This was taken mothers day of this year:) Bentley and Evan are my super heroes and Lindsey and Marina are my damsels in distress:) The little ones arrived on April 10th and it has been crazy since that day. They are beautiful and funny and annoying and crazy....usually before breakfast. One is over the top medicated and we are working hard to bring that down to a minimum if not completely eliminate it from the existance plan. I do not like to think that a 2 1/2 year old was diagnosed with ADD and never given the chance to heal before the symptoms became masked behind amphetamines and heart medication (the adderall is a jack up med and the other two are a bring ya down med--hoping to break even so focus will come through...it's a sad commentary on how the government is involved in fixing "their" kids and someone should spend some jail time for it in my opinion considering that kids age and circumstances.) The chaos is real and the hurt runs deep for both of them. Bentley can't walk by Marina without smacking her but his apologies are so sweet--it is a crummy cycle and she no longer accepts his apologies. Lindsey and Evan annoy the crap out of each other.... on purpose. I assume jealousy? Or maybe she is looking for a new way to manipulate her circumstances. I am astounded at how these two precious children have learned to manipulate their world like professionals. And every bit of it is based in survival instincts. It will take time to build trust and create a safe haven. There are no short cuts for that. Marina gets to go to camp next week for 5 days at a special needs camp and she is sooo excited! I saw the pictures and it is too bad I can't go:) It looks wonderful! Evan will go to camp in late July and he is starting to look forward to it once I convinced him people don't spend that kind of money on "punishment"--He thought I was sending him away! I am sending him to save his sanity:) We spend a great deal of time at Lantern Ridge pool and Evan and Marina are on the swim team there. The little ones LOVE the little pool while the older ones practice twice a day so most days are taken up with that. For now it is the best thing we could have done to keep busy and balanced for now. Bentley will attend child development center in the fall and Lindsey will attend school with the other two as she enters as a kindergardener. I look at their coloring and their art work and they are definitely delayed. Bentley falls down constantly and I really think his eye hand coordination never had a chance to take root--he never bonded with anyone as a baby when developing that black and white initial motion and facial recongnition since he spent most days in a baby seat. I won't go into much more of their back ground or their current behaviors because that is not what defines them. Tomorrow defines them. Hope defines them. A chance to believe and grow and live and succeed defines them. Marina was no picnic every day after her arrival either. For that matter Evan has had bad days. And we won't even talk about mine:) The point is, life is messy and hard. I have struggled with being overwhelmed with this and with what some would define as post adoption depression. Some days if I get the dishwasher emptied I am feeling successful! Other days are easier. Most days I referee my little heart out trying to put out fires I can't just let burn out--the rage is too intense. The fact that there is a respite of naptime each day is a flat out gift from God. And I do love them. My heart hurts for them when I watch them have no idea about going to the movie theater or having a milk shake.. We are settling in and we also have a long way to go. Maybe the rest of our lives. Adoption support groups is mandatory when I find one. Mental re-evaluations are mandatory. Therapy for all of us will be mandatory as a family. Play therapy is on the horizon. Scott is helping me every one of his waking moments but he has long 4 day work weeks so I am solo for several days. We parent different and each kid needs different parenting styles so we have to work through that as well. Following the voice of God is not for the ones looking for an easy life. People in general are an inconvenience when they don't "act right" or exist in the same circle of behavior as we would like. That is often the biggest problem in the life of most "christians" because helping others is without question "inconvenient". But the rewards are great! In big ways and in small ways... these little lives will be changed forever and they WILL have a chance. Just look at Marina in 3 and a half years....she is a success at school and has more friends than I will probably ever have. She can swim like a fish and she is funny...and annoying. She still can't talk worth a hoot but we figure it out most of the time. Right now she is sitting at my feet giggling her silly head off trying to get my attention....all of which beats sitting medicated and drooling in the corner of an adult mental institution in a war torn country right now. Remember the other path she was on?That was her reality until God broke my heart for what breaks His. I was on a different path along time ago too. God adopted me and stuck with me when I was messy. He is still sticking with me...and I still need Him...Every day of my life. In exchange I get bigger dreams and wilder fields of living and the colors are brighter and we always 4 wheel every where we go:() I am still messy but in a good way. I still get to be me, but by sticking within His set of boundaries, I get to live free....like I am trying to teach my little ones. Live by the rules of the House. Enjoy life to the fullest. I will honestly say, it is not easy, but it is exciting and worth it. I do NOT have the answers to every question...even the ones like why is the sky grey? why is it raining? what is rain? did you know it is raining mom? is it going to rain today later? is it going to rain tomorrow? are we going to walmart? Coz we need an umbrella:) mama, can I stay here with you? can I stay forever? How about 8 years? Well, some questions I have the answer to. Yes, you can stay here forever, even for 8 years:) Take a chance on something big before you lose that window. Life is a one time offer, use it well.