December 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

click image for Christmas pictures

click image for Christmas pictures

Christmas was a lot of fun this year as you can imagine!   Philip and Zach were completely content with their stockings and the tissue wrap inside the bags.   The actual gifts were just a bonus.

Christmas day was completely perfect.   It was great to have all 9 of us enjoying the day together while we ate all our traditional favorites and spent most of the day in our PJs.

Special for us this week has been the slow (but noticeable) transition from Philip calling us ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’ to ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mommies’.   While at Amani, he learned to call volunteers by the generic names of Uncle and Auntie.   We’ve not pushed the change, since we figured it will happen soon enough on its own.   And sure enough, it’s coming along!

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Christmas Eve night

December 25, 2008 at 12:55 am | Posted in devotional, family | 1 Comment

It’s late tonight…. too late, knowing that the boys will be up in only a few short hours.   But while Tague is flying a quick run to Fargo, I’ve been up getting the last minute Christmas things done.   All the kids are sleeping.   All the food as been prepared for tomorrow’s feast.   All the packages are wrapped and under the tree.   The tree had a ‘malfunction’ earlier in the week, but all the lights are now twinkling again.     And it’s quiet.   It’s the first real quiet I remember having in weeks.

I should be in bed.   I should be resting up for the big day tomorrow.   But I’m enjoying the quiet and stillness.

Even though the radio stations have been playing all our holiday favorites and the stores have been selling Christmas items since Halloween, this is the first ‘Christmas’ I’ve felt and I’m enjoying it.

To think, this year we got 2 new children – what spectacular gifts!   They are profoundly undeserved.   We have no rights to these children by blood.   We have no rational reason to have them.  But God reached across the globe and gave us two little boys, specifically meant for this family and He did it by His great sovereign design.

As I’m overwhelmed physically and emotionally from day to day, I just need to take a few minutes to review again what He’s done to create a family relationship where none existed before.      It is stunning in every category.

We are grateful for these precious, new babies sleeping in their beds just down the hall.   And grateful still more for THE baby that came from across all creation to be part mankind to create relationship where none existed before.

Enjoy the celebration tomorrow.    Reveiw His faithfulness and worship!

paradox

December 22, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Posted in family | 2 Comments
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click images for more pics

click image for more pics

Shoving a kid around in a box on the floor for a while is fun and it produces great giggles!     But it’s also exhausting to be hunched over pushing and running.    We’re finding that this baby work is the same — both fun and exhausting.

It’s a mix.   We’re blown away that they are even here.   We’re blown away that they are ours.    And at the same time, we’re blown away by the sheer work load.

Christmas is almost here!  We hope you have the best Christmas ever and that you enjoy it fully!

As of mid December….

December 11, 2008 at 11:02 pm | Posted in adoption process | 2 Comments
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high chair time

high chair time

We’ve been home two weeks!    We’re still taking everything very slowly and are mostly hanging out at home, playing with blocks and singing “Old McDonald” a lot.   Zach has been on several different meds for several different ailments but he seems to be improving.   None of his illnesses have affected his personality and he continues to amuse us regularly with his funny faces and his billy-goat laugh!   (Good thing he’s cute because the constant diarrhea isn’t very endearing.)

Philip is opening up and is more verbal.    Playing with daddy and getting tickled and having books read to him create easy times for him to talk.    But talking comes harder when he really needs something; he has a pretty tough time just straight up asking for it even though he’s verbally capable of it.   We’re encouraging him to ‘use his words’ and he’s making an effort.     Right now it’s all about bonding and our part is to continue to build lots of trust.    (by the way, this takes more patience than we collectively have…… tough sledding sometimes)

Lewis (our dog) has been the cause of much emotional distress around here for Philip also.    So, Lewis has been banished to the mud room for the better part of the fortnight.    Little by little we bring him out for short visits and for continued gentle introductions.     Slowly, the two of them are becoming friends.   We did have a moment of progress today when Philip actually let Lewis lick peanut butter off his fingers….. so there IS great hope!

making friends with Jif

making friends

Zach has no fear and eagerly pokes Lewis in the eye or pulls his long whiskers at every opportunity – which Lewis, to his great credit, patiently endures.

Tague and I are, frankly, tired and we’ve been taking turns being sick since we got home.    We could use your prayers on those fronts.

We’re amazed at how much the boys have learned in such a short time.    How they know their way around the house – how they get the drill of bedtime – how they willingly sit in car seats, all bundled up in their winter gear – how they respond to each other and to us.    Their learning curve is incredibly high right now and they are impressively assimilating to being Hardings.   (I wonder if our learning curve is as impressive?)

Saw this quote the other day and have to keep preaching it to myself:

“measure progress by the extended video, not the snapshot.”

That’s the plan right now…… the long term view.

some cute stuff

December 3, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Posted in family | 2 Comments
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Baby Z's fish lips

Baby Z's fish lips

Viking Philip

Viking Philip

The new “normal”

December 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Posted in adoption process | 1 Comment
Tags: ,

we're home!

we're home!

Please forgive us for not posting earlier, but with Thanksgiving, jet lag, a head cold, vertigo, short nights of sleep, etc., it has taken us a while to get back to the blog.

Let’s rewind a few days and get everyone up to date…

When we planned this trip to Uganda, we tried to leave enough “margin” in our schedule to allow for contingencies, but at the same time we didn’t want to spend too much extra time in-country so as to help control costs etc.  We settled on a departure date of Nov. 25th which would put us landing in Minneapolis just after noon on the 26th (the day before Thanksgiving).   When we left Amani for the last time and stayed at the mission house, we still had not secured the visas on the boys’ passports.  As it turned out, we got their visas at 3 P.M. on the 25th and were able to catch our scheduled evening flight just 8 hours later!  Never doubting God’s plan (either as “scheduled” or a “delay”), we had a quiet confidence that we were exactly where He wanted us.

The 2 flights home were…well, long, with some fitful sleeping by both boys, a little moaning by Philip and some screaming by Zachery to boot.  We were all relieved to finally land in MSP and were met by the rest of our 7 kids, Lisa’s parents and a few friends.  We’ve collapsed at home for a few days and are trying to establish and adjust to our new “normal”.  We have even successfully run a couple short errands with the boys!

Our new “normal” includes going to bed way early to be ready for early get ups with one or the other of the boys (they like to alternate getting up at 4:45 AM!).  It also includes finding strategies to structure the day in ways that keep the boys on a schedule and gives us a couple of “islands” of free time to be together.

In some ways, we’ve come to the end of this journey.   The travel and the international paperwork are complete and the boys are finally in our home.   But in another way, we are just at the beginning.    Looking ahead to the years of parenting we feel rightly overwhelmed.   But if we’ve learned anything from the last year, it is that this effort was not our bright idea or some trendy ‘do-gooder’ plan.    Years ago, God began changing our affections and drawing us towards this journey.    He birthed this longing in our hearts and then gave us the direction, the confidence and the strong support of others in His body to enable us to move forward.    He has done this.   He chose these two boys for our family.   He put the travel details, the financial details, the immigration details and all the other details together.    He gave us favor at every turn.

So – in a world where there are no guarantees for the future, this much IS guaranteed –  He is incredibly faithful and we’re excited to watch the rest of the story unfold!    Pray for some good sleep and for the continuing adjustment we’re all going through.

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