Let's start with this guy. We call him Piggle.
Piggle is all boy. He is pretty much the boss of me, and he is carried or held by someone all day and night.
Forget tummy time or developmental milestones like rolling over, this kid's feet rarely touch the ground. If they do, he does this:
...And he is quickly picked up.
He is fully enjoying all of the benefits that come with being the Miracle Baby. We just can't get enough of this kid, and he knows it!
Haven and Aaron are doing AMAZING. Their English vocabulary continues to grow, and they have learned our alphabet.
Haven is moving ahead with handwriting and blends, while Aaron is working on fine motor skills and phonics.
They both really love to learn, which makes the language barrier a little easier on Mama. How could I not smile with this kid and his constant sunshine face?
Aaron has been officially diagnosed with Achondroplasia, and we are still waiting for more clarity on Haven's second genetic test to determine which syndromes and dysplasia she has. There will be another trip to Dupont, and likely more surgeries, but nothing slows this girl down. She never stops.
Daisy has started Kindergarten, and Miriam is in a K4 curriculum.
They say that all of the "school stuff" gets in the way of playing with the baby, which is their favorite activity, so we have to move quickly with these two.
Moses has been coming out of his shell. Gaining two brothers in one year has brought out a compassionate, goofy, and protective side of him. He is such a cool kid, and we feel like we have just scratched the surface with him.
My sweet Lilly. She is halfway through first grade, and within these past few weeks has experienced that huge jump in fluency and comprehension that happens around this time.
More children means more responsibilities for all, so we have been focusing on personal responsibility and diligence and staying ON TASK. It has been amazing to see what they are capable of when put to the test, with everything from small chores to memorizing large portions of scripture.
This is truly the season of life for training, training, and more training...and I remind myself daily that the season of reaping never proceeds the sowing.
Behind all these pretty pictures of progress and growth, I have also been in training. I am, by nature, a perfectionist. This can become a monster in my life. Perfectionism is not sustainable in a household with this many littles, and I am SO thankful for that. God has used these children to break me and sanctify me. My perfectionism is rooted in pride, flat out, and God HATES my pride.
Pride has led me to care about what others think of myself and my family and to strive for approval - and with this many children, that approval will never come. So in a way, my pride has led me to into complete humiliation at the hands of this world. I find myself holding onto hurts, chasing after vapors, and breaking my Father's heart.
By placing my value (or the value of my family) in what others think, I have been COMPLETELY trampled underfoot. Haven't we all? Whenever we step outside of the security of the humility found in Christ, we will experience humiliation at the hands of this world.
This world would lead me to believe that our choice to follow God into these adoptions is only validated by the success of our children, or in my ability to "fix"them. When I begin to weigh the value of these faces with the successes or failure of our homeschool, or by the triumphs or defeat that comes with medical disabilities, I know I have lost sight of the cross and am seeing things through a worldly lens.
When I say that my value lies in Christ, this is no small thing. It is everything. When I lose sight of this truth, it begins to eat away at my personal fellowship with my Heavenly Father, and that fellowship is life-giving. Without it I am useless.
But God never leaves me in my mess. He is faithful. He has used my own perfectionism to break me, sanctify me, and draw me nearer to Him. I am not going to lie, growth HURTS, but it is so necessary. Discipline and growth are privileges afforded to His Children, and it reminds me of His love for me as His daughter and His desire to make me more like Christ.
I've never been the type to be "real" on my blog. I believe people are about as real on the internet as actors on a TV show. You will never get a real picture of our family by the pictures I hand-pick to publicly display, but my local friends know - the struggle is real, people. I do believe that some struggles are worth sharing, and here is what I have learned this year:
Every victory is His. And it's all for His Glory, not ours. Every time we take credit for a good day, we lose the opportunity to hand Him our bad ones, and every last set back is a place to find rest and validation in His arms alone, because HE KNOWS and HE SEES and He will equip us for every good work. Your children were hand-picked, and so were you.
Life is messy. Attachment issues are REAL. Days do not go as planned - pretty much EVER. Sometimes doors slam and children scream. Every fun activity brings fingerprints and every life-giving meal brings crumbs.
Sometimes homeschool looks like puzzles and circuit kits and picture books all over the floor, and Mamas get tired. But the best parts of life are buried in these messes.
No good thing is easy. Children from hard places need grace, and a lot of it. But oh, how beautiful is a day dressed in grace in this home, or in any home for that matter. Perfection is the opposite of grace, and people are more important than things.
What a blessing it is to have children in my home who need grace, because they remind me that I DO TOO. They remind me, everyday, of the unmerited Grace I have received, and that my value is not determined by my performance.