Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What A Difference!!!!

Do you all remember this sweet little face? This was the very first time that we laid eyes on our son! He was perfect! We were probably the first people to truly rejoice over his life. We were completely overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotion. To finally hold this precious little life in our hands was a moment we will never ever forget!

This photo was taken mid June 2011. I remember vividly how little he interacted, the lack of eye contact, how frail he seemed, how pale he was, his complete lack of muscle tone, the extreme coarseness of his very little hair, the unbelievable amount of "stuff" in his nose and ears, the dark circles under his eyes, his protruding "C" shaped spine, and the list goes on. And by many accounts, his baby house was better than lots of others. Can you even fathom the least of these that are in the worst of the worst institutions? Honestly my heart and soul can hardly bear it.

And this is the redemption that Derek and I keep speaking of....the beautiful living breathing example of redemption right before our human eyes. This is our precious son! Can you even believe his little face? This photo is from Dec. 2011...just 3 months home with nutrition, love, touch, stimulation, WATER, sunshine, opportunities to explore, and did I mention love?!?:):) I will mention again that he hasn't even had a second of therapy yet (starts this month:).

If you are debating whether adoption truly makes a difference. If you wonder how adopting one child could possibly do anything to decrease the millions of orphaned children around the world. If you wonder how God could call you to rescue and give a home and be a family to the least of these. If you wonder where the money, time, and energy will come from. I ask you to remember that with our God ALL things are truly possible. God did not leave us as orphans. He rescued us! Adoption matters to our Lord. And, as followers of Christ, if it matters to Him, it should to us as well.

We rejoice over all that God is doing in Samuel's life! And we rejoice over the ways that we are forever changed by following the call to this little boy! To God be the glory! I pray we will walk in His ways no matter the cost or sacrifice as long as we have breath and that our children will continue that legacy long after Derek and I are in the arms of Jesus!

Very grateful that my husband was loooking through these photos from our first trip and made the comparison. It renewed my hope in all that God has done and continues to do. Thank you Lord for a Godly husband that stepped out in faith very courageously to bring our son home! And thank you Father...for redemption!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Over the last few months...

our days have been super full!

From the time Samuel came home, we have had so much to share, yet I have not found time. I am completely determined to get back on track here!

Pictures to share include Samuel's Homecoming (finally got video I am DYING to share), Emily losing her first tooth, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Samuel meeting LOTS of family for the first time, parties with friends, the Nutcracker at TPAC, meeting Vika's family, Adoption Sunday, baking at Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, my birthday, Emily's birthday, and general every day craziness in our crib. Oh my and the list goes on and on!

I have decided that I will take the best of the best and just randomly post as often as possible. I hope one day to print this blog off for our children and I just hate to miss documenting a thing!

All of our children are growing up so fast. The days slip so quickly by and I am watching my children emerge into these little people that just blow me away! Each with their own personalities, likes, dislikes, laughs, cries...they are my biggest blessings. God has been so gracious towards me and Derek. Our children are just amazing!

And how is our newest little brother? He is like a different child. Yes, he still has some behaviors that are a painful reminder of his first 2 years of life. And no, we don't feel like we have yet to see his full personality bloom. But day after day, Derek and I comment on what a different little boy we see before us. I will continue to shout it loud, we are seeing redemption take place right before our eyes! We are bonding more and more and he is trusting us! The joy of that feeling is indescribable. He laughs with us and plays hard with his daddy! We still have hard days, but with lots of love and grace, they are getting fewer and fewer.

Samuel is also getting so much stronger, pulling up on his knees and keeping his legs together on his own with his back perfectly straight!!! Some of you may not know, but for 2 years he laid in such terrible positions that his lower back was arched. You could see the "C" shape of his spine without clothes. He had ZERO core strength and lots of bad habits to break. His spine has actually straightened in 4 months of repositioning and correcting the way he sits and lays, and of course, by encouraging him to move, encouraging his curiosity, and physically stretching him in ways he had never been moved before. The really impressive part is that he hasn't had even one minute of therapy! We are thankful for the way his body has strengthened and for the little boy that we see emerging. It is a small glimpse of hope that he will be all that God created him to be. Samuel was perfectly formed in the image of a very loving and perfect God...never an afterthought, never a mistake. What a blessing that he has been entrusted to us!!

I will let some of these pics do the rest of the talking.

I promise that I will be back soon!:)

After Adoption Sunday (our church did it later in Dec.) we had Christmas with my mom. She will kill me bc her eyes are closed, but I think she looks so sweet and joyful with all of her little blessings. All the kiddos were wearing "Adopted" tshirts as part of something we did at church with all of our adoptive families. Watch "Children of God" by Third Day on Youtube and that pretty much sums up why they were wearing the shirts! It was awesome!!! And our family was blessed to share our story of adopting Samuel with our church family....again an awesome experience! Go here to check it out!

Samuel and Stella at a Community Group party. He was such a handsome guy in that sweater!

What a cute little guy!

Stella Grace is a stinker and has more personality than I can describe! I LOVE this girl!

Sweet little kisses!

Samuel received a bear from sweet friends that adopted Vika from S's baby house. They gave it to Vika's family and the Jims sent it to us. Samuel immediately recognized it and laid on it. I teared up watching him. We will cherish this part of his past forever!!! Thank you Melanie!!!! And look at my precious Emily Paige!  She is sweet as ever and growing up fast!

This is priceless!

My sweet Timothy! I could eat him up!

This was a very common occurrence at our house around Christmas (and still is). Samuel loves any kind of cords...super safe:), and Stella slightly enjoys antagonizing at times! He is learning to give it back!:)

Like I said, it's a game they enjoy!:)
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