I have written at least 100 posts in my head over the past few weeks. Only one is actually written. I'm just waiting for the right time to publish it. Most of them have never made it from my brain to the computer screen. Somehow it seems that by the time the day has finally ended and all the little people in our house are sound asleep in their beds, there is no energy or inspiration left in me to put into words all that is in my heart. This picture is a rare one. I can't think of any other time all four boys have crashed in the car at the same time, but it pretty much describes how I feel too at the end of most days! The only difference is that they can actually sleep. Pregnancy insomnia makes for many long and sleepless nights for me right now, and other than sometimes getting a few hours of sleep in the very early morning hours, sleep is hard for me to come by! Thankfully, nobody else in our house has this problem!
Right now, the long nights are most often followed by long days, full of energetic and active little boys who never seem to slow down. Despite being so tired, I am so thankful for this season in life and wouldn't trade the blessing of being able to stay home with these boys for anything. I absolutely love springtime, and the boys and I have been spending much of our days outside. We do school outside. We eat our meals outside. We go for wagon rides and bike rides. We play basketball and build forts in the trees. Thankfully, they love being outside, and the fresh air and sunshine have been so good and therapeutic for all of us, especially me! We've been doing lots of yard work, planting our spring flowers, and soaking up the sunny days! Earlier this week, we enjoyed a few days at the beach with my brother's family, and we had a blast! The weather was perfect, and it was so much fun seeing all the cousins playing together. Once we add Sophi and Baby #5 into the mix, there will be 10 kids under the age of 10 between our two families, including a little girl from China and one from Bulgaria! It is definitely a lively crew, but such a vivid picture of the Lord's faithfulness and mercy to our family!
I am so thankful that these days are part of the story the Lord is writing. Even though there is almost no time to actually sit down at my computer and type blogs and catch up on e-mails, life is full, and this houseful of little boys are teaching me to let go of the things that don't matter and enjoy the blessings of each day! I'm finding them everywhere if I will just take the time to open my eyes and look. Right now, I'm praying for eyes to see clearly in the midst of all the distractions and anxieties that like to creep in and steal the joy from these little moments in life.
Since we got back from Bulgaria, this little guy has shifted into a different gear. Barrett's little feet never stop moving, and most often he's running as fast as he can after his three older brothers. He is definitely one of the boys now, and I'm proud of Web, Palmer, and Hank for how they take care of him and let him tag along! I can't wait to see what he thinks about his little brother or sister, and my guess is that in many ways developmentally he and Sophi are going to be a lot like having twins! I'm pretty positive they are going to keep me on my toes and require a level of child-proofing that I have never even considered. This is one strong-willed little boy, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I just need to find a few moments to refresh myself on James Dobson's The Strong-Willed Child!
Unfortunately, my feet are not handling as well as I'd like them to the constant movement and non-stop activity of life with four boys on top of being almost 30 weeks pregnant. Here's a glimpse of what they look like by mid-morning. You can imagine what they look like by the end of the day! The only way to make them look not so swollen and purple is to elevate them above my heart, and there aren't many opportunities during the day for that to happen! That's one of the reasons I never sit down at the computer at nights. I haven't figured out a good way to type and prop them up at the same time!
I have pretty much accepted this part of pregnancy and know that soon enough this too shall pass. The weeks are flying by, and we can't wait to meet the newest little Blackmon that is partially responsible for my swollen feet and sleepless nights. Just this week, I was able to get a sneak peak of this little one's sweet face in a 4D ultrasound, and it was amazing to see how this baby already looks like a Blackmon! We love you so much, little one, and we promise to have your name picked out by the time you are born! It's one of the top things on mine and your Daddy's prayer list, and we're asking the Lord to show us just the right name for you!
On the adoption front, we had great news this week. We received our 1800 approval and our Article 5 letter from the Embassy in Bulgaria. These were the next steps that needed to happen before we begin the process of waiting for a judge and court date to be assigned. At this point, we have absolutely no idea when that will happen and how long it will take. We are patiently (and some days impatiently) waiting and trusting the Lord's perfect timing for bringing our little daughter home. I couldn't tell you whether or not I think it will be before or after we have this baby, and I, honestly, couldn't tell you at this point what I think would be best. I'm incredibly thankful for the peace the Lord has given me about this part of the story He is writing. I am trusting that He knows what is best for Sophi and for everybody in our family. I know it will be for our good and His glory, and I can rest in this confidence even when the doubts and fears start to sneak in.
As the days have passed since meeting Sophi, the Lord has continued to grow my love for her more and more. I cannot explain it, and I cannot adequately put it into words, other than to say that I am so excited about bringing her home and can't wait for the day that she is in my arms again! At night when I can't sleep, I often find myself looking back through the pictures and videos from our trip, and I catch myself thinking about her throughout the day, imagining and wondering what life will be like when she is finally home. I know that we will have MANY transitions and MANY hard days in front of us as she adjusts to life outside the orphanage that has been the only home she has ever known. I am praying even now for the ladies that care for her, praying for her protection, praying for the healing that her little heart and body desperately need, and praying that she will know how much she is loved and treasured. I know that she is safe in her Father's arms even as I long to scoop her up in my arms!
The days are full. My hands are full, and they are about to become even fuller. And my heart... well, I don't even know what it is going to look like and how it will feel to finally have all of us under one roof. As our family grows from six to eight in just a few short months, I know the energy, patience, and love that I will need to care for and nurture each of these little hearts can come from only one place. I am absolutely certain that there's not enough of any of these things in me, but I know the Source and my eyes are on Him. His grace is (and will be) enough for all that this life will bring. His faithfulness is (and will continue to be) my support and my strength. His love alone is what fills me up so that it can be poured out on these precious little lives that the Lord has entrusted into my care. I'm not exactly sure where this story is leading and what the next chapter will look like, but I love the One who is writing it, and I know that He is growing my faith along the journey.
Despite my full house, my full hands, and my full heart, there have definitely been times over the past few weeks when I have felt so completely empty, overwhelmed, helpless, and incapable of this task of mothering and unsure about all the changes coming our way. These have been the times that the Lord has reminded me that it is only in my emptiness that I can experience His fullness! This is a theme He has been working in my heart for the past several years, and I have no doubt that the Lord is stretching me right now and wants to take me to an even deeper place of trusting Him and resting in His loving and sovereign heart. My flesh fights so hard to be in control, to be sufficient in my own strength, and to prove to myself (and others) that I can do it. The problem is that all of my self-effort only leaves me exhausted, broken, and even more empty. (That's probably the reason I'm sitting here with a pulled muscle in my back and in pain when I walk!) During this season of waiting and stretching, the Lord is beckoning me to be still and quiet, and I can't say that I'm very good at either of those things. I have so much to learn and so far to go, and tonight I'm more thankful than ever for a patient and forgiving Father!
Here's a little quote from a book that I love. It sums up so much of what the Lord has been teaching me these past few weeks since we've been back home. I hope and pray that you find this same resting place! I know that it's a good place, and it's where I want to be! Thank you again for following along and praying for our family! We are so grateful and appreciative!
...Jesus is found in the resting place of letting the unknown parts of the script be firmly held in the hand of God. Jan Meyers, Listening to Love