of which, an adoptee.  

and now, my podium.  Ahem. 

Abandonment brings up a sensitive issue in the adoption community that stems from our need to make things beautiful for our adopted children.  To somehow make their stories less brutal and more picturesque.  Our desire to create a background story for them that soothes their soul, and reassures them they were loved, cared for, cherished...and separated from their birth family only through desperate measures.

The reality is: most of us don't know.  We will probably never, ever know.   Anton and I cannot know what circumstances drove either of our children's birth-parents to abandon them.  There is no picturesque landscape to paint for either of them.  It's not a pretty story.

I mean, that is to say...I guess it  could be.  We could paint a softer viewpoint.  We could tell them that they were probably loved, probably abandoned out of desperation or oppression, and that they were probably thought of every day.  And lets be honest, we don't plan on sitting them down and telling them that they weren't loved.  And we're not planning to cram hard truths down our 2, 3, or even 10 year old child's mind.  We can only tell them what we know for certain, and sadly, we know nothing for certain. We just don't know. 

And really, any way you spin it...both of their birth countries are in turmoil.  A fact that both of our children are bound to uncover in their own search for answers.  One society devalues women terribly (there is no way I can cover that up), and the other is languishing in poverty unlike any you have ever seen.  How do I glamorize that in the telling of their story?  They are certain to discover it as they age. And who will they look to for truth?  Better yet, who will they blame for a falsely painted picture?

This is why I really dislike children's adoption related books that paint rainbows about the abandonment portion of a child's story.  I won't name titles.  Gah.  Don't make me.  Sunshine and happiness...she loved you so much and so she made the ultimate sacrifice, she loves you still...she thinks of you all the time...we'll be united throughout time.  Can we really say that with any merit of conviction?  I can't.  I can't read those stories to my kids.  It seems too false.  I can only tell them that I simply don't know.  We can tell them how much we love them...

For me, it hurts.  It hurts to look at them and know I cannot offer them information.  No family history, health information, background, ancestry...just a blank page.  But that's just part of the process.  Part of their process.

Still, even worse for me?  I can't say "Keira, your birth mother loved you and this was her only option".  

How do I know this was her only option?  It certainly sounds prettier to say (if anything about this can be "pretty").  Easier to hear.  Her only option.  Thus ruling out all the other more likely probabilities.  Maybe she had lots of options, and this was the easiest for her?  Maybe she had nothing to do with it? Maybe she was detached?  Maybe she did love her?

Far more likely, it's because she wasn't a boy.  Maybe because she was a second or third daughter and thus would have brought further shame to her parents.  Because she was born with a large  pre-cancerous birthmark on her forehead that somehow caused them to fear that she had medical issues?  Who knows the why?  We certainly don't.

Some would argue that the very fact she was left at the orphanage, involving risk to the person leaving her, proves she was a loved member of her family.  Really?  To assume her parents are the ones that left her, is just that - an assumption.  That a relative, or neighbor, or friend did the duty - also a possibility.  That someone was paid to leave her, perhaps??  That someone found her elsewhere and then left her at the gate of the orphanage?  That she was possibly abducted?  That she was perhaps bought?  We'll never know.  But it doesn't, at least for me, offer undeniable proof that she was deeply loved. 

You see, there are no variables solvable in this mystery of abandonment.  And that's even assuming she was, in fact, abandoned.  We cannot assume the parents went to great risk to abandon her.  We don't know.  Thus we cannot adequately assume she was loved greatly simply because she was left at the gates of her orphanage (or so we were told).

The infantile genocide rate in her birth country is staggering.  So we know this was also an option and that her birth family did not, for whatever reason, consent to her "untimely" death.  Horrific, but common.

Ultimately, however you spin it, she was seemingly left.  A healthy, beautiful girl.  Abandoned, sold, bought, or just left.  For some reason our little girl ended up in the orphanage with no answers, no letter,  no clothing, no past...just nothing.   And that's just a horrible thing to live with as an adult.  Never knowing what changed the course of your life - your culture - your language - your entire upbringing - reshaped by this one event.   And no answers whatsoever.  I think it would leave you feeling "unwanted" - whatever the true reason or circumstance behind it.  And maybe not until you are old enough to understand your story in all its complexity.  Maybe not until you are able to come to terms with exactly what is missing from your past when you have been adopted under this void of information.  No matter how wonderful your adoptive parents are, or how much they love you...

Frankly, I've seen firsthand how abandonment can affect it shapes them and how they can carry that pain well into their adulthood.  Adopted or not.  You can read about my precious friend V and her experience with a heartbreaking abandonment HERE.  Prepare yourself, it's painful to read.  And the sad comparison is, she had background...answers...ultimately had her own source of closure.  But the pain was searing and it marked her for life. 

What about Quint?  He wasn't even left at an orphanage.  He was left in a field by a river.  So we could speculate that he was left by a river, in a that maybe someone would find him?  We could speculate that it was near a well traveled road, and that they knew he would be found.  We can speculate he was loved, because our minds cannot conceive that he wasn't...or wouldn't be.  Frankly, I can't imagine him not being loved.  Have you seen him?

Honestly, who among us, living in our abundantly rich culture, can fathom dumping a baby by a river?  That's where it breaks down.  We can't fathom what has been going on for years and years around the world.  We can't see how these things can happen.  But they do.  And it isn't pretty.  Yet in some cultures, it's almost common.  Isn't that overwhelming?  When is being left by a river as an infant "common"?  We can't conceive of it - but little Quint...that's his story and it's true.  Tragically true.  I look at him, and even I can't believe it.  He was that little baby.  It's not just a story. 

I have come back from these two countries saying the same thing - we are living in a bubble in the USA.  Land that I do love, oh so much.  But a bubble.  Reality the world over begs to differ.  Until we truly understand the long-standing practices of the cultures our children come from, we cannot presume to understand the circumstances by which they were abandoned nor can we make assumptions about the level of love and want their parents actually had for them.  We can't force our ideals, standards, and values onto another culture and way of life.  We cannot make grandiose assumptions about the nature of their stories, or paint pretty pictures so that we don't hurt them.  I can't presume to know the position my children's birth parents were in - but culturally speaking there are so many variables, it's fruitless to try. 

In Africa babies are drown for showing physical symptoms that particular tribe leaders feel indicate doom or bad luck.  One of those signs?  Sprouting your top two teeth before your bottom two teeth.  Don't believe me?  Go HERE. 

Starvation is rampant, civil war is everywhere...tribes fighting each other for centuries over control.  Who knows if his parents were starving?  Who knows if his head was shaped the wrong way and brought bad luck to his tribe?  (For the record, he has a marvelously shaped head) I don't know. Who knows if he was born out of wedlock and brought shame to his mother?  Who knows if his mother even survived his birth?  Maybe he was one too many mouths to feed for a mother who had already had several children ahead of him.  I just don't know. 

What of those children being "bought" by money-hungry directors, to be dispersed out through International Adoption...and from Keira's own province?  Or how do we know she was not "fostered" by her own parents, and then adopted out internationally with the promise of returning some day "educated and wealthy" to care for them?  Read HERE to see how these things have and do take place.  It's terrifying...the randomness and unknowns of this process.

We'll never know. And even more disturbing, is trying to come to grips with a culture that convinces parents to move forward with those options?  You see, we can't.  Because for the most part, our culture can't understand a society where the child's biggest purpose in life is to care for their elders.  Or a culture where food is such a scarce resource that leaving a newborn by a river is a viable choice.  Or a culture wherein a parent would actually give their child away so that that child could return at some point, wealthy, to better their parents life.

In our culture, we want our children to grow up and better their own lives.  Not our lives.  Right?  But that's here and the way we do things, and the decisions we are forced to make cannot compare with some of the decisions other cultures have to make.  I mean, clearly...

It makes me sad and overwhelmed to think of her parents possibly pining away for her return someday.  Taking comfort in the thought that she will come back and take care of them.  Having been lied to...over money.

It makes me mad to think she might have been taken...stolen...

Angry to think that she was possibly a disappointment because she wasn't a boy. 

It leaves me feeling devastated to think that Quint's parents left him there...a newborn...seemingly to die.  Would you leave a newborn in a field and think "oh, I'm sure they'll be fine...maybe someone will find them".  No.  You would probably not think that.  Neither would I.   So what desperate act would cause you to do that?  Can you imagine?

It's not pretty.

To say that Keira was loved because she was left at the orphanage, or that Quint was loved because he could have instead been drowned in the river he was left by, well it's just too much speculation for me.  To assume they were beloved members of their birth-family is an assumption.  I have no idea if they were loved, feared, cherished, or easily discarded.  It wounds my heart for them. 

We cannot know and likely never will.  It's disturbing.  It's twisted up.  It's wrong that it should be this way.  But it's real.  And one of these scenarios is true for each of them.  Good or bad.  And frankly, they would not be here with me were it not for their beginning.  So I suppose it's the biggest juxtaposition of all - loving your kids so much you cannot imagine life without them and loving them so much you cannot bear to think of what brought them to you in the first place and wanting to take it back for God.  It's so overwhelming when I sit and let my mind go there.

And yet...

One day, both of my children will approach me.  Maybe in small increments over time, their questions will develop.  Their desire to know...

Why am I adopted?  Did my birth parents love me?  Why did they leave me?  Did I have siblings?  Are they still alive?  Where was I born?  Can I ever meet them?  Can I find them?  

Did they love me?  

Did they love me?  

The answer:  I don't know...I just don't know.  And that's what I plan to tell them.  As hard as it is.  Much as it pains me not to have a lovely and detailed description to offer them.  

I hope that our abiding love for them, deep and wide, will help to comfort them.  That our vast affection and desire for them to be in our own family will provide them with some level of peace when and if those moments of pain come for them.

To fabricate some lovely story about how they were loved so much they were "left" is just that: a fabrication.  And to me, a dis-service to my children.  I love them too much to give them a false flowery version of their humble beginnings.  

And for the record, since we're "recording" - I want to make something abundantly clear:  I cannot deny how deeply my mother's heart hopes and prays that they were loved.  I pray that behind all the realities we know about and the grim possibilities of their beginnings, is ultimately a story of love and sacrifice for each of them - and not these things I have detailed above.  

I love them so much it hurts to think that they would spend even one moment feeling the pain of  that rejection.  As children, as teenagers, as adults - at each level and stage...I will grieve for them.  I will grieve with them.  But I pray that the very fact they are alive today stems from LOVE and compassion and an abiding hope that each of their birth-parents had for them.  That they could survive, some way...somehow...find a new life, be loved again.  

I know that one day that truth will be made known to each of us - maybe in Glory.

As they grow, mature, and are able to educate themselves, the picture will paint itself.  I would never want them to look back at AB and I with confusion - wondering why we had been dishonest or painted an inaccurate picture for them out of a desire not to see them in pain.   Life is pain.  Abandonment is painful.   I can't re-write their beginnings to suit my own desire that they not be hurt.  Their beginning was painful.  It was sad and lonely in its own way.  We can't shrug it off and say "all is well that ends well, you're here now so why ask why".  At least I can't.

Their first loss also brought them to our family halfway around the world, and that's the happiest, loveliest, most wonderful thing I can ever imagine coming from it.  They have brought us so much joy...there is no way to express it.  So I can only hope to spend a lifetime reaffirming that to them...

I want them to know that we told them exactly what we knew.  Sadly, we have nothing we can offer in the way of answers for them.  Nothing to fill in the blanks.  Only suppositions based on what we know of the cultures from which they were born into.

My prayer is that some day, some way, they will be able to fill all those searingly large gaps. 

Most of all, I pray that they will take comfort in their Heavenly Father - who heals, restores, and sets the lonely in families.  Who carefully set each of them into our family and changed our lives forever.  Who can wipe away their tears far better than we, their earthly parents can.  Who can remind them that adoption is the very essence...the very HEART of God.  And that they were chosen.  Adopted into loving arms and heirs to the Kingdom of God.  That they will one day be restored into the full knowledge of Christ.

That one day all their questions will be answered.  And that the story they made of their lives, through their adoption, will be a beautiful one indeed.

I hope that's what their birth-parents wanted for them...

I know that I love them forever.  

That much I know for certain and that answer will never change... 

March 27, 2010

Just like Mary Poppins...

She's practically perfect in every way...

March 25, 2010

Three Anton's

Have I ever told you this story?  No?

Well, Quint is the great-great grandson of Anton.  And then his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father - also all Anton's.  My husband is IV (or the 4th).

Quint is the fifth and as is tradition, he was named not after his father, but his grandfather, Anton Sr.

His name is a nice, long, formal and beautiful tradition in my husband's family that hopefully will continue on down the line.

And to keep things simple around our family, we call him QuintBecause he's the 5th.  And Quint means "five".  I know, you already knew that...but still...

There are only three of those generational Anton's living, and I love capturing pictures of them whenever I can.

It's beautiful for me to see that my sweet boy - this little baby all the way from a tiny village in Africa - will carry on the family name his Daddy gave to him the day he was placed in our arms for the first time.

And a grandfather who is proud to share his name with that little boy...

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.  ~Johann Schiller


March 24, 2010

Love, Love

Maybe in all this heavy talk of heartache, adjustment, bonding, grieving, and loss...I forgot to mention one very important thing?

I love her.  Oh boy, do I ever.

I could eat her up.  Actually, I do.  A little.  Ok, a lot.  Can you blame me?  Do you see those cheeks?  That face?  Those chubby arms?  The belly?  OY!

She's sunshine.  I love, love her.  She makes me smile and coo and baby talk my way through most of my day.

Love her.

Cannot be cured.  No remedy.  No need for one.

Just in case I forgot to mention it...

March 22, 2010


He's 2.  And with that age, for him anyway, came lots of difficult transitions.  Namely, a sister.  Sharing his parents.  Lots of learning.  Speaking.  Introduction to the world of potty training.  More freedom.  Less freedom.  More energy.  Less sleeping.  New toys.  Sharing old toys with his new sibling.  Learning more boundaries.  Acquiring new skills.  Transitioning to a big-boy bed.  On and on and on.

I think it goes without saying (though I appear to be saying it anyway) that he's in constant learning mode...changing every day...discovering.  Heavy duty transition.  This is all normal.

And maybe that is what I'll remind myself tomorrow when he throws himself on the ground for the umpteenth time, flailing his arms and legs and whining in the highest pitch possible.  Or when he dumps his bowl of cereal on the table.  Drops his spoon or cup (on purpose).  Jumps on his train table.  Throws a toy at his sister.  Tackles the dog while she's sleeping.  Climbs onto my computer desk and shouts "Yaaay!  Up!"  Climbs in his sisters bed and throws her things out of it.  Pulls all the books off his bookshelf.  Opens the fridge and removes whatever he thinks he needs, in bulk.  Spits out his lunch. dinner. and breakfast.  Grabs my cell-phone and dials Japan, telling them "Me?  Pablo?  Doc?  Lightening?  (as in Backyardigans and Cars...sigh) 

I'll remind myself that he's only 2.

That he's in the middle of so many changes, many and most of which are just a part of growing up.

That this too shall pass.

And that he's 2.  Did I say that already?

I would remind myself that I love him to moon and back, except I never forget that part...


March 19, 2010

Whew Moments

So here's the thing; I don't know about you, but I tend to find myself having more and more "whew" moments the older I get.  You know, like "with age comes wisdom" and all that hubbely bubbely hindsight is 20-20 stuff.  Case in point:

Whew...sure am glad I got all that grocery shopping done today, because it's gonna snow tomorrow.  (No, literally.  Snow.  It was 70 today.  Gorgeous.  Now?  Snow.  Monday?  70 again.  So, I'm whew, but I'm also grrr.)

Whew...good thing I saved those size 2 diapers, because it turns out soandso's new baby could use them, even though Sister Pudgy could not.  And I say that with affection.  Because she's a dear, sweet, adorable, yet slightly pudgy baby girl.  And she's all all her size 4 diaper-goodness.

Whew...looks like it's time to dye those roots again.  Gray shining through?  Holla...

Whew...I'm so over exercising.  Seriously.  Over it.  And I have an ever so lovely adorable bearable tolerable enlarged hourglass figure to prove it.

Whew........(that's all, I was just short of breath.  It happens with old age)

And this morning, when I least expected it...a big "whew"...swept over me without warning when I walked into my kitchen and saw this:

and just like that, I was inwardly thanking God. Remembering that stupid mistake I made that He helped me to correct all those 15 years ago.

That time when, foolishly, I accepted the proposal of a man who was clearly not "the one".  Everyone knew it.  Even I knew it.  Still, there I was - 20 and engaged to Mr. Terribly Wrong For Me.  

And maybe there's another post in there about moving across the country to prove myself right, only to end up proving myself wrong.  About making bad choices full of pride.  About learning the oh-so-very-hard-way that allowing just anyone access to your heart comes with such staggering life lessons - those I would rather have avoided in so many ways.  Maybe that's a post that will need to be written.

Still, in this moment...this particular "whew" moment...I thought to myself:

Thank you for this wonderful man who wakes up every day and chooses to love me - even when I'm a tad unlovable.  

Thank you that he loves his wife and children and takes the time to cherish them.  That he sees our unique charms and dotes on us, each one in different ways.  

That he was found sitting on the floor of our kitchen, having cereal with our bright, happy, inquisitive little boy - and a couple of Backyardigans too, it seems.  

That it seems nothing is too inconvenient for him when it comes to loving us.  Nothing too big, nothing too small, nothing too difficult.  He just loves us through and through and takes joy in finding ways to show it.

and I almost missed that.  Could have.  Would have.  Were it not for the grace of God!

Whew...that I married him.  That I was smart enough to make a good choice that ultimately brought a wonderful man and these two beautiful babies into my life.  

That he loved me back...

Just whew....

You know what I mean?

March 18, 2010

Her Special Need

In late 2005 while AB and I were attempting to put our dossier together, we had a decision to make.  Before our paperwork could make its way to China and into what would become an abyss of waiting, we had to decide if we were willing to accept the referral of a child with "special needs" or specifically wanted only a child who could be deemed "healthy".  

We wrote a nice letter introducing ourselves, and made sure to follow all the guidelines and rules set out for families putting together these types of packages.  In that letter we made it clear that we wanted a "a girl, healthy, as young as possible".  I's dotted and t's crossed...

This is who we are.  This is who we want.  Something like that...

Each year that went by, paperwork would expire and we would find ourselves renewing those documents.  And again, that letter...revising only the date at the top.  Leaving the rest.

This is who we are.  This is who we want.

Over and over.  Reiterating to ourselves exactly what we were prepared for.  The type of child we were preparing for.  

And so, last December we received the call...that long-awaited, celebrated, anticipated call telling us who she was.  Introducing us through technology, pictures, and translated paperwork...finally learning who she was.  A baby girl, just five months old.  Healthy.

But we couldn't really know.  Didn't really know anything about her.  

Still the mantra of our whole adoption process playing in the background of our minds...this is who we are...this is who we want.

All the way to get her.  All those steps from here to there and into the same room with her...all those tears and difficult moments, making our way to be together after five years.  Such arduous, painful years without her...longing for her.

Longing for our baby girl.   As young as possible.  Healthy.

If you've been reading recent posts, you know already about that meeting.  If you're new, welcome, and you can read it HERE.  

And so this is what I came to say to you tonight...

With these sweet babies...I believe deeply that there is no honest differential between what is documented as "healthy" vs. "special needs".  

What Keira does not have in physical ailment, she makes up for in emotional devastation.  For children suffering physical ailment, the trauma is double.  

I would never have believed it.  After all, our attachment with Quint was textbook perfect.

But let me write that letter again...let me rephrase it.  Please!!  Because what I asked doesn't exist and it's unfair.  To me.  To her.  To all of them...even to my sweet boy, who may not feel the depth of his loss for years to come.

It's not reality.  It's not even in the same stratosphere of reality.  

Who are we to say that the brokenness of her entire family tree is neither special, nor a need.  That her pain is somehow less because it appears unseen to the naked eye?

To think that a young as possible...healthy by the standard of medical reporting would suffer such anguish and fear, insecurity and pain with the limited ability to reason in her short's beyond me to convey.  To think that she will carry that pain and loss her entire lifetime is more than this mother (who thought I knew who I was and what I wanted) can bear for her to face.  But she has no choice...she has to. 

I saw her need again...this week.  When for the briefest moment we walked through a new environment and new people approached us.  Unlike any healthy, young baby girl I have ever seen...panic, fear, anguish, insecurity, pain...all etched in her face.   Thick tears streaming down those beautiful cheeks instantly.  It took only seconds for both AB and I to realize that we had seen that exact expression before...only once.  In that first moment.

And it nearly broke us.  Both of us aching for her all over again, but with new eyes.

She thought we were leaving her.   

She thought she was being left...again

How deeply I was hurt to see her relive that fear in any fashion.  I could see this wound re-opening time and time again, manifesting in different ways over the years, as she tries to come to terms with her loss.   Over and over...

I would never intend to downplay the serious nature of medical conditions orphans the world over suffer from.  But neither would I ever again accept the idea that being "orphaned" means  children who have suffered loss of this caliber are not also children with a special need.  Healthy is a relative term.

Her pain and loss are debilitating for her emotionally.  Even now at this tender age.  And oh, how I loathe that I want to take it all up and absorb it so she won't have to feel it for one more second of her little life.  How I want to erase that hurt from her heart...that that one day when she's older, she won't have that gaping wound inside telling her she was left.  She was abandoned.  She was unwanted.  

Never mind we love her to the moon and back.  Never mind that!  Never mind we went on the journey of a lifetime to be together love care for her.  It's all wonderful.  But it doesn't take her need away.  Her need to know why.  Her need to understand all the reasons why she was not held onto.  It won't erase the gaping will only act as a salve to it. 

Oh that stupid letter - that horrid, misinformed, childish letter.  Why did I write it?  Who we are and what we want...

What about her?  What about what she needed or wanted?  Who she was...

Why didn't I instead write that I would love her, pain and all...anguish and loss, heartache and brokenness...that I would love her through all of that.  And that when she came to me, years later, and begged to know why this had happened to her...assuring me that she loved me, but hurting and wounded and feeling betrayed by her birth-parents...that I would love her still...and comfort her.  That I would say the right things to help her in her grief.  That I would not give up on her.  That I would always fight for her pain to be healed.  For her brokenness to be made whole.  Maybe not in this lifetime...maybe not until the next...but that I would love her through all of it.  Why didn't I write that?

And I'm left with the knowledge that there really is no difference.  Foolishly, I believed that I knew who I was and who I wanted to love.  And I didn't.  Not really.  Not in the way that mattered.  

Because I want her.  Love her.  Cherish her.  Just the way she is.  Always.  Forever.  

And it may take a lifetime of reassurances, reminders of how we love her, encouragements along the way to affirm who she is to us - what she means to us - all that she gave to us the day she came into our lives.  A lifetime to remind her of all the sweet things that came from the loss she endured.  A lifetime praying that God will restore her in His time, weeping with her as she grieves, and enduring with her as she endures.

Her special need was not noted.  Woefully left out of every document, every report, every picture.

A broken heart...

She has a broken heart

and sadly for her, that was lost in translation

March 16, 2010

Over the river...

and through some gorgeous woods...we've been spending Spring Break at Grandma and Grandpa's home.  We call them "Oma" and Opa".

And it's really a cabin-esque house they built in the sprawling hills of Arkansas that sits right on the river.  So we literally went over the river and through the woods.  And can I tell you?  It's so peaceful here.  My Lord.

Anton's sister lives close by with her husband and two kids, so we've been spending lots of time just hanging around...with lots of kisses and baby hugs...and baby toes to adore...

And Anton's been where he feels most comfortable...La Kitchen of La Cabin in La Woods

...and feeding us some amazing meals, so between he and his mother (the former caterer - GASP!)  let's just say we're well fed up here in the mountains.

Quint is having a ball with his cousins and his Auntie...

and a certain adorable little girl cousin had the pleasure of announcing to the entire family upon meeting Keira "WHEW!  I finally have a girl cousin..."

 ...and of course, there is the Quality Time between a little boy and the Daddy who he parts with far too much during the school year

It's just good to be here and to be resting a bit.  We're cocooned in the Ozarks and loving it. And let's admit it - who doesn't love to see their kids covered in smooches and squeezes all day by adoring family members?  Who doesn't?

Frankly, I'm just happy to be surrounded by girls and adult conversation...

The best part of it all besides the good company, good food, and amazing scenery all day?  After the kids go to bed it's a game of cards for the girls, dessert, and a steamy cup of coffee...decaf of course.  We mountain people still need our beauty rest...

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