Sunday, January 31, 2010

Going Away for a Week

I'm heading out of town with 7 homeschooled teenage girls for a 7 hour trip for 6 days of music master classes, concerts and filming. The girls are ecstatic! I'm pretty excited too, except that I have one worry. One of the girls does not have a passport. She doesn't have a birth certificate, either. I hate border crossings. It doesn't matter if I'm going into or out of Canada... I always get nervous. I want all my documents in order. Passports for everybody, greencards, citizenship cards, consent letters, etc... Apparently, this girl's parents have figured out somehow that she can go into Canada with some other documentation and I am not exactly sure what that is, but know, they won't let us through easy. I'll be praying hard!!!

It will be interesting to see if we can fit 8 people, plus 8 sleeping bags, 8 suitcases, plus everybody's violin/ flute and pillows, fancy long wool coats and black boots for the filming in the snow, and the stuff to occupy themselves on the trip in my suburban. I'll let you know how that goes (probably on the other blog.) Other than that and the fact that the gas gage does not work, we are set for some fun. I'll try not to go over 600 miles before I refill :-). Aren't you glad I have a BIG tank.

As soon as I get back I need to get ready for our first visit with the twins. I learned that we will also have a visit with the bio mom. This will be a facilitated meeting. I learned more about her and asked some questions. She is not negative towards the foster families of her children and she does know this is a permanent placement for her tw*ns. I found it comforting to know this about her. Anyway, I'll not have anything about the adoption to post for at least a week and a half, so until then . . . blessings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking Forward

I'm anticipating our little visits with the kids and trying to prepare myself. Of course, I want that first visit to go just right. I'm wondering just what to take with me. If we go to the park then we should have a ball but that will depend on the weather, etc... I'm trying to think up different scenarios so that I can be prepared. Mostly I'm coming up blank. We will be meeting at the foster home and I am told that they will act shy at first, but then will want to show us their room and their things. I'm thinking of making them each an little album of our family but I'll need permission to give it to them, I think. If anyone reading this has gone through the first visit and has any suggestions feel free to comment!

Friends, two couples, have each given us a gift certificate to the Olive Garden, so while Steve and I are in big city land, we plan on eating out! I'm really looking forward to that. They didn't even know when they gave us those certificates that we would be making trips over there rather frequently in the next month. It's a blessing.

We are all waiting on pins and needles this morning wondering if Cindy and Tom's little girl passed court in Ethiopia or not. Praying that she did.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taking the Long Way Around

The transition meeting was today. It was quite a deal. My heart was just about pounding out of my chest! Most of this meeting was confidential.

The bio mom was there... after the meeting I sat down and cried for her. There is always a sad part to adoption. Diplomacy, kind words, psychology -( palliative care?) are words to describe the responses of the social workers. Let's just say we NEVER used the term adoption in this meeting.

To make things easier on the children as well as to ease the pain of giving up the kids on the foster mom, and to give the bio mom time to adjust her thinking, we are going to move very S.L.O.W. Remember these kids are not yet legally free. The mother is still fighting. After the meeting Steve said, "I would say that international adoption is easier. When you pick up the kids they are yours!"

Of course, there are trade-offs. Some things are harder with international - like coming up with the funds and all that, BUT at this moment looking at the slow transition and all the people involved and all the requirements and such it sure looks easy to go to another country pick up your kiddo and whisk them home - signed, stamped and notarized.

We will be visiting back and forth with the kids all the month of February. We have lots of time to get ready. It's probably a good thing.

Jon and Teresa will likely pick up Lottie in March. Tom and Cindy will likely pick up Bethlehem and Temezgin in March and we'll probably get the tw*ns for good in March. Only Rhett and Trina aren't quite there yet, but their paperwork went a lot slower at the beginning... I'm sad they have to wait. Waiting is tough! But it will be so worth it in the end. It all takes time whether it is domestic, Ethiopian or from Chinese. We started this journey together and we are all at about the same stage. Interesting, isn't it!

It's been a big day. I think I could sleep for a week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Let Me Tell You the Story

Some of you are wondering how we were matched. Let me tell you the story- Just beware that is is long.

I won't forget the date. It was my sister's birthday - Dec. 11. I received a list of children that social services was trying to find permanent homes for in our state. Adoption Advocates had forwarded the list to me. As I scrolled down the list of children I saw the usual list of teens and pre-teens; kids that are too close in age to our youngest daughter. There was a couple of babies but one had severe needs beyond my ken and the other had Cancelled written in red across the top. And then I saw her: pretty, the right age, and smiling a wide mouthed smile. I read her file and I immediately inquired on her. Then I read her file again and near the bottom of the file I saw in tiny*n. TW*N - How come they don't list them together? I scrolled up and down once again and suddenly a picture of a tow head popped up. For some reason it wasn't loading the first few times I looked at the list. I read the file: (sorry deleted for privacy's sake, etc...... whew! But I was drawn in. I bowed my head in prayer then wrote a second inquiry asking for LOTS of information on Little Guy.

I told my husband about the kids. His eyes grew wide at the boy's description, but he only said, "yeah, it would be a challenge, but God wouldn't give us more than we could handle."

I only told one friend about the tw*ns. I really wanted her opinion. She didn't say alot, but she did say that she would prefer this kind of handicap to FAS or ODD, etc.. She encouraged me that God would make it clear.

We waited for reply to our inquiry.

I got nothing.

I never heard a thing back all through December.

I prayed for the tw*ns that they would find the home meant for them.

January 8th I received another list of kids. There were several little girls and boys in the right age category. Several African American cuties and some Hispanic kiddos. I sent off my request that our homestudy be presented to the social workers of all of them. I started dreaming of chocolate babies . LOL ! I knew the meeting for this list of kids was going to be held Thursday and I had assurance from AAI that they would advocate for me at the meeting. I had so much hope!!!

Tuesday is town day for us. We go from biology lab to piano, harp, flute, etc... all day. This Tuesday January 12, I had just dropped off the last child at writing class, the very last class of the day and was re-parking my car for the hour long wait when the cell phone rang. I couldn't have been more shocked to find it was about the tw*ns. I really thought they would have been matched with a family by now!

We talked for a long time. I asked a lot of questions. I wanted to know everything. They have grown up in a bleak environment. The first 4 years of their lives they were treated like infants. I asked her to find out more for me.

I had total peace and I couldn't wait to tell Steve - only he wouldn't answer his phone! A few of my friends were waiting for their children to finish writing class so, of course, I went and spilled. Thankfully, they were as excited as I.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have such peace about such a diagnosis as this little boy presented.

Steve and I prayed together and went over the information together. We both knew we would say yes. So Wednesday I called the social worker as arranged. NO answer. She wasn't there all day. In the mean time we received another referral... but our hearts were already stolen.

Thursday morning at 9 am the social worker called me. She was excited to tell me that she had read the little guy's medical file and actually there is no chromosome 7 depletion. There is a small depletion off the Q arm of chromosome 7 which many normal people have.Though, they just have a lot of catching up to do. They are in kindergarten and doing very well keeping up with the other children. They have an IEP but steadily things are being checked off the list.

The children have come a long ways in the 13 months they have been in foster care. They are learning and have great potential. I can't wait to get them home to love them and teach them... and I'll eventually get out my Sharper Minds program and we're going to have fun and make progress. There is a possibility these children have a low IQ. We are prepared for that. We are just average Joe's at our house. A high IQ is not so important to me. There is no way to test the IQ of kindergartners especially since they are verbally delayed and it doesn't matter. I have full confidence the LORD brought these kids into our lives for a purpose. I am grateful they were spared the horrors of alcohol and drugs because this is not part of their history.

A year and a half ago I started praying a prayer that went like this: "O Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul." I had been impressed by a story of a woman that reached out to a miserable wretch who rejected her efforts of kindness. She prayed for a heart of love and she prayed to see a glimpse of the worth of a human soul ... The story is beautiful and you can read it here: That Man Died For Me

Since reading it my prayer, like that of the woman in the story, has been, "O Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul." I want the Lord to impress upon me the worth of each individual I come in contact with. It's easy to see the worth of your friends. It's easy to see the worth of your family - at least what we think they are worth to us. But I also find it easy to see groups of people as a crowd instead of individuals in need of Christ. My desire is to see those men at the homeless ministry as people... not bums, not alcoholics, not criminals, but people for whom Christ died. When I got to Africa I wanted to see those throngs of orphans as children who need Jesus. What is the worth of a soul?

One soul is of infinite value; Calvary speaks its worth...Gospel Workers pg.184

Quoting from the story:

"O Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul!

"Do not pray this way unless you are willing to give up ease and selfish pleasure; for life will take on a different meaning after this revelation."

I wrote the following a year and half ago:

I believe that God is answering my prayer. I think that I am a rather dull student at times. Perhaps He is testing my earnestness in the matter. He has made small revelations to me, but I know that there is more in store. The people I run into, the homeless bum, the throngs of Africa (make that the devastated Haitians, now) , the old lady at the corner...What are they worth? Will I ever truly know? And what difference will it make in me when I do know?

And so....

Here I am today remembering...

And I think about the tw*ns - children I already love, sight unseen, and I know that God is answering my prayer. I have a glimpse of their worth. And yes, it's true. This prayer will change your life and it won't all be easy. The pain of rejection by our friends for adopting is there but it's fading in the joy of the anticipation of adding precious children to our family and the happiness in knowing GOD is answering my prayer.

A friend of mine who has adopted and is adopting again called today and in the course of our conversation she said, "I just want my life to be used up to do whatever God wants me to do." and it reminded me of a quote I read on Karin's blog on the sidebar:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, "Wow, what a ride!!!"---Unknown

Me too! What is this life anyway? Is it to live the American Dream in comfort or to do what I can to make a difference? I look forward to presenting to Jesus on His return the little children He has entrusted to me here on earth.

I'm full of joy.

Mixed Response

We are enjoying going around telling people about our tw*ns... or at least, I should say we are mostly enjoying telling people. Some people don't get it.

Our friends are rejoicing with us... for the most part. There are exceptions. Some people carry a lot of fear. Some people are just being stubborn.

That dampens our party a little.

By and large our church people have been positive, but there are enough who are not that I am not comfortable getting up and making a general announcement and asking for prayers for my tw*ns just yet. The funny thing is the other church where the girls and I work for pay.... I got right up and announced and ALL the people were thrilled for us. They had a special prayer for the twins and there were tears of joy in people's eyes. They cheered right there in church. The girls noted the difference.

Of course, these people aren't as close to us as our own church members are. They don't have any fears for us. They aren't worried about us. It isn't going to inconvenience them, either.

My children were struggling with the words overheard and spewed directly. I was shocked when they told me...

It's real. We are adopting and some aren't smiling.

I prayed and asked God for wisdom then I wrote the someone a letter inviting her to share my joy. I asked her to let me wash her feet at communion/foot washing service this coming Friday night. I asked her to forgive me for choosing to walk a road contrary to normal people. I told her I had no doubt that this wasn't an easy road to choose but God had asked me to walk it and He was going with me and I was BLESSED beyond words.

I'm praying for a reconciliation.