New Life, Old Ways

May 17, 2010

As I was sitting around a table with friends today and our kids playing downstairs in the basement, a bad feeling started to stir in my chest. You know the kind, where things just don’t feel right.

Call it your gut, call it mother’s instinct, I call it the Holy Spirit. It feels like a gentle stirring that gets your attention and doesn’t let go.

From the beginning, I didn’t feel good about Dima being downstairs with a handful of other young kids. But, I was in that internal struggle of “should I do what all the other moms are doing so I don’t look like the weird, overprotective one? Or do I follow my instinct and go against the flow?”

I decided to stay with my friends and hope that all would be well downstairs. Things seemed to be going great for a while. I started to relax and enjoy my time when little messengers began to come upstairs to fill me in on all the bad stuff Dima was doing.

I finally went downstairs to go get him. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t mixing well with the other kids. It was nearing naptime, so I said goodbye to my friends and came home.

As I was driving down the highway with tears in my eyes, I looked into the backseat only to see my little man staring at me through the rearview mirror. He gave me a sheepish little smile and I started to think about the reality of his life.

The only context he has of unsupervised playtime was from the orphanage, where “survival of the fittest” was the motto. If you want a toy, grab it. If someone has what you want, do what it takes to get it from them. If you are mad, hit.

Although we have been working on these things with Dima, I realized today how quickly he can revert back to his old way of living once supervision is taken away. And I realized how quickly I can revert back to my old ways of living when I am not connected to the Holy Spirit.

Being a people pleaser by nature, all I wanted was for these friends (who I know love me no matter what my parenting looks like) to think I was “super mom”. I wanted them to think that Dima was ready to just be let loose.

I so quickly reverted back to my old, people pleasing way of living, instead of being connected to the Spirit inside me, who was prompting me to go downstairs much sooner than I did. I chose pride over wisdom. I chose what I wanted in the moment over what was best for Dima.

At this point in DIma’s life, he still needs to be constantly reminded of what “new life” looks like. Just because he has a new family and lives in a new world, doesn’t mean he knows how to live in it. We not only have to teach new life, we have to unteach old life, which is all that he knows, it is what he is comfortable with.

That takes time and patience and grace beyond what I can muster up in my own strength. And I am reminded of a God who is constantly having to teach new life to me, as He offers patience and grace that flows freely out of His unrelenting love for me.

Until next Monday,

Love,

Kate and Steve

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I never thought that I would spend my first mothers day as a mommy, standing up in front of thousands of people, sharing the deepest parts of my heart and story.

Our church has been going through a series called, “The Generous Life”, and last week, our pastor talked about how generosity is borne out of an encounter with a generous God and  how generosity has nothing to do with what you have.

As he was speaking, my heart was just overwhelmed, thinking back over this adoption journey with the generosity we have encountered.

The generosity of God…giving us a little boy who is far greater than we could have ever asked or imagined.

The generoisty of people…hundreds of encounters with those who gave to us from their hearts, to bring new life to a child.

So, after the service last Sunday, I wrote our pastor an email expressing how grateful I am for the generosity of people from our church in my life. He wrote back and said, “I think you should share your story on Sunday…on Mother’s Day.”

What???

If you know me, you know that I enjoy writing for people (hence, the blog). I enjoy singing in front of people too. But talking in front of people…and not just talking, but sharing the depths of my heart? My back gets sweaty just thinking about it.

But, I was reminded that this story is not my story. It is God’s story..a far greater story than I could have ever written for myself. I thought about how difficult mother’s day is for so many people and the opportunity to share in the pain of the day, along with the hope of this day, was something that excited me.

So, I said “ok, I will share.”

So on my first mother’s day, God gave me a beautiful, redemptive gift. A barren woman sharing about being a mom.

A woman who normally spends mother’s day with tears in her eyes in a church bathroom is standing on stage sharing her story.

I am grateful for the gift of a son, I am grateful for the gift of a story that God has written in my life, I am grateful for God’s deep grace.

Updates:

  • Dima continues to check out very healthy with doctors
  • there are a few minor, correctable issues and a few more tests still to be done

Prayer Requests:

  • one of those tests is an EKG for our little guy. Pray that there is nothing serious with his little heart

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve.

I Know.

May 3, 2010

Well, as you may know, I did not update the blog last week. I spent about an writing an entry, I even gave it to Steve, my editor 🙂 to publish. But just before he did, I told him to hold off. I was not in a good place when I wrote it.

I was in a moment of frustration and it came out all wrong. I am all about honesty and transparency, but I never want my blog to be a place where I vent my frustrations over insensitive comments people have made. So God convicted my heart and nudged me to bring it to Him first, so that He could deal with my heart, before I unleashed it onto the world wide web 🙂

So, maybe some time soon, I will revisit my ideas for last Monday’s entry, but it will come to you in a way that actually brings glory to God.

Dima meeting his Uncle Jeff

This past week was spent mostly at Akron Children’s Hospital. Dima underwent multiple tests and exams to try to get a baseline understanding of his physical, mental and psychological health. At the beginning of this adoption journey, we were informed that we would get little to no medical history on our child. Although we knew that, the reality of this became very clear and painful this past week.

At each appointment, I would have to fill out a very similar piece of paperwork. Paperwork that I have filled out for myself at doctors appointments many times and never thought twice about them.

Does your child have any history of asthma? Unknown. Any history of heart disease? Unknown. Any history of cancer? Unknown. Is he allergic to anything? Not that I know of. Has he ever had chicken pox? I don’t know. What is the height of the child’s parents? Unknown. What is your child’s social security number? I don’t know, he doesn’t have one yet. Does your child have any family history of psychological disorders? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!

As I sat in the last of a very long string of doctors appointments, all I wanted to do was ball up the paperwork and throw it at the receptionist. The words on the papers seemed so taunting.

My eyes filled with tears as I checked the “unknown” box time after time. I looked down on the waiting room floor to see MY son, searching the bottom of my purse for the half a goldfish cracker he dropped, completely oblivious to the “unknowns” that seemed to characterize his life on paper.

In this moment, as the pain began to well in my heart, it seemed God whispered into my heart this truth, “My sweet daughter, Katie. I know.”

“But, I don’t know his past.” I know.

“But, I don’t know his future.” I know.

“But, I don’t know if he’s going to be tall or short or what color his hair will turn next.” I know.

“But, I’m scared.” I know.

Deep breath.

It is good and right for me to grieve the fact that I don’t know anything about my son’s family history. It is something of my own that I  have taken for granted every day of my own life. It is good and right for me to grieve that I did not know my son for the first 2 ½ years of his life. And one day, he will need to grieve that too.

But it is also good and right for me to rest in the fact that God knows. The He has known Dima from the moment he was placed in his birth mommy’s belly. He knew the number of hairs on his head. He knows his allergies and his medical history and because He has called me to be this precious child’s mommy, He will give me and equip me with all that I need to know, each step of the way.

It will not come to me on a piece of paper with checked in boxes, it will come to me, as it has, through day to day glimpses, as I slowly piece together where he has come from. And I am grateful that I serve a God who knows….

“God, You know Dima inside and out, You know every bone in his body; you know exactly how he was made, bit by bit, how he was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, You watched Dima grow from conception to birth; all the stages of his life were spread out before You. The days of his life all prepared before he’d even lived on day.” (Psalm 139:15-16)

Updates:

  • Dima has amazed his doctors with his personality, gross motor skills and his growing vocabulary
  • he still has to do a few more follow up medical tests  in the coming weeks

Prayer Requests:

  • wisdom in navigating through all the medical issues
  • continued healthy growth and development for Dima

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve.