Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Documents on the way!

Today we reached my favorite milestone in the adoption process. The part where all the documents have been assembled and are winging their way to Haiti. This was no small feat. Had been visiting family out of town and when I heard the documents were back from the consulate instead of lingering over breakfast we hit the road and got home. I raced in the door, assembled the final docs,then off to Kinko's. Really, making copies sounds simple enough until you consider five copies of each document collated and organized. I was so grateful to Jack, who at fifteen helped me do all of it while his little brother ever so patiently played on the iPad. The whole deal took us almost two hours to finish. Through the flurry of it all, at one point early on I looked up to see another child had approached Zachary. It was odd because there really wasn't anyone else there but us. The child was black and resembled Nate quite a bit. The boys immediately hit it off and began talking and playing. He was only there a few moments when his mom came and they left the store. Later Zachary said,"did you see him? It was Nate all grown up like me." the funny thing was Jack had already said,"see mom? That's what it will be like when Nate is home. I bet they play like that." The copy process was grueling, but somehow that made it much easier, one of God's little messenger to help us through.

When we finished there, it was off to a different place to mail everything DHL. That went off without a hitch and now we sit, officially in the waiting phase. So many unknowns at this point. Will the documents clear social services in the four to five months suggested? Will they get lost? Will the laws change? I decided, well truth be told, prayed a lot and decided, that really none of that is going to change me seeing my little Nate on August 12. Quickly approaching no matter what our documents are doing. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another blessing today!

And the blessings rolled in again once more. We sent off our USCIS application and it was received ten days ago. Today I got an appointment for fingerprinting on July 6. This is amazing. We had thought it would be not less than 3 weeks before we heard anything, then another 3-4 weeks for an appointment. This proves the one thing we are always told. God can move the mountain. I mean really, no one could have moved the beauracracy any faster! The trick will be to see if we can get our immigration approval before we go in August. That would be crazy. If we don't though, I am still amazed at all the progress we made in the last two days.

Tomorrow we go for a visit with my new great niece. She was born to very young parents in April, and I haven't gotten to meet her yet. She wil be closest to Nate in the family, so it will be fun to spend some time with her when I can't be with Nate. Otherwise, will be ever so impatiently waiting to be fingerprinted...again! LOL!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A stroke of luck!

When people describe the international adoption process as being up and down, they aren't joking. Today, However, was definitely up! I got several emails. One telling me our visit dates should be fine. That was a relief. Then, a very important email. Originally, the plan was as soon as our dossier gets back from the Haitian Consulate it needed to get to Haitian social services. We originally were given two options. One would be to wait until our orphanage director was visiting in the states in a month to send them to her while she was here. The second option was for us to hand carry our documents in August. Either way we are set back more than a month. Our orphanage director emailed today and did not want us to wait. She wants the documents right now. Apparently things are moving along. Maybe we will get a break and get our precious bundle home soon. So, me, being me, I quickly emailed a few of my praying friends and continued to ask for prayers for a speedy process. I am sure they will oblige. Nonetheless, I will be counting the days to see little Nate.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Ah yes, we are getting quite friendly with Fedex. Yesterday our documents arrived safe and sound from translation. I spent last night assembling the documents that need to go to the Haitian Consulate and they went winging their way there today. Tyne person I spoke with there last week told me they would be back in a week. So, hopefully this time next week, they will go off to Haiti. In the meantime the beat goes on in the Summers' house. Today, the boys competed in their first day of trampoline and tumbling nationals which just so happen to be located here locally this year. Zachary competed in his first nationals event, tumbling, and got a trophy for third place that is a big as he is! Jack flew through his double mini prelims and tomorrow will compete in the finals. I missed it because I had to work, but my wonderful 17 year old daughter videoed all the action for me. I couldn't help but to think about what this day would be like for Nate. Would he think his oldest brother flying through the air flipping was amazing? Would he like to watch Zachary on the podium? Would he cheer with me? Hopefully, next year we will find out.

When I got home from work, all three kids piled on to Zachary's bed to excitedly tell me about threat as I tucked him in. Katya told me about taking her baby brother to the mall next to the venue to buy him a stuffed angry bird, his favorite game. Jack shared about his trip to Starbucks and Zachary told me about his tumbling. I sat and marveled at how e green of them had functioned today, such a fun time. I thought about how different they all are, but together, they are this amazing unit that I am very proud of. I was able to look at the one corner of the bed that didn't have a kid. Nate's spot. It didn't make me sad though. Listening to the rowdy discussion it made me excited to hear what Nate might say. Yes, we are in for quite a ride!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Amazing 5 year old

Once again I find myself amazed at my five year old. Today, I took my boys to the mall. Jack at the ripe old age of 15 never seems to fit into anything and I find shopping for clothes to be as normal as going to the grocery store. That is another thing I have to do constantly with a 15 year old. Anyway, my youngest really isn't a big fan of being dragged from one trendy teenage store to another. So as we got through it, Zachary's big reward was to go to The Disney Store. We decided today he would pick out a toy for Nate. That way, Tim and I could take something special to Haiti from Zachary. It started out being a way for me to soften the blow of Tim and I going to Haiti for a few days. Zachary hates for me to go to Zumba, let alone be gone all together for a few days. I thought if I had to deliver a toy from him he would see the importance. I had no idea that he would show me how important all of this to him.

I let him lead the way. He carefully walked through the aisles ever searching. When we were looking at the Cars toddler plates and cups a nice salesperson approached Zachary. "Would you like to come make a French flag in honor of Cars 2?". She showed him the colorful flags. He said,"No, I am getting a new brother.". She looked a bit confused and I explained we were adopting a baby from Haiti. Zachary chimed in with,"His name is Nate." The salesperson actually teared up a bit. She then went in back and brought Zachary two Cars puzzles for free. She said one was for him and one was for Nate. In all, it took him quite some time to pick things out. He picked out a Cars plate in the shape of Lightening McQueen, and matching silverware that actually has wheels on the end. He took great pride in explaining how Nate will "vroom his fork" across the table. The funny thing was, it all matched my sippie cups I bought weeks ago. It is amazing to me how much he is like me.

With dinner ware in hand it was time to go and find a toy to go to Haiti. He searched high and low. Nothing seemed to work. I watched him completely understanding his emotion. It was like the day I had hunted high and low not really knowing what I wanted until I found Courdoroy. Then he saw it. A Sheriff car from the movie "Cars". Zachary explained he just knew Nate loved police cars just like him and he was going to love the "Cars" movie too. So, my little pile for Nate is growing. Courdoroy, the beach ball and now, Sheriff. Pretty soon we will have a date, a mere few weeks away. It makes me wonder if my little one has any idea what is coming his way.

Now for the next hurdle...documents need to arrive back from translation, that will be Monday. Then, off to the consulate. That will be another week, then off to Haiti for the enormous wait. Am praying God being God, will see fit to move that mountain. In the meantime, I will look forward to the 36 uninterrupted hours I will have with my little Nate in August.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Today, I got to spend more time talking with the other mom I recently connected with. It turns out we have more and ore in common. I shared we were studying Proverbs. I hoped the wisdom of Solomon would somehow exude itself in me. One can dream right? It turns out she recently studied Proverbs too. She was working on peace. We both have Bible study groups we belong to also. It really was a blessing to share frustrations of this process with someone who completely understands. So, to my new friend, thank you.

As I relished through this, a email! It is such a good thing my cell phone is always in reach, I don't miss a beat. Today, I heard I can travel after August 7. I have been sifting through travel sites looking at airfare when another email came. It contained every adoptive mother's favorite phrase,"Nate's health is stable.". After months of hospitalizations, diarrhea, anemia, transfusions and downright scariness, he is OK. I must admit, the selfish sideof me is thrilled he is fine. Now we can play when I go see him. The other night on our date Tim and I were challenged to buy each other a gift for under 2.00. We spread out through a pharmacy nd he cme up with a beach ball. He said it was to put in my suitcase so that I could play with Nate when we go. It is such a blessing to know he is healthy enough to play. I have tucked it into the bag with his stuffed corduroy bear and his photo album.

A second blessing today was Zachary. He rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. He was so excited. We cheered him on as he wove all over the street. When he triumphantly came in the house he was only worried about one thing. He wanted to be sure we saved his training wheels. He had to see where I put them. I told him he did fine and wouldn't need them, but he said,"We need to save them for Nate. He is just little." it was funny how his big moment turned into concern for the brother he never met. Even Jack offered his lawn mowing money the other day. Jack wanted to get a wagon so he could pull Nate and Zachary around the neighborhood.Pretty impressive for a 15 year old boy. Sometimes I get so into how I feel about this, that I forget how much his siblings love him already too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Good Surprise

Yesterday, I was a bit on edge. Shocking, I know. The thing is international adoption is chock full of uncertainty. The inability to have any real control over anything. Take today for example. At this moment, all of the documents I spent two solid months compiling are sitting in a priority mail envelope hopefully on the coffee table of our translator. I have not heard from him, so of course, I have that worry. Yet another pack of documents is in another priority mail envelope at the USCIS office in Texas. I am hoping that this is soon to be processed, but again, powerless. Then, my biggest worry...when do I get to meet my amazing Nate?

Then, a surprise. I got an email from my coordinator with an attached email from another mom. She is awaiting her adoption too. She got word her baby is sick and is anxious to go. She wanted to know if anyone was going to Haiti soon. She didn't want to go alone. So, we are picking dates in August. My coordinator remarked on how neat it was to see how God brings families together. As the day marched on I realized how true that was. As the other mom and I talked back and forth it turned out we had a lot in common. She is excited to show me Haiti and she hopes I can help her with her baby's medical needs.

It just seems that the more we travel through this process, the more facets come into focus, and for the second time I began to think that my original thought of just a blessing for me, a baby, was so small in God's plan. I was overwhelmed by Nate's mom, now by the job I have been given as medical advisor to a baby that isn't mine. I only hope I can do it justice. I guess I will have to pray on that a bit. But still....am making plans to see Nate!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Date Night!

Tonight, Tim and I had a long overdue date night. Our church has a program called "The Great Date Experiment". We picked up the packet at church and we were not allowed to open it until we left home it had all the instructions including where to go, what to do and even what to talk about. After 17 years of marriage I wasn't sure we needed this, but all our friends have done it and raved about it. So, off we went, packet in hand. We did just as it said, and really I learned so much about Tim. We got to talking about things we hadn't talked about in a long time. We talked about where we would live if we didn't have family or jobs to consider, what we liked best about one another and about what things in our lives God would be proud of. There was much, much more. It reminded me that through all the adoptions, moves and twists and turns our lives have taken, once upon a time it was just us. A nineteen year old who was fresh on the heels of her parents' divorce and a twenty year old who was fresh on the heels of the sudden death of his father. It is what brought us together, grief. At the time our friends were partying and care free, we were serious. We were coping with tough family issues and demanding majors, me in nursing and him in pharmacy. I really couldn't have fathomed where we have ended up and the blessings that would rise from our story.

Tonight we got to celebrate our lives together and excitedly talk about the new chapter, Nate. We sifted through the pictures again trying to guess his personality from the 15 or so photos I have of him. We ultimately came up with that we firmly believe he is a goof ball. I have a picture of him on all fours appearing to roar like a lion, I have one of him chasing bubbles around the yard, and others of him making faces. I think we ultimately decided he is already part of us. A perfect match for the other four goof balls that live here. In all, after 17 years and many, many evenings out, best date ever.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Picture Changes it All

I would seem that things are moving along. I got our home study yesterday, I filed with USCIS today and tomorrow I will go to the capital, get some state seals and ship the whole thing off to translation. Through it all though, I find myself feeling frustrated. I keep emailing the orphanage director and our coordinator to try to schedule a visit with Nate and I can't seem to get an answer. The closest thing I get is,"we will play it by ear."it turns out there are other folks who need to travel too and trying to get things arranged is not always easy. I get all that logically, but my emotional side is maybe not as rational. I just want to see my baby. To make matters worse, I have worked a lot in the last two weeks. We are short right now so I have worked a lot on little sleep and maybe am a bit more irrational than normal. Lol!

So, today I was working at the front of the trauma center screening patients. It is a nice easy shift before I embark on a much needed 5 days off. As I am flipping through my email inotice a link from someone I had not met who belongs to the group we are working with for Nate. She had just returned from Haiti a couple weeks ago and had posted all of her photos. This is not an unusual type of email, but what made this different was all the photos were of the children in the orphanage. There he was, Nate! Smiling, playing with bubbles, laughing. He was ok. He even had a haircut since I saw his picture last. The best thing was they had a picture of him, arms stretched wide, smiling looking like he just wanted me to pick him up and laugh. It made my day. Somehow, I had forgotten that God does see my frustration. He sees how hard the waiting is and he sent someone I had never met to show me Nate is healthy, happy and waiting for us with open arms.

I was so moved I emailed said stranger. I told her how much her photos meant to me. She immediately answered me. She couldn't exactly remember which child was Nate. She wanted me to label the photo because she would probably have some stories to tell about him when she figured out which one he was. There are about 12 children there, so I understand how easy ot would be to have them confused. Again, I was reminded of God's grace. Why would this stranger go to all the trouble of decoding who this was just to be able to give me something to hold on to? Most people would have just said,"you are welcome" or "he's cute". Instead, she wanted to give me more. She also wanted to hear where we were at in the process and I believe she may be adopting too. God shows up again. Today I got not only a picture but a great supporter and a direct link to Nate. Just what I needed in a time of frustration. I can't wait to hear back from her!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Just What I Needed

Today, I worked twelve hours at the women and children hospital. In case I haven't mentioned it, I am an emergency room nurse practitioner. I work in 3 hospitals, one a trauma center, one a pediatric/women's hospital, and another primarily heart hospital. Today, we were business as usual, waiting room full, ER full and a completely overwhelmed staff. At one point, I was asked to show a resident how to glue a head wound shut. I dropped what I was doing and headed for the room. In there was a two year old little boy who had jumped off his bed and hit his forehead on a dresser. He had a little cut to be shut. At first, I wasn't very excited to go. I was busy, drowning in things to do, I didn't have time for this.

I opened the curtain to e this beautiful little boy. He had a pacifier in and immediately started talking to me. I sat down and listened to his tale of his boo boo. He kept asking me questions,"What's that?"he was asking about the gauze and the tape and the glue. The only thing was with the pacifier the words all ran together, and the saliva ran around the pacifier down his chin. Usually, I try to talk to my little ones a while before doing anything so they won't be afraid. As I started to clean his head it dawned on me this one was exactly Nate's age. I also began to realize that maybe this extra patient in the midst of a horribly busy day was there for a reason.

I found myself really paying attention to what his speech was, mom eventually took the pacifier out and I found his words were just about as slurred without it! After all, he was two. After his head was glued he helped me clean up the supplies,"here's zis" he said as he handed me things. When it was all done, he hadn't cried at all. There were so many little things that reminded me of just how a two year old was. Desperately trying to communicate, enjoying interaction with someone else and that feeling of importance when he was helping. I needed that reminder.

The thing is the stages pass so quickly in children I forgot exactly how a two year old was. I guess just getting the chance to spend some time with this little boy reminded me of things to come with Nate. In the end I got to supply him with a pediatric patient favorite a "Wed posikle" (red Popsicle). Thus making his day, or so he thought. The reality was he made mine.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Angels among us

Here it was. The fabulous FedEx envelope I have grown to love. It was our psych eval, typed, notarized, sealed and delivered. I really thought this lady must have been too good to be true. I guess that is kinda the way the world works these days. That old saying,"If it seems too good to be true it probably is" really shapes society. I guess no one informed the old saying people that sometimes someone who seems too good, just may be that. Good. God does have angels floating around, and this time we were just blessed enough to find one.

I found another one today. It seemed pretty unlikely when I first saw her, but as we talked I learned so much. She stood before me, all 5ft10, 250 pounds with her hair cut in a bob to her chin and dyed bright pink. She was the daughter of my patient occupying the ER cot between me and this woman. The patient gasped and coughed and had become quite confused because her oxygen level had dropped so low. The daughter went on to intelligently explain her mother's medical problems. Her COPD, her previous lung cancer and her diabetes. She was well versed at each hospitalization and her meeds, it was clear she hadn't left her mother's side. She smiled as she said her mother was not expected to live for six months after her diagnosis of lung cancer and she had lived 7 years. The pink haired lady described her children and how she loved it when people thought her mother was her sister. She could think of no greater complement as her mother was her best friend.

Why is this important? Well, I am not sure I would have necessarily taken the time to see such an angel before Nate. Nate is our first child of color. As I work through this process I find I see people differently. I used to see a person like this and have a preconceived notion of who they were because of their hair or skin. I began to ralize a while back, people will have preconconcieved notions about Nate by virtue of his skin. I have been more aware of what impressions people have based on appearances. I also have a feeling that this single truth is only the start of things that Nate was put in my life to teach me. I think we are in for quite a ride!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whirlwind days...

Well, the last few days have been a whirlwind. After multiple emails back and forth with the orphanage director and our coordinator I learned that Nate's birth mother has already given up her parental rights legally. I just admit, this looming over was a bit daunting for me. I also found out she visits at times and Nate is fine when she is there, then cries for a minute or two when she leaves, then he goes back to playing with the other kids. I wonder what must be going through Nate's mind as she comes and goes. Does he realize what has happened? Probably not. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. To think that he doesn't realize this is his mother coming and going may be an ok thought, but to think orphanage life is just normal is hard to swallow. Really nothing is easy about any of this for Nate. It just makes me hope things move quickly so we can give him a family.

Tonight was one of my favorite weekly events. Dinner with Zachary. We sat at Bob Evans waiting for his brother to finish his trampoline practice as we do every Wednesday. I tried once again in vain to explain the actual rules of tic tac toe. I watched the corner of his mouth turn up as he pretended to get it, then announced he had won because he had three X's together. Never mind that they weren't in a row. He understands the game, he just likes to win. Www laughed and laughed. I treasure our dates, but tonight I got to looking at one of the empty chairs and wondered how it is going to be when Nate is sitting there. I started to discuss with with Zachary. He excitedly told me that when Nate comes to Bob Evans with us he will teach him tic tic toe and share his ice cream. He's excited. I am glad. It is not always easy to give up being the baby, but in his mind, he's traded it for something much more important, being the big brother.

Otherwise, we finished our psych eval yesterday, social worker Sunday, then seals for the documents and off to translation!