Saturday, May 28, 2011

A surprise...a birth mom

Just when I thought I understood this process, I realize I know very little. Yes, I felt the hand of God as we made the decision to move forward. The answers were fairly clear and the blessings to make this possible have fallen into place. Yes, God says take this child, love him make him your own, the rest would happen. Then, today, an email. A message from the orphanage director asking for photos of our family for Nate's mom. Ummmmm....Nate's mom???!!!!

I was filled with a mixture of fear, excitement, sadness, panic, confusion, on and on. I replied with a question about what she knew about Nate's family. What I got back blew me away. His mother had confided in the orphanage director that she had twins. One of the babies died and with Nate's illness on and off, she could not care for him. She said she used to climb the mountain and beg God to keep her child safe and bring a family who could care for him. She admitted it would be hard to part with him, but was willing to give him away to keep him alive.

As a mother, I couldn't imagine such an impossible choice. Here I was selfishly thinking God was blessing me so greatly with this little bundle of joy, but the reality is, He is weaving a very complex plan for the life of little Nate. He was answering his birth mother's prayers and I am humbled to be the apparent answer to the trips up the mountain to be with God. It makes my comfy seat at church to pray from seem a bit insignificant.

I have told the orphanage director that we would be happy to meet this incredible woman that has given birth to our son. We have offered to keep her updated on Nate's life through pictures and letters. She will meet with the director again on Monday to share her story with the director to be shared with us, and we have emailed our family story to share with her. Hopefully that visit will go well and we can see them soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finally, a psych eval!

Here's the thing...there is no doubt that international adoption is a huge mound of paperwork. It is endless hours of forms and letters, fingerprinting, bank statements, tax forms it just never stops. I have spent the last two months doing all of this only to be hung up by something simple. A letter from a psychologist saying we are ok to do this. I figured this would be easy. It has been in the past. Not this time.

We started with a friend who has a masters in counseling. He couldn't do it because he is not licensed yet. He recommended a friend, who we made an appointment with, only to have it cancelled a few days in advance. The psychologist thought it over and for whatever reason wouldn't do it. Then a social worker friend, but her credentials weren't right, then the yellow pages. I called a psychologist who was not comfortable with it because he had never done anything like this. Then, our social worker doing our home study did some checking around, and found us someone willing to do it. I made the appointment there but as it turns out, we would have to drive 2.5 hours to get there, then 2 hours of psych testing for me, 2 hours of testing for Tim, then another 2.5 hours home. All this for the low low price of $1000 not covered by insurance. Then the evaluation of the test results and on and on. I was about to throw in the towel until I found a web site for a PhD psychologist who would do our testing online, then a phone eval and proof of child abuse clearance and home study. She will write it, notarized it and even get the state seal. She is an adoptive mom who is so willing to help. I had prayed and prayed about this to come through, that something would come our way. To be honest, the tearful frustration probably echoed as loud as the prayer, but once again, God showed up and showed off.

Next is finish the home study, get the eval from the psychologist and off to translation our documents go!!! We are inching ever closer to getting them to Haiti! Hold on Nate...mama blanc is on the way!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finally getting to the good stuff!!!!

WOW!!!  That is really all I can say about this day so know, it really takes me by surprise every time God shows up and really shows off.  So many things were fixed today.  First, our youngest child, who is 5, his teacher called us in for a conference.  I am not sure how other parents deal with this, but even after two other children and numerous conferences, it never gets any easier.  I spent my night in worry, got nervous as I entered the building, and was just thrilled to have Tim by my side.  We were met with the wide grin of the teacher who opened by saying,"I just have to brag about Zachary!!"  She outlined that in January, he was at the very bottom of where he should be for reading.  Now, he is off the charts well above average.  She was amazed at how quickly he had progressed and beamed with pride.  I must admit, she was not the only proud one.  Then, an amazing zumba class.  It was a new one for me.  I got nervous when the instructor was actually latin and was about a size 2.  Nonetheless, it was so fun!!!  I then got the closest space at Target, that never happens.  As if it couldn't get better, I found it.  The toy for Nate.  The thing I had been looking for.  It was a bear.  Not just any bear.  Courdoroy.  My favorite story as a child.  It was about a bear who was left on a department store shelf for a long time until a little girl came and adopted him.  He was worried no one would like him because he was missing a button.  She told him she loved him anyway, and fixed his button so his pants would stay up.  I guess that is how I feel about Nate.  I love him no matter what color his skin is, or that he has a small scar on his face.  In my mind he is perfectly made and I can't wait to be with him.

Then, the big news....I went to the mailbox.  Inside was the money.  Not just a little bit, but enough to cover the adoption and my maternity leave, and still extra.  I was thrilled.  Stepping out on faith was so scary.  I was anxious, frustrated and at times downright doubtful.  I would cry as I prayed that we were doing what was right, now I know we are. 

On to the next steps.  I should be hearing any day when we can go see him.  Hopefully, I can be a little more patient for that news!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sippie Cups

What did my getting on the horse again mentality get me today? Simply this. Sippie cups. I spent some time getting lost in the aisles of Target trying to figure out what I could get for Nate. I loved the look and feel of the baby blankets but none of them struck me as just the right one for my baby. I poured over all of the baby gifts and gadgets, but not knowing when he will come home, I didn't really know what to do. Today, however, was the day I was not going to give in to frustration and impatience. It was then that I saw it. The Cars sip pie cups. The ring of the lid was a tire, and they were leak proof. I decided it didn't matter when he came home, he needed cups. Then I poured over the toddler plates, as mine are a bit worn, but they only had the cheap ones. The reality was, I wasn't giving up my cups, so now I have a new quest...toddler plates. I realize this is all moot at this point and I really don't need them for a while, but it keeps my mind busy and gives me a sense of moving forward.

Target was also the place I saw it. A solitary red braided leather bracelet. There were none like it anywhere, just one on the rack. It was perfect. Our adoption is linked to the Red Thread Promise. They get their name from a Chinese proverb that states there is a silken red thread of destiny that links us to another person somewhere in the world. The string can be stretched or even tangled, but never broken. It is how I feel about Nate, tethered to me as only a child can be. I bought my perfect bracelet and plan to wear it until he comes home. It does strike me that there were no others like it in any color. I think God just wanted to remind me, he's coming. So, getting on the horse was definitely worth it, after all, I now have sippie cups!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back on the Horse...

I guess the blogging has gone a bit slow this week. The fact is, there was nothing going on. In fact, frustratingly nothing. I sent numerous emails and a variety of inquiries about things and nothing happened. No one answered, nothing happened. It was then I was once again reminded of the reality of international adoption. Tim actually talked about it today describing it as white knuckling it through the expeience completely at the mercy of other people. Of course, today was Sunday and I was off to church before a very long day in the trauma center. The message today was on trusting God. One of the points was realizing who God was and what He was capable of. Just the reminder I needed.

I spent my ride home planning on how to get back on the adoption horse and get to work. I have it all organized in my head on how I plan to spend my day off tomorrow. There are emails to send and papers to do, and my most important job....looking for the perfect gift for baby Nate. I want to leave him something when we go. I want something snuggly that he can keep with him, an animal, a blanket something. I haven't found it yet, but I will. Tomorrow I have a couple stores picked out to look at, so am hoping for a successful day. For now, am trading my frustration for moving ahead. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Again, today, I became acutely aware of my inability to be patient. I think the thing is, there is nothing for me to do right now. I am waiting on other people to finish their parts of things. I tried to make up for my incredible impatience by shopping, but found that frustrating too. I am not sure exactly what to bring to Nate. Nothing seems right. A blanket? A Teddy bear? A toy? I just don't know...

Then, a break. I think God knew I needed that today. I got a message from our coordinator to contact the orphanage director to plan a visit! I sent off an email asking when we could come, and what I could bring to the orphanage. I am waiting, a bit impatiently, I must admit for an answer. Hopefully I will hear tomorrow and I can busy myself with trip planning.

Our coordinator has also shared things are moving reasonably smoothly through the courts so we may be able to bring Nate home sooner than we thought. We will just keep pushing ahead and praying for

Friday, May 13, 2011


Yesterday I was a little restless. I was busy doing paperwork and sifting through some stuff when I got preoccupied with making a photo album. With each adoption I have made a little photo album to leave with each child between trips. I put in pictures of the family so that the kids would have some familiarity with us. With Katya, I was allowed to leave one picture. I left a photo of Tim and I that hung in her orphanage room until we came back to get her. It was tattered and worn and she couldn't wait to take it down and take it home. With Zachary, I left a toddler photo album which I never saw again. Nonetheless I wanted to make one for Nate. Jack helped me sift through our digital pics and print them off and get them all organized. I then spent the night looking at beds online for him. I had this overwhelming urge to get it all done right that minute. Finally it dawned on me. I was nesting. I realize that this is some well documented pregnant woman hormanal thing, but I am here to say, this adoptive mom has never been pregnant, but have nested each and every time. With Katya and Jack, it involved stenciling Beatrix Potter characters on the wall of the nursery until the wee hours months before they came home. With Zachary it was Noah's Arc, and painting for days. Really it makes me smile. So, I say, forget research, hormone levels and documentation. Us adoptive mom's nest too!

What next? I'm thinking a bedding concept. The current working theme is under the sea.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Changing on a dime

You know it is funny what a difference a day makes. Just yesterday we were struggling through teenage issues with our daughter producing frustration and trying to cope with the nonsupport of a family member on Nate's adoption and some other things that made me really question this whole process. It all just seemed so hard. Never fear, God showed up and once again showed off.

It started early today. A message, the money was coming on Friday. That was huge. That wasn't all...a call, from the non supportive family member. He wanted to know all about the adoption. He wanted to hear about the baby and was genuinely excited about his arrival. Apparently God created space for Nate in his heart, another huge step forward. Then, word from the orphanage. Nate was sick last week with terrible diarrhea. It turns out he had a parasite that is being treated with medicine. It sounds bad, but it isn't. He has had diarrhea on and off for months. Now we have an answer, a fixable problem. Then, I picked up my teenage daughter and she just wanted her mom. She is struggling with friends and just wanted mom. We talked it through and off to church she went with something I haven't seen in about a week...a smile. "I love you Mom.". She said.

Yes, God shows up just in the hardest of times. Now, if we could just get the last of our paperwork done! We are well on our way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Making it Real

You know, ever since we agreed to this adoption there have been lots of things to do. There is paperwork, sharing the news and of course steady and fervent prayer. Through the flurry of all of this, it all seems so far away. Then, yesterday, reality. It dawned on me that our little Nate will be hovering around three before we bring him home. In other words, he will have decent language skills. Well, good Haitian Creole language skills. Well, I only took one year of high school French which I did as a senior to frankly, get out of gym class. A story for another time.

Anyway, I found myself in Borders yesterday. I bought a French/English picture dictionary. It seems like such a small thing. A necessary thing really, but it's Nate's. The first thing that belongs to my baby under my roof. In a lot of ways it made it tangible. As I was pouring over it trying to remember how to pronounce things in French, I am really much better at Spanish, the doorbell rang. It was my friend and neighbor. She brought a gift for Zachary. It was an adoption Teddy bear put out by the company she works for. The proceeds go to an adoption charity. She wanted Zachary to have something to snuggle with until Nate comes home. Zachary has been asking a lot about Nate and it was as if she met his need to be close to his brother. I knew then, that God too had carved a little space in his heart for little Nate.

I remember buying Zachary's first toy. I felt a little silly picking up a toddler toy at Target with no baby in my cart and no gift registry in my hand, but to this day that rattling monkey reminds me of our time apart where I was ever so impatiently waiting.

Probably the best part of my day yesterday wa s Zumba. I go with my church friends. When we talked about Nate my good friend Linda just laughed and said she knew the waiting would be over quicker than we think. Oh, how I hope she's right. Somehow I just think so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day!'s Mother's Day. My day, so to speak. I spent the morning at church as I always do on a Sunday. It is funny how God works, even on a normal Sunday. This week it has been gnawing away at me, that one of my family members is not very excited about this adoption. I have tried to share my story with this person in the hopes that they would become excited. They would feel that pull of God that I feel and know the rightness of it all. This person is not negative about things, just indifferent. There is No reaction when I discuss it, no questions, no nothing. He politely waits for me to finish talking then promptly changes the subject. I have come to gather from other sources in the family this person has many concerns about this. He feels I may be too old, I am 41. He feels I have enough on my plate, three kids and work. I tried sending pictures of the baby, and he simply dismissed them with polite comments when he finally got around to looking at them. So, this has left me a bit shaken, but not to the place I would stop this process.

Fast forward to today. The sermon was about what happens next. How do we as Christians move beyond the empty tomb and the celebration of the resurrection. What happens next? I guess I never thought of it this way. We really spend a lot of time celebrating the miracle of Easter, but what then. My pastor said three words,"It's your move." I found myself smiling. God has moved me. It is my move and my job to bring Nate home. Anything else takes away from my focus on God. He compared it to a chess game and told us if we don't move when it is our turn we forfeit. Was I really willing to forfeit God's best because of another influence? I was not.

I spent the afternoon gathering yet more paperwork. I also made the family's favorite dinner chicken picatta and strawberry shortcake. What would Mother's Day be if I couldn't be the best mom I knew how to be. Now I am pouring over cards made with printer paper and markers by my boys trying to find out when the best time to cash in my free kiss coupon would be and wondering if my baby Nate knows how much I already love him. I am also thinking about how glad I am to have it be "my move" as I am quite sure this is one of God's bests.

Friday, May 6, 2011


So, today the social worker came. We had only met via email so I was nervous all day. I found myself polishing he stainless steel on the fridge and wiping off the bottom of the door of the pantry as if somehow this would be a deal breaker. As Tim so eloquently put it,"Honey, she is not going to turn us down because she sees a strand of dog hair." but still....

So, I was prepared two hours early compulsively finding things to wipe down when I got a call. It was Brenda, the social worker. She was early! I told her to come on over. When she arrived I suddenly knew all would be well. She was warm and caring, and at the same time so excited for us. She knew the INS and outs of all the latest immigration requirements and we got through it all with ease. By the time we were done I felt like she was family.

We then spent the evening at a japanese steakhouse as a family laughing at the chef cooking our food and enjoying the show. I couldn't help but to look at the empty chair next to Tim and visualize what our little Nate would look like there. Hopefully that chair will not stay empty for too long.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tough Day

Once again I am living in the flurry of adoption paperwork and preparing. Today I have cleaned the house, emailed off inquiries on how to get documents authenticated and worked on our psychological evaluation. Oh yeah, I worked 12 hours in the trauma center too! In the midst of it I was given the chance to pause for a moment. I was on the way home and got a call from my dad, who after discussing a particularly delicate medical matter, I hung up and was driving and listening to klove. As I listened I started to realize something. I was frustrated. I scurry around and do all of this playing beat the clock to get it all done, but Nate isn't here. He is in an orphanage and for yet another night I don't get to tuck him in.

As frustrating as this is, I realized something. Here is a boy, beautiful and perfect and I love him. I have never seen him in person, never held his hand, never counted his fingers and toes, yet God has changed me. He has created a space in my heart for him and I love him. I slowly began to recognize this feeling. It was the one I had when we drove away from the orphanage the first time 14 years ago without the children, as we were sent home to wait. I had it again ten years later as I boarded the plane without my child when again, I was sent home to wait. I hate this feeling.

Then I got home. Later Tim followed and he seemed so upbeat. He told me it would all work out just fine. He couldn't hide his excitement. It was hard to be down with him so excited. Patience is something God uses I have always been told. One day I will figure out why. It really isn't my strong suit, but I will try. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Story of Us

Well, here I sit, 14 years after our first adoptions knee deep in paperwork, scurrying around the house once more preparing for another social worker visit. Looking back, it is easy to see God's hand in my life, but having children didn't start quite so clearly. There was infertility, poking, prodding, crying, and overwhelming disappointment. Then in 1996, an adoption of 2 beautiful children from Russia who are now teenagers learning to be themselves and testing out their own wings in life. Then, in 2006, God spoke to me. Another child He said. It was confusing to me. How was all my prayer time taken up with this? I was still infertile, Katya and Jack were 10 and 12, how could this be? Then, Tim got the message too. We both had no idea how this would happen. We couldn't afford it again. Then, the sudden death of Tim's mom. Through the sadness, Zachary came along from Russia too. He now sleeps soundly upstairs and has brought so much joy to us. These things we were prepared for. God provided the money, the method and we were comfortable moving ahead.

Things aren't so easy now. We were offered a baby from Haiti months ago. We thought it over, again, not sure about the financial part. We prayed with our church group for guidance. Then, the sermon. The sermon about money. We all know about that sermon each year. Somehow this was different. The pastor suggested that we were only given money by God. God wanted to see what we would do with it. He further suggested we couldn't out give God. If we gave faithfully God would provide. Tim poked me in the ribs and chuckled as he asked me to put a little extra on our check. We figured if we gave God extra He would give us the money for the adoption if it was meant to be. The next day, Tim was getting a bonus. An hour later a picture of the baby. He was beautiful. He was sick. Sickle cell they said. We researched and knowing he would have a tough time getting care here, we asked for his lab results to see how bad it was. It wasn't. Just the trait, he would be fine. God removed all the barriers, and we said yes and here we are. Still waiting on the money, loving our precious gift from God more each day and ever so impatiently waiting for him to come home. In fact, thanks to a good friend that is his name, Nathaniel (gift from God) with a middle name of Thomas after some other very special friends.

Did the money come? No, not yet. No bonus yet. However money turned up from somewhere else
totally unexpected. It is more than we need. It makes me wonder what else He would have planned for us! Lol!

So, why a blog? This is the story of how God is working in our lives as well as the story of adoption. So far it is quite a ride, but I have a feeling the ride has only just begun. Last week I learned that the children in the orphanage have a name for us white women who visit. We are Mama Blanc. I wear that title with pride.