Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Birthday Home

It has been our amazing privilege to celebrate the life of Bogdan Nikolai Lakes, today! Our little guy turned four-years-old and celebrated his first birthday with us, his forever family. 
Our Serb came from a chain-smoking home. Wonder if that crayon is filtered? :)

 I struggled with a migraine off and on all day and late this morning I was laying on my bed when he sought me out to snuggle with me. We made faces for the camera.

And then he snuggled in and dozed off in my arms, which was a gift to me. 

During his fifteen-minute nap, I found myself praying for his birth mama, who was surely thinking of him on this day. It's complicated, my emotion for this woman who gave him life and then gave him up, but I hope she knows that he is well-loved and that we are grateful he is ours. 

This afternoon, it was off to a favorite park for cake and ice cream, balloons, and a rousing family game of hide and seek. Clearly the cake was the biggest hit with the birthday boy.
Not a fan of the party hat idea, so his brother, Zak, had two.

"I don't need no stinkin' spoon!"

 I cannot believe how very much we adore this kid! He fits so well in this family. Recently, he learned how to work the crowd at the dinner table and he loves all the attention!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Tattoo

There was a time when I was blissfully unaware of the misery that encompasses the life of a child who has no one. I was completely ignorant of the staggering statistics...both of the sheer numbers relating to orphans and those regarding their likely futures. I didn't even know enough to find out. Orphans and their plight just weren't on my radar. 

Now, however, they fill my prayers and my thoughts. I have a passion to make others aware in hopes of bringing change. I want to see less orphans in the world. I want to see more adoptive families, more support for families in extreme poverty that often create orphans, more funding for better orphanages, more acceptance for children with special needs, more child sponsors...just more. 

For about a year, I've wanted something tangible that visibly identifies my passion. I want to invite discussion, to open the door to share my heart. I wanted something to draw those of like minds to myself when I'm going about my daily life.

So I did what any forty-something-year-old mother of eight would do in this situation and got a tattoo. 

Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us. James 1:27 (NLT)
My one and only sister was good-naturedly horrified at my decision. This is the texting exchange we had before I had it done: 
Me: Not getting a tramp stamp, btw. Getting James 1:27 along the side of my wrist. ;)
Tonya: That's a long verse. What version?
Me: Just the reference, silly! Hahahaha!
Tonya: Oh! LOL!

Still makes me chuckle. 

I, like many other Christians, wasted a lot of years worrying about my morality and focusing on my behavior, trying so hard to look religious without actually practicing true religion. This is a reminder to me of what really matters, to focus my energy toward loving the unloved. 

I was admonished by several people that, "It's permanent," but actually, it's not. This life is not forever. We are given just a short time on this earth to accomplish that for which we were put here. I want to live my life with eternity on my mind. I want the reminder on my wrist that this is not all there is. One day, this body will die and my Bible tells me that I will be given a new one. This tattoo will die with the old one, but that which is written on my heart will not.

Of course, I could follow my friend, Bruce's advice and ensure that the tattoo lives on, as well. 

Ew. Maybe not.