Monday, May 31, 2010

Holy Moly

Picture taken by Averi Blackmon,

The last 6 months have been wonderful, hard, fun and exhausting. Getting to know our daughter is something that we work at everyday. With our bio kiddos, we were able to watch them grow and develop their personalities and habits since birth. With Grace, we were thrown into a 2 1/2 year old who is very independent and some times down right ornery. Alright, most of the time down right ornery.

On several occasions, Ryan and I have been taken by surprise. We go about our daily habits, rituals, schedules then bam! we realize there is a little brown girl living in our house. It is a surprise that fills me with God's love and so much pride. I am proud of Grace and how far she has come since we got her in late November. I am proud of her bond with us and how she is a perfect fit into our family. I am so thankful that God picked her to be a Smith because it seems like she was made for us. Well, I know she was made specifically for us.

Tonight while eating dinner, Ryan said "don't you just want to know what she is thinking" as Grace sat there finishing her "izza" in her polka-dot swimsuit. Yes, I do. I want to know what she is thinking as these crazy white people keep having her try new things, love on her and take her places. Then there is the serious part of that question: I want to know if she remembers the orphanage. I want to know if she remembers her friends and caregivers. I want to know if she misses that piece of her life.

I hope she does. I hope that she carries that piece with her always. That piece is such an important part of who she is and hopefully where she will go. That piece is how she got to us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

how many?

Tomorrow we will have been a family of five for six months. It is so hard to believe that that amount of time has passed. Then on the other hand it feels like Grace has always been a part of our family.

Our social worker told us in March that the amount of time Grace will need to get settled into our family is the number of months she was without us, that many weeks. So she was without us 31 months of her little life. Currently, we are in week 26. So that means in just 5 weeks she will be/feel completely a part of us.

In these last 6 months, she has come far. Her language is rocking along, her obsession with Papa is still strong (see previous post), her molluscum is just about gone, and her love for her yaya and dider (Can & Kay) is shown every day.

She is curious and excited to try new things, has decided she doesn't like strawberries, is playing more independently in her room, gives hugs and kisses whenever a family member departs, and says "bye" is a long drawn out southern accent.

She still will take food off of your plate without asking, she is obsessed with everything being "mine" and she still poops in her pants. Potty training is one of the things on the list that I am hoping comes in the next 5 weeks.

She loves to run errands and get out about town. She always wants "out" when we park the car. Her hair is growing into a little fro. She loves to get dressed in the morning and then at night in her pjs. She still is passionate about shoes. We have progressed from our lovely furry pink and yellow croc boots to flip flops and shoes with sparkles.

Lastly, her little cheek won't stay in her suit. All day we have fought this battle. It falls out, mama puts it back in. I decided to give up and just let it all hang out. It's kinda cute.

This mornings comment

This morning I took the big kids to school and left Grace here with Ryan. After I dropped them off, I came right back home. I walked in and Grace said "mama, out, me stay with papa." This girl loves her papa...

Monday, May 24, 2010


There are several families in Rwanda right now picking up their precious children. Check out their journeys and pray for them!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Today, at 6:15 pm, Ryan and I have been married for 12 years. This August we will have been together for 18 years. We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16. It was the first week of high school for me and he was a junior. Seems like a lifetime ago. I have lived more with him than without him at this point. Crazy to think about that. We have definitely had our ups and downs but after 12 years we seemed to have figured it out. Here to as Cannon would say, 35,000, more! Love ya babe!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It has begun...

Well, after much begging, Ryan and I finally caved and let the kids get into the pool today. The water is a warm 68 degrees and the kids took their first plunge at 9:45 this morning. Brrrr is all I have to say.

This was Grace's first time swimming or in a pool (at least we don't think the orphanage was taking field trips to the local pool in Kigali). She was very cautious at first and only stayed on the steps. I am sure part of it had to do with the water being so dang cold. She screamed in delight when splashed and she loved to throw things in the pool. She like wearing the masks/goggles too. The big kids had them on and her favorite thing to do is "natch" (match). About 20 minutes in Kay had her in the shallow end and Grace clung to her as they dipped in and out of the water. I have a feeling once the temperature rises she will really enjoy the pool. This is a good thing because during the summer Kay & Can are in the pool everyday, usually several times a day. Bring on summer, the Smith's are ready!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A lot of things going on around, softball, picnics, teeth loss, matching, crazy ok weather. A lot of things going on in my head and my heart. Fun times :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Oh my Lord in heaven...we are in the throws of toddlerhood. My older children being 6 and almost 9, I had forgotten about this little "stage" that we are now so graciously in. I am not sure if Grace had a terrible 2 stage. Probably the shock of white people taking her to a new home filled with new people, smells, food, etc, curbed anything she would have been going through.

Well, we are now entering the terrible 3 stage fo sho. For the last couple of weeks, Grace's favorite thing to do is what I tell her not to do. She has been ornerier (sp?) than she has ever been and is more attached to her Papa than previously (if that even seems possible)! She wails whenever separated from her precious Papa. Yes, I used the word "wails."

My sweet little girl that I worked so hard to bring home prefers everyone except for me. This will pass I am sure but it sure does tug on a mama's heart. I am sure it has something to do with the fact that I am the disciplinarian since her Papa is more precious than gold or silver. I have never had this role before and I am not sure that I like it!

God, grant me the patience and strength to be the parent I need to be when Grace misbehaves then looks at me and laughs....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I am sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. My children are having a grand time riding bikes, jump roping, and blowing bubbles. Two children look like me. One child has a much better tan than me. Two children are my flesh and blood. One child is a product of my faith.

Summer is almost here and we are in our normal routine. Warm weather beckons us outside and encourages us to be more active. Winter is long gone and so is the newness of our recent journey. Yesterday I posted a blog that I encouraged you to read. This young lady is in a country far away. She is writing about experiences that she is having in Rwanda. Her words took me back to that time, that place. She slapped me in the face with the reality.

127 children are living in the Home of Hope. 127 children don't have a family. Now, some of those children will soon have families as there are several dossiers waiting to be matched. But what about the children that won't have families...ever. What will their story be?

As we live our day to day lives, I often am taken back inside those blue metal gates. Wondering what I can do. Wondering what God is asking me to do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another look

Here is another look into the orphanage in Rwanda. Take a few minutes, read the post, pray for these kids.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grace, friends and Elno

Grace's first ever birthday party was a huge success! She absolutely loved having Elmo everywhere (balloons, cake, tablecloth). Her face just light up when she saw him all over. Friends and family came to love on Grace and she loved it. It didn't take her long to figure out how the presents worked. She would take each piece of tissue out of the bag. Then she would open the card and "read" it. It was very sweet. She still says she is 2 when you ask her how old she...a definite work in progress :).