As I lay in bed this morning (after being awakened by 2 little boys who were wide awake at 4:00 this morning because someone left a light on in the room, I was still in bed at 7:00), I heard Micah trotting down the hall to go downstairs to eat. I heard him saying papa, papa and then he was at the door…knocking away. So of course I said come in and he bounded onto the bed and just wanted to lay down beside me and get under the blanket. Then he inched closer and closer and put his head on my chest and just laid there with me and he was so happy. He had a big grin on his face and said papa, papa, papa… I’m so thankful that he is so happy to have a papa and mama. As he has done for several months now…we were at Target last night and Mary had the other kids and I had Micah with me and as we were headed to the side of the store where Mary was, everyone we passed, he waved and said “hi” and them that I was his papa. Man, that makes me happy. (He does the same with Mary). He is genuinely proud to have a papa and mama. He get’s it. It makes me so happy. So thankful. Matthew took unaided steps last night (he’s done it a few times – but last night he did it with “purpose” and did it repeatedly. When we got him, he wouldn’t/couldn’t do this at all. Just a while ago, he was getting ready to take a nap and he started making this really loud grunt/growl noise. Did I mention it was loud? It was irritating the fire out of me and I told him to stop. He looked at me and made the noise directed at me, and louder. Okay…I thought it was funny and didn’t take it as rebellion or disobedience. (He’s about 18 month in development and all of his “disobedience” isn’t really rebellion and disobedience.) Yeah, I was kind of irritated because it was a grating loud noise, but in the same moment, I was thinking about how when he first came home he didn’t make a peep. I mean NOT A SOUND. He is finding his voice and he is using it to voice an opinion. He’s realizing that he has likes and dislikes and he’s learning to express it. He expresses it like an infant right now, but it’s progress. It makes me happy that he is getting comfortable enough with us to be himself and discover who he is in the safety of our arms. It makes me thankful. Last night, at snack time before bed, I called Eli and told him it was time for a snack. He got up off the floor and came to me in the kitchen to get into his high chair. Yes, he’s five and you may think that’s not a big deal, but have I ever mentioned that before the boys came home he was so withdrawn that he would not respond to us, much less obey simple commands? This is a BIG DEAL. It makes me so happy to see him coming out of his shell and not only letting us into his world, but he’s coming into our’s more and more often. It makes me thankful. Our 4 older kids have opened their hearts to these little guys and have given up so much to make it possible for us to give these little treasures a home. They make me proud and humble me at the same time. They have already accepted Ruslana and she’s not even here yet. They are not just okay with her adoption. They are excited. This makes me so happy. A couple of weeks ago, Mary and Hannah were at the grocery store and there was an older woman with her older son with Down syndrome trailing along behind her. She mentioned that that was going to be Mary in 20 years. Then she said, maybe it will be me (Hannah) because she wanted at least one of them to live with her family. Then she said or at least I want to live really close so I can see them every day if they live with Mary and me. THAT makes me happy. She gets it and has already decided to make the sacrifice of her life for them. The thing is (and most people just don’t get it) it is NOT a sacrifice for us. It’s our life. And we love it. It brings us true joy. I love you, Malone children. You bring joy to my heart and give me purpose for waking up each morning (even when it’s at 4:00). I am so thankful. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.