Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Kalindi – Queen of Camp July 30, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family,Kid Happenings — Lori @ 10:49 am

It must be hard to live in the shadow of a little sister who has a personality that draws attention and smiles.  Kira is just a larger than life kind of girl.  She is full of energy and drama and, boy, can she talk! 🙂  Kalindi’s week at camp gave her the opportunity to shine all on her own.

Kalindi’s week at camp was successful on many levels, and not just for her.  However, I will begin with how the week impacted her life first. 

I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive when we were dropping her off at camp.  She has only been with us for a little over two years and although she communicates very well there is still a lot that baffles her.  She also does not read up to the level of the average American kid her age.  I was a bit worried that she might get teased or feel inadequate.  I also knew there would be a lot of physical challenges with new activities and, again, I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle them.

Kalindi on the zip line

I am thrilled to say that I had nothing to worry about.  My first glimpse of Kalindi’s face when they called her name during the pick-up at camp was a girl who was completely confident in herself and had matured about a year in that weeks’ time.  She was chatting with a group of girls when I saw her and she turned when she heard her name, but the look on her face never changed.  I was a bit disappointed as my mommy heart would have liked a bit of excitement from her, but I was so proud of her in that moment!

In the car, she opened up and began telling story after story of all the fun she had that week.  She would be sitting there quietly and all of a sudden say, “Oh, I have to tell you this – it is so funny!”  I asked her questions and I just smiled at her enthusiasm and excitement.  She isn’t usually like that.

The girls in Kalindi's cabin.

Now to explain my post title.  When Kira and I were in line to pick Kalindi up they had the camp DVD projected on the wall.  I have to say I was very impressed that they had made up this DVD to hand to all of us at pick-up that had still photos as well as some video from that week of camp.  I was surprised and pleased in my few minutes viewing that I saw Kalindi in it several times.

When I was talking over the week of camp with my friend, Beth, who had been Kalindi’s counselor I was told that Kalindi was a bit of a camp favorite.  Beth told me that she didn’t know how it had happened, but every camp worker seemed to know Kalindi.  She said she was surprised at how many of them came up to her and mentioned Kalindi, said glowing things about her, and asked Beth how she knew her.  It seems that also answers the question as to why Kalindi is in so much of the camp DVD.  I think there is a photo of her doing just about every activity that she participated in. 

This was a wonderful week for Kalindi.  She was able to be herself.  She could open up and be silly and funny and she did not have a little sister around that she felt responsible for.  I have often thought that Kalindi acts much more mature than her age.  She has had to take on responsibility at a young age that we rarely ask of our teenagers.  I am sure she felt responsible for her sister at the orphanage and Kalindi has told me that she used to watch Kira as a baby/toddler when her mom would go off to work.  Keep in mind Kalindi is only three or so years older than her little sister.

Beth told me that Kalindi was quiet at first, but she made a bosom buddy at camp and Beth said they were inseparable.  Kalindi does have this surprising wit that can catch you off guard and she displayed that in abundance at camp.  She also had to learn to deal with girls who aren’t always nice – something we all have to do in life.  She was inspired by a speaker who told her life story that included being born to a drug and alcohol addicted mother, lived an unspeakable life as a child, and was finally adopted and made part of a family when she was a teenager.  Kalindi really identified with this lady and asked Beth is she could speak with her.  After the talk, in cabin discussion, Kalindi opened up and talked about her life and shared what the Lord has done for her in bringing her to a family in the U.S. who has taught her about Jesus.

I am SO proud of her!  She is such a gift.  I feel like because of this week away from home, I know Kalindi better than I used to.  Maybe she also knows herself a little better.

So how did Kalindi’s week away affect Kira?  Well, I was actually more worried about Kira than Kalindi.  Kira has many fears.  One of them is being alone.  Three guesses why that might be – and the first two don’t count.

Kira did cry that first night she had to sleep in her room alone.  I laid down with her and read her a story and prayed with her, but I felt like she needed to face this on her own.  I never would have let her get out of control.  I was keeping my ear open to make sure she was handling it okay.  I didn’t want to push her too far, but this was a great opportunity for her to realize she had no reason to be afraid.  We talked a lot about her fears – one fear she expressed was that she would lose Kevin and I.  I told her that I couldn’t promise her that nothing bad would ever happen, but I could promise her that Jesus would always be with her.  I asked her to think back in her life and remember all the times that the Lord took care of her.  We have done this before so it wasn’t a new idea.  It was a great growing time for her faith.

She did really well.  It did take her awhile to go to sleep that first night, but the second night she was absolutely fine.  So, the week Kalindi was at camp was really good for Kira too.

Kalindi’s week away taught me some things too.  I need to pay special attention to Kalindi in these important pre-teen/early teen years of growing and maturing.  I need to give her activities that she can do on her own that are just for her.  This is something that I am going to have to put some effort into. 

Thanks for reading!

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Looking to Jesus July 28, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Grief — Lori @ 10:34 am

I find myself in an interesting state of mind this week.  Every summer since 2006 the month of July has been hard.  The warm weather, the long days, kids going to camp – all these things remind me of July 31, 2006.  That was the day Grant died.

Funny how there are moments when emotions come flooding into my mind and I find myself exactly where I was that week in 2006.  I can be heading to the grocery store and have a flash of the last time I took Grant shopping with me two days before he died.  Taking Kalindi to camp last week made me physically ill as the week before he died Grant and Kelsey were at AWANA Scholarship camp.  Going to the orthodontist is also very hard for me as I had taken Grant that last morning to get something on his braces repaired.

I remember back to those first few weeks and the raw, painful emotions and tears and although the hurt is very real and still present, there is also awe at how the Lord carried us through that time.  I wouldn’t be alive today if I were relying on my own strength to get me through that.  I am incapable of surviving that kind of tragedy without the Holy Spirit living inside me.

And here we are, four years later, waiting for news on our son in India.  We have considered Levi our son ever since we made the decision to pursue adopting him.  That is how it is with a parents’ heart is it not?  As soon as you are aware you are expecting you begin to love and cherish this new little person that God will be entrusting into your care.

And yet, all those plans and expectations don’t always turn out with the “happy ending” that we assume they will.  There are no guarantees in life.  I find that I fight on a daily basis to remember that this life is a vapor and that I am a pilgrim on a journey passing through.  It is hard sometimes to see yourself as a stranger and alien in this world and yet love and engage with people around you in meaningful ways.  We give of ourselves, we love and we lose.  That is life here. 

Wasn’t that Jesus’ life here too?

He came to this earth – giving up all the advantages of heaven, but not His deity – and lived a human life.  Jesus willingly surrendered Himself to live a human life of temptation (and yet without sin!), emotions, loss, disappointment, joy, pain.  He made relationships with people, shared in their joy and sorrow, saw with human eyes the ravages of sin on this earth, watched his friends deny Him and run away, was ridiculed and physically injured, and finally gave His life on the cross to pay for my sins. 

Aren’t I supposed to model my life after Jesus?

That is easier said than done, isn’t it?  After all, do we really want that kind of life?  A life of servanthood and sacrifice.  A life that thinks of everyone else above their own wants.  A life that realizes that this temporary earthly life is not all there is and is only to prepare us for eternity.

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I Peter 4:12,13  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Colossians 3:1-4   If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

So, I guess I am just trying to find my way on a path that seems narrow and treacherous.  I am trying to figure out how to live this life for God’s glory, yet with my eye on the finish line, not on the current path.  It is hard.  At least it feels really hard for me right now.  I can honestly say that I didn’t give heaven that much thought before Grant died.  Shame on me!  And, shame on you, if you do not give more thought to what comes after this brief life.  It is easy to get distracted.  Here is some advice from the author of Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus looked ahead and thought of the prize as He was running the race.  Shouldn’t we do the same?  It takes a daily dying to our selfishness and our desire for temporary pleasure and peace to keep our mind on the goal – the reward.  It is not easy, and in our human flesh it is impossible.  But, as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26:

 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Teetering July 13, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 10:31 pm

To tell you the absolute truth I am teetering at the moment.  I am on a tightrope of faith and trust and trying with all the prayers I can muster to keep my balance.

Our home study for our adoption will expire next month.  That means that it has been a year since we have completed that document and began work on our dossier.  (This also means that it must be updated which involves more paperwork and more fees.)  It has been nine months since our dossier arrived in India – well, it is barely in India.  It is actually sitting at the U.S. Embassy waiting for a visa photo of Levi that the orphanage needs to provide so that it can proceed to the next step.  We have been doing a lot of big, fat waiting and I am really sick of it.

I am to the mad place.  Ask me who I am mad at and you won’t get a coherent answer.  There really isn’t a “good” answer.  I am not sure who to blame.  Is it the orphanage’s fault for saying they would support our family to adopt one of their children even though we already have three children in our home and they knew our getting approval was a risk?  Is it the orphanage’s lawyer who is at fault because he feels it is best to keep our paperwork in limbo while another case of theirs is decided in the Supreme Court of India because the District Judge threw out their case because they already had three children in their home?  Or, is it Kevin’s and my fault for embarking on this somewhat crazy venture in the first place?  And, believe me, there are plenty of people who think we are crazy!

Ultimately, this is in God’s hands.  So, if I am going to assess blame that is where it lands.  I don’t think the Lord has any problem taking the “blame”.  He knows the beginning from the end.  He knows what is best for me, for Kevin, for Kelsey, for Kalindi and Kira, and for Levi.  I believe that with all my heart.  His ways are perfect and just – they just don’t always make sense to us.

I wish the Lord would give us a bit of a head’s up on what we should do.  How long do we wait?  What do we do if the answer is no?  I really do not know what we should do.  Is all the wait worth it?  I know the answer to that is yes!

Psalm 145:14-21  

14The LORD upholds all who are falling
   and raises up all who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food in due season.
16You open your hand;
   you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17The LORD is righteous in all his ways
   and kind in all his works.
18The LORD is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
19He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
   he also hears their cry and saves them.
20The LORD preserves all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy. 
 21My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
   and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

 

Identity July 5, 2010

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 12:04 pm

As a mom of adopted children from another culture, I am interested in how they will adjust and relate to a new family and culture as they grow up.  It might be different when you adopt an older child because I assume that they “know” who they are.  (I may be wrong about this and it might differ from child to child.)  They have memories of their country and how they lived there.  They may even have memories of their family.  But, for a child adopted very young or as an infant they may not have that grounding experience. 

I just read this great article on Rainbow Kids.com that was written by a girl who was adopted as a toddler from China.  It is about her questioning her identity and her journey in discovering who she is.  I have an excerpt here:

I’ve always wondered what people think when my family and I are out together. Do they see what I see: two parents and their three children? Or do they see two Americans, their two sons, and mentally check me off as my older or younger brother’s girlfriend? Do they even think about what they see, or am I just obsessing over the minor details?

For a long time, I hoped I was just obsessing, because it was those sorts of questions that made me feel insecure about my place in my family. Those questions made me doubt myself, and, as cliché as it seems, they made me wonder about my identity.

Please do go read the entire article.  It is good information if you have an adopted child or if you are friends or family of someone who has adopted.  I love hearing this from the adopted child’s point of view.

 

 
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