Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Watch Out There's a Teenager in the House

I can't believe I am old enough to have a teenage daughter. I can't believe she is old enough to be a teenager. Hannah Banana ushers in what is sure to be a lloooonnnnngggg few decades of having a teenager under our roof. When she was born I remember being told to appreciate each moment because it would go so fast. I have honestly tried to do that and still it has gone by too fast.


While I am certain there will be more than a few difficulties as we journey these next few years together, every time she flashes me that sweet smile of hers I can't help but notice that in her eyes she is still that sweet Banana that stole my heart the minute she was born. I still remember the look on David's face as he placed this sweet child in my arms. He knew I was somehow changed with her arrival-- I was now a mom.


Now, that smile reminds me I am the mom of a beautiful teenage girl who still can melt my heart with her kind words, her willingness to be helpful, her desire to grow to become the young woman God is asking her to be. Sure, she has her moments. Still, I am incredibly blessed to be her mom.


To celebrate, we took a group of Hannah's friends and her sisters bowling after Catholic Kids Camp. I think she really enjoyed herself. Her gift from us was a week at Camp KRIC (Kids Rooted in Christ). I know she thoroughly enjoyed that week and can't wait to attend next year. She was blessed by that week as she learned to Shine for Jesus. It is bittersweet to watch her growing so quickly. I want her to stay little forever and yet I am so excited by all that is in store for this truly amazing young woman.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Small Garden

"We cultivate a very small field for Christ but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements, but a heart that holds back nothing for self."-- St. Rose Philippine Dechesne

This powerful statement has had a spot on my bathroom mirror for a few years. It's been a favorite of mine for even longer. It seems so simple, but every now and then it strikes me in a new way. This year we put in a new backyard garden, my own little field if you will. We have a small yard and there was no place for it until we put in a fence. Now there is a perfect little corner and dh was kind enough to build a raised bed for us earlier this spring. We started small with room to grow. Goodness knows I'm going to need some way to feed these boys as they get older.


What surprised me was how much work this little patch of land has proved to be. There was the building of the bed and the trips to the hardware store that entailed, the trucking in of dirt requiring coordinating the use of Grandpa's truck, the work of choosing the best plants, planning the space (we went to three different stores looking for broccoli), all before we set about actually planting anything. Then once it was planted there were a few cold nights requiring me to traipse out in the dark with old sheets and in search of rocks and such for weights to shield the seedlings from the crazy ups and down of Ohio weather. Then, despite my efforts we had to make yet another trip to the nursery and replant a few spots where the cold crept in.


Then there is the maintenance. The weeding, and the watering. The task of unrolling great lengths of hose to get from spigot to garden. The even more tedious task of rolling up the hose when done. Watering the garden often means watering the kids too. This means more laundry, more towels, more dirty wet floors to tend. Each time I think I'll just spend a few minutes on this little garden, I'm amazed to find I've spent an entire morning, especially since the mornings are my time to spend with my youngest three children.

As much work as this "field" is, the work of my "field for Christ" which is my children is even more demanding. Lately the task of caring for them has been arduous and exhausting. I suppose spring is the season for laying foundations and that always seems to entail more work in gardening as well as child rearing. With so many little ones, we are in a springtime of sorts within our family too. The foundation is being set for our little children learning to take care of themselves and work as a family. They are seedlings growing in virtue. Trying to keep up with this training of little ones, the endless activities and appointments, the mountains of laundry, and maintain a peaceful home with the bustle of children has left me exhausted. It also left me a little bitter wanting more "me" time.

I struggle daily to see that the weeding and the watering are what bring a good harvest. They are what God is asking of me. The pedicures, shopping, time alone, glasses of wine, night off, or the endless list of things in my mind I've decided I deserve because of all of the hard work I've put in, are not going to bring about the harvest God desires.

Don't get me wrong, those things aren't bad in and of themselves. I assure you I still plan to go for a pedicure hopefully with my mom who has had an even rougher few weeks in and out of the hospital. There is a beautiful bottle of my favorite port on the counter which will inevitably make it's way to a few glasses as I sit on the front porch and try to have an uninterrupted conversation with dh. It's just that today I needed the reminder that those things aren't what it's all about. Those things are supposed to be a help. They should help me at the true task of cultivating my field whether that field is big or small. We all need a break, a respite, or we will get worn down to the point we are unable to cultivate any field, but it is all too easy to allow our selfishness to overtake these respites and start allowing them to hold us back from our tasks of cultivation.


It was clear that I had let them become too important, I had lost balance and perspective. I had let the weeds of my own self indulgence choke out my harvest. Instead of refreshing me, I just wanted more time for me and thus had less time for cultivation. Self indulgence always does this. It leaves us even more empty with a greediness for more indulgence. While it brings some immediate gratification it robs me of a true harvest. True fulfillment only comes from giving more of myself, even when that self-centered evil angel is sitting on my shoulder telling me how much I deserve more.


One simple test I have used to determine if my down time is becoming too indulgent is to ask myself if after the time spent do I feel energized in my duties as a wife and mother. After a Mom's Night Out do I feel renewed in my vocation? Do I have a new zeal for cultivating the small field given to my care? Often times the answer is yes. My time has provided a much needed break, and the great friends I have offered new perspective and encouragement. However, sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes I just want more, more, more. One night out leads to the desire for another and soon I'm not enjoying the task of motherhood, I'm resenting the demands of it. Sometimes it even has nothing to do with the frequency I engage in these activities, but more to do with the place they hold in my heart. The thought of time away from my duties consumes me and even though I am still tending my garden, I am doing so resentfully and not with the love and care it deserves.


At these times, I am in most need of more self sacrifice, not more self indulgence. If the things I am using for rest and relaxation do not result in a renewal or in increased physical, emotional, or spiritual energy to tend to the field, then I need to rethink them.  I need to set myself again to the task given me with a revived spirit of self-denial. I need less pedicures, less retail therapy, less indulging, and more prayer. Prayer is the ultimate water for our gardens and the truest refresher for a tired gardener.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sweet Smiles From a Usually Serious Boy

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!


Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--


Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!


Dear Peter is a very sweet boy. He is, however, usually pretty serious. When we first brought him home we would only catch a glimpse of a smile on rare occasions. As he bonded with us we found his smiles were becoming broader and more frequent. We noticed for many months that he was a different kid when out and about. At home he was comfortable. He knew his place in our hearts and family. When we were out, he seemed nervous. He's now starting to show that smile more in public. He's learning that we are forever his family and no matter where we are, he will always hold a special place in our lives. That makes my heart beam like the smile on his face.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Eighth Flower


How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers!"
--Mother Teresa

"Each one of us is here today because we have been loved by God who created us and our parents who accepted and cared enough to give us life. Life is the most beautiful gift of God. That is why it is so painful to see what is happening today in so many places around the world: life is being deliberately destroyed by war, by violence, by abortion. And we have been created by God for greater things - to love and be loved.


"God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them. If all the money that is being spent on finding ways to kill people was used instead to feed them and house them and educate them - how beautiful that would be. We are too often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is love, there is always sacrifice. And when we love until it hurts, there is joy and peace.

"The child is the most beautiful gift of God to a family, to a nation. Let us never refuse this gift of God. My prayer for each one of you is that you may always have the faith to see and love God in each person including the unborn. God bless you."

--Excerpts from STATEMENT BY MOTHER TERESA SENT TO THE CAIRO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON SEPT. 9, 1994

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Behind Bars


These three troublemakers are especially glad the weather is finally warming up. It means they can go outside and burn off their seemingly endless supplies of energy. Oh to be able to bottle that...

See, this morning I was awakened by a teething baby so early that the birds weren't even singing yet. That didn't matter to one little miss who seems to know that she gets mom's undivided attention if she wails at o'dark thirty.

Thinking I'd get a jump on the day, I started breakfast early. Instead of a head start on the day I found this:

Only the picture doesn't do it justice. What I really found was Peter standing on that chair at the counter. He had tipped the Cheerios box and was putting his hand in the box and shoveling the cereal onto the floor. With each swipe he let out an almost maniacal little chuckle. His brothers thought this was quite funny so they joined in the laughing and began dancing in the rainfall of Cheerios. They thought each little crunch under their tiny little feet added to the sheer joy of this glorious event and laughed, sang, and crunch crunch crunched. The dog joined in on the feast with endless munching. I seemed to be the only one not basking in the joy of the moment...

 Now at mid afternoon the teething baby is taking a wonderfully peaceful nap in the sunshine streaming in the window. The boys are playing outside on a glorious day running back and forth and driving toy cars and tonka trucks through the yard.

I'm left wishing I had liquid energy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

He's a Smart Cookie

One thing all of our adopted children have had in common is their insatiable appetite the first few months they are home. Eventually it wears off, but for quite some time they eat more than I think possible for their tiny bodies. Peter has been no exception, although he has been a little more particular than the others. He very much likes his snacks and sweets and will hold out for them. Sometimes crying at a plate of meat and veggies. Those snacks just draw him.

For the most part, I can tell when kids get into the food. They leave a trail of wrappers, crumbs, and debris after them. I recently discovered that Peter was smarter than I thought though. He had figured out how to get snacks on his own.

Ellie Belly is also learning to love cookies. She gets her own teething biscuits (homemade biscotti) and leaves her own mess. 

 At just a few days older than two, he has learned to step on his tip toes to reach the pantry handle to open the door. He reaches inside and pulls out the large container of animal crackers, one of his favorites. He then unscrews the top, reaches inside and grabs a few cookies. He stuffs them in his mouth and then carefully puts the lid back on the container and scoots it back to its place in the pantry. He closes the pantry door and walks away.
Can't you just see the mischief in his smile?

One evening I saw him doing this after not eating any of his healthy dinner and called dh to take a look. He watched in disbelief as he put away the container and shut the door. Then in true dh fashion he snuck up on him, gave him a stern "NO!" and made little Peter spit out his mouthful of cookies into the trashcan. Poor Peter stuck out his bottom lip for a few moments then spit them out and began crying. Everyone else felt sorry for a boy who really showed some initiative, but dh was right it couldn't become a habit.

For a few days I didn't notice anymore cookie raids, but then yesterday I glanced up from the computer to see him shoveling a handful of cookies in his mouth. As soon as he heard my best imitation of dh's "No," he looked up in horror. He took one look at my face, I was trying hard not to laugh, and promptly spit out every bit of cookie-- right back into the open (and almost full) container of cookies. He screwed on the lid as fast as he could, and went running out of the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's All Fun and Games

Last night I had a rousing game of "I'm Going to Hang You By Your Toes" going with the boys. I chase them around the house and when I catch up to them, I grab their feet and hang them upside down and swing them. How it is that I can do this for what seems like an eternity and still tip the scales is beyond me. 


I started by chasing Peter, he's the lightest and most agile so I'm fooled into thinking this is a good idea. He was laughing and having a good 'ol time. Hearing him laugh is always a reminder of why we adopt. There is such joy in the belly laugh of a two year old. It was great. Then he ran into the wall. This was pretty comedic for me, but the goose egg proved it was more painful for him. 


Then it was Joseph's turn, he's the heaviest and least agile so I quickly become aware I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I chase him around, only he's almost five now and harder to catch, he's smart enough to make me circle the coffee table. He, too, was laughing hard. Little boys laughing... Then he slipped on the kitchen floor. A second goose egg almost took the fun out of the game completely. 


Gabriel just wouldn't be left out though. He needed his turn to be flung upside down. I needed a moment to rest. I decided to try to stall him. I told him I'd hang him by his toes when he told me how many toes he had. 

He looks down at them and starts with the right foot. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven," he looks up and grins then bends down to the left foot, "eight, nine, ten, eleven."


He looks up at me with a mischievous grin and I ask again how many toes he has. "THAT many" he responds. I smile a little and ask how many THAT is? 

He looks down slowly and says, "all those toes?" 

"Yes, all those toes," I tell him.

Another sly smile, "FOUR!" he says giggling.

I hung him by those four toes. I tickled each one of them, counting them so he'd know next time how many toes he has.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Sweet Sophia is Seven

Continuing on with the where did the time go theme, how can she already be 7?


My very girly girl, my little mother hen, the shyest, the one that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. This adorable little girl who never wanted to leave my side as a baby is now seven. As a baby none were more attached than little Bophie. She wanted nothing to do with anyone else, even Dad. She was never more than a few steps away. 


While still Mommy's girl, she was the first to tell me she wanted to go to school. Though she is still happy to be home and with Mom, she's the one most excited to head back out to school on Monday morning. She's the only school-aged child in this house not counting the days to summer break.


She was the last to recover from our weeks of the flu which gave meant she had to stay home with Mom while Dad took the others to the Air Force Museum. Even though she was running a good fever, we had a nice time going out to breakfast. I realized that while she is quiet, she'll talk your ear off if given a chance. She had so many stories to tell.


This year Bophie has really blossomed. She caught on to the reading thing and has become an avid reader like her sisters. She also has begun to learn the beauty of offering up little things for others. She will often give her sweet treats to a younger sibling and choose something lesser for herself. She also has a mother's heart and is the first to tend to a fussing baby. I love having her around because she so enjoys spending time with the little ones. 



Happy Birthday Dear Sophia!

Friday, March 8, 2013

If I Ran the Zoo

Oh wait, I do run this zoo... right? At least I feel like a zookeeper most days.

After three weeks of sickness, all the fever and throw up and headaches had left and on Tuesday not one child stayed home sick. They all went back to school. Then Wednesday we had a snow day and they were all home again. It was a blessing that we finally had a day off where everyone felt well, but my house seemed more zoo like than ever.

One of the things I love about Joseph and Juliana going to preschool is that they get a chance to do the type of projects I used to do with the older girls, but just don't seem to get around to doing anymore. What I dislike about preschool is that there are deadlines to projects. They missed school all last week so Monday I get a note about this Friday's zoo day and animal sleepover. The preschoolers are supposed to bring a stuffed animal to sleep over at school (easy enough). Then comes a mom's nightmare. The animals are going to have to have a place to sleep, so each student needs to make a habitat for their animal. The instructions for these projects crack me up, it's obvious this sweet teacher has never had kids and therefore never had to put together one of these projects during a week full of craziness.

 "Nothing fancy," the directions read, "it should be something the preschoolers put together on their own." Seriously, who gives four year olds free reign to paint, scissors, glue? We won't discuss the box cutter incident here. And while I have some of the smartest and most creative preschoolers (I'm not biased either), they certainly needed some help understanding habitats. Should you have an exceptional child that is able to manipulate all the necessary craft items and artistic enough to come up with their own ideas for a habitat box, do they really think these children are going to clean up the mess? These projects always always always fall to Mom. In my case, it took three older sisters, Mom, and a snow day to get it done.

Still we got them finished. I thought they turned out well. I can also tell you that the other habitats I saw were most definitely *NOT* put together by preschoolers, smart and talented as they are. Now I have to get back to restoring the three closets I destroyed this morning looking for shirts with zoo animals on them.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6, 5, 4, 3, 2...

For these short weeks between Juliana and Sophia's birthdays we have our own little countdown of ages. Last year was more catchy with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Still it's amusing to answer when I'm asked the ages of my kids during this time. I have been reminded that while I have thought this period with five children under the age of 5 has been trying, the real fun might be when they are 16, 15, 14, 13, and 12. I try not to go there...


Speaking of birthdays, while my poor blog has been so neglected, one of the most important reasons I started blogging was to remind myself of all that I enjoy about my beautiful children. It's posted on the side bar that "the days are long, but the years are short." The days seem to be really long lately, but I don't want to let those years slip away.


My favorite posts on this blog are the ones easy to write: the funny things my kids do, the moments when they make me proud, and the moments where if I don't laugh, I'll cry. My birthday posts have been harder to write. They prove that I'm not really a good writer, I just sometimes have good material (Joseph alone provides that).  Words often fail as I try to capture each child as they are at each age, that's why I'm so thankful for digital photography for pictures to capture what my few paragraphs lack.

To that end, I've gone back and tried to catch up on my missing birthday posts. Here are links to postdated posts:

Double Digits for my Catie Bear

A First Second Birthday for Peter

Gabriel is Three Going on Thirty

How Can Juju Be Five?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Juju Turns a Fabulous Five


In the midst of flu season, this little one had another birthday. Her birthday, in particular, sneaks up on me. It is the middle of our five early year birthdays. Every three weeks there is another birthday. This after just finishing up Christmas, and while trying to get a jump start on lent. This year not only did her birthday catch me off guard, so did the realization that she is growing up so quickly. Ask her what she wants for breakfast and she no longer answers yo-yo-yo, she now clearly says cereal. 


It seems just yesterday she was placed in my arms, sigh. How could that moment be more than four years ago? How anxious I was about adoption. How worried about how she would fit into our family.


Now those worries and anxieties seem silly. She is such a joy to our family. Her smiles light a room. She always wants to please. I still look at her small hand and wonder about all the little ways God's providence worked to bring her here to our family. How blessed we all are. 


I know all children watch their parents, but Juju seems to be particularly observant. She's very interested in Mom and Dad's affection. She even told me I need to kiss him more :) She also watches all the little things I do. She told me yesterday that sometimes she sneaks into my bathroom and pretends to put on my makeup. She knew just how my morning routine goes following each step I take. What a reminder to be a better mom...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lent Starts With a Bang

Right now there are two throwing up kids, two more feverish kids, another just out of sorts, and two older girls healthy but disappointed that the weekend we'd planned for months had to be cancelled. This is what happens when the dreaded stomach flu hits a large family, especially a family with five children under the age of 5. I've seen more puke and poop than I'd ever imagined. Even dh was somewhat frustrated because we couldn't attend Mass as a family.

I might be the most downcast about the situation, though. I spent many, many, many hours cleaning the house and especially the basement for the houseful I thought we were going to have. I spent last week at home finishing that task, and then this week at home with sick kids. I'd love to have company since my house is clean, but no one dares enter this sick ward. I have a major case of cabin fever, but too many little ones who need Mom's care. All this on a much needed 3 day weekend. Thank goodness I have Lent to remind me to offer up these moments.

I'm not so good at that whole offering it up thing. I have it in my head things should be one way. The kids should clean up after themselves, the house should be tidy, things put where they belong, children who are quiet and not bickering. I think sometimes I expect that we should have the picture perfect house and family. My experience with postpartum is that these feelings are amplified. I feel the need to prove I can handle it all.

Instead I have boys who are often more like puppies tussling through the house. I have girls who bicker over purses and what to pack in their lunches. There are coats, and shoes, and an unending supply of bobby pins and match box cars to step on pick up. Then I get so frustrated at the clutter and the squabbling. I forget to take a step back and enjoy my children and home, warts and all.
"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”--C.S. Lewis
 I think to myself, "This isn't who I thought I'd be, this isn't the life I thought I'd have." I don't exactly know what kind of life I thought I would have. I just know this isn't what the magazine covers had me think it would be. I guess I never really imagined that in a house of eight children we might on occasion be struck with something as ugly as the stomach flu.

Then I get one of those "moments of insight" Lewis is talking about. A sweet girl asks if there are other babies in China that die instead of finding moms and I'm compelled to pull her in my arms and tell her yes, but they are with God in heaven and pray for us. The fact she is here means God has a purpose for her life and she should serve him faithfully in thanksgiving for the gift of another day. In telling her, I'm reminded I must do the same.

Then once my heart is softened, more moments come. A little baby girl smiles at me after throwing up again, still so sweet despite this miserable bug. Her 3-year old brother, who is her opposite in bearing sickness, has me laughing at his overly dramatic antics, "My teeth hurts, there's something wrong with my rump, I can't breathe, I think I'm gonna die..." His oldest sister spends a day at a retreat and the fruits of her prayers are brilliantly displayed on her face as she prays in Mass.

On this First Sunday of Lent I am striving to remember these interruptions, this miserable stomach bug, is what God has sent me. It is my real life. I am trying to live up to the advice given to a sweet daughter to be thankful for another day and strive to live out this calling to motherhood given me, but I still hope for no more stinky diapers and buckets to clean.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pure Sweetness



If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it.  I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle. 
--Vincent van Gogh

Ellie Belly's half birthday came during such a busy week. I am just now getting a good six month picture. I figure that's just what comes from being an eighth child. At least I'm getting pictures of her, right? It seems unfathomable this little one is already half way to her first birthday. Yet it is equally bewildering that she has only been with our family a short six months. It seems she has always held a place in our hearts. The joy of babies seems to transcend time. It is this crazy mix of how can she have grown so fast even though it is sometimes hard to remember life before her. I've had that timeless feeling with every child, and even though we've done this a few times, I am still amazed at how much love a baby brings and how intensely they make us aware of the beauty of life. Ellie already holds a unique, invaluable place in our home. Even with seven siblings, she brings a whole new beautiful dynamic to our family and I feel blessed she has been given to us. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finally Gabriel's Birthday


This is my Gabey Baby. He's a nut. Yes, of course a Buckeye, but also just a nut in general. He says the funniest things, he has a wacky sense of style, and everything is all in with him. 


I'd be lost without his bear hugs, his crazy questions, his constant chatter. Last week while in the bathroom he tells me he needs me to call Dad. He chatters on about how Dad just needs to come home early today. When I ask him what he needs, he just tells me that he has a few more important questions to ask him. I tell him he can ask me, but Gabe insists only Dad knows the answers to his questions. The boy is only three. I know I'm in for it as he gets older.


For weeks I heard of nothing else but his Fire truck party. His cousins had both had fabulous parties, one monster themed and the other school bus themed. Gabe decided then he was having a firetruck party and talked of nothing else for weeks. Every day I was asked if it was his party yet. The day finally came and he had his fire truck party. Then a few days later he was asked by a friend how his party was. He responded in typical Gabriel fashion and began, "The problem was..." then went into a monologue about how he had to share his party with Peter. Oy that kid...


On his actual birthday he got his own cake. I even tweaked my frosting recipe to make it peanut butter flavored. I think it was a hit and he didn't even have to share it.

For Christmas Gabe wanted Buzz Lightyear, then for his birthday he wanted Woody. We watched Toy Story 3 last night and I couldn't help but see my little guy in the character Andy. It made me think how quickly time will fly. On those days where his little boy antics wear me out, I needed the reminder that one day I will miss them. So today I gave him an extra big bear hug.

Happy third birthday little guy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

Since I'm on a roll with pictures, I thought I'd add a post with the pictures we sent in with Peter's 6 month Post Adoption Report.

 It seems amazing he has only been here six months as he has always been part of our family.

And even though a picture speaks a thousand words, there is so much behind these glimpses of his first moments with us. No picture could convey the exhaustion, the difficulties, or the love and joy of bonding with this sweet boy.

He's become such a sweet little brother, recently learning to give fist bumps in true third brother fashion.

He's developed quite a sweet tooth. He's even cried when presented with a beautiful plate of food with no sweets on it.

He loves his Dad, but is still Mommy's boy.

And still has a soft spot for Grandpa too.

How blessed we are to have this sweet boy.



As a side note, this video was posted on a friend's wall on Facebook. It is very moving and in many ways sums up why we made the decision to go back and adopt Peter. It was, in some aspects, a difficult decision as we were struggling to find the energy and organization to care for the six children we had. It was difficult to think of the finances involved in a third adoption, and we were just unsure we could swing it. One night when our six children were sleeping,  I said to dh, "If that were one of our kids, what would we do? Would we worry about college, or retirement? Would we be too tired? Or would we move heaven and earth to go get that child out of the orphanage?" We talked about our stress in light of a little one hanging onto life because it was too cold and there was not enough food-- and we knew. We knew we were called to go back. To do all we could to help one more. I can't help but feel joy every time I look at Peter.