March 4, 2011

Where has the time gone.....

I never thought I would be one of those adoptive blogging parents that would slack off from keeping everyone updated once we returned home.  But, here I am eating my words!

We arrived home on November 3 as a family of 6!  Its still hard to believe all that took place from the day we first hosted Stephanie and Lizzie in December 2009.  With no desire to adopt and no money, we never thought we'd walk down that road!  Plus, all the comments about disturbing the birth order really had me freaked out. Even though I had two precious friends (Stephanee and Camille) that had gone before me, I just knew that older child adoption was NOT for me!  But, here we come down the escalator in the Austin airport with four girls in tow and in that mix - a teenager!

I will be completely honest and will not sugar-coat anything.  The first couple of months were VERY tough.  Lots of tears, lots of confusion, lots of stress, lots of fighting, lots of doubts, but LOTS OF PRAYING!  That is the only thing that got us through those months.  My poor friends probably thought I had fallen off the deep end.  There were days when I questioned what we had done bringing these girls to America.  What had I done to my existing family?  Had I ruined the lives of Molly and Madeline forever?  What had we done to our marriage?  But, I kept being encouraged by my sweet friends, Stephanee, Camille, Hollie, Colleen, Lynne, Cindy and many more that have gone before me with teenagers.  I received great advice from Cindy one evening over dinner.  She said "Don't assume the worse in her.  Don't assume she is doing anything bad.  Let her live a little.  Trust God with her life."  I chewed on those words for days.  And, that is exactly what I have done - put my trust in OUR Heavenly Father - not trusting in my ability to parent a teenager. 

We have continued to homeschool and that has been another challenge.  Its like teaching three 1st graders to read.  Right when I was at the end of my rope, my precious Molly (diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder and not able to read) picks up "Cat and the Hat" and starts reading - ON HER OWN!  God knew I was at a breaking point and for whatever reason, He chose to extent His grace and mercy to me that day and perform a miracle!  Molly loves to read and I catch her reading to her two older sisters quite often!  School is going well and with the help of the owner of My Father's World and his wonderful advice, we are on the road to a great school year!  The best is hearing my girls tell Bible Stories to one another and being able to answer questions from the Shorter Catechism!  I stand in awe at the work the Lord is doing in their lives!

Well, the big news of the year so far is - WE ARE NOW FLORIDIANS!  It has been a big desire of ours to  move to Florida.  We were here in the summer of 2009 and God shut the doors of that business opportunity.  We have prayed for years that God would give us the desire of our hearts and move us there and we had to fully trust in His timing.  When we returned from Ukraine, a series of events occurred that allowed Craig to sell his business to our dear friends.  It was an amazing opportunity for the two of them and we are grateful that God provided that relationship.  After selling his firm, he made a call to a friend in South Florida to notify him of the sale of his business.  The friend says, "Funny that you should call today.  I came in on Saturday to get your resume.  I need to move back up north to take care of my daughter and her son.  You are the only one for my job."  And, less than a month later, on January 10th, we loaded a Penske and moved to Key Largo, Florida! 

Key Largo is wonderful!  We have met some amazing homeschool families and attend the same church we did in 2009.  We weren't sure where we would go to church and visited several before sensing that God was leading us back to Redlands Community.  We love it!  Its a Presbyterian church and is so focused on community and missions as well as disciplining the flock.  Its a GREAT balance and we feel so at home there.  We have already met some amazing friends at RCC and look forward to how God will use us to serve Him there in that congregation and in our community.

I've attached some photos of our life in the Keys.  We are so blessed to be here and there are days when we wake up pinching ourselves that God gave us the desire of our hearts!  He is simply amazing!

We look forward to our journey here and welcome all of you to come visit us!  We have our first set of visitors next week as Craig's parents will be coming for his birthday!  My  mom is coming the first part of April for Madeline's birthday and to watch me run in the 7 Mile Bridge Run in Marathon, Florida. 

Things to pray for:
My mom desperately wants to be close to us.  Please pray that her house sells and that she can find a job in South Florida.  Pray that God would comfort her during her time away from us.  Its been hard on her emotionally and physically to be away from her grandbabies!

Craig's work at Community Bank.  This is a praise! Craig is so busy meeting with clients.  Craig is so gifted when it comes to Financial Planning and he is finally getting to really use this talents!

Homeschool for us.  We are still working on getting into a set curriculum for the girls.  Pray that we will find what works for all of us.  Pray for patience and endurance for me!  Praise that we have met a huge community of homeschool families in the Keys - who knew!

Blessings to all of you!!!!!

The Hills from Florida :-)