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

What is Trust? May 13, 2013

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Parenting — Lori @ 1:02 pm

I just read this quote on Facebook.  It was posted by Empowered to Connect, a wonderful group/website that exists to help families parent children from hard places.

“Trust…it’s what we do when we finally believe that we are worth being loved.”
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I have been wrestling to understand why Levi cannot trust.  I have also been wrestling to understand what lesson it is that God wants to teach me through my struggles with Levi.  This may be a partial answer.

In her book, The Connected Child, Karyn Purvis talks about making connection with our child before we correct them.  Levi’s therapist has talked to me about letting Levi know that we love him no matter what he does.

It is very hard to do that!  Not that we do not love our kids when they misbehave.  But, we often go straight for the correction most of the time.  That is because when we are dealing with a kid we have raised from birth (or a child who is attached to us) we have a relationship built up with them that we are relying on.  That relationship is in place and is part of the interaction regarding the misbehavior. 

Levi is not attached to us.  He does not have anything built up in him from our relationship to draw on.  When we correct him I am pretty sure that most of the time he hears “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!”  Not super effective.  The thing is I have been a parent for so long I correct him on auto pilot. 

Kevin and I have talked about how hard it is for us to take an extra minute to stop and think before we move in to correct Levi.  It is not coming easily to us.  I am so thankful for one friend (Thank you L.H.) who has taken the time to give us a script that she uses with her kids from the hard places to interact with them regarding their misbehavior.  Now, if we can just get it in our head!

Now to the deeper issue.  Feeling worthy to be loved. 

I was reading Levi a devotion this morning and it was talking about Galatians 1 where Paul is writing to the believers in the church in Galatia.  They had been taught the gospel, but they were starting to listen to false teachers around them and be confused.  The gospel is simply the fact that we are dead in our sins and can do NOTHING in our own strength to save ourselves.

Ephesians 2:1-10 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We are under the wrath (anger) of God because of our sin.  Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life in our place and then died to pay the price (satisfy God’s wrath) for our sins.  We do not need to add anything to this.  All we are told to do to accept this gift of God’s grace is to repent and believe.  How are we saved?  Repent of your sin and trust in Christ to save you from it.  That is the gospel.

It is so very human to think that we need to add something – some work of our own – to this gospel message.  It is so very human to think that we need to “do something” to make someone love us.  Even to make God love us.  Why is that?  I am so guilty of this thinking.  I don’t think I did anything to add to what Jesus did to provide salvation for me, but I think I have to obey God and do certain works in order to secure His love. 

2 Peter 1:3-9  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Am I really just forgetting that my sins have been taken care of?  Is that why I think I need to do certain things to make God happy? 

In Levi’s devotion book (God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation by Starr Meade) it said this:  “While God’s people love Him and wish to do His will as it is found in His Word, we do it because He has saved us, not so that He will save us.”

So, to bring this back to Levi – do I show him unconditional love or am I showing him that he has to behave in a certain way to gain my love?  Because, unfortunately, Levi does not accept that he is loved.  Kevin and I need to show him that we love him – no matter what.  We can’t just say this.  We have to live this.

It is Kevin’s and my desire to act in such a way with Levi so that he knows he is loved – as we correct him.  Empowered to Connect calls it “Connecting while Correcting“.  Click on that link to read articles in that topic.  This video is especially good on this topic.

~Lori

 

 

How Things Are Going June 11, 2011

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family,Parenting — Lori @ 10:21 am

I am not surprised that it has been more than two months since I last posted about our family.  Adding Levi into the mix has been…….exhausting.  🙂  Before he came home we had settled into a comfortable routine with our family the way that it was and then we threw in some dynamite!

Seriously, it has been very interesting.  The girls were so patient and kind to Levi for the first month to month and a half.  They put aside their own desires and devoted themselves to him.  I think that is just amazing and I am so proud of them.  It made the initial adjustment so much easier.  However, it also lulled Levi into a false idea of what normal life around here would be like.  🙂

He is now dealing with the realistic situation – that it is NOT all about him!  Now, we all need to learn that at some point in life, right?  From what Kevin and I have gathered from information we have been given (or saw ourselves) there was not much that Levi was told he could not do in India.  The nuns were great as far as showing love and taking good care of the children, but there was not much discipline.  I am very grateful for their good care of him – don’t get me wrong!  Levi is very charming and he flashes his smile and figures that everyone is going to fall in line and align with his will and all will be right in his world.

It doesn’t happen that way around here and I think he is still getting used to that.

The girls have had a huge adjustment as well.  There are a lot of things at play.  Boys are unashamedly esteemed higher than girls in the Indian culture.  Everyone knows it.  The girls know it.  When we told them that we were going to adopt a boy (they were hoping for a little sister) they asked a lot of questions trying to find out how that would change things around here.  They point-blank asked if we would love him more than we love them.  Although we did talk about this and assured them that we loved and treated our daughters and sons the same, they were still worried when he came.

The girls have grown and matured so much in the last three years.  They do not remember that they behaved in much the same way that Levi is now.  That has been a good lesson for them.  They will be exasperated with Levi and I will say, “You did the same thing when you first came.”  They are shocked! 🙂  In the same way, it is encouraging to us to remember how far the girls have come and to remind ourselves that Levi will get there as well.

When Kalindi told me that she had the most annoying little brother in the world I informed her that EVERY big sister said that about her little brother.  “Really?” was her response.  We have a lot of talks around here about how to get along with each other.  I have read 1 John 4:7-12 several times with all three kids and talked about what it means.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

What a wonderful opportunity to teach my children that it is through God’s love that we are able to love each other and in so doing we show the world God’s abundant love for us.

So, great things are happening, but it has me very busy.  I have told many people that this time of parenting Levi is like boot camp.  We are trying to strip away what he has been taught or learned before and replace it with the way we live in our family.  This entails a lot of time and energy and consistency.  We have seen it work with Kalindi and Kira and so I continually remind myself that the effort is worth it.

If you think about us, you can pray for all of these adjustments.  We would really appreciate it!

The girls have completed their year of schooling although we will continue with reading and math through the summer.  They each did their achievement tests and did very well.  Kira scores higher in reading, Kalindi scores higher in math.  Not a surprise to their teacher! 🙂  I have done very little school with Levi.  It was frustrating trying to work him into our established routine when he was so hard to focus and keep on task.  Levi is working on kindergarten level material.  He knows all his letters, most of their sounds, his numbers and easy addition.  I think he is very smart, but I also think his brain is working at warp speed.  It is going to be a challenge to juggle everyone, but I will figure it out.

Kira is excited about a month-long reading intensive summer school she will do this summer.  Kalindi is looking forward to beginning a new program that should help her with some of her reading difficulties.  It is a six month program that she and I will begin next week and work at it six days a week!  If it helps her it will be well worth it.  Kalindi is also super excited about going to junior high camp this summer.  Junior high!  Can you believe that?  Kira turned ten in May and Kalindi will turn thirteen in a couple of weeks.  Wow.

In other news, both Levi and Kira learned to ride a two-wheel bike without training wheels.  Kira has been afraid to give it a try after several spills.  I think watching her little brother learn in about twenty minutes gave her the nudge to try it herself.  She is doing great!  That reminds me about Levi’s approach to physical activity.  Let’s just say that if I didn’t color my hair I would probably be completely white at the roots!  He comes and gets me and asks me to come watch him do “Some incredible thing!” on his bike or scooter or the play structure.  Boys and girls approach life completely differently, don’t they?

Levi is a sweet boy and is beginning to show us some affection.  If I try to put myself in his place I cannot imagine how hard it would be to all of a sudden be placed in a family and be expected to trust and love them.  Can you imagine?  It is a slow process, but we do see some good signs of him learning that we can be trusted and that we love him.

I would love to hear from you if you have any questions.  I am always trying to promote older child adoption – there are so many kids sitting in an orphanage wondering what their futures might be.  It is not an easy road, but it is an amazing, wild ride!  Even if you can’t adopt, support and encourage an adoptive family or support an orphanage or orphan ministry.  There are a million of them!

Well, that is all for now.  I just wanted to give you an update.  I will try not to wait another two months for the next one. 🙂

Lori

 

Kira’s Stories May 23, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Kid Sayings,Parenting — Lori @ 9:31 pm

Kira has always felt a little left out when Kalindi will tell stories of things that she remembers of their family.  Kira was too young when she was last with her mom to have memory of it.  She usually will make up a story – always telling me first that she is making it up! – about doing something with her Indian mom or older sister.

Tonight, before bed there was a little misunderstanding and Kira got upset and ran off crying.  I went after her because I felt bad that I said something that made her feel sad.  I apologized to her because I had made a wrong assumption about something and reacted which caused her to be upset.  We hugged and then went back to what we were doing before.

While getting ready for bed, Kira asked to speak with me “privacy” (her word for wanting to speak with me alone).  She said she was sorry for what had happened earlier and we hugged and she told me that she loved that I was her mommy and thanked me for making her feel better.

When I was tucking her in, she asked if she could tell me a story.  I said yes, of course.  She said, “There was a little girl named Kira and her Mom made her feel happy and let her get on her back and we laughed.  I am so happy that she is my Mommy.  The End!”

The look of joy on her face made me feel like the most special person in the whole world!  This wasn’t a “story” this is what really happened.  Now, she has her own stories.  She has expressed so many times lately how happy she is that I am her Mommy.  I have seen in dozens of incidents that she appreciates things that I do for her or just enjoys sitting next to me or on my lap to watch a television show or read a book.  She will grab my hand when we are walking and express how much she loves me.

Many of you might not think this is anything special, but it is!  Kira is attaching to me as her mother.  She is realizing that she can count on me and trust me.  Yeah!  I just love adoption. 🙂

 

A Sweet Prayer April 24, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family,Kids,Parenting — Lori @ 8:57 pm

Bedtime always seems to be a time when kids want to talk.  I am not sure if it is because they finally have a captive audience or their brains are active and they remember everything they have been thinking of asking you all day. 

Kalindi was asking some questions tonight about believing in Jesus.  We have talked about the fact that we can’t trust in God on our own, that we need the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts so that we can repent and believe.  Kalindi has heard this enough times that she knows and understands.  She prayed this very sweet prayer asking God to help her to trust in Him and to forgive her.  I feel this receptiveness on her part to the Lord and it warms my heart.  After we talked some more, I prayed asking God to help her to know that He will answer her prayer to trust in Him.

She asked me if God always answers yes to our prayers.  I said no, he doesn’t always say yes, but He always answers.  We pray for God’s will knowing that He knows best and that is what we want as well.  She asked if God would answer her prayer to give her a new heart.  I said that I knew God would answer that because that was something He wants/wills us to ask Him for.

What a sweetheart.  She has such a tender heart regarding her sin and recognizing her need to repent and believe.   I have been so encouraged by her receptiveness to learning about God, asking questions, and wanting to understand.  What a blessing our little talk was tonight!

 

What is Love? April 2, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Kids,Parenting — Lori @ 5:54 pm

I was just reading a post at A Bushel and A Peck about their newest family member, Honeybee, and the love she is expressing for her mom.  It got me thinking about Kira (our six year old) and how often she will hug me really tight and say, “I just love MY mommy!”  And, of course, I tell her how much I love her all the time. 

This morning Kira came and got in bed with me – a daily ritual – and I started to say something to her, and she said, “I know what you are going to say.  You are going to say you love me.”  I said, “Yes, that was what I was going to say.”  I asked her if that bothered her that I was going to say it because she sounded a little bit annoyed.  She said, “No”.  (However, there seemed to be a “but” left hanging.)  I asked her if she knew what the word love means.  She said, “Not really.” 

Wow, here we have been saying this to her and her sister and they even say it back, but she doesn’t really know what it means.  Have you ever tried to explain what love is?  It isn’t easy.  I told her that Jesus was the greatest example of love because He loved us while we were still sinners.  Even though we did not have anything to offer Him, He loved us so much that He died for us.  And not just died.  He took upon Himself the wrath of His Father – wrath that I deserved to bear for my sins.  This is the verse that I thought of:

I John 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Ephesians 2:1-9  1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We were God’s enemy and yet He loved us with such a deep love that He planned and purposed that His own Son would take our sin and the  punishment we deserved on Himself in order that we could have a relationship with God. 

So, how to explain human love?  I told Kira that I am incapable of loving the same way that God does.  However, my goal is to do what Jesus said – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.  If we love others as much as we love ourselves, we will put their needs and desires above ours.  We will not do anything out of selfishness, but always look towards the needs and desires of others.  This is hard enough to do with those we love, isn’t it?  It is even harder to live this way with everyone else we have dealings with.  I also told her that she could partly know what love is by the way that Daddy and I treat her and her sisters,  see to their needs, and put them at the top of our priority list instead of ourselves.

And, how do we show our love to God?  If we do this in a consistent way isn’t that the best way we can teach our children about love?  To love God with all my heart and soul and mind, well, let’s see – the heart – I should immerse myself in knowing God so that the desires and motives of my heart will be pure and in cooperation with God’s will.  For my soul, I should make sure that each and every day I am in proper fellowship with God, keeping short accounts of my sin – repenting, sorrowing over it, and turning from my sin with the Holy Spirit’s help.  And to love God with my mind I should make sure that what I put into my mind – or even let linger there – is honoring to God and will have the purpose of making me more like Christ.  In other words, I better be putting God’s Word into my head which will affect my mind, heart, and soul.

Colossians 3:16,17  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 119:9-16 

9How can a young man keep his way pure?
   By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
   let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
   that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O LORD;
    teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
   all the rules of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
   as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
   and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
   I will not forget your word.

I hope that although Kira doesn’t think she knows what the word “love” means, that she does know the concept.  I am pretty sure that she gets the meaning because of the way that she has used the word.  I do know that it seems like Kira is awfully happy to have someone to call Mommy.  She has no memory of her birth mother.  Her mother figure was the main Auntie (caregiver) at her orphanage.  I can see by the way that Kira has so easily given and received love that this woman, Surehka, taught Kira what the word love means.  I am very thankful for the love and care the girls had in those three and a half years at the orphanage.

I think love is a little harder for Kalindi.  I think she has a pretty strong fear of rejection and find it hard to receive love.  We are working on that.  She has doubt in her worth and I assume it will just take time to build her up.  I am seeking the Lord on how best to do that.  Any suggestions would be welcome!

The great thing about Kalindi is that she has such a hunger to learn about Jesus.  She asks probing questions and pays close attention to what I teach her.  (We are going through Susan Hunt’s book, Big Truths for Little Kids, I highly recommend it!!)  I think the Holy Spirit is working in Kalindi’s heart.  Please join me in praying for the girls that the Lord would draw them to Himself.

Thanks for stopping by!  Lori

 

Hate to Admit It…. March 3, 2009

Filed under: Family,Kids,Life,Parenting — Lori @ 3:10 pm

About fifteen years ago I remember having a conversation with Kevin about video games.  Kelsey and Grant were about seven and five at the time and, well, you know the drill, EVERYONE had video games.  I really didn’t want to get into that.  I limited television watching and saw video games as mindless, empty entertainment that I would have to be the video game cop with.  I didn’t want to go there.  I told my husband I did not want him to buy – at the time – a Nintendo 64. 

Fate had other plans.  Kevin was out of town at a conference for work and guess what he won in a drawing?  That’s right, you guessed it!  A Nintendo 64.  When he showed it to me, I told him to sell it before the kids saw it.  He was thinking he had hit the jackpot because I think he wanted one just as badly – or more so – than the kids.

Needless to say, we did not sell the Nintendo.  And, I did become the video game cop.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I am sure there must be some life skills that video games are good for.  Can’t think of any off the bat, but give me time. 🙂 

I have to admit that if you use them correctly, limit the time, and are careful about what games you let them play, it can be fun.  We spent time playing it as a family and it was a lot of fun. 

Kevin started telling me that we should buy a wii sometime before Christmas.  Quite honestly, I did not want to get into the latest video game craze.  (We still have a Nintendo Game Cube although we hadn’t tried to play it with the girls.)  He ended up finally getting a wii a few weeks ago, spending his own Christmas money to buy it.  And, I have to admit that we have had some fun times as a family playing it together.  I am again the video game cop, but that’s okay.  In fact, in a way having the wii is a great discipline tool.  It is something I can take away (or threaten to take away if some attitude or behavior doesn’t change) and it hurts them.   Always a helpful tool in the parenting kit.

Kira was a bowling “savant” from the start.  It is a crack up to watch her play.  You would never think that she would do as well as she does.  She usually beats all of us.  In fact, she gets such good scores consistently that there is now a designation by her name that says, “Pro”.  Too funny. 

We just picked up Mario Kart this last weekend.  After playing that with the girls a few times I was telling Kevin that he was going to do the honors of teaching the girls how to drive. 🙂  They are getting better and staying on the road more often and falling off the cliffs or into water less.

So, here is a question for you out there.  If you have a wii, what is a game that your family has that you and your kids enjoy?  I would love to hear what games you bought and love to play and even games you bought that you wish you had not wasted your money on.

Thanks for you help!

 

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!
 

 
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