Monday, July 22, 2013


My mom loves to read. She loves a great mystery she can sink her teeth in or a historical fiction books among other things. No, she isn't a new fangled reader with an aptly loaded up iPad, she loves the smell of the crisp pages of a new book, or the crackle of the binding of a book being opened for the first time. She even enjoys the black fingertips that go with reading a fresh newspaper. Therefore, it is no surprise that my children get many books as gifts. I also have an amazing sister-in-law who has a degree in library science who manages to find amazing children's books. Today, I was sorting through things for the babies as I prepare for their homecoming. I came across an Amazon box from my mom.  I knew it had "Make Way for Ducklings" inside with a note that it had been her favorite book.

In my extreme preoccupation with passports, birth certificates, on and on, I think my brain had misinterpreted this gift. I now realize I thought it had,"The Chick and the Duckling", the classic story of two different birds. I had made the association of my children having different colored skin than me and thought, yes, this is a good story. Only that was not the book. I soon realized I did not know,"Make Way for Ducklings". I pulled it out and looked at it. It was cooyrighted in 1941. Yes, mom was born in 44, I bet this was popular in her childhood.

I read the story. It is the story of a duck family.  In particular the mother duck is looking for a home to raise her children. They fly until they get tired and find an island in a city park. However, there is rushing traffic, people and what appears to be chaos. Finally she finds a quieter place to lay her eggs...eight ducklings were born. Ultimately she returns to the same park, only the park is different.  She realizes people are there to help her. A police officer helps her cross the street, people feed them peanuts, and they go on to lead a happy life in the loving arms of a whole community.

I beganto reflect on this a bit. Somehow I decided the mama duck was like God.  We as ducklings need to have faith and follow Him and he will provide us with a home even if it is in a place we would not imagine. I wondered if this was how Grace and Alex's birth parents felt about God providing a home for their children here. America must appear scary. People bustling around, so much modern technology, so many things they do not have, not to mention a whole different culture.

When we return to Haiti soon we will have a meeting with their birth parents. A chance to connect our families and for them to say goodbye to their children. Until this point I have focused so hard on their sacrifice,  on the tragedy of them being unable to raise their children.  This book gave me a new focus. I now feel compelled to convey the safety and love of their new home and environment for these mamas who have given me the gift of their babies. I only hope we can do these amazing women justice.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Grace. Yes that is my new little girl's name. I picked the name myself. Nineteen months ago when we got her referral I thought, by the grace of God she will be ours. Yep, simple as that. God's grace. We will call her Grace. Looking back I now think God had a hearty chuckle over my rationale. Over the last 19 months I have learned so much more about grace. I now see it is so much more than the gift of a child. It is God's love for me even though I am fatally flawed. That love comes in so many varieties. Like the day a barista gave me a free coffee for no good reason, or all the times Zachary struggles to get my attention, "Mom! mom! mom" only to say,"I love you."  It is all those little things that remind me of God's love for me, God's grace. Not a single event or a beautiful little girl.

There is a song that seems to come on right at the right moment these days for me.  It is by Christy Nockles,"Grace Flows Down."  She says,"Grace flows down and covers me."  I have come to truly appreciate that song. It reminds me that grace is all around me and will flow down when I pay attention and let it. What a comfort that is. So, yes, God's grace is bringing her home, but also teaching me a bigger lesson on God's ever present grace all around. I have a feeling I have only just begun to see how deep grace really goes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


First, an update, then my thoughts for the day. On Tues, I got an email from our coordinator. English is not her first language so as I waded through the message I took away that Alex's file was complete. His passport was waiting to be printed. As I sat back and marinaded in this, I suddenly noticed a paper clip. A paper clip next to the email. Wait a attachment. What was this?  I opened the email again. There at the bottom after multiple exchanges between my coordinator and myself was the most beautiful piece of artwork I had ever seen. It was Grace's passport!!!  This marks the end of the Haiti side of the adoption. I saved it to my phone and just kept opening it. Her name was Summers. She was really mine. She is MY daughter.  No longer do I have to call her "that little girl we are adopting". She is now,"my daughter."

With that, I began reflecting on the last two years. Two years of hurry up and wait. Two years of overwhelming joy meeting our children for the first time, and crushing sorrow as we got on a plane for home without them. There were holidays without them, birthdays without them. So many difficult times as my family was not under this roof. I was suddenly reminded of when this all started. People asked us,"Why?"  Why would we adopt?  We had three children. Two were nearly grown, one now in school. Why was our family not complete?  Why would we take this journey?  I even was asked by a close family member,"um aren't you getting a little old for this?"  

Well, the "why" is answered easily. God told us to. There were the gentle nudgings in a dream, the informant, Zachary, who said "God told him he would have a brother who was brown" a year before we started this, there was the money that showed up to the penny what we needed, all in yes, this is of God. I think the best answer to "why" is the feeling I got looking at Grace's passport. She came from another mom, she is not the same color as me and is from another corner of the world, yet she is mine. It is such a magical blessing.  I have had this same feeling with my other three and will be excited when I see Alex's passport. It makes all the delays and heartache begin to slip away.  It reminds me that all the delays were worth it and grateful God chose me to take this journey.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hurricane Sandy

We have had a tremendous amount of rain so far this summer. It has brought to mind that old phrase "Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big your God is". I guess until this point I had considered that phrase something I would use to provide comfort in difficult situations. Thinking of the storm in the proverbial sense as opposed to the real sense. However, yesterday it was a real storm that once again brought this phrase up for me. Tropical storm Chantal blew through Haiti closing the government Thurs and Fri. Yes, my friends here we are again on storm delay. The last big delay we had due to a storm was Hurricane Sandy last fall. Grace's birth mother made the 18 hour journey to Port Au Prince during the storm for her birth parent interview. She was late, then rescheduled. As if that were not bad enough, the storm killed the cell service and they could not locate her for weeks. Even when our coordinator sent a man to get her he brought back the wrong woman. Yes, God was bigger than that storm. Despite the delays, He overcame and got that birth parent interview done.

As I was thinking about this today in an attempt to remind myself last week's storm was not fatal, something else dawned in me. Hurricane Sandy was more than my adoption delays in my life. It was the realization that Grace's mother is so committed to her future she would walk through a hurricane to give her away. As if the pain and tragedy of losing her daughter was not hard enough, the vision of her walking through this storm all those hours was downright humbling to me. Sandy was not done yet in my life though. Today I spent the afternoon with Jack. We picked out snacks, sunscreen, insect repellant and various other things. He leaves in one week to go to Rockaway Beach Island to continue the clean up efforts after Hurricane Sandy there. It is his first mission trip. To think of God working in him as a result of the same storm was a bit overwhelming to me as well. I began to wonder if maybe this phrase was not accurate at all. Maybe it was not about God versus the storm at all, but really how big God is in the storm that matters.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Empty Water

Time is dragging on here. Every day with no passport news is excruciating. Somehow not being near the end was difficult, but now that we are closer it is almost harder. A good friend warned me of that. The fact of the matter is I am not a "go with the flow" person. I am a planner, detail focused person. These nebulous situations can...well...make me a little crazy. So, on Weds on a whim I decided, at the urging of my oldest son and his friends, we needed a distraction. I packed up the car and took three teenagers and my 7 year old for an overnight at Great Wolf Lodge and a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. Yesterday I found myself, as I often do in the summer, poolside. I looked out over the water and became acutely aware it was empty. I tried to insert Grace and Alex into this scenario. I thought about them in their bathing suits I bought them, hers a white Polo one piece with pink polo ponies all over it, and Alex's a light electric blue, also with a big Polo pony on it just like Zachary's (and yes I love the Polo outlet!). Thinking about them missing and the reality of the empty water settled over me. No, my friends, not an easy emotion.

I turned to prayer. Isn't that what we do when times are hard?  I asked God why I got empty water. Empty arms and empty water. At that moment my attention was turned to the water flowing down some rocks into the pool I was in. That water was not empty. It was moving, alive almost as it cascaded down. It reminded me of the analogy that Jesus is the living water. I thought about how all this crazy adoption started in the first place. The money showing up where it had not been there, meeting the man who would bring us Grace now almost two years ago at a rudimentary vegetable stand on the side of the mountain. So many things along the way. Gracie's impact on orphanage visitors, and Alex's. As a newborn his imprint left such a lasting impression on someone she began her own adoption. All those thoughts came rushing at me at once and I finally realized the water may be empty right at this moment but it won't always be. It will spring to life just as our adoption has and will probably be warmer, sunnier, and more beautiful than I can imagine.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Long Time...No Blog...

I guess at this point it is my time to turn myself in to the blogging police. I see I have not posted since January and honestly have just left our adoption followers hanging. No updates, no news. I am guessing at this point even my loyalest of followers have likely given up. The truth is, I nearly did too. We entered the ministry of the interior in the beginning of December. We exited ....wait for it..... Last week. We had umpteen frustrating delays each one more difficult to deal with than the last. I spent a lot of time in tears. I asked God over and over why?  I could not stand to hear the phrase,"in His timing". I could not stand to be asked over and over,"when are they coming?"  I smiled through gritted teeth while I heard phrases like,"why won't they let them come home? Don't they realize these children need homes?" Seven solid months of questions. Seven solid months of no answers. answer. We are in passports hoping to exit there this week and on to the US Embassy. They get to come home then. It still seems a bit unbelievable and I guess it will until we make flight arrangements. During this time I heard the song "Everlasting God" quite a bit. The lyrics rang out,"Strength will rise as we wait upon The Lord."  Somehow lo these 7 months there were many times I was anything but strong. I was sad. I was angry. I missed the children so much I felt physical pain in my heart. However, I know today I am in fact stronger. I look at a close friend quite a bit behind us in the process. I saw her pain this week and was able to just know to encourage her. I spend a lot of time with Zachary, my 7 year old. I got to take the time to learn he felt left out of this. His heart needed time to prepare.  He needed time to transition from baby of the family to big brother. He is beginning to look at every situation and picture how Grace and Alex would fit in. As he prepares, I got his passport. He needs to come pick up his new brother and sister.  This is definitely something I would have missed if they were already home. As hard as this time has been, God's lessons in my life are coming to light, and yes, I am beginning to believe the strength has started to rise as I wait (albeit impatiently) on The Lord.