January 30, 2008

Playing with my posers...

I do, from time to time (cough, sputter) ask my furry babies to submit themselves (as if they had a choice) to a photo op. They are most gracious, and usually tolerate some dozens of shots going off in their little faces. I have some tricks that help keep them happy. I usually don't show them the camera at first. I lay down with them. I talk gently. I turn off the flash and try to use natural light. And I try to get them when they seem relaxed and even sleepy. Since they are all good natured and sweet, they stare back at me with uninterested expressions and allow me my time of trying to get the perfect shot. And occasionally, I do manage to capture those faces that AB and I have fallen in love with over the years. Anyway, I'm no professional, and I only have a little Canon Elph. But sometimes, I feel like it gives me some magic with just a little click. Here's to all the fur-babies ~ Enjoy mine!

Below is Kaleigh, my darling - she is just sweet and a total lover. She is also a rescue dog that was left to rot in a pound in California. When we found her, she had been there for a month already, was literally withering away to nothing and so sick it would make you hurt to look at her. She has changed our world - and this little pumpkin is such a mama's girl. I love her immensely...

Here is our 14 year old, sweet Chloe. She takes up residence every night on AB's pillow and gently licks his head - we've reasoned that she has decided he needs a nightly kitty bath. After she's done, she nudges up against his hair and drifts off to sleep...

The lioness with her lambs...

Kaleigh all curled up and napping without a care in the world - just like I want her to...

Anabelle, sweet Anabelle. Who would rather gnaw her own leg off than ever disappoint Anton or I. She is hands down, the dog that changed us into permanent Dog People. Smarter than a tack, funny, loyal to a fault, and as sweet and obedient as any wonderful dog could ever be. How can you look in that face and not melt?

Gosh, can't even find the words for this one. Chloe is not just my kitty - she's my friend and she has been in my life since she fit into my hand, and since I was just a kid myself at age 19. Considering I'm now in my thirties - we've weathered a lot of stuff together. When I see this picture, I just see my faithful friend and companion - my dear, dear kitty - who taught me how to love animals the right way; with patience and humor, devotion, and persistence. How I love her...and how beautiful she is to me.

My sweet girl...

The girls - our little loves who make our life so happy and give so much without ever asking for much in return...what a pair they are and what a joy.

Thanks for letting me share my kiddos with you...you can click on any one of them to see the full size and then you can see some of the amazing lighting, etc. These little shots don't do them justice. -cb

January 26, 2008

I Love You!

So this is my Grandma Rheta, on her honeymoon in 1952! What a doll! I'm one of those lucky girls that got to grow up knowing both sets of my grandparents, and they were all wonderful, amazing people. They were also very young. When I was in my early childhood, my grandma and grandpa were in their late 40's. I always had a great relationship with them.

My mom's parents made the choice when I was quite young that they wanted to be closer to us kids (we were their only grandkids) - and so they made a move to purchase a house 7 doors down from us. It was one of the best experiences of my life, having my grandparents so close on hand. They were very involved in our lives and took such good care of all of us. They still do! Even though they live in California, I try to make it home so I can see them and we talk on the phone, send cards, etc. They are active and lively and more than anything, love to laugh and have a good time! I am just so grateful to have them in my life and to have had the opportunity to have a relationship with them as an adult. What a blessing!

Happy Birthday Grandma - I love you x's 1,000,000,000,000

P.S. Love you too Grandpa, if you're reading this!! A bushel and a peck and a hug around your neck, hug around your neck, made my heart a wreck about you...about you!

January 25, 2008

The latest...

The latest and greatest: By Cb

Ethiopian Dossiers are not singular, like in the China adoption community - they're plural. As in Three. That's right, you must compile three of the same dossiers to submit to your agency. As you can see to the left - they're full and ready to go. Which can only mean one thing...

Yep, that's right - they're GONE! Off the the agency for review and then off to Ethiopia! I don't know the exact date at this point when we'll be DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) but we're hoping the end of next week or first week of February.

Funny story - this picture. I asked the F@d-Ex employee to humor me and take my picture, but the picture he took was so lousy that I had to cram myself and my overly filled backback into the bathroom and look like an idiot whilst I took several shots - it was a big moment - I didn't want to miss it!!

We've been the house of pain lately. At left is all that's left of Anton's snoring days. To say he snores like a freight train running non-stop through your house is a bit of an understatement - so I'll tell you the term his doctor gave him: "Heroic Snorer". That's right - he's heroic about it. Can you imagine trying to sleep next to him? That's right, I can't either. Love, love, love him as much as I do - we really need to address the issue once and for all. Not big on the CPAP machine idea, and having had nothing over the counter even come close to being successful, he had the "Pillar Procedure" surgery Monday and was done in 25 minutes. You can read about this amazing technology HERE and I'm telling you - I cannot wait for him to sleep through the night silently so that I might too.

Meanwhile, I smashed my index finger between two pieces of relatively heavy wood - I'm talking crashed down on it and left an indent, and screaming ensued, like that which I have not done in at least a week.

Seriously, I was wrecked. And AB was wrecked for me...it was painful to experience - but painful to watch as well, apparently.

Anyway, two doctors and x-rays later, I'm all splinted up and on painkillers to numb the "cut it off, I can't take it anymore" sensations that hit me about, oh I don't know - 200 times a day. That sounds about right... (can I get some shout outs for typing this post with said finger?)

Last but not least, and no clever picture - but I've started a blog for Quinty, just like I did for Keira, which will have nursery stuff, clothes, goodies, etc. on it. The link is HERE or it's also in my sidebar.

Thanks for reading everyone - I'm out for the weekend to try and get this finger better - but I had to at least let you all know about the Dossier!


January 18, 2008

Blogger Love

OMG! Twice in one week - two different awards! I'm in bloggy heaven over here! I've now been awarded the "Blogging with a Purpose" award, and I'm very grateful!

Donna, you shouldn't have, but I owe you much love for giving my little corner of blogger world some props!

Donna and I "know" each other because back in the early days of LID (oh, I don't know...20 years ago..) - ok, maybe more like 2 years ago, we joined a group scrapbooking swap. My very first swap, Donna and I were matched to send each other a scrapbook layout. Well, I can tell you right now - it was ADORABLE, what she sent to me. And I was in scrapbook love. I tried to rig the system so that Donna and I could swap exclusively from there on out, but the group moderator said no. Shoot.

Meanwhile, we had our blogs and I was able to bond with her over the internet - God Bless Technology!

Thank you Donna - you're too sweet, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know you through our blogs these last almost three years. Wow!

Ok, so on to my nominations:

The Eternal Knot
This is my new buddy Stephanie, and I love, love her! Not only does she share the same dream that I have of holding our daughters soon, she also makes the most amazing, gorgeous, endearing, and beautiful artwork. And I'm talking BEAUTIFUL! If you are looking for some amazing prints to hang on the wall of your nursery - you HAVE to go see her and take the link on her blog to Jinkinkids!

Welcome to my World!
Ya'all, this is my girl! Not only is she one of my best friends, but she is ONE - say it with me now - ONE day off from the last referral batch. It has been so hard to see her miss that cutoff by one day (12/20/05) after two long years of waiting. On the other hand - I think we all could use a pick me up and she keeps us laughing! You have to follow her journey as she sees her daughter's face for the first time in the next few weeks! Love her!

Life Through Our Eyes
This is the blog of Suz and her husband, Joe. They recently gave birth to QUADS! I love checking her blog, because it gives me a pick me up, and makes me remember that things could be a lot more hectic in my daily life! She is adorable and her babies are insanely cute. I love their little family and really enjoy reading about their upside down life! (They were only aiming for one!)

Confessions of a CF Husband
This is a tear-jerker! I came across this blog a while back, and haven't been able to stop reading. It's a daily update from a husband and father. His amazing wife suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and just as she was about to get a desperately needed lung transplant, they found out they were expecting. She gave birth to a baby girl two weeks ago and is fighting to get better herself. This is a must read! They are amazing and inspirational!

Journeying Sojourners

This is a blog that I really needed to find - and ever since I did, she's been a joy to follow. Misty is adopting from Ethiopia too, and is at about the same stage as we are. She expresses a lot of the thoughts and feelings I have from time to time, and I really enjoy keeping up to date on the progress of another Ethiopia mom-to-be! It helps that she's a dog mama too! Love me some animal peeps!

Can I just say again, that it's so, so, so hard to nominate blogs that you really enjoy and it's hard not to nominate those who have already been nominated - because let's face it, there are so many great blogs out there that we all deserve an award or two. But I had to choose five and five only - if you're on my sidebar over there to the left, it's because you're my favorite - no doubt about it!

Ok, that's all I've got - now go forth and nominate!

1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to the original entry.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to Eric Novak's site.

January 17, 2008

Could I get a tracking number for my babies, please?

After the excitement of the arrival of our 171-H for Quint settled in, we made an about face to the overnight carrier of our choice and Sat. morning the documents were sent to Austin to be certified. Included was an overnight return pre-paid envelope for the return documents. In my thinking, I was so close to the finish line of the paperchase. I was so close to seeing Quint's paperwork on its way to Ethiopia. So close to having my son come home. The faster those documents made their way back to me, the sooner I would hold him. The sooner I held him, surely the sooner I would also hold my precious Keira too.

Ever since we saw that the envelope had been signed for on Monday morning in Austin, we have been checking the other tracking number. The one that tells us that it's on its way back to us. The one that says "your paperchase is almost through". And today, I got what I wanted. Only two short days after receipt, it's en route to me and will be delivered tomorrow morning. Our dossier will make it's way to our agency tomorrow via express carrier, and will hopefully make its way to Ethiopia by the end of next week.

There's something special about being able to track your progress. Something magical, almost, about knowing where you stand and where you are going, and when you're getting there. There's something peaceful and calming about seeing your progress and being able to log it - grasp it - watch it, and know the end result.

I think I can speak for many of us China adoptive moms when I say that the waiting has been as close to unbearable as we could have imagined it would be. Worse even. By going through this process again for Quint - of collecting the documents, getting them certified, etc., we have been given new milestones and new celebrations to look forward to. And it has eased the pain and bitterness of the wait for Keira. It has acted almost like a salve for our broken hearts. I think Quint will be a light for us in an otherwise dark and painful road. He will be our miracle baby in many ways - because we did not think we would have a son, and we did not think we would have been able to pursue another child before Keira.

Someone who knows us well, and loves us dearly said to me today "I am so excited to meet Quint and to hold him - he's like the breath of fresh air you've needed and he seems so much more real to us for you. Keira seems sort of, 'way off future', and Quint is the break in the silence that you've needed".

Part of me hears that in love. Part of me hears that in pain. Part of me says "yes! Bring my little man home!" The other part of me says "NO! Keira's not way off in the future...she's not!?! She can't be..." But the reality, my friends, is never more clear to me - that my darling daughter drags farther and farther into my future. And my little son seems so close I can almost smell his hair and feel his chubby legs and arms. Keira seems almost like a dream of the heart. Imagined. Loved beyond words, but conjured up and ever farther away.

My daughter who I have lovingly saved for, planned for, created a nursery and closet full of beautiful clothes for...my little love. She seems so far away to me. Where are you Keira? When will you come home? I don't have a tracking number - I can't follow your progress. I can't find you. I don't know where you are, or who you are, or who has given birth to you, or who will care for you until I can come for you. I don't know what else to do but wait and go through each day as if you were coming tomorrow. It's so hard to not know. It's so hard to miss you as if we had spent years together and then you were gone. It's so difficult to have to "move on" in so many ways and just wait for them to put your picture in front of me.

In the meantime, we are going to find your "little" brother and bring him home. We'll get him settled, and we'll get him ready for having a big sister to boss him around and love him.

Tonight my MIL said to me "we pray for Quint and Keira every day. We think of them all the time and can't wait to hold them and have them in our family. All in His time, dear. He knows..." I was so humbled - and thanked her. Then she said "when do you think Quint will come home?" I said - hopefully before Christmas when it's all said and done. She smiled and said "well then, bring it on!"

Indeed...my babies have oodles of loving, hugs, kisses, and spoiling to receive - I just wish I had a tracking number for when that will start for both of them.

I'm missing my babies...

January 12, 2008

Some "lately" stuff...

First of all - I was nominated by Kim over at "Journey to Isabella" for "The Daily Dose" award. Xandra from Heart of Service created this award to honor those Blogs that are "must reads". Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In Xandra's own words: "So here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog."

Kim, thank you so much for honoring me with this award! What a treat for me to know that I'm part of your "daily dose". And I've never been given an award, so I'm THRILLED! (enter my little Sally Field moment here..."You like me, you really like me!!" - HA!) Now, I know it's traditional to nominate other blogs, and that's how you spread the love - but I had such a hard time trying to narrow it down to even ten blogs that I love most, let alone only 5 or even three. So, instead I'm just going to recommend two blogs that I read all the time because they are always chock stock full with either great ideas, inspiration, or charming tales.

And they are:

Four Reluctant Entertainers
Sandy is an Oregon based, married mother of 3. Once reluctant entertainers, she and her husband have turned a corner in entertaining. She gives invaluable suggestions about entertaining from home - with class, grace, and substantial sentiment. I am always encouraged by her posts, and she has the most amazing and creative ideas for having company over. I seem to always leave her blog feeling like "Hey, I could do that!" Waaaay good stuff over there - gotta check it out!


Chinese Starfish
Amanda opened up the Starfish Foster Home in China in 2006. Since that time she has had unprecedented impact on special needs children in China. I recommend getting a box of tissue and starting from the beginning of her blog. You will be changed by her remarkable life, example of selflessness, and the undisputed passion and commitment she has for China's little starfish'.

Meanwhile, my dearest Robyn posted about finding this little onesie at Old N@vy for quite the steal - so of course, consumate shopper that I am, I had to run right out and see for myself what the deal was. Fortunately, they had ONE left and in size 12-18 months. I snatched this little beauty right on up and just had to share it's cute, cute, cute-i-ness with you. I paid a whopping $1.75 for it. (yes, you read that right)

And it's safe to say, that our little princess will be worth the wait - and then some!

I also snagged these darling things for my little man. Toooooooo cute not to have, and not a penny over three dollars for each. I think the onesies were about $1.80 and the cargo pants were $3. Old N@vy baby! You couldn't get it at the Goodwill that cheap! If you can't see, they say Snuggly, Irresistible, and Captain Drool. Perfect!


Remember this? This was way back in October when we got home from a fun day at Six Fl@gs and opened an envelope we thought was our 171-H. Our friends Paul and Robyn were there and snapped up my camera to get an original reaction of us opening up our final step in the dossier process to Quint. Alas, as you can tell from our faces - this was not the news we had been hoping for. Instead it was a letter telling us that more paperwork was required and to contact them. Thus started the unhappy "natural" expressions above and almost three months of additional paper chasing. But my friends...





I give you - the Natural Expressions - Take Two...

Tonight when I came home from work, there were two pieces of mail sitting on my counter...

...that AB had looked at but hadn't opened...I think I know what these envelopes hold...

...and I'm right! (and a little shaky) Finally, after so much work -
QUINT's 171-H IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!

...and not just his, but also Keira's 171-H renewal!!!! FINALLY!!!!!

We can't believe it, so we decide to read them aloud, clearly and carefully to make sure we're not imagining that they've finally arrived!!

I'm so happy, I could jump up and down, but I'll settle for throwing my hands up in overwhelming relief!!! One kid for each hand!

But we're not BEEEEEEEAAAMINGGG or anything! (We're freaking out!)

We'll take any old celebration we can grab, and this one was a biggie for us. Especially for our little man, whose Dossier will now be leaving for Ethiopia within the next week and a half. LID in January - WHHHHAAAA-stinkin'-WHOOOOOOOO!!!!! And Keira - we may have to renew again, sweet girl - because it's only good until Feb '09 and we're just not sure you'll be home by then. If not, you're worth another round and we've got it in us for you- hang in there - we're coming! Never give up -

January 11, 2008

70% Off

I saw so many people in blog world get this China ornament for Christmastime and post about it. I must admit - I wanted to. I really, really wanted to. And I even hoped I might get it for a gift. But alas, nuttin. So when I wandered (ahem...made a bee-line) into Hallmark post Christmas, I found them - both of them - for 70% off. Cost me about $4 each.

Walk don't run people - I can't make this stuff up.

January 9, 2008

A Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

"A hope deferred makes the heart sick" Proverbs 13:12

I have been out blog reading today and have discovered many, many discouraged, battered, and hurting posts about this process on the tails of change to the CCAA website. For those that don't know, the CCAA has taken off the box on their webpage that generates information about where they are in the referral process. This small tidbit of information provides some semblance of hope and comfort to those of us waiting. And even though the agency I use for China does update us every month about the status of the referral process, I know there are several who do not. This means, another loss to the many waiting daily, even hourly sometimes, for any information that would bring our children closer to us. Information is power, and in a process that trickles information out only once a month - well, to have that gone is just another powerless feeling of loss and confusion.

I read many blogs, and there is always an ebb and flow to the posts. If new info pops up, it's very likely that many will post to reflect it. In the China adoption community - a loss like this spells out many thing for different people. For some, it's foreboding - a scary look into what's to come. For others, it's a loss. A loss of valued information in a predominately silent process. For others, it's just another disappointment - and a feeling of helplessness.

I must confess to many of you, that I'm ashamed to admit this change didn't really impact me. Whether it's because of the fact that I have an agency who readily communicates this information monthly, or because I already feel there is no end in sight, or because the adoption of my son has given me a genuine dose of hope and a much needed distraction from this dispassionate process. I don't really know why - but the pitfalls of this process have not affected me too terribly lately - although, as I've said before - it's one day at a time around here, and one day can change everything.

For many of my bloggy pals, today was that day. For that, I'm sad and hurting with them. There are not enough good days in this process and it's difficult to express how deflating these types of changes can feel. So rather than try to express it myself, I wanted to post a quote from one of my favorite blogs below. Most of us simply cannot fathom what this family has been through, and it's amazing to see the sheer faith that carries them through. She posted recently about hope - and I thought it was so well put and beautiful, that I had to share here. But please, don't take my word for it - go and drop by for a visit - you won't be disappointed by her beautiful writing and outlook on an imperfect life - she is inspiring!

"To endure every day not knowing, wanting, longing, is often so burdensome that I truly feel its effects physically. I can imagine many, many, share this bondage with me - a bondage that we could easily call "what if?" What if what I most long for is never fulfilled? What if I spend the rest of my life in this place? What if God forgets me? What if He doesn't desire to give me the desires of my heart? Perhaps the bondage is really about control, or discontent, or anger. Whatever it is, I must surrender every day and ask that God help me."

January 6, 2008

China & Africa on my Heart

Disclaimer: **First of all - this is a bit of a heart rant - not even a "rant" per-say, but just a moment I took tonight to put some of my more serious thoughts down. Some stuff that's been on my mind and my heart. So proceed with that in mind.

Why China? Why Africa? These are questions I still get from family and friends - and well meaning, no doubt. Just curious, I guess. It's a fair question - why go around the world when there are so many kids here in the US who need families. True. And I don't want to debate this, so commenters be kind - as you always are.

Let's just look at the numbers though - statistics tell us that as of the latest count there are 15 million Orphans in Asia. (don't get me started on why the process is so dang slow) In Africa, there are 34 million at last count. In the US, there are one hundred and fifty thousand orphans ages 0-17. I don't want to de-value the lives of each and every one of those 150K, AT ALL. That's not my intent. But which group of 49 MILLION people do you know that are tracking down those orphans overseas? And I'm only referencing the two countries I'm associated with out of a handful of other countries in the same predicament. I know a handful of adoptive moms, but 49 MILLION of us out there? I don't think so.

We had an opportunity recently to pursue another adoption "avenue". (Don't gawk - we just seem to have many avenues we're juggling lately). A U.S. avenue, if you catch my drift. We thought about it, and prayed about it, and we just...well, we did what we had to do - we passed. Because A. Our kids are in China and Ethiopia - don't ask me why - they just ARE. And B. because who is going to go for Quint and Keira? All the way around the world and back again for them? Who, if not me? Who, if not you? Who is going to go through this process? This arduous, difficult, emotionally draining and soul sucking process to go and get them and give them the shot at life that they deserve? I don't see a huge line forming behind me (though it's growing), and I don't see a big long line in front of me either. What? There are like 7000 of us. And thank God for all of you. All of you who, like us, came to realize that adoption is not just for the infertile. Though we struggled down that road too. It's not baby buying. It's not a second thought, or an afterthought, or an option that just gets "settled" for. It's a choice. A choice based on perseverance and hope, and the desire to make a difference for a child and the longing to complete your family. It's just there - and it's one family - one child at a time - that the change gets made.

Pursuing Quint and Keira was a natural choice - an obvious choice - for us. It was a choice that we had planned on anyway. We talked about it from the very beginning of our marriage. Adopting at some point. Regardless of the biological family we might create. Adoption seemed a certainty down the road. So when biology failed, adopting was a very natural step. Without missing a beat, we just moved onto that path. There is heartache in not creating a mini-AB or CB - sure, there is. It's something you have to grieve and move past. But our adoption was never a "booby" prize. It was just moved up on the calendar.

I point all of this out - because recently someone I love very much said to me "but what about a surrogate? What about in-vitro? What about waiting to see if technology comes up with something that will fix your 'biology'?" In other words "Do you have to adopt????" I'm not mad. I'm not even hurt, really. But it gave me pause and I realized something after that talk, and that is - most people, even those closest to us sometimes, just don't get it. And why should they? I remember thinking that way, long ago - before I ever met AB. Until you're submersed into the world of adoption, you don't - you can't truly understand what it means to the family, or to the person who chose it. You can't understand why someone would go to so much pain, heartache, trouble, excessive travel, or cost to bring a child home that was someone else's biologically. You can't swallow it. It's just not how we're programmed. We're programmed for 2 cars, 2 kids (Janey and Johnny) and a nice house in a quiet neighborhood that smells like dinner. Which is fine and ok, - it's just that in our house Janey is Chinese and Johnny is African.

We're getting there - we're making progress as a society. To accept and be sensitive to the blended families we see. And we, the adoptive families, will pursue this kind of sensitivity to the molds we've broken and the traditions we've set aside. And those who love us will learn, as we have, that adoption is a choice - not a resolution.

Meanwhile, some people are led from a spiritual perspective to pursue mission work. Some are led to change careers, some are led to move across country to care for family, some are led to start Bible studies, etc. We were led to adopt from China and Africa. Simple as that. I can see God's hand all over these two processes and just when we begin to doubt, He flings wide another door for us to walk through. Just when I feel like I can't go another step down this road, His strength is perfect and we are lifted through our dark moments to keep going.

Perhaps if the Lord had given me biological children, He knew I would never truly pursue Keira and Quint? As much as I wouldn't want to believe that, it is possible - and He knows best. This much, I take great comfort and hope in. At my darkest moments in dealing with infertility, I still must say that we did not grieve as those without hope. We knew the Lord had big plans for our family, and that He had every intention of making parents out of us. Who we would parent was the only mystery yet to be revealed.

Today, I can tell you - it's our daughter Keira Joy from China, and our little man Quint from Ethiopia. And I never wonder for a moment if I will love those children with everything I have. Never does it even cross my mind that there was a "better" or "sweeter" way to be a mother. I can't wait to dry their tears, hear their laughter, listen to their ideas, and kiss their ouchies.

So, I wanted to share that over the summer we had the chance to visit the headquarters for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Florida. In the late 1300s, John Wycliffe became the first person to translate the Bible into English. Before that, English speakers had to learn Latin to read the common Bible translation. Wycliffe wanted the Bible available to every person. Today about 200 million people do not have the Bible in their own language. AB's parents have been missionaries with Wycliffe since the 80's and spent six years living in Indonesia working with translators. AB actually graduated high-school in the jungle of Papua New Guinea!

While in Florida, we stopped into the Wycliffe museum and among other things we were able to look at the fascinating history of Bible Translation into hundreds of languages. Among them, of course, were China and Ethiopia. The Bible was translated in Ethiopia in 1549! Isn't that amazing? I snapped a couple pictures, feeling like I had this tiny little connection to my kids through God's work and His Word! Amazing! Suddenly, I didn't feel so small or like our adoptions were just another "milestone" of my life. Instead they felt like the fruition of good work - that God has planned for my life always. I love those moments in this process, that re-affirm the purpose and the call to move forward - to persevere no matter what!

Why adopt? I don't know - because God said so. Because I married a man who desperately has a heart for missions and other nations, and for being a father all rolled into one? I don't know why God lined this path for me. I truly don't - not yet - although I may fully understand one day soon when we're all together.

Why China? Why Africa? I don't know. All I do know is, my kids are there and so there is where I'm going. And thank God for choosing me. Why should I be so lucky to parent these amazing children? Why am I so fortunate to get to be their mom and to see the fruit of their lives? I don't know - but nothing could keep me from it. You know what I mean?

January 5, 2008


Huge hugs and congratulations to my baby brother, Dustin and his amazing and wonderful girlfriend Maria! They went to Disneyland over the Christmas Holiday. Once he could get her in front of Cinderella's Castle, he bent down on one knee, produced a stunning engagement ring and asked her to be his wife! After her shock wore off, she accepted Dustin's proposal, and right there in the Magic Kingdom (a personal family favorite) - a new future was born!

I'm so proud and happy for you both! Being big sis - I got a call shortly after from them, where Dustin said "I'm ENGAGED!!!! And I'm standing in line for Pirates of the Carribean so I can't talk long!" I cracked up...if you knew my family - and our long term love affair with the House O' Mouse - you would know how apropos this was.

Anyway, they're just too cute and the picture at the very top was taken shortly after their engagement at a celebration dinner - LOVE IT!

January 4, 2008

So long - farewell...

AB had to leave us for the weekend - actually, he left yesterday morning. It's ok - he was off to help a friend in need. But as we were preparing to walk out the door, Kaleigh turned on her laser control eyes and tried to send him a message through telepathy to STAY.

It's always hard for me to have him leave - even for a weekend. It's not just about him being gone, it's that he's my best friend. So as the stuff of each day unfolds - I want to tell him. Or when the day comes to an end, I want to curl up on the couch with him. And then there's the matter of not being able to eat anything but cereal and ramen because I'm not the cook of the family. Yikes! So, it sucks to have him gone - and the dogs are clearly waiting by the door several times a day, listening for his car. (which is in the garage and I have showed them this, but to no avail) We're all just off without our AB.

MISS and LOVE YOU AB - See you Sunday, safe and sound!!

(when Kaleigh's telepathy strategy failed to work, Anabelle barreled around the corner with her own freaky eyes to chain AB to the house through the cunning use of pity. )

By the way - I have no idea why the dogs look possessed - I snapped a couple pics on the spur and this is how they came out. Freaky deaky - since I take pics of them all the time and don't get the weird eyes.

Is it just me? Can anyone relate to lonely house syndrome??

January 3, 2008

A New Years Miracle

Many people ask us adopters what the latest status report is. That's just part of being in the process. You tell people you're adopting and then those same people spend the next three years asking "when is she coming home?" You can't blame them - you spilled the news and they're just curious and trying to stay up to date. People love communication. It's just giving the same report over and over again, for me, that gets hard.

Now add in a second adoption and you just stupefy people. They say "how's the adoption for...ummm, oops - which one? Is it Kara? No, Kiera? Or, wait - weren't you adopting a boy? Wait, that's another adoption right? Well, how's that one going? Are you still doing the China thingy?" Are your eyes rolling around yet? And so it goes...

Meanwhile - as I've mentioned before, both of our 171-H docs have been being held hostage at the C1S level since early October. And back in late Oct. we were asked for additional information (that we weren't required to provide the first time around), so off we went to track that additional paperwork down - and it took forever. But we finally got it back and sent it off the same day to the govt. And we waited. And then we called (yes, we have a number that actually goes somewhere). And then we waited some more- because a week later they still didn't have it. Gulp - not good. Then the ice storms in Oklahoma hit and the offices shut down. Then the holidays came and the offices shut down again. Yesterday was their first day back. I told AB "they've lost the paperwork - or it got lost in the mail - we're going to have to go through everything again and track down the documents and re-send, etc." I was at my wits end.

Yesterday I prayed in the morning "Lord, please - send me some hope. I miss my children so much. But I will pursue them endlessly if You lead me. Just send me some hope. I need it so bad."

At 5:03pm yesterday, the phone rang and AB picked up. I heard from the other room tidbits of conversation that shot me out of my chair and running for him. When I arrived he was smiling. When he hung up we just stared at each other for a minute and I realized I had my hope. C1S had called (jaw-dropping, I know) and our paperwork had been approved for our 171-H for Quint and our renewal for Keira. They were signed off on, and in the mail to us. We should have them any day now. They just wanted to call because our case had been on their mind and they wanted to make sure that even though they had been totally back-logged due to poor weather, holidays, etc. - our paperwork was finally done.

I just lunged myself into Anton's arms - we had made it. Finally. After so much wondering - and worrying that the paperwork was lost, that we would have to repeat the paperwork for them, etc. and be delayed even further for Quint. Finally - our dossier can go to Ethiopia for Quint and we're all set for another 18 months for Keira's adoption (God willing, it won't take all of those 18 months, but you just never know with this).

Celebrate with us!!! - because we are definitely celebrating any milestones we can scrounge up these days. One more check on the list for our son and one more reminder that perseverance is not giving up until the goal is reached.

Finally for all those who desire to know the latest, we have something different to say! Gotta love getting some new material for once - it's so rare in this process...

On another note: please stop by and love on my friend Robyn, who missed this month's LID cutoff by ONE DAY. I know she has the solid hope of seeing her little Avery next month, but when you've waited longer than anyone has at this point, (2.1 years) it's hard to put on a brave face. She said it best "I guess we should have expected this process to give us one more kick while we were down". The morale of this process is not only arduous, it's downright spirit crushing. She's really holding up well considering - but it would be so nice for her to get inundated with some blogger love as only you all can do it!

HANG IN THERE ALL MY ADOPTION MAMAS - WE CAN DO IT!!! (today's sentiment - tomorrow, no promises - ha!!)