The warm morning sun shines, sneaking past our white shutters, as a four year old shuffles into the room. She crawls on the bed and snuggles between her parents. A few moments later, a six year old wearing Rapunzel chonies and a tired look on her face joins the party.
Slowly, a 13 year old girl peaks her head into the room. "Yana, come in."
She sees the warmth, the cuddles, and the love, but doesn't approach us. Instead, she watches from the door.
We urge her again. "Yana, come in here." She reluctantly walks towards her family and sits on the corner of our king mattress, close to my feet. We grab her waist and pull her closer, and she doesn't fight it. Now laying across our lumpy feet, she smiles at us.
"What did you call me?" Adam says back, leaning over the balcony from the upstairs hallway, looking at the little girl with her hands in her face and a giggle in her movements.
Adam enters the kitchen and begins to munch on the dinner preparations as I cut carrots. I look at him with smiling eyes, a shaking head and a shrug. "It would be so much easier for her to call me dad" he confesses, laughing as he says it.
Don't worry I tell him, at least she calls to you.
I lay in a homemade tent, made from blankets and a bottom bunk bed, reading stories with two little girls by flashlight. Suddenly, I hear three large loud claps. In the darkness, the girls and I are silent, the read aloud paused as we listen for a voice. Another clap.
I poke my head out from between the Elmo and butterfly blankets to see the silhouette of Alex standing in the doorway of Lily and Elliot's room, the hallway light on behind him. As my eyes adjust, I hear..."Where my pants?"
It has been only three months since they left Ukraine.
For good or for bad, everything is different for them.
And they are learning. And they are growing.
But nothing is quick.
There is so much we have to explain. Everyday. It is constant.
We tread lightly, knowing that their whole lives have been flipped upside down, and usually we just agree to disagree.
OH, THE STORIES.
Growing our family through adoption has added another layer to our relationship with each other and with God. For this we are so grateful and thankful.
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13
"You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety."