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157 pictures later…

So–we started our day on such a GREAT note–and I truly feel it has to be linked on how we ended our day yesterday. Wow. I feel like my summer days are each a lifetime as we cover so much ground. If you have adopted a teenager before from another country, you know how hard the first days and weeks are. BUT we are just hosting–for 5 weeks. So we are truly getting the HARD…but all the while knowing she will return to Ukraine in just 4.2 weeks. Our angel turns 16 in 17 days on July 30th–and we would love nothing more to see her into a family–but we also know this is close to impossible because it needs to be a home study ready family who can submit their home study to USCIS by next week as the family would need to be USCIS approved BEFORE July 30th. We know we are called to love this sweet girl with all our hearts this summer–but we have not felt the go ahead to adopt her into our family at this point. I truly do not know if she would want to be adopted by an American family as she talks so much about going to cooking school in Ukraine in the months ahead–but I know much of that is dreaming…and if she doesn’t find a family here that she will need us to be family to her from afar and help look after her.

I was thinking tonight about July 30th. Her 16th birthday. How thousands upon thousands of children will age out on their 16th birthday this year ALL over the world. It happens every year–every month–every day–ever hour. But this year…this month…in 17 days–that reality takes on something more personal for our family now. That child has a name and a face. And right now–she’s upstairs in my home–sleeping safely and tucked in a bed.

I know what some of you are thinking. “Andrea, couldn’t YOUR family be that family??!! Why not yours?” And I’ve thought the same thing a million times. Trust me. I have. That question makes me lose sleep at night now–trust me. I have no doubt from now on I’ll be losing sleep with this girl on my heart. But the Lord hasn’t given Richard and I a peace about this–and we have to trust Him. And trust me–He gives us peace about crazy things. He gave us a peace about hosting our sweet girl MONTHS ago when I was in the midst of battling Lyme disease and unable to pick up my own little ones…getting down on my knees explaining to them why momma couldn’t pick them up…putting our China special needs adoption to rest and trusting Him in a different kind of adventure. I heard His voice speak to my heart when my husband said “Let’s bring her here! She’s about to age out–let’s trust God to do something that will change her future.” I questioned being able to take care of my own littles with Lyme disease–how could we possibly take on more? But I heard that still small voice say, “Trust me.” And MONTHS later–and five short days before she got here–my doctor couldn’t find a trace of spirochetes in my system. Pretty amazing. I knew the Lord had healed and was giving me strength to care for another for the summer. His timing was perfect. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. He knew what He was saying and His plan when He said, “TRUST ME.” And I have no doubt His timing will be perfect for her as well. And our calling this summer–is to love her deeply.

I know His hand will show through the remaining 4+ weeks of our summer. Will you join me in praying for His will for T’s summer and for her future?

I can sense such a huge difference in our sweet girl after our heart-to-heart last night. We had a GREAT day at the Fernbank today! I had laid out all our options for today–and she chose Fernbank. SO–I loaded up all 5 kids and we set off! The MP3 player I found for her has a built in camera–so she had a BLAST at the museum seeing so many new things–and taking 157 pictures of things like this…I mean–don’t you remember when you were little and got ahold of a camera??? Didn’t you always want a picture of a raccoon and 156 more pictures of random stuffed animals and artifacts?

She wanted me to order all 157 pictures today–so I spent tonight uploading…EVERY…LAST…ONE. And we even hoped in the car and I took her to Michael’s to by a scrap book kit so we can start her scrapbook on the 5th when the prints are ready at Costco. You know–I have YET to make ONE scrapbook for any of my kids…but this sweet girl is going to get one front to back this summer if it’s the last thing we do. She LOVES pictures–so we are on it!

Here are a few from our day…

Okay…those were just to make you smile. And the worker at the photo center is going to wonder about my 157 pictures that I race down to pick up in a couple of days at Costco too I’m sure. But she pointed out every last one she wanted–and by golly…we’re gonna scrap book them:)

Here are some pictures that actually have people in them that she picked out for her scrapbook. (AND…thank you Becky Schmidt for bringing your family and host kiddo to join us!!! T looooved spending time with your daughter and getting to speak Russian all day!)

AND…we almost made it the whole day without any tears–but one of my sweet boys fell down the stairs at the museum and we left with a big egg souvenir on his forehead!

After that–we were done. Frankie baby was hugging my leg in this last one and refused to be photographed:)

Sweet T CRASHED the minute we walked in the door–and I woke her for dinner…napping for her wasn’t such a great thing because she was up late tonight and momma doesn’t go to bed until all are in bed. After the kids were all in bed–we discovered T loves Spanish soap operas. I discovered Spanish soap operas will not be a regular watch at our house…man are those dramatic, racy and too violent. She got a little frustrated with me about turning channels–and we had a little remote war for a bit…but we ended well and I’m learning so much each and every day. She really is an AMAZING girl–and it’s amazing to see her respond to love.

My AMAZING parents just got into town just after midnight tonight. We have big fun planned for the 4th tomorrow and all week long. Thankful to have some extra hands here to love the littles so we can also better love T. I feel my heart really stretching more and more. I want to kick myself why I dive into things some times–why can’t I just keep hard at a distance??? Why do you read my blog because now you are choosing hard with me??? Because–I know you are falling in love with her too. And now–every precious child that ages out…whether they are here or across the world…has a name and a face and needs desperately for someone to step in and love them. It might not be adoption. It might not be easy. But just as much as babies need mommas to rock them–big kids like our T need someone to reach out and love them too. Oh Lord–be present here. I think my life is forever changed. Things just got really complicated for this momma’s heart.

Corinne Cline - July 4, 2012 - 2:37 am

Ive followed your blog ever since we purchased some material from created for care. Your heart is inspiring. I know that what Jesus calls us to do can be so hard at times. The Lord will bless your family through this amazing experience!! And He will especially bless her life!

Amanda - July 4, 2012 - 10:06 pm

Love your honesty and your heart! Praying for these next 4 weeks and that T finds a family to call hers forever-Amanda