Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reaching the Summit

I have been terrible at keeping up with our blog lately....things have just been such a whirlwind that it has been near impossible to fathom sitting still for any length of time and attempting to form any kind of coherent thoughts. It sill may not be possible...haha so please bear with me.

We have been home since Jan. 19th 2014...

And I have come to the conclusion that I will FOREVER be awe struck at what the Lord has done. Can I just say before I delve into the details of the last couple of weeks that people are PHENOMENAL. We have had friends and family literally bend over backwards wanting to help us from bringing us meals, offering to babysit, grocery shop for us, and most importantly praying for our family. For everyone who has helped us in ANY way....let me say from the very depths of our souls....THANK YOU!! Often times when people come over I am busy, flustered, rushing around and barely have time to say hello...but please know how very much your love and support has carried us through these first couple weeks. You are ALL such blessings....and it does not escape us for a single moment how amazingly blessed we are. If I could personally hug each and every one of you I would!! It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of how many people have come our aide during this process.....no words...simply no words....

When we first arrived home we all felt instantaneously overwhelmed. Okay, we expected that....but the moment we walked in our front door we had that "well, what do we do now?" feeling. The last few months had been so constant...we always knew where we were going, what we were doing, why we were doing it, and what the end result should be. But all of a sudden we were faced with the sheer reality of adoption.... the up close and personal view of the pure upheaval of our former lives.

NOTHING was the same.

Sure. We knew everything would change. But in a way we mourned the disappearance of our former lives...the happy little family of four...things were SO easy before. But in the midst of this unexpected sadness we equally felt overwhelming joy. We made it! They are home....our boys are home!! It didn't take us long before the "joy" aspect of our emotions took over the feelings of loss and sadness. THIS was God's plan...and how beautiful it was!

That first night home as I tucked all FOUR of my precious children in bed I remember saying under my breathe, " Thank you Lord..." over and over....kissing the foreheads of my sweet girls whom I had missed indescribably for the past 7 weeks and tucking my boys into the beds that had been empty for the past year...now full with the ones the Lord had set aside for our family. I was awe struck...

The moments of difficulty became apparent the next morning....

Narkeez screamed...constantly. It is truly difficult to describe how relentlessly he screamed. He could not go twenty seconds without screaming to use the bathroom, eat, or listen to music. It was truly a minor issue; but enduring the constant screaming became impossibly frustrating. Our girls would escape to their room or the playroom and close the door but Asa and I sat and endured it....and I am so glad we did. It was hard but we knew it was the Lord breaking our boy free and peeling away the layers of fear and washing away the years of trauma. He had NEVER been able to make requests. He had never had a Mother to lovingly fix him a meal, take him to the bathroom when he needed to go, sing him a song when his heart yearned for comfort, praise him when he did good, or wipe away his tears.....and he NEEDED to test those boundaries. He NEEDED us to be there, to not show our frustration, and to just love him...and we did. We STILL do...because even though he has improved greatly he will still constantly ask for something. BUT, our communication is a lot better now and we know how to help our dear boy cope and what makes him feel better.

Aidan has, quite honestly, been unexpectedly easy from day one. He did not give us an ounce of trouble until about two weeks ago when he developed the new habit of constantly undressing himself and engaging in fecal smearing...yeah, NOT a pleasant topic...but it's reality. We have momentarily combated this issue with backwards sleepers, onesies, and overalls....so it's manageable. But progress with Aidan has been very slow. Don't get me wrong; he is definitely making WONDERFUL progress ...but it's not a "quick fix" or a "love cures all" type of situation. Abuse and neglect is permanently imprinted on our dear one and while he will make great strides...we will always have a child who comes from a traumatic past. He has a LOT of sensory issues. Small things like clothing tags, strange textures, temperatures, & sounds...it ALL effects him and we have to allow him to stay in his room by himself a LOT. For now, his bedroom is his comfort zone...his safe haven. Of course we are working towards integrating him in to being with the family 100% of the time; but for now he just can't handle it.

But we have FINALLY reached the summit...

This time next year "the summit" will look much different than it does today. But we are praising God for where we are right now! They have come so far.....

Narkeez is speaking SO much more. He is telling us about his likes and dislikes and he has learned to actively engage in play with his siblings. Toys are still a bit of a mystery to him but just this morning we caught him appropriately playing with one of his action figures...which is huge progress! And his English is phenomenal! He is in school already and LOVING it!

Aidan has learned how to clap when we ask him to and is learning how to feed and dress himself. He will feel around the room until he finds me and will crawl up in my lap for snuggles. If he drops a toy he will try to find it again...something he NEVER did before!

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." Psalm 40:2

We are in a good place. 

And while we are currently overwhelmed with more doctors appointments than will fit on my calendar; we know this is all part of the healing process.....

But in the six weeks since we have been home our Aidan has gone from this.... 


To this! Can you see the difference?? After only 6 weeks of love....



And we were told that Narkeez would never be able to be in a classroom with other children and be able to learn. They said he was not capable of comprehending....

WRONG! This is our dear boy at school....learning, growing, and forming friendships....

Look what the Lord has done...


 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Redemption....

re·demp·tion
1. the action of saving or being saved from sin, error or evil

We are on such a magnificent journey of redemption. We are privileged witnesses to the Lord breathing newness of life into two of his precious children....

A year ago, I never would have imagined that we would be where we are today. At the time it seemed like such a distant dream....an undying hope that lay hidden just beneath the realm of realistic possibilities. I cannot tell you the endless hours I spent praying, hoping, and dreaming over this one tiny picture....a year ago this photograph was all God had given us to go by; but it was all our hearts needed to say "yes Lord"....


.... A tiny little boy waiting across the world. Our glorious proof that the Lord can speak to your heart through ANY possible revenue! From that moment (in our hearts) he was already our SON!! 

So many obstacles seemed to stand in our way....endless mounds of daunting paperwork, doctors appointments, finger printing, and lack of financing. But still the Lord said, "Do this...and I WILL provide..." so we pressed on...living on faith (and many times not much else). We had very little money and yet through prayer He ALWAYS came through....sometimes it would be only hours before we needed a certain $ amount for paperwork....but His promise was true and we NEVER lacked in provisions...

I felt nearly breathless that year...in awe of His glory....in awe of what the Lord had done and was continuing to do with each passing day...

During that time we found out some more information about our darling boy. His name was Aidan (so we have decided to name him)... He was residing in a mental institution in eastern Europe, he was five years old (now 6), and was completely blind, non-verbal, self injured, and was delayed in every aspect imaginable....but we just fell more in love with him. God had already told us that he was our son...so, special needs or not...he was our baby. Our little boy had endured more pain, abuse and neglect than my human heart could fathom....

 He was skin and bones....




Left in his high chair for hours on end....

And looked so very ill.....

Much to our surprise a few months after committing to Aidan God spoke to us again...this time He revealed another little boy....our second son...

We told God, "no way"...that this just could not happen...we would never raise the money, never be able to do it...let alone be approved for two!!! 

But who were we to tell God no?!! 

So, instead of fighting His will....we followed it....

And fell in love with our second little boy, Narkeez....


He was 10 years old and born with cerebral palsy...

I won't go through all the details with a fine toothed comb in this particular post because I believe you can look back at previous posts and plainly see God shining through in this journey....

His love has been so prevalent and we have NEVER been closer to Him than we are today...

I will let these last few pictures speak for themselves....

A year later...

A world away....

FINALLY in our arms to stay....






Look at what the Lord has done.....
(court: Dec. 20th)




Thursday, November 28, 2013

2 DAYS!

2 Days!

We fly out in 2 days!!

Can you believe it?!!

Me either! 

So many emotions and so many things to get done! 

Sweet boys....Mommy and Daddy are SO close!!! 

Please pray for us on our journey...

Pray for our girls while we are away...

Pray for our dear family watching our girls...

Pray for our boys and overall safety...

Pray that the Lord provides the remaining funds we need...

Pray that everything goes smoothly and according to His will...

Just pray....

2 days....

WOW! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Almost there...

Just when I think I can relax for a bit and take a break my mind starts making more lists...

Sometimes I feel like everything is set and ready to go and then two seconds later I remember of yet ANOTHER task that has been forgotten or neglected for a little bit too long....

I keep telling myself to relax...that two weeks is PLENTY of time to get things in order. But the control freak in me won't allow me to just "be at ease". My family is all too aware of my over controlling tendencies and know that they can expect a detailed list of every food each of my girls likes along with a detailed schedule of their normal day...will they "need" this? Probably not and I know that they are more than capable of taking care of my babies....but it makes me feel better so I do it.

I have organized the girls closet to hopefully ease the chaotic clothing situation that seems to constantly plague our household. We have re-organized our kitchen to help ease chaos (and because when we get home that will be the LAST thing I want to do) and found people to take care of our pets while we away so that is one less burden on our dear family.

But we are blessed....SO blessed. It is no small request to ask the grandparents to watch our girls for the duration of our absence. They will have to completely re-arrange their lives for a few months....all while enduring tantrums, early mornings, middle of the night glasses of water, and playing chauffeur without the luxury of being able to "give them back " when they are exhausted at the end of a long day. There are simply no words that can possibly express how grateful we are to have them in our lives and we never, not even for a moment, take that for granted. They are simply amazing....and it is the biggest blessing imaginable to be able to go on this journey knowing that they are being well cared for and loved in our absence.

My mind often wanders to the after math of this adoption as well...imagining the chaotic upheaval and destruction of the lives we use to know. We know that we are in the Lords will; so it will be a beautiful and joyous "destruction"....but to think for even a second that things will be the same would be a flat out lie. This adoption is going change EVERYTHING. There will be moments when we will wonder what on earth we have done, cry many tears, endure countless sleepless nights and long hospital stays to help our boys heal from the years of abuse and neglect...It will take a lot to help our precious girls adjust to their new brothers; to ensure that they still have Mommy and Daddy and that we love them immeasurably despite the chaos that will be surrounding us for a while.

I still wonder if we are equipped enough to handle these two precious ones....

But then I remember God's promise....and I know that He will equip us in every sense necessary.

Please keep our family in your prayers in the coming weeks as we prepare to travel far far away and to meet these two precious boys....our sons!!! Please pray for our girls while we are away and that they may be comforted covered by His love and mercy.




Saturday, November 9, 2013

We have a DATE!

After a year and two months of 
working through endless mounds 
of paperwork, brewing countless pots of coffee
late at night just so Mama can 
get ONE more document done before 
bed and waiting, waiting, and then waiting some more....

the day has FINALLY come!!! 

We have a travel date!!!!!!!!

It has been a few days since we got the news and
I can still hardly believe that it is real......

My darling sweet boys....

It's finally YOUR turn to have a happy ending beginning!!
 
We fly out on DECEMBER 1st at 1:50PM!!
 
Our DAP appointment is DECEMBER 3rd!!
 
I know you have NO idea of what is to come...or that this time next month
you will both have a Mom and Dad holding you close and
loving you beyond comprehension...

Your life of pain and neglect will be left behind
and you can start to heal in the arms of your FAMILY!! 
 
And for those who have not yet heard....
we can now announce our precious eldest son!

Meet: Matthew Ezekiel Killen 


He is 10 years old and has Cerebral Palsy...
and he is absolutely PERFECT! 

3 more weeks boys!!!....
Just 3 more weeks and your 
Mama and Papa are coming for you...


 
 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Never Forget...

As I held my precious daughters hands tonight 
as we walked around asking for candy
and taking adorable pictures that were 
quickly posted on facebook and 
sent via-text message to our family....

I thought about our boys...

Simply being given candy would 
be such a new venture for them...

Putting on costumes and parading around
town will likely be an unfathomable thought 
for them this time next year. 

It made me think about all the things we
take for granite everyday!

We truly; won the lottery...

We were ALL born in a country 
of such privilege. My heart is somewhat pained
with quilt for being able to go out with 
my family and basically have candy 
and free popcorn thrown at us....

When 1 in 6 children throughout 
the world are living in slums...

When their are 153 MILLION 
orphans worldwide....

When nearly a million baby
girls are abandoned in 
China every year...

When more that 250,000
children are living in
foster care....

When a four year old
little girl living in Nairobi, Africa 
walks the streets barefoot, infected with
the AIDS virus, is rapped nightly by her own father
 and carries water ten miles
a day simply to earn a $1.42....

Could YOU imagine?

What if it were you?

So while you watch your children sort through
their Halloween loot....

And when you put your precious ones 
to bed safe and sound after a night of fun...

Remember how blessed you are...

And NEVER forget for one moment 
that you don't deserve any of it...

Because that three year old little 
girl begging on the streets....could 
have just as easily been you...

We have a responsibility....

And its not to sit in our 
comfortable living rooms 
watching football on the big
screens and going to church whenever
Sunday rolls around...

God has given YOU the privilege
of being His hands and feet....

The only question is....
are you moving mountains 
in His name....or yours?



 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Waiting

Waiting is so hard...

Waiting for our DAP appointment date...

Waiting to be able to book plane tickets....

Waiting till we get there....

And waiting to FINALLY hold 
our babies in our arms and tell them 
that they are ours forever....

It almost feels like a distant dream that I 
just can't quite wrap my head around as reality.

But in all of this God has also granted peace. 

I know that we will get to our boys country EXACTLY 
when the good Lord intends and not a moment sooner. 
"My" wants are insignificant and unimportant...
And although I have to remind myself of it often 
I also know it to be true...

Please pray that all the upheaval in our boys country settles soon.

Please pray that the rest of their ransom comes pouring in.

And please pray for this Mama's patience 
and understanding as we endure the wait. 

And please pray that my sweet Angel Tree baby, Kanani
touches many hearts as I begin to advocate heavily for
her in the coming weeks....

Love you all! 
-Kat