I told you they were silly. This is how Gretel sleeps most of the time. I can't believe it is comfortable. What is truly surprising about these pictures is not her ridiculous sleeping habits, but the fact that she is on a chair. In fact, I guarantee right now that my mother is probably calling my father to come and look at these pictures because seeing is the only way he will believe that we are allowing a dog on the furniture. I know I will never hear the end of it when they arrive in town on Monday.
This combined with what a mentioned earlier this week about G. and L.'s normal state of wearing fairly odd clothing combinations had made me think about how I've changed in the past 19 years. I will admit I was pretty uptight about certain things when M. was a baby, and for the next several babies as well. The things I was mostly concerned with were doing things 'right'. While doing things in the best way possible is not a bad thing, it can be when you are concerned more with what impression you are making on others rather than doing what is best for your family.
Our first dog, Simone, a big, black, hairy Bouvier des Flandres, was never, ever once allowed on the furniture. Because people don't allow dogs on furniture. Since plenty of people allow their dogs on their furniture, this wasn't exactly honest thinking. What I really was concerned about was how my home appeared, did it live up to other people's standards (whatever those were), how did it make me look.
How I appeared to other people played a large role in the decisions that I made. And having a nice home with nice things was important. Because of other people's opinions. Well, in the past six years, God has been working on me in this area. You just can't be a therapeutic parent and care overly for stuff. Well, you can, but it will make you crazy and not help your relationship with your child. Hurt children have a tendency to hurt things. Things break. Things go missing. Things become less-than-perfect looking. It happens, and not necessarily out of maliciousness, but for a host of other reasons, too numerous to go into right now.
I have learned that if I want my son to continue to heal, I have to let go of the stuff. I have to let go of worrying about the things instead of taking care of my son. I can't just say that people are more important than things, I have to act as though I really believe it. And I also have to let go of worrying about what other people think. How I need to parent my children may not look exactly like others think children should be parented.
And you know what? There is such joy and freedom in only doing what is really important. Life changingly important. God is the only one whom I need to answer to. Freedom and joy.
Besides, if the dog isn't allowed on the furniture, how could I take adorable pictures such as this? (That's Gretel's stuffed animal. Yes, we bought it for her. She loves them and it stops her from stealing the children's.)
And here's your bonus picture for making it this far. This is K. and P5, modelling their own version of twin-wear. We had just finished our history co-op and everyone was playing outside. Hard to get cuter than this, huh?
Continuing to advocate for the children in Bulgaria. Their files were sent back which means that they cannot be advocated for on Reese's Rainbow or have any funds donated towards their adoptions. It means they are essentially invisible and unwanted. It tells the government and the agencies that yes, indeed, their initial assumptions were correct. No one wants a child like these. They are not worth it.
But they are! They are created by God in His image and we are called to care for them. They are truly the least of these. I cannot let them go; I think about them in nearly every free moment that I have. I'm going to post one of their pictures here at the bottom of each of my posts each day. Would you join me in praying for each of these children? Pray that a family would come forward who is willing to adopt them. Love them. Pray that they will know they are not forgotten? There is still hope for these little ones as their files can be specially asked for, it just adds time to the process.
This is Penny. She is 12 years old and has had her file sent back not once, but twice. Two times not one family said that she was worth being adopted. Can you imagine? Look at those eyes! And imagine that curly hair grown out and in adorable pigtails! The reports say that she still smiles, even after the years of abuse and neglect that she has endured. Please, can't just one family give her something to really smile about? Can one family share their abundance with this child?