Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We Interupt Our Wait Whining

I know it is impolite to brag about our kids, but luckily that is what blogs are all about.  My Huckleberry is 11 almost 12 (really? 12!) and I am so proud of him.
Mom, really?
Last summer I worried and worried about where to send him to Middle School...after all my baby was not ready for the scary mean world of Middle School...and it was all for nothing (which is true for all worry as it cannot add a day to my life.)  He is thriving in Middle School.  Seriously thriving.
He is continuing in Spanish and learning to play the saxophone.  He has made a lot of friends and is liked by all his teachers.  He loves learning...and playing video games.
A program at the Science Museum a few weeks ago
He continue to participate in the after school Robotics program.  Currently they are building and programming a lego mindstorm robot for the underwater robotics competition in May.  This impresses me enough as it is (though I, too, wrote my first computer program in 6th grade...on a TI in BASIC; oh my, how old am I?) 

However, since robotics now only meets twice a week, he has joined another after school program.  The other two days a week he can choose different activities...they also provide snacks.  (No after school program on Fridays.)  There are lots of great choices and he's been in a few different ones--writing your own screen play and cooking with math to name a few.  

In January they said any student (with teacher supervision) could run their own program.  They would need to fill out an application, write a lesson plan, and find a teacher interested in supervising.  My baby boy did all that and a few weeks ago started leading his own little club on Thursday afternoons.

Destroy It!

It is a club where the students take apart old or broken electronics in order to see what is inside and how they work.  It is fantastic!  The school has funding so they go to goodwill and buy cheap/broken things, and I now don't have screwdrivers, magnets, wires, switches, springs, etc. floating all over my least not as often.
He wants to also hook things up and explore with electricity, but for now they are just taking things apart.  Maybe next year when he has more time to create some experiments.
Now he also usually does his chores without complaining, is sweet to his siblings, loves God, recently chose to be baptized, enjoys going to church, is funny, and is just an all around great kid.
I do really love this boy and...
back to our normal program... 
I cannot wait to go to China with him.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One More Step

Today we did get official notification that our paperwork was dropped off at the US consulate in China on Tuesday, February 21st and so our Article 5 will be issued and ready for pick-up on Tuesday, March 6th.  I am hoping will make the next few weeks a little more peaceful as nothing can be done to change the timing and we are not expecting any news during this time.

In fact, while I hope the predictability of the next few weeks will help, I am also hoping I can find a way to relax and trust God overall.  For 6 years I have been seeking Him and MOST of the time trusting Him in this whole process.  You would think I wouldn't need to be reminded again in these last few months now that the beginning is finally in sight.

But I do.  My friends say, God is in control.  My adoption buddies say, There is a perfect plan and a reason.  My photography club speaker...yes, really the speaker tonight at my photography club meeting...ended his talk on how to take pictures of wildlife with "sometimes you need to seek God's perspective.  You can get so focused on getting what you want (ie the picture of the wild animal) that you ignore reason and do what YOU want when GOD is saying, 'Stay in the truck, Dick!'"

So I have been pretty focused on what I want--my baby home, to just know her size so I can buy her clothes, to have an accurate estimate for travel, to know I can travel during the trade fair if that is what timing is, to travel with others I have met on-line, to just be able to hold her and love her and start the process of bonding, etc.  When the truth is April or May is NOT the end of the world.  

But even more importantly, the truth is GOD is in control.  He does love me and my family.  He does see the big picture.   He knows what will happen.  He is not the creator of the chaos I feel.  He is a God of peace.  His goal is not my happiness, but my relationship with Him.  I have not been submitting to Him or trusting Him these last few weeks.  It isn't about when we will or will not travel.  It has been about me thinking I was the one in control; that if I just did everything exactly right it would go my way.  

Maybe God will work it all out and we will travel the first two weeks of April.  Maybe mid-April.  Maybe late April/early May.  Actually, it would be good idea to turn this all over to Him again.  I cannot make early April happen.  I have no power and cannot perform miracles, but you know what?  

God can!  But even if He chooses not to perform this miracle...I WILL trust Him. 
(This was one of the 4 out of 70 technical winners at my photography club tonight for Emotive Expressions! Excited!)
Even if some days it is a real struggle to wipe the glare off my heart and lean into Him.
 I wish I didn't keep needing reminders.

Random Things that Make Me Happy

I could keep complaining about the wait but it isn't very helpful and actually pretty boring to others.  So how about some of the things that make me happy? Not that that will necessarily be more interesting, but it is more helpful to me.

Borrowing books from the library on the kindle is super cool!  Find a book, hit check-out, and like magic it is just there!  And no overdue three weeks it just disappears.  Now I probably shouldn't have chosen The Help as my first book or Choosing to See as my second book, except really sometimes it feels great to have a good cry.  Now I'm sticking to safe non-emotional mysteries.  Fake murder and mayhem never make me cry.

Speaking of books, yesterday in the mail I got 4 pictures books I'd ordered from my son's school fundraiser.  3 books I'd ordered because Tonggu Momma recommended them and D is for Dancing Dragon...a China alphabet book (there is a whole series of alphabet books set in various countries).  The rhyme part is not Dr. Seuss quality but it has lots of information on each page about China.  Since B is for Beijing Sunflower has been "traveling" to Beijing all day.  (If only!)  I told her you couldn't get there by car but she informed me her car can fly.

My woman's Bible Study started back up today to study the second half of Jeremiah.  I hope to keep up on the homework...but at minimum I'll learn a lot in class and study with my friends. 

We ordered a carseat for the baby.  I do not remember it being such a hard decision for any of the other kids.  Still it is pink!  Sunflower got SnapDragon's neutral gray seat so I've never had a girl-ee carseat.  It makes me happy!

Yesterday was MOPS and the speaker spoke on the 5 love languages of children.  I had SnapDragon take a quiz to find out his love language. I thought it would be words of encouragement, but the test says quality time.  So now he keeps coming up to me to say, "don't you want to do something with me?  You know it makes me feel loved!"  I did take him and Sunflower to the park today.  50 degrees and sunny is definitely a park day in my state.  I haven't looked at the pictures yet, but I had fun taking them--pictures and the kids--and they had fun running, running, and running.  I do NOT know how Sunflower can move that fast!

So many more things for which to be thankful.  One just how busy my next month will be...Dinner and Photoclub with friends tomorrow, dinner at my SIL Friday, Birthday Party Saturday, two great MOPS meetings planned in March, my Baby Shower planned by so many amazing friends, and our church's women's retreat just to name a few.  Oh, and Huckleberry is turning 12!  I AM blessed...if also a tiny bit stressed about travel approval.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Somedays I refresh my blog just to see if we've made any progress.  I know it is ridiculous since IF we'd made progress I would know before my blog, but still I hit that refresh button knowing nothing would change.

That is how focused I can get on the waiting.

We did get our NVC PDF on Tuesday which in theory meant our agency sent our packet on to China Tuesday.  But the lady who does packets was out of the office, then the person who prints checks, then they didn't have a photo...

So today they over-nighted our package to their courier in China.  Since there is no drop-off on the US consulate on Mondays most likely our packet will be dropped off on Tuesday, Feb. 21st...only 5 days later than I was hoping when we got our NVC approved e-mail on Monday.

The Article 5 takes exactly two weeks from drop-off so most likely on March 6th we will start our TA wait.  That is only 6 1/2 weeks from referral.  Pretty good when you put it like that.

TA's come 1-4 weeks later.  Here's praying for the shorter end of that stick :)  Two weeks seems to be fairly average so is more probable.  

If TA came March 20th, well, then I'm on the plane March 21st.  We already have our VISAs.  (Usually one travels 2-3 weeks after TA so if one was to force oneself to be realistic and stop getting her hopes up we'll be on a plane April 10th...let's keep ignoring the pesky Trade Fair issues that I choose not to explain because it might make them real.)

Oh, and Sweet Pea received her package today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hard to Do

Today was a good day until 3:45.  Up until that point I spent a lot of time cuddling Sunflower, scrubbing the kitchen including under the microwave (though not the top of the refrigerator which is on my list), and checking my e-mail to see if we'd gotten our NVC PDF.

Lots of fun letters in that alphabet, yes?

The e-mail did come that says we got NVC approval today...but no copy of the letter so we can move on to the next step.  My husband will e-mail again tonight and we'll probably get it tomorrow, but still one more day lost.

And that is probably the reason my "day" took a turn for the worse.  Okay, so maybe on the way to pick up SnapDragon I took a wrong turn on a route that I have driven for six years, but that just made us laugh...and a little late.

But I was thinking about how we wouldn't want to go out to lunch tomorrow if we hadn't gotten the e-mail yet and where would we go for lunch anyway and who would drive and would I pick Oak up at work or...

So all of the sudden I was not as close to the school as when I left home and had to turn around.  Now our paperwork seems to be moving through the system about as fast as it can and we are on track to travel sometime in April (ignoring the trade fair) and as anxious as I am to go an pick her up, I just keep thinking about how unanxious she is for us to pick her up.  

From all accounts she is being well cared for and loved in her SWI surrounded by several other babies.  It is the life she knows and really, it is good.  Things that concern adults like getting jobs or finding spouses are not concerning her 6 month old heart.  She just knows she is warm, well fed, and loved.  The change to her will not make sense and not feel good and she won't know initially that she is loved.

So I don't want to spend the next few months whining about how long it is taking to travel even if we run into some annoying glitches.   Ummm, okay maybe I do want to whine, I just don't think it is helpful or good for me especially if I allow it to turn a good day sour.

So I am trying to focus on the things I can do (like clean house and cuddle Sunflower) and remember how I want to live my life...

So I'll confess my laziness and my bad attitude, care for my family and friends, continue my commitments at church and in life, and study my Bible and seek Christ.  

Easier to say than to do...Thank God for the Holy Spirit.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

T'was a Happy Wednesday

I was glad yesterday when it was too rainy for pictures since Sunflower was dressed in blue pants with pink stars and a teal striped shirt.  Later she changed into a flowered sundress...

I would try to defend that we are good parents, we just believe 3 year olds should have independence in clothing choices (on some days) except apparently we are more lenient in our parenting than I thought.

SnapDragon typed me a note yesterday:

"Mommy you are great because you let me do things not evryone can do.

how great are our moms leting us do things not evryone can do.  thats why you are great Mommy."

I choose to take his meaning on encouraging him to do fun and safe adventures, but...

Well, at least one of our kids is still young enough for Mommy to choose the clothes...or in this case Ann at Red Thread in China.
Sweet Pea's package should arrive later this week in Yugan.  I'm glad our agency said it would be okay to send a small package.  She is too young for it to mean much to her right now, but it helps this waiting heart.
Especially since Ann sent us some updated pictures of Sweet Pea even though we did not request any.  Such a sweet, big, bundled baby.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Step Down

Care package ordered.

First matching outfit for the girls purchased.

New crib mattress and mattress pads bought.

I800 approval today.

We are getting closer.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Phone

Sunflower has a phone that she carries everywhere.  (Ironic since Mom still doesn't carry a cell phone...yet.)
Today on the way to take Huckleberry to school she said, "Mommy, I'll share my phone with baby sister."

"I think we can probably get another phone."

"But I don't know where to buy baby phones."

She looked so sad but determined to make sure her sister also had a cool phone even if it meant sharing hers.
I think she'll be a great, fun, big sister who will lead her sister with caring and compassion and speed.

Not that the boys won't also be great siblings.

But there is no denying the excitement of this waiting big sister.

the long road

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Update!

Our agency allowed us to submit 10 questions they would send on to their rep in China, and we got the answers today.  Things like what do the Nannies call her, who is her favorite caregiver, and if she sleeps on her tummy or back.  

I didn't really care what the questions were or what the answers would be.  I just wanted more information about her so I could know her a little more.  Perhaps we'll have a chance to ask questions when we are there, too, but not everyone has that chance.   I wanted something from her current life for her to have in the future.

I feel so blessed to have these tidbits of information. 

They also sent new measurements, but I'm thinking her weight is with her many layers of clothes on.  That, as far as I can tell, is typical.  If not she is one roly-poly baby with a tiny head and feet.

No matter.  It just really confuses me when I'm at the store trying to buy some onesies.  I really shouldn't have done such a good job of purging Sunflower's baby clothes 3 years ago.  I don't know what I was thinking!

We also got our letter of I800 receipt.  It is dated January 25th, not the 27th when we got the text, so we may be closer to approval than I'd hoped.  That would be fantastic!  The question is do I put the 25th or 27th in my timeline?  I really should have paid attention to the rules about timelines sooner.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Great Day

It really was a great day.  Starting with the children being ready for school with no fuss.  (They usually do pretty well, but sometimes I have to wake Sunflower and it gets tricky.)

Then on the way to school, as we passed a house, SnapDragon said,
"I wonder who lives in 1002 because they have the same birdhouse I made at school on their porch so they must be a 1st or 2nd grader at my school."

"That is a good use of deductive reasoning (or some such less pretentious phrase that I can't remember right now."

"I have good senses.  Except my touch.  Sometimes when I touch I can't always tell."


"Mom, I used my eye sense and my smarts sense to know they must go to my school."

"Smarts isn't a sense."

"Well, I think it should be.  I know we have 5 senses, but I don't remember what they all are."

Maybe you had to be there.

Then prayer time before Bible Study and then the last study in I Peter.  I love studying God's word with the people of my church.  Even if I Peter 3:8-11 is kind of convicting.

"To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,  “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT."

I had to confess that I think my attitude at Christmas might have been a bit different if we'd studied I Peter in November.  Just saying.

Then, even though it rained all morning, the sun came out and I played outside with Sunflower and then SnapDragon.  Today was 2:00 p.m. dismissal AND I picked him up on time.
Then just a relaxing afternoon with no AWANA tonight so a great dinner cooked by my husband (who does do most of the cooking) and now a chance to sit at the computer and look at pictures.

No news on the adoption front, except we sent our VISA applications to the courier in DC that our agency recommends without Huckleberry's signature.  Then after we got it back to her, she called last night to say the consulate is no longer processing applications outside their jurisdiction.  So now it is on the way to a courier in Houston and hopefully the Houston consulate will process it.  We have quite a while to get our VISAs and they usually don't take too long, so it is only a minor glitch.  Actually kind of such a comedy of errors it makes me giggle.  3 business days down on our wait for I800 approval and no known glitch there.