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Back from Nana and Papa’s…

My parents are amazing. Just truly amazing. They have embraced and loved T as they have all their grandchildren. Every now and then, Nana and Papa will invite just ONE grandchild to their house. They get ALL their attention and love. Papa and Nana asked if they could have T for a weekend…and they didn’t BLINK when I sent them a 27 page application that would have to be completed and pay for background checks just for T to come for a visit. HOW COOL ARE THEY?! As we were packing her things on Thursday night, Frank said he wanted to go–and sweet T said YES! She was willing to share her special weekend. Precious. But on Friday I explained she would totally have more fun just being her (no height requirements holding them back from the fun I knew Papa and Nana had planned for her!).

We drove halfway and met Nana. I coached mom on smartphone apps that would help with translation–and my final words were, “Mom. You’ll be GREAT! She is used to not being able to communicate all the time–so while the quiet and charades will feel awkward to YOU–she’s used to it. Y’all are going to be great at this!”

She had a BLAST as she got some serious attention!

Doesn’t it look like she had a BLAST!?

The ONE thing I should have warned them about was the goats. You are NOT leaving until she makes sure each and every one is fed. And she’ll fight for the weaker, small ones to eat…so you better have brought enough bread—or you’ll need to be ready to buy something at the closest concession stand;). I should have also given them a heads up how powerful this is to watch from one who has had to fight. My dad hasn’t admit it yet–but I know he was holding back a tear as he held his breath and watched.

She’s home now…and she ran in the door and almost KNOCKED me down as she gave me a hug. She ran through the house giving everyone kisses on the cheeks. She’s happy to be home. THIS will always be her home…I hope some how…some day…she can come back to see us…or us her. So thankful we followed the Lord on this journey. And tonight–marks halfway through the program. We have seen this girl grow and transform so much with LOVE–knowing she is love and knowing we are serious when we say we love her. I can’t imagine what the rest of our summer will look like.

We had a very restful weekend with our littles–we had tickets to go to Lake Lanier Waterpark with T…and instead of canceling the plans–we still took them and went with the Elphick’s as planned and it was a blast for all. I’ll confess to y’all I got really frustrated with a lady who got on to my kids for running up the kid slide in the toddler area. Normally I don’t get frustrated about things like that–but I think momma had built up an unhealthy edge to her these last few weeks and that lady really brought out my sinful nature. (Just telling y’all this so y’all get the true me picture–I’m surely far from perfect and struggle with silly things like this some times!) Other than that–we had a really amazing time…and my sweet Isaac took a nap under an umbrella while Daddy continued taking everyone on fun slides. Can I just say how NICE it was to SIT and be quiet with a sleeping child?? I NEEDED THAT!!! It was so nice…and I just rubbed his face and little cheeks while he slept…feeling so blessed.

I some how kept getting left with the little ones though as if I don’t like the fast rides;). I’ll totally gobble it up whatever kid time I get…and I totally ran for Mr.Beaver when I saw him. Isaac completely freaked out. Frank however wanted a picture with him–but only if I’d stand with him. Isaac was hyperventilating though. Momma does what she can to meet all their needs;)

I’ll keep that small so I don’t scare to many of y’all with momma in swimsuit. This time last year you couldn’t have paid me to be front of people in a swim suit. With my Lyme disease I was down by the fall to almost 100 pounds but since I’ve gotten better (and been eating a lot of chocolate!) momma is up 25 pounds and completely her normal weight again!!! Granted–my extra pounds aren’t muscle;). Hey–my doctor told me last fall not to exercise and I took him seriously;) I’m afraid now that I’m healthy now I need to get on the exercise bandwagon–but I argue that chasing 4 kids and a teenager is exercise enough for now:) Don’t you agree;)??

Alright–we have a big week planned this week! Princess T…needs to see and experience the BEACH. Don’t you think??? AND my sweet sister invited us to her in-law’s beach house (Thank you Phil and Helen Carlock for letting us go this week!) Rico Suave will have to stay behind and work…but my sister and her crew AND my parents will join us–and it’s going to be great. We’ll be leaving on Wednesday to Sunday!!! So excited! I’ll definitely take lots of pictures of her seeing the beach and riding on a boat for the first time!!!

Before I go–I have to share a sweet moment from tonight. I was reading the children “The Secret Garden” and T came in. EVEN though she couldn’t understand a word–she snuggled up at the foot of the bed like the other children. I kept reading–but my heart…it was so distracted. I couldn’t help but sit there and think of what must be going through her mind. Even though she couldn’t understand–she stayed. To have a momma read a story…in funny different voices as characters change…watching the kids giggle…and all I could do was wish–wish that ever child…even our sweet T…had this.

Later–T and I were folding clothes together. She has taken on folding her own clothes! Momma is very proud and impressed:). I heard Isaac cry out which some times he does this. And momma does what momma’s do…I ran to my crying love. I picked him up quickly and rocked him…singing “Amazing Grace”. I watched her silhouette in the doorframe–watching me rock and love him…and take it all in. I remembered her telling my friend Susan in Russian a couple of weeks ago that she was watching me and learning how to be a momma. I rocked and sang and tried not to let my voice crack as I glanced over at her. Lord use this for your glory…

Don’t be afraid to follow the Lord in anything you feel Him calling you to. There is a purpose in it. And if it’s hosting…adoptiong…fostering…helping a child heal who needs healing or a child experience love that needs loving…it just may be the hardest and best thing you ever do in your life. Following Him is often scary (it’s faith)…but always worth it.

Blessings to you…


Katie - July 16, 2012 - 7:02 am

Thank you for documenting your journey. As a soon to be foster mamma I find your experience and wisdom invaluable!!

Papa - July 16, 2012 - 7:55 am

Don’t be surprised if she displays a wry smile and says, “MIPS MIPS UNACCEPTABLE!” She may leave off unacceptable as she is still struggling with pronouncing that one. T is a delight. Our hearts are forever richer.

Papa - July 16, 2012 - 8:04 am

And yes, I immediately noticed and appreciated (we won’t discuss tears ;-)the significance of this orphaned child seeing to it that each and every goat got a treat. She circled the pen until she could get past the dominant, more aggressive animals to see that every single one was taken care of.

Natalie - July 16, 2012 - 11:05 am

Thank you so much for sharing your story. God asks that we have faith the size of a mustard seed so I’m confident that He can grow her into a wonderful young lady and one day a godly mommy because of the example you have given her!