Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Funnies #4

Recently after dinner the kids were having applesauce with sprinkles on top.  T asked for more so J put more in his bowl and then handed it to me to pass to T.  T said, "Thank. You.  Mom-my."  J said, "What about Daddy?"  And so T said this...



(Yep, he's my guy!) :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Song for My Week

I recently updated my playlist and came across the song below.  The words so speak to this adoption process.  The discouragement and frustration that can come with the waiting for things outside of your control. 

It also speaks to parenting in general.  We've come through a rough week (with good moments, too) and sometimes it can feel like I'm failing a lot.  But the failing usually leads to a lot of reflection and changing directions--all good growth--growing up, really. 

But, ultimately, I do know that it will all work together for good.  I know that somewhere there is a little girl who has lost or will soon be losing her mom...  A mom (like me) will be losing her daughter...  But I also know that God is working things together for good.  He knows that mom.  He knows that little girl.  He loves them.  He is preparing a future for them.

I know that even when I mess up there is grace.  I know that God knows me.  He knows my children.  Our strengths and weaknesses.  He knows the precious little girl who will be joining our family.  Maybe not in my timeframe.  But without a shadow of a doubt I know that in perfect timing a new little person will be joining our family. 

And so this song has spoken to me this week as I have muddled through some of the muck of waiting and learning how to be the best mom I can be.  (And to my sweet friends who are also waiting, this song is for you.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

They're Here!



Our FBI Clearances are finally here!!  We indeed have no FBI histories--what a relief.  ;)  It has been exactly 7 weeks and one day since they received our fingerprints (way back on December 9 and they were finally put in the system on January 4).  I've been calling at least once a week for the past 6 weeks to follow their progress.  Every time I called they said it would take 8 to 10 weeks for them to be completed.  Wow--did that sound like a long time! 

What an exciting moment when I called on Wed and found out they they had been sent out on Monday!  And even more cool is that our good friends the Harleys also got theirs in the mail today! :)  Some of our other blog friends who sent their fingerprints in just a few days later than us are still waiting...  Guys, so hoping and praying with you that you get exciting FBI news soon, too.

So, what does this mean?  It means that all of the paperwork that we had to complete is finished.  Our Social Worker is writing the actual homestudy report and once that is all okayed we will be put on the Wait List for a referral!  Getting so close to officially waiting! :)

(Picture is of Megan at the mailbox yesterday looking for our big envelope.  It actually came today--a snow day.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday Funnies #3

Okay, so it's definitely not Sunday, but our computer has been terribly ill and I haven't been able to make any recent posts.  And this story might be a little more sweet than funny. :)


A few months ago when J came home from work M said, "Daddy you need to wash your hands before dinner because you've been making money and money is dirty."  She literally thinks that he makes money.

Well, on Friday we decided to meet J at work for lunch.  We've never seen his office and M has been asking a lot to see where Daddy works.  We had the grand tour of his little corner of the world and then when we were leaving we wanted to say "hi" to some of J's coworkers.

About a year ago Ben came over to our house for dinner and he made quite an impression on M because he was very sweet to her.  And we got to see Ben on Friday in his office.

Here's the cool part.  Every day when J leaves for work, M shouts, "Have a good day!  Have a good travel!  Call me and bring home money (change for her piggy bank)!"  She has also been making him drawings to take with him.  And not just drawings for Daddy--she makes drawings that she insists that he give to the people he works with.

So, Ben says hi to us and then he says, "Oh, just a minute."  And I could not believe it, he pulled this crazy line drawing on a scrap of notebook paper out from somewhere that J had given him a while ago.  M thought that was fantastic.  And then Ben remembered what M thinks that they do at work all day.

Ben reached into his pocket and pulled out 2 dimes--jokingly saying that's all the work he's done that day.  J pulled out just a quarter more.  Very productive days. ;)

We had pizza for dinner that night.  M said, "Daddy I won't ask you for any money because you used it to buy this pizza."  Cheapest pizza ever--just 45 cents! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Speaking of Heaven

A few days ago I watched M put a ponytail on one side of her head and an array of different colored hairclips stuck all over the other half of her hair. She felt beautiful and she was beautiful.

I hear her dreams for the future--to help people, to live with her best bear--Ben, to live in a pink house with a pink bus, car, airplane and boat close to us because she will miss us so much (her words). Really all dreams with happy endings.

But, my growing-up mommy heart knows that in a few years that beautiful hairdo will be the subject of ridicule. I know that there are unforeseen complications that interrupt and change dreams. Oh, to be able to shelter her from that pain.

We were never promised a life without pain. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed. And so instead of sheltering my children, I get to be one of the people who helps prepare them and show them how to deal with suffering.

There has been much talk of what it means to be without a mommy, daddy, food or homes this past year as we have talked about adoption with M and T.  There have been deaths in our family and so we have explained Heaven. And through it all we have told M and T that each person is created by God with a special and unique purpose and that He loves each one of us and that when we die with Him in our hearts we get to live with Him in Heaven in the amazing, beyond-our-wildest-imaginations place that He has created just for us.

...After the earthquake this past week, I tried to find ways to explain it to M..  How to explain so much loss of life, loss of everything.  Even I struggle to comprehend it all.

It's a hard balance, I don't want to make her afraid, but I do want her to understand our world.  That crazy concept of how we each have our own beds and multiple sets of blankets for each one, when many have one or no blanket to call their own. 

So, yesterday I came across this news story on Yahoo News about this little 2-year-old girl (Winnie) who was rescued after 3 days by Australian television crews.



It led to some amazing conversations with M.  She is enamored with Winnie.  In fact she wishes that Winnie were her sister. :)  M has given the idea of being all alone for 3 days and nights (in the dark) with no food or water some serious thought.  And of all of the people who have perished from the earthquake, M thinks that there is no cooler place than Heaven.  In fact she can't wait to get there.  I told her that I hope that she lives a very long, full life and that someday when she is a grammy she can join me there.  Umm...deep, hard, thought-provoking conversations with my 4-year-old.  Thankful for the hope of Heaven and praying for the wisdom to be able to touch M's heart with the right words at the right times.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Helping the People of Haiti

How to even find the words to say about the devestation in Haiti...  It would be so easy to just not look at the pictures or to read the stories...  But if we don't do something, who will?...

As some of you have already said on your blogs, oh, to be there to use your arms to help.  This rarely happens, but today T woke up crying inconsolably for a bit and I wasn't quite sure what was wrong.  While holding him I thought how blessed I was to have him safe in my arms, and secondly to know that whatever was bothering him, I could easily take care of it  (he had a sore bottom and was hungry).  But today in Haiti so many (even more than usual) don't have access to the necessities of life.  Shelter. Food. Water. Health care.

So what can we do?

We can pray.

We can give money to help provide the basic needs and support needed to recover and rebuild.  Here are a few of the relief organizations that are on the ground or are on their way to Haiti now...
Food for the Hungry
Samaritan's Purse 
World Vision
Compassion
Salvation Army
American Red Cross

Praying for Haiti...


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Matching Outfits

My mom told me the other day that she bought matching pink sweatshirts for M and sister (Thanks, Mom). How cool is that? Actually starting to get things to prepare for a new little one helps to make it more real. When we were expecting T, getting actual little boy clothes (all in blues instead of the sea of pink I was used to for M) made it much more real that he would be joining our family soon. Anyway, can't wait to have my two matching girls. :) 

(A long time ago when M was still so little and I had fun dressing us alike. Don't do that anymore, but it was fun for a while.) :)




Monday, January 11, 2010

Ethiopian Food



Last night we finally got to partake of delicious Ethiopian food.  Ever since we filled out our Eyes Wide Open workbook and we did a little bit of research about Ethiopian food, we have wanted to try it.  There are no local Ethiopian restaurants so we did have to travel a short bit.

But what a fun adventure!  Thirteen of us all met for dinner.  We went with our very close friends who are also adopting a little girl, our other close friends who love our kids and were so cool to come along for the experience and to help out with our children, and we met for the first time another couple who is also adopting. 

Okay, so did not know what to expect.  I was prepared for the injera (the pancake-like bread that the food is served on), but I had no idea what the spices might taste like.  It was so good!  The restaurant smelled amazing when we walked in.

J and I got the meat sampler (5 meat dishes and 3 vegetable sides).  There is no silverware, you just break off pieces of the injera to scoop up the food. 

How yummy does this sound?   MINCHET ABISH ALETCHA WAT:  Finely chopped prime beef sautéed in butter, and simmered in mild sauce seasoned with spices and fresh herbs... (mild).  It was YUMMY!

We were there for 2 hours and our kids were awesome!  We never take them to nice restaurants (Panera and a local diner are the extent of their experience), so we knew it could get a little difficult--but it really didn't. We brought along lots of paper and crayons and kid-friendly snacks. :)

Very fun night!  Now to find some easy recipes to try at home! 

(We talked about Ethiopian food all week.  This is M making some with playdough a few days before we went.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sunday Funnies #2


(I know this is a repeat for my FB friends, but I wanted to post it here, too.) :)

Earlier this week we were all sitting at the kitchen table and M asked us, "What do you think I should be when I grow up?"

We suggested things like an engineer like Daddy or a speech therapist like Mommy, or a doctor, or a teacher, etc...

M interrupted us to say, "I want to be a mailman when I grow up because it's easy--you just put the mail in the boxes."

Then she paused and asked, "Do you think I'll ever be a mommy?"

We say, "Sure, maybe, you'd be good at that, but it's a challenging job."

To which she says, "Well, then, I'll just be a mailman, that's easy."

(Mind you my little girl loves to spend her nap/rest time looking out her window and eagerly awaits the mailman to make his appearance--I'm pretty sure that she thinks she definitely has his job all figured out.  Oh, and the picture above is from last March--wow, time sure does fly.  We were pretending to be mail deliverers.) ;)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Coffee

Ahh...Coffee...  Okay, let's go way back--to my Senior year of college.  Early morning yoga class followed by a cafe' mocha and a David's chocolate chip cookie as big as my head.  I smile just thinking about it... 

Coffee takes me somewhere.  Just the smell of it warms my soul.  (A little dramatic, maybe, but, oh, how I love coffee and coffee AND chocolate--that's a sweet combo!)

I actually worked at Starbucks for a short bit during grad school.  Seriously, the best part-time job I ever had.  All the coffee drinks I could drink during my shift, a free pound of coffee every week, great co-workers, and smelling like a pot of coffee when I took a shower.

And now for how this all relates to this adoption stuff.  We alluded to it in our Christmas letter when we asked, "What do coffee, children and airplanes have in common?"  The answer--our newest addition joining us this year from Ethiopia! 

Yep, Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of coffee.  There are a few different versions of the legend of the origin of coffee.  Here's one (from here)...

"The legend is that it is said Kaldi discovered coffee after noticing that his goats became extremely spirited after eating berries from a certain tree – no doubt this was the “coffee tree.” They became so highly spirited or you might say “agitated” as coffee sometimes makes some humans a bit agitated or stimulated, that the goats did not want to sleep at night.


Kaldi was dedicated and loyal to the abbot of the local monastery and promptly reported his findings. The local monastery made a drink with the berries. He discovered the drink made from the berries of no doubt “the coffee tree,” kept him alert in the long hours of evening prayers. It was not long until the abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery. Very slowly, the knowledge about the energizing effects of the berries began to spread throughout the region and on into the east until coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula. At this point coffee began a journey that spread its reputation all over the world."

Love it!

A few more coffee notes (which I am drinking while writing this :) ).  First, did you know that coffee is the 2nd largest traded commodity (after oil)

And learning a lot more about Fair Trade these days.  There are many places to buy certified fair trade coffee.  So, what does fair trade mean?   Basically that coffee farmers are paid a fair market value for their product. 

And did you know that when you buy Starbucks' product (RED) coffee FROM AFRICA, TO AFRICA that $1 from that purchase goes to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa?  So if you like and buy their coffee, what a cool way to give back!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Waiting

I have a few more things to add to our Adoption Timeline and--wow--can not believe how long that list is!  We had our fourth paperwork call with our case manager yesterday and I said how long it was feeling since we started all of this.  She said it has actually only been 2.5 months since we signed our contracts.  It feels way longer than that... 

I've always expected to prepare myself for a long wait once we turned in our dossier, I didn't expect all of the waiting that we're doing just to even get there.  Still waiting for those FBI fingerprints and a few other lose ends...  Guess I'm processing and recalibrating :) my expectations because I so totally know that ultimately in all of this, God IS in control of every aspect--I can do my very best but just need to hold on for the ride. :)

My very good friend, Becca, had a great post the other day that really encouraged me and I wanted to share it.  It's a quote from Just Give Me a Little Piece of Quiet by Lorilee Craker.

"At the moment, I am waiting for a child myself, a child who is growing, as I write these words, in her birth mother's womb on the other side of the world. Foreign adoption is a long, winding road full of setbacks and delays. And just when you think you have filled out your last scrap of paperwork, another couple of reams are thrown at you. Waiting to hold my baby daughter in my arms, to see her sweet face for the first time, is getting harder and harder. But I am holding on to the fact that God will sustain me and my family as we wait for her. And no matter how much I want to speed up the process, God is ordering my steps in His perfect time."


Waiting for you little girl...

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Compelling Verse and Children's Heart Project

I was recently reading through the PrayerPoint magazine from Samaritan's Purse and I saw again the Bible verse that I keep seeing on blogs and in books. It's from Poverbs 24:11-12.

"Rescue those being led away to death: hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?"

Wow... Convicting. But there is something about it that draws me in and is freeing. It frees me to want to be a part of something bigger than my everyday life. To reach out beyond myself. To know that there is Someone bigger than me who knows everything and is calling me, little, completely imperfect me, to peek out, no, to reach out, from my small world and into this big unfolding story. I think adoption is one way that I can do something about the injustice in this world. But there is way more I can do. I pray that as this new year dawns, I will take steps to serve unselfishly in small and big ways. Hmm...

On a slightly different note, if you haven't seen The Children's Heart Project from Samaritan's Purse, you need to check it out. The Children's Heart Project takes children with heart defects from Mongolia to the United States for heart surgery. The Project is being documented much like a reality TV show and it is powerful. So far there are 4 episodes, each 30 minutes long. If it hasn't been on TV in your area you can watch it online here.

Here is a video of one of the doctors talking about the kids they select to come to the United States. So thankful for all they do...Amazing...