Monday, July 26, 2010
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see..."
I took these photos in Antigua, Guatemala in July, 2007. They are some of my favorite photos that i've taken.
I dream of going back to Guatemala with just my camera and plenty of time to just take photos. With no one to rush me. For me just to have the time to photograph as i want and where i want.
There is so much beauty in that county that it takes my breath away.
Perhaps one day soon, i can go back.
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 7:30 AM
Friday, July 23, 2010
...much like blogging since last Sunday. I love Sundays. I love to sit in my favorite spot on my comfy couch and get lost in the Sunday paper while Emma and Robert make pancakes. As i read my Sunday paper, i literally count my blessings. I give thanks and praise and listen to Robert and Emma giggle in the kitchen as they make pancakes.
To me, it's a perfect way to start Sundays.
Except for last Sunday when i read in the paper about the little girl who lives nearby in Mt. Juliet who was apparently killed by her mother. I think that this story stuck me to my core because this little four year old girl, adopted from China, had only been in her "forever" home since April of this year. The mother, who is a well-known pediatrician, is charged with first degree murder and 7 or 8 (really, what difference does it matter if it was 1, 7 or 100?!?) charges of child abuse. The father was also charged with many counts of abuse and other things. This couple's eight year old daughter had apparently witnessed much of the abuse on her sister and now herself is in a foster home.
So much for "forever family" in this case, eh?
Here in Nashville, there are many adoptive parents. We are also so close to so many agencies like the Vanderbilt International Adoption Clinic, and many adoptive family support groups. There are also many local churches that have adoption support groups. Help is out there for those who need help. There are also groups who help with children who may have issues. I know that it is hard to ask for help. I hate having to ask a friend to watch Emma when i have an errand that i can't take her to. I would hate to think that anyone would ever think that i couldn't handle my life. But when it comes to Emma, my daughter, i don't take a chance. If i have a question, her pediatrician is a call away as is her staff. My friend are only a call away if i need to talk. I know when i need to vent. I understand that my venting to my friends or calling Emma's pediatrician is much different than child abuse...but i would hope that a pediatrician as this adoptive mother was, would know where to reach out for help. If not for her, then for her newly adoptive daughter.
I guess what i'm trying to say is that this little child, this little child who is only a year older than Emma, didn't have to die. It is heartbreaking to me that this little one had a life with such sorrow and ended in fatal abuse at the hands of a couple who adopted her. A couple who was suppose to love her, care for her, help her grow up.
A little child is dead. A mother is charged in her death. A father is charged with multiple child abuse and child endangerment counts. Their other daughter, who is eight years old, is now in a foster home.
This didn't have to happen.
And i'm terribly heartbroken that it did.
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 9:43 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 8:58 AM
Sunday, July 18, 2010
...my sister, Claudine, who i don't get to see enough of.
I miss her.
So, little Emma and i going to take a trip to see her before Summer comes to an end.
The fact that she lives on the beach?
OF COURSE THAT'S NOT THE REASON WE ARE VISITING!!
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 8:01 PM
Saturday, July 17, 2010
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 9:28 PM
Friday, July 16, 2010
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 2:27 PM
Thursday, July 15, 2010
...of a difficult time right now. Trying to figure out where we want to point our family and our lives, which is heavy stuff. It's difficult to figure out what is best for one member of the family, let alone three members of a family! Not to worry, we are happy and are grateful for all the good we have.
Besides, it's hard to be sad and not smile and giggle when i look at these kind of photos from our vacation!
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 8:18 AM
Saturday, July 10, 2010
...ago today, we met Emma for the first time. I struggle what to call this day as i don't really have a fondness for the "gotcha' day". It is a day that i usually spend in a great deal of thought and prayer for Emma's birth mother; wondering how she is and hoping that life has treated her softly. I pray that she is well and that she somehow knows how much Robert and i love and cherish Emma.
As forgetful as i am, i am suprised that i remember this day in such detail. I remember peeking out of our hotel door, seeing a little dark haired baby with our agency contact. I remember walking down the hallway to the room to meet Emma with Robert, i remember the feel of his hand, how excited and scared we both were. I remember us stopping half way to the room where we would meet Emma, just to hug each other as we knew it was no longer just "us"; we were about to be a family to a little girl who needed a home.
I remember being surprised at how much dark, soft hair Emma had. My sister, when she was a baby, had the very same lush, dark hair. I remember the tears from both Robert and i as we held Emma for the first time; the tears were for many different reasons. Tears that we were holding a small child who needed a family and who made us now a family. Tears for Emma's birth mother whose heart much ache more than i could ever imagine. Tears for a little girl who shyly looked at both of us with wonder and curiousity.
My sister and Robert stayed in the first room to get all of Emma's info, like feeding schedule and her likes/dislikes. I held Emma and went to sit in the other room, wanting to be alone with her. As i sat, i looked down at this little one and heard a little sigh as she held on to my finger and gently closed her eyes to sleep.
As she slept, i prayed.
I'm sure that many mothers pray over their children the first time they "meet". I wish that i had come up with something magnificent to say as i prayed, but i didn't. It was one of those prayers that starts with praying for Emma's birth mother's heart to praying for Emma and then to praying about us as parents; asking God to guide us, to protect Emma as she grows and to help Robert and i do the things that we needed to do as loving parents.
It is stunning what details i rememeber from that day. Me, who forgets birthdays, who forgets that i'm cooking something, who forgets the time, can remember so very much about this day. It is, without a doubt, the most important day of my life.
As i look back over the past three years, we've learned and changed so very much. Of course, Emma has physically grown (she can now turn on the room lights without her little stool as of yesterday!) but it's so much more than that. We've learned how little patience we really have, lol, but we've also learned that love, when given freely, can come back to you tenfold and grow. Through Emma, we've learned to remember the grandness of God's gifts and to take the time to see them again through Emma's eyes. How all rocks and bugs/crawly things are amazing and should be touched and investigated. How singing "Jesus wuffs da wittle cwhiden" is best sung at the top of your lungs at any time you want
A very thankful...
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 9:54 AM
Friday, July 9, 2010
I'm way behind in my "Notes About Emma". Most of these things are just for me to remember for her; stories to tell her later about the things she liked/disliked or did that i really want her to know about herself. It is true, time really does fly when your child is a little one...
~The choking incident: While on vacation in Clearwater, we decided to eat at this small beach place. Nothing fancy, we were just very hungry and Emma, well, would much have preferred to have been at the beach than sitting at a window looking at it. She asked me for a peppermint, so i dug one out of my bag. Robert and i continued to talk and plan for the time we would be there at the beach, and in just a few moments, he pointed at Emma and said the words that i never want to hear again: "She's choking!". I looked over at her (she was sitting next to me) and she turned towards me, her hand on her throat, her eyes wide with fear. Without thinking, i pushed her forward and sharply hit her in the middle of her back twice. Out pops the peppermint, and all of the pink lemonade she's been drinking all over the floor and me. Emma is okay, but the fear is still there and she wants me. She wants me to hold her, pat her back and tell her it's okay. As i do these things, holding her close, i cry and can't believe that this little peppermint that i gave her caused this. Emma, who only wants affection when she wants it, doesn't let go of me for almost 15 minutes until her mini-pizza shows up. She is fine, of course, and is ready for pizza. I, however, make a mental note to throw out any and all peppermints and tell Robert that she won't have another peppermint until she's 25 years old. (Yeah, i'm that kinda Mommy....sigh)
~Flowers: This little child of mine loves any and all flowers. She loves to pick them, smell them, touch them, carry them and put them in water. If it's a plant, especially a plant with flowers, it must be touched and smelled. All of this makes me smile as i love flowers, too.
~Clothes: Getting rid of the clothes that no longer fit Emma is difficult for me. Perhaps it's because she will more than likely be an only child. She's been a fantastic child to dress as she truly doesn't care what she wears, but bonus points for me if it has flowers, butterflies or bees on it. Every now and again, she'll insist on a "dwess", but other than that request, it's been very easy. Of course, as she gets older, lol, i'm sure that this will change and there will be confrontations on clothes.
~Language: Emma can really communicate with us. The hitting thing is finally over with. She's able to now say "I'm MAD!!" when she's angry and we've worked on faces so she can put emotions with them. I'm stunned sometimes when she comes up with words that i can't remember "telling" her. She is doing fantastic learning Spanish with me and she loves, loves, loves to sing. Veggie Tales is a favorite CD; she has memorized so many of the children bible songs and wants to sing them before bedtime. There is nothing sweeter than hearing Emma sing "God is so Good" as she colors or paints.
~School: As much as i hated school when i was little, Emma loves it more! She is excited about going to school, chats about her friends, her teacher and what they did in school. I would love to get her into a immersion school, but there isn't one in our area. I hope that this love of school continues....
~Big Girl Bed: During our summer vacation this year, Emma slept on a 'big girl bed'. No problems, no issues. In fact, she did so very well that i now know that i am the one that holds her back in certain thing. I want to keep her little, and i'm not doing my job by letting her to the next-step things.
~Affection: Emma loves to "hold you". I use to worry about this a great deal as she's wasn't overly affectionate. I would wonder why, is it me, whatever. I have come to learn that Emma needs her space and when she wants affection, she'll tell you. She's also very independent and wants to do things on her own. Good traits for a little girl to have, but not when you have a Mommy like me who wants to be Mommy. A few days ago, as Robert was leaving for work, Emma tells him to "Hwava gwood dway! Wufff yuuu!" So very sweet to hear.
~Pachi: What can i say? He's the best buddy, best pal, best sleeping elephant around. Emma is fine leaving him at home if we go somewhere, but when bedtime rolls around, Pachi must be there. If something makes her upset, Pachi is the confort elephant. Emma also loves her other stuffed animals, but Pachi is her 'go-to' friend. I love how she will hold him and pat him on his back, telling him "It's okay. I've got you!" just like i tell her when she's upset.
~Water/Beach: I do think that if it was possible, Emma would stay in water all day. She loves water. And hates to take a bath. Go figure...it must have something to do with soap. You could see her whole face light up when she was running on the beach towards the water. Swimming lessons are a must, and very soon. And of course, i'm glad that she loves the beach just as much as Robert and i do.
~Potty Training: A big "F" grade for me on this one. Really. I so fail at potty training. I know that she knows what to do. I've seen her do it many times. And yet, no gold star for me for consistency. Potty training is no fun and the biggest challenge i've ever come across. It was easier to get Robert to marry me than it is to get this child potty trained.
Days go by quickly for us, it seems. We've spent an amazing amount of time at the pool, lots of time in the yard watering plants and picking flowers and playing. I try, every day to remember that dishes can wait, laundry can wait, but a little girl who is growing up fast and wants you to play with her--can't wait. And so, i play.
It's a good place to be and i'm grateful.
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 3:39 AM
Thursday, July 8, 2010
To A Loving Parent
When the baby cries and you are tired, know that this time will pass - and when your child leaves for kindergarten you will have forgotten the difficult times.
Find, if you can, a few minutes each day just for you. Close your eyes, be still, rest. You deserve it.
Try to listen. Listen to the thoughts, the dreams, the anxieties, and the laughter your child wants to share with you.
Praise your child. Say "Wonderful!" "Thank you" and "Please". Say "I love you" and "What a good idea". Don't say "No" when you can say "Yes!". Help your child become a comfortable individual.
Don't say cruel or harmful things when you are tired or angry at something or someone else. Apologize to your child when you are wrong. Say "I'm sorry". It will teach them to do the same.
Each day find something loving and warm to say to your child - and to yourself. Never beat a child, it only teaches that violence is acceptable behavior. Count to ten instead; or a hundred if needed.
Find inexpensive things to do. A walk, a bus ride, collecting leaves or rocks. Sit together, learn things together. Laugh together. Encourage your child to question, to be curious.
Share things about yourself. Let your children know you as a person, not as a parent who never makes mistakes. Let them see that you are an individual too.
Introduce your child to books. Go to the library together. Read aloud together. Sing songs. Paint stones.
Try to set aside one mealtime each day when each of you - children and adults - can tell the family something that happened during their day. You will learn a lot from and about each other.
Let your child discover and learn independence by doing things alone; and to make mistakes. Mistakes do not mean failure. We all make mistakes; it is a necessary learning process. Let your child help in small ways. Bed making, dishes, setting the table, feeding pets. Don't set your standards too high; yet don't set them too low, either.
Remind yourself that in a few short years your little one will be grown and gone - to a life of his or her own. Treasure the time you have together. Write down funny things your child says and does. They will provide you with precious memories.
Be open to change and accept it. Change is inevitable. Remember that each day is a new beginning.
As best you can, help your children to grow up as happy individuals. It is a priceless legacy; one that will enable them to achieve adulthood knowing they are worthwhile and that life is good.
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 12:28 PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
...now then, who can't appreciate the beauty of God's creation when looking at a beautiful sunset? :)
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 7:58 AM
Monday, July 5, 2010
"The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 2:53 PM