Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where do we go from here?

It feels like it was weeks ago that we left our son to come back home.  The 28 hour journey home really makes you lose track of time.  As we were unpacking, starting our laundry, and trying to get our house in order for the upcoming week I kept going back to one single thought, "How do I go about acting/feeling/appearing normal when I just experienced something so beautiful just a few days ago?  How do I go about my daily business after being able to hug, kiss, bathe, care for, read to, play with, feed, and love on my little boy when I'm now not able to do those things any longer."  

And I think that's where I'm stuck right now.  I'm so thankful and feel tremendously blessed for our week in the DRC.  My heart bursts when I see how well Joelle is doing.  The fact that she is home is such a HUGE blessing because she could still be there today.  I'm also comforted in knowing that our littlest guy is in a great foster home where he is being loved, cared for, taken to church, and fed.  I hold to the fact that God called us to adopt and cares for my children way greater than I ever could.  I cling to His faithfulness and how He has always been so good to my family.  

So, even though it's tough...real tough...leaving our brother bear thousands of miles away, I want to reflect on the good things.  I wish I could show him off and flaunt pictures of his flashy smile and chubby cheeks.  I can't wait for the day to be able to do that.  For now, I'm going to recap some of the blessings...

Joelle did AWESOME on this trip.  She slept on the planes, ate like a champ, and had the best attitude for traveling so much in such a little amount of time.  She was a trooper when we had to show little brother more attention than her.  Did she get jealous?  Absolutely.  We kept reaffirming her that she is loved, she is beautiful, and she's the best thing that has ever happened to our family.  Let me tell you... little brother will never have to do a thing on his own.  She was there to pick him up, hold a hand, wait on him hand and foot, and play with cars even though she'd rather not.  She cleaned up after him, fetched his toys when they would roll under the bed, and helped with his clothes/shoes whenever she had the chance.  That little girl is going to be one heck of a mama one day.  She's just a natural. 

Jared took Joelle on a little date to the fabric market.  They stopped by the hotel room we stayed in when we brought her home.  I love that Jared thought of that... how special to remind her of those precious days!
We had the best seats on all six of our flights.  On a row of four, we always had an extra seat, giving us plenty  of room to stretch out.  There were hardly no delays, no need to rush from plane to plane, and no set backs in around 60 hours of traveling.  Besides just being tired and achey, we are all good to go!  

Brother Bear:
Goodness, he's a sweet little mess, y'all.  He cried/moped for about an hour after we first met him.  He was scared, in shock, and just unsure of what was going on.  You have to remember there is a HUGE language barrier.  He knows NO English, so we couldn't explain what was happening or defend ourselves in any way.  After about an hour, some food, a nap and a bath he really warmed up to us.  When he woke up from that first nap it was like he was a new little man!  He and Joelle played with cars, kicked/threw the ball back and forth, watched some movies, and played a lot of tickle monster.  I think Jared said it best when he said something along the lines of... everyone wants interaction and relationships.  It's so true!  We just had to get from wanting to watch, hold, and observe his every little move so that we could interact, get down on his level, and do silly things to make him comfortable.  
Here are some things we learned about him:

He is an incredible eater... messy, but incredible.  He will try anything.  In our time together he ate pizza, hamburgers, fries, spaghetti, powdered donuts (his favorite!!), chocolate pudding, applesauce, muffins, crackers, cookies, fruit snacks, and lots more junk food... ha!  We will work on being healthy later on ;)

He wears his snot, food, and spit on his shirt at all times.  

He covers his eyes when he is upset or sleepy.

He doesn't like dogs... and swats at them to go away (Sorry, Marley!!)

He learned to love brushing his teeth and would stick out his tongue for me after a few tries.

During his last shower he was all smiles and tried to use a loofah on his own.  He got the hang of things really fast!

He has great fine motor skills.  I think he will be right-handed, but he still uses both to color, throw, complete tasks.

He wears diapers, which is nice because he can't communicate potty procedures just yet!

He prefers to be clothed with his shoes on, but doesn't get upset if you undress him either.

He would reach his arms up to us to be held.  He took well to all three of us... didn't prefer on over the other.

We brought several cars for him and he was always willing to share with Joelle even if she didn't ask.  He would just hand her an extra when they were playing.

He will definitely follow every move Joelle makes.  He observed her every little action.  And, let's face it, she loved every minute of it!!

The only time he would whine was when his car would go under the bed or if we told him no (he wanted to throw his cars on people's head and for some reason we wouldn't let him, ha!).  He responded well to us correcting him even if it took him a few minutes.

He's quite the sleeper!  He slept between 10-12 hours each night and took 1-2 hour naps during the day.  If you wake him up early he will cry for a minute, but give him a snack and your his  best friend again ;)

He doesn't have to be entertained at all times.  He sat patiently at the Embassy for over 2 hours while we waited to file paperwork.

He will sit on the floor and play with a ball or his cars for long periods of time.  This is HUGE!  It took Joelle over a year to be able to do this, and still prefers to be with people rather than play by herself.  

He didn't cry when we left but he definitely shut down when he saw his foster mom.  He loves that lady to pieces so for him to have adjusted to us in such a short amount of time was a great thing!  We left him with pictures, clothes, toys, snacks, etc so that he could be reminded of us.  We are praying that when we are reunited he remembers that he can trust us and knows we will take care of him.  Of course... he is two... so that could all be forgotten by then!!!

I could go on and on and on and on, but I won't bore you with every little detail.  I've been asked a lot about his age/size.  He is 2 1/2 (birthday is October 13), and wears a 2T although that's still a little big for him.  I brought a pair of 3T shorts and they literally fell right off his body!

Oh, and we have no idea when he is coming home.  Best case scenario would be this summer, but there are no certainties  when it comes to adoption.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for our trip and our little guy.  I'll post about our other little guy later and why we didn't get to see him also.  That's a whole different story for a different blog post :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Courts, Planes, a Boy Room, and More Luggage than a Family Should Carry

At this point I almost feel like a broken record....we have another IMPORTANT court date tomorrow morning (Monday) that could possibly put an end to a lot of the drama going on with one of our adoptions.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out our last blog post for a little more info.  And the Lemons' family is just 7 days away from leavin' on a jet plane to meet our boys!
{{Starting to get packed and ready to go!  We have boy things, lots of meds, tons of snack foods, dispersed clothes, and care packages/vitamins for over 50 kids!!}}
We've been waiting a few weeks for our court date in the appeals court, and we feel really good about where we stand.  We aren't sure how long it will take, but we're praying hard that tomorrow morning brings an end to a lot of unnecessary drama and court dates.  If everything works out, next Tuesday we'll be holding both of our boys in our arms.  And if court continues to linger, we'll be grateful for the time we get to spend with one of our boys next week, but it'll be pretty tough being half way across the world, just a few minutes from our son, and unable to even make contact with him.

So calling all folks with faith:  join us in prayer that God would move mountains in our court case tomorrow so our son can clearly see that he has a family that loves him, cares for him, and is coming to get him soon.  That's probably our biggest desire right now.  We're praying for the judge, our lawyer, the people that are doing wrong, and most of all,  our son!

We're also really excited that we may have some big news later this week to share.  We're not really at a point where we can share this yet, but I can tell you God hears our words, and He is good!  As we continue to pray for the hundreds of children who are just one piece of paper away from joining their families in the United States, we're believing that God will move in a big way to make that happen....and we know it's possible right now!

Did you know that Joelle has a few friends she lived with 3 years ago, that are still waiting to come home to their forever families?  Can you imagine the pain, frustration, and anticipation of waiting, every day, for a phone call that you can join your child and give him/her a forever family?  We are asking God to finish it all this week!

For those of you that have been on the journey with us, and have asked us and listened, even when we rambled on and on...thank you so much for your support.  We are so close, and still feel so far away.  The prayer, support, and encouragement have been such a huge blessing to our family.  And it's been such an incredible illustration of how big and good our God is to our daughter.

We will leave you with some pictures of the bedroom for our littlest boy.  I {Amy now} was very reluctant at first to get started because I'm so used to pink, frills, and all things girly!  Once I started it was hard to press the pause button, but we have been doing a little at a time over the last few months.  We finally pulled the plug and finished up today.  I must say that my favorite spots in our home are all of our kid areas.  I find great joy in picking things out for each of them, piecing it together, and making a special place for each little individual.  I've also found great solitude many evenings as I pray by their bedside asking the Lord for miracle after miracle.  He has been so faithful to care for, protect, and move mountains for all three of my children.  I can't wait for the day when we are able to all five join hands before bedtime and pray as a family.

{I made these prints using clipart from Etsy.  The chain was from a while back}

{Table from First Monday in Canton, animal bins from Amazon, A-Z art and white dog from Home Goods, I and Looney Tunes art from Hobby Lobby}
{Yellow Beanbag, Robot/Rocket Art, and Shelf from Target, Robot Pillow from HomeGoods}
{Bedding from Target, Accent Pillows from Land of Nod, Dresser from First Monday in Canton}

{Giraffe Hanging from Hobby Lobby, Plush Deer Mount from Bass Pro}
{Nightstand is a trashcan from Lowe's :), Lamp from Amazon}

Now all we need is a chubby-cheeked little boy running around messing everything up!!!