Monday, September 15, 2014

Four months home: Meet Brody Lawrence!

Four months ago TODAY we flew out of Tri Cities airport to bring our second son home.  The excitement and anticipation of that day are still fresh in my mind.  Every. Single. Day. I miss Hong Kong.  I can hardly explain it.  It brings tears to my eyes now.  Our son's homeland is a beautiful place and I long for our family's return there. 

By this point, many of you have met our Brody Lawrence.  Many of you have seen him blossom, learn, explore, and yes!! even heard him speak!  But.....some of you have not met Brody and so today I want to share a little about our boy's fantastic personality. 

Brody Lawrence is energetic, funny, and sweet.  He is a survivor.  He is tender to those he cares for.  He SO wants to make others laugh.  He ADORES his older brother and sister!  Brody enjoys playing with his baby doll, trains, sandbox, or anything outside.  When Brody wakes up in the morning, he first asks for food and then his shoes!  He does not want to be left behind but wants to be ready to go anywhere that everyone else is going!  Since his siblings have started school, Brody has become good friends with our dear neighbor Margie.  Each day Margie comes to visit Brody and when it is time for her to head home, Brody takes Margie's hand and walks her home (or should I say pulls her home!....He walks a lot faster than Margie!).  Brody enjoys going to church.....of course playing on the church's playground is a huge bonus!  Brody willingly gives hugs and kisses to his family and close friends.  He has learned to smile (albeit crooked....which is absolutely precious in our eyes!) and give thumbs-up like his brother and sister.  Brody is signing many words.  Even more amazing, he is saying many words such as Momma, Daddy, Bubba, Brook-hen(lyn) , bye, all done, go score, dog, outside, amen, and love you.  Brody sleeps in his toddler bed soundly and enjoys sharing a room with his big brother.  Brody loves cookies, candy or any sweets.  Brody is an observer with an excellent memory.  Brody is ours and we are his.:)

Four months home.  We are looking forward to six months home.  Six months is when we will finalize our adoption at our local courthouse and Brody will officially become a US citizen.  Six months home and Brody's case will be closed in Hong Kong.  Six months home and we can show Brody's picture to anyone we choose.  Six months home and we will celebrate even bigger than we do each and every day.

Four months home and our story is just beginning. 

Oh be careful little mouth what you say!

August, 2014:
So tonight was the first time since Brody has been home that I have audibly heard remarks regarding his different appearance.  To hear these words did not hurt me (and of course Brody didn't hear them!) but they did surprise me.  It was not the words that surprised me (I actually thought I would hear comments sooner than this!) but the one who said these words.  It was a young child at a playground.  A child.  He didn't just notice that our boy looks different, he commented on his race, and pointed out the other "Chinese" girl at the playground.  His conversation went on and on about the two Chinese children.  Let me tell you, it was not nice words! 

So, it got me thinking.  How does one this young know these words and thoughts?  What caused him to point out their differences and repeatedly "harass" the two little ones about their differences?  I would guess that his words and thoughts come from an adult influence.  I have been thinking a lot about the words I say around my children.  When I am with my children, I am completely comfortable and let me guard down.  I probably share too many thoughts and they can easily become their thoughts.  Let's be aware of our words to one another.  Words can start an untamed fire or provide a soothing balm. 

What have the Hurleys been up to???

September 1, 2014: the rare event someone is following along on this might wonder where are the Hurleys?  What are they up to?  (I am sure my coworkers have wondered.  I won't mention how long I've been on "leave".)  Hmmmmm....let's see. We have been busy: establishing routines, making memories as a family of 5, getting to know each other, medical appointments, therapy at home, teaching, learning, and lots of time together.  All this added to our "normal" responsibilities such as caring for a home, tending to three children's needs, teaching, coaching, and ministering.  It is probably the "normal" activities that have been the most difficult for us, because nothing is normal anymore.  At times, we crave normal and have even but caught trying to live "normal" but are reminded that none of this is conventional and God does not call us to comfy, normal, easy lives.

According to Matthew 16:24,  Jesus said to his disciples (US!), "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." (NLT)  Our entire adoption journey we have been aware of God molding us, shaping us, and preparing us.  This does not stop once our son came home.  Daily I feel as if the Lord is scouring me, shaving off the selfish in me, and teaching me about grace, love, and mercy.  Is it painful?  Absolutely!  He is pruning me for new growth and though it hurts now and is not easy to understand, I am fully aware that He is holding me.  My prayer has been that we (the Hurleys) will learn to love like Christ. 
"Love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  Love bears ALL things, hopes all things, ENDURES all things.  Love NEVER ends."  Love like Christ.  I do not even come CLOSE to loving like HIM and yet I am thankful HE is willing to teach me, show me, mold me, and most definitely forgive me where I fail. 

So what have we been up to?  Living, learning, growing, and loving.  Just like you.....these things are not always easy but they are SO worthwhile.