Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Blindness of Youth

It is a beautiful thing. I wish we could retain it throughout adulthood. I have read in I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla that children don't start seeing people in color until around 3 or so. I experienced this first hand today. It was a bit embarrassing, but mostly was a funny, enlightening and sweet experience.

My youngest child, who is just a few short months from being two, is very friendly with strangers. Hugs them, pats their bottoms, buries his nose in their legs. Any one's legs will do really. It is a tad embarrassing when he smiles up at other women and calls them "Mommy", but sometimes even more so when he does it with other men and calls them "Daddy". I always want to assure the men that he really does have an amazing dad, he just calls all adult men "Daddy".

So, the story...

Checking out at Wal-Mart with my not so few items, trying to contain my children as they roam about. We were being checked out by a mid-30's, attractive African American man. A Christian man if his cross and tattoos mean anything. Micah, true to his friendly self, looks at him, smiles and says very loudly, "Daddy!!" The guys just smiles and laughs at him. Normally I can move on, but he is still checking me out. Micah says it again loudly and points to him, "Daddy!!" I just laugh and say, "Micah that isn't Daddy. Daddy is at work. He doesn't look anything like your Daddy." The cashier thought this was hilarious, for obvious reasons. Very embarrassed now, we move on and the cashier waves at Micah and says, "Bye Son!"

Love how that didn't even seem weird to my little boy. How he didn't see a color, but just a sweet guy who would play along with him. Wish that we could all be that way.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I didn't expect it to happen

I really didn't expect it. A friend told me it would happen, but I didn't really believe her. I thought we would start this process, be in the drudge of paperwork for a while, then begin the waiting process, and then maybe it would happen, maybe...

I didn't expect that I would already be loving a child. I thought it would be so different than carrying my own child. The initial joy, the hormonal mood swings, the fear, the cautiously telling people (I have had three miscarriages so I was generally pretty cautious in my telling). I feel like I am in my first trimester. I am weepy at the silliest things. My stomach feels nervous with anticipation. I day dream and get a funny half grin on my face at times. I am already picturing a baby in my arms. Thinking about what she will look like (this, obviously, is very different than carrying my biological kids). Thinking about her hair, and her little fingers and toes. Already imagining how life will change when my "due date" comes around. Thinking about life with 4 kids, and picturing my older three holding their little sibling.

Wow, I didn't really think this would happen. That my heart would open up, so exposed already, and be pouring out on my child. I knew I would pray for her. That I would think about her. But, LOVE HER already? Wow.

I know the estimated time of when we should be able to bring a child home (IF all the IF's fall in to place), and the estimated age that our child will be. So I am picturing my child's birth mom, and praying for and for her health. Picturing where she is in her pregnancy. Even found myself praying that if there was some way that the birth mom could keep her precious baby, and take care of it well, that it would happen (of course then it wouldn't be my child, but still...). I hurt for that mommy. I know what it feels like to lose a child. I have seen my best friend walk a journey of losing her almost three year old little girl. Whether that mommy gives her child up by choice, or because of her health or situation, she will still experience grief and loss.

My husband calls it "creating emotional space". There is an emotional space inside of me already that is calling out to be filled up with this little one. My arms feel the same way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home School today was...

Geography: Trying to find the City County Building downtown

Science: The Art of Fingerprinting, and Criminal Background Checks. How do the police catch criminals by their fingerprints?

Math: How many quarters do we need to put in the parking meter? How many blocks do we have to walk to get to the City County Building? How much money does it take to do Criminal Background Check and Fingerprinting?

P.E. How fast can we run in the rain through the city to find the building we need to get to?

Bible: Praising God that we got to the fingerprinting office before the 10 elderly people showed up!

Reading: An entire backpack of books that I brought along for entertainment.

All in a day of school my friends! It was a wild adventure of waking my kids up early, heading downtown to try to get there by 8am when the offices opened, walking through the rain with one child in stroller and trying to keep the others out of the road. But, we are criminal cleared and have sent our FBI fingerprints to their destination! Recess for the rest of the day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Better than birthdays....

So, the last thing we did was mail in our notarized contracts along with a large sum to our adoption agency. Since then we have been waiting for our Adoption Planner (with our Dossier info) to be mailed to us. I was told it would be here Friday by UPS so I have been anxiously waiting. Imagine my sadness when nothing came, all day.

Until...I was playing in the yard with the kids and noticed a box sitting beside our side garage door! Excitement!

Wow - a box? Really, is it that much stuff. Wow - it weighs 5 POUNDS - are you kidding me? How much stuff do we have to do? The answer to that is A LOT - i knew that already. But, 5 pounds worth? Yes!

But I open it up and look at these sweet faces that greet me.

It is worth 5 pounds and excited!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Learning Begins

We are moving forward in trying to adopt a child from Ethiopia! We are excited and nervous and overwhelmed. Much like being in the first trimester of pregnancy - even a little morning sickness thrown in when I get nervous about various things!

We are in the craziness of adoption papers. Papers coming, papers going out, signatures a million times, Notaries, contracts - all this just to do our application and initial stuff. I get so excited to check the mail these days. Anticipating some piece of information. It really is a gift to get to pour over this paperwork, unwrap it and see how it is taking us one step closer to our child.

I am learning so much, daily. Reading some great books. My two favorites right now are:

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla by Marguerite A. Wright

There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene

Powerful books. Especially There is No Me Without You. Always have tissue available as I read that one. Man, I can't wait to get my hands on one of those kids. I wonder if I will ever stop holding it. Can't wait to have all 4 (or more) of my kids in my arms. Crazy, huh???

Monday, April 12, 2010

Made me smile :-)

So I have a million pens in my house. Some work. Most probably don't, but I haven't had time to throw them out. While filling out the endless paperwork of adoption, I looked around for a pen that would write nicely and didn't stop the ink flow mid-signature. So I found a pen in the drawer that seemed to fit that criteria. I have kept it with my adoption paperwork so that I didn't lose it, or some other little fingers didn't run away with it.

Picked up that pen today as I moved some of my paperwork around. Know what it said?


It was the pen I got while I was in the hospital having my third child. Now it is being put to work to bring home my next child. Even then, He was preparing the way...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving Mountains

"I stand in awe of every Mountain that You move."
In Better Hands Now - by Natalie Grant

Powerful song. Powerful words. I feel like God is doing this for me right now. Moving mountains. Protecting me. Sheltering me in His wings.

After the initial glow and shock of knowing in my heart that the Lord was calling us to adopt, I was peaceful for several weeks. Sad how quickly my heart turns to doubt; to frustration; to questioning. Seems as though the further I get away from a special moment with God, the more I doubt it really ever happened. Thinking to myself, "He didn't really say that, did He? That isn't really what happened. That isn't really what I am being called to." I was all in a funk wondering once again what this new path was supposed to be. My hubby and I were really questioning the intelligence of making such a huge step. The money, the time, the risk, the energy. Not sure we wanted all that. My heart did, but my heart wants lots of things, including unhealthy things.

I had talked with another friend who has an adopted child of another race. Asking her questions about what it has been like, what led her to adopt. She asked me good questions as well. One of the things that she asked was wondering if I had the emotional energy to go through an adoption process and the emotional energy to have another child at this time. My Dad had just died about 4 months before and I was, still am, in grief about his unexpected death. So, basically she was asking me if I was looking for something to distract me, a coping mechanism. Great question considering I am full of those annoying coping habits. My Dad died, I adopted a puppy, and now I am talking about adopting a child. Wow, was I just trying to distract myself? Maybe. I was really questioning.

A couple of Sundays later...heavy heart. Asking the Lord to show up for me. To let me feel connected to Him during worship. I get to church, my side is totally full, so grumbling I sit in the middle with people that I do not know. I make some snide comment about some song or something. Really preparing my heart to meet my God here, aren't I? So, church starts, and I start asking the Lord over and over again, "Really, Lord? Really? I need you to tell me again. I really need you to tell me again that what I thought you told me is true." He is so gracious, even when we whine. I needed him to show me again, and again, and again. He did. Every moment of that service, from where I sat in church, to a person that spoke, to the songs that we sang. He loved showing me again. We sat in the middle of the church where we never sit, right behind people that we maybe have met one time, and sang songs that I had long ago given to the children that I had miscarried. We sat behind a family who just recently brought home three children from Ethiopia and the husband spoke in church that Sunday about the needs of the orphans of the world. I, finally, just smiled and said, "OK, Lord, I get it. Thank you for showing me." Halfway through this man's talk, my husband looks at me with a smile and says, "OK, let's do it."

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break yours. He did, again.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let the little children come...

As I have prepared to celebrate tomorrow, Resurrection Day, Easter, I have been thinking again (and again) of how the Lord moves in such mighty ways. How powerful and loving He is. That He loved us so much to die for us. That He continues to love us in our brokenness and unbelief. He has shown me many truths in the last few months.

When I first started thinking, praying about, and talking to my husband about my feelings about moving forward in adoption, I had lots of misgivings (still do occasionally). We had always talked about maybe someday adopting, but always as a maybe someday. So as I started talking to God about it, I probably told Him daily that I thought this was a crazy thing. I don't have the energy or patience for the 3 I have. I don't have the energy or the patience for the process. We don't have the time. We don't have the money and I want to use the money we do have to have an easy life. Life is getting a little easier with my 3 biological kids getting a little older and more independent. I don't really want to mess that up.

But God kept talking to me so I tried to keep listening. My husband and I decided that we would do a little research so we set up a meeting with a local crises pregnancy center, just to ask questions. We thought we might look in to some info about a local, domestic adoption. We had a great conversation and went back to our thinking about it. We were specifically thinking about adopting a bi-racial or African American baby as that seems to be the greatest need. I felt bombarded with a world of new information. Living in a very white area of the world, how could I teach and expose this baby to it's heritage? What about learning to do their hair? I would need children's books in my home that specifically have children of different colors in it and African American baby dolls. Wow, there was so much I had not thought about. I felt an even stronger call to move forward but there was new information coming like crazy.

I called a friend of mine. A Christian African American women who has 6 children of her own and grew up in a very diverse and mixed culture. I wanted to tell her my fears, ask her questions, get her opinion. The Lord blessed our conversation and blessed me through her. She eased my fears, assured me of her presence, reminded me of how adoption is such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. That conversation reminded me of the verse that talks about not worrying about what we will say, for the Spirit will tell you the words when you need them. He did. That whole conversation felt God breathed. While I was talking to my friend, I had this beautiful picture of God bringing me two children. That there were two out there. I had this picture of my heart and God opening it up and pouring that love out on two children. It blew my head off! If I thought that God was talking crazy before in just letting me think about adoption, I sure thought he was crazy now telling me that there were going to be two! I told my friend what the Lord had just poured in to me. I have no idea what this means or how it will come to fruition, but I am anxious to see how the Lord will bring those two in to my life. My heart is being prepared.

Later in the day as I was still spinning from this encounter with God, my second child, a little girl who was almost 5, brought me a sweet picture that just confirmed my conversation with my friend and my Lord. It was a picture of 3 stick people and it said "I love you Mommy" on the top. The people were three different sizes so I just assumed it was me with two of my kids. So I said, oh how sweet, I love it, is it me and you and one of your brothers. "No", she said. "It is Jesus and he is telling the little children to come to him." Once more a how sweet from me the mommy and loving her tender heart I said, "Oh, is that Jesus with you and one of your brothers?" (I can really just picture God laughing right now as he waits for the punch line!) Once more she said No. "Mommy, that is Jesus and those are two other children somewhere out there that he wants to come to him." My heart burst as the Lord poured out on me through the picture my little girl had drawn. I fell to my knees as I cried out in praise of Him, thanking Him for showing me, for giving me a glimpse of what he desires for me, desires of me. God is calling my family, as He calls all of us, to be Jesus in this world. To be His hands and feet here, now, and to care for the least of those around us. Not to be like the disciples and hold them as bay saying we are too busy or too tired (Lord knows I am both of those things), but to be like Jesus as he opens his arms and his life up to them.

I called my husband crying telling him about this sweetness I had encountered, the confirmation to the things we had been questioning. Through my crying there was also laughter as I told my husband that we needed to be prepared, because one of the children in the picture had no arms :-)