Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Week in a Wordy Nutshell

Such a fun week--pumpkin patch, lunch with friends, Jeremiah Bible Study, Financial Peace University, playdate here for SnapDragon, my niece's volleyball tournament, and tonight my photography class.  I've been spending a bit less time on my blogs to keep up with everything and my photography homework (which was quite challenging for me and did not produce share quality photos.)  Also, Jeremiah talks a lot about our hearts being given over completely to God, to have no idols before Him, so I am praying for a little more balance and better prioritizing in my life.  That is an oversimplification of what I'm learning in my Bible Study, but I don't have time to go into detail right now.

But speaking of balance...I have been trying to take pictures of the boys more instead of just Sunflower.  I do love all of my children not just my cute baby girl.

In adoption news,  today we got our paper i-800a receipt--basically the acknowledgment that the government received our i-800a application (which is requesting permission to adopt a child Internationally.)  We got our electronic receipt Monday morning--or Sunday really, really late.  Specifically we got a text a little after midnight on Sunday, or more accurately Oak's phone dinged waking us up to tell us there was a text.  Somehow it didn't feel so bad when we realized it was our i-800a receipt--though the e-mail he read the next morning was probably sufficient.  

Next step is a letter saying we can go in to get our fingerprints.  I don't know how long that will take.  Not too long probably in the grand scheme of being in process 6 years.  1 month or 2...that's downright lightening fast.

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Numbers

The rumor is that China matched families upto and including LID (login date) August 2, 2006.  Not the largest group, nor the smallest, just about average.  In fact it covers the 5 days I usually use for my math.

Puts us only 13 days of matches away!  Most probably 2-3 batches away from match...possibly 1-4.  A Christmas referral is not outside the realm of possibility though Thanksgiving would be a true Christmas miracle.  Even China Adoption Forecast (who are notorious pessimists, but often proven right) has us getting our referral in Feb. 2012. 

The real exciting part of this is that for the last few years China has only done 10 batches in a year.  Sometimes having a big gap in October, November.  One year only getting to 10 batches by having 2 in December.  This October batch brings them to 10 batches this year.  That may mean we won't see a batch until January, but I think it is more likely we'll still see at least one more batch if not two this calendar year.

Since at the beginning of the year I didn't think they would get into August LIDs at all until January, I am nothing but excited!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Know God

I just finished my homework for my Jeremiah class that meets tomorrow.  I had put it off all week, but today was a half day of SnapDragon was home to entertain Sunflower...and Netflix streaming was I got it all done.  It is good to have it done (5 days of homework in one sitting was not the ideal method), but also just great to let God's word seep into me.

Jeremiah 9:23-24:  Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. 

How can I understand and know God unless I spend time with Him and study His word?  And I really want to Know Him because I love to boast; I mean because I want to follow God, not myself as the people in Jeremiah did.  Have you not studied Jeremiah?  Trust me, you want to Know God.

And really...the Lord exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth and delights in these things.  That is the team I want to be on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I-800A In the Mail...Almost

Received our completed homestudy today (not Saturday as promised)!  I-800A application completed and ready for FedEx tomorrow.  Approximately 10-12 weeks for I-800A approval (with some fingerprints in between).  

I am hoping for the faster end of approval and for it to occur one day...and only one day before referral.  What?  It could happen!  

It feels so exhilarating to be waiting on the US government for this next step instead of our agency...who we can call and annoy.  Ummmm, puzzling over this, but still excited!

(By the way, our social worker is moving to Montana at the end of October and we will have a new social worker, again.  3rd one for this adoption.  Who said we didn't have perseverance?)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Zoo -- Sunday Snapshot

Today we went to the zoo; not our usual zoo, but the one an hour North.  So fun!  They have lots of animals our zoo doesn't have. I'd won the tickets from one of the blogs I read--The Good Life.  I took a ton of pictures.  We had a great day!

There was lots of birds...
A Jaguar...
I don't remembers (some kind of goat?)...
Giraffes...I LOVE Giraffes...
My Family...

Sunday Snapshot


Friday, October 14, 2011

My Poor Baby

Our homestudy is approved and signed and we should have it tomorrow so we can mail it in with our i-800 on Monday.  This news should make me ecstatic, and in some ways it does.  After all we have been working towards this for over a year now.  It'll be fantastic to be on to the next step and actually have hope of having our i-800 approved before we get a referral.

But on the other hand, I just feel like "whatever."  Today's post on We Are Grafted In finally helped me figure out why.  I am terrified.  In her post she talks about how after the big event (for them adoption, also, but it could be anything) life keeps going and sometimes it is hard.  Maybe sometimes it feels too hard.  She goes on with encouragement and advice, but I'm stuck on the too hard.

Already I too often fail as a parent and a friend.  Both boys were almost late to school today...Huckleberry was probably actually "visit the office" late.  Yes, it was homework issues and slowness in putting on shoes (who knew an 11 year old could take so long), but it was also me slacking off last night not following through on the homework and me not allotting enough time for shoes because a Friday start of 10:20 a.m. means I'm on the computer and not looking at the time.  Oh, I know all parents make mistakes and even my yelling "Yes, I did!" to the "you didn't ask me to do my reading minutes last night!" isn't the end of the world.

But here's the thing, it shows me my selfishness and my inability to act selflessly in order to be a good mom.  How much harder will it be when I need to love and nurture a child I haven't known from birth, who doesn't have reserves of love and confidence, whose real needs are more demanding than what I've previously experienced.

I fear the inability to leave her in the nursery...possibly not be able to attend a woman's Bible Study or even MOPS because of her need to attach to me, feel secure, and not be abandoned.  I fear the inability to sooth her because I do not know her, or because of sensory issues, or because she needs something I do not have.  I fear for my ability (or possible lack) to put her needs first day after day after day.  And yes, I fear my own selfish heart and the possible inability for me to love and bond to a child that possibly has more needs than a newborn and is more emotionally fragile than a newborn.

That isn't to say I believe we should not adopt or that God will not give me what I need in order to persevere and be the mother this child needs.  I just worry about days like this when every request is said a little louder than I intend and all I want is to put Sunflower to nap so I can do what...nothing?  Just so I can be ALONE.  Right now my children are fine, healthy, happy, secure...they can handle it when I have a bad mommy day...and those days aren't very frequent because mommy has Bible Study, MOPS, photography, blogging...I get a lot of time to myself.  

But that will change when our child is home from China.  Her needs, through no fault of her own, are guaranteed to take more of my time, in well-baby doctor visits alone if not sleep, attachment, sensory, and eating issues.  Now, I know I cannot do it on my own.  I realize I will need to rely on Jesus and that I am very blessed to have family and friends that will help if I can just express what I need.  I have no worries that we will have a catastrophic failure.

No, what makes me sad is that on days like this instead of rejoicing in a finalized homestudy I weep for my poor baby who is separated through now choice or fault of her own from one set of imperfect parents to be raised by a second set of imperfect parents who don't look like her, speak her language, or know her; who are selfish, have unspoken expectations, and who will fail her.

So I am a little terrified as we get a little closer to bringing home a child.  And I pray, Lord, don't let my compassion fail, help me to be selfless, give me Your love for her, please help me be enough...all while letting Sunflower jump on the couch even though it is against the rules because then at least she isn't jumping on me.

Sigh.  More prayer is needed.  And a few, you can do it, won't be rejected.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Parenting Made Easy

I feel like now that I have a moment, I should post something because I'm making every one sad with the story of my son's school's lock down (turns out a man waving a gun ran across the street without looking both directions...or looking back; the incident was brief and not even verifiable, but the lock down lasted all day.)  I don't disagree that we live in a scarier world...though in some ways, I think the scary is just more apparent.  We used to try to hide sin but now we show it for all the world to see and call it being ourselves.

Yep, ourselves aren't really that great.  And the truth is our kids aren't all that safe.  We can try to protect them, and certainly as parents we have to make wise choices and set safe boundaries, but danger will still exist.  I can remove my child from this crime infested city and hide in some tiny town...removing the possibility of gang violence and exposing them to blatant racism and hidden immorality--or some other sin of choice.  Honestly my personality prefers the "Look at me!  I am going my own way!" then the treachery of Judah (Jeremiah).

Do I fear for my children's saftey?  YES!  I spent the first week of Huckleberry's Middle School paranoid that I would get a call that he had been beaten up and lost a kidney, meet them at the hospital.  Personally I found the strike kind of comforting.

But God contended with me and reminded me who I worship...a God of power and might who loves my children way more than I do...and I really love my children a lot.  So when I fear for my children's safety, I call on God and remember:

Matthew 10: 28-32:  "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.  Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." 

And put their safety in my Father's arms, pray for them to have a personal relationship with Christ, and I focus on teaching my children to love and fear the Lord.

So off to AWANA we go because the church does a much better job of teaching this all than I do...just kidding, though we are going to AWANA and our children's ministry team is wonderful.  As a parent I believe the best way I can teach my children is living a life wholy devoted to Christ that shows authenticity, repentance, and the fruit of the spirit.   Ummm, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control--good thing repentance is part of it, too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lockdown the Castle

Yesterday our son's middle school went into modified lock-down.  A letter came home explaining it--there was a man outside the school grounds behaving in a dangerous manner.  We got a phone call, I hoped to explain further, but again is just said behaving in a dangerous manner.  So we don't know if he was waving a gun around or crossing the street without looking.  I couldn't find anything out about it on the news, so I'm thinking it wasn't too bad?

But the scary thing is not that there was danger.  I have it on good authority (NCIS-LA) that even if I homeschooled my child could be gunned down by stray I leave that in God's hands.  No the scary thing is that Huckleberry didn't notice.  Modified lock-down means the school continued as usual but they couldn't go outside during lunch and had to be escorted by a teacher in between buildings.  He just thought it was a happy coincidence that a teacher always walked with him--gave him someone to talk at.

They say ignorance is bliss, but I'm hoping it is also a form of protection.
On another completely unrelated note, I am not buying this week's Castle episode.  I find it just completely improbable and ridiculous.  No way.  Oak thinks it is a little romantic.  I think romance is that Oak was willing to rent me a lens for my Photo Walk when I thought I'd lost my wide angle (it was in my friend's car) instead of being mad that I lost an expensive lens.  I guess it is a very good thing that the first speaker at this weekend's marriage conference is on bringing back the romance.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Life is good.  It just is.  And since I was weeping into my soup last October, I just thought it would be a good thing to say.

Plus Tuesday's devotion at MOPS (very well done) boiled down that to not have a complaining spirit one shouldn't allow themselves to complain about anything, not even the weather.  For me, I think I need to take it even further.  I need to praise the good.

Our Financial Peace class is going well.  The people are nice and everyone seems to be really desirous of learning.  And there is a lot to learn.  It is very good for us at this time, too.

MOPS is great.  I thought it would be hard to not be the one in charge and see it being "done differently."  But I just love being a part of such a caring ministry even in a different role and I am actually thrilled to see how well it is doing under new leadership--women whom I adore and admire.  It is fantastic to be able to focus my energy on the women at my table and building relationships in the group and not on the details of the meeting.  I think it helps that everyone is doing such an excellent job without me and new moms are attending and being blessed, but I don't care about the why.  I am loving it! I miss some of last year's moms, but am enjoying new people.

My Jeremiah study is excellent...really deserves another post of it's own--but I'll just stick to this week being about how much Jeremiah cared about the people God was angry with for their "stupid sin" and I need to care, too.  I love studying the word of God and the wonderful women with whom I am studying it (including Oak's sister.)

I continue to have a lot of fun with my photography including walking in downtown with 13 other photographers for the World Wide Photo Walk.  Cityscapes and abstract glass is not my usual subject, so it is challenging to tell if any of my photos are good, but it was a great time and a wonderful way to stretch my skills.  I am going to take an 8 class photo class at a local community college with two friends starting in a few weeks.  I can't wait!  I think it will be so informative and fun, especially with the two creative ladies I'll be with.  Taking pictures in general makes me happy, and Oak encourages it because it makes me happy.

The kids are all doing well.  They love their activities and are currently healthy.  They really bring me a lot of joy even when I struggle to be a most excellent parent.

But this weekend, we will miss them...a little.  The boys are staying with Auntie J and Sunflower with another friend so we can have the weekend to ourselves.  We are very much looking forward to this time which includes the marriage conference at our church that I "helped" plan (meaning I went to all the planning meetings and got to know a lot of really awesome people in our church.)  I cannot wait to hear the planned speakers and spend time investing in my marriage.  The conference is only Friday evening and Saturday day so Oak and I will still have lots of time for ourselves, too. 

And last, but certainly not least, I am very happy that we can afford to heat our house!  Awwww, warmth!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What Makes Me Smile

My baby girl said yesterday, "Mommy, I am so proud of you!"


"I way proud of you!"


"Because you took a shower."

I think I might need to work on increasing her expectations of me.
After all I shower every day.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

When Oak and I first got married he laughed at me because I said that a rule we had in our home growing up was "no singing at the dinner table."  Then we had kids.

Yesterday Sunflower was singing "I love you, You love me" over and over at dinner.

Oak said, "I thought we weren't ever going to watch Barney."

I shrugged.  I have a cold.  "I kind of like Barney."

"Sunflower, no singing at the table," Oak said.

"Okay.  I'll sing on the floor."  Soon she was singing AND dancing.
Sunflower makes me smile. 

 Or as her brothers put it, she makes everyone smile.