Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bliss. Really.

It's amazing to think over the past year. How far we've come. All of us. I can't sit down and hold sweet Izrael...our Promise-baby without remembering if it were not for the pain of the past year...we would not have our sweet Izrael.

Summer is here and we are loving it. From a brand new playground set (the sweet one from Costco) and our pool set up...and finally getting some basic landscaping done in the backyard...and a garden that's growing for once....we are loving summer.

Chazano has not stopped talking. Seriously. :) We do have to tell him "stories later" frequently...b/c they simply don't stop :) With the stories~we are learning things about our boy that we had no idea of. Fear. He says he hates the dark and at night he prays lots b/c he gets "very scared". :(

He said he can't wait to see Jesus b/c he loves Him very much. He even said 2 days ago that he wants to eat so much food that his belly will burst (>>>???) b/c "Aunty Tanis said if I do I will go see Jesus"...(interpretation may be that when his belly was distended for NOT eating enough food...and I have no idea how he knows this as he was only 2 or so...? so we had to have a talk about that :)

He asked me to play "holly ball" (too cute to change...but its volley-ball) so we did that with the crew yesterday. :)

And he said he does not like that everyone who sees him at church touches his hair :) True indeed...a cute little boy with dreads...of course they all want to touch it!

Zunduka is doing great. Has come a long way and continues to grow in so many ways. He says very cute things in his own little way. His thing is to put his slinky little finger to his chin and tap it...as if he's thinking then say "oh...maybe...oh...nevermind" ;)

We hear more about "wheezy" than any one from Africa. Supposedly this is their brother....? We must remember to ask Tanis ...I have no idea but the stories about Wheezy are too many to count.

Zunduka loves to swim but with zero body fat he doesn't last long and then has to go lay on the concrete to warm his little body. Back and forth he goes. With being so light he is a total gymnast and can climb anything like a monkey!

We did find out...that remember back when they came home and in the airport all the people were saying he had ringworm...and Tanis had said no no...with ringworm the hair does not grow in...? well we cut his hair for the first time a few months ago and then cut Zion and Azlan's hair.....all was good until Zion lost a 3" circle of his hair! Oh my...it was ringworm!! Took him to the Ped...and had a discussion about where this came from...no animals etc. Then it hit me!!! So I asked and he said 'oh most kids do NOT lose hair with it so yes thats where it's from....and Duka may have had it his whole life b/c without treatment scapal ringworm doesn't go away". Fantabulous. UGH. Poor Zion has been wearing a hat for weeks to cover it up :( And is on an oral anti fungal med that they have to monitor his liver for the duration (lovely) but his hair is FINALLY growing back!! So Duka and Azlan and Zano are getting the treatment now too. Just lovely. I must say I had to google it and was relieved to know its not a "worm" but rather a fungus. Isn't it lovely to know that was there for the last year!!

Our season of birthdays is ready to begin! Zion turns 6 in July...Daddy has a bday in July...the twins in August and Azlan in September! Let the fun begin. :)

As you can imagine the million dollar question these days is "are you done?" :) It makes us smile and no one has ever gotten an answer. Mainly b/c...we don't know :) Really don't know. But there is a pull deep inside of me that God gave me the desire to adopt an infant with a cleft lip/palate...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

well well well...I'm doing an update!

Ok I simply can't go back and cover the past several weeks / months... but I'll start somewhere.

We have been doing great! The boys now well into their individual looks...Zunduka's baldness is covered in a super short do...Chazano may forever sport the dreads...he looks so awesome in them ;)

Call me crazy but I am so convinced he came out of his shell the day I did his hair in locs....

no joke.

So let's see.

Chazano is doing fantastic. And Duka is too. Duka is admittedly our hardest child to connect to. He's quiet (which I was as a child) but not really that pleasant. We are becoming more and more aware that it's JUST HIM. It's not really grouchiness though he has his fair share. He just is serious and often sports grouchy expressions. The contrast (not comparison...simply a very stark visible contrast) between the twins is really...extreme. Honestly...if I did not know FOR SURE they were twins...I'd never ever know they are biologically related! Personality, looks, (eyes, smile, bone structure..you name it...) is just not similar. So it's a daily project for both of us to connect with Duka. We'll get there :)

Chazano has become a full blown chatterbox. The first few weeks we knew it was fragile...so we never ever said "ok enough" thankfully now we can ;) He talks NON STOP and in silly little stories dragged out to the max :) Here's an example:

"Hey mom...guess what? (no pause). I was walking up the stairs...and guess what....duka was walking up the stairs...and.guess what...I was faster...but duka was faster...and then i was slower...and guess what....duka was still faster even when i was slower and guess what....duka winned me (yes we need to work on the english still ;) ...and then i was running and running and running and so duka winned and i falled down...and i said ... ouch".

:) Super cute. Yes the first 100 times we smiled. But these stories come ever 5-7 minutes. All. Day. Long ;)

We are very excited about the true meaning behind the stories. Who he's becoming and how he's feeling safe and loved enough to talk...even if it is all day long ;)

Dean and I chuckle to ourselves because duka is a total worker. Can work all day if you let him (picking weeds etc) but chazano...!?!? ummm.. no. He's the entertainer. He's lazy. :) So yesterday I asked what they are all going to do when they grow up.. We got all sorts of answers but Chazano...? well no. :) I said "maybe you can build fences with daddy?" he said "oh no that is much to hot, I won't like that". I suggested being a policeman...a pilot, a boat captain...you name it I suggested it. They all were responded with "much too hard" or "too sweaty" or "too much work" ... my boy we'll conquer this ;)

Yesterday on a gorgeous friday afternoon and a rare moment when mama stopped working and sat outside with the kids in the sun....chazano started talking. All about AFrica.

About how he remembers "black mama" (grandmothers sister) carrying him and duka miles and miles to Aunty Tanis' house in a sling. One would have to walk and one could be carried at a time. The whole thing was detailed out...going in the little boat across the river, hoping they would not see crocodiles...to walking the rest of the way.

Then he went on about other parts of africa. I asked him what his house looked like .. he said "pointy at the top. Round and made of yellow grass". (they have not seen photos). When asked what he ate he screwed up his face and said "yucky things like shema (shuddered), green grass (leaves) and sometimes meat"

He told me a story about them preparing chicken and an eagle (bird i assume) came and ate all their chicken so they caught the bird and killed it and cooked it over the fire but he was scared so black mama let him eat fish instead but duka ate the yucky bad eagle :)

Then he talked about what they would do everyday...with their friend Wheezy (??) he described him as a black boy about vance's age (a 12 y o boy from church here).

He told about going to Aunty Tanis house and sleeping on a mat on the floor with no pillows or blankets (told with very funny drama) and how SHE had pillows and blankets :)

He told about seeing me for the first time come in on the airplane and how he knew what i lookedl ike b/c Tanis had shown him pictures. And he would ask about me and the family and learned their names.

He told me about when I left and how he thought I was not coming back and he would ask eveyr day but Tanis would say "not today".

He told me about being a bad boy in school (little preschool tanis put them in) and Aunty tanis said that was very very very bad and don't you ever do that again (with his finger wagging in my face ) :)

He told me about coming home on the plane with me and I asked him if he remembered crying on the first plane when he got his food (remember there was no english back then ) he said "yes my belly hurt very badly so i didn't want the food but you didn't know that" :(

He told me about Aunty tanis' "motorcycle except it didnt' have 2 wheels it had 2 side by side in the front and 2 side by side in the back..." I told him it was a 4-wheeler and he thought that was pretty cool ;)

He told me about sleeping on the big plane ride home that mama didn't sleep on...I said do you remember daddy and all the kids meeting us at the airport? He said "oh yes..you were happy but i was very very super scared because I didn't know them but you did so you were happy " :)

Interesting note Duka said he remembers nothing...I couldnt' get any stories out of him. He kept saying "no I don't know any of that"...

I asked Zano what aunty Tanis called him b/c he said she wagged her finger and said "chazano that was very bad..." and I asked if she said Chazano he said "no...she said meleki..."

This was all amazing to us. first of all he's translating it all in his mind and memory b/c there was no english then.

secondly...it was a sign of trust to us. That he felt comfortable to go back in his mind to Africa and remember. I asked him where he will live when he's abig boy...he said "oh...in america with you and daddy b/c you are my family".

And I walked away with a giant lump in my throat.

It has not been a short year for our family. It's been a lot of work. A lot of sacrifice. By all of us. A lot of stretching our faith to the max.

But...God has shown Himself time and time again and I know that the heart of my God smiled as He heard this conversation between a once-orphan boy...and his "white mama" (as he says).

Though the world sees and soon forgets....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adoption Grants & Loans

He touched me.

And made me whole.

The rest of the story...

For 9 months (they have not gone by fast ...) I have struggled as a mom...with a very maternal heart...to feel connection to 2 little boys that God told me would be ours. They are ours. They have our last name. I went through the hardest test of my life to make them ours. They live in our house. They depend on us 100% for everything. They are our children. But they didn't feel 'mine'. There was no extra pitter patter in my heart when I looked at them. I didn't 'feel' what I felt for our bio children. Did I rise above this..? Absolutely. I just did what I did on a daily basis out of pure obedience. God didn't ask me to fall in love with them, He told me to love them. That is what I did.

Then...in a moment. In a blink...

Something happened.

I was leaving to go out somewhere and I leaned over the counter where Zion, Duka and Zano were all doing some coloring. I kissed each one goodbye on the cheek, as I have done many many times. I told them I would be home soon. And instantly...something happened. I literally felt this part of my heart open...and become alive. It started pumping for the very first time. You know when you have a biological baby and you wonder how in your picture perfect life you'll find room for one more...love for one more...and the moment you have that baby you feel something...deep inside. There's actually a feeling...a real feeling of new love. That is what happened in this moment. Though...it was even more drastic. I got in the suburban and just stopped. Stared. Cried. Tried to pray. There was nothing to say. I knew what had happened.

Ahhh Janice. Though the world sees and soon forgets.... will you...? Will you forget who I am and what I've done for YOU, Janice? Do you really think I want you to live out of duty forever...? Do you really think I'm not capable to give you something that only I could give? Did I not form your heart and keep it beating for 30 years...? Am I not the maker of your emotions...? I am the one you have cried out to for 9months asking 'how...why...help!!" and I have heard your cries.

Yes God speaks to me. You ever just sit and listen to Him speak? And it's not your thoughts and not your feelings and often if you are like me you argue...then you realize...this is the God who made me...who died for me...who lives inside of me. My Comforter. Oh He is so real.

I told Dean that night that a 'monumental moment' happened earlier and I was not ready to share.

I shared with no one.

Five days later...

Dean and I went to Olive Garden on a date. I knew it was time to share. I would often catch him watching me at this new level of interaction with the twins. I knew he was wondering what in the world was up. So I told him. He just sat and stared at me and smiled. I think he knew. He knew 'something' happened.

That was February 5. A day I won't forget. Don't I have other reason to forever remember that date...? God is so interesting. February 5 is also the day my little Azlan Honor's face was forever changed with his cleft lip surgery. A day seared on my heart forever.

On the outward...not much has changed. On the inward...transformation. When you don't do things because you SHOULD and because it's RIGHT and because it's just plain OBEDIENCE (all are good things and good reasons!) but because there is a connection, something deeper...a sense of 'ownership'...there is so much more joy.

Have the twins noticed...? Definitely. Everytime I leave the house Duka comes bolting out for a hug and kiss. That has been non existant for the first 9 months, for sure.

One thing I knew for sure...God had so much more in mind when He said to me...on that plane ride home from Zambia...
Though the world sees and soon forgets... we will not forget who You are and what You've done for us.

Oh that trip was only the beginning.

Those 26 days in Africa...were only the beginning.


Adoption Grants & Loans

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It happens in a blink.

A monumental moment. Ever have one of those? Something that literally happens so fast yet it changes you. I've had a few along this journey.
~When God called us to adopt.
~When He told us WHO we would adopt.
~Moments in Africa of complete surrender followed but supernatural peace.
~The moment in Africa when I realized the greatest gift He gave me on that journey was the gift of one day at a time.

This one...was different.

You know I may take a few posts to lead up to 'the moment' itself.

It hit me completely unaware. It was not a 'me moment'. It was a 'God moment'. It was nothing someone else did. It was not circumstantial. It was, plain and simple, a monumental moment. It changed me.

I'm about to copy and paste the lyrics to a song that God gave me a few hours after 'the moment'. I've never read the song. I've never heard the complete song (I will in a few minutes...). I've heard it come on...and often changed the channel or turned it off...or never listened. One line I did hear though... "It happens in a blink".

A few hours after 'the moment' ... I was crying and asking God questions with no real question coming out. I didn't know what to ask. I had nothing to say. I was in the shower and this song came to mind...literally...as I started singing it. "It happens in a blink..." and I stopped and smiled and acknowledged yes...this was a defining moment in my life. Just a moment. Just a blink. It was a 'God-blink' though. It was a gift.

Here's the song:
Blink. By Revive.

Teach me to number my days
And count every moment before it slips away
Taking all the colors before they fade to gray
I don't want to miss even just a second more of this

It happens in a blink
It happens in a flash
It happens in the time it takes to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life
It happens in a blink (x2)

When it's all said and done
No one remembers how far we have run
The only thing that matters is how we have loved
I don't want to miss even just a second more of this

It happens in a blink
It happens in a flash
It happens in the time it takes to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life
It happens in a blink (x4)

Slow down, slow down
Before today becomes our yesterday
Slow down, slow down
Before you turn around and it's too late

It happens in a blink
it happens in a flash
it happens in the time it takes to look back
I try to hold on tight but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life
It happens in a blink

It happens in a blink
it happens in a flash
it happens in the time it takes to look back
I try to hold on tight but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life
It happens in a blink (x4)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm ready.

Most people don't know this, though I've been very open about the entire journey....

I have never read this blog. I haven't reread posts before I submitted them....(thus the typos I'm sure that exist)...I've just written. Many times...through tears.

I'm ready. I'm ready to relive and heal.

"This is where the healing begins....
ooooohhhh...
this is where the healing starts!
When we come to where we're broken within...
the light meets the dark...."


(10th avenue north)

9 months later...I'm ready to walk through Africa again. All that it symbolizes to me...the anticipation...obedience to a God that is so much bigger than me and all my stuff...intense pain from separation from the family I love...grief of saying goodbye to another baby...alone....bringing 2 little boys home to where God wanted them to be. Heal my heart Lord.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

32 weeks pregnant and other updates

Yes I actually am saying about my own pregnancy...WHERE DID THE TIME GO!? Crazy. I'm choosing to enjoy the last several weeks b/c I always miss it when the baby comes. I'm feeling great and the baby...does the weirdest inside outside flips ever and I feel like all my mid section flips :)

School is going incredible with Tirzah and I must say it is incredibly rewarding to teach your child how to read. She is so so ready (which is so nice not to be forcing it) and the ciric. we are using really puts her into the full force reading really quick after a 12 week program of phonics. It's just been awesome to see her 'get it'.

The boys are doing great...all 4. It's been a record 5 weeks of NO accidents at all. No day time 'peeing-the pants' no bedwetting, nada. You have no idea the progress that was made. Like...8 mths ago...Zunduka came home on the airplane in diapers and wetting them. In the day. It's been a lot of work and a lot of mega consistency even when we were like "AHHHHHHHHHH".

The other night Dean called the kids to come watch a movie as Mama had people downstairs to hear a presentation and when they came in I looked at Dean and said "um just telling you...someone...is wet" He looked at me ... I looked at him and said "yes it's been forever....but you need to check them all"....he asks if anyone has peed in their pants and Zunduka looked mighty guilty.....I guess one close look and he understood it was much much worse. Much worse than we were prepared for. Not only had he peed his pants "back when I was playing in the playroom"...but he had pooped in them too and now at least an hour later was perfectly content to be sitting in it. On our bedroom floor, to watch a movie.

We have learned from these past few months that while our natural tendacy is to go "ok he has not done this for 5 weeks...I'll show some grace" it's very very weird but you simply can't. Because the very next day...he will do it again. So along with the discipline...Dean chose to let the other 5 watch the movie and mr. Zunduka was not allowed to. This was pretty drastic to him and while we were still going "what was he thinking to poop his pants and SIT IN IT for an hour and tell no one??" maybe we'll never know. But ... now I do know why I entered the room and immediately smelled something...bad. :)

Our weather has been amazing lately which is awesome for all of us. The kids get to go outside and play which has been missed by them all.

Back to the title...32 weeks and the countdown is on. I would guess ... 6 wks left. With Azahria my water broke at 38 weeks (at Olive Garden... ;) and with baby number 5 I don't see me going past that :)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A month's worth of updates!

Well lets see. It's been a good month. December 15th my parents came...and we haven't seen them in 2 years! They were flying in late and Tirzah and Zion took a nap to try to stay up. Well their flight was delayed so it was VERY LATE! My kids' 8pm bedtime was stretched to after 1am! :) And the best part was no one knew WHO was coming :) It was so cute and everyone waiting at the airport was loving the suspense. It was Mr and Mrs Claus...well when Mom and Dad walked in the kids still did not register and were like "ummm grampa....??" when it's Papa :) A fun night.

That night I slept awful. With a tight chest and finding it hard to breathe, I woke in the morning feeling worse. Every time I stood I was extremely dizzy and I just felt "something wasn't right". I'm seriously just about never sick. I haven't had a flue in 2 years or so. This was all playing into my 'alarm' of my weird symptoms. No one in the house was sick. So I called a friend of mine over who is also a Labor and Delivery nurse. She looked at me and specifically at a vein in my leg that is not good and my doctor has been watching it...and said "you just need to go in..if it IS a blood clot...you need to be in there". So Dean and I (yes, together! We had babysitters!) went to L&D. We were put in a room and within 10 minutes Dean was calling the nurses in as I was passing out...laying down. They came in to find my heart rate over 160 and my bp 120/80 (which looks normal but my top number never tops 100) so it was high for me. I was gasping for air. That got things moving on a lady 27wks pregnant really fast. In the flurry and EKG was done on my heart and after that...is when pure mayhem began. 4 nurses standing over me, none standing still. One jabbing an IV in my arm, the other getting bloodwork, the other putting oxygen on me the other holding my shaking hand as I entered panic zone. I kept saying "what is going on, someone talk to me....what is going on? is it serious?" that's when typically you would be told to calm down and that no nothing serious at all. However...we were not told that. Finally the comforting nurse told me my EKG was showing problems and I needed a specialist down in the ER right away. I completely totally, ashamedly..lost it at that point. ALL I could think of was as we were going to the airport the night before to pick up my mom and dad, Tirzah totally out of the blue, randomly said... "what would we do if you ever died?" and I had blinked hard, swallowed hard, and turned to my little girl a bit dumbfounded and said "you would do what you do right now...trust God. That even though that would be a very very sad day for all of you...God never makes mistakes and He loves you much more than Mommy ever could". She stopped for several seconds quietly. Then spoke up ... deep in thought as only Tirzah could do... and said "Mommy, I would cry every day for the rest of my life. Like even if it was many many many days later and Daddy and I would go grocery shopping or cleaning in the house I would always think of you and I would cry. I would never stop crying." and honestly...the conversation ended there as I squeezed her hand from the front seat of the suburban and cried myself.

Now less than 15 hours later...all I could think of was that moment. I looked up at the nurse and said with all the passion I had "I have 6 babies at home, please please do not let me die" (again where normally you would say "oh no....you are finE...." she said "we are doing all we can Janice!" Of course this only escalated my symptoms and fear won. Absolutely won. In between breaths I would have a flash back of Africa and how God taught me so very clearly that I'm his. Whether here or in Heaven, I'm His and I never ever leave His hand...yet here I am TREMBLING and in complete panic. :(

Transported to the ER with 3 nurses, Dean and oxygen tank following the ER doc was on me immediately. First things first...as I switched from the poor nurses hand to the doctors was he looked at the EKG and assured me the machine spits out false reports way too often and that a doctor must read it. He said it was 100% normal. I think that was my first full breath in 30 minutes. He however said at 7 months pregnant he was not going to take my symptoms lightly and by the looks of my leg and the size difference between it and my right leg, he must rule out a clot. So full CT scan, ultrasound of the veins in my legs etc later, it was 100% ruled out. They had no idea what I had and honestly at that point I truly did not care. I was so relieved. Then...the shock came of what had happened. I laid in the bed waiting to be dismissed and cried on Dean's shoulder for a long time. When we came home that night it took me 3 full days to stop crying at random times. It felt as if I had been given a second lease on life. And very quickly I was on my knees, sadly...ashamed...that I had not trusted God. At all. :(

Nice start to the vacation right?

The three weeks went by with lots of activity. Christmas was wonderful. We played lots of games and lots of games with the kids as well.

In all of this we are now at a record time of Duka not bedwetting. He is now back in his bed for the first time in months and still has very limited fluid intake after 5pm...but has not wet his bed in over a month!!! Serious progress. It was 8 months ago he came home in full diapers!

Mom and Dad left January 3 and we had a great time with them.

January 3 school resumed as well for Miss Tirzah. How you can take a 3 week break and actually read BETTER when you start back up again was a bit of a mystery but one we'll take ;) She's doing great and now that her reading program is completed we are on to the fun stuff and I can't believe how great her reading is!

I'm now 30 weeks pregnant and so extremely excited to meet our little princess. The name is settled and so are we;) My only complaint is at any point during day I can touch the right side of my ribs and move a limb out. My ribs are very sore which is funny b/c I'm not carrying high...but she's right there. And that is transitioning into back pain. It's all good though and I'm almost done.

Yesterday was a pretty high stress day. I hosted a business event and was the speaker ...expecting 50 people or so...to find a packed room with standing room only and 80 people plus three "executive directors" in the audience (people ahead of me...) and that just denerved me completely. Half way through I felt myself regain composure and went for it. Who would have guessed 2 years ago that the girl who barely had the confidence to maintain eye contact would be speaking to a group of 80 people. Not I :)

It's going to be a busy 7 or 8 weeks before the baby comes as our goals are pretty intense and we're definitely working with a "no matter what" mindset. Praying for help. :)