Spring is busting out all over! (Cue Oklahoma music starting in my head...)

I love it, though. I love Spring. My favorite season of all. Minus the allergies, which I haven't had to suffer with for a few years...but I'll deal.

We started a brand new chapter in our lives this week. Two words: Organized sports.

We've been so transient over the past few years and I am not a believer in getting them started in sports as soon as they can walk...so we've waited for their interest to peak and our stability to, well..stabilize. All three big ones started soccer and goodness, are they ever cute out there! It'll be fun to see how it goes and how each of them do.

Zoe has some fun toddler speech typo's going on right now. I just don't have the heart to correct her...

Beavers are "fevers"
Panda bears are "Fonda bears"
and space ships are "space shits"

I know, I know...that last one.

It reminds me of when Ella used to "f%ck her fumb" instead of suck her thumb.

I know, I know...we are very mature parents.

Speaking of parents, my mom was able to come down over the last weekend along with 3 of my siblings and 2 of my nieces. It was a very last minute decision to come and we had already arranged for some mulch to be delivered and so, of course, we put them to work spreading it. Like any good hosts would!

Jeremiah's parents come in tomorrow for the next week and we are super excited! It'll be busy with meetings and ministry stuff...but I'm sure we will manage to eek out some fun family time as well.

Happy Tuesday everyone! 

**Make sure to read parts one and two first.**

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Ezra said "brudder" and Ella was just quiet. I don't think they quite grasped the gravity of the moment.

We left for Virginia shortly after. We spent most of the weekend praying and searching the Word and talking with family. And maybe I spent just a teensy weensy little bit of time searching our agency photo files and finding more pictures of him.

Finally, late on Saturday night Jeremiah and I had been talking (and talking and talking...) and looking at Chala's photo's when he turned to me and said with utmost determination, "lets go get our son." I think that was the moment that things changed for me and I felt a peace. The moment I first felt a true bond towards him.

Fast forward a week to the present: We have his photo up on the fridge. I keep one in my wallet to whip out and show everyone. Ella sleeps with two photos by her bed. We pray for him by name every night. His face has become dear to me. My heart softens towards him more with each day. I feel protective towards him. There is a sense of someone missing as I go throughout my day.

Do I love him yet?

I don't know. I love the idea of him. I love his eyes. His pouty lips. His curly wispy hair. I love the anticipation of getting to know him. Of getting to fall in love with him. Of getting the privilege to be his Mama.

I know that I will love him. I don't have to force it or pretend it. I will love him through the good and the bad the pretty and the ugly the ups and the downs. I have been loved like this by my heavenly Father and am equipped with an abundance of His love to share with this little boy.

Before the referral the whole adoption journey was one of paperwork and ambiguity and following a calling.

Seeing his face made it all suddenly and blissfully real.

Welcome to the family, little boy of mine.

Be ready to be loved.



**This post is part of a throw back Thursday, as I am feeling rather sentimental about my little guy turning 8 this week. Swiftly fly the years.**

Click here to read part one.

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As soon as I opened the email his picture popped up.



Ooops. I'm not supposed to look yet but I can't help it now that I've seen it.

(insert how am I ever going to explain this to Jeremiah moment)

Here's where I get honest. My initial emotion when looking at his face was not instant love. There was no instant attachment. There was compassion. And curiosity. And oh my, those eyes. Those lips. He looks so tiny. How can he be three? Compassion again. More curiosity. Is this my son?

I call Jeremiah again. He knows (without my telling him) that I looked at his picture. He is not too mad at me. Shew. He is on campus at Duke and without access to his computer so I try to explain to him what he looks like. I try to explain the details of his medical details and family history.

Try is the key word. I am just so befuddled. I can't think straight. Is this what shock feels like?

Jeremiah has to go. I urge him to hurry home as soon as he can.

Somehow I manage to tear myself away from his picture and file and do some necessary things. Like pack all four of us for our trip to VA that we are supposed to be leaving for in just 2 hours.

When Jeremiah gets home he goes to the computer and we round up the kids for them to see his face all at the same time.

They all look.

I wish I could say there was that instant connection and attachment and feelings of love. But I could read Jeremiah's face and could tell he felt the same emotions I did. Compassion. Curiosity. A sense of surrealism. Is this really happening? Is this really our son?

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Stay tuned for part three...

**Eli has a birthday coming up this weekend and I think it is making me uber sentimental. I am remembering the process of him joining our family...all  the ups and downs and forwards and backwards. I am re-posting a three part series I wrote about getting "the call." Man, it seems like a lifetime ago. Man, I can't imagine my life without him in it.**


This time last Thursday we got our referral call. Things have kind of seemed in a blur ever since. For me time will forever be split between life before knowing about Chala and life after knowing about Chala.

While in the wait, part one, I loved to read other adoptive families stories of their referral calls. Some even made videos. I admit to tearing up a bit at those. There was always such excitement, such anticipation leading up to the call, and oh my...such emotion. I read of moments of instant love for couples seeing their child for the first time. Instant connection.

I promised several months ago to always share my honest feelings as we go throughout our adoption journey.

So...

Here is my honest account of our referral day:

The day started as a normal Thursday. I cleaned the house and did a few loads of laundry then headed out to the library with the kids. After returning home I started fixing lunch for the kids and thought to check my messages.

Hmm? Don't recognize that number?

"Hello Jeremiah and Jennifer this is ___________ with Adoption Advocates and I am calling to talk with you about a little boy......"

(insert FREAK OUT moment here)

I put the phone down and let out a very loud OH MY GOODNESS! Ella came running to me asking me why I was yelling. My answer (no lie) was that Mommy was freaking out. She gave me a very concerned look. I knew I should explain further but my thoughts were not coherent at that moment.

Please remember that this came out of the blue. I was supposed to be geared up for this. I was supposed to be prepared. In control.

I immediately try to call Jeremiah. No answer. No answer. Aughh...no anwer.

Finally! He answered. I think I gushed out the message. We agreed that I should call back and get more information. (Duh.) Being the patient sort of person that I am in those situations I of course waited until the kids went down for nap and rest time.

Or maybe I turned on Veggie Tales and gave them an open package of Oreos and told the kids that Mommy had to make a very important phone call and I was not to be interrupted for any reason other than the loss of a limb. And it had better be an important limb.

I'm pretty sure I called my mom at some point in this too. You know, what all big girls do. Call their Mom.

I talked with our agency director and got more information about Chala and she said she would send us his picture and file by email and to look over it and call her back with any questions.

(insert check email every 30 sec. moment)

I talked with Jeremiah and we agreed that I will look over the info and call him back to talk with him but wait to look at the picture until he gets home.

Finally (ok, it was only 10 minutes later) get the email...

My oldest isn't getting any younger.

Funny how that works.



















We are close to double digits (how in the world can I have an almost 10 year old?!) and already, at times, I find myself at a loss with her...

Is she feeling goofy? Sad? Up for a joke? Dance party or don't bother me? The emotions at this age pass with lightning speed and I'm super talented at getting it wrong. (Or maybe that's her dad?)



I'm realizing that in order for us to maintain a closeness through these upcoming years that the responsibility falls to me.

It's my job, not hers.

The years of my influencing her interests are dimming. She is developing her own passions, her own pursuits and...gasp...sometimes those interests don't interest me. Sometimes those pursuits make me twitchy. (Like the whole baking thing...the mess, the mess, oh, the freakin' mess.)

The fact that I don't like it or care about it isn't her problem. It's mine. And I need to get over it and get with it if there is ever going to be the hope of remaining on her team in these coming years.

It doesn't matter that I don't like fantasy books. She does. Therefore, I will read some fantasy books so we have stuff to talk about that interest her.

It doesn't matter that I could care less about ________________. She cares about it. Therefore, I will care about it.

I will study her.
I will pay attention.
I will tune in.

Sometimes I will fake it.
Praying that I will make it.

Because it's my job.
Because it's my joy.
Because she is worth it.
Because we are worth it.

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With all that said, I am completely out of my element and comfort zone (if there even is such a thing in the world of parenting?!) when it comes to the subject of parenting a tween. Feel free to pass along any advice or book suggestions or resources that have helped you through this stage!
Years may separate,

one is light,
the other dark,

one is dramatic,
the other pragmatic,

yet,

on their favorite reading spot,
their hearts unite.