Turner fit right in from day one. Seriously, it was as if he had always been there. Like we had a hole in our family that only he could fill. God knew what He was doing when He brought us Turner! Since we had moved only a month and a half prior to taking a trip to Michigan we still had a lot of work to do! Turner got to get his hands dirty right away and learned a lot of new things like the character-building task of putting up wire farm fencing through wooded property!
Only days after we arrived home Turner got to witness his new sister, Mirabel, being baptized as a follower for Jesus! (Click here to see baptism video on youtube)
When one child was helping another child by cleaning up all his legos so they could come to lunch, he let her know, with much anger, that she was not doing it right and he didn't want her help!That was just one of the patience testing fits and angry outbursts that filled up the month of March. Shutting down became a reaction to everything, everything was ignored and he would pick a spot and sit still as stone, sometimes for 10 minutes sometimes for 4 hours. Then all of a sudden he would happily run over to show me a toy or picture and the angry spell was broken. We had many occasions to walk through the process of reconciliation. You can't just get angry and ignore someone you love then act all happy when its conveinent for you. I would stop him and say, "I would love to see what you want to show me but first we need to talk about why you got so angry and ignored me all afternoon and wouldn't play with the family." At first he would blame it on something small like, "I hurt my toe" but as time went on he really began to open up and tell about past hurts and struggles and memories.
"NO, NO, NO! Those are MY legos! I didn't want you to do that! You ruin EVERYTHING! FINE! Just ruin this too!"
Insert mom to stop the crazy stomping and throwing tantrum, scoop him up in my lap, hold him and begin to whisper: "I am not mad at you. I love you. I need you to listen to me and answer me or we will have to take a break from Legos today and they will have to spend the night in mommy's room. Okay?"
He calmed, but huffed under his breath, "Oh-Kaaay!"
"You are SO smart and creative. You have been given a talent to build anything you think of with legos. You build such wonderful and beautiful creations. Do you know you have legos inside you? Legos to build relationships. You can build beautiful word and actions that help relationships and build others up or you can build mean, ugly words and actions that hinder relationships and hurt others. What kind of word legos do you think you used?"
"Bad ones," came as a whisper.
"You used mean words with your sister, ugly legos. You know how sometimes when we have a big bin of legos the ones you use a lot end up on top but the ones you really need, but don't use often fall to the bottom? I know you have legos that build sweet words, beautiful legos somewhere in there. But because you use the ugly ones, the ones of disobeying and yelling and anger so often they are the easiest to find. Right on top. I would like to help you dig deep and bring out all those legos that I know are in there! It might take a while and a lot of digging. Can we, together, dig down deep and find the beautiful legos of truth and love? And use those legos to build relationships and encourage each other?"
He nodded, wiped the tears from his eyes, "yea I think we can."
So many times, including this one, after we are done talking and hug, I praise God in awe of the words He formed on my lips. In awe of the ceaseless grace He gives me to parent these little ones. I praise Him for the legos He filled me with to build a relationship of love and attachment with my child.
I purposed that from the time we picked him up to the time we adopted him we would make sure he knew he was very wanted. Everyday I told him how glad I was that he was with our family. On March 30th he finally responded.
Me: “I am so glad you are here, Samuel!”
Samuel: “You have said that everyday since I came here! Why to you say that!?!”
Me: “Because I am so overwhelmed with joy that you are here that it just overflows. I am truly glad you are here. Would you rather I stop saying it?”
Samuel cracks a smile: “No.”
As March ended and Turner began to mellow out and mesh again we began our search for the perfect name. We gave him four choices to choose from. Samuel was our favorite as it means "heard by God" or "answered by God" and God sure did hear us and answer our prayers for this little boy! We had prayed specifically for a boy Risa's age and here he was, her Chinese twin as she says :) After taking two weeks to really decide one day I called for Turner to come here and when he came he said, "By the way, it's Samuel now. You can call my Sam." That was that. Everytime a sibling or Brian or I would stumble and say Turner he would correct us right away, "it's Sam now." We decided that he would be given the new first name Samuel, we would keep Turner as a middle name in honor to the place his previous adoptive parents had in his life, Tianqi was his name in the Chinese orphanage and that would stay as a 2nd middle name and he would inherit our family name as his new last name.
April came and went like a blur, our mini farm was in full swing, it felt like we were being called to take in unwanted pets every day! Plus our two week family vacation to TX made the month fly by! Samuel was blossoming more and more everyday! He was becoming an excellent helper, was great during school and such a joy to be around. He began to talk about how much God was doing in his life and caught me off guard when he interrupted me one morning to tell me that he now knows why God purposed him to come here, to this family. Sam told me that, “God said, I will put him in a home where he will learn more about Me.” And learning about Jesus he is!
It has been amazing to see how tender his heart is and how he just adores learning what God has said in His Word. Samuel talks often of how he wants to go back to China, how there is so much idol worship there, and how he wants to become a missionary to tell them about Jesus. What an amazing little boy God has sent us!
On May 21st, 2014 our 90 days wait period was over and Samuel Turner Tianqi became legally ours! The court adoption was beautiful! Over 25 of our church and homeschool family came to witness. The judge had Sam come right up next to her and told him the story of Samuel from the bible and how his name means, "prayed for" or "heard by God"! She even had Sam sign the Final Judgement of Adoption with his hand on hers saying "if you sign this it means FOREVER!" She then had all our guests join hands and called our pastor over to pray over us! It was more like a church service than an adoption! A moment of pure bliss! The perfect memory of how our Sam was born into our family!
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone