One of my very favorite things about being a Mama is the way God uses Yikealo to help me understand better just how much He loves me. My love for Yikealo does not change or fade or become less "real" based on his behavior. Can I get annoyed with him at times? Absolutely. Does he need to be corrected when he is disobeying? Undeniably. Do I love him any less when he is misbehaving? Certainly not. He is my son, and I love him with everything that is in me. I will go to great lengths to help him understand just how much he means to me, and I'm realizing in a new way that God does the same thing with me, his adopted daughter, during each and every day.
There have been so many times when I am lecturing Yikealo about some wrongdoing that I hear the echo of my words reflected back onto me. When I'm looking into his sad little face and saying, "Why won't you listen? Don't you know that I know what is best for you? There is a REASON that I told you not to do that!" I can almost hear God saying the same thing to me: "I don't want you to get hurt. I love you so much, and I just want to protect you. Please listen! I am not asking you to let this go because I don't want you to have fun; I am asking you to let it go because it could harm you, and nothing pains me more than to watch you get hurt." When I pick my child up to hold him, comfort him, and assure him that I love him in spite of the bad behavior, I can almost feel my heavenly Father doing the same for me: "Come here, Larisa. Lay your head against my chest and just rest in my promises. I love you so much that I died for you. Do you really think that I am going to stop loving you for some reason? I won't! You are forgiven. Go apologize and move forward! My mercies are new every morning."
Last week, Yikealo came home from pre-school with a colorful paper turkey with five tail feathers. Each feather had something listed for which Yikealo was supposedly thankful. His list was rather random: apples, my toys, food, my race car (he doesn't even have a race car) and "the color green." Ahem...green is the color that he has the most difficulty identifying. That evening, David and I were giggling over his list, and David put on his best pouty face and said, "What about your Daddy? You're not thankful for your daddy?" Yikealo shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Yes, I am, but Dad, sometimes little boys just do not THINK of their Daddy." David snorted laughingly and stated wryly, "Isn't that the truth!" I had to think later, though, how often the same is true of me. There are so many times when I become focused on random, rather unimportant things rather than what is really meaningful. I think about my "stuff" instead of about my Abba, or long for silly things that I don't have instead of giving thanks for the countless good and perfect gifts with which He has already blessed me.
Then there's the way that Yikealo teaches me about forgiveness and grace. There is a reason that the Lord says that we are to become like little children - they understand unconditional love and forgiveness in ways that we adults forget at times. I'll give you an example. A few weeks ago, I was flying around in my typical hurry on Sunday morning, trying to get everything done before we left for church. I had ironed Yikealo's outfit and David's shirt, was cleaning up the breakfast dishes that my husband and son had left on the table, and getting ready to start on my hair. David walked through the kitchen while putting on his cologne and proceeded to drop the bottle onto the floor, splashing cologne everywhere, and making it almost impossible to breathe in the kitchen. Immediately afterward, Yikealo slobbered chocolate from a candy bar (that he was not even supposed to be eating) all down the front of his freshly washed and ironed shirt. Ummm.....let's just say that I did NOT respond with grace. I slammed some dishes down onto the counter, yelled something like "Why do the two of you always have to make such a MESS of everything?" and stormed off to the bedroom, where I sulked. That's also where God began to convict me about the serious attitude problem I was having: "Let's have a little talk, daughter dear, about the fruits of my Spirit, shall we? So your boys made some mistakes - you frequently make mistakes too. Just where were you exhibiting love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness or temperance a few moments ago? You need to apologize." I gave myself a little time to cool off, and then walked into Yikealo's room, where he was attempting to button his re-washed and blow-dried shirt. He gave me a very solemn look and whispered, "Mom, I'm really sorry I made a mistake." I knelt down beside him to look him in the eye, and said "Thank you, honey, but I was wrong to react like that. I'm sorry for yelling at you and Daddy. Can you forgive me?" His whole face brightened and he wrapped his little arms around my neck and squeezed. "Sure, Mom! Actually, I already DID forgive you!" Oh, melt my heart...yet another life lesson from my precious son - the willingness to forgive immediately and fully.
Thank You, Father, for bringing this beautiful child into my life. He is teaching me more about You and Your love every single day...
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This much I do know: God has a specific child in mind for us, and He will match up all of the time-lines at just the right moment, so there is absolutely no point in fussing about how long the wait seems. The next step will be to get our fingerprinting done at USCIS - our application has been accepted by them, and we are waiting to hear the date of our fingerprinting appointment. Once our prints have been approved, we will receive our FDL, or Favorable Determination Letter, which will allow us to bring an immigrant into the country. We can't actually get a referral until we have received our FDL, so that's the next big hurdle.
In news of my Dad, it sounds like he will finally be able to go home from the hospital sometime this afternoon. He will have daily appointments with his doctor until they get his Coumadin dosage figured out, but my Mom is THRILLED to be going home. Please continue to pray for Dad's healing and for God's peace to pour out over both of them. Your prayers are so appreciated.
This morning after pre-school, Yikealo ran into the bathroom to go potty, and when he was finished, he came out to find me with a very ornery grin on his face. Here was our conversation:
Y: "Hey Mom, guess what I did to George?"
Me: "What did you do?"
Y: (gleefully) "I flushed him!"
Y: "Yeah, I flushed him in the potty!"
Me: "Why did you do that?"
Y: "Cause I wanted to, and it was fun!"
Me: "So are you telling me that George is all gone now? He won't be coming back anymore?"
Y: "No, he will be back, because he knows how to get out."
Me: "Oh really?"
Y: "Yeah. First you turn left, and then right, and then left again, and then he will be back. Then I can flush him again."
So what kind of little kid pretends to flush his imaginary friend down the toilet anyway? Hopefully this is not a sign of future behavior with a little brother or sister!
Monday, November 8, 2010
- FBI Criminal Checks (completed for every person in the home over the age of 18)
- State Criminal Checks (same rules apply)
- Local Criminal Checks (same rules apply)
- Child Abuse Checks (completed for every state/country that you've lived in for more than 3 weeks since the age of 18 - this is the one that made us wait so long this time around. It is completed by the State of Ohio, and they had 1 person running all of the checks for the entire state. It took almost 4 months for them to get the "all clear" signal back to our agency.)
- Fire inspection of your home by the local fire marshall
- 6 reference letters, one each from the following people: co-worker, neighbor, friend, spiritual leader or other community leader, family member of the adoptive mother, family member of the adoptive father
- personal profile of each parent (this is basically a 55 page autobiography. You have to answer every type of personal question imaginable, from what you marriage is like, to how you get along with each member of your family, to any drug or alcohol history for each and every member of your immediate family, to your parenting style, to your religious beliefs, to any mental health counseling, and on, and on, and on...)
- Financial worksheet giving a detailed list of all of your monthly income and expenses, your liabilities and assets
- a notarized letter from your bank, verifying all of your account standings
- employment and income confirmation from your employer
- a guardianship statement by the person(s) who will take care of your child, should anything happen to you. The chosen guardians must also match the agency's rules for eligibility, as far as age, income and health status.
- Copies of Birth Certificates for each member of the family
- Copy of Marriage Certificate
- Copy of driver's licenses for each family member
- Copy of social security cards for each family member
- a letter from your veterinarian, stating the health and immunization status for any pets in the home
- photos of the family and the home
- proof of life insurance
- proof of auto insurance
- proof of health coverage, including pre-existing conditions for the adoptive child
- copy of Adoption Decree, previous home-studies and post-placement reports for adopted children in the home
- at least 10 hours of Adoptive Parent Education (our agency actually requires more than this, as they also require a 175 page workbook, that takes a minimum of 20 hours to complete.)
- Medical reports on each person in the home
- an application to the state Department of Job and Family Services for a child placement
- at least 6 hours spent with a social worker, being interviewed about your whole life
- a home inspection, completed by your social worker