Sunday, November 23, 2008

FINALIZATION!!!


IT really, finally happened. In fact, tomorrow it will be 2 weeks to the day that Judge Kate Toomey pronounced us a family. THANK GOD!!!!
It has taken me this long to even process the day, the proceedings, the flat tire when we got back to the parking lot, the well wishers who stopped by for cold Chinese food that evening, the gifts, the love, the friends, the Little Black Dress outfit E looked so cute in, the photographer, the women in my life who drove in the nasty weather and paid the parking fee to witness the proceedings...and shared tears of joy with me, Cassie pulling her boys out of school early and getting them dressed in "court attire", the text msg from my sister, the voicemail from Annie, the matching outfits that Chloe & Rory wore, the big zit on my chin, the joke the attorney told in the elevator...twice, the way the judge looked at us, the comment Rory made as we left the courtroom (we really get to keep her mom?), the way my heart felt when I thought of her birth mom that day (and right now), the compound under construction, the social worker making her firm recommendation that E should be ours, the way the big girls looked sitting in the judge's chair for pictures (you girls have choices, options...take the world by storm!), the approving laughter by the judge when she walked into the courtroom and saw E on James' lap, the way James looked at me as I started to cry at the sheer surrealness of it all, the look on the attorney's face as I handed him a thank you note with E's pix in it to thank him for his part in our journey, snuggling on my couch with good friends at the end of the crazy day, and most of all the overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Grateful we made it through 6 months of what if's. Grateful that everyone that was meant to be there was and those that couldn't were here in spirit. Grateful for my husband. Grateful for my girls. Grateful that God picked me...picked us....to have little E as part of our family....
I am going to upload all 91 pix on kodak gallery if interested, but want to say thanks for following along with me on this crazy road of adoption. Until the next dream....big hugs-S

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Yellow Brick Road

As we journey to finalization, I have had several thoughts and feelings that have been so random, so scary random, so not from God that I have felt how Dorothy must have felt as she traveled the yellow brick road. I have several things going on....my dream was planted and is coming to fruition...now what? I know we raise E, loving her, giving her a life that I hope when she looks back is filled with giggles and tickles. That's what we all want, isnt it? Giggles and tickles, tickles and giggles. The anticipation of the tickle brings on the giggle which brings on the tickle....but then what. I don't know if or what, but I am being affected by something more and thanking God for the many blessings in our adoption process but am grateful that I am not feeling like this is the end. I don't want him to ever be done with me, my growth. I want to set the world on fire...thanks Britt Nicole, but one of my fears is I am going to lose that passion on November 10th, when the judge says do you take her forever and ever as your baby girl, we say I do, the gavel sounds and I wake up covered in sweat with an overwhelming feeling of abandonment. Wow-this post just got real. Abandoned...abandoned expectations, abandoned children, orphans, why does my heart and throat overfill when I type that word....orphans....abandoned. Whatever it does or doesn't mean, I know my truth. My truth is that everything that we see God's hand in is now referred to as an Esther thing. Read that again Esther. You are a God thing. Your mom and dad listened and obeyed and we received all good things in return, YOU. You were wanted by your birth mom enough to have her say I want you to have more than I can give. You are wanted by our great big Papa God enough that he prepared our hearts for a life with you. AND you are especially wanted, cried over, prayed for by your mom, dad, and sisters. You will officially take our last name soon, but name alone can not compare to the heart strings that were tied when you were 3 weeks and 3 days old and placed into our arms at the Marriott on a hot, steamy day in Texas. I cried harder in that moment, in front of complete strangers because you fit in my arms....really fit...in a way that only God's amazing love could mold. You will also have your yellow brick road and because we know that He has held you in His arms when others couldn't, that you will not be in pursuit of the man behind the curtain, but instead He will draw you to Him and His truth. Abandoned no more, we come and sit in His presence. Adoption....the original gift that keeps giving.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SIX MONTHS OLD!!!

video

Well, we are 6 months old today and with each month there seems to be a new milestone....this is sitting up....and falling down:( It's a soft carpeted landing with a thick pad so don't fret. She even sat in a high chair yesterday. Where does the time go? I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that means? With every new thing she can do she needs us less. Yes, I know she's only 6 months, but we have the advantage of knowing what they look like at almost 9 and that perspective makes us definitely appreciate these milestones a little more. Happy 6 months E!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

SAVE THE DATE

When? Monday, November 10th 3:30pm
Where? SL County Courthouse
What? Esther Marley "officially" becomes a Nelson

More details to follow....most likely in an evite.

Does anyone else notice that we're scheduled at 3:30? 3rd girl...met at 3 weeks, 3 days....finalized at 3:30......James and I are 33....will it ever end?

Save the date:)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

2nd Post Placement Visit

Stomach flu....dizzy spells....broken vacuum belts. Preparing for the 2nd and final post placement visit.....priceless.

I know I was worried. I am not sure why now, but I was. The bare floor, the cracked tiles maybe? How does that reflect my love for our brown eyed girl any more or less. All the wonderfully gracious social worker saw was a house with lots of love and a happy baby. Thank you Jesus and thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! I can not say enough how awed I am at the big and little blessings I see in our E process. I shouldn't have worried....I know. So, long story short, it went great! We made a follow up call to the attorney to see how things look on their end and they said we should be getting a court date within the next couple weeks. A court date?!! Yes, a court date. Isn't God good? All the time (Lincoln Brewster fans)-:)!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monkey Jammies


If you are a mom I think you can relate to this. Every baby we've had, there's been one outfit or piece of clothing that looked so good on them, embraced their spirit, brought the wow factor to their eyes. For Chloe, it was the forest green Old Navy flannel pants, perfect for a December baby, worn every time they were clean to show off her bright blue eyes and cute little toes. For Rory it was this purple outfit, I can't remember where it was from (she is the 2nd child-poor girl), but it made her white fuzzy head and huge blue eyes pop like twinkling stars. Since they were pre-blog babies, I now have the opportunity to post what the outfit is for E. It's these silly little pink and brown monkey jammies from Gymboree. They have a matching blanket and they make me giggle when she's in them and she's giggling. As she was squirming out of them during a PJP just now, I thought wow, she's almost outgrown these things and I had to take a picture. So, here they are, kiddo number 3 and the outfit that captures her silly squeal-the monkey jammies!

5 Months Old!




So, we passed our 5 month mark and thankfully they have no shots scheduled for this milestone, so we are tear free on that (all of us:))! We are having our 2nd and final post placement visit next week though. If you think of us, it's Wednesday the 24th at 12:30pm mst, we'd appreciate prayer that it all goes well. I'm just going to list out what I'm thinking right now, some concerns...it may be jagged, but it's authentic. Great title for another blog, Jagged, but Authentic...Authentically Jagged....Jagged Authentically.....Jaggedly Authentic......I totally digress.


So, here's the deal, if you are following Something Unexpected, you know we've bought a repo that needs work and I am VERY concerned we won't have it ready before our post placement visit. All the girls rooms are done, we did Esther's in a cute pink with one brown wall-it turned out great! BUT the flooded area(s) may not have the new flooring on them. I need to let that go and am trying to do so!


Another thing weighing heavily on my heart is Esther's birth mom was in the Houston area and as we've been watching the news, Ike did a dandy down there, so again, if you think of that, please pray for her and her safety/well being.


FINALIZATION......I can see it as a speck on a dirty window. It's coming...we hope. My hopes, my fears, my insecurities, are all being displayed like a fireworks show, and I am trying to hold true to what I know is true and not let satan destroy my spirit in the journey. I don't even want to type the fears that go along with this, but please pray that His will, not mine, not anyone else's, is carried out in the most joyous experience of love in the adoption of E.


Finally, the older girls. They have adjusted so easily, but they have been spectators of the fireworks show and oohed and aahed, but also been jarred a little by the boom. We have been hearing complaints that they feel left out with the move and the demands that a new baby brings. It's great to show them how much work a baby is and how it takes a FAMILY to raise an infant and they need to wait for that to have their own, so we are trying to take these moments and make them teachable ones that they will remember for a lifetime. It's also great to see them concerned for E's birthmom, her safety in the hurricane, and how to love someone we've never met and the act of love, charity, and God's amazing love and grace being displayed in this process. Please keep their little spirits in prayer that they feel loved beyond measure and a spirit of partnership is formed in the caring of baby E.


This is a picture of Esther during our BFFF (see Something Unexpected) and Chloe wanted to be sure her birth mom was a part of the foundation of this new home, this is what she wrote.


Thank you for continuing to be a part of our journey, your continued prayers, love, and support mean more than a blog post could ever say.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Here I Am




Prune Juice Poops

I know nothing good that began with this title. PJP's are running rampant in our house and getting the balance between not enough and too much is harder than anticipated. Our little E screamed for a solid 45 minutes after a failed trip to Target (I apologize to whomever had to take care of my cart that I hastily left in the middle of the aisle) last night that I almost called the dr on. Thankfully my husband, a renowned gas expert, took one look at her, asked me if she pooped today (the answer was no) and he diagnosed her instantly with gas painaramo (official term). We have been giving her the pj in her morning bottle and the pediatrician said to play with how many times a day, etc. So, apparently once isn't enough. BUT last week while my mom was here (I had backup, so I felt brave) I did the 2 pj bottles and the results reeked of messy...literally. Blowouts each time...up the back, to the shoulder blades blowouts. The second time James got it right through the clothes and car seat cover (btw, whoever invented that thing needs to be more sensitive to the process of the getting it on/off for cleaning....it's a beast). Both times were throw the clothes away blowouts, you get the drift. So, as I heard E push and grunt and then cry as I awaited my $12 coffee in the Starbucks drive thru this morning, I just knew we were having some kind of explosion. I finally get her home (thanks to the end of construction season, there was a backup...didn't they know we were having a car seat explosion? Moms should get dispersed sirens for these types of things!), undid the velcro and bam! What I thought was going to be an up the backer, turned out to be a rock. THE biggest rock a LUVS diaper can hold. If I could not take 5 hours to upload pictures, I would have posted it. Thankfully, I am sparing you. So, needless to say, we are out of whack on the pooper and she's a fussy trooper. PJP's.....another gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zeus-the Guardian

Anyone that has been in our home over the last 6 years knows about our humongous white haired lab-Zeus. Well, Zeus now has a miniature not potty trained counterpart maltipom named Gumball and Queen Esther is enthralled by both of them. This morning as she was waking up on James' lap in the living room, Zeus began to scratch his ear ferociously and Esther watched, then he walked around the living room, Esther watched...until he laid down and she got bored. I then took Esther to feed her and as we finished up her bottle, I saw Zeus get up and start to sniff. First in the living room, then he went to Esther's room....that worried me as yesterday I saw he enjoys a nibble on the Baby Einstein teether parrott (who doesn't really?) and I called him to come out of her room. He did, but he was still pacing, sniffing, looking for something. I chalked it up to a senior doggy moment until I just turned to look and realized what he was looking for. Esther's routine is eat, burp, and then playmat time. This morning the playmat was in my bedroom and usually it is in the middle of the living room floor. I went to get it, got Esther settled on it, and I see Zeus, wagging his tail with delight, coming towards us as I hit the music button. He slurped me on the face and then frump, he found his place right next to it, guarding Esther as she enjoys her time on the mat! What a dog, again finding his place with the newest addition. Zeus-the guardian:)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

4 months old

No pix again, but just a note that we survived the 4 month shot sequence. Gosh, I hate it!!! This time though I told the nurse that I had to turn my back. I did. She understood. I didn't cry, but Rory did. My sweet, sweet babies. Both of them were crying. Rory was crying so hard that she distracted Esther enough to make her stop! It was a heart swelling moment to see my almost 7 year old baby cry to see her new sister hurt. She was truly the one I was concerned about most in finding her new place as a middle child. She has stepped up and then some and it's genuine. So, with that said, we all survived, she's sleeping peacefully and I hope to do the same! I'll try to get some pictures on soon-her hair is getting big!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Milky Raspberries

I don't have a pix. I'm not gonna lie, I suck at the camera thing....don't judge me. But I have to document (for my own posterity) that Esther Marley has officially become the Raspberry Milk queen. Don't panic, I'm not feeding the 3 month old raspberries. She figured out how to stick her tongue out and make the spitting/raspberry sound and ever since that it has been going non-stop. She gets especially wound up when she takes a break from sucking her bottle and as she's belching like the dad on Family Guy she throws one out to say "SUCKA" (insert Mr. T's voice here) "I gotcha!" She blows, literally, all the belch remnants in the cutest, messiest, smelliest milky raspberry I've ever experienced. Raspberry milkshake anyone? YUUUMMMYYY!! Only a mother would wipe off her face and smile as she does it again. And I know that's a true statement since she has blessed all in our household with the same experience and I truly was the only one to be smiling afterward.

I'm hoping Mother's Day is spectacular!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

3 Months Old!
















If you have ever read any of my posts on 3's, today is a special something as Esther turns 3 months old! When we met her in muggy Houston, she was 3 weeks and 3 days old. When I turned on this blog, it said I had 33 posts up until this one...it just goes on and on. So, in celebration of yet another milestone for Baby Esther, I got a laborious lesson on the ole Kodak and am sharing her home grown photo shoot. We entitled the shoot the "watchutalkin about Willis"/Jermaine Dupree, Pretty in pink, I love my hand, Look at all this hair set! We celebrated this special day with 4 bottles and an upgrade to 3 month Avent holes. We also bought teether rings and I can NOT believe we have teething rings in our freezer once again!







Thursday, July 3, 2008

Esther's First BBQ






Two of the women who really came beside me while we prayed for our adoption through the swirls and curly q's of Texas, and then bringing her home have been Cassie and Traci. Cassie and her husband, Todd, opened their home last Sunday afternoon to have all of our families over for some great food and fellowship! Thank you McWhorter's we had a great time and that was officially Esther's first bbq! Note the cute bathing suit:)

1st Post Placement Visit

Yesterday at 7:50am, as we're bustling around to get ready, our ding dong rings for our first post-placement visit for Esther. I open the door to find this very warm, welcoming social worker who was hesitant to walk in, but after finding her place in an Ikea chair in the living room, next to the newly doused with dog hair (again) rug (I was appalled over the hair), she got to meet my pajama clad older girls and talk with our family about what the last 6 weeks have been like for us all. She was there to confirm that all was well in our little abode and thankfully, she had her form, asked the questions, and even though Chloe farted inappropriately about 5 times during the interview, I think all went well. She commented that she had never had a family so organized in giving her the info she needed, that was all Dr. Pete's doing in his fantastic growth/appointment form from her 2 month well check. So, we have one more to do in September/October and then finalization. I just got goosebumps typing that-finalization. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers in this....I'm still trying to figure out the new camera to post pix:)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

First Word

Ok, this is ridiculous and we have never experienced this with our other 2 girls, but three of us were in the room as Esther was playing on her mat with the animals on it. James and I heard Rory talking to her, saying "Say lion Esther, say zebra Esther, etc." I kid you not, by the 3rd time Rory said "Say zebra Esther", we heard this zeeeebra out of our little monkey. We all looked at each other, shocked, thinking we had misheard. So, Rory, in all her 6 and a half year old wisdom, decided not to leave it to interpretation and continued with, "Say zebra Esther" and out squeaks this little zeeeebra!!!! Oh my goodness! Rory squealed, James and I looked at each other and my mind went instantly to this after school special I saw in junior high where this African American girl living in the ghetto was a genius and she had to fight her way out of poverty to get into college and I then blurted out, we have a ghetto genius!! I know it's dumb, but holy cow, she said Zebra for goodness sakes!!! I know I should be disappointed since it wasn't mama or dada, but to be honest I'm impressed to the point of awe that our little 2 month old is this tuned in, especially to her ever caring, always bouncing, blondie big sister! Little things....first words.....big blessings in small packages....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Two Months Old

Esther Marley is 2 months old today. She's 22 inches and over 10 pounds, a petite version of a former identity. To celebrate this special day, we visited the pediatrician for the required pokings (please see Something Unexpected for more info). Two months is big for us. We're pot committed (poker term) and we have gone "all in" (another poker term) and then some. She is now smiling and cooing. She does this little cry when she's not done being goo-gooed over and wants you to look back at her. She is adored by her two older sisters and has everyone she meets in awe over her curly hair and gorgeous skin tone. Her eyes bear into my soul and I can see hers in their reflection. She has an old southern womanness about her, deep, touching, knowing. It's intense and our journey as of yet makes me wonder how I got picked to enjoy something so wonderful.
Another blessing arrived today in the form of a super duty umbrella stroller. We are now covered for all stages of her stroller needs and both people who provided the strollers have no idea how they truly blessed our family-THANK YOU!
Esther's currently in a post-immunization tylenol sleep and I'm letting her sleep through a scheduled feeding in the name of restoring her poor little needle invaded body! Normally though she's clockwork on the feedings, taking a full 4 ounces, sometimes more if needed. She is also sleeping through the night. A statement I don't want to write lightly for fear I will jinx it, but Babywise seems to have once again come through for our newest little one.
We will be scheduling post-placement visits with the agency and I will be gathering more pictures and another letter for the birth mom as well. Adoption is like living in heaven and on earth at the same time. So much is surreal and blessings are so very real while at the same time the reality of the paperwork, social workers, birth mom, etc weigh on my heart and mind. I pray for her birth mom whenever I think of her or tell our story.
May her heart and mind be at peace tonight as she says goodnight to our baby girl. I have to say goodnight as well for the reality of painful shots has just awoken and Queen Esther is telling her dad all about it and I don't want to miss it:)
Night night all....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Manifestation of God's Love

This phrase blurted out of my mouth yesterday in reference to Esther's arrival. It seems like this adoption process has been one little God gift after the other with Esther being at the middle. Each time I think we are done experiencing the blessings He has for us, something else happens. Today, for instance, I received a beautiful email from a friend who just happens to have a slightly used girl patterned stroller that she has offered to give us. James and I had just talked about our needs for her, in starting from scratch, and we are already so grateful for the crib, the infant car seat, the borrowed bjorn, the meals, the gifts of clothes, bibs, socks, etc and now this stroller. It seems a little too good to be true, to feel the provisions of Gods love in the flesh. I remember in college, scraping by just to buy Ramen and lemon cookies from Food 4 Less and the gratitude to be able to pay our rent and eat, but it seemed stressful. That is not the case in the current provisions, it's oddly peaceful and freeing. The way that the people around us have looked in their hearts to not only come alongside us in our excitement, but actually offer things we have needs for is beyond my comprehension.
Beyond the physical things that we need being provided for, what I've really enjoyed the most is hearing those around me open up by sharing their desires for adoption. What a wonderful connection to experience with someone in having this type of passion in common!
The manifestation of God's love....we all see it in different things when we listen to the nudging of our hearts. Mine, for today, comes in the form of a beautiful baby girl that we've been given the privilege of having and holding and I truly hope that all who meet us have their passions, whatever they might be, ignited or re-ignited so they can experience this beautiful thing called love.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Week Later

So we've been home for a week now and it's been a little crazy. As I'm typing this I'm watching my mom rock Esther in the chair across from me and she just said to me, I've never held a baby who sang herself to sleep. Esther makes this cooing sound as if she has a lullaby tape going on in her little head that she is humming. Self-soothing, resilient, adorable baby Esther. It makes me wonder what her short time with her birth mom was like for her or maybe this is how she was born. Either way it's very different from the ever demanding, much like my personality older girls and to be honest, it's a welcomed reprieve that is making it especially wonderful to bond to this new life and therefore causing me to be more emotional, a weird feeling like post-partumy with gratitude overwhelming me every time I look at her. This journey is like one I've never known and I'm beginning to feel empowered in my knowing I am walking it...and not walking it numb. I'm feeling every bit of it, not running from any of it, not hiding, not bitter by the lack of sleep or by having to "eat in shifts" as James calls it. My life is again not my own (not that it really ever has been for the last 8 years), but somehow I thought I had reclaimed myself recently and what I'm now realizing is that I was tending to not embrace the fun that each of the older girls ages offered. That is not the case now. I am not wishing us onto a more independent stage, thinking things like I can't wait until she can walk, potty train, drive, etc. For that I am grateful at the fortitude in being present, for today, for this moment. Is that maturity? Am I too tired to think beyond the next feeding? OR is it that the newness hasn't worn off yet? Whatever it is, I don't care. I want time to freeze and imprint the picture of Rory & Chloe's 4 big blue eyes staring at me as I stare into the eyes our little brown eyed girl. It's amazing, it's questions like when will she crawl mom? Can she have a tortilla chip? Why doesn't Esther have to eat salad? I LOVE IT! It makes me laugh to have our girls embrace this new life in their own ways. Are they adjusting? Somewhat, some moments more than others. Expectations of what their role in our growing family is come out in comments like, I used to be the baby, then Rory came, and now Esther. I get it. It's a lot. It's also about looking beyond our own selfish desires (at whatever age) and stretching to make accomodations for something new. What I know is that each one of us, even with the stretching and growth we are forced to do in this experience, that somehow it has brought an energy of excitement and hope to our home. Beyond that of birthing a new baby, this is a more unique sense of God's got this one, entirely. Get on your knees Susan, eyes on Me, focus, I got this one. Focus.....on priorities, on new life, on lives already here. Adoption, the gift that keeps on giving, beyond all expectations.

A couple pix off cell phone....

This was our last time in Texas before going home. Is that a smile?


Esther & Big Sister Chloe & Rachel Trostrud-thanks for my new swing Rachel!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rough Night

The honeymoon is officially over, at least for a little while. Esther slept so awesome for the social workers and the first couple nights for me, but these last couple nights, last night especially, you would of thought she drank a Red Bull for dinner. This quiet little cutie apparently thinks she needs to expand her lung capacity and therefore showed me what she could do from 9:30 to midnight. I gotta get a new copy of Babywise and figure out how to get her to stay asleep. She'll eat, wake, sleep (for 30 minutes)....it's keeping her sleeping that's puzzling. She jumps at every noise and in a hotel with no sound proofing it's getting tough. In fact, housekeeping woke her up this afternoon when they wanted to change the duvet covers???? I was a little bitter, but compliant, and it was my bad since in my sleep deprived haze I forgot to put the Do Not Disturb sign up. I guess all the noise is good practice for when we get home.
I am tryinig to rest when she does and my cell phone is dead, so if anyone's trying to get me, I hope to make call backs tomorrow. No word on any exit plan.....keep praying. I did contact the attorney today and we are putting them on retainer so they can start the finalization process. Our finalization anniversersary is November 6th, which means they can set the court date to complete it any time after that date. I'll update more if I hear anything. We can't wait to come home, although I heard it's rainyish there and we're enjoying the heat of Houston as we wait....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crib Set

I was talking to my friend yesterday (the crib lender and car seat finder) who happens to be very resourceful about our needs for Esther. Just now, my husband calls and says, I have great news!! Instantly, I was hoping we were going to be able to leave. Nope. He did have great news though, he found the Nelson girl original yellow checkered crib bumper set all complete (graciously purchased by my in-laws for Chloe at the Lake Elsinore outlets) and the white baby hamper!! Who knew we held on to those? He's so excited, he's actually washing it and getting it ready! Do I know this man? Of course and so does Esther. It's the little things like using the same sheets, comforter, and bedding that's been passed down from baby to baby that makes a hubby do a yahoo and a load of laundry without being asked!! You go daddy:)

I'm in Love

For all the skeptics out there....this thing called adoption tugs at heart strings that I didn't even know I had. As she is snoring on my chest in the borrowed Bjorn and I'm in the poorly lit, ever humid, Texas business center, my heart is swollen with new mother joy and love. Our brown eyed girl has now smiled at me (possibly gas, but who really knows), she's peed on me, spit up on me, and best of all cried until I picked her up and instantly stopped when she was snuggled into my neck. I no longer feel as if I'm babysitting someone else's child. I know this cry is for me. It's addictive, it's sweet, it's genuine. I'm her mommy. Could I have asked for a better Mother's Day gift? I keep telling her that over and over again. Phrases like Hi, it's mommy. I'm your mommy. Esther Marley is mommy's baby girl. Does my stomach turn when I think about the upcoming 6 months until finalization? I'd be lying if I said no. The growth for me is in knowing that deep down everyone I hold dear is on borrowed time. Every day that I get to look in your eyes, her eyes, my families and friends eyes is a gift. I know that busyness and routine is something that distracts us all from that reality. I am in this thing moment to moment. Feeling all of it, regretting none of it, loving God's awesomeness, and trusting His goodness and plans. What a way to live. I wish I could figure out how to upload pictures from this computer. I will post some as soon as we get home. No word on that as of yet...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

WE HAVE A BABY!!!!

James and I are so happy to announce we have a baby!!! God, in His Divine wisdom, has given us a baby girl. I am typing this from the La Quinta in Pearland, TX where I have to wait until the ICPC clears. James went back home last night, but we are having some paperwork issues, so we may be looking for a way for him to bring our big girls and himself back to me here in Texas. Yes, I know, we were asking for a boy. When the agency called on Monday and asked us if we would be willing to take a baby girl in Texas, all of a sudden the sex of our little gift no longer mattered. I have to say, she's adorable. What's happening now is that we wait for the ICPC to clear and then after that it takes 6 months to have finalization in Utah. We have decided to call her Esther Marley Nelson. I started out wanting to call her Penelope and then all of a sudden James looked at me, as we were driving over to meet her, and said what about Esther? I said isn't that a grandma type name? He said think about it. When I think of Esther, I think of Queen Esther from the bible and how she stood up for her people to her husband, the king. What strikes me is not only how she is described as beautiful, but I get the feeling she was thoughtful and had a quiet confidence. The words quiet confidence is what I felt from this little beauty as soon as I met her....she's an Esther. God has great plans for her and He has entrusted us to nurture and love her. It's funny, last week my sister, in my frustration said we will just pray that God will show you He loves you. I am here to say, I am loved. It's time to warm the next bottle so I have to run. Please pray that the paperwork clears quickly and that there are no hang ups. Also pray for the birth mom that her soul is comforted and she knows deep down that the gift she gave is being loved and cherished. Now we wait to get out of Texas....will write more soon!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Update

I don't even know how to start explaining this weekend in writing, so I'm just going to start and hope it makes sense. First, I've been working with the local agency that did our home study to see if they have any cases that fit our requests. So far they don't and on top of that I'm struggling getting clear info from them. Also, anyone reading this that may be adopting domestically-note to self-MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING YOU GIVE YOUR HOME STUDY AGENCY. This includes the reference letters you get from people. I didn't do that and now I'm at the mercy of the home study agency to pass on our info to other agencies we want to apply to. That' s VERY frustrating especially since they aren't that forthcoming in their communication.
So, I contacted another local agency that offers an African American Infant Adoption program and I totally connected with the "information" person on the phone and the agency happens to be in our home town. During our conversation she asked what we were looking for and she asked me-How set are you on a boy? OK, I know-pretty set, right? I don't know what happened, but I said-Tell me more. So, she proceeded to tell me about a situation they have where the baby is already born, but she's a girl. Again, I don't know what happened, but I asked if we could be shown to her mom. Keep in mind, our home study is in some kind of state of limbo, being held hostage with some unknown timeframe of release, I haven't done our profile with pictures, our birthmom letter had to be changed to meet this agencies requirements, our birth certificates have to be notarized, and I have to fill out their application (which I still haven't done yet). This conversation took place on Friday afternoon at 3pm and their representative was leaving at 6pm and we had re-arranged our whole night to go from a MOPS date night to the Jazz winning playoff game getting home at 1am to try and work on all this. So Saturday morning we put a video slideshow together that we are hoping they can show the birth mom on a computer. Somehow I feel extremely calm about the whole thing. Chances are VERY slim that we could be matched, but at least it's practice in the process. As far as the girl vs boy thing, I don't know, all of a sudden the sex of the baby doesn't matter as much as the fact that a baby needs a home and we can do that. We appreciate your continued prayers and look forward to hopefully hearing something this week. And we wait....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Saga Continues

When the home study gets completed it then has to go to an approval committee. That was supposed to be approved yesterday, but now they're saying next week. In the meantime a couple things have happened on our end. First, I met someone who had a negative experience with the agency we were considering using. We are grateful for the information and will be taking it into consideration as we finalize where to apply. Secondly, since we are going to pursue partnering with the local agency that completed our home study, we need to do our profile. It sounds like a case on Law & Order SVU. Unfortunately, it includes scrapbooking or something like that. Any of you that know me know that's not a doable thing. I have written the birth mom letter (that in and of itself was ridiculously surreal). How do you tell a mother about yourself in a way to allow her to trust that you are capable to raise her baby? How do we say thank you for allowing us to even be considered to do that? I can't even begin to understand a birth mom's state of mind, the courage it would take to carry a child with the understanding that they will not be with you. I did the best I could and now I have to put pictures to the words and put it on some overpriced, oversized paper with special glue to preserve the memories. Gotta be honest, not looking forward to it and not really sure where to begin.
With that said, the highlight of this week happened today. First, I was able to share a meal this morning with a beautiful woman who helps me put my life into perspective and appreciate the people God's planted me here with. Thank you!! The second thing gives me goosebumps in just typing it. The same friend that lent her crib to me was talking to her neighbor and long story short, she has a brand new infant carrier with base that she could sell for cash, but has agreed to give to us! This is one of the things that is giving me hope that this adoption is actually happening. I have never experienced something that seems so out of reach in one moment and then becomes completely real the next. Talk about surreal! I am so grateful for the way this friend has chose to invest in this process and my gratitude continues as I feel our relationship blossom as well. (Insert tears here). I've done a lot of boo-hooing over the past couple days, some tears selfish, some hot with the sting of frustration, but today they are sweet like a fresh spring raindrop-full of gratitude and emotion as if God sprinkled me as His oar plunged into the water. Thank you for paddling and for the refreshing splash and I pray that I don't grab the oars from you as we wait....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BACKGROUND CHECKS DONE-FINALLY!

The email we've been waiting for arrived in my inbox yesterday, but like a Jack-in-the-box springing out of its dark hole, depending on your state of mind it could have caused delight or crying. For some reason it caused the latter for me. It wasn't good crying either. It was what did I get myself into crying. Are we really going to move forward on this? Is this really what we're supposed to be doing? Please Lord, cause something to stop this train we're on so I can get off. This is definitely NOT the reaction I thought I was going to have. I thought I would be ecstatic. I thought I would be elated. Neither happened, instead I looked at the children I have and began to cry in thinking how this is going to rock not only my world, but theirs as well. I'm selfish, I'm lazy, I'm scared. With that, we are now in limbo, going to be sending the completed home study to the agency in Michigan, but for some reason I'm hesitant. Like a cheating bridegroom on his wedding day, I want to run. This is my m.o. If it's hard, run. If it gets harder, run faster. Chunky monkeys can only run so fast and even though I know God can run faster than I can, I still want to race. Not the best place to be in, sprinting against the big man. I need to stop. Breathe. Pray. Ask Him to hold me up. My doorbell rang this morning and there stood Disappointment, Doubt, and Discouragement on my doorstep telling me I can't do this. I don't want to live in Utah, let alone bring another child here. I am tired, unhappy, and lonely in the life I'm already in, how could I add more? Yet, how could I not? We have a home, a car, a decent job, health benefits, most of all we have a deep down sense of love. BUT as James left for work this morning and I dropped the kids off to school and opened the door to my empty house, I was shaken with a sense of you'll be doing this alone. This is all on you. I remember those feelings when the girls were little. They were hard for me. It was a lot. I don't want to do this alone. Again, the 3 D's were right there to remind me of all my inadequacies and all the negative feelings I had as a young mom. So, please rejoice with me that progress has been made in our process, but please, please, please pray with me that I will be comforted, that God will give me the peace that doesn't make sense, and that the birth mom He has chosen for us is listening and walking His will to bring her baby to our home. Thanks for tagging along on the journey, I think I'm going to give God the oars for a while, I'm getting tired of paddling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not Pushing It

This is something I'm trying REALLY hard not to do. I am practicing going through my days, focusing on the needs of that day, since I am well aware that is all I'm given. I want to feel the joy and excitement of this process. Right now, I'm at a state of ho-hum. I spoke with the social worker today and lo and behold, no background checks awaiting her return. She left a msg for her contact in licensing and I really do hope we know something soon. Last night I went on the National Photolisting of children waiting to be adopted. They were mostly older kids and those with special needs. I just had to see, had to feel connected somehow to the process we're in. The pictures of them, although somewhat torturing, helped to remind me of what it is we're doing. Right now there's a huge disconnect for me. There are no fetal kicks, no ultrasounds, just a wait. I am definitely looking forward to being in a program with an agency, knowing they are partnering with us to help find a birthmom to match with. Until then, joy in the moment, walk the process, and I am doing my best to not push things. I'm walking it, but not alone. And we wait.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Crib Borrowing

I have found women bible study groups to be good for several things over the years. Good munchies, mediocre coffee usually, sometimes great conversation. One thing I would have never imagined to be adding to this list is crib borrowing. My fellow redheaded bs'er (we've done 3 or 4 together, I lost track) has officially packed up her crib and with her hubby dropped it off to our newly emptied baby's room last night. I can't tell you how blessed James and I felt when they came by. I have goose bumps just typing this. Even though I know that she may not have been ready to move on from the crib stages of her little tikes, she was gracious enough to entrust us with one of the biggest symbols of kids dependence, the crib.

In our adoption process we have already seen relationships blossom and bonds form that may not have otherwise. We have also seen it open up opporunities for others to serve and to also expand their hearts and minds as to what adoption, the process and the people involved, looks like. For these things and more I am so grateful! So, thank you crib lender, we appreciate it more than we can say and you have unlimited visiting rights after we get it put together!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Vacationing Social Workers

We are at our 7 and a half week point in waiting for our background checks. They're supposed to take 6. This past Tuesday I called our social worker that completed the home study for us and left her a voicemail to check in to see if we should start having any kind of follow up to make sure they got our paperwork, etc. I get a voicemail back from her stating that she's visiting grandkids for a week and if it's not there when she gets back next week, we may want to start to worry. Start to worry? I'm not sure what level of worry to engage, so the nonchalant one showed up-you know it, the one that says no worries, it'll all work out (even though you keep thinking about it). The worry level of pulling out the interrogator lamp, shoving it in my husbands face, and making him tell me if there's any suspiciousness in his past that is hindering our clearance popped up next. BTW-anyone who knows us would know his "past" consists of me and one not talked about trip to Mexico in college. Then, there's that final stage of worry that involves rosary beads I don't even own, so I grabbed a cheap necklace from Wal-Mart (I apologize ahead of time to any Catholics) and let the fretting and rocking begin. Having the mixture of these three levels this week has got my face broke out, my body rejecting weight loss, and my mind askew. With that said-I'm all for visiting grandkids, but not during my background check crisis. Aaaah, the lessons of timing and not being in control.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Roaring Rapids

James and I went white water rafting in our youth, bk (before kids, not burger king) and I remember having that oh crap! feeling. What did we get ourselves into?
So, when James and I knew God was leading us to step out and adopt, one of the first thing's I said to him was "We are not going to ask anyone for help, money wise. God knows our money and if He wants us to do this, He'll give it to us some how." I should have known. We've all been hit up to help the girl scouts, the salvation army bell ringer people, even other families' who have chose to adopt and in that particular situation I always wondered why they were even choosing to adopt if they couldn't afford it. It's ok to say out loud. Why pursue something you can't afford? I have the same reaction, which is why I ABSOLUTELY said we would have to do it on our own.
I have a problem with feeling obligated to someone. If someone does something nice for me, I immediately have an urge to make it even. I'm not alone in this, no one wants to feel like they owe anyone. We are raised to be independent, no matter the cost. As I shared with a friend of mine today, today's letter to our address book concerning this very issue, split me wide open. I am vulnerable. I am placing our needs in the open to be scrutinized, to be talked about out loud, to our circle of influence. I am now in panic mode. I am questioning our decision, not because I am concerned as to the financial outcome, I truly don't want to be judged. I want this to be an opportunity for people to partner with us, especially in prayer. I really mean that. In my 33 years, I have never been as emotionally ripped apart as I have been just in moving to Utah, but as we have entered into this adoption process.
What I have come to realize is this, it's not just about my emotions or my process. There could be something in this journey for you or for you. The greater good is not just my own, it's for the good of all. We are united in that. So, with that, as I again open myself up to more scrutiny in this blog, I have to trust that in a spirit of partnership you will join us on this journey, not for us necessarily, but to see what treasures could be lying in wait for you. Thanks for coming along, it makes the paddling easier!

Fundraiser

Ok-We've decided to fundraise! Here is the letter we are sending to everyone to let them know:

Hello Family and Friends!

As many of you may or may not know, James and I have decided to grow our family through the adoption of an infant boy.
Top 5 Things You Might be Thinking in this Moment:

5. What are they thinking?
4. Wow-Utah must have a lower cost of living than we expected!
3. Wow-Did they win the lottery?
2. They want another kid? I thought they already had kids?
1. Do they only contact us when they need or want something?

Our response goes a little something like this:

5. Ask the Big Man upstairs (not James, God!), we’re following His guide.
4. We wish-why do you think you’re getting this letter?
3. Same as above
2. We do have 2 beautiful girls; please refer to the Big Man answer.
1. Please pull out past Christmas card letters and pictures to remind you of our affectionsJ

With that said, anyone who has looked into adoption knows it is VERY costly and we want to do this, with your help, as debt-free as possible. The average adoption shockingly costs between $12,000 and $30,000.

Here comes the fun part- we want to ask you for 2 things.
The first is to partner with us in prayer. As it was once said, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. You are a part of our village, like it or not, and your prayers will mean more to us than you may ever realize.
The second thing is when you need to buy items for your home, a gift for someone (Mother’s Day & Father’s Day maybe?) that you would consider either buying them online at www.shadesofus.org/store and enter SNelson for the code before you check out. OR contact us directly to place a catalog order for one of these items. If you would be willing to pass a catalog around at your job, that would be awesome! Let us know and we’ll get you one! This organization is designed to partner specifically with adoptive parents and many of the items are Fair Trade with more of the proceeds going to developing countries.
We all shop and we hope that you will choose to do it with us! We will keep you posted on any developments at: http://dreamplanter.blogspot.com.
Just so you know, we debated as to whether or not to flat out ask for cold hard cash, but this is a great medium that offers an opportunity for you to partner with us on this adoption journey we’re on. We won’t say no to the cold hard cash option, we’re open! So if you know anyone who’s inherited a ton of money and is looking to spread the wealth, please forward them our infoJ

We’re excited to see what God does with this and thank you as always for being supportive of our family!
*DON’T FORGET TO ENTER SNELSON ON THE CODE BEFORE CHECKING OUT*
Big hugs,


James & Susan
Hm# 801-302-9200
susan@bigheadconsulting.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Israelite

So, I'm not great at remembering scripture. Our bible study group has been challenged to meet God in the living room daily for the next two weeks. One day down, 13 more to go. That sounds bad. I actually enjoyed it this morning and I hope to turn it into a regular habit, especially during this time of waiting for us. So, all day, I've had worship music on, I've been nicer to my family, I felt filled up. I was doing good and reaping the rewards of being in the Word and in fellowship with my God. Or so I thought. I knew I should have walked past my computer. I knew I shouldn't have pulled up a web browser. I did it anyway. In two shakes of a lambs tail I had 6 African American infant boys pulled up on my screen that need homes-for $16,000 as soon as we committed. Anyone who knows us or has been reading this blog knows that we don't have it, thought we had half, IRS is taking it, and now what? So, what do I do? I go in and ask my husband how much credit is available on all our high interest (recently paid off, I might add) credit cards. I was no different than the Israelites asking Samuel for a new king and even when he told them to be patient and all the bad things a new king would do to them, they still begged for it and you know what? They got it, bad and all. Beth Moore says in her book David, "Samuel warned the Israelites about what they were getting into. Often when God does not give us what we want, it is because He knows what our desire would cost us. Faith sometimes means forgoing our desires because we trust Christ to have a better plan for our lives". So, as I spent the last hour browsing the web for any fundraiser, grant, or low interest adoption loan program-something in my mind said you're an Israelite. In this moment I'm not being patient, I want one of those 6 babies that are posted, I want, I want, I want. Be careful what you push for. Satan knew how to get to me today, I've been waiting all day, and even survived a surprisingly pleasant trip to Ikea. He got me, right between the eyes, and slyly at that, but now it's out and I'm more aware, and we wait. Please pray that I can continue to not push, but to be willing to walk the wait. His choosing is not mine, I want to walk in faith, I want to know and truly trust, with all my being, that He has the only plan. I'm crying now, it hurts. And we wait. ps-If I survive this, I want every single person to know that it was all Him! I am so weak and not capable-still crying and waiting....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Information Niblets

No news is good news is not a cliche for the process of adoption. I sometimes wonder if we're on a desert island and any information is like gold, like finding a Wilson soccer ball to dress up like a person and talk to. So much so that I've gotten 2 emails from the social worker and practically danced an Irish jig from seeing her name come up in my inbox. The diametric differences between pregnancy and this is the unknowns. When you're pregnant, you know you've been officially approved (whether you like it or not) to have this baby. Adoption takes 15 third party opinions to get a halfway ok that you might be, possibly, may be a candidate for a birth mom. That in itself is exhausting. We aren't even to the point where we're in front of birth mom's yet. Well, that's not entirely true. Our home study is complete except for the background checks and our social worker wants to know if we want to be presented to any mom's working with their agency. If we had the $20k today, we'd have a baby by the end of this month. We don't and that's no mistake. So, my answer to her was no, that we are waiting to apply to the program in Michigan. I thought that answer was going to be harder to give than it was. I can feel myself growing, listening, committing. I thought that I would want to go to every bank in the Salt Lake Valley to rack up as many loans as possible to get the immediate gratification I thought I wanted. I didn't do that and I slept better because of it. Not to say if a case comes along her way with a payment plan and a birthmom that asks for a short chubby redhead for a mom to her baby boy and I'm the only that can meet those requirements, so they'll give me a 50% discount and oh, the husband has to be at least six feet tall, an ex-mormon, and computer savy, genius like in his computer abilities. I know that we're a shoe in. That's also not happening. So, we wait and we hold on to these niblets of information and we do the work, like finishing the books titled I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla and Black Baby White Hands a view from the crib and try to find the balance between excitement and not getting our hopes up. May the background check processing company have an explosion of growth in their employee division so much so that they process checks in half the time! That would be great!!! Reality check, back to earth and we wait.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Brother from another Mother

I know what the title implies. I get the connotations behind the stereotyping on both sides of the line, but yet I don't get it. I would like to open up a discussion on views of transracial adoptions. The book I am currently reading interviews transracial adoptees and asks them their experience and I gotta be honest, some of them are not great and makes me want to buy a fro and wear it around the house after this little boy joins us. The thing is, I see him as a little boy. Yeah, he's gonna be brown. Yeah, he's gonna have awesome hair. But bigger than that, I've already begun to love him and I don't know how that is possible or why, but I do hate to think that our choosing him could be his biggest downfall. This could be a seed of doubt being planted or it could be an eye opener and has lead to an honest conversation between James and I as to where our entire family would best flourish and I do think it may be important to look at a more multicultural area down the road, but especially in the pre-teen years (which is when most of the cases interviewed experienced most of their doubts about their own self-identity). I can say this though, I know for a fact that not one person in our immediate family will love this child less because he has a different color of skin. So, our brother from another mother, as we have politely been calling him, is being prepared for in our hearts and minds and we wait....

The Wait

Ok-So, it's been seventeen and a half days since they came to do the home study and I gotta say I've been busy enough to avoid the reality of the wait, but when I'm having a night alone like tonight, it's a little consuming. The cool thing is they cashed our check, so I know it's moving forward. I can't move forward with the agency in Michigan until the home study's done, but when I asked them if they could think of ANYTHING I could do to help prepare they told me of a required reading that we had to sign off on completing. So, God Bless Amazon, I ordered their required and 2 more on the issue of transracial adoption. I'm a little overwhelmed, shocked, and bored by the material, but glad to feel like I'm doing something. We have decided to pursue the Michigan infant adoption program as of now, I'll let you know if that changes. Since we've decided that, everything I see and hear revolves around the mitten state and I can't be in any kind of conversation that doesn't have some kind of connection to it. It's like when you buy a new car and you notice how many other people have the same kind of car as you and you then have the realization you probably aren't as original as you thought. It's weird like that, but in reading the books, it's obvious we are pursuing something that is very much original and very much our own God breathed path. We do have a prayer request that we just found out concerning our finances. Apparently, the IRS would like to adopt a child as well, so they'll be taking our savings that we thought we had available. I wish they'd adopt someone that would revise the tax structure, but I have to be honest, after I was done having a miniature pity party, I felt a calm. God already knew the money was for that and yet I still felt we needed to step out in faith to start the process and if all I needed to do was walk the line of stepping out to learn whatever lessons were there for me, then that's what I did and that's enough. So, we're waiting and we're still moving forward and we so appreciate those of you who have partnered with us in prayer and conversation. As an end note, I made an odd comment in Bible Study this week that's been haunting me ever since. I said, "Who knows, our baby's momma could be having sex right now, in this very moment". That's an odd way to look at this process, but in effect it's the truth and I am so hoping that God is preparing her heart for this journey as I feel like He is preparing mine. So, with that, good night, and March is such a long month, but I am hoping we know more by the end:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Home Study

Well, we made it through. After 2 and a half hours of question, answer, and touring our home, we made it. Thank you to all of you who prayed for us yesterday-I felt eerily peaceful as soon as the social worker walked in the door. With that said, she did her job well. She represents both the birthmoms as well as families and she's amazingly balanced in her viewpoints. It was a good experience for both James and I. The kids did great! They answered all her questions openly and honestly and there were giggles galore when she asked them who they knew that had brown skin. They don't really see color yet, so it was hard for them to answer that one! All in all a positive experience for all and I did nothing but do the work. I had no control over the social worker who came to interview us, no control over what my kids and husband would say. It was like living on the edge, surreal, doing it without doing much of anything. If that's what being held up by God feels like, I want more. I have a feeling I'm getting more. Now we wait. The background checks take a minimum of 6 weeks and the study can't be finished without those. Here's a conundrum though. This program could have a match for us VERY soon. While the program that we have pre-approved funding on has to have the home study before they'll even accept us into their program. So, I'm hoping that it will be made clear whether we wait or move quickly and that it's in HIS timing, not ours.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Praying Friends

So, I had my mini meltdown earlier today, actually a few of them, and then my friend Traci called me. I don't even know why she called, but I do know I needed her to. I let it fly, relinquishing the fears I've been having that seemed to sound so ridiculous when said out loud. At every comment, every ridiculous insecurity (did I mention ridiculous), she listened, helped me to process, and then prayed over me. That prayer, as my kids were yelling at me in the background, grounded me. She helped me to process this piece of our journey.
The email from the Haiti program last night sent me on a roller coaster ride of indecision. James voicing some of his concerns about what this adoption means for our family sent me on a bungee jump off of Mt. Shasta. My praying friend helped me to regroup. Reminded me to categorize concerns versus worry and to move forward in what I know is true. That truth is that I have had a heart for this adoption since I was very young. That truth is that I feel God asking us to do this and James is on board and I have to take his word for it. The truth that satan wants orphans and does not want to see this come to fruition. The truth that choosing an international versus domestic child is inconsequential, that God loves all children and they are all His. The truth that I am not alone and this is all a process that I need to walk, with my husband, and continue to pray that God will bring joy in the process. His joy, not joy based on circumstance, but joy because I am being held up by Him and am walking in His will. As I am doing this, I am wondering if I have ever heard Him like this before. So real, so loud. I know why we are here, in Utah, not the friendliest of places for me, so I am now searching Him, similar to when we didn't know what was happening with Chloe, similar to my false positive for MS, but yet not. I'm more alone here, more having to rely on our God, I'm quieter. Thank you Lord for giving me this chance. I am so grateful for it and so blessed to be able to hear you in new ways and thank you for my praying friends!

Aaarrgghhh!

Today is off. I'm feeling VERY vulnerable and unsure and TONS of doubts keep creeping in my head. I am trying to pray them out and my bible study this week was on anxiety and worrying and it sounded so easy in print, but to live it is really testing me. My day got thrown off when Rory stayed home sick, we went to the dr, she has strep. It seems like someone in our house always has strep this winter! It's tiring and I am looking at the pile of work still left to do before Monday and I'm so overwhelmed that I don't even know where to begin. Please hold-Rory's shouting for a pan. Ok, so I'm back. She's on the toilet with a pan on her lap, moaning. I just want to go back to bed and wake up with everyone well, a clean, organized house, and no stinkin' fears or complications, and oh yeah, a million dollars in our bank account would be awesome....then, I think, look at what I do have and that's where the focus needs to be. I burst into tears when I was driving home from the dr, the song Cinderella came on by Steven Curtis Chapman, I think? If anyone has daughters and that song doesn't bring a tear, they're the tin man from Wizard of Oz! So, with that I'm going to go clean up barf and pray that I get some kind of burst of energy to get done what I need to. I think I'm avoiding it on purpose. BTW-we heard back from the original Haiti program today and the orphanage has approved our application. The funds are a huge roadblock with this particular agency over going through the other one that we were able to partner with on funding. So, now I'm confused as to infant versus older child and domestic versus Haiti again. We're playing it by ear and trying to focus on HSM (Home Study Monday).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Praise! Praise! Praise!

So, I'm walking this thing. We're walking this thing. It's really happening and we're moving forward. Our agreement was if we could find a way to affordably do this thing, we would continue. It happened this morning! I found an affordable loan program that pays the agency directly and will tide us over until the tax credit goes into effect. We are saving, saving, saving and I'm taking on a writing job to stash away money for travel expenses. We aren't sure if we're going to be asking for help from family and friends yet, but if you know someone looking like Donald Trump who needs to give away some, we are setting up an account this week with Chase just for the adoption. We got our fingerprint cards done yesterday and the money orders to send in with the background checks.
Also, I found out yesterday that both girls will be able to attend the same Charter school in the fall! Their schooling is such an issue, we are hit with overcrowding, and not well paid teachers, and we're hoping this Charter school will help meet more of both girls educational needs!
God is so good! I am feeling peaceful today as I'm doing the home study work and that is all Him! It feels surreal and exciting, but I am also trying to push down the doubt that comes with good news. One hiccup could set us back and the fact that I have NO CONTROL over any of this really affects me. That's probably the point...trust, trust, trust.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Paperwork

Ok, so any one of you considering adoption-HOLY COW on the paperwork. We're only in the home study phase and it is SERIOUSLY crazy. They want cashier's checks for our background check and I've never had to get those before, so I'm hoping they bank lady won't laugh at me like the guy at Wal-Mart did when I tried to get it from him! Gotta love Wal-Mart-or not!! We copied birth certificates, our marriage license, filled out the nine hundred and five questions to make sure we aren't psycho and why we want to adopt, and we have to go to the police station to get fingerprint cards. I'm afraid of police stations, I always feel like I'm going to mess up or burst into nervous funeral laughter, so I'm hoping not to wet myself and to act my age when I go there. I told James last night that at least I'm not having the weight gain of a pregnancy and he said no kidding, but we're getting writers cramp and carpel tunnel from the writing!! This is our last week to pull it all together before Monday the 11th, so I'm praying for no hiccups or nervous giggles!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Haiti out

Ok, so Haiti is having MANY doors closed on it as of now. They are saying a 2 year wait period at minimum, the laws are unclear as to the requirements, basically it's a bunch of mush. So, we are now between Ethiopia and domestic. Each time I do more research on pursuing Ethiopia, God seems to be re-directing us towards domestic. Financially, it may be more feasible-key word may, and as of now I am in contact with an African American Infant adoption program in Michigan. We are concerned about birthparents and re-claim rates, but I have a heart for the Michigan area and I don't think it's any coincidence that I've found this program. We have not committed as of yet, and we can't send in our application until after our home study is complete. That will be done on February 11th. Please keep us in your prayers that all goes well with that and that we are not overwhelmed by the process. Thank you!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rumors

Ok, so I found a blog about Haiti asking for people to sign a petition. Apparently, they may be changing the laws to not allow families with more than one child to adopt from their country. I forwarded the info to my contact at Faithful Adoptions and her reply was she had to speak to the coordinator of their program and she wouldn't be back in the country until after Feb.4th! She said that lots of rumors abound, so to wait to get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. So, we wait. The contact for the domestic adoption here locally did not respond to my email or message and now I know that God wants me to not only step out in faith on this, but then to trust. To become discouraged, leads to doubt, which leads to me not walking in God's will on this. So, I'm enjoying my weekend of cramps and bloating and trying to stay focused on just being available for God to use me in everyday life and trying to trust that He knows the details.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Approval

I got an email last night saying our initial application has been approved for the Haiti program and they asked me to fill out another official application for the orphanage. If you would like to see more information on this orphanage, please go to: http://www.chances4children.org/cfc/adopt.

Meanwhile, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who I'm trying to pump for as much info as possible to avoid re-inventing the wheel, and she said the place that will most likely be doing our homestudy, has several african males waiting here domestically that would be placed in the next 2 months. Two months? Do we dare? I have no more cribs, baby clothes, etc. She said then we'll have to have a shower. Aarrgghh! She seems to have multiple answers:) We don't have the money? I don't know what to do on that except pray and do more research. So, I've emailed and left a message for the social worker there and we'll see what happens. We have many fears of domestic adoption, many unfounded (like the birthparents hunting us down and killing us in our sleep one), but am open to God's leading. Please pray, pray, pray. I feel like I'm a character on the back of a cereal box and instead of Where's Waldo, we're playing Where's Baby.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Application

Hi all! Thanks for coming on over. I'll still be blogging the craziness of life in Something Unexpected, but want to have you join us for the journey of whatever God has for us in this insane world of adoption. Two nights ago I filled out our first application with Faithful Adoptions for their program in Haiti. To be honest, I went with them first because they were the only ones with a free application and I know their hearts are Christ-centered even though the intake person is definitely not like me. That's ok though. So, now we wait. Wait for approval from the orphanage to see if they will even accept us. I have asked a couple of you to do written references for us for our homestudy and we'll need a couple more to volunteer to do so. I don't know the requirements as of yet, since the agency wants me to wait to pick the place of the homestudy until she knows what program we will be accepted into. It's crazy. I was in the shower this morning praying about this blog and being vulnerable in this and I just don't want to fail. So, I need you to join me in asking for peace about this decision and also start praying for our son. I feel like he's here and waiting. Pray that he's kept safe, that he's healthy, and that he will transition easily into our home. Pray that whatever finances are needed to bring him home do not hinder us. God is bigger than money.
Also, this particular agency has a Zambia program, which is another reason why I originally contacted them. That program is in limbo, with the Zambian government holding up the process, wary of continuing adoptions currently in progress. Please pray that their hearts will be changed and that if our son is in that country versus Haiti that that will be made known to us as well. Thank you for joining us. I've never stepped out of my comfort zone like this, be gentle.

 
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