Sunday, October 18, 2009

JB & Me

Mommy and her African babes :)

Now, those are some handsome boys!

Have you ever just been so overwhelmed with the fullness of your life?? I don't mean "fullness" as in stuffed to the gills with appointments, places to be, kids to clean up after, schedules to keep, etc... though certainly I DO get overwhelmed with those things. Way more often than I should or want to admit. No. I'm talking about a fullness that bursts forth with life, love and gratitude. There almost aren't words for it. All I know, is that when it happens-- that knowing of "fullness"-- there is an overwhelming sense that this life I am living is SOOOO much larger than me and yet, I have been chosen for "such a time as this" and for such a purpose as well. I have been given the husband, children, lifestyle, opportunities, responsibilities-- ALL of it-- for an eternal reason. Beyond me. Beyond human explanation and into a much greater, more expansive purpose. And it is good.

I love those moments. It is as if the veil is lifted and I can see clearly. I can see the point of it all... those every day struggles don't seem so tedious and mundane. Every task is God-given and God-ordained. My children's flaws are overshadowed by the beauty of who God has created them to be and gifted them to grow into. My husband is truly my knight in shining armor and my own struggles, weaknesses, fears and/or future plans pale in comparison to the Almighty Love of the Almighty Purifier of my mind, body, spirit and soul.

Ahhh.... and then the curtain closes. I don't know why, but somehow, the cares of the world and any unchecked sins try to creep in and steal my joy. I'm not really sure why I even bother to tell you all this, other than it is this feeling of "fullness" that is the only way I can describe the life of adoption. Overwhelming. Bigger than me or anything I could fathom. Thankfulness. Yes. Overwhelming gratitude. Even in the midst of the struggles and tensions and wondering. I hope when you've read my posts over the past few months you have walked away with more than just the "hard things". I hope you have seen the calling of God and His Grace to accomplish that which He has begun and the continuing walk of faith and that this walk is not always pretty. But it's not all ugly and pot-hole filled either. I, I KNOW our eyes have been opened to a whole new understanding of God's love through adoption. On so many levels. His deep abiding love for His children to know Him deeply and fully. His compassionate love for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned of the world. His gracious and un-ending love for ALL mankind to come to Him and be adopted into His family and become heirs to the throne of Grace! And what we are to do with all this "knowing" and new "eye-sight"-- oh my. That is for a whole different post!

I can't even tell you all the ways that adoption has changed our family for all eternity for God's Glory... but I am seeing some of it. Maybe only during those times the veil is lifted, but it is there and God is faithful. Even in the seemingly "bad" moments and days. You know... it has been very frustrating for me. And I wish I could say that I have been able to handle the "hardness" with great maturity and compassion. Not so much. But... here is the amazing thing. God is binding our hearts despite of my mess-ups and is faithful to continue teaching ME how to love and live in His fullness.

And here is another amazing miraculous thing. Despite the childish pettiness (and not always from the children, mind you!), misunderstandings, mis-translations, etc... JB is coming alive-- fully ALIVE!!! When he first came home, he clung to Tony inappropriately and tolerated me. He didn't know how to hug, didn't know how to handle affection and couldn't make eye contact to save his life. He cried at the drop of the hat and seemed only to know how to hit, bite, pinch or cry his way through communication. I struggled so desperately to be compassionate and then cried almost nightly at my own guilt over the lack of compassion, the fear of never "feeling" love, grieving for our family to never look the same again, wallowing in the agony of being the "2nd mom"-- agonizing for him, his biological mother and myself. I wish I could tell you I grieved FOR him. I DID grieve for his loss before he came home. When we got our referral back in February and learned of his story. I grieved then. And, since he has been home, I have been able to enter into his grief with him and hold him with a sense of God-given understanding. But not at first. Not for many weeks.

JB & Me in Ethiopia

But, now I see a new thing happening. The old is going and God's newness is slowly coming. In spurts and fits at first. But now it is flowing stronger and stronger every day. Is there still chaos? YES. Do I "feel" like we are a family yet? Hmmm.... what is your definition and what are your qualifying factors? It doesn't "feel" like it ever did before they came home, but I don't think that will ever happen again! How silly of me to think it should. JB hugs me every day and his favorite thing is to give me "loooooonnnng time, kisses, Mom." :) and "Everybody hug, Mommy and JB". Tony is currently on his second out-of-town trip and JB did no more than hug his dad goodbye and off he went to continue playing-- just like the other boys. He still teases quite a bit, but it is good natured and he seems to be learning when enough is enough. He is quite the chatterbox and LOVES for me to see him do ANYTHING! Every goal he makes in soccer (which is a considerable amount) ends with a look my way to be sure I saw it. He inhales school time with me like he inhales chocolate ice cream-- his few favorite snack. And he always wants me to sit down and watch his new favorite movie with him-- currently Narnia. We've moved on from Spirit.

JB & Me tonight (3 months home)

Have I mentioned that God is good? :) He is. Enjoy the photos.

Grace and Peace,

This was how he immediately "posed" when I asked if he wanted a picture with Mommy


KLT said...


"Fullness" is a great way to describe it. Someone asked me yesterday how things were going and the best way I could think to describe it was that I'm doing really hard work (that often leaves me exhausted at the end of the day) but it's really good, meaningful, satisfying work.

...and I LOVE your pictures. What a transformation! Keep up the loving (Phil. 1:9)!!!

Jodie said...

It looks like yours isn't the only heart being transformed! :)

Apryl said...

So good to read this! I have two VERY hard days. When I thought attachment stuff was 'over' I was slapped in the face with it from Sally. Prayerfully I'm overanalyzing, hopefully she's just being a silly 5 year old girl. But I'm afraid it's not so. These kids have so much to overcome--I need a little 'fullness' today :)
many hugs,
ps. LOVE the pictures, so sweet!

ethiHOPEia said...

I love to see these pictures Shari! Thanks for happy that little by little God is chipping away at both of your hearts.

Bette said...

I LOVE the pics of you and JB. So very, very glad to hear of the strides being made, too. =D

We're currently studying a Russia as a school wide event in anticipation of one of our teachers doing mission work there. We're doing lots to send her with gifts from our school. Anyway, I got to talk about Team Dragovich & JB & RiSa in one of the lessons. We made a world connection between Russia and Africa, Ethiopia in particular, and plight of the children in those countries. Tell them that there are now kids in KY that know who they are and would love to meet them! I have to bring in pictures now and my students ask about them pretty often. =D Hugs to all!