Saturday, August 17, 2013

One Week Home ... A New Normal

One week home ... we are working on finding our new normal. We came home to the most amazing friends! There were friends at the airport to welcome us home ... friends at our home when we arrived to hug us and let us know how much we had been missed. Our home had been cleaned {it took me a day or two to figure out there was no way our cats did not shed the whole month we were gone}, our kitchen had been stocked, there were welcome home signs and sweet notes everywhere in our house. We have never felt so loved!

Another sweet friend set up meals for us ... we have been enjoying visiting with friends when they come with dinner! Last night our wonderful friends brought over a huge pizza from a local eaterie. How nice to just sit and enjoy fellowship over delicious food. {Oh how we have missed American pizza.}

And so, now we begin to settle into our "new normal" ... Hope is jumping right back into relationships with friends she met during winter hosting. There have been games of hide-and-go-seek, tag, lots of playing around with my camera {Hope loves photography - one of the pics she snapped below}, and decorating her room with lots of pictures of friends and her favorite clippings from magazines. In so many ways, Hope is just like any other teenage girl - she loves Justin Bieber, One Direction, the Disney Channel, cheeseburgers, pizza, and Coca Cola. We are so blessed to have some very close friends who welcome her with open arms and love her like Jesus loved us. They treat her as if she was always a part of our family and this is what she needs - we see her after these interactions and she is just beaming.

We have one more week of just extra-curricular activities before we start back to school ... so glad we get a few more days to adjust back to the time zone here. All three girls are super excited about dance beginning next week ... Hope is so happy to be back in ballet class.

I wish it was the end of our adoption journey ... it is not. Hope and I must travel back to Latvia two more times. Once around November for a formal FINAL adoption hearing and then again a month later to finalize all of the US Embassy requirements. We have a little more fundraising to do but, for now, we are taking a short break from all that craziness as we enjoy life together as a family - Kramer Party of Five Six!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In The Beauty There is Brokeness

There is so much beauty here in Latvia - it has a gorgeous old world feel! So many times walking the streets or traveling by train I have had to remind myself this is real - not a movie set or a "pretend" city street in Epcot. {Picture above the fam in the Baltic - we were blessed to reunite yesterday with Hope's chaperone from winter hosting, Dace. She is such a sweet lady and we loved spending time with her and her son.}

Yet, I worry, as we prepare to come home, that those back stateside who have seen all of our gorgeous pictures assume our adoption trip has been rainbows and butterflies ... it has not! While our pictures would tell one story our hearts would tell another.

There have been hard, hard days ... ones where we saw ourselves packing our bags and coming home immediately ending this journey we have been on. I have been so thankful for all those back home praying for us each and every day. For those who have Skyped, FaceTimed, sent text messages or emails supporting us from afar. Surrounded by just our immediate family and a few adoptive friends who have come and gone during our stay we have felt very alone. Homesickness set in hard over two weeks ago ... only through our faith in Jesus have we continued to move forward. Some days I know I just go through the motions until I can mark one more day off of the calendar.

I feel like for the last month we have been in this state of limbo ... just biding our time until we can return home and begin to truly live our new life with a new daughter.

And, while we have been suffering from being homesick and dealing with hard issues - our adoptive daughter has been grieving her life and friends she will leave behind. Can you imagine at 15 being uprooted from everything you have known all your life to move halfway across the world and begin anew - with a new language, a new family, and new friends? It takes a very brave child to take that step ...