Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dashing through the snow...

....in a one horse open sleigh, or in our case, in a white mini-van! If you're confused, you probably haven't read Here Comes Santa Claus . Christmas is coming - though the minivan can hardly be compared to a sleigh, soon it will carry the most precious gifts!

I look in the rearview mirror at the empty seats behind me and I smile. Six months ago, those empty seats would have been a reminder of an empty womb and a bottomless hole in my heart; time and perspective can change everything. Now I look at those empty seats and I see hope - I see a future - I see God's Grace.

We attended our fist "real" parenting class tonight and focused mainly on how a child feels when he or she is removed from his/her home. Think about that for a minute - what plans do you have for tomorrow and the next day? Imagine being taken away from everything that is familiar to you - the birthday party that was scheduled for next Saturday, your best friend next door, even your mom and dad. It's all gone in a heartbeat. Regardless of the condition you live in, you are terrified when you're taken away. I wonder what that is like for a 1 year old....a 2 year old? Pray for our kids, wherever they are tonight. Pray that God will protect them and give them a sense of peace in whatever situation they are in. Pray that someone is hugging them and showering them with kisses.

Christmas is coming not only for us, but also for them. Pray that God paves the way for us to find each other. Pray that God prepares us to be as much of a gift to them as we know they will be to us.




*We bought the minivan to make room for our growing family - to make room for the gifts we believe God has for us. I wonder how often I've missed out on His blessings because I wasn't willing to make room for them? Is there something you need to get rid of to make room for more of Him?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Certifiable

We are both officially certified in CPR/First Aid - we even have cards to prove it! It is part of the requirements for fostering/adopting and we wanted to get it out of the way!

Our first parenting class was last night and it was more of an introduction session than anything else. Our agency has about 10 people going through the training this month and we got to meet them - nothing like what we expected. I guess I imagined there would be several couples there who were "like us" - unsuccessful in conceiving a child. No one else there fell into that category. Most of the couples were older and had children already that were in their teens or even in college. There was one single lady who was widowed several years ago and never had any children. The couple that amazed me the most was a man who was 24 and his wife who was 22. They expressed a desire to provide a home for a sibling group so they could all stay together. They felt this was their "calling".

We did learn some things - a bit more about how the "system" works. Great news, we learned that once children are placed with us, we should know within ten days what our chances are of getting to adopt those children. Nothing will be final until the ink has dried, but we should have a confidence level of about 80% or so. (I like to quantify our risk for some reason, like it is possible to quantify an emotional risk!) That is exciting news for us and we both feel more comfortable with the foster to adopt route.

I know you are praying for us and we appreciate it so much. God continues to smile on us with little blessings along the way - some of which you would never believe, even if I chose to share them here. Know that God is faithful.

Out With the Old, In With the New

What a cRaZy weekend! We sold the Jeep on Saturday to the first people who actually came to look at it1 Praise God! We even got more than we were willing to accept for it which is wonderful!

...and we bough a minivan today. I am now a minivan driver. NOt sure how I feel about that. It looks funny sitting in our driveway, like it doesn't quite belong, but I guess it will grow on me. Looking at minivans this morning was a lot of fun.

My friend *Leah came with me while hubby was at work and we test drove one that had a built in DVD (VCR) player (the one we bought did not). Anyway, I'm driving around while Leah is sitting in the back watching Shrek - we HAD to try it out - and then I was trying to figure out how all the audio worked. I'd hit a button and she would scream like a little kid - she said I needed to practice hearing that while I was driving! So maybe you had to be there, but it was really funny.

Hubby and I decided on a white KIA Sedona - it isn't the best but it's in our budget! The best part is that it is a 2005 and only has 25,000 miles on it. Most of hte ones we looked at in our price range had at least 50,000 miles on them so we're grateful. Anyway, I'm dead tired so I'll take some pictures tomorrow and get them posted - I know you are DYING to see our new minivan. I'm dying to see it with our kids in it! CAn't wait......

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

To buy or not to buy

If I were pregnant, I would be shopping for a baby bed and bedding, etc.... I'd be researching car seats and swings, looking at high chairs. I'd be a regular at Babies R Us and would have already begun to register. So here's my dilemna:

What should I purchase ahead of time and what do I need to wait on? I guess I shouldn't really buy anything now, because I'm not sure what child I will get. I don't know if I'll get a boy or a girl, or both, but more importantly, I don't know if I'll get an infant or a toddler. Or both. Even if I could resolve this, there's still another problem.

See, we will most likely do a Legal Risk Adoption. A few of my friends are already talking about showers - i've made them promise to wait until we know what child or children we are getting. My concern is that they will give me a shower and then the unthinkable would happen. What if the children do not flip for adoption and end up going back to their birth parents or a family member? What do I do with all the stuff? Do I keep it for the next child or children we get? Do I send it back with the kids?

I'm perplexed and I would really like your thoughts on two things. 1) what should we be doing to prepare - purchase/register wise and 2)what do we do with the "stuff" if we don't end up adopting our foster kids?

I have to say for the record that if our foster kids were to be sent back with their birth families, I realize the last thing I'd be worried about is all the "stuff".

In case I haven't said it lately, thanks for listening. Or reading. It helps to know you are there.

PS I'M SO EXCITED! I'VE GOT TO WORRY ABOUT HIGH CHAIRS AND CRIBS AND BEDDING AND ALL THAT FUN STUFF!

H

Monday, May 09, 2005

I can't think about much else these days. I'm going to be a mom. It sounds wierd to even write it - me, a mommy. My husband will be a daddy. It's overwhelming! And it could happen in less than 3 months. Wow. I know I am totally rambling here, but I just can't help it. I drive a fun vehicle that is not suitable for carting small kids around so we've put an ad in the paper to sale it. We're going to buy a mini-van! Yikes! I'll let you in on a little secret.....I am THRILLED! I can't just say that to anyone, it is a mini-van afterall and I swore I'd never drive one. But I can't wait. I can't wait to drive my kids around in our mini-van! I can't wait to have a car messy from spilled cherios and juice and .... I just can't wait!

I joke with my friends about how we're trying to take all the naps we can because I know before long we won't be able to take any. I laugh and just agree when they tell me I will miss it. You want to know another secret? I can't wait for the day that I am so tired and can not take a nap because I have a little one to take care of. I know I will get frusturated and tired and I can't wait for the tears to come.....to cry out of exhaustion and frustration over my children. Secretly, I just can't wait.

Don't get me wrong, I know things will not always be perfect - i don't expect them to be. I don't want them to be. I know there will be days when I feel like I just can't go on....but I can't wait. Am I crazy?

The lady who will be doing our Home Study called tonight to let me know what to expect. We won't talk again until towards the middle/end of June when we finish our classes. She wanted to let me know that she works fast and doesn't stretch the home study or the paperwork out for months at a time. That both thrilled and terrified me. So deep breath, and here we go......

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Overwhelming Odds

Today I am feeling completely overwhelmed. The Adoption Lady called again to tell me that "Grace" is coming back and will officially flip for adoption. She listed several more children who are available for adoption right now in our area - it's overwhelming because there is nothing I can do about any of it. I want to grab the reins and take control but it isn't possible - even if I could, I know that the control belongs to God. Why is it so tempting to try and take it away from Him?

I think another reason for me feeling overwhelmed is that this is all getting closer with each passing day. I mean, the idea of a child or children sounds wonderful - but the reality is terrifying to me. All of my friends who have given birth tell me that they went through the same feelings of fear and anxiety before their children were born. I guess when you face such a huge change, you can't help but be a little scared.

Acknowledging my anxiety helps to ease it. Thanks for listening.

Phil 4:6-7
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.NKJV

H

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Here Comes Santa Claus

I feel like a kid the day before Christmas. I know something great is coming, and I know I'm going to love it, but i'm not sure exactly what it is. This is going to be the best Christmas ever.

I haven't lost my mind - I know it is only May and December. The Christmas I'm talking about is our adoption. It never ceases to amaze me how God smiles on us and gives us little nudges and little blessings along the way. Besides, this year, Christmas could come in July.

I got a call yesterday from The Adoption Lady - she is an angel that God has sent to guide us through this whole thing - and she wanted to tell me about a "situation". There's a little boy who is two years old and currently in foster care. His birthmother is not doing everything she could be to get him back and only shows up for visits about half of the time. She is also pregnant and due in July. The baby will taken from her when he is born and placed into foster care until birthmom works the program. Or her rights will be terminated. The agency is looking for a home to place both boys in a Legal Risk Adoption. She wanted to make sure that we would be interested before she pushed for this to happen - OF COURSE WE'RE INTERESTED!!!! :)

Now, let me say for the record that although I am thrilled about this situation, I am not convinced that these are our children. I won't be disappointed if I get a call tomorrow and find out there is no way this could happen. I know that may be hard for you to believe and I'm not sure I can explain it to you, it is just something I know in my heart. I believe God already has our children picked out and I have NO DOUBT that He will faithfully lead us to each other. So, if this one doesn't happen, then these kids belong to someone else. What excites me the most is to see God at work - this situation is a reminder to me that He is still in control and He will make this all happen in His time. It also has me thinking that He can and may just make it happen really fast, so we need to be ready!

I also want to say, for the official record, that my heart breaks when I pray for my kids. I believe that at least one of them is most likely already here on earth and I shudder to think of the situation he/she may be in. I pray for God's protection for him/her and also for the birthparents. It is an amazing thing how God has given me compassion for the birthparents - I can usually be found guilty of being judgemental but not when it comes to this. I don't know the circumstances that people go through that make them who they are. When I pray for these kids, any of them, I pray that God will work out what is best for the children. These two boys are a perfect example, as much as I would love to claim them as my own - they belong to God and He already has a plan for their lives. I pray for His will and for the best He has for them, not for me. I don't know and can not judge when a parent may be able to pull it together and be what their kids need them to be - only God can know that. I'll leave the judging up to Him but I'll continue to pray.

Christmas is coming....the lights are out, the carolers are singing....there are presents under the tree and stockings hung by the fireplace... Christmas is coming....can you feel it?

Ps 118:29
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!His faithful love endures forever. NLT

H

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Southern Discomfort

I've always been proud of my southern upbringing - the charm, the hospitality, even the heat. The spotlight has recently been placed on a part of my southern experience that I'm not so proud of. Racism. It's an ugly word, an even uglier truth. It's the embarassing piece of my heritage. The proverbial skeleton in the closet.

Growing up, I was taught to be respectful to African Ameicans, but not too respectful. Be kind, but not too kind. In other words, I was to treat everyone with the good southern manners I was raised with, but it was also understood that I should choose my friends wisely. I was never told not to make friends with black kids, but it was a silent rule in my house. I should be nice, but not nice enough to invite them over for dinner. I think my family represented the biggest obstacle to defeating racism - the silent warriors of the cause. The people who are racist but don't know it.

I'm happy to report that I have grown beyond my own ignorance. When I got to that time in my life when I realized that my parents WEREN'T always right (what a revelation) I made my own decision about the importance of skin color. I began to embrace differences. I can't speak for the rest of my family - I don't know what is in their hearts. I can tell you that if you want to find out where people really stand on the issue, announce to them that you are considering transracial adoption.

My mom and sister are incredibly supportive. I don't know what they truly believe about transracial adoption, but I know that we have their support. I believe my inlaws will also be very supportive - maybe they will just hold their tongue, but I"m okay with that. I am fully confident that these members of our families will love any child we welcome into our family. Sure, it make take some of them some time to get used to the idea, but once they get to know the person, I know they'll stop seeing the color. The man they call my dad is another story.

I knew he would be opposed to it, but some part of me believed he would still be supportive. I was wrong. The words he said were so outrageous - it was hard to believe he was serious. He told me about a couple he knew that had just adopted a beautiful anglo boy and how precious he is and how he lets dad hold him and play with him. I asked him if he really thought it would be different if that child were black instead of white. His response burned my ears and made me ashamed to be his daughter. He said, "I don't know what it would be like because I never would have picked him up." The man they call my dad kept urging me to "do the right thing" and "go the extra mile" so that we could adopt an anglo baby. My heart is still trying to make sense of it all.

There was much more to the conversation, but none of it any better than that. This man they call my dad has a disturbing way of withholding his love and affection when he is angry or when he doesn't agree with you on something. It isn't uncommon for him to go years without speaking to members of his family so I'm expecting the silent treatment from this point forward. The thing is, it's not even about the adoption anymore. We don't know what child we will be lucky enough to adopt - black, white, tan, purple, green.....we just don't know yet. It doesn't matter. Even if we end up with a child the man they call my dad finds acceptable, I'm not sure I want him around my child.

Is it ever okay to just close the door on a parent and walk away for good? I mean, I don't expect him to change his beliefs, nor will I fight that losing battle. I do expect and demand support regardless of whether or not I get agreement. This is an ongoing two-step of love and rejection that we've been dancing for thirty years. I'm tired of the tears, the waiting, the walking on eggshells. I'm tired of expecting him to be the dad I never had but always wanted. Mostly, I'm just tired. My heart is filled with joy and I won't let him rob me of even one small piece of it.

The man they call my dad has been in and out of my life since I breathed my first breath. I only see him a few times a year and we have been talking maybe once a month or so. It's not like there would be this void in my life if he were gone. You'd think he'd at least be able to fake it for that long, right? Stubborness runs deep. I'm not bitter, i'm not even angry - the best way to describe my feelings on the subject is to say that I feel cleansed. I am not walking away from this man they call my dad; I have opened to the door and allowed him to freely go, if that is what he chooses. The last message he received from me set my boundaries and I intend to stick to them: "Anyone who treats my family in a loving way is welcome in our home and in our lives."

James 2:1
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? NLT

H