Monday, October 24, 2011

The 5K!

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Tennessee for the 5k! We over 100 participants - some familiar with Two Hearts for Hope and some who were not. I love the fact that we reached more people and spread the word! The race was awesome, the kids' race was adorable, and the time with old and new friends was priceless.

We are so excited that we raised nearly $8,000 for the window project in Ust! What a blessing to be working towards a healthier, better home for the many children in that baby house. It's not too late to donate - you can go to the Two Hearts website and make a donation online or mail it!

Special thanks to all of you who sponsored our family - I'm proud to say that all four of my men finished and Patrick was a top finisher in the kids' race! We raised $260! The boys are always so proud to be a part of this event and so aware of and concerned for "kids who don't have parents." We feel honored and blessed to be involved with Two Hearts.

(Pictures to come when we download them tonight!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Orphan's Hope 5K

I guess I rely on facebook a little too much and I forget to mention things here. Anyway, An Orphan's Hope 5K (formerly Walk for Kaz) is this coming weekend in TN! We are so excited to be a part of this second annual event. It's not too late to join us!

What I love is that all of the money raised will go towards Two Hearts for Hope Window Project. The windows in this particular baby home are awful. The babies and children who live there are sick from the drafts and cold in the freezing winters. Will you consider helping us to help with this great need? Any amount will be a blessing and bring this huge project closer to completion. We so want these children to have a warm, safe, and healthy place to live.

We would love for you to join us or to sponsor/support our family for the 5K! You can paypal on the Two Hearts site and reference the 5K and our family or you can send a check to us our Two Hearts. All five of us will head down to participate - well, I will be helping to run the event and Andrew and the boys will be walking!

Thank you for considering partnering with our family!

Our boys have raised our awareness and challenged us to keep making a difference in the lives of the many children left behind.

So thankful for the boys entrusted to us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Remembering & Celebrating!

Five years ago, we were in the final week of our month long stay in the beautiful country of Kazakhstan. It had been a challenging and wonderful adventure and we were navigating our first days of parenting our new sons. We had one son who was terrified, timid, and unsure but slowly emerging from his shell and letting us see his personality and another son who was sick, starving, malnourished, confused and a clown. 

October 4, 2006, the judge had granted our request to adopt Calvin and Patrick; October 5, the boys met for the first time and left their respective baby homes. The first night was a dream, my mommy heart was so full and so in awe. We boarded a plane for Almaty the very next morning - the boys had already been stretched far beyond the walls they had known for the first year plus of their lives.

We spent ten very difficult days in Almaty - new parents, grieving and scared children, no translator (most of the time), no transportation other than quite literally waving down rides (which we did many times - sometimes they were taxis, often they were just kind strangers), and no idea what the boys were used to eating. We lost 10+ pounds a piece as we struggled to be the best parents we could be and used many Nursat cards to connect to family at home for prayers and advice.

It was perhaps the happiest and lowest point of our journey. We were SO glad to be the parents of the sons we knew were ours but we were SO exhausted and overwhelmed. On October 15, We were sad to say goodbye to a country we had grown to love but we were so ready to be home. It was an emotionally draining 27 hour trip home.

We've had our ups and downs over the past five years - isn't that just the way parenting is? :) However, we would not change our journey, our gifts from God, our experience, and our eyes and heart being opened (and stretched) in life-changing ways. Not one bit. We can't imagine life any other way! 

Adoption was always part of our plan - little did we know just how amazing it would be. Our boys, our sons have rocked our world. We love them with all of our hearts. Our lives are full.

We celebrate five years with a little bit of disbelief (where has the time gone?), with a lot of joy, and with more love and happiness then we could ever imagine.

The boys chose (for this momentous family day) to play at a park, go for a short hike, and enjoy an all-american dinner (cheeseburgers, fries, macaroni & cheese, salad, grapes, and blueberry cake with ice cream - all their choice :)). Andrew and I enjoyed reflecting on these blessed years of being their parents, of remembering the journey that brought us all together, and of anticipating the furture. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

That Little Two-Letter Word

I frequently ponder my responsibilities as a mother and lately those reflections have been on saying that little two-letter word...'no.' Too often, I find myself saying 'no' to my kids. Sometimes it is absolutely the right thing to say but a lot of times, I think my reasons are selfish.

Here are the three main reasons, I think my response is negative:
1. I am too busy.
2. I do not want to do (and am not interested in) whatever is asked.
3. It is inconvenient for me.

When I look at the list, I notice a startling theme - those main reasons are ALL about me. There are, of course, other good reasons to say 'no' - safety, timing, etc. but those are not generally my main reasons.

The truth is...sometimes I will hear myself say that word and wonder why in the world I didn't just say 'yes.'

I don't get a re-do on this parenting thing, nor do I want my children's prevelent memories to be of me giving unnecessary and unreasonable negative responses. Honestly, I find that sometimes...I have created the discipline situations in our home by my lack of wisdom in the use of the word 'no.' Wow. That is not something I am proud of at all.

As I have continued reflecting and seeking to grow, I realize that my desire is to:
- Build trust.
- Have my 'no' be meaningful - not my knee-jerk response.
- Bring joy to our home.
- Love my kids better.
- Be a gentle example.

So, I'm working on saying 'yes' more often, pondering my 'no' before saying it, allowing myself to be "inconvienced," giving more of myself to my kids, showing more interest in their ideas, and realizing that these years are (in many ways) fleeting. I want to look back without regret and with joy. YES! YES! YES!