thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
~ Psalm 23
My eyes were running over, for sure, when we landed at the airport yesterday. Friends were there to welcome us, and the kids ran to me so fast we set off the alarms at the gate. I cried like a girl, feeling all my babies in my arms, and I was so very glad to be home.
Everyone has grown so much!
Anber was a toddler when I left, a defiant two year old who still had a baby face. Now she is three! She has grown almost five inches, no joke, and looks like a little girl instead of a baby. I can’t believe how big she is!
Alex is suddenly playing out a big brother role that I really wanted to him to have but didn’t know if would ever click in him. He gets it! Sometimes it’s too much, as he learns righteous dominion so to speak, and mostly that brothers don’t have dominion, but he has become so very helpful and so very cooperative and my little gentleman. He is still Alex, and gets in the craziest antics, and can make me laugh like nothing else.
Kirk is usually our “good kid”, but got into some trouble while I was gone. It was the kind of trouble that told us a piece of the story from his past, and it wasn’t until I got home that the story spilled out in words instead of behaviors. Once he got it off his chest, he felt so better, and is back to just being Kirk. I am so relieved!
Barrett has come so far! He still throws spoiled tantrums because of the placement he had before us, but at least now is able to intervene in his own behalf when prompted. He is more easily entreated, more easily redirected, and generally happier than I have ever seen him. This is a huge relief to me as well, because it was one of the ones it’s hard to see progress with while you are in the trenches! Now it is like light and day to me, and this gives me much hope and strength to keep working with him – and with that smile he has now! It’s new, and would light up a room! It reminds me of Seven, who never smiled when she came here a year ago, and now has the heartiest laugh ever.
We have big news for Seven. We found out today that we are officially her adoptive placement. We haven’t signed papers, and it won’t be final until this fall, but it is happening. Both parents have agreed to relinquish rights, and the hearing to do so is set for October. Since she has already live with us for six months (over a year by then), her adoption date can be set as soon as termination is complete that day. She is so excited! She and Anber are really, really loving being sisters, and creating a pretty special bond between themselves.
Know what the kids said at dinner, after we calmed down at the airport before re-entering real life again as a family? They said, “It’s a good thing you took so long learning how to care for sick babies, because dad finally decided last week that he’s the boss around here, and he’s got us figured out.” I laughed so hard! Nathan really did do an amazing job! The house was clean, though in chaos from all the stuff we had to ship home, and the kids had been well cared for the whole time. He even cut their nails! I was so impressed! He also got Seven’s long kinky hair washed, and had help from a caseworker to get it rebraided again unitl I got home. He did so great! He was worried about them not doing as much schoolwork everyday as how I push them, but he kept it simple and consistent, so they did not lose any skills and continued to make progress. They will still be ready for school to start. I am really, really proud of him! We both agree that in hindsight, we can look back and see the wisdom Heavenly Father had in assigning me to the chaplaincy thing all semester to pull me out of the home for a night at a time, and then a weekend at a time, for him to gain skills and confidence before suddenly being left with six kids by himself for six weeks. He did so great, I can’t tell you! Coming home now, something has shifted with us as a family, something that is better balanced, and more as it should be, but in a way it couldn’t be until now just because it wasn’t time. But now it is time, and this is really-really our family! This is it! We are set! So much is changing – including me doing nothing but my dayjob for the hours I am required – but no other extra things, not school, not chaplaincy, not five or eighteen hospital jobs. I’m a mom, finally, miraculously.
And our miracle girl? She’s a miracle, alright. We had speech-path this morning, and developmental specialist, and pediatrician, and she aced everything! No one could believe how well she was doing! When we finished all those appointments, I went straight to DHS to catch up on all the kids’ cases, and everyone was so glad to see her and that she was doing so well. She was also super cute, naturally!
Finishing those appointments was our last big outing, as now we enter our isolation period as the baby adjusts to her new family and all our germs, before we all go back to our lives outside of here and bring home new germs.
But she is doing great! She is eating, breathing, and thriving! She even has outgrown her newborn clothes very suddenly, and gained a whole pound since we left the hospital last week! It’s the first time ever that she gained weight! Her feet have doubled in size, no joke, so she even got to wear shoes today just for fun! This is our life, our very real and very amazing life! I am so grateful, and we made sure to pray thank you last night, and this morning, and tonight, and every prayer in between! We played so hard today, and hugged so much, and felt so very real.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
~ Psalm 23