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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Out and About October 5, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Home Schooling,Kid Happenings,Life — Lori @ 10:24 pm

I meant to write a post about our fun trip to the zoo with our home school group on September 25, but things keep pulling on my time and it didn’t get done.

School takes up a good portion of our day, but it is going very well.  We are enjoying our curriculum and the girls are even excited when I pull out the history book – if you can believe that! 🙂

The girls so enjoy their friends in their home school group and everyone was so happy to see each other after a few months of not seeing each other over the summer.

Kira with two of her friends

Kira with two of her friends

It really is the perfect group for the girls.  One of the families recently adopted an older girl from Ethiopia who is a perfect friend for Kalindi.

Kalindi

Kalindi

We were so fortunate to have such great weather the day we were at the zoo.  We had the idea that since school was going there wouldn’t be that many people at the zoo.  Wrong!  I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a beautiful day and the forecast was for a week of rain right after that.  Or, it might have been that the new predator exhibit had just opened a few weeks earlier.  Anyway, it was kind of crowded – especially in the new exhibit.

We did get a look at the lions over people’s heads and thanks to my digital camera and the screen on the back, I could hold it up in the air and still get a photo of them!

New Lions at the Oregon Zoo

New Lions at the Oregon Zoo

Aren’t they amazing!?  There are also some cheetahs and painted dogs – the most successful hunters in Africa.  They say the success rate of lions when they hunt is 30 – 40% and the painted dogs are successful 70-90% of the time!

The Painted Dogs

The Painted Dogs

Of course, we always stop by and see how big Samudra is.  He is just over a year old.

Samudra with his mom, Rose Tu

Samudra with his mom, Rose Tu

Aren’t they so cute:

Don't you just wonder what this conversation was about? :-)

Don't you just wonder what this conversation was about? 🙂

Adoption update:  We received email notification that we have approval from immigration.  This means that we can get the official referral papers for Levi and get those signed and notarized.  I can then take my whole stack of documents to Salem to the Secretary of State for apostilling and then the dossier will be ready to send to India.  This is a very exciting step!  Once we have approval from CARA, the Indian government agency that must approve our paperwork before it goes to court, we will be able to send Levi a photo album of us and a gift to introduce our family and let him know that we are waiting for him.

All of this remains in the Lord’s hands and we are in submission to His will and timing – knowing that is what is best.

Please pray for Levi as he waits in India.  Pray that he will be healthy and safe.  Pray for his heart to be ready to learn about our family.  Pray that he will be excited when he learns about us.

We have a lot to do to get ready ourselves.  Levi’s future room is still my craft and “catch-all” room.  I need to get that cleared out – find places for everything – and then get furniture for him in there.  It will be a fun process once we get started.  Beginning those preparations will certainly make it all seem more real.

Have a great week!

 

What We Have Been Up To….May May 28, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Family,Home Schooling,Kid Happenings,Kids — Lori @ 11:41 am

My energy level lately has been pretty low.  This time of year my allergies sap my energy and I feel like I am walking around in a fog!  There are days I wake up that way and it is hard to do anything beyond what really NEEDS to be done in a day.  I am always saying that one of the things I am looking forward to about heaven and my new body is NO ALLERGIES!

We celebrated Kira’s seventh birthday on Sunday, May 3.  She chose hamburgers for her dinner (I threw in hot dogs as well).  Actually, both the girls ended up having hot dogs which was their first time having them.  They liked them. 🙂

Our Birthday Girl

Our Birthday Girl

We had family and friends who are family at the party.

The Cousins

The Cousins

She got a princess cake – chocolate!  Yeah!

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The girls have been taking swimming lessons the whole month of May.  More on swimming later.

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There was Mother’s Day at my Mom’s house:

Great Grandma Helen and her great grandkids!

Great Grandma Helen and her great grandkids!

Kira got to have a second birthday (is that something Hobbits do?) with our homeschool group:

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We had an “Oregon City” outing with special friends:

In front of the McLoughlin House

In front of the McLoughlin House

We also had family and friends over for Memorial weekend for a shish-kabob barbeque – you should have heard the attempts at repeating that word!  I don’t have great pictures of that day since I forget to do much photo taking when I am in charge of the activity!

Kevin has been working hard getting a fence put in on the back of our yard.  We have wanted to get to this project for a long time and it feels good to have it almost done.  The girls have helped out as well.  They love to be Daddy’s helper.  I’ll post yard pictures when we get it finished.  I am happy with how it is turning out.  It has been a lot of work, but very rewarding.

Another thing going on around here is getting paperwork together to start on our adoption.  Brings back memories!  That will keep me busy for a couple of months at least.  I do remember how good it feels when you have it all done and sent off! 

The girls are excited about their brother in India.  It has been fun to listen to them pray for him and to tell others about him coming.  It will be interesting to see how they react when it actually happens. 🙂 

Spring/Summer has officially hit.  Not only is the weather getting nice, but I am starting to hear, “Do we have to do school today?”  I swear there is a kid manual that is handed out at birth to every child in every country.  They all know the same lines because there wasn’t anybody around here to teach the girls that one!

 

Our Busy Week March 20, 2009

Filed under: Family,Home Schooling,Kid Happenings,Life — Lori @ 1:28 pm

img_7906I wanted to post about all the fun (and some not so fun) adventures of the past week beginning with Sunday, 3/15.  On Sunday, we got together with my parents, grandma, and my sister’s family to celebrate three March birthdays.  It was a really fun day and we were all thankful that my nephew Nate asked for Grandpa’s famous smoked pork ribs for his dinner choice!  Yummm!  Mom got her favorite salad – the one with mandarin oranges, candied almonds, and avocados.  I am not sure what Dad (Grandpa) got in recognition of his birthday as far as the meal was concerned so I had made him some orange chocolate chip cookies that were just for him.  Dad loves all things orange flavored.  🙂

The cake was pretty funny because my sister had accidentally written the wrong date on the Costco cake order sheet and said she would be picking it up the next Saturday – ha – so they wrote the birthday message to everyone on a St. Patrick’s Day cake that was already made up.  Too funny.

 

Here is a photo of the generations of girls – from my Grandma Helen, my Mom, I am missing (taking the photo – I am NEVER in pictures because I always have the camera!), Kelsey and the girls.

img_7884I love my Grandma!  She is 91 – can you believe that?  She not only looks great and is in good health for her age, but she is a sharp cookie as well.  I am so blessed to have her living so close so my girls can spend time with her often.

On Monday, the girls had dentist appointments.    They weren’t too thrilled about it and there was a lot of talk in the car about that dreaded flouride treatment and how they try to fool you about it by saying it will taste like something good. 🙂  They said Kira had a couple of very small cavities which she ended up getting filled on Tuesday.  She was pretty good for that procedure and was lucky in that they were so small, they were able to do it without a shot of anesthetic so that was good.  She told me she cried a very little bit because she was “worried”. 

 

 

On Wednesday, we met some friends at the zoo.  We had planned this date a few weeks ago so we were all pleasantly surprised and happy that the weather was perfect.  It was sunny and not cold (you can’t really ask for warm right now!) and there was hardly anyone there.  We had a great time.  The girls enjoyed being together.  They are all from India – Kalindi and Kira were good friends with one of the girls who just recently came home with her family.  They have had fun renewing that friendship.

img_7908We also went out to a wonderful Indian buffet lunch which the girls really enjoyed and then shopped at an Indian grocery. 

After that, we went to McDonalds and ordered a drink and the girls ran around on the play area while the other mom and I talked.  It was a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love this picture of the girls reaching out to “touch” the sea lion swimming by.  They are so beautiful and graceful in the water.  I could sit there and watch them all day long.

One thing I am always struck by when I am at the zoo is God’s creativity and skill in creating all the various animals – and his occasional sense of humor! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

img_7961On Thursday we had our monthly home school craft group.  The girls have enjoyed this so much.  We meet at my wonderfully creative and energetic friend Thelma’s house with four to five other families.  There are 8 – 10 girls that come in the age range of four to 10.  Kalindi is the oldest and was so happy when her new friend E came in November from Ethiopia.  Kalindi enjoys having a friend her age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The girls made brightly colored tissue paper flowers and they also planted seeds so that they can grow some flowers to plant at home. 

Thelma made a special lunch of beef vegetable soup, PB & J sandwiches, meat and cheese rolls ups and home made rolls.  She also made a special dessert of chocolate pudding, crushed oreo cookies and gummy worms to go along with her theme.  It was pretty funny watching the girls dig for the worms. 🙂

 

 

 

 

That pretty much catches you up on our week.  I was thankful for a Friday with nothing on the schedule – all except taking Kevin to the doctor today because his back was bothering him.  He woke up on Thursday so bad that he could hardly walk.  It was the same today so I took him in.  The doctor thinks it is muscular – good news – so he is taking a muscle relaxant and Aleve for pain.  Hopefully that will do the trick.  He just stopped by to say he was going to lay down because he couldn’t keep his eyes open – the muscle relaxer is doing its thing!  He hurt his back doing the dishes for me.  It was pretty funny telling the doctor what happened and he told Kevin that he better not be doing that anymore!

Have a great weekend!  Lori

 

A Special Day February 22, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family,Kid Happenings,Parenting — Lori @ 11:14 pm
Deut. 6:4-7  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

February 23 is our one year anniversary of Kalindi and Kira arriving home with us.  To us, that seems like the day we wanted to recognize in a special way.

Another thing that Kevin and I decided we wanted to do was to formally dedicate the girls to the Lord – but not just dedicate them to God.  We wanted to dedicate ourselves as their parents, in front of witnesses, that we are purposing to raise the girls to know and love God and His Word.  We had that dedication service Sunday morning, February 22 during our church service.  Our pastor did a wonderful job of talking about the God-given responsibility that we have as parents, but that the congregation, friends, and family have a part to play as well.  We are so blessed in the church family that we have.  They have been there for us through some pretty dark valleys and some very joyful times as well.

When we were in the process of the adoption of the girls and they were in India and we were biding our time, we decided to give them new first names – mostly because we thought Kira’s given name, Vanila, might be problematic.  I wanted to keep those names as a middle name, but give them a new first name that would be of Indian origin.  Kalindi is a Sanskrit name and Kira, is of Persian origin, but is a name and spelling used in India.  In addition to those names I really wanted to give the girls a middle name that had a spiritual meaning.  We chose Kalindi Hope and Kira Grace.

This was the personal things we said to the girls at their dedication:

Kalindi and Kira,
Tomorrow it will be one year since you arrived home with us from India.  We had a desire to have more children in our family, but it wasn’t really your Daddy and I that chose you.  God chose you to be in our family.  It was God’s plan from before you were born that you would be our daughters.  God loves you very much, doesn’t He?  He has watched over you every day of your life and He will continue to do that.
 
When Daddy and I were talking about new names for you, we wanted to give you a middle name that had meaning to us and that we hoped would have meaning for you as you learned what they meant.  We chose a verse to read to you this morning that explains a little bit the meaning of your middle names. 
  
Kalindi Hope – hope is joyful and confident expectation of eternal life.
 
The hope that a Christian has is based on the truth of the Bible – God’s word.  The Holy Spirit speaks to us as we read God’s word and helps us understand it.  According to the Bible, Christ is our hope and God is called “the God of hope”.
Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Kira Grace – Grace is the undeserved and overflowing gift of God’s love and good favor to His people.
 
God’s grace is a gift.  We can do nothing to earn His grace.  The gift of grace is God himself – that He wants to share Himself with us.  He wants us to love Him, obey Him and enjoy Him.
Romans 3:23,24  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
This wasn’t the first time the girls had heard the story of their names, nor the first time they have heard those verses and several others with their special name that I have written in their Bibles.  I am excited to be able to share the good news of the gospel and the truth of God’s Word each and every day.  I am also excited to see how the Holy Spirit is going to work in their hearts.  My prayer is that the Spirit will open up their spirits to understand God’s word and draw them to Himself.
I have to say how exciting it is every day to sit down and do a Bible devotion with them and watch their reactions and hear their questions.  They are so receptive and interested.  What a blessing these girls are to our family!
 

Christmas Fun! December 15, 2008

Filed under: Family,Kid Happenings,Life — Lori @ 1:51 pm

There have been several fun activities that the girls have had a chance to be involved in lately.  We had our monthly home school group get together and Mrs. English outdid herself again with gingerbread stables and nativity cookie figures that the girls all decorated.  What fun!

We went to a Christmas party at Kevin’s work and they saw Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer AND Santa.  They weren’t too sure about Santa. 🙂

Then, the best part of all!  The girls got to see and play in their very first snow!  They loved it and don’t seem to mind the cold all that much.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your outlook, the snow was very dry and you could hardly make a snowball let alone put together a snowman.  The good thing about the snow being dry was that you didn’t get all wet playing in it.   And, although it was a “big” snow for us here in the Portland metro area, it was only about three or four inches.  Just enough to have fun in.  The girls think it is wonderful!  They did want to make a huge snowman and find a magic hat for it – they have watched “Frosty the Snowman”.  🙂

It is still very cold here (for Portland!), 27 degrees, although the sun is shining!  We are expecting more snow on Wednesday and Thursday and then freezing rain and snow on Sunday.  It doesn’t sound like a good week to make plans to be running around!

WordPress has changed how you do things and I think there are some glitches in it because I cannot seem to insert a photo in this post.  So, I am giving you a link to go see my December album on Facebook.  There are lots of photos there with our Christmas tree decorating, various parties, and the snow.

 

Thanksgiving Fun November 29, 2008

Filed under: Home Schooling,Kid Happenings,Life — Lori @ 11:10 am

The girls and I go to a monthly home school group that my wonderful, creative, energetic, enthusiastic, organized, fun, patient, thoughtful, and young at heart friend runs for all us moms.  She is the grandma of the group – literally.  She started the group with her daughter-in-law in mind as a way to help her to get started with home schooling and an opportunity to have fun with her granddaughters. 

She is amazing!  Not only does she plan, organize, and gather all the supplies that we need for the day we meet, but she also makes all of us a wonderful lunch.  We have had homemade stew and the girls get heart shaped PB&J or cheese & meat roll-ups, yogurt, applesauce, and homemade rolls on pretty little crystal plates and they drink sparkling cider out of little crystal glasses.  In other words, she spoils us all terribly!

The girls have really enjoyed this get together with the six other girls that attend and look forward to this each month.  There is a family that comes to our group  that has just brought home a one year old and a nine year old girl from Ethiopia.  Kalindi and Kira were excited to meet the baby at our last get together and a few days later met the nine year old girl whose homecoming had been delayed a few weeks because of a court delay in Ethiopia.  Kalindi is so happy to have a girl around her age who will be coming to the group.

Here are some photos of our last time together:

Our Indian Chief leading a game.

Our Indian Chief leading a game.

 

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Kalindi performing the Thanksgiving story with Squanto.

Kalindi performing the Thanksgiving story with Squanto.

 

The girls with their friend "I" and darling baby "M".

The girls with their friend

Finally meeting “E”:

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