The past couple weeks have been filled with special moments and memories as we work to become a family. Milestones that are sought after when you adopt older children have come at times. For instance, one day one of the boys came to me for comfort. He rarely does that, usually choosing to console himself, the way he's done for the last couple years. Another son, when he gets angry or sad, withdraws and refuses to speak, listen, look, or respond in any way for an hour or two. But, yesterday he came to me afterward and said, "Mom, I sorry".
Then there are days like today. 2 hours straight of crying. More than once. By more than one son. Pouting. Hitting. Ignoring. Angry outbursts. Yelling.
We have such a long way to go. My boys need more than I can give them. They need a healed heart. They need Jesus.
I need Jesus.
I asked for this. You're probably thinking that. I asked for more children to love. I asked for the opportunity to minister. I asked for God to make a way to spend time in the country of my sons' birth. He answered. All of it. In His time and His way, He has answered.
I signed up for adoption. I love adoption and I will advocate for it.
However, I want, through the thoughts on this site, to be real. No sugar coating. Adoption in messy. It's hard.
Aren't pretty things that come out of awful things sometimes all the more beautiful because of the circumstances and trials? God says He bring beauty from ashes, and I firmly believe it.
There are times when I feel like even with these two wonderful boys, maybe we're not done with this "adoption thing". Who knows what the Lord has in store? If you ask Alana, she'll tell you she's advocating for another sister in the future.
Other times I listen to the ruckus of boys fighting, hitting, and running through a concrete house with no insulation screaming and I think, "Really? Are you kidding me?"
That's just the real deal.
I love each of my 5 children. God opened my heart in a way I never dreamed possible to love and fight for each of my children, whether born of my womb or born of my heart.
When I feel like I don't have what it takes to wage war for 5 little souls, I drop to my knees and cry out to God. He can do it. He brings to mind the old hymn, Rock Of Ages. It goes,
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee." 
The words, "Nothing in my hand to bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling," have become what I am singing to the Father on a daily basis. I have absolutely nothing to offer my children without Him. Sometimes it's all I can do to cling to His promises.
Real. Real people. Real emotions. Real testing and trying and crying. Real serving. Real patience. Real tenderness and sharing and most of all, real love.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Today I am thankful for: batteries for the first new toys my new sons have ever picked out in their lives, granola bars, and spending time with other adoptive families here for their children.