Today we celebrate two years with Zachary and being a family of five. It was two years ago on the 21st that a Russian court granted our adoption and it was two years ago today that we went to the baby home and picked him up to bring him home. Check out last year's blog entry to see pictures of that day...Here.
This year we are celebrating by donating some money to another family that is trying hard to grow their family through adoption. We decided to give another family the gift of "family" to celebrate ours! We are also all participating in a triathlon together this weekend.
I am forever grateful for my loving family and the gift of my son, Zachary through adoption...
297. Two years with Zachary, but it seems like he has been a part of our family forever. The way God knits our hearts together.
298. Watching three siblings play, love, fight, resolve conflict and defend one another.
299. Zachary's attachment to us as his parents.
300. Zac's affection for his grandparents.
301. Zac's strong will. It served him well in Russia and will continue to bless the world as we lean on the Lord for help in shaping that strong will toward God's.
302. Watching him sleep soundly and contentedly on top of his covers every night. He has slept without covers since the first day he came into our family!
303. The way he looks at me and runs to me when he is hurt.
304. Watching him help his daddy make pancakes every Saturday morning.
305. His cheeks...soft and kissable!
306. His love for accessories (hats, head bands, arm bands, belts, sport shirts...) and how adorable he looks in his soccer hat backwards.
307. Watching his eyes sparkle with his endearing smile.
308. How tight he holds on to me when I carry him.
309. The hope of many more years as a family of five growing together and loving one another with Jesus at the center of it all.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 3:08 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Every day this week Jacob asked me, "Mommy, is today Saturday?" Why? Because Saturday was his first baseball game of the season. This kid loves baseball! He has been a fan of the sport since he was two and this will be his first season playing on a real field, with real baseball attire, coaches pitching and a team name, the Crieghton Bluejays. So the day finally arrived and he couldn't wait to get there! Once the game started he was so serious and focused (not his usual behavior). I couldn't even get him to crack a smile for the camera when he was in his catcher gear. But, when he got back to the dugout after playing catcher he looked at his friend and said, "Trevor, did you see me out there? That was awesome, baby! Oh yeah!"
I was so proud of his determination and focus during the game and I am excited to see how God will use sports in his life to grow his character. What a great kid!!
I was pretty excited for him so I took lots of pictures! See below...
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 8:39 PM
Friday, April 16, 2010
...regarding the seven year old boy returned to Russia.
Oh, how my heart grieves for that boy and for his adoptive family. The tragic and appalling response his mother had to his behavior is awful but I wonder what the root of the problem really is. Here is my take on why this all happened. I don't have any where near all the information but statistically the problem could have started a long time ago.
First, this child was abandoned by his biological parents. No doubt this tragedy was a result of poverty and alcoholism, as is the case with so many of the children in Russia. Maybe alcohol had an effect on the formation of that little boy's brain and therefore he already had violent tendencies from birth.
Secondly, this child is placed in an institutional setting to grow up. Even if it was one of the best orphanages in Russia, no child wants to grow up in a daycare setting 24/7 with children between the ages of 1-16. Who knows what kind of abuse and/or neglect occured in the orphanage that contributed to this boy's psychological problems.
Thirdly, Russia has over 700,000 orphans and has been known to lie about a child's healthcare status or mental status.
Fourthly, our system of preparing parents for caring for a post-institutionalized child is poor. There is also a lot of money out there to be had for passing home studies and pushing adoptions through for unprepared parents.
So, you put all that together and you get a mom that is so totally overwhelmed, with poor social supports in place from adoption agencies or otherwise, with a child who needs big time help to overcome his beginnings.
I am not saying her actions were justified at all. I'm just saying that there are layers of problems that need to be addressed. Is the answer to halt adoptions? NO!!!! Is the answer to not promote adoption? NO!!!
The answer is Jesus! The answer is to live like Him and love like Him. We live in a fallen world and as believers we have a big job! Pray for those orphans and pray for the poor. Find ways to serve them financially. Go serve the poor, the widow and the orphan. ADOPT, but prepare yourself. Be educated and prepared!
I pray right now that the boy that has now been abandoned and rejected twice in his life would come to know the unconditional love of Jesus as his Father. Please pray for him too!
"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and not be polluted by the world." James 1:27
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 12:40 PM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
282. My four year old forgiving me.
283. My four year old assuming the book I am carrying is a bible.
284. Last year's sand box toys=hours of fun for two brothers.
285. Neighbors over for an impromptu ice cream date. Our family's becoming family.
286. Jacob's joy in having his "mama" be his group's tour guide at the preschool trip to Hawaii. I am so thrilled I get to help out at his school.
287. Listening to Zac sing, "Hello neighbor" as school. Such a sweet voice.
288. Watching Hallie and Jacob play the piano, and loving it!
289. Reading my friend's blogs. Connecting with my best friends.
290. The view from the stage at church as hurting, devoted Christ followers receive communion. The Lord showing me a glimpse of things unseen.
291. Ryan at the end of a day.
292. The pink flowers right by my computer.
293. Hope that doesn't fail.
294. My brother, my friend.
295. My sister, unspoken love for one another.
296. Reading books with my kids.
297. Spring is Here...buds on trees...new life! "If anyone is in Christ He is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come." 2 Cor 5:17
Yeah...God is good!
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 9:07 PM
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
272. Waking to a little boy eager to find his Easter basket
273. Quiet snuggles with that boy for 45 minutes before getting out of bed
274. Listening to my kids share the story of Easter with their Resurrection eggs.
275. My kids in their Easter attire...the smile they bring to my face.
276. A packed parking lot at church...so many present to hear the message that they are loved.
277. Singing praises to my Heavenly Father with my family and my church. Truth preached.
278. Easter dinner at our house. Preparing it earlier in the day with my mom.
279. Sunshine reminding me He is risen all day long.
280. My in-laws living out sacrificial love on Easter day.
281. He came, He died, He lives!!!!
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 8:31 PM
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This year our family celebrated a Passover feast for the first time. I have always been fascinated by Jewish traditions and this year felt inspired to make Jesus' gift on the cross come alive to us in a new way. My desire is that my kids would grow a faith that intersects with daily life. That Jesus' presence in their lives would guide their decisions, their "coming and going" and that their eyes would begin to see Him in everything. This meal was one way to "taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9
The Passover meal was originally intended to celebrate God's deliverance of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Without books to record these events God gave them a meal to celebrate that was rich with symbolism. As we prepared for our family's Passover dinner we had wonderful conversations about Jewish history, Pharoah's hard heart, God's salvation, the blood of a lamb and how Jesus became our Passover Lamb when he died on the cross. We looked at the blood that surrounded the lamb's leg we bought from the store and compared it to grape juice. We talked about Jesus' last supper and what he meant when he broke unleavened bread and drank blood-red wine.
Then we went to work preparing the dinner. We talked about the conveniences we have, like a blender and a grocery store, and how much harder the people in ancient times would have had to work to prepare the meal. We set a table with our best china and even got dressed up for the occasion.
Then it was time to sit down and enjoy our celebration. Each of the kids and myself asked Ryan an age old question that walked us through the story of Passover and Jesus' fulfillment of the new covenant.
Hallie..."Why do we eat unleavened bread?" It reminds us that Jesus was without sin, like bread without yeast. His sinless body was broken for our sin.
Jacob..."Why do we eat bitter herbs?" It reminds us of the bitterness of sin. The Jews were slaves in Egypt just like we are slaves to sin. (The looks on their faces after trying horseradish sauce agreed that sin is BAD).
Zachary..."Why do we dip the parsley herb twice?" The parsley represents our new life in Christ and the new life of the Jews as they left Egyptian slavery. We dip it in salt water to remind us of the sadness of slavery and the sorrow of Jesus' death. We dip it in the sweet haroset to remind us of the sweet, new life we have because Jesus overcame death with his resurrection.
Me..."Why do we eat reclining?" Royalty gets to relax and eat reclined at the table. We are no longer slaves to sin when we believe in Jesus, we are part of the King's family!
Then, with a toast of grape juice remembering his blood shed for us we celebrated with a feast. To end our dinner we sang a hymn we all knew well (Jesus Loves Me).
Here are glimpses of our Passover meal...to God be the Glory!
266. Seven year old hands excitedly kneading dough.
267. Rolling out the dough, making a mess, doing it all to celebrate Jesus.
268. Making the Haroset. The sweetness reminding us of how sweet it is to have the love of Jesus in our hearts.
269. His sinless body broken for my transgressions, for my sin.
270. Preparing the lamb, remembering the sacrifice.
271. Preparing a table of beauty. Candles reminding us of God's presence.
Posted by Ryan and Katie at 9:17 PM