Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing my last mass email update on the Burdick 7.  I will still write about our experiences and post pictures, but I will do so on our blog, burdicksneedaminivan.com.  I figure I have filled your inboxes enough already!  But please, whenever you are stuck in the tremendously long line at Dion’s drive thru, visit the blog, if for no other reason than for the pictures—we got ourselves some cute kiddos!  :)

So…where to begin recapping this past week?  Both Rob and I have decided there can be no other place to start but with praise.

All things considered (and there IS a lot to consider), we are feeling good and hopeful about how we are all starting to come together as a family.  Have I mentioned how much we appreciate your prayers???!!!  We have been so touched by people asking to help, wanting to know how they can pitch in.   But the truth is, most of you can’t come over and do my laundry or make a grocery run, or negotiate an argument between siblings or work on letters or clean toilets (lots of toilet cleaning going on here!!).  Only Rob and I and the kids can work these things out, together.  But you can pray, and quite obviously have been. Here’s the evidence of those prayers:   I have had patience when I was sure I was fresh out.  I have had compassion for all my kids, even the ones who certainly did not deserve it in the moment.  I have had energy for all the meals I’ve made (seriously, I have cooked more in the past two weeks than I did in the past two months!) and I’ve even squeezed in a little exercise.  The cooking alone thing must be an act of God, so please, don’t stop praying!  But seriously, we are praising Him who is sustaining us with strength we don’t possess.  Its still hard….but oh, God is good.

Speaking of cooking, we have found that if you offer salsa and/or barbeque sauce (spicier the better) with anything I make, there are few complaints.  That’s how I feel about ranch and guac, so I totally get it.  Also, sugary cereal  makes milk suddenly palatable, so yes, I am ruining them with Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms for breakfast. For all you purists out there, you are welcome to prepare for us, any morning of the week, a healthier breakfast!  :)  Its not that I’m “against” healthy breakfasts, I’m just more “pro” any extra minute of sleep I can steal.  I swear I do better with lunch and dinner.

A few little stories worth sharing…

Jake has continued to struggle the most with our new family dynamic.  However, after avery frank conversation with him about how his attitude is affecting the entire family, and after some prayer, and sharing of thoughts and feelings and Scripture, he has had a beautiful change of attitude.  We’re very proud of him. It has been amazing what a difference it has made in my attitude as well.  What is the saying?  A mom is only as happy as as her unhappiest child? (or something like that).  So true….
The kids are learning more English and as a result say things that are so funny.  Sayheinformed me she “No like Jacob!” when he tells her what to do.  Saminas said under his breath yesterday “No like Mom” when I insisted he finished his corn if he wanted dessert.  They know “Sorry!”.  They also know “No sorry!”.  Saminas sings to the radio, mimicking the songs line by line, exactly a line behind the actual song.  It’s SO cute…for about half a song!  :)
Our biggest hurdle thus far?  Figuring out who sits where in the Suburban!  UGH!  Its like watching a pack of wolves figure out the pecking order of the pack.  Of course, as lead dog, I get to over ride and re-arrange at will, like moving Saminas closer to me because he terrorizes his siblings in the third row.  But I seriously wonder if they would pee to mark their territory if I wasn’t around.  As the mom, I’m torn between wanting to be fair and rotate kids through the undesirable seats, or simply saying “This is where you sit, for the foreseeable future—live with it!”.  Any suggestions?  I’d love to hear how other families handle this crisis!  And for as much time as we spend in the car, it IS a crisis!  :)
I love how fearless the new kids are.  They learn to ride bikes so quickly, because they aren’t paranoid about falling.  They climb the equipment at the park with confidence.  They swim like they’ve been around water their whole life.  Its been refreshing to see their zest for life, minus the Nervous Nelly attitude that I’ve seen in my kids, and other kids I hang out with as well.    Its made me wonder about why that is… Have I coddled my kids?  Is it a cultural difference or a situational difference—are my new kids more brave because they’ve had to be, or because they’ve grown up thus far without helicopter parents?  I didn’t think I was a helicopter mom…but maybe I am, in comparison.  Are American parents doing their kids a disservice, parenting the way we do?  I think about the year it took Jacob as a 4 year old to put his face in the water….what could I learn from my new kids–who put their face in the water from day one?  What do I now protect my new children from?  Maybe they are in need of some “helicopter-ing”! I’ve not really worked it all out  yet, but these are the things I contemplate when scrubbing toilets…
It has been a good week.  We are finding our groove, and learning a LOT (never giveSaminas honey, under any circumstances).  We are laughing, if somewhat madly.  We are getting to know our kids and they are getting to know us.  We are struggling together and praying together and remembering its not about us, together.  I have fallen more in love with my husband than ever before, and I have turned to our Lord more often than ever.  This experience has constantly reminded me of the scene in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Lucy asks if Aslan is safe.  The answer?  ‘No,  he is not safe.  But he is good.”  That is our God, and that is our experience.  It has not been safe.  But it has been good.
Much love to you all,
Jana
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