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Dancing with Dolphins? That isn’t what we were made for–but it’s beautiful.

We had ANOTHER great day! I think I’m on to something;). Our T really thrives most when she has us one-on-one. When my babies slept through the night for the first times when they were little, I always tried to “recreate” whatever helped them sleep well…fuller bellies, shorter late afternoon naps…AND after seeing how well T has done when she has momma bird all to herself–and how GOOD it was for her and our connecting–we decided to spend today at the Georgia Aquarium (the largest aquarium in the world!)

It took an act of congress to pull it off. I have had a babysitter come much of this week from 9am-4pm to help with my kids so I can focus on T. When I catch my heart missing my babies–I just have to give that sacrifice to the Lord ask Him to be enough for them and for me right now. There is more stress in our home when T doesn’t get what she needs–so we are taking a few days each week to switch things up to love a little more. And today was another one of those. And it required Congress. (Thank you Addie for picking Parker up from camp and bringing him home. Thank you Kelly for bringing your kids to my house and sacrificing your entire day to help with my children. It takes a village—especially where things are broken—so thank you for loving our family and T. Very thankful knowing my littles are loved and well cared for…such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.)

So…after this act of Congress was in place–T and I headed down the aquarium. We were on the road for about 30 minutes when T asked to call her friend. I explained (over old faithful “Say Hi” iPhone app that I didn’t have her number–I could tell she wasn’t buying it. She has several friends numbers who also traveled here to be hosted and she has their numbers written down at home. I then tried to explain as I held my iPhone in one hand and navigated ATL traffic in the other that momma bird doesn’t have all the numbers memorized in my brain–I was sorry, but we would have to get it at home later.

One thing these kids CAN NOT do–is think long term. They are survivors and they only think hour by hour–some times minute by minute. They fight for what they want right then–because that is how they work. And dog-gone-it she needed that number RIGHT then. She translated that we needed to TURN AROUND and GO HOME and get the number. (Deep breath from momma bird.)

Really?? You mean–no aquarium? You want to go home and get the number and just call your friend?


Another deep breath.

But what about Congress? What about everything momma bird set up? What about my friend Kelly who gave up her day…and carpool delegation??? Really?


I thought I might cry…and I hoped maybe she didn’t understand. Understand how hard I had worked to pull this off…how my 4 little birds NEVER get these kind of days from momma bird–but I’m really, really, really trying. I asked if we could call the translator and she said NO. (The translator is over us and she knows it I think;). I explained that IF we go home to get the number we will NOT return to the aquarium. Not because I don’t love her–but because we would no longer have time.

She said okay.

Then momma bird explained that we would probably not get to go the aquarium AT ALL while she is here if we didn’t take advantage of every thing in place right now and go. Her friend might not even answer the phone. Okay??? (Held my breath…)


I took another breath…because I needed one. I needed to give my frustration to the Lord and not compare how my little children who have been cared for and raised in my nest would have died for a day like today. Oh Lord–please let this be a good one…I am so tired…I feel like I need to take care of me…please bring Your peace today…

And He did.

You see–in large, LOUD crowds–“Say Hi” translator does NOT work. SO–we spent almost 4 hours at the Aquarium and didn’t say one word. She talked to me in Russian–but I just smiled and rubbed her back and said, “Yes, yes–you like it!” over and over again:)

Happy girl…

Because she can’t read or understand English–she really didn’t have any interest in stopping to really read or see anything (my crew asks me to read almost every one when we go–and I crazily LOVE the discovery and knowledge of every creature). After she saw the beluga whale she blew off the little guys…she was absolutely in awe of the belugas!

Okay–y’all don’t get mad at me for this next paragraph–but I was really crackin’ myself up today because the differences socially–this girl would push and shove to get up to the glass every time. People would give HER the stink eye like, “I don’t know what you think you’re doing”…THEN she would turn to find me and start trying to talk in CHARADES. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME the people who had just given her the stink eye would look at me and make a compassionate face…some times they would make more room for her quickly…and a few even came and told me, “I’m so sorry–I didn’t realize…” What? What didn’t you realize;). I just smiled and said it was okay. They thought something was definitely off with us–and then she’d SHOUT with joy and delight and then start in with the charades what she wanted to say…and almost every time she’d tap the window with her fists or wave at the fish…this was just the first time in her LIFE ever getting an experience like this–she was a KID AGAIN…and the people around us weren’t sure what to think. She flipped out in the 3D Finding Deepo movie! It was pretty cute!

THEN…off to the BIG tank…

…I look at this picture (above) and although this princess turns 16 in just 2 weeks (aging out)…I see so much hope. This face is the face of a girl who is going to change the world. I just know it. And I’m going to keep reminding her of that. I see lots of trips to the Ukraine in our future;)

Last but not least–was the dolphin show…it was truly AMAZING!

I was sitting there–watching this girl…watching her face full of awe…and I started praying. Praying for her future. Praying for her to know His love. Praying that she would be okay. Praying that the Lord would bind our friendship and hearts in such a strong, real way that we would forever walk with her and be a part of her life. And then…I looked at the dolphins and trainers…

…and they were dancing…

…Here. Here were these VERY two different creatures…that couldn’t speak the same language. YET–they were dancing.

Their lives truly looked completely different…unable to understand one another’s words—yet some how…they were connecting. And even dancing.

The dolphin would never survive on the land of the trainer–but instead…the trainer had to go into the world of the dolphin…meet that dolphin where he is used to living…where he can breath—so they might connect, learn one another, train together learning how to communicate…and eventually they would dance.

I looked over at my princess. I wished for sunglasses or that she wouldn’t see me discreetly wiping away a tear or three. I felt fear bottle up in my heart–I want her to be protected…I want them all to be–as the faces of children aging out now take on a new and real face for this momma. I want to be able to connect with her…to communicate…like the trainer and dolphin. And to even–dance…that our hearts would be in sync and she would have a vision and a purpose for her life that is only from her Creator. And that some how…we can help her dance…and dance with her for her vision and purpose. But like the trainer…our calling might look different. I know we were only called to bring her into our home and love her for 5 weeks through New Horizon’s hosting program–a program that provides loving, Christian homes for these kids during the summer and winter orphanage closures in their countries. This summer–she has been kept safe. This summer–she has been loved. But what next? Lord I trust you. Do something big. Even if it means taking us like the trainer to where this beautiful creation lives…where she breathes…and help us some how dance for your glory.

Just as I was praying, I tuned back into the “show” and on the big screen wind was portrayed…and a deep loud voice came over the hundreds watching…(there was a story line where a ship and dolphin were in great trouble…)…I kid you not.

FEAR NOT. Arise great dolphin so I may blow my wind and move your sails!”

I sat there smiling. After just praying for her and thinking about our language barrier and how the trainer had to meet the dolphin in a different way for them to connect…I thought of her again. ARISE. Arise my princess. So that He might blow His winds and move your sails!

Praying big. Hoping big. May He finish what He has begun.

And then we drove home…with the passenger seat declined–my princess slept as I drove. She felt safe, secure and at peace. Yes, it was another good day.

Thank you sweet Kelly for helping make another day like today possible…

We’ve had a really good night together–and tomorrow we head South as she gets to go visit Papa and Nana for the weekend! They got approved for backup hosting with New Horizons and she ADORES them–so they are treating her to a fun weekend where she will get lots of love and attention while momma bird rests up. This SUNDAY is the half-way mark of the 5 week hosting program. We have covered so much ground in her time with us–and can’t imagine what the rest of the summer together holds!

Please keep praying for miracles for sweet T! And if you would like more information on hosting–please visit New Horizons for Children and tell them I sent ya!


Adrienne - July 12, 2012 - 10:56 pm

I have tears rolling down my cheeks, Andrea. What a beautiful post and a beautiful day! You have made so much progress with T! The picture of her looking up at the whale speaks volumes, doesn’t it?! I hope you get some rest this weekend!

Ashley - July 13, 2012 - 12:11 pm

What a beautiful post! It sound like a fabulous day and I’m just in awe of your patience and HUGE heart. Love love love!! I’m slowly discovering this NEW HORIZONS program. We just began our adoption process… but I can’t wait to read more about this journey of yours!! xoxo