"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, April 11, 2008

God reveals Himself....PRIMETIME!

There is something that has been growing in my heart for the past couple of weeks and I have been praying fervently about it. All I can say right now is that it relates to my children and my family, but don't fret, it's nothing bad.

Well, last night, while praying hard, my phone rang. It was Adam saying, "Mom! Hurry, turn on American Idol!" I was in the middle of praying, but he sounded so adamant about my watching that I said ok. When I turn on the TV set, the American Idol contestants were all singing "Shout To The Lord". I just about fell over.

As a lot of you know, that song is so very close to my heart. The first time I remember being drawn to Christ through that song was when I drove from Miami to Ft. Myers alone to be with my sister when we found out her baby had passed away.

From the time God moved my heart to adopt, I always relate that song to my babies and it has been the anthem at the Bombardier household every night for over two years now, since AJ and Kai came home. The kids love it and sweetly sing it after prayers each night.

Listening to it in the midst of asking God to give me answers last night was Him definitely saying, "Don't worry. I'm in control and I hear you."

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

For my sister....

I heard this song for the first time a few days ago, immediately it brought my thoughts to you and our precious baby Emmanuel, who I know is laughing and smiling in the arms of Jesus.
I love you both!

(If you haven't heard it, it's the 3rd song on my playlist.) Here are the lyrics.

The love of her life is drifting away
They’re losing the fight for another day
The life that she’s known is falling apart
A fatherless home, a child’s broken heart

You’re holding her hand, you’re straining for words
You trying to make - sense of it all
She’s desperate for hope, darkness clouding her view
She’s looking to you

Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus

The gifts lie in wait, in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to grey
As the little one slips away

You’re holding their hand, you’re straining for words
You’re trying to make sense of it all
They’re desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They’re looking to you

Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus

Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands
He cares for them just as He cares for you

So love them like Jesus, love them like Jesus
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Love them like Jesus

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When sleep doesn't come....I write.

Yes, it's 3:32 a.m. I've been awake since 2 a.m., and have watched enough infomericals to finally drag myself out of bed. I'm behind on returning emails, but I promise I will soon!

Finally, after about an hour and a half of laying there, I came to the computer to read about Liberian adoptions (my new obsession) and pretty much to surf blogs. After a bit, I decided I would go ahead and share about our sweet baby girl's 3rd birthday.

Anna Grace turned 3 today!! (Thank you to those that emailed wishing her a happy birthday!) We had a small celebration at home with just family. It was nice and uneventful. She was so excited to once again be singing, "Happy Birthday, Anna Grace!"

Towards the middle of dinner, her eyes were a bit glassy and she wasn't her happy-go-lucky, non-stop-energy self. After everyone left, I took her into the bedroom to put on her pj's, and noticed she felt warm. I put the thermometer on her and lo and behold....103.7! Poor baby! She never even said she didn't feel well. Amanda is on antibiotics for strep, so I have a feeling that's where we are headed with her. Please, if you can, say a prayer for her quick recovery and that the other two little ones don't catch whatever it is she has. It would be so appreciated.

Throughout the day today, I spent a lot of it thinking about Anna Grace. I thought about how we celebrated her birthday last year with a baby shower awaiting her arrival. It's been a roller coaster of a ride since she's been home and we've both changed and grown so much. God is truly faithful and he sometimes pushes us out of the box so that we can grow closer to Him and so that He could mold us into the person He created us to be.

As Anna Grace lay asleep in my bed tonight, after I awoke at 2:00 a.m., I began pondering about how much I truly, truly love this angel. I thanked God and His Blessed Mother for finally giving me the grace of loving her completely and unconditionally. But, the icing on the cake is that I believe that she, too, finally loves me that same way. I can't tell you how often lately I am carrying her and she puts her sweet, little head on my shoulder and taps my back. Her sign of being content. Sort of like a cat purring. :) It melts my heart. I find myself walking around thanking God for her being in my life, numerous times throughout the day.

I also thought about her birthmother and wondered if she thought about Anna Grace today. She must have. I prayed that she some how knew that her baby was part of a family that loved her so much.

I thought about Anna Grace's abandonment and the reasons behind it. Was it because of her special need? Was it because she was a girl? Or simply, was it because God destined her to be our daughter. I choose to believe the latter.

Anna Grace has come such a long way. She loves her family and her family loves her. We still have struggles and I think we will for a long time to come, but I can handle them now. We both can handle them now.

Being Catholic, confession is one of our sacraments. I admit, not one of my favorites, but none-the-less, something that I very much need in my life. It just happened to be that one of those really, really bad days with Anna Grace (no eye contact, total defiancy, etc.) was a couple of weeks before Holy week. It was also the day that our church had a reconciliation mass. Our Lord knew I needed it. I remember going into the confessional and just bawling. God bless our sweet priest. He is so patient and compassionate, everything Christ wants each of us to be.

I apologize, I digress. It's late. Anyways, I will share this because although I know the confessional is confidential, I think that only pertains to the priest's end of it, and not mine, but I mostly want to share because I want to give God the glory for using this faithful servant to put things into perspective for me.

Back to the confessional. After I let out all of my negative feelings (which are not really sins), many of which I was ashamed of even feeling, he said to me. "We are all given crosses to carry and to bear. Anna Grace may just be your cross. Think about the cross we gave Jesus to carry, yet he loved us unconditionally and carried the cross, humbly and willingly until his death." WOW! Those were powerful words. Words I will never forget.

My first immediate reaction, as will probably yours be, was to think that my child could never be a burden, a cross. But, as the night passed and I prayed and I thought about his words, they were so true.

I've changed so much as a person with each of my adoptions. Beginning with my thoughts about birthmothers (with AJ), to becoming more of a humble human being and learning so much about humility from a child (with Kai), to being brought to my knees quite often asking the Lord to give me wisdom, guidance and the true heart of a mother towards Anna Grace. God has used this little girl to show me how to love unconditionally. To show me how to love as He loves. Not how to love when you are loved. Not how to love when you are needed. But how to love, truly blindly love, with all of your heart when it's most difficult to. To love when you are rejected, as our Lord was. Although His love is unchanging, I believe that's when He had to have loved us most.

I lay tonight watching her sleep, stroking her hair and thanking God for his faithfulness. His trust in believing that I could do this. Even at times when I didn't think I could. I know I could never have gotten this far without Him. It is because of Him that I have gotten this far.

A couple of times, when I was stroking her hair and whispering to her, through tears, how blessed we were to have her and how much I loved her, she stirred in her sleep and realized she was in my bed. She slightly opened her eyes and reached out for me to hold her hand. I did and she quickly fell back asleep with a smile on her face. The love in my heart at that moment seemed to fill my chest to a point where I thought it would explode.

The little girl that used to reach her arms out to strangers to be picked up, now runs to Mama when approached by strangers. She trusts and knows she is safe with me.

The little girl who hated being carried like a baby and nuzzled, who raged, scratched and hit, now says daily, "I wanna sit with Mama" as she climbs onto my lap to play with her toys, watch tv or just to be cuddled.

The little girl who cried incessantly when she first came home and I tried to put her in our bed to sleep with us, now begs to "sleep in Mama's bed" and falls asleep holding my hand.

The little girl who rarely gave me eye contact, who used to shut her eyes to block me out, now cradles herself in my arms and takes my face into her hands to make sure that I am looking at her when she speaks.

I am blessed beyond measure. Not once or twice, but countless times. Our God is a sovereign God who rejoices in our joy. Anna Grace is pure joy and I know that our Savior is smiling down and thinking, "It took a while for this Mama to get it. But, as always, I've done it again. A perfect match!"

Thank you, Jesus! Happy 3rd birthday, my beautiful girl!
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend Woes

Thursday evening we had a wonderful dinner celebrating Kai's 2 years home. We met with family at our favorite Chinese restaurant and I took lots of pictures. Kai truly enjoyed his day.

Friday, after dropping Kai off at school, I took off to the stores with AJ and Anna Grace. They love going to stores and we went from store to store for almost 5 hours, folks! Anyways, while at JoAnn's Fabrics, I picked up some face paints. The kids have been asking to paint their faces for quite some time. It's not something I've done before, but I figured I'd give it a try. My friend Tonya is a pro at this, and both Anna Grace and Kai have seen pics of her beautiful girls sporting their Mama's artwork, and they love it!

When Kai came home from school I took out the paints and they were ecstatic! After I got them calmed down enough to be able to sit, I began the face painting. Anna Grace turned out to be a beautiful butterfly and Kai was a roaring tiger. When I was all done with them, I had them close their eyes and stood them before the mirror. I counted to 3 and had them open their eyes. Oh! The looks on their faces were priceless, especially Anna Grace. She first looked very confused/scared, but then her little face broke out into that huge million dollar smile of hers! Kai saw his face and immediately the "R.O.A.R.I.N.G" began! AJ was curious about watching the other kids having their face painted, but he wanted no part of it on his own little face. I'm glad to say that Amanda joined in on the fun and she got her face painted like a doggie! Too cute! I, again, took lots of pictures.

Now here is where my "weekend woes" began. I took the kids outside with their painted faces and let them play with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. We had a great time and were playing the-tiger-chases-the-butterfly game. While they were doing this, I was clicking away with my camera. After a while, I went and put the camera on the roof of my van and started drawing alongside the kids on the driveway.

Shortly afterwards, Scott came home and told me he was making dinner. So, I brought the kids in, gave them baths and sat down with them to watch the movie, Snow White, while we waited for dinner. We ate, tucked them in and I went straight to bed since it had been such a busy day.

The next morning we started working in the yard. The kids were out there with their pails and shovels and AJ's little face was completely black with dirt. I ran inside to get my camera, and I couldn't find it. Then, I remembered that I had put it on the roof of my car. So, I go out to the garage. No camera. I'm now stressing and searching every nook and cranny for it. Scott notices and says, "What're you looking for?" I told him that I thought I had left my camera on the roof of the car but it wasn't there and that I couldn't find it.

He suddenly gets a very solemn look on his face and says to me, "When did you do this?" I said, "Late afternoon, before you came home." He then looked at me and said, "While you were watching the movie with the kids, I realized we were out of milk and I ran to the store!" I couldn't believe it. My camera was on the roof!!!!!! He then went into the lecture of "it wasn't a great place to put it...blah...blah....blah". But, he did start walking down to the end of the street looking for it.

I was so upset at myself. How could I be so stupid? The thing that bothered me most was that all of Kai's 2nd anniversary gotcha pictures were on that memory card.

A few minutes later, Scott was back. Empty handed. I just couldn't accept the fact that the camera was gone. At least, if I had it, we had purchased the accidental damage policy on it. I hopped in the car and decided to go drive slowly down the street looking for it. Nothing. By then, tears are streaming down my face. Of course, I was praying through my search. As I am pulling into the driveway back home, I notice something shiny in the neighbor's parkway. It was my camera! I leap out of the car and go running over, only to find that it was literally crushed. I tried turning it on and it turned on, only to see a huge spider-web looking design in the visibly destroyed LCD screen. BUT....God is always good. My memory card was intact!

Unfortunately, my laptop no longer reads memory cards, but it's ok. I know my pictures are on there and I can download them from Amanda's card reader. Thank you, Jesus!

Scott promised to get back on the phone with Hewlett Packard (he did this once before for me) and get me a new camera. He's hoping to keep this one when we finally get the Canon I want.

So, tomorrow for Anna Grace's small little 3rd birthday celebration at home, I will not be able to take pictures. My sister and Mom and coming and I'll be able to get a few with their cameras. For those of you that know me well, I HATE being without a camera. But, I guess worse things in life could happen....so I won't complain.

To close with my woes. I spent 6 hours preparing our tax return online so I could e-file it. When it was all done and I click to e-file it, I get a message that a return was filed on March 15 using this same Social Security number! Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. Somewhere, something went terribly wrong and the IRS is showing that they have accepted a return from us that we never filed. That will be tomorrow's task for the day. Don't you just love calling Uncle Sam? NOT! But again, worse things could happen.

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