Last year, Jan 22,2010, we arrived in the USA with our new children , Christina and Kolya. I have learned several things that I will share with anyone that may actually look at this. I have been urged by many friends to update this blog but to be honest I am just too busy. I also feel that sharing more intimate details of our lives this past year would be a violation of trust to Christina and Kolya. So even though we were very honest and truthful about many of the trials we went through in Odessa, Ukraine, once we set foot in the US we felt we should be careful of what we shared. So I did not share on the blog.
Here are some of the things that God has taught me over this year.
The biggest revelation is that love is a choice. Just as God chose to love me, when I was turned against Him, with no inclination toward a relationship with Him, God still chose to love me before I had any desire for Him. In fact He brought me to himself and through His great love changed my heart and my entire life.
The first 6 months were the hardest times I have ever faced. 2 kids that had been given no love and therefore no discipline, no guidelines for life and family, no idea of what was involved in being part of a family, well, it was tremendously hard. Especially as I homeschooled them, so it was 24/7. My loving husband came home for lunch to break up the days for us and when things got really tough he was only a phone call away. There were many times that he came running home to work through some of the difficult times. BUT never, never did I more deeply realize how it must have felt to Christ when He chose to die for the same people who spit, hit, ridiculed and ultimately put Him to death. Jesus chose to do this. Dan and I choose to love Kolya and Christina...no matter what. I think that it took a long time for the kids to realize that no matter what they did....they are Edwards and they were not going back to Ukraine!!
So I can now testify that we have 2 of the sweetest and caring children around. Are they perfect? Am I? We are still parenting through things but just in a normal way. No extreme behavioral problems. We know that never will the effects of being an orphan be totally erased but through God's loving Spirit, He is melting their harden hearts and teaching them to love and care for others.
Through all of the above, the kids have learned to read and write to the extent that their Russian is almost all gone. In fact they both read and write better in English than they ever did in Russian. That does not mean they are up to their age level in academics but we just keep plodding along. One of these days they will probably ease into public school but we want to make sure they are ready.
Below are pictures that show the past year. The highlight was on December 25, 2011 - all 6 of my children were under the same roof for the first time in history, ever! It is amazing that a year ago on Dec 25, 2010 the kids legally became ours in Odessa, Ukraine. Christmas is indeed a celebration of what God has done for us.