And then I Saw Her Face

Truly, I am overly sentimental. I think deeply about things, and cherish the moments right before changes happen. I like to note how I feel right before something big happens, savoring the butterflies fluttering around my insides. And the butterflies were going crazy that morning!

That day, I showered, dressed, ate breakfast in the hotel resturant and found myself with extra minutes. (Strange, I never have extra minutes!) I sat on the unmade bed to think and pray and I hastily scribbled in my journal about how eight years previously I had been waiting to meet my first daughter, and now I was awaiting my first introduction to my second. I could hardly steady my hand to write for all the butterfly migration happening between my liver and my lungs, so I left off the thought with a …

Finally, it was time to head downstairs. Our attendant suggested we have our meeting at the outside terrace of the hotel, so we picked out a table and sat down. She was explaining what we should expect of the first meeting. All of a sudden, she was gazing outside of the hotel cafe and time slowed considerably. Was this it? Oh my goodness, this is it! I took a deep breath, exhaling my nerves. This was it. This group of people moving our direction represent a moment I have been waiting over four years for. This is what it feels like for your life to change in an instant.

A little face was peering at us from the stroller, and I bent down to say hello to my daughter. Her foster father said something to her and she began to giggle. I didn’t want to overwhelm her, so I backed up to my chair as everyone took places around the table and we were introduced to Lovebug’s entourage. The foster parents, the foster brother, the social worker, the psychologist. Small talk was exchanged and I kept sneaking peeks at the sweet little face as the conversation swirled around us in two languages.

The psychologist began to walk Lovebug around holding her hands, so she could explore. I focused my attention on the questions about us, and then we were invited to ask whatever we wanted. I searched the depths of my brain trying to recall what I was supposed to ask. What would Lovebug ask one day, that I would want to have an answer for? What did the adoption books say to ask? What had I read about gaining good information about your child? I had nothing.

I didn’t realize it but the psychologist had walked Love up behind me, and before I could react, she plopped my daughter into my lap. Lovebug squirmed for just a moment when she realized she didn’t know me. I offered over the dolly we had brought her as well as a play bottle and a musical mirror. She relaxed against me as she began to explore the spoils I held.

Her hair smelled like magic. Pure baby magic.

Her chubby hands worked over the surface of the mirror, and I was thankful to feel how solid her little body was. Her foster mom began handing her chunks of chocolate bread and I realized with a smile how she is so chubby. 🙂

The schedule for the week was discussed, among other things, I really have no clue. Because I was holding and smelling and kissing and enjoying my baby girl. After four long years, dreams were being birthed into reality.

I got up to walk Lovebug around. She grabbed my hands and began walking (maybe it was more of a chubby baby jog– she is FAST!) and she was saying something over and over. The attendant with us told me she was saying, “Come on! Come on!” and my heart melted like a Popsicle on the 4th of July. Because Baby Girl, I would walk forever behind you, holding your dimpled hands and laughing at your sweet little voice.

Soup was ordered for Lovebug’s lunch about noon, and she sat on my lap while I fed her a gruel of soup and bread. She ate like a champ (thighs like what!) and began to fuss when she realized her portion was finished. I reluctantly handed her back over to her foster mom and said good-bye…

 

 

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Throwback Thursday

I thought I’d dish up a little post and throw it back to October when I last posted– in the middle of the 30 Days blogging challenge I didn’t finish. Oops.

I attended a homeschool conference (BY. MYSELF. GLORY.) in mid-October and it was exactly the encouragement and push I needed. I had been schooling Ladybug and Stinkbug for a few months at that point and it still felt like a crazy juggling game to jump from Kindergarten reading to Second Grade math and back and forth and leap frog all over the curriculum map. I was exhausted and felt like I had no idea what I was doing. (So much for that $26,000 degree in Elementary Ed, I guess!)

I really needed to hear those speakers tell me to major on the majors and minor in the minors. Get the reading and the math done and it’s OK if that’s all we get to in a day. Relax and enjoy these moments with my little ones. I am thankful for that week, I came back with fresh perspective in my heart and Jenga in my bag for the kids. 🙂

Every year I feel like I’m on a roller coaster in October– click, click, clicking to the top and then WOOOOOOOOSH it’s holidays and busy times and visitors and cold weather and before I know it, I’m packing Christmas ornaments between layers of paper towels to be stacked in our tiny little apartment closet.

Even now, I think I forgot to get off the ride because HOW IN THE WORLD IS IT APRIL 9TH?!

Our attentions have been pretty adoption focused so far in 2015, as we glimpsed a new sweet face on our agency’s waiting child list in December and we were unofficially matched with a sweet little girl in eastern Europe! We’ve updated our homestudy and our USCIS clearance and waiting, waiting, waiting to hear that we are finally able to go and meet her! On February 4 we hit four years since we said yes in our hearts to this journey, so it feels amazing (and also agonizing!) to feel like the end is coming.

Well, that’s about it for life from October until now– home school, holidays, adoption, cooking food for my kids to complain about, and always… mountains of laundry.

Dear Girl at the Park // Letters Day 3

Dear Girl at the Park,31days2014

You are maybe two and a half years old and just so darn cute. You don’t talk much, but you sure tugged my heart strings yesterday.

The kids and I pulled out our sandwiches and apple wedges at the park and you sauntered over to our bench to check us out. I passed you a handful of fish crackers and I’m pretty sure you were absolutely sold on me after that 🙂 (I love living in a culture where handing out snacks to other peoples’ kids doesn’t make me a creeper.)

You watched Lady, Stink, and Doodle carefully, mesmerized by their play. You toddled after them and then chased yourself back to the bench where I sat watching my kids. You maneuvered yourself up beside me and watched from my side for a little bit. I couldn’t help wondering if you look like our Lovebug. I’ve never seen her face, so I don’t know.

Maybe she’s two just like you– or maybe she’s six and she once looked just like you do now, with dark brown ringlets and almost black eyes. I hope I know soon.

I loved imagining her with yesterday afternoon as I kept looking up and counting heads (job hazard) and I was always counting four. I can’t wait until I can count to four– and know they’re all really, truly mine.

1014052_10101345778261668_6455611823664079662_nThanks for the precious little glimpse into the future. I loved meeting you at the park yesterday.

Just a Crazy Mama,

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Waiting and Grieving

Last year we were anxiously waiting for July 11th because we were supposed to find out if S, a waiting child we applied for, could be adopted by us (if our agency got her file). We felt hopeful and near the end of the adoption process, so I never would have guessed that a year later we would still be waiting and we would be no closer to bringing our daughter home than we were then. It is a discouraging thought.

The grief I have felt during this process– for the girls who we tried to adopt who were matched before us, for the girls I have wanted to adopt who had health needs beyond what we can realistically handle being overseas, over knowing our daughter is family-less and not being able to DO anything to make this move faster. It’s heart-wrenching and often churning only inside me. It’s not visible as I keep taking my kids to swim lessons and digging the Legos out of the couch cushions and cutting the crusts off PB&J sandwiches. Grief is funny like that.

I still pray over the faces I’ve seen. I pray for A and B and T and H and S and P and C, who we pursued adopting to some degree or another. I still grieve for their losses of biological parents and siblings and beseech Almighty God to place them in loving forever families. I still think about them and wonder where they are (most of them are home or on their way!) I am still changed by encountering their stories and their realities. I am forever changed by orphan girls who I will never meet or hold.

People don’t understand. Someone wrote to me recently that Jesus doesn’t want us to adopt as shown by our lack of a match and we are disobeying Him to continue in the process. That made me super mad! Who the heck do you think you are? And why would God give you special insight into our life and our calling as a family? And how did you come by information about His sovereign will? We live in a world that glorifies instant gratification. We have even spiritualized that “fast food culture” and tell each other if something’s not happening, it’s not God’s will. It must be a “closed door”, so He can open a window. What a bunch of cheesy Christian-ese baloney.

Of course I have questioned this calling (is calling synonymous with burden?!) and wondered if we heard wrong? How easy it would be to just ignore those promptings we first felt in 2011? And the knowledge of the global orphan crisis? And the mandates from God’s Word about the fatherless?… But it’s all true and I know what He asked us to do and I can’t call a cease and desist. I just can’t.

I serve a God who calls His people to hard things. He doesn’t value their happiness, He values their holiness. And do you know when we are made holy? When we can’t put down His Word because we want to know what He says… When we’re on our knees begging Him for more of Himself… When we don’t feel like we can handle it on our own… When we’re in the middle of HARD THINGS.

So last July 11 came and passed. This July 11 is passing as well, with no news, no match, no end in sight. But I continue to believe that God is in control and His plans for my family will not be thwarted. We will endure the hard work of waiting by His grace, and in His timing our wait will (finally) be over.

Dearest Lovebug

I wrote this post a year ago in April 2013. The words– and the heart behind them– are as true today as they were then. 

It is starting to drive us absolutely crazy that you aren’t here with us, baby girl! We had a few weeks recently of thinking we had found you, and our hearts quickly tumbled ahead of us with dreams and plans and excitement and joy and preparations… but alas, it wasn’t you. And so we came back to earth and we continue to wait.

Your brother (Stinkbug) and your sister (Ladybug) are tremendously anxious to meet you. Stinkbug points out the empty chair at our table and says that it’s where you’ll sit when you get here. He asks when you’re coming. Your sister prayed such sweet words at bedtime tonight, pleading with Jesus to bring you home quickly because she “doesn’t know what it’s like to have a sister and already has you in her heart”.

(Your smallest brother, Doodlebug, is two and a half and calls you “baby sister”, but has many other things to worry about right now like how to smear as much red mud on his jeans as possible before I make him come inside, and how to avoid big boy underwear at all costs. He’s kind of a handful. You’ll love him, I promise.)

I also find myself wondering about you. Each morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day your picture pops up on my screen and my heart shouts YES! THAT’S HER! ???? As full and messy and joyful as my life is now with three kids, I feel your absence constantly.

I wanted you to be with us last week when we went on vacation and were swimming indoors and stayed in a hotel all smooshed into two beds (It soundsmore picturesque than it was, thank goodness it was only two nights!) And we ate donuts for dinner one night (I know, baby girl! We are crazy sometimes, you’d better get used to it!) and I wondered– would you have picked the jelly-filled donut like your sister? Would you like chocolate milk or white milk to wash that donut down? Or maybe you don’t like milk at all?

When we hunted for Easter eggs a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see you chasing after your brothers and laughing with glee when you spotted a colorful treasure hidden in the grass. I wanted to see you in an Easter dress, spinning and twirling like all princesses should. I wanted to have a picture of us all dressed up and ready for church. I wanted you with us.

At dinner each night I wish I was setting another plate. Another cup. Another fork. Instead one chair stands empty.

I don’t know where you are now, and that’s almost too much for my heart to bear. I need you here beside me. In my arms. In your sister’s room. In our bathtub. At our table. In your Daddy’s lap during family worship each evening.

We love you, Ladybug. We pray for you every day– that God would protect you and provide all your needs and that He would bring you home quickly.

Because your family is waiting.

Birth Stories in Haiku

Ladybug ~ June 29, 2007

Nervous first time mom

Labor induced feeling scared

Nine pound baby girl 

Doodlebug ~ November 14, 2008

Very cold O.R.

Tugging– baby boy is born!

Yellow fuzzy hair

Stinkbug ~ October 7, 2012

Water breaks early

The nearness of God feels good

Precious dark-haired boy

Lovebug ~ Coming Soon!

Waiting is so hard

Wondering who, where you are

Praying you come soon

I saw this idea today– birth stories in Haiku (via Making Home via Conversion Diary) and I love writing Haiku poetry, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Can you Haiku?

Adoption Update

journeytolovebug

I know I haven’t updated in awhile about the status of our adoption. There is not a lot noticeably happening in our process, but there is much happening under the surface.

I have always harbored a desire to adopt so when we jumped into this journey… OK, we actually carefully and slowly waded into the pool… I feel like I was naive. Well-intention-ed but naive.

As I have learned about adoption ethics, the terrible state of the adoption process in a lot of countries, and orphan care as a whole– adoption is not the only answer of how Christians could and should be caring for the orphan– it’s like scales have fallen from my eyes. This journey is painful and messy. It’s hard and long and sanctifying and worth it.

I have a lot to say, but I’m not ready to say it yet.

Just know, my heart has been broken and changed and reformed and God is doing something miraculous inside of me. If anything, I have realized that this adoption will not only change the life of one orphan girl who finds a forever family and a forever home with us– it is irreversibly changing her mother as well. And for this I am grateful.