Friday, October 29, 2010

So, what now?

Many have asked us what the next steps are from here.

Well, the counting continues as we are now waiting for a court date.

Our best guess is that it will be 3-5 months from now.

We will travel to Ethiopia for that court date, appear before the judge, and officially adopt this little guy.

At that point, we will come back home (without baby!) and then return to Ethiopia 3-6 weeks later to bring. him. home.

For now, we are playing the name game. We haven't made any decisions yet, but if you are looking for a baby name book at a library in our area, you'll have to come to my house.
I have them all. Sorry about that.

Two Hundred Ten

Two Hundred Nine

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shocked and Awed

At 10:30 on Monday morning, I received a casual email from our caseworker at our adoption agency.

"We have some medical records we would like you to take a look at - we have a child that we think might be a good match for you and Mark."
Ummm. What's that? Did you send this email to the wrong person?

My heart started racing.
This did not feel casual to me.

Mark came home.

We ambushed our pediatrician.
I'm so sorry. I know that you didn't know that you were our pediatrician, and I know that you haven't had lunch, and, no, we're not on the schedule, but could you take a look at some medical records for us?

She said the baby looked healthy.
Is this really happening?

And within five hours of that first email, we were staring at a picture of a precious baby boy.
Oh my word. He's beautiful.

OUR precious baby boy.

He's five months old and has not yet grown into his eyes.
They. are. huge.

We are so shocked,
and so, so in love.

I have one million questions about his life, his past, his family, his future. I have so much to learn and discover.

But oh my, oh my, oh my. We have our boy.
God is so good. All the time.

Two Hundred Eight

Two Hundred Seven

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Hundred Six

Pack n' Plays and Sugar Shoes

Volleyball season officially ended on Saturday.
I'm pretty sad about this. Very sad actually.

We finished up with a Saturday tournament - a tournament that resulted in a third place trophy. Any tournament that ends with a trophy is a good tournament and the girls could not have been more thrilled.
That afternoon, we celebrated with an end-of-season party.

We were there to celebrate a great season,
but these sweet girls and their sweet parents turned the party into a mini baby shower to celebrate our soon-to-be son.

Oh my, I was shocked.
The families went in together and bought us a pack-n-play, and I have to say that I've never been more excited about a baby item in my life.
Then the girls each said a prayer for us and for the baby.
Twelve precious prayers were raised on behalf of my son.
A son, half a world away, who no one even knows yet.

Their prayers were so genuine and sincere.
They prayed for his health, and that he would travel well.
They prayed for our finances and that our little boy would be able to love and be loved in our family. (How did they even know to pray for that!?)
They asked that God would enable Mark and I to provide everything our little boy needs.

Amazing girls.
Amazing moment.
I am so thrilled that these 12 junior highers are now a part of our son's story.
And, in true junior high fashion, the afternoon ended with Catherine trying to eat the shoe decorations that were on the cake. She thought they were made of sugar. Turns out, they are made of plastic. I brought home a darling little keepsake - with a tiny bite taken out of the top.
This celebration came at such a perfect time.
Just last week, I was praying and asking God to help me begin celebrating our baby.
Of course we are excited, but the paper work and fundraising and second guessing just gets a little boring.
This party was such a perfect answer to prayer.
God is good.
All the time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Hundred One

Two Hundred

The Happiest Place on Earth

After Tim's wedding, we extended our stay in California for two days to have a little, tiny vacation. Oh, it was so wonderful and much needed.

We spent one of those days at Disneyland.

Upon witnessing several tantrums and meltdowns within our first hour inside of the Magic Kingdom, I decided that Disneyland was, in fact, not built for children.
Nope, not for children at all. Disneyland was made for adults.
Really, after I saw the 20th exhausted parent pushing around the 20th exhausted and screaming child, I decided that visiting Disneyland without kids is the way to go.
Okay, I'm kidding (kind of), but I'm pretty sure that these three adults had more fun than any child we saw that day.
OR...perhaps it was just me.

In fact, come to think of it, my two buddies here grumbled a little bit about hurting feet. And someone must be spreading rumors because I've had several people say, "So, I heard YOU had a good time at Disneyland," while hiding a little crooked smile, and betraying a mocking twinkle in their eye.

But, seriously, did you know that Disneyland is open until midnight!? And I'll be darned if I'm going to leave that place before Tinkerbell has sprinkled her last ounce of pixie dust over the castle.

I made them stay for 15 hours - and I owe a shout out to my mother-in-law and husband for mustering their energy and sticking it out.
I did have to ride three rides by myself, because aforementioned buddies believe that spinning and falling are unnatural motions that should be avoided rather than pursued.
Mark rode two roller coasters with me, which he actually enjoyed, thankyouverymuch. He usually adamantly refuses, so I was thrilled when he agreed to ride. And - in honor of Halloween - we all patiently waited for the haunted mansion ride. The ride turned out to be a big, fat, letdown, but I think this photo was worth it.
The day ended with a spectacular water and lights show. Really, it was fabulous. It nearly put the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas to Shame.
While waiting in the crowd for the show to begin, I noticed a couple near us with not one, not two, but three African children. And as I watched them, I made alot of assumptions about their past and present and future. Many of them completely incorrect, I'm sure.

I do know something, though.
I know that a little girl, who didn't used to have a daddy, was there in front of me, at Disneyland, hugging. her. Daddy's. neck. and watching a spectacular light show.
And really, in all of Disneyland, in all of the world, there is nothing more magical, more transformational than the love of a father. And the love of The Father.

I thought about her life - what was, and what is, and all of the things that might be.

And I thought about our own little son - and what his reality is right now, and how he doesn't even know what's coming for him. His world is about to get rocked. Shoot, our world is about to get rocked. A major transformation is coming and we will all learn together what it means to love and trust a father - he an earthly father, us our Heavenly Father.

Oh boy. I'm a little bit excited and a little bit terrified.

And I'm going to do my best to stop making assumptions about people and their kids. That's probably not a good habit to practice.

As far as Disneyland goes - It's quite possible that I'll tell my boy one day that Disneyland is not for kids and that you have to be eighteen before they will let you in.

I expect you all to back me up on that. If you do, I'll let you off the hook on telling him that Santa Clause is real.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something a little Unexpected

Twelve years ago, Adam Sandler starred in a movie called The Wedding Singer.
I was a sophomore in high school, and we thought that movie was awe.some.

If you've seen it, you remember two things;
1) the fairly inappropriate rage ballad that Adam Sandler sings to his ex-girlfriend,
and 2) the tiny old lady that sings a rap song at the wedding.

Before you read on, it is a MUST that you go watch her, because I'm sure that you either a)need a refresher because you haven't watched that movie in over a decade or b)have no idea what I'm talking about.

Did you watch it?

Okay, read on.

The morning of the wedding, Ruth and her girls were getting their hair done at a local salon - right alongside Ms. Ellen Albertini Dow herself.

Ruth invited this darling 92-year-old to the wedding and she actually showed up - wielding an autographed photo of herself for the happy couple, nonetheless!

Mark and I approached her (read chasedherdown), introduced ourselves, and asked for a photo. She was so, so kind.

She told us she had been married to her husband for 56 years and that day was the anniversary of his death. She was missing him and made herself come to the wedding because she wanted to be around people who would lift her up.

We thanked her again and again for coming,
and she thanked us again and again for encouraging her.
My mother-in-law (who had no idea what all the fuss was about) hugged her tight and told her that she was sorry to hear about her husband. It was a very precious moment.
And here I am, holding my drink up like we are sorority sisters at a hopping fraternity party. I'm so classy. (What you may or may not know about me is that I might have a little problem with getting starstruck. I get kinda nervous and weird.)
Thank you, Ms. Dow, for sharing your time and your story with us.
It was truly an honor to meet you.

Congratulations are in order

I met Tim the same year I met Mark. It's quite possible that I met the two of them in the exact same moment, actually. They were the best of high-school-buddies - spent nearly every minute together - and when I started dating Mark, we broke Tim's heart.

Really, we smashed it to bits. Suddenly, in the middle of their senior year, Tim's Mark-time was drastically reduced by this little nuisance of a girlfriend.

If the three of us were together, Tim and I would race to the car, throw elbows, and both whine a little to win the prize of sitting in the front seat.

And Tim SWORE he would never. get. married.

This past weekend, Mark and I traveled to Van Nuys, CA to bear witness as Tim married his lovely bride, Ruth. What an honor and what a lovely time.

And what a relief. :) We just knew Tim would find the perfect girl - and boy did he ever!
The ceremony was beautiful, and I got a little emotional watching Tim's parent's watch their son. After many years of raising a child, it must bring so much happiness to share his joy on his wedding day.
After the ceremony, Tim made a final effort to win Mark's affection,
and then realized he had someone more beautiful waiting for him on the dance floor.
The celebration certainly was a joyous one - so fun and so hilarious.
We dined, danced, photographed, laughed, and laughed, and laughed,
and when the party ended,
Mark raced Ruth to the honeymoon suite.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Hundred Eighty Seven

Flintstone Kids

Two weeks ago, I read this post to my volleyball team.
And then I asked them to get involved.

I challenged each one of them to earn enough money to buy one bottle of vitamins - and I asked them to make a sacrifice to do so.

Nope. No asking parents for 8 bucks. I requested that it be a personal sacrifice from each girl.

We've been talking this season about loving God and loving others. I explained to them that sometimes - oftentimes - loving means sacrificing.

So Hannah did some babysitting,
and Jessica scooped dog poo,
and Kenzie gave up a meal at Chipolte,
and Austin gave out of her savings.

And yesterday the 13 of us walked to Safeway, scoped out the best deals, and pretty much cleaned out the children's vitamin section.
Some of the girls even asked their classmates to get involved and received a few donations.
Together, we collected 21 bottles of vitamins.
The girls cheered and practically burst into song when I told them that there were 2,040 vitamins between those 21 bottles.
Oh, they were just so proud.
Really, 2,040 little gummy vitamins seems like such a tiny feat in the face of world hunger.
But David's pebbles were so tiny compared to the Giant Goliath.
It's my prayer that God will use these little pebbles to not only bring nourishment to the children of Sierra Leon, but that He will use them to plant compassion, love, and sacrifice in the hearts of 12 middle school volleyball players.

I'm so thankful to be their coach and to be a part of their lives.
And so thankful for their hearts and enthusiasm for making a difference.