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.