I've been told many times one thing people like about my blog is my honesty and transparency...well, I hope that is true because this post comes from my very core and it is honesty at it's best, or worst.
I have a confession...I am selfish! I have never thought I was perfect but I've never seen this as a big sin I struggle with until this trip. I came to Russia with a bad attitude. I was sick (literally), I was tired, I was sad I had not gotten to spend my last few weeks enjoying time with the girls and Dustin because we were so busy trying to raise money and get ready, I was upset that Dustin didn't get to come with me and I was dreading the challenges I knew would lay in front of me. Do you see how many times I just said "I"? My focus was on ME and all of the negative aspects of our situation. Until today, my attitude had only gotten worse. I was excited to get Levi, but only because it meant this was finally over. After all that we have gone through and all of the hard work to get to this point I thought I would be elated and overjoyed, but instead I think I've been almost in a depressed state. I'm sure you probably got this vibe from my last post but I was still trying to sugar-coat the way I felt.
Last night it all finally came out while I was chatting with Dustin. The tears wouldn't stop. Don't get me wrong, Levi is great! And looking through my "glass half full" lenses I'd have to say he is amazing! I think I have the most socially adapatable former "orphan" ever. He is making this transition without blinking. He has slept well almost every night, he puts himself to sleep, he follows his schedule, he eats great and when we go places he is so excited. It's like he's discovering the world for the first time (which I know he is) but instead of being fearful, he is full-force, bring it on! I was prepared for him to be scared and timid of everything from the car ride to the wind on his face. I thought he'd not sleep, not eat, have an upset tummy and cry all of the time. He has done NONE of those things! For the most part he plays, eats and sleeps. He laughs, mimics me a lot and is even picking up English words. He already knows his new name, he says "mama", "no-no" and "nana" (banana) well! Considering where he's coming from, I'd say he's a pretty cool little dude. So why would I be anything but elated? I'm selfish! I've been so focused on missing my girls and Dustin, jet-lag, feeling bad, not having good food, not having good internet connection and a little behavior issue with Levi that I've let half of this once in a lifetime experience pass me by while I was wallowing in self misery. I'm selfish. I haven't been thinking about this precious child, that all things considered, has overcome so much and has already adapted better in 5 days than I probably would in a life time! I haven't embraced this opportunity to be "the light" and focused on the calling of Christ on us through this adoption. Last night I told Dustin, "I know Satan is doing this. This adoption is such a big thing God has done, Satan is stealing my joy through Levi's little tantrums to ruin it." (I promise I didn't mean this in an ugly way! I was saying Satan was attacking us!) Of course, Dustin was like "NO he is not." But truthfully, I think he was. Just not through Levi's outburst's. (if you're wondering what I'm referring to, one thing I wasn't prepared for was Levi to throw fits. I knew they'd come but just not this soon. Well, when he doesn't get his way...like I tell him not to stick his finger in an electrical socket...he throws a fit...pretty much like any 18 month old. I was just frustrated because I didn't know how to handle it. So I was letting him do whatever and tiptoeing around him. Then last night I finally realized...this is MY SON. I should treat him like I would my daughters!) Satan was attacking my thought life, and I was letting him win. I was letting anything that didn't go my way or that I didn't like bring me down. I was pitching my own type of fit and letting it affect every aspect of this experience.
BUT I'm happy to say, I've relinquished control once again to my God who brought me here in the first place. I'm re-focused on THE reason I'm here and all I have to be thankful for! I'm giving Him the glory in this experience...I'm letting "my light shine again." :) My friend Emily wrote a comment on my last post...she must have seen through the sugar :) It said "Amber- you can find joy even there. You can be the blessing even there- praying for you to see the grace showering down- even there. Love you and am so very happy for Levi and your family. Love you all." It stabbed me in the heart...but it's what I needed to hear! (Thank you Em for speaking truth over me even when it's hard!) These words came from a momma whose baby boy is about to have open heart surgery. I've never heard her once complain or have a pity party. Last night I prayed for God to make me strong and joyful like Emily, or my other sweet friend, Amy, who has been sending me encouraging notes while I've been here. Her baby girl was born last week at 24 weeks and is in the NICU but Amy also stands so strong in her faith and has a smile on her face. I pray that when things get tough, I will not crumble, but Lord make me more like these godly women...make me more like YOU.
Nothing has changed in my circumstance. I still have 6 more days in Russia with Levi (who can be a little strong willed- JUST LIKE MY GIRLS!) by myself. We have 3 days of grueling appointments and a full day of travel back to the States. BUT I'm now smiling. Because instead I see I have 6 more days to bond with my son who is healthy, vibrant and as cute as he can be! Then we'll be reunited with Dust and the girls and our normal, crazy BLESSED lives can resume! I'm again reminded why I'm here...and it has nothing to do with ME! We were called to care for "the least of these" and to be HIS hands and feet to bring one "home." I'm humbled and honored that God gave me...the selfish one...the priveledge of caring for another one of His children!
I have a prayer request for all of you who have so faithfully prayed us through this journey. I mentioned my two precious friends that have been a constant encouragement to me. Please pray for their babies and families. Baby Ian will have open-heart surgery on May 8th and baby Halle Scott will be in the NICU for a while but she was having a tough day yesterday. Pray for healing over these precious little ones and peace and strength over their sweet families! Thank you!