Family at Large

Make a Way

A year ago today, we arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria to bring Nick and Olivia home.  We were filled with the joy of the fulfillment of a dream, knowing that God had lead us along a winding road to this time and place.  We had no way of knowing the heartbreak and difficulty that this road would bring on the other side.  The stress of those two weeks was so great that we feared for my health in a very real way.  We questioned our decision many times.  Could we meet their needs?  What were we bringing home to our other children?  They had never experienced anything like these kids; knew nothing of the things that their new siblings had experienced before coming home. 

©Nissa GadboisSt. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church – Sofia, Bulgaria

Through the extreme anxiety, we prayed.  We prayed constantly and never as fervently as we did during that fortnight.  It was about as close to Gethsemane that either of us could ever have imagined.  We begged for God to allow this cup to pass from us, but ultimately accepted His will for all of us.  We knew that God had brought us this far.  That He had asked us to adopt THESE two children.  That He had put it on our hearts to help more children.  We knew He’d lead us through all that was happening and all that was to come.

Nothing we had ever experienced, nor read, prepared us for this.  NOTHING.  It has been the most awful, most blessed year of our lives.  We have discovered how to lean hard into the weight of that rough-hewn cross and press that thorny crown down firmly on our heads, how to smile through the blood and the tears. 

©Nissa GadboisBe not afraid to walk through the door that God shows you

Throughout those two weeks and many, many days since, this song has been a source of strength. 

You brought me to the desert so You could be my water
You brought me to the fire so You could be my shield
You brought me to the darkness so You could be my morning light
If You brought me this far, if You brought me this far

Wherever you lead me, I know you won’t leave me
Wherever you call me, You will make a way
Wherever we’re going, I will be holding
To the promise you have made
You will make a way
You will make a way

And when I’m in the valley, You will be my comfort
And when I’m at the end of me, I find You there
When I’m in the battle, You will be my present peace
Cause You brought me this far, You brought me this far
If You brought me this far

Wherever you lead me, I know you won’t leave me
Wherever you call me, You will make a way
Wherever we’re going, I will be holding
To the promise you have made
You will make a way
My God will make a way

Cause You brought me this far
You brought me this far
You brought me this far
You will make a way – I Am They, “Make a Way”

He is calling us again and we know that He’ll bring us through whatever comes. 

©Nissa GadboisAlexander Nevsky Cathedral – Sofia, Bulgaria

©Nissa GadboisIconostasis, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Sofia, Bulgaria

©Nissa Gadbois  +Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner+

A flower in your hand

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  – Georgia O’Keefe
 
Last Friday, I took the children to the Bridge of Flowers, spanning the Deerfield River between the villages of Shelburne Falls and Buckland.  Unprompted, the children gathered up pencils and notebooks to record what they saw.  It was a small thing, but made my teacher heart swell.  Something tells me that Charlotte Mason would have been very pleased.
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Someone discovered the fountain:
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Flower gardens are good for the soul.  We are all dreaming together now of the one we will have here on the farm.

One Year Ago

One year ago today, we met Olivia and Nicholas for the first time.  The drive to the orphanage seemed to take forever from our hotel in Silistra.  I remember rounding the corner in the village of Malak Preslavets and waiting there on the road for a flock of sheep to cross.  It was a beautiful memory and helped to break the tension of anticipation.  A few moments later, we pulled up outside the door of the orphanage and out they ran.  They had been waiting for us.  Waiting for their new parents.

We spent the afternoon walking in a park along the Danube and taking lunch at a pretty café in the town where they were born.  Across the river, Romania. 

We walked the social worker back to her office.  As we said goodbye, she took my face in both her hands, and smiling warmly, looked straight into my eyes and said, “Blagodarya “, “Thank you”.  She wasn’t thanking me for lunch.  She knew all too well how desperate the situation is for older kids… MUCH older kids. 

Sometimes it seems a lifetime ago, sometimes it feels like yesterday. 

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

 

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

 

 

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

Tutrakan Bulgaria ©Nissa Gadbois

God willing, we will return to Bulgaria within a few months to meet two new daughters – two girls for whom the future is grim without us to rescue them.  If you feel moved to help bring them home, we would be so blessed.  Follow this link to read more, to share, or to make a gift.  We treasure your prayers!

Over the River and Through the Woods

 

 

overtheriver4

To grandmother’s house we go!

Tomorrow, we are driving out to visit my parents.  We haven’t seen them in several years, and we are all very excited.  Some of the children will be meeting Grandpapa and GramLyn for the first time.  And we’ll tell them both all about their two new grandchildren, waiting far away.

 

{Family at Large} Plimoth Plantation

The last Free Fun Friday of the summer season…  Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It was our second visit, and the weather was fantastic – sunny and warm.  Well worth the rush around in the morning and the long, long drive.

The Wampanoag Homesite is the kids’ favourite part of the museum.  The native use of nature appeals enormously to kids (and Mama, too).  The kids tried out one of the mashoons (dugout canoe):

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

And we admired the detail of the head of one of the paddles (so lovingly carved):

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

And one of the native interpreters explained how mashoons, nets, harpoons, and fishing spears were made and used:

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

The kids are itching to try building their own models of Wampanoag summer and winter houses.  Their larger winter house was called the “Nash Wetu” which means “Three Fires”.  Each fire pit represents one of the generations sheltered by the roof.  It could comfortably fit our family with room to spare.  Quite snug.

We ventured along the woodland path and up the 27 steps to the English Settlement. It is easy to imagine Native and English inhabitants fishing here:

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

 

The museum was crowded, and there was plenty to see, but I was most captivated by the details.  The moss growing on a thatched roof:{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

 

A gossamer web hung from the eaves:

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

But then, of course, there is the view from the top of the hill:

{Family at Large} | Plimoth Plantation

 

The interpreters in both areas of the museum are fantastic, friendly, and remain in-character.  That presents a wonderful challenge to visitors.  I think that the folks appreciate carrying on a conversation with intrepid visitors. 🙂

Since our first visit, we have discovered that we are descended from two Mayflower passengers – John Howland and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland.  We were thrilled to “meet” John at one of the homes in the street.  He was round back tending his cow, who was expecting to deliver a calf any day.  We thanked him for hanging on tightly when he fell overboard.  He told us to thank God for His provision.  😉  You know we do.  If he had drowned, we wouldn’t be here right now.  Our existence quite literally hung by a thread (or a rope).

Next time we visit Plymouth, we plan to visit the other Plimoth display, Mayflower II, as well as Pilgrim Hall for some more genealogy research, and the Jabez Howland House to see where Elizabeth lived after John’s passing.

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