Family Centered Home

Pieces of Our Hearts

Today is one year.  One year since we walked into that orphanage in a tiny Bulgarian village and our world changed forever.

For many families, the day that they arrive at the orphanage (or foster home) to pick up their child(ren) is a happy day to be celebrated every year.  But when you adopt an older child – a much older child – it’s a day that is bittersweet to commemorate.  It is the day on which they are rescued.  It is the beginning of a new life, a second chance.  It is a full ride to the School of Love.

But it costs them everything. 

It is the day on which they’ve lost all that they know.  Everything.  It is devastating.  They have lost their language and culture, they’ve lost all of their friends, they’ve lost familiar surroundings, and any adult they had come to trust.  They’ve lost the possibility of being reunited with their birth family.  No matter what we are to our children, how much we love them, how hard we try to keep language and culture alive, we are not replacements for those people and things they’ve lost.  They are being saved from a life they (please, God) will never truly understand.  But they won’t know that until they are grown, until they are themselves parents.  Perhaps they will never fully appreciate what they have lost and gained.

It takes a great measure of bravery for these kids to keep their heads up and move on into a new life about which they know nothing.  It takes enormous strength to leave behind little pieces of their hearts and give the rest to someone new.  Some kids, particularly much older ones, can never give the rest of their hearts to their new families.  They cling desperately to the remains.  They don’t know that this act of preservation isn’t saving them at all.  They slowly die inside.  Only they can choose whether to love or not.  Some never choose love.
 ©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

And us? 
We left pieces of our hearts behind in Bulgaria, too.  One child in particular became very special to us throughout the process of adopting Nick and Olivia.  We left the orphanage that day knowing that we might never meet again this side of Heaven.  And we loved each other well.  We smiled and we laughed, we hugged and we kissed.  We held hands.  And we wept.  We sobbed as we tore pieces of our hearts off and handed them to each other.  And it remains one of the most enduring and precious memories I have. 

©Nissa Gadbois
This day is a day to be treasured always for so many reasons. 

For the work that God has done through us.
For the children we rescued.
For the love they’ve brought into our lives.
For their resilience, and their bravery.
For the strength we have gained through the difficulties.
For the wisdom and courage to follow our hearts.
For the desire to keep on helping those left behind.
For a daughter who is ever present in our hearts, if not in our arms.

On the Farm

A new-to-us walk-in cooler was delivered and is being installed for our farm-to-door delivery business. 

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois  

We can hardly wait to minister to local families in such a special way.  Nourishing bodies with nutritious foods, and nourishing souls by the way in which we serve.

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+

Art. Life.

©Nissa Gadbois

An impromptu art lesson for my Bulgarians.  They were never taught how to make art.  It is clear that they desire to make art.  We ALL desire to make art because we are made in the image and likeness of God.  The essence of our very being is that of creator.  Making art is a useful means of communication when spoken language fails.  It is therapeutic.

They are learning not only how to use art materials, but also how to observe. As teenagers, they had not really learned to pay attention to how the human form, nor plants, nor anything else was made.  Arms too small, bent weirdly, coming from the midsection of the body instead of from the shoulder.  Trees that look like lollipops instead of like trees. In some small way I am helping them to communicate when spoken language fails.

They are showing improvement in their artworks.  They practice daily.  It is as though a light has been turned on in an inner room in their minds.  “Aha!”  And there is a rush to use their newly learned skills.  It is beginning to pour out like a stream in spate. 

We are finding that letting them unfold naturally was a wise decision.  Forcing them too quickly would not have produced any fruit.  Rushing to have them diagnosed with this or that disability before they had a chance to become themselves would have been tragic.  We have had such a bumpy transition, and we still have days that are excruciatingly difficult.  We tend to avoid suffering at all costs. 

But in avoiding the suffering, we often miss the holiness and wholeness of life.

{Family Centered Kitchen}: Maple Walnut Pie

You can find the recipe for my Impossibly Flaky Pie Crust here.
 

Maple Walnut Pie
Serves 8
I came up with this recipe for our son Louis' tenth birthday. We love pecan pie, and this is a twist on that classic, made with our own maple syrup. It's bound to become a family favourite.
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Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 c maple syrup (use the real thing - NO substitutes)
  2. 1/2 c sugar (we use maple sugar or organic raw)
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 3 T butter, melted
  5. 1 T flour
  6. 1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  7. 1/2 recipe Impossibly Flaky Pie Crust
  8. 1 1/2 c walnuts (halves or chopped)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend syrup, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla paste. Place walnuts in the crust and pour the syrup mixture over all. Rearrange nuts if needed.
  3. Bake 10 minutes at 450°. Reduce temperature to 350° and bake a further 30-35 minutes.
  4. Cool on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.
Notes
  1. Variation: spread melted unsweetened dark chocolate on the base of the pie crust or sprinkle dark chocolate mini chips or shards before pouring in the filling.
At Home With the Gadbois Family http://gadboisfamily.com/
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