Sunday, March 29, 2009


Reading about your adopted child's ongoing grieving process and living through it, are two entirely different things. As time passes, you forget about it because everything is going "normally." Sure, you've adopted some more kids, but nothing out of the ordinary. If you're like us, that happens all the time.
But there's the rub. It's not the adding of the children. It's the adding of the stories. Every child's story is different. And then you're reminded that with age comes understanding.

Svetlana is feeling her story quite a bit right now. She definitely understands it on a more advanced level. There are so very many unknowns. She looks at Mel, Hanna and Biruk and their stories, and she grieves what she does not and will never know. She knows how it feels to not know her first mother (this is big), her first country, first language, who she would have been, who she looks like, who she takes after, etc. All of these experiences that she didn't have. She sees that they know all of these things, and it hurts.

I hold her while she cries. I imagine with her that she has her 1st mother's eyes and hair. We pretend she sings with the same pure sweet voice that Svetlana has. Maybe her teeth grew in the same way. We take turns inventing similarities. I do my best to sympathize with her first mother and the choices she made.
I tell her that I do not know why God has made this a part of her story, but I comfort her with this knowledge from the bible:
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 28:8
God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

We agree that proof of these verses is evident in her life. God has given her hope and a future, he has worked her story together for her good.
(In this life that God has given me to live, I don't know who these verses apply to more than my adopted children. I see it played out in every conversation we have. Thank you Lord for your comfort.)

While Svetlana is doing some heavy thinking, she is not at the point that she can recognize the other side of this coin. She does not grasp that there is pain that comes with knowing all of these answers.

While I know that this pain exists, I do not know it yet either, but I will find out as I comfort Mel and Biruk and Hanna as they seek my comfort when they grieve.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More things on my mind

While in the last post I opened the window and let some crazy pour out, what you read was just auto pilot. When I actually engage my mind, sometimes there really is something of value in there. This is what I am kicking around today.

I like to have a theme. A verse that gives me hope and direction, a song that captures my heart's desire:

I want to add to the beauty, to tell a greater story. I want to shine with the light that's burning up inside...

These words by Sara Groves well up in me when I think about Hanna and Biruk joining our family. God placed a light in me that is burning me up inside. I want to meet the needs he sets before me. When I do, it surely adds to a greater story. One that is outside of myself and my selfishness. I give my life over to Him and he uses it to do great things. Things for others that beautifully enhance my life forever. I have TWO MORE CHILDREN. They call me mom and hug and kiss me. They want me and need me and LOVE me. Already. It's true.
How could I ever consider saying no? Why would I ever think of saying no again?

Has God placed a light inside you that is burning up? Don't hold it in.
There is a greater story for you. Don't forget what Lysa TerKurest says,
"We lose out on the great life that God has planned for us when we hold on so tightly to the good live that we have."
Pitch it people. Let the good life go. Grab hold of the great life. Who better to author your life than your Heavenly Father, The giver of every good and perfect gift?

I want to add to the beauty, to tell a greater story. I want to shine with the light that's burning up inside... Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are...

Monday, March 16, 2009

What's up with us...

I have been informed that my blog is stale and needs to be updated. I agree, but my mind is such a jumbled mess that I don't have any cohesive thoughts to write.
So guess what? I am going to open a window into the mess that is in my mind.

1. Just got back from Hearts at Home. Fabulous mom's conference that strengthens me and gives me focus. It doesn't hurt that I am there without my family. It is so much easier to love them when you aren't dealing with them. Took a class on finding the Hero in my husband. Loved it. Came home Saturday night and went directly to bed. By the time I had been up 30 minutes Sunday morning, I had apparently completely annihilated my husband without knowing it. I thought I was being very pleasant. Just chugging through the morning doing a mind check on what has been done and what needs to be done. As I was getting ready, I asked If Biruk had been given a bath while I was gone. (remember he has a full arm cast. We agreed that he probably does not want bath help from his mom and therefore Scott would do it) The answer was no. Needless to say, everything I asked had a negative answer. While I was just doing inventory, he felt I was continually cutting him down by pointing out stuff he had not done. Most of these were things that either of us could do. I was merely trying to figure out what needed to be done but it made him feel like I was saying he had not done anything. Naturally by the 3rd or 4th thing, he heard everything I said through cranky ears and felt that I had been riding him all morning. Way to implement what I had learned. I didn't even know I was doing it! Nice.
2. Scott very graciously made pancakes for breakfast on Sunday, but could not find the sausage that I told him was in the freezer.
3. I have at least one very stinky child.
4. I made sausage for breakfast this morning. (right where I said it was)
5.My 9 year old insists he doesn't know how to write a paragraph.
6.The 12 year old has mystery pain in his leg that wakes him up at night even through Tylenol 3 with codeine (takes it at night for the arm) He was kicked hard in the shin while in Ethiopia during a soccer game. The doctor believes he has a bruised bone. I had a bruised toe knuckle bone once (tripped jumping over a laundry basket- I am a dork) It was 9 months before I could sleep with the blanket on my foot because it hurt too much. Needless to say, his leg is going to hurt for a while, but he doesn't really get it. He looks betrayed every time he hobbles downstairs at 2am and all we do is give him some Advil. There is nothing else we can do.
7. I am 39 tomorrow. THIRTY NINE!!!!
8. I need to make an appointment for an Echo for Biruk. He has a murmur.
9. Hanna has a quarter sized abrasion on her cheek bone. It happened right before I got home on Saturday. It is really gross.
10. Julia wants to be called Svetlana from now on. It is hard to make the switch.
11. Mel has decided his leg hurts because Biruk's does.
12. I am experiencing a lot of anxiety over the fact that the spindles in my loft are a 18 inches apart and the kids and their friends keep playing up there. I am terrified that someone is going to fall and get killed.
13. Spindles were the only job that Scott was to complete before Mel came home in August of 2007 (still doing a great job of pointing out flaws. this one was on purpose)
14. I just noticed that Scott plugged in my cell phone because the battery was low.
15. Mel gets off the bus in 10 minutes.
16. I haven't planned lunch yet.
17. I need to shop for groceries.
18. I haven't had a shower yet.
20.I haven't gotten on the schedule to help the family of my friend who died yet.
21. I have a small house in Tinley Park for sale that is taking a toll on our budget. Anyone looking for a 602 sq ft home by the Train station in Tinley Park? It has 2 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.
22. I haven't sent my daughter's birthday thank you notes yet. Oh no, my son's either.
23. I need a hair cut.
24. Haven't shaved my legs in weeks.
25. I am a year behind in my scrapbooking. Now I have 2 more kids who aren't in a book yet.
26. There has been a boat in our driveway for 2 years now. The only water it has been in is rain.
27. The 9 year old is still fighting writing a 5 sentence paragraph.
28. The 10 year old enjoys pretending she doesn't understand simple commands.
29. I love my life. (true statement. Not trying to convince my self here)
30. I am good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me. ( I am trying to convince my self here)
31. I forget to thank God and draw on his strength.

I could go on here, but you may be getting dizzy. I know I am.
Enjoy your day, and remember, if you are feeling crazy, you are not alone.
I am the queen of crazy.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Doctor visits

As any new adoptive parent knows, you are going to spend some time at the doctor. I took Biruk and Hanna on Tuesday. It was pretty typical. Weight, height, any medical history, age, draw blood for a battery of tests, tetanus shot. We debated back and forth about the TB test, we didn't know if the kids had received BCG shots in Ethiopia. If they had, it would be pointless to administer the traditional TB test because it would show positive. We went home without it. Our doctor wanted to confer with another doctor. Got the call later that day to do the test.
Went back on Wednesday at 11:00 for the test.
Back on Friday at 11:00 to read the test.
Small birthday party at McDonalds for Mel.
Home to play and ride bikes.
Back at the doctor at 5:00.
Biruk fell off of his bike.
Get xrays.
His radius buckled.
That's right folks, he broke his arm.
We go back in the morning at 9:00 for a cast.
That will make 5 visits in one week. They asked him if he wanted a job there.
He proudly came home and told his dad, "Dad, I will work at hospital."

What a kid. He told Scott, "Dad, this not good. Is broke."
He was right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

live in the now

I went to the wake of a friend today. She was the 40 year old mother of 4 kids under 10. She was recovering from a heart valve replacement. She was healing from that, but caught a virus and died very suddenly this weekend.
While her surgery was major, no one expected her to die. She'll have her surgery, we'll help out with meals and rides for a while and then everything will get back to normal. She will get through this and then start living her life again.

Instead, she died.

I have been thinking about my attitude about life and how God has adjusted it a lot lately, and this has really driven the point home to me. (I hope I stay on topic and make sense.)
Here goes:

"Live in the now!" is something that I say to my friends a lot. Usually it's when they are talking about losing weight- they aren't going to buy new clothes or shoes or something until X amount of weight is gone. I always joke that they have to "live in the now". If you need new clothes get them, because I'm sure they don't want to be naked, especially with those extra pounds.

Well, God has been showing me that those words apply to all aspects of my life. Before we got on God's plan about kids and how many we would have, while I wanted and loved my kids, I always viewed raising them as something to get through so that what I really wanted to do could be done. I was living for a future that I was planning and missing out on the pleasure of the blessing of the job God had given me to do today. I always had these grand plans of what I would do, what I would be, just as soon as I was finished with this raising kids deal. I looked at my kids and felt like they were something I had to get done so my "real life" could begin. How much time did I waste, how much beauty did I miss, because I was just trying to get it done?

James 4:13-17
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

God has changed my heart. He gave me a new attitude. My life is but a mist. If God has put me here, in this moment, in this house, with this family, I will do it to God's glory.

Verse 17: Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

I was not doing the good I knew I ought to do. I was doing good enough for now, until MY LIFE began. I was sinning.

Everyday God gives me the grace to handle all of the tiny little annoyances that can drive a mother nuts. When I just try to "get through it" on my own power, I fail miserably. When I rely on God's strength and live in HIS now, I am blessed.

Matthew 6:33-34
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

My friend is gone. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. We need to be doing all the good we know to do, and do it to His glory.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lost in translation

It has been an interesting month getting to know the "new kids". We spent a week together in Ethiopia, we were home a week, Scott went back to work the same week that I was so sick I didn't get out of bed until Thursday afternoon, last week we started school, and this week begins our 5th week together, 4th week in America. I think that is an accurate time line.

Well, as I seem to dwell on the fact that I get sick and just keep talking about it, I will share a story about it:
It is called "I am very sick with the flu and strep throat, please leave mommy alone in her room so nobody else gets sick" (that is a shout out for Junie B. Jones fans. The stories she tells always have titles like that.)
So you can guess that I stayed locked in my room and everyone else stayed out. It was pretty much a free-for-all for the kids. They were really pretty good. I only got up once to break up some against-regulation wrestling. (We have a strict no wrestling rule in the Heim house.)
By Friday morning I was up and about and hopeful that nobody else was going to become ill, when Biruk comes hunching down the stairs. He meets me in my bedroom doorway.

Biruk:(very sick sounding voice) "Mom, I sick".

Me: (CRAP) "Oh no, is it your head, your throat? Where does it hurt?"

Biruk: "My leg. It's sick."

So far, the only illness in the house since mine is Biruk's leg. I can live with that.