Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Aftermath....

I guess you could say today was the aftermath of Christmas. I spent time picking up stray bows, scraps of paper left behind, and for dinner eating leftover ham. I must say that maple Dijon glaze I made was pretty tasty the second day too. I could not help but wonder about Grace and Alex. They spent a wonderful Christmas with their Nana and their orphanage siblings. I got an amazing picture of Grace reciting a poem at her school party. Here she was with her hair all done in two braids parted in the middle with colorful barrettes. She wore a little skirt and shirt and I could not help but notice the floral keds I bought her. She had her fingers in her mouth as three year olds often do when they are nervous, but there she was up in front of her whole class. I looked through the faces in the class and knew many of them from previous visits.  I studied their smiles and again was reminded of all that they share.

I let my mind wander to Zachary. On his last day before break, they had a party too. He loved telling me about the singing, the artwork, the treats.  There were friends woven into every tale he told. Today he even asked how many more days until he could go back to school because he missed his friends. As I put it all together I wondered what it would be like for a stranger to take Zachary someplace new. A new house, new family, new school with nothing familiar. This is what we will do with Grace and Alex soon. I was once again overwhelmed in thinking it through. One of my fellow, and very wise, mamas talks about helping her daughter through the grief of leaving their old family for hers. I see this coming into focus more and more for us, as well as the value of maternity leave to help them to feel secure.  I am so grateful they will have each other.  A familiar face in the overwhelming world of newness. I am also grateful for the network of mamas so they can remain connected with their first family.

I know that they feel the aftermath of Christmas perhaps in a different way today, but it is my prayer that their day was wonderful with their Nana and their orphanage family.  I have a feeling next year will involve the magic of Skype!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Readying for Christmas

This has been a very busy week for me. I once had a friend tell me,"my husband believes in Santa too.  He wakes up Christmas morning and believes the whole event happens by magic.". I guess the same could be said for my husband. I take the helm for Christmas and make it happen. To be fair, he has so many other helms to manage and I love doing it. So, I spent the week shopping, wrapping, and in the case of tomorrow, baking. This is kind of a hard week for me because I am terrible at containing myself when I find the perfect thing. The thing that will make the kids go crazy with excitement. I found that thing. Even though I have seen the reaction a bunch of times, i never get tired of the oooo's and ahh's.  That really is a gift to me.

I must admit however, the were some rough periods. I found myself browsing the Barbie aisles for Grace and the toddler aisles for Alex. No need for that stuff this season, and the reality is I have lots of homecoming stuff for them anyway. There was that family situation I mentioned earlier that continues to require a great deal of prayer. Through the midst of the difficulties, I put myself to work making a list of all things that were good about the babies being in Haiti. Here it is:

1.  We have very close friends who have laughed and cried with us and mostly prayed with us through every minute of this wait. Miraculously, they now just may have an opportunity to adopt as well. I cannot help but wonder how God's timing has nudged their hearts too.
2.  Today, Grace got to have her Christmas party with the teacher at her orphanage. This is Grace's first time in school. She has learned to wear a uniform, learned to function in a classroom and today got to celebrate along side this amazing lady.
3.  On Tuesday, Grace and Alex will have their last orphanage Christmas. I do not know if their parents are coming or not, but if they do it is their last holiday with them. I pray their birth families will come, as they are amazing people who selflessly are sharing their children with me.   More importantly, they have come to know our coordinator as Nana. She has been a focal point in their lives. She not only single handedly processed their adoptions, but held them through skinned knees, and hard times. This is her holiday with them.
4.  As for us, this is our last holiday as is family unit. The last time our house will look like this, not a bad thing, just that life will change dramatically soon.

I am sure there are a million different things that are so amazing about Grace and Alex still being in Haiti, but one thing is for sure, next year we will have a million blessings to count with them here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I have really liked our sermon series at church. Our pastor has talked about the paradox of Christmas. Identifying with the sacrifice of the birth of Jesus compared with our quest for stuff in shiny packages. Today, he discussed joy and sorrow of the season. This really spoke to me, especially the sorrow part. It reminded me of all the people who cannot be with us this Christmas for one reason or another. I thought of the babies, relatives and friends etc...  However, the suggestion was to surround the sorrow with joy. This reminded me of all the Christmas traditions my children have come to depend on. Things that give me great joy to do.

One of my favorites is known as "WFSJ's".  This refers to my tradition of purchasing special Jammie's for each child to wear Christmas Eve.  In my mind these are not just any Jammie's. They have to have a special meaning. There were the Ohio State Jammie's for my Ohio kid, and the Star Wars Lego Jammie's for another kid etc...  I like the Jammie's to be reflective of who they are. This year I got awesome and unique Jammie's, however cannot share what they are as one of my children reads this!  Jack has taken the wfsj tradition and added a Santa hat. He has to sleep in a Santa hat Christmas Eve too, another tradition that has spread to the other kids too. In fact, today we had to be sure we knew where the hats were.

Then, there are the presents. Each year the kids each get a stuffed animal. These too have had themes like last year when they all got giant Angry Birds. They each get a Starbucks mug, which in all reality is more reflective of me lol!  Probably the most fun thing is baking day. My mom always put Johnny Mathis on the stereo and we rolled out cookie dough and  decorated them. I carried this tradition on too. It was always funny to me that when the children were very little we ended up wo just two or three cookies with two pounds of decorations on them and the others were plain. They would carefully see how much they could get on the one cookie, painstakingly taking forever to do it, then lose interest. Well, that or have a tummy ache from eating too many sprinkles and frosting. The important thing was they established the ever important cookie for Santa.

So many things help us to celebrate the Christmas season aside from this.  There is spiral cut ham, heart attack potatoes, kids in Jammie's all day, Christmas movies all afternoon, and a relaxing mom and dad. Yes, I will take joy in all of this in the coming days, and dream of the days the babies will be here to enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Praying for a Christmas Miracle...

What a busy day today.  I spent the first part of the day running errands, trying to do some Christmas shopping, then, well, I gotta be honest here, I did briefy get a manicure.  I will admit I am trying to be a reformed short nail girl.  I have placed myself on a strict regimen of gel manicures to promote nail length before Princess Grace comes home.  There are two reasons for this, first I rather enjoy a good hand massage and a few minutes break during these busy days, besides I am pretty sure I will have little time for this when the babies come home.  The second reason is I am trying to prepare myself for my girly girl coming home.  She loves clothes, nails, hair and all things girly.  As the manicurist carefully painted my nails I let my mind wander to the times when Grace and I will go together.

As for the rest of the day, it was spent cleaning out closets and throwing things away.  I would love to say that I have some impressive decorating feat that I accomplished, but mostly just tried to create room for new things and got myself covered in dust and Pledge.  However, I did get to use some power tools at one point mounting molly bolts, that was pretty exciting.

Mostly, I spent my time praying.  Asking God for a Christmas miracle.  Today, we are essentially at month 22 since beginning this journey.  We have had a total of three referrals, only two of whom are coming home, countless delays and crazy circumstances.  Now that we are nearing the end, we pray for a Christmas Miracle.  This step historically have taken families 2-8 weeks, however I heard last week of three families flying through in 9 days.  If that happened for us, we would be done with this step next Friday, right before Christmas.  Much as we would love things to work out that way and give us our perfect Hallmark holiday, we realize this is in His hands.  He has shown himself in so many ways through this adoption, the way the money came about, the constant communication through Zachary, the addition of Alex to our original plans, all of it...He will show himself again, whether it is a Christmas miracle or not, it will be His miracle and just as great.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Crazy News

This has been a difficult few days for us. We have had some private family issues that have shaken us to the very core with an incredible amount of grief. Through it all, I found myself questioning what God's plan was for us. Why the adoption delays? Why these other issues. Through it all, I found myself strangely attracted to a song that I listened to quite a bit in the last few days (odd, me, a It is "I Surrender". I guess somehow I felt that if I listened to it enough times, I would be able to do it better. Surrender is so hard for me. I did find myself saying over and over that I was giving these situations to God. I had no control over either and that was all that was left to do.

Just yesterday, I learned that must be what He was waiting for. Waiting for me to trust his word is true.  It was Tim's birthday and I asked our coordinator to send him a new picture. She posed our babies with Grace blowing him a kiss.  She also shared our adoption decrees are done. Legalizations are done and we are off for final review in the Ministry of the Interior. I never dreamed we would be here so soon. I never dreamed this would be the week these children were actually mine. In fact, as I found out I was at work with a coworker who was so excited for us. She had goosebumps. I could not muster the excited reaction. I was just so dumbfounded I think I just blankly stared at her. Even now I can hardly believe that after considering this journey and getting things moving almost two years ago, they are actually ours.

Today as I busied myself with getting things ready for the babies and tried to put my head around them being home soon, I continued to ask God into our family situation and surrender that to Him. As the song goes,"I lift my burdens up to you, your loving Grace will see me through"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Parquet Court take four...

I realize people who read this blog are left hanging. The fact that I gushed on and on about the location of Grace's mom and her triumphant return another time to parquet court that was to take place yesterday. Well, anyone familiar with the government in Haiti would probably not find it surprising that it did not happen. Grace's mother went to court only the commissaire was not there and that is who she needs to meet with. In the end we learned the commissaire meets with parents on Wednesdays. So, she is going tomorrow.

Despite the repeated delays, this woman that ins Grace's mother continues to amaze me.  Although nobody could get a hold of her for weeks, the minute they found her, she came. She is willing to stay in PAP as long as it takes. Yet, in the end, she is giving up her child. I guess I should be aggravated with this little delay, but I am not. I can only imagine Grace's mother spending what will likely be the last prolonged period of time with her before she joins our family. How it must be saying goodbye. How it must be to look at Grace and imagine what she will be as she grows up. Yes, over and over again I am humbled by this woman who so bravely is giving up this little girl for us.

The reality is when we chose the name Grace it was for selfish reasons. We felt that it was God's grace bringing us this little girl. It was neat that Ann means One of Grace, which is my mother's name, and my middle name. As time marches on, I have learned Grace is a great deal more than what I ever dreamed. Spending time with Grace's mother, unable to communicate due to a language barrier I could feel her pain as she sat stoicly watching her little girl scream,"daddy!" as she ran across the orphanage to jump into Tim's arms. She bravely sat next to me as Grace would play on and off with me, and although my heart broke for her, no tears were shed by her on that day. Ignoring her own feelings, giving her precious daughter a life she could not provide was a form of grace I have never seen up close. To hug me and say thank you was grace. I have a feeling her name will be the epitome of her story, rather than a neat name we liked.

Tomorrow, she will go to parquet again. She will stand before a judge and be asked again if she understands Grace is being adopted. She will be asked again if she agrees, and knowing her she will gracefully agree and sign, thus ending her involvement in the adoption process. Although I pray for a good outcome tomorrow, I pray for God to ease Grace's mother's heart and make tomorrow go quickly and easily for her.

As for me, I am learning more that despite delays, despite frustrations, "Your Grace is enough for me."

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Early this morning I woke remembering all the things that were not working. Grace's missing mom that has dragged on for weeks, and now the house. My mother-in-law's house that we were so excited to finally close on after seven years is not happening this week after all. I guess when the person who communicated the info to us heard the 6th, he thought it was December, turns out it was January 6th. Now, I have to hold off getting the house ready until after the holidays. So, I laid in my big comfy bed, snoring lab mix curled up next to me and contemplated just pulling the covers over my head until everything gets better. To be honest, I spent my prayer time yesterday asking God why on earth he would choose me to do this adoption thing when I clearly could not handle the wait.  Ok, maybe it was a bit of a pity party or just a reaction to being asked some really ridiculous adoption questions yesterday. My favorite was a woman who asked me if my oldest child was "real." I carefully explained all of my children were real. Is it that she thinks adoption means us parents hit the local Toys R' S and pick out an imitation child and adopt them over the Internet like a Cabbage Patch Doll. Or is it more like Pinnochio?  Do we find a puppet we like and our years of longing for a child magically turn a marionette into a real child. Her ultimate answer was,"well you know what I mean, biological."

I really wanted to start a tirade on the realness of adopted children and God's direction in their lives and ours. I did not though, I walked away. So, that only added to my desire to pull those sheets up tight!  I then heard from a fellow mama. She felt the same. We have been through a lot together. Her Haitian referral died the same week our first referral was claimed by his mom and after months our first adoption was cancelled. Turned out she too was in her jammies, praying for better things. We commiserated and after a good cup of coffee I decided to do what always seems to relax me. I was going to cook an epic meal. This is our first weekend off together, Tim and I, in weeks. His birthday is this week and I thought what a way to kick it off. I pulled out the iPad, and dug through some food network recipes and started to construct my meal. Then, Zachary and I set out to get ready. We ran some errands, played some Christmas music in the car, and ended up at the grocery store. I busied myself picking out the perfect rosemary, fresh thyme and a nice cut of beef  when my phone dinged. Email, much to my surprise it was from my coordinator. It said only this:  CAN YOU BELIEVE GRACE'S MOM IS THERE :).  Yes, complete with smiley face. I had to ask for clarification. She is with our coordinator and will spend the night tomorrow and go to court Monday.

Just like that, it is over. Just like that, my good meal turned into a celebration. I carefully seared a beef tenderloin and baked it while I reduced a red wine sauce with fresh thyme, shallots and celery and cocoa. I carefully diced up some purple potatoes and roasted them with garlic and salt, I threw some flour and yeast into the bread maker and made fresh rosemary bread. It was finished off with green beans and a Cesar salad.  As always, I loved tinkering in the kitchen, but there was something that made it even more special. Tim spent my time cooking practicing his songs for praise team tomorrow. Over and over he tinkered with the same song adding and subtracting things until he had it just the way he wanted it. How fitting that he would play,"it is well, with my soul, it is well." Yes, it certainly is.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Stockings

This week our house has started to look a lot like Christmas.  My oldest son is essentially a Christmas junkie. He started opening boxes and little by little we have hung things up. It is funny how I can look at decorations and remember each little story. There is the advent calendar wall hanging made by my step mom. Yesterday, I carefully filled each pocket with exactly two pieces of candy. Usually there are three, but my oldest has to make weight with the military. There is the Hummel crib set. It was left to me by my grandmother.  My mom has a story behind each piece. For example, my mom had bought Jesus, Mary and Joseph for her parents the year she graduated from nursing school. There are the pieces that are not Hummel, but added later by my grandmother. There is a ceramic springer spaniel, their favorite breed of dog. I think in their minds if there was not a springer in the stable when Jesus was born, there should have been. Loving my lab mix like I do, I can understand that.

Perhaps my favorite decoration is not up yet. It is our Christmas stockings. When I was a little girl my grandma made me a stocking. It was hand knit with my name on it. When Tim and I married, she made him one, then when we adopted Katya and Jack, she made them one too.  They are all different patterns and my grandmother was so dear to me. She was an adoptive mama too. She adopted my mom. I always felt connected to her from that. When we adopted Zachary, she had passed away. Then, Tim's favorite aunt knit one for Zachary too!  She was a special lady too. She never married and spent her life caring for everyone else. She cared for her parents until they died, then cared for two aunts until they died, then moved in with my mother-in-law when my father-in-law died. She cared for all of us.  She shared her faith and her tremendous knowledge of literature. She loved to tell stories and my children and my niece and nephew would gather at her feet as she spun the tale of "The Pirate of Dun Dirk Dowdee" or another such tale. Yes, Zachary's stocking reminds me of all our wonderful times with her.

So, that brings me to my dilemma. Both of these special ladies have passed away. I must admit that I have looked at stockings for Grace and Alex. I have found beautiful ones of all sizes and materials. Yes, they are pretty, but I have grown attached to our hand made stockings, imperfections and all. Then, I had an idea. I texted mom. I asked simply this,"how confident are you with your knitting skills?" I had remembered being a little girl in the 70's. I remembered Mom wearing a multicolored caftan doing lots of things. She had an herb garden, she baked bread, and was what we would now call "crafty". I remember her doing macramé, and knitting. I have not seen her do that stuff in many years, but I know it is in there somewhere. The thing is mom was not well. She had cancer last year and had a breast removed, followed by chemo and radiation. This was all overshadowed by years of back pain making her essentially immobile and on medications that changed who she was. Two weeks ago though, she had surgery. Surgery to fix her back. She can now walk, pain free. Her canc is gone and my mom has returned. She is anxious to knit these new stockings for the babies. We both got a little tearful as we discussed how grateful we were that she is finally well enough to think about enjoying her grandchildren.  We get to make plans for the babies, together.  As for mom, she excitedly talked about a knitting store she knew of and a friend who could help her renew her skills.

When we finished talking it dawned on me. I am not the only one God is preparing. The people under this roof are not the only ones God is readying. He is preparing mom too, and I am so grateful. For now, Grace qnd Alex's stocking holders will remain empty, but I know when they arrive, we will have a good story to share with them of God's healing to their grandmother (ok, she cannot deal with the term, lol! So, God's healing to their Bubbe).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not the News We Hoped For....

Well, it has been an interesting day. Tim has emailed our coordinator twice this week, and after getting no answer, I bit the bullet and emailed her too. One thing we have learned about Haiti is that "later" takes on a whole new meaning.  "Nothing to report" translates to unanswered email. After 20 months of this journey I have grown accustomed to these things, however, at times my American heritage, i.e. info on demand, gets the best of me and I simply need to hear the actual words,"nothing to report".  S, I carefully crafted an email, laced with complements (which in all honesty were heartfelt as negotiating the Haitian system is very difficult, yet our coordinator perseveres), and encouragement as she becomes frustrated too. Much to my surprise I had an answer immediately. Grace's mother was located and the man brought her to Rachel to finish out our court process.  Only one issue, it was not Grace's mother. Our coordinator explained to me she had a similar name and that was the reason for the confusion. That led me to wonder, although I did not ask, why would this mystery woman come to participate in an adoption legal proceeding that quite obviously was not hers?  The village is very far away from Port Au Prince, a 12 hour walk, and a 6 hour tap tap ride after the walk.  Where did this woman think she was going? And for what?

As my curious nature mulled this over, I was informed by our coordinator that she did in fact, find the man who had originally brought Grace's mother. He was to get back to our coordinator late this afternoon. I did not hear anything after that, but there are some things that have stayed with me. First, our coordinator encouraged me not to lose faith. This is moving under the hand of God even if the answers are not here in front of us. At that moment, I was once again reminded why we work with this woman. Her relentless work on our behalf plus her unwavering faith have guided us through. The next thing that happened was the solicitation of prayer from my fellow mama blanc's. The outpouring in a matter of minutes continued to encourage me.

Ultimately, I texted my husband. He was working late. Somehow, we are both ok. Not thhe news we were looking for, but oddly we have the feeling that once again, God's plan is bigger than we have thought. So, we are pressing on.  We are busily making plans for the big house overhaul that starts next week and getting excited to see what is coming our way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time to Nest

Seven years ago, my mother-in-law passed away. As terrible as it was, we were able to take our inheritance and adopt Zachary. It is funny, but at times he will tell me he misses her, "Nana" is what she was called. He never met her, however somehow it is as if he knows her. There are many things about Zachary that just leave me to not question.  There are just things he knows that could not really be of this world.  Given his love of Jesus that oozes out of him at times that lead us to believe there is certain knowledge he has that we don't.

Anyway, the second part of her passing was her house.  We inherited it jointly with my brother -in-law. We have had years of renters, failed sales, maintenance and headaches. Our current renter has been "getting a mortgage", well, it has now been 3 years. It has been difficult to not be frustrated with the endless delays. Today, we heard we are closing next Thursday. Seven years of waiting, and it will be done. The money is coming right at the right time. In time for our last adoption payment, and in time for me to nest.

Time to do things that cannot be taken back.   I have a bedroom to paint pink with Princess Tiana stick ups, plus the enormous castle stick up!  I have another room to put bunk beds in and overhaul into the Angry Birds room I mentioned before. Yes, it is time to pull out all the stops and prepare. I mentioned the other day not committing my whole heart, well as of next Thursday it is time to start down the path of committing my whole self to my future babies. I think to mark this new chapter, I will start with a whole gallon of pink paint.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The news out of Haiti this weekend was not good. Grace's mother has tried to come for her court appointment once already and it was cancelled. First it was Hurricane Sandy throwing a tree literally in front of the vehicle my coordinator was driving, then the court was closed all together. Then, there was some cell issues after the storm and they could not get a hold of her. Last week a man was paid to make the trek to her village to tell her to come. She was told, I had understood she was to come last week, but yesterday I heard they are still waiting on her. We have been stuck in this phase of our adoption for four months, while other families have long since moved on.

I keep hearing the song "Everlasting God". It starts,"strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.". I have to say, I don't really feel stronger, just frustrated and impatient.  So, to combat this I began to concentrate on other times in our lives we were asked to wait. There was the infertility. Each month seemed like torture. Then, our first adoption. We waited through that. I learned at that time that the infertility was necessary for God to bring us to adoption. Waiting through the first adoption was difficult, but in later years it made another adoption seem feasible, when we felt the call again. Having a younger child, as Zachary is 10 years younger than his next sibling opened the door for us to consider these Haitian adoptions so he would have siblings closer to him in age. I guess I could say through the previous waits I learned to be confident in the process and paperwork and dispel any worries I had about bonding with an adopted child, and this time children of a different race.

I suppose I will just have to see what this torturous wait is preparing me to do. One thing I can count on though is He is, just as the song says, the everlasting God. So, praying this everlasting God will show us some mercy this week and bring Grace's mother.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


As anyone who knows much about my worship life will tell you, I tend to listen to God's message to me best through Christian music. Somehow, certain songs will speak to me and I am hit with an understanding of something I may be struggling with or wondering about. This whole music speaking to me is a bit ironic however, as I cannot carry a tune myself, nor play an instrument. I have been blessed with an extremely musical husband however.  I am guessing that is God filling the musical void left in my own talents.

Nonetheless, yesterday, I found myself herring the song,"He Loves Me", by David Crowder. The song says,"He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his winds and mercy." this always makes me think of Haiti. They have hurricanes all the time.  The trees bend, fall, things are destroyed, the water from the rains seems endless.  I began to consider how it was God's love could be compared to such a destructive storm. The Haitian people do not seem to consider the destruction though.  They pull together and push on, rebuilding time after time til it becomes the norm. We have seen Haitian people carry hundreds of pounds on their head, living with disabilities such as elephantiasis, watching children die, and living without food.  On our last visit, there was a brief storm. It coursed free flowing water multiple inches deep in the streets of Port Au Prince. Traffic did not stop, nobody seemed to notice. We just drove through the fresh river that was the street five minutes prior as did the rest of the traffic.  Yet when these people gather on Sunday for worship, they are dressed as if they are going to a wedding. Their clothes are fancy, dresses for the women, suits for the men.  Many of them walked from the tent city where they only had water.  The service we attended was not air conditioned. It was stiflingly hot and the church was packed to the rafters. The Haitians sang with their entire soul, hands were raised and some people were openly weeping. The next part of that song compares God's love to an ocean, and if so, we are all sinking. These people made that ocean and made it a wonderful place to be with worship.

I have been asked tactfully, and at times not so tactfully, why two children in this season of my life?  As one not so tactful relative said when referring to my children (now ages 18,16 and 7),"you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you keep snuffing it out." He was referring to my continuation of parenting, when I suppose he felt I should be done. Yes, I realize this my not be convenient always, or easy, but the hurricanes in Haiti are not convenient for them yet they bend with the trees under God's mercy. It is my time to bend too. The good news is, through all the challenges that lie ahead, I am convinced my new babies will drown in that ocean of God's love right along with me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Considerations

I realize that in general my job as amateur blogger requires me to recount things I am thankful for on this day. However, as most of my readers have come to realize God is revealing to me Grace and Alex's perspective. In keeping with that I took some time to think of the things they are likely thankful for. There are the things I think they would both be thankful for. The most important is a lady they call Nana. Nana is my coordinator.  She runs the orphanage, she coordinates our adoption and I swear this woman never sleeps. I have no idea how she accomplishes so much.  From the babies' perspective though, I have watched their interactions with her. She picks them up, swings them around, hugs and kisses them until they squeal and kisses the boo boos. She has created a beautiful orphanage and introduced them to God. They are bonded to her and for that, I am SO thankful!
I also believe Grace is quite grateful for food. One year ago she was at home in her small village. Food is scarce and water came from a stream. Babies died all the time as the population starved. Now she gets three meals a day. She has learned to love peanut butter and eats beans and rice like a truck driver. I see the growth in her and how she has come to life this year with good nourishment. Alex has never had food as a concern as he was only days old when he came to the orphanage. Nana has taken good care of him.
Most people would probably guess they are thankful for being adopted, but the reality is they have visitors all the time and given their ages we are simply a face in the crowd at this point. They likely are grateful for the other children. Our orphanage truly is a family and all the children behave like siblings. They laugh together, have their favorite games they play, certain sings they sing and yes, even argue.
As I stuffed my turkey today, it suddenly dawned on me that it would be so great to cook like this for the orphanage. To sit around the table with the nannies and Nana and all of the babies and express my gratitude for all these people have done for Grace and Alex. For the life that Nana created for themtwhen their parents could not. Here I thought I would grieve the empty chairs at my table this year, and as it turns out, I am grateful they are there enjoying what they have in this moment. We have a lifetime of Thanksgivings with them, they have precious little time with their current family. So, although Haiti does not celebrate Thanksgiving, I am sure that they are sitting around the table made up of children brought together by God enjoying their meal of rice and beans laughing at one another or even singing. I can almost see God smiling down on them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This is Real...

It seems that an eternity has passed since we started this journey. Months and months of waiting, months and months of red tape, delay after delay, some man made (cell system failure), some divine (2 hurricanes) somehow, I found myself not really allowing myself to see the actuality of the situation. Call it the professional adopter's distance if you will. It is that place I take myself in professional settings. I am a nurse practitioner in the ER. I see tragedy every day.  It is that wonderful ability I have developed after twenty years in medicine to be empathetic in the moment, yet put it in a neat little box on the shelf next to the ER door when I leave. I cannot really explain it, but it is a mechanism that allows me to love what I do without doing me in emotionally.

I think if I were truly being honest perhaps I have done that to a certain degree with the adoption as well.  Don't get me wrong, I love my new babies so much, and I cannot wait until they come home, but I have not given them my whole heart...not yet. Oh, I buy baby clothes (yes, one of my favorite activities) but there is that part of my brain that says if it doesn't work out, these can be donated. There are the items I have bought for the rooms, but then again Zachary picked out the theme for his and Alex's room (Angry Birds). So, I have an extra comforter, it is still in the package and can be returned as can all the stuff for Grace's Tiana princess room.  So, me giving my whole heart has not happened yet. Until now I have given myself an out.

Today, I was reminded that "the mountains are steeper and the valleys are deeper than I ever dreamed." Steven Curtis Chapman's wise words. Until now I hung to those words. I accepted this very difficult journey as it has been more difficult that I ever imagined. Today though, I got some news. Alex's adoption decree is just about done and Grace's is not far behind. Her mother is coming to sign off on it "this week". She has been wonderful, walking through two hurricanes to do adoption things, never giving up on providing Grace with a future with us. I am amazed by this woman. I met her on our last visit and although we could not communicate at first as I do not speak creole, her pain at giving Grace up was palpable. So, with this final signature, we enter the last phase of the adoption.
Simultaneously, God has provided us the final funding, and yet again, the curtain on God's show pulls back just a bit more.

With all of this, suddenly, I am able to open that box that holds the rest of my reservations and fears and slowly be able to let them go, and realize I have once again become a mother, this time a true mama blanc, and I can finally begin to accept Steven Curtis Chapman's next line of the song,"I know we're gonna make it. I know we're gonna get there soon."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So Lucky

"They are so lucky!" How many times have I heard this. People say this all the time when they hear my children are adopted. I have had a standard answer I have used since our first adoptions in 1996. It is, "No, we are the lucky ones.  This was not a selfless act.  We wanted children and God brought them to us." yep, I got that one down pat.  Through my prayer time though, God has brought a differ notion to me, maybe it is just a change in thinking, or maybe I am just tired of the same old answers. Nonetheless, in the last few days I have unpacked this automatic pilot answer and began to really think about it.

First, I thought about luck. What does that mean exactly?  Luck. I think in our society people think they have escaped poverty. They now have opportunity. In Grace and Alex's case they are leaving a country where the average salary is $250 a year.  If she were going to remain in her village, Grace would soon be carrying water to and from the stream. There would not be school in her case, simply moving into the role that girls take.  First water getter, eventually clothes washer, child care provider and just basic survival. Alex would have been better off. His village has school and he just might have had some better opportunities should he overcome one basic obstacle, his mother's ability to feed him. She cannot. Yep, they are lucky, by our standards.

There was something nagging at me. I began to consider all the things they have been through. Grace was an infant when the earthquake hit devastating the whole country. They have been through multiple hurricanes, lack of food, no electricity, on and on...I began to think about that they just may have gone through more in the first years than most adults. Yep, seem lucky to me...or do they?  Maybe it is not so simple.

What if tragedy after tragedy was normal?  Hurricanes and poverty are a way of life for them. It is all they know. As another wise mama shared with me (yes, Denise, it is you) these children grieve. Grace lived with her mama until she was two. She was given up, separated from her siblings. Alex was given up at birth, the orphanage children have become his siblings.   We are blessed to have a wonderful coordinator my children call Nana, they will lose their daily contact with her too.  No, poverty and natural disasters sound terrible to us, it is their normal, and they will be losing all they know soon to join us. 

Yes, I realize they will appreciate all of this one day. They will understand the difference between being raised here versus Haiti, and I even think one day they will feel lucky when the grief passes. For now, and for a time when they come home, yes, they will be lucky but not for what they are gaining. They are lucky to have one another. Lucky to be able to share their grief and travel through unchartered waters together. I have never understood God's plan for us to adopt two children at this juncture, I just tried to be obedient. Maybe, just maybe, now that my sticks are put down as I mentioned in my previous blog, and I have joined the audience and waited for God to lift the curtain on his show (not mine) I am starting to see God's fireworks, a special bond these babies will always have. Instead of my boring old spinning plates. Ok, so I always thought my ability to multitask was superhuman with my amazing spinning plates metaphor.  Turns out my show is quite amateur-ish. I guess I will let Him continue to hold my sticks a while. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reflections from the Great Wolf

Six years ago, our family suffered horrific tragedy. Three deaths in 15 months of close family members.  My mother-in-law of a spontaneous brain bleed, Tim's aunt who lived with her of multiple medical issues, and my sister-in-law of a freak accident. All the sudden, our Sunday dinners ended, our holidays would be be changed forever. So, the first Thanksgiving we needed a good distraction for the kids. We checked in to the Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park hotel. Our kids have come to expect this trip annually around Thanksgiving. So, here we are, swimming, eating, and generally having fun.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the family hot tub trying to picture what this trip will look like next year. I see in my mind's eye Grace and Alex in the kid section going down the short slides. I see them in the water section playing in the fountains splashing around in the bathing suits I have already bought. The princess suit for Grace, and the shark suit for Alex. However, as I am enjoying this notion I am looking around at the other babies and children with their parents as they play when it hits me...they are all white. Grace and Alex are not. Through this thought I am suddenly reminded of all the things I have read about transracial adoption. Here we will stand out. Will it seem strange to Grace and Alex?
Will they realize they are some of the only black children?  I began to realize it was time to start practicing all those clever answers that I have heard to the inevitable questions...Where are they from?  I have decided to answer with:  Heaven. God sent them to us.  Aren't we lucky?  To the stares:  I know, it is hard to stop looking as they are so beautiful.   

Hmmm...seems as if it is time to go back and retread that stuff as I just heard Alex's adoption decree will be done this week. Grace will not be far behind. It is overwhelming to me that this is now becoming real. Guess I better get to work preparing to be their mommy. Well, will work on it more tomorrow. For today, I will work on enjoying the hot tub as I have a feeling next year I will be a bit busy for the hot tub!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Long Absence....

Yes, I realize it has been five months since I posted last. The reason for my posting absence I guess is best explained by simply this...the waiting has been very difficult. It has become like the movie Groundhog Day. Every day just like the last, every step another stumbling block.  However, today it is my birthday.  It is time for reflection. Truth be told I have been reflecting for some time now and feel I have finally gotten a handle on things.

I was talking to a friend several weeks ago and described my function in life like that guy that spins the plates on a stick. Each family member has their own stick in my metaphor and I am spinning those plates:  making dental appointments, doctor appointments, homework help, meetings with teachers, discussing relationships and solving teenage angst. Then there is the housework, bills, pet care and the cooking. Spin, spin, spin....that's me. For the most part I love it. Master plate spinner. Oh yeah I got it all handled. That leaves the things I do not have handled...Grace and Alex.

We finally went for adoption business and a visit in July. All went well and it was great to be with  them. We left Haiti optimistic that things would roll along from there and we would be bringing them home for the holidays. Then, the first hurricane hit. Grace's mom was late for her birth parent interview as a result and they rescheduled her. For two months later. Then, hurricane Sandy hit and she missed her court appearance as they closed court. Then, the phone system is having problems and they cannot find her now to appear in court. We are on terminal hold until they can get word to her to come. Then, in the midst of all this, Alex's mom although she has made all her appointments, had another baby. Wow! Really?  So, to be honest it has been a daunting few months on the adoption train.

That leads me back to the spinning plates. In my mind, I stand before God with two empty sticks waiting on God to start the plates spinning. I actually had this image in my mind until Sunday. My pastor described a difficult circumstance in his life when he was able to realize his circumstances belonged to God and it was our job to trust Him. At that moment, I realized these pretty babies are not mine. They are His.  I needed to trust Him. I realized it was time to surrender their sticks, take a seat in the audience and wait for Him to reveal the real show. Somehow I think it may bit just the slightest bit more amazing than spinning plates.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Steep mountains..

Finally, something regarding the adoption worth posting! On Friday, I received a very simple email. It was three sentences: I have better news for you. Your file is out of IBESR. Praise the Lord. It was signed with just the initial "R". Rachel. Our coordinator. I always thought about what it would be like after 11 long months, one referral, a second referral, losing the first referral, a third referral, and the endless hours of waiting. How would it be to finally be out. To be honest, I had been working late nights last week. I worked 4p-4a. I slept at odd hours and took some cat naps here and there. I wondered as I read it if I was actually awake, or was I dreaming? I did everything I would have normally done under the circumstances, I called Tim, texted other relatives, and oh yeah, kept seeing patients. I was at work. In the last few days I have been afraid to blog about this. I was afraid it wasn't really true and somehow I am still waiting. Yet, every day when I look for the email to read it again, those same three sentences pop up in my inbox just like before. So, yes, it is true, we are out of social services. So, now what? I get to go see the babies so we can see the judge! As all of this reality hit me I found myself just in tears. It was the culmination of exhausting painful waiting and true joy as I begin to see our dreams become reality. This brings me to my latest Christian song analogy. Steven Curtis Chapman recently came out with "Long Way Home." I listen to the line,"the valleys are deeper and the mountains are steeper than we ever would have known" and it rings so true in this adoption. However, in true Steven Curtis Chapman style, he does not leave this listener in the deep valleys and steep mountains instead he says,"I know we're gonna make it. I know we're ginna get there soon, He's gonna lead me home." hearing the ibesr news, reminded me that God's gonna lead my babies home. This mama cannot wait to hold tho babies tight at the top of that steep Haitian mountain.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why are these Arms So Empty?

For a while now, this wait has been excruciating. Yes, it has always been hard. There are those quiet moments I can almost see Grace and Alex at my side, it is as if I can just about touch them or hear their laughter. It used to be those moments made me smile. Then, all at once, they did not. They made me angry. Angry the children were not here, angry I could not see them, just angry. I have spent some time trying to figure out why the change. Why all the sudden, did these arms seem SO empty. In the last few days, I have figured it out. It is not just Grace and Alex's absence or lack of adoption information. It is my children here. On Friday, my daughter will graduate from high school. It has been a very long road with her with many valleys and steep mountains to climb as we fought long and hard against her emotional issues stemming from her first few years that were not with us. Soon, she will leave this home. She has signed with the Air Force. Although she is the right age to go, she has fought so many demons I just maybe am not quite ready to let loose of her. Somehow the mama bear in me wants to shield her from a world that was so unkind to her in the beginning, but how? How is this mama bear any stronger than a young lady in a starched blue uniform standing tall? I no sooner wrestle with this, that I realize Jack, my 16 year old is within days of getting his driver's license. His increasing absence has already started. He is flying on his own, out with friends and talking about college. Our oldest still does not drive and was more of a home body, so this is new for me too. Somehow he must have sensed this, although I try so hard to hide it, as he texted me to pick him up last night to spend some time with me. Nonetheless, I see the end for him too. As I thought through all of this, I realized this Mama's arms don't just ache for my little Grace and Alex but for my Katya and Jack. The good news is, through my time spent in prayer and working through all of this I was reminded of lots of things. I remember bringing Katya and Jack home for the first time. She was three and he was 7 months. She worked so hard to learn English and I remember her trying so desperately to talk to me. "Bert and Ernie?" she would say so I would put on Sesame Street. Then there was her trying to teach me Russian. My favorite story was her teaching me her name. We thought it would be easier to call her Katie. We tried when she first came home, then one day it was,"No, mama, KATYA (pronounced Katcha).". She then indicated I was to repeat after her. Lol! There was my first mother's day when Tim taught her to say happy mother's day in her thick Russian accent. Somehow, through all of that our steep mountain climbs didn't seem so bad. Then, I also began to see, it is almost time to do all this again. Two new babies, a new language, first "I love you's", first tantrums, first fears, first joys. Now, all the sudden, I can enjoy my quiet moments again. Although the last few weeks have been hard, God has blessed me with my special little Zachary. He seems to be that happy constant. He is happy in my arms and has soothed that achy arms syndrome that hit so hard. Somehow, I think that is his gift. He is preparing for his new siblings' arrival by talking about all the things he will teach them. Most importantly yesterday he told me that he would teach them about Jesus. Somehow, I think he just might.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Wow. Mother's Day. Where do I even begin? The flurry of emotions surrounding this day is just amazing. I guess I could start at the oldest kid and work my way down. My oldest is now 18. She has been a challenge. We have had many steep mountains and many deep valleys to quote Steven Curtis Chapman. The reality is she is graduating in a couple weeks and has signed with the Air Force, so chances are this is her last mothers day here for a while. Then, there is Jack. It is his birthday today. He is 16. It seems like he was just 6. Today, he was driving my car. I was really touched by him this weekend. On Friday, I was shocked to find out he had no plans. No movie, no friend's house to go to. We went to frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks and I asked him what was up? No plans? It was then he shared over a cookie crumble mocha frappuccino, he did have plans, but he just wanted to be home a night...with me. We watched tv and popped some corn and I felt quite blessed to have him. I must admit, it was a bit bitter sweet as I realized college was racing toward us like a freight train and he too would soon leave. Then there is Zachary. Six year old Zachary. He presented me with a framed work of art where he carefully drew me a palm tree and a dolphin and further sea scape, "Love Zachary". It said. He sat on my lap at the restaurant and told me "today is a perfect day.". He started making summer plans with me like the pool. He excitedly told me he could not wait to be in the deep end this year. Ah yes, he will be here a while, and for that I am grateful. Through my happiness over this six year old who sees the sun rising and setting over his mama, I couldn't help but miss my Grace and Alex. I wondered if they even knew what their life will be or if they know how much this mama misses them. That thought was also, a bit rough to wrestle with. However, god, being God, sent me the one person who could bring me the message I needed. It was Tim. Our church generally plays contemporary Christian music for worship. Tim plays keyboards, and through communion he plays something a bit more subdued for that important time of reflection. Today he played a hymn I knew so well. "Ask and it shall be granted unto you....Allelulia". My first thought with this was how much I missed my mother-in-law. When she was alive we all went to church together. During this song Tim, his mom, his brother, and his aunt would sing harmony. Even though my mother -in-law and his aunt are now gone, I could hear their singing and it somehow felt comforting. As I heard the singing in my mind, it dawned on me the words...ask, it shall be granted. It reminded me through the difficult waiting, I just needed to be faithful and it will come. I still miss my babies, but am grateful for a husband who gave me what I needed today. Oh yeah...he got me amazing flowers too! Here we go, off to another week of waiting, hoping for good news.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I realize I have been a little lax in my blogging lately. I guess I just like to blog when I have some inspiring thought or something amazing in this journey happens. The reality is the journey is not always that amazing. In fact it is downright frustrating and heartbreaking at times. So, I guess at times I just don't want to say,"yep it's Monday. No I don't have any news, and yes it is making crazy." Ah, but alas, God steps in at what always seems to be the very last minute. Just when I am done with the frustration, just when I want to give in, and think how is it I can put one foot in front of the other? Yesterday was one of those rough mornings. I had dreamt Grace and I were in a drug store. She was wandering down the aisles in the make up section oohing and ahhing at the colors. We carefully picked out the right shade of nail polish and I remember thinking to myself how fun it would be sitting at her toddler table giving my girl a manicure. Then...I woke up. In my bed, my girl many miles away with my baby boy. Wow, awful reality check. I drove to work, praise music blasting, hoping to put my mind in a different place. When I arrived at work, I checked my email and there it was. The message from the mama who brought her baby home yesterday. She emailed to say that she had kissed all the babies in the orphanage from their Mama's. I can see her doling out kisses, intentionally, one by one, baby by baby. She said Alex smiled the biggest with his mama kiss. Somehow he knew the kiss was from me. Then, there was the Facebook comment on my newest picture of Grace. The look on Grace's face I must admit was that of a diva. She had a new hairdo and seemed a little annoyed with the camera. The other mama laughed at how our girls there, who are buddies, are both such diva's. I thought of my dream then and the nail polish. Suddenly, it was no longer the disappointment it started out to be. My disappointment turned to excitement as I thought about Alex's reaction to his mama kiss, and how my dream was right on with this beautiful little girl. I was able to put one foot in front of the other by thinking about manicures, pedicures, hairdo's and Grace's future in the world of shopping and high fashion. I flat out smiled as I pictured my 5 ft 10 husband wit his 50 inch chest crammed into a toddler table playing tea party with her and calling himself Mrs. Nesbit. As I began to see the light it dawned on me...we need a toddler table. I better get busy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Mama!

We are now back from our annual vacation to Florida. We always rent the same house for spring break in the Fort Myers area. We have been renting this house for seven years now and have found all the things that we love to do. There is the day bike ride through Sanibel Island, Vanderbilt Beach in Naples, a day shelling cruise and several other things. There are our favorite restaurants, and reliving the memories from years past. This year we did all of that, but I found myself more contemplative. It is reminiscent of the vacation year before Zachary came home. I spent a lot of time trying to envision what it would look like next year. First, our oldest will not be with us. She has joined the air force and has committed for four years. She will leave for boot camp probably this summer. Second, there will be the addition of Alex and Grace. I looked around at what we would need to worry about safetywise, the pool, potted plants, sliding doors etc... I paid attention at the beaches to see where strollers would work, and where they wouldn't. I looked at the menus at our favorite restaurants to see what they would eat, on and on...

One thing though that made me smile all of vacation was the resurrection of the game,"My Mama". This game began when Zachary was about 3. He is very bonded to me. He loves my lap, and to snuggle in bed and always wants to be close to me. Jack was the same way, and when Zachary was younger, Jack would run across the room throw his arms around me and say,"My mama!". Zachary would then come running and the two of them would try to see who could be closer. Zachary, although now he is 6 was more clingy this vacation. One of his friends was recently hit by a car an killed. It has been hard on him and he just feels better being close. Nonetheless, it sparked off the my mama game. Jack is nearly 16 now, but still loves to tease his little brother with it. Anyway, one night Zachary told me he had developed a strategy for when the babies come home. Zachary would lay across my chest so Alex and Grace could lay on either side of me. He said they were little and needed mommy too. He went on to explain Jack could lay on the floor as he was now big. The whole thing was just funny.

Then, we came home. My fabulous friend Whitney, living in Haiti sent me a picture of Alex and Grace. She apologized as it was maybe not the best picture of them. It turns out they were both wanting to sit on her lap and the picture was the result. Alex's face was quite close, and Grace behind him looking a bit unhappy. I disn't care that the picture was not the best. It got sent immediately to Tim with the simple caption,"Ummm...I think we have two more players for 'My Mama!' nothing would make me happier.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A while ago I talked about "only in Haiti". In that entry I was able to uncover some equally strange "only in America" folk remedies I had seen recently. In keeping with that, in the last few months I have bore witness to something that is fairly commonplace in America. Four months ago, I switched hospitals. The company I work for staffs five local ER's. I was asked to help in a new place and I jumped at the change of scenery. It was in this place that I became acquainted with a patient I will call Phil. Phil lives in the lobby of the emergency room. Most folks probably would not give him a second look as he looks fairly ordinary. He sits day after day in the corner, not usually bothering anyone. He spends his time watching TV and will leave at times to pick up his social security check or go get some beer. He apparently drinks fairly regularly outside of the hospital. To be honest, it took me a couple of shifts to realize it was the same guy in that corner. I finally asked someone who it was. Was he a patient who just kept coming in to be seen every day? Was he a visitor? No, he was simply home. Phil is schizophrenic and homeless. He has lived in the lobby for 15 years. Yes, there are days he is a patient, which was where I spoke to him for the first time. Phil needed someone to cut his socks off and care for his feet. One of my coworkers who knew him better went with me to do this. We kindly explained to him that because he was always in shoes, his feet were constantly wet. This was why his skin was breaking down on his feet and his socks had to be cut off. She reminded him he needed fresh socks each day. He seemed to understand. In fact, he proudly explained his shoes, which were in good shape. He had bought them himself at Walmart. They were real leather.

During the conversation I found myself trying to take in the enormity of it all. To never have the ability to remove your shoes because you simply have nowhere to go. Things got rougher for Phil though. A few weeks ago he was being seen as a patient and had a big outburst and broke some computers. He was asked to leave for a while. This too, was a pattern in the past I came to learn. Well, it was cold out and in an attempt to keep warm, Phil went to an underpass and lit a fire. He lost his balance and fell into the fire and ended up in the burn unit across town. He was there a couple weeks. One day, I went in for my shift and there he was in his usual corner, in blue scrubs, as his clothes had burned in the fire. This would not last long though, as Phil disappeared last week. No one seemed to know where he was. Through the last few days I was amazed at the number of folks who knew him. There were police officers out looking, the bank had said he didn't pick up his check, the Rite Aid staff said he hadn't picked up his medicine, and a few of the nurses, who as it turned out had visited him in the burn unit, had not seen him either. Yesterday, we got our answer. Phil passed away. He was found a block from the hospital in an outbuilding.

Although Phil did not have a traditional home, or proper long term mental health placement (only in America), I can't help but to be amazed at how many people he affected. The funny thing is, I really don't think Phil had any idea that he affected anyone, but he did. I have worked in many hospitals in 20 years of medicine, but I have never seen a hospital ever allow a homeless person live in the lobby, or send the hospital shuttle to take a person to the pharmacy. So,achieving that is major in and of itself. He made people want to serve and help him, and his imprint will be in our emergency room for a long time to come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Someone is nesting...only it isn't me!!!

Nesting.  I have blogged about this before, be it the time I felt the immediate need to have sippie cups on hand in case the babies would come through the door at any moment and would have no means of hydration unless I had the cups on hand, or the time I had to have baby bottles because I needed to be ready to go to Haiti on a moment's notice and I was going to be prepared.  Then, there were the nights after recieving Grace's referral when horror struck and I couldn't sleep until I knew everything there was to know about her hair care products.  This too led to an urgent shopping trip to Sally Beauty Supply.  I suppose in retrospect, none of these things were urgent, but once again I felt that I was being proactive in being prepared for the babies to come home.

Today, brought with it a different kind of nesting.  Actually, I should say it really started a few days ago.  First, there was the web search, then, the drive by, then, the test drive, then today, what arrives in my driveway?  A new suburban.  Yes, Tim bought a new car.  I must admit it was with a bit of nostalgia that I bid  a fond farewell to the old suburban.  It has seen us through six years and 200,000 miles.  I remember buying it.  It was the summer of 2006.  Our paperwork was done, we were waiting to get a travel date to Russia.  We were waiting on our adoption of Zachary.  Tim was so insistent we "needed a big car".  So, he found this suburban that looked like a big red bus.  It has taken us to Florida, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Chicago, Kansas City....on and on.  Many trips have been made in that with many memories.  Probably my favorite memory was on Thanksgiving Day 2006.  We were met at the airport by the big red bus as we held our new little toddler in our arms for our whole family to meet.  They had brought the bus because we all fit and everyone wanted to ride with Zachary.  As we drove home we shared lots of stories and enjoyed the love of our close family.  Two of those family members have since passed away, perhaps that is what brings on my nostalgia. 

However, as all good things must come to an end, I somehow think Tim's zeal for the new car was his way of nesting.  It was his way of preparing for the next chapter to begin.  He excitedly talked about how he was going to get the DVD player installed "for Grace and Alex."  Not just any DVD player mind you, the headrest DVD player,"they need that."  He said, with just a little twinkle in his eye.  I must admit, I am not a huge car fanatic, but somehow seeing the shiny big silver bus in my driveway and hearing his excitement, made it sink in that I was not the only one missing the babies, and ready for them to come home.  Tim is ready too. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Blessed Diaper Rash Update

Ok, this mama spent the morning taking care of Grace's rash. Many thanks for the wonderful invention known as email. Whitney emailed me the picture of the rash and between her amazing ER nurse skills and my clinical skills we were able to spitball through the differential diagnoses yeast, versus contact dermatitis, versus impetigo. We settled on contact dermatitis to be treated with a combination of desitin and antibiotic ointment to stave off secondary infection. Through this I learned something valuable about my Gracie. She is potty trained already throughout the day. So proud of my little girl. I also found out potty training there is a bit different than here. Gracie wears a dress each day and squats outside or in a little bucket. I have a feeling our ginormous toilet with that huge suction and running water will scare her to death. Note to a kiddie potty prior to the babies coming home.

This reminds me of a funny story. When Zachary came home, he had an intense fear of running water. His first bath in the Marriott in Moscow consisted of a screaming toddler clawing at me to get out. His fear lasted quite some time. We went through a period where we finally pushed him to flush the toilet when he was done. This became a rather funny thing in our house as he tried to conquer his fear. He would get off the toilet pull his pants up, check the hallway to be sure it was clear, flush and run. We had to get him to the place where he could stand to be in the bathroom with the bathtub running, this took a while too. He kept saying,"I'm gonna sink out!" we never quite figured out what this phrase meant, but it is one we use at times even now as a huge source of family humor. Even Zachary laughs about it. Who knew swimming would be his favorite thing in the whole world? Ah yes...fears of orphanage children. I wonder what Grace and Alex's will be? One thing is for sure, two if our children were afraid of water, one was afraid of never having food, and one had a huge fear of thunder. So, if it is any of those we are prepared. Anything else will require on the job training. I think we are up to that challenge!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Diaper Rash, Such a Blessing...

I know, a strange title. How is it a diaper rash is a blessing? Well, it probably has not gone unnoticed that my blogging has not been as regular as before. I guess that is mostly due to the complete lack of interesting information. No updates on the adoption, just torturous waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. I really cannot impart any words of wisdom in that situation let alone try to celebrate it or convey any magical joy. So, I kept my dismay to myself. Then, today, a diaper rash.

Whitney, who is living in Haiti and checking on my beautiful babies a couple times a week emailed. Grace has a diaper rash. She gave me her thoughts and promised to send me a picture if I was ok with that. Being a nurse practitioner, yes, I need to see it. I was able to throw on my clinical hat and get busy throwing out treatment options. There is lotrimin for yeast, or talking through diaper wipes versus water if it appears to be a contact dermatitis, or the benefits of zinc oxide versus a and d. Yeah, that's right, I was going to beat back this diaper rash. So, here i sit waiting til morning to get the picture so between Whitney, my nurse friend and myself we can treat this effectively.

Through all of this, I became acutely aware how excited I was. The dulldrom of an awful wait as one day bleeds into another, the sadness that seems to come in awful waves as I miss these little people I quite honestly barely know, all suddenly broken by a diaper rash. An awful painful diaper rash. I get to make my baby better. I get to figure it out and monitor her progress through my angel Whitney's eyes, and just be momma. It dawned on me this is what us momma's do. We treat diaper rashes, we wipe snotty noses, we clean up late night puke, and wipe the boo boo's. There are a lot of days I scoff at the unglamorous side of being a mother, but today, I got to be an unglamorous momma to Grace for the first time. So, yes, a diaper rash truly is a blessing to me.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mother Nature

Last night, my world was turned a bit upside down as the news of another earthquake hitting Haiti ran across my computer screen. The news said it was a 4.6 magnitude quake. I knew the big one was a 7 but still. My thoughts went to Grace as it occurred to me that in her just over two years on the planet she had already been through two earth quakes. I suppose at this point her world rocking and rolling is somewhat normal. At first, I was angry. Why another quake? Why would my children go through this again? I learned the quake was in fact, right where they are. Then, I found I was angrier. How much would they have to endure before they come home?

I then spent some time thinking about the big quake. At that time, I felt God had another child for us. I was frustrated as we are completely infertile and there didn't seem to be other opportunities and I couldn't understand God's message to me. Then, the quake hit. I watched the footage night after night. I saw the children in the streets and wondered if one of them was to be mine. I started looking at Haitian adoption. It seemed the wait times were four and five years. As drawn to it as I was, it just seemed impossible. Little by little though, the plan came into focus all leading me to this point. I suppose I have the first earthquake to thank for getting my attention, despite the devastation it left. I am having a hard time processing this earthquake though, it makes me restless and worried about my babies. The good news is, they are fine. I am now just praying that the papers keep moving so that my babies do not have to be rocked by mother nature, rather by this loving mama who misses them so much!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Empty Arms

I realize it has been a little bit since I blogged last. I suppose I was waiting on some sort of divine inspiration. The reality is, it just wasn't coming. I felt the emptiness of my arms as this paperwork drags on, and our court date just doesn't come. This is the dark side of the adoption process. The times nothing seems to be working and the thought of waiting more months becomes so insurmountable I can hardly breathe. However, God being God, would not leave me in this place for too long. Today, I reached out to Whitney. She is the missionary living in Haiti who visits my babies every week.

I was in luck! She answered me right away. She saw Grace and Alex today. Alex kept her entertained with his smiles and easy going personality. Grace was clingy and a bit tentative about sharing with the other children. This always worries me. In her pictures she looks sad. I have heard about her clingy issues before. Until now I was able to chalk it up to grief. She lost her family on that far away mountain top and is now in this strange place. Although she is fed well and well cared for, it must be so confusing. Different groups come in out with little consistency and lets face it, none of these white American adults look like her. I have spent evening s worrying and worrying. Would she be ok here? Would she bond? What is it going to be? It adds to the frustration in the wait despite all of my research on attachment strategies. Then, Whitney gave me a simple reminder. She pointed out that Grace being clingy meant she wants someone to hold on to. It means she has attached before, so my job will be to remind her how to do it again. Again, a happy thought. I thought about the gift that my work has become. A new hospital, a better schedule and a very generous maternity leave to cocoon in with my baby girl, and her beautiful brother. I guess I have no real adoption news, and it doesn't make the process any quicker, but I have renewed hope that all will be ok. As I mulled all this over, courtesy of Pandora, well I would actually like to give the credit to God, I was reminded,"strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Would You Do?

I suppose the running theme of this adoption is "wait." Fill out papers, wait. Visit the babies, wait. Complete one step, wait. On and on it goes. Many times people say to me, "How do you do it?". "How do you stand it?". These conversations will end a lot of the times with the other person saying,"I couldn't do it." usually this leads to accolades to my ability to perservere, as if I have some special skill they don't. I really don't I am just stuck here with nothing else to do but wait. It is not a special skill, more a special variety of frustration and longing to have my babies home. I am very good at getting entangled in this mix of emotions, as a lot of us mamas are.

Today, however I was a bit embarrassed by my entanglement as I was provided with Grace's story from my special friend Whitney. Whitney is a wonderful Christian lady who is living in Haiti for the next few months. She visits my babies every week and is often my eyes and ears. Yesterday, she learned Grace's family lives deep in the mountains. Her mother walked for eight hours, then commissioned a tap tap, which is a truck of some sort with seats placed in the truck bed. Tap taps are all over Haiti and used to get from place to place. Her tap tap ride was eight hours after her eight hour walk to drop off Grace. She has many children and cannot feed them all, so she sacrificed Grace so she could have a better life. I have always said I could not give up my child, but I think about my little Grace in her birth mother's arms walking. There are not fancy strollers there or safe walking trails, just gravel and a mother's arms. What must have gone through her mind through all those hours? How is it she persevered and did not turn around and bring her home? In my mind, her desire for Grace to live was greater than any discomfort she may have had or grief she must have felt. Her commitment to Grace did not end there. So far she has undergone court proceedings as she gave up her rights, and a host of paper filings. It makes my persevering through a long wait almost seem like a joke.

When we named her Grace, it was due to my strong sense of God's grace through this process. This story reminds me once again how she will continue to teach me grace. Once again, that Matt Maher song echoes in the corners of my mind through the pain of the wait,"Your Grace is enough, your Grace is enough, your Grace is enough for me."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jesus Prom

Tonight I went ahead with my plans to cure the adoption funk by serving. Plans changed a bit, and Jack couldn't go due to a birthday thing we forgot about, but the plans got better. Late this afternoon, I found myself all dressed up headed to church with this man, also dressed up riding along. As we crossed the bridge over the river by my house, it dawned on me...I was on a date with my husband. Yes, he and I went to the Jesus Prom to be paparazzi for the 300 guests. God had quite a few surprises for us today. First, I was approached by a young couple at church who have found God leading them to adoption. I cheerfully shared everything abut our orphanage and prayed for them as they work through their discernment. I remember trying to work through that and it was such an amazing time in our lives. My husband and I got to reminisce about that on our way to the dance.

When we got there, we found many of our church family and friends both old and new. We all got to stand on the sides of the red carpet as many special needs individuals filed in. The women who were aged 7 or 8 all the way to their 50's or 60's. They wore beautiful gowns, and some were sitting with our hair and makeup team getting all ready. On the carpet we had an interviewer who stopped them as they walked through the sea of photographers and asked them questions about dancing and if they were ready to have fun. From there they were escorted to their formal pictures and into the room. Many of the men were in tuxes and some of them spun around showing off their best moves. One of the gentleman did a mean Michael Jackson imitation. From there, they were served dinner, then our very own Tracey Tolley and his band played awesome music! The dance floor was packed. I think the best was watching the teens of our church escorting guests down the red carpet and serving the dinner and dancing with all our guests. I swear we had the longest conga line ever. In all, just seeing all the joy from the guests and all of us there really did cure the adoption funk.

In the end, I got a nice meal out with my husband and some friends, which made for a wonderful evening. I think I just may be able to face another week in the wait. Besides, our rockin praise band started the service today with my song..."Strength will rise as we wait upon the are the everlasting God."

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Cure for the Adoption Funk

Yes, that's right, as the title implies I have what I affectionately refer to as the "Adoption Funk".  It is those periods of time where there is literally nothing to do.  No papers to fill out, no notaries to get, no nothing.  The only thing to do is wait.  In the wait, there are plenty of questions,"When do they come home?" or "What do you know?"  I always wished I had a good answer to this, but I never do.  One of my friends, who knows me well asked me yesterday,"How do you stand it?  How are you this calm?  I don't think I could do it."   She said.  This I had the perfect answer for,"This is all fake."  I said.  Fortunately, this is a wonderful Christian friend who I can be perfectly transparent with.  And so it with the Funk. 

Then today, a cure.  I have found the only thing that really helps with the funk is to try to find something else to keep busy.  In my world, this generally means doing something for someone else.  Today, I had the great honor of volunteering for The Jesus Prom.  It is an event put on by our church for children with special needs.  We put on the whole deal, hair and make up for the girls, roll out the red carpet, live music and a catered meal.  I really wanted to be part of this.  So, today, I got the schedule cleared for Sunday and texted the head of the event.  I told him to put me where he needs me.  The answer I got made me so excited.  I get to be a member of the paparazzi.  I get the honor of taking pictures of all the participants as they come down the red carpet.  At that moment, I knew what else I needed to do.  I asked my 15 year old son to accompany me.  He is a wonderful child who does so much for this family.  He is so thoughtful and loving, but has never really had the opportunity to serve God on anything like this.  He is nervous about being there as he is not sure what to do.   I remember feeling that way too.  In the end, I will bring him to serve along side me.  My baby boy  (ok, he is 5 ft 8, and has a learners permit to drive) serving God on a bigger scale for the first time.  I decided it is one thing to help me shop for Christmas boxes, or donate clothing, but another to make a human connection in the name of God.  I feel so lucky to be able to stand along side him as he experiences it.  What a gift.   

With that, my funk is now gone.  I get to spend my week praying God will move him to see how he can be used.  I also pray he will feel the honor of being part of this amazing event. I can't help but wonder if this event is part of the teaching God is providing me in this waiting time.  As my brother said, my wait for the babies will be up when I learn what God is trying to teach me.   I think God must have something in mind for Jack too.  We planned to take him to Haiti when the babies are ready to come home, perhaps this is his time to start to learn to see God's mission for him.   In the meantime, I also get to remember my babies this week as they prepare for their own big event...Carnival!!!  It sounds like an amazing Haitian tradition coming up next week.  Hmmmm....perhaps I will fight off next week's funk with learning more about that!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Imprints Part 2

A few blogs ago, I likened my Haitian babies to my dining room table. I felt that all the nicks and scratches in my table were the imprints of my current children. The dents where Zacharybliked to bang his forks, the melted wax where Jack, who likes candles at dinner had some wax spill over one day, on and on, each mark reminding me of some event that left an imprint on my heart. I felt that my Haitian babies are busy now making their own imprints. God has work for them in Haiti right now in who they come in contact with and how they affect other people before they come to this forever family. At the time, it was a theory. Today, it is a reality.

Yesterday, I received a Facebook message from a friend of a friend. She was in Haiti last year at this time and had fed and held a newborn Alex. She sent me a newborn photo of herself holding my babies with words about him melting her heart. There it was. He had affected another person by just having her feed him. She expressed that it was good to see him again and to hear about his adoption. I felt her love and support for him to have found his forever family. There are times this wait is frustrating, ok most of the time, lol! It was nice to know that the children really are leaving their imprints in Haiti.

That being said, I find it overwhelming. This person held my son one warm January afternoon and she never forgot it. He was only two weeks old, unable to speak or communicate. He was simply able to quietly suck from a bottle, yet had such a huge impact on another person. It makes me wonder what impact he will make on us when he spends more than an afternoon with us and has the full power of speech. I have a feeling that we cannot even begin to dream up what Alex has in store for us.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another amazing person God placed in my path....

There are times on my blog I feel a bit like a broken record. I feel like lately I am constantly surprised at the amazing people God places in my life. Today, was no exception. First, however, I feel that a little background is in order. I have mentioned before that we moved to West Virginia two and a half years ago. At the time we were in a difficult period. First, we had three deaths of close family members in the course of 15 months. When we lived in Ohio, we lived less than a mile from my mother-in-law and my husband's aunt. Next door to them, my husband's brother and his wife and children. The ten of us spent a great deal of time together. We went to church and occupied a whole pew. Our children went to the same school. We had Sunday dinner, it was great. Then, my mother-in-law died, a brain hemorrhage. A year later, my husband's aunt died of heart disease, and three weeks later my sister-in-law from a freak accident. We were left reeling. We spent the next two years grieving, robotically going through life meeting day to day obligations. The, the crowning blow. Tim's job was getting iffy due to the economy and a fierce nuclear pharmacy market in Ohio. This led to the day he simply looked at me and said,"Hey honey, want to move to West Virginia?"

OK, hold the phone, had he lost his mind? It seemed crazy, that is until God made it clear we were to go. I can see now so many things that came to us as a result. He found us a huge house for a little house price. Why did we need this? Now we know. Two more babies. On and on, the money, the adoptions just making sense. All of it. I was telling someone just today, when things happen anymore I just laugh and know God is making life happen for us in His image. To be honest, I personally never could have pulled any of this off alone.

So, on to the person of my day. This is a person I knew. Her and her husband have a love for Haiti and have lived there as missionaries over the years. I always talk to them about their latest project as our church sends teams with her husband multiple times a year. I guess I always got so excited talking about their projects and our adoptions, that I never put together what the wife did for a living. She runs a Christian day care. I do need child care when the babies come home a couple days a week. So, by now you must be thinking well cool, she found day care. Yes, that is cool, but I did not mention she is fluent in creole. That's right, a creole speaking Christian day care run by someone who has dedicated her life to Haiti right here in West Virginia. Gracie will be almost 3 when she comes home and here I have been handed people who can love her and communicate with her right when she arrives. I had talked to her before church tonight and during service as we were singing,"Here I am to Worship" I just leaned over to Tim and said,"creole speaking day care, in West Virginia". We just smiled at one another and knew who was in charge here, and agreed we were in fact, here to worship.

It was also through all of this amazement that I knew all the grief and robotic going through life after all the loss, that God had this all along. He had such big plans for us even though all we could see then was grief. What I also wonder is, at that time it was hard to look for God, yet he moved us, as we are intentional about seeking out His plan at this point, what comes next? I am not sure, but I am sure it will be quite the ride.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thinking about Dad

Today, I really was suffering from bloggers' block.  I could think of nothing meaningful to write, other than we got some movement on the adoption.  It would seem Grace's papers will be ready on Monday and we are headed to social services very soon.  That is truly a gift.  Her file will join Alex's and we can at last get moving again.  What a blessing.

Nonetheless, I was not feeling particularly inspired until just this evening.  Jack, as usual as he is quite the social butterfly, was at a friend's birthday party, the other two were in bed.  I enjoyed the quiet and complete charge of the remote until it was time to pick up Jack.  As we drove home, I heard all about the party and the rest of the day's events.  Jack admitted he was hungry, and we had a TV show DVR'd we wanted to watch.  I sent him up to get his jammies on as I heated up his dinner.  During my puttering around the kitchen, I was suddenly taken back to my teen years.  I remembered coming home late, and being met in my kitchen by my dad.  He would sit at the table pouring over his Chicago Tribune, drinking coffee reheated from the morning.  I suppose this was his quiet time he enjoyed while I was out.  I always joined him at the table and we would talk about life, or whatever.  One night, I had asked him about Jesus.  I don't really even remember what I asked him, but what I do remember is him saying,"I want to show you something." 

He pulled out his wallet, and dug around for a moment or two.  I could not imagine what he needed in there at that hour.  Then he found it.  It was a card with a picture of Jesus on the front.  He told me to look at it.  He said it was his favorite picture of Jesus.  I noticed in the picture Jesus appeared relaxed, open and happy.  My father explained that was the Jesus he knew.  He taught me how to know Jesus in my kitchen across a table, during some late night discussions.  For that, I am truly grateful.

As of late, Jack has been asking his own questions about Jesus.  He is forming his ties now, as only Jack can, in his own way.  He refers to Jesus as hispanics do, with the J sounding like H.  Somehow, that makes Jesus more hip and comfortable for him.  Somehow, I don't think Jesus minds.  Actually, for a kid who couldn't talk about religion until recently, it is fun to see his relationship grow.

  I wonder what he will think about when he has his own kids.  As he heats his children's dinner up at 11:00 at night, will he remember me heating his dinner up and making him hot chocolate in the Keurig, the way I remember my dad's Tribune and Mister Coffee?  I only hope he remembers our talks about Jesus so he can share it with his children over whatever new gadget is available by then to make hot beverages. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Person in My Path

How many times have I blogged about a certain person who crossed my path that day and just seemed to be an answer to prayer? Well today, I had another such experience. I have two brothers. My mother had three children in 28 months, two boys, then me. My brother one year older and I have always had an interesting relationship. As children, we fought like cats and dogs. I never thought the day would come that he would leave for college. That would be great I always thought. Then, he left. Inside of two weeks, I missed him terribly. After that, we had such fun together. There was the time my senior year he called my high school and had the secretary get me out of class for a "family emergency". When I came to the phone, he just laughed on the other end and asked me if the secretary looked angry. It turns out he did not care for her due to previous pranks when he was a student there. There was the time he told me he would treat me to pizza late one night and after a full meal he instructed the waitress to give me the bill and drove off in the car laughing at me through the restaurant window. He came back pretty fast, but that is who he is, quite the prankster. Into adulthood, I started to really appreciate his sense of humor and really, he is quite possibly one of the wisest people I know. He does not lecture, or advise, he listens and usually shares something amazing at the end.

Today, he texted me to remind me of an anniversary of a turning point in his life. I won't share all the gory details, but I had an front row seat to said event. We joked about the craziness involved in all of that but the reality is that trial helped shape this amazing man. Today, I was sharing my frustration in the wait of this adoption. He listened very patiently to all my babblings and gave me the reminder that I needed. That was that this is my time for God to teach me something. When I get it learned they will be home. In that moment I was able to think about really bringing God's plan into focus.

I will admit, through this blog I do look for things God is trying to teach me, however I also spend a great deal of time scouring my email looking for any little glimmerif update from Haiti. Dying for travel dates, missing my babies. If I had to put a percentage on it I would say looking for God's lessons to me:30%, scouring email: 70%. I think I need to make that like 98/2. I need to look at email, but not to the exclusion of God's lesson. So, oh wise brother of mine, your patience of listening to my ramblings has once again delivered the message I needed to hear. I am thankful that God put you in my path today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Well Ya Know...It's Haiti....

How many times have I heard that phrase,"it is Haiti". This phrase is applied to a multitude of things. The speed of the government, the bumpy roads, the poverty, the food, the home remedies. It is funny though, the people I have heard this from are generally wealthy Americans who somehow do not see that we have our share of,"well after all, it is America." over the last couple of days I have run across a couple of patients who have reminded me of our own quirkiness in this country. First, I had the young mother with her five month old. The baby had a black rope like string peeking out from under her onesie. I asked the mother what that was. I was expecting to hear it was a medic alert device or some sort of ID tag. She simply looked at me and said,"It is a dime." I didn't follow, so I asked more about it. It turns out she understood if you drilled a hole in a dime and placed it around the child's neck it reduced the discomfort of teething. I had a tactful discussion with her about choking hazards and we discussed the use of anbesol. Nonetheless, I think the child to this day is still wearing the dime.

Today, I had another such incident. This patient was a very nice lady who came in after stepping on a nail 3 days ago. The nail had pierced the whole bottom of her foot. Her husband proudly described the extrication of the nail using a set of pliers. They came today, because the foot was still hurting despite her best efforts of,"doctoring herself at home." she went on to describe the multiple things she had tried. First, there was the application of the raw potato, followed later when it was still red and hurting by the onion dipped in salt, and when that was no better, the husband had made her a bandage soaked in turpentine. He went on to explain that is how they treat the pigs when they castrate them. The couple was sweet and once again, not wanting to be insulting, I explained the good news was that she no longer needed those remedies, just a bandage and some antibiotics. She then asked to return to work as a caregiver.

All of this reminded me that there are quirks everywhere, not just in Haiti. Besides, I think we have some other quirks here that may not be as obvious as the turpentine, that are not in Haiti. We have been studying the blessed life the last few weeks and in it we see the American desire for bigger, better and greater. The desire to be the top of the heap. It is such a hard mold to break out of, as we try to be more generous and helpful to places like Haiti. I do think we hear the phrase,"Only in America..." as it applies to striving toward that top of the heap status. If only the second part of that was,"could we find the resources to help (fill in the blank)". In my world that blank is filled by my babies, who hopefully I will never see a need to drill a hole in a dime for!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adoption Stories

After all the adoptions we have done there have been lots of questions from others who are curious as to how you break the news to your children that they are adopted. I think modern entertainment outlets love to have a dramatic moment that a child, who is now an adult who is sat down and told,"you were adopted." it lends itself to great story lines about characters finding themselves, finding birth parents or other roads to self discovery. The reality is, in our house, all of our children have always known they are adopted. We talk about their home countries and they all love their coming home stories.

However, there comes a time when the excitement of fourteen hour plane rides and exciting homecomings at the airport all dies down and our children start asking the harder questions. Today was one of those days. Actually it has been ongoing for several days. Zachary, age six has suddenly become aware that other kids were grown in mommies' tummies and he wasn't grown in mine. Somehow through our discussions over the last few days it dawned on me he thought babies came from adoption. Why wouldn't he? All of his siblings were adopted and we are adopting again. This is his normal. Today, we discussed his birth mother. He wanted to know what she looked like and where she was. I explained to him she was sick and could not care for him so God brought him to me. I realized as we talked I had told him so much about coming home, I never got to tell him the rest of the started with a dream. A dream I was pregnant. It was so real, I woke up expecting to hear a baby cry. Instead I had a ten year old and a twelve year old soundly sleeping. It happened time and again until I finally asked Tim if he had ever considered another baby. He looked shocked. Uh oh, I thought as I studied his face. The shock was not the notion of another baby, it was that he too had the same dream. As we prayed our way through it, we just knew we had to adopt again. After the decision was made, God brought us the money, the method and finally a year and a half later, Zachary. He was fascinated by the story. In the end he had one question. "Was God with you in the dream when you dreamed about me?" I answered,"Yes." I went on to ask him if God was with him when he told me he was to have another brother who was going to be his size and brown. He just smiled and said "yes."

It amazes me how easily he just surrenders to God. The mystery of his adoption so easily solved by just knowing God was there. He went on talking about sting rays and the venom in their tails. He has quite an affinity for sea life. I listened to him tell me all about them and I found myself smiling at his mispronounced "F's" due to the missing tooth in the front. I watched him write out his homework sentences knowing he had just moved on with his evening. I was, once again, grateful that he was my son. God showing me no matter how frustrating this adoption wait is, He is here. My job is to just let him do His job and surrender, just like Zachary. I guess I find myself wondering how this six year old with the missing front tooth got so wise.