Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Whos You Meet on Yahoo

Sometimes even the beginning stages of this journey seem overwhelming. It takes small unexpected moments to refresh my perspective.

I was recently accepted into a yahoo group specifically for Honduran adoptions. As I read my "welcome" e-mail, I was so excited to read the posts and begin to connect....finally! some other families. We know several people who have amazing families because of adoption, but we know no one who has adopted from our chosen country. So, I happily logged on and began perusing the posts. Enter discouragement.

There are only a few new posts to the site, and many of the older ones were written by individuals who were obviously not pleased with their progress or situation. Last week, one lady had asked for basic information and said she and her husband were considering looking into Honduras. A few days ago someone responded and it went to my e-mail. The response advised the lady to look elsewhere (basically any other country would suffice), that it would be the longest and most difficult thing she would ever do, and that no matter what any agency tells you it will take 3 to 5 years to bring a child home. Hmm. Well. So much for my optimism!!!

I had to remind myself that we chose this program knowing it is a pilot program. This means it has not been done before and, therefore, our experience will probably be different from others who have adopted there in the past. Laws have changed, the government in Honduras is changing, and I have enough trust in our agency to know we will not be going into this without support. I also believe they have done their homework ~ I don't think we will be 'flying blind.' I also had to allow my friend Kim to remind me that for as many content and helpful people I might encounter in such an online group, there will also be those who "have an ax to grind."

Many deep breaths and a couple of days later, I was blessed to be reminded in a visible way of why we are doing this in the first place. Tonight I was getting Natalie settled down for bed. She will turn 9 in just a few weeks which seems unreal. Every now and then as a parent ~ for me, mostly when they are sleeping ~ you get a glimpse of your children and the way they looked when they were much smaller. I looked at her sweet face as she closed her eyes, and for a moment she so resembled herself as a toddler. My heart swelled up with that motherly mixture of love, pride and an odd mix of sadness and hope. Sadness at how quickly she is growing and changing; hope at the future she has before her and the opportunity to share it.

Then I thought of our other daughter. We don't know her name (well, we have a few thoughts....). I don't have a visual image of what she looks like or know what her favorite sleeping friend might be. I don't yet know what songs and books she will like or if she will hate all of her vegetables except for one. What I do know is that we are waiting for her. I know that the Lord placed Latin America in our hearts and that there is a reason for that longing. I know that she deserves to have someone look upon her with those same feelings I have when I see her sister and brother peacefully at rest in their beds. And I know that I am already praying for her and for God to be with us as we make our way to her. Hopefully, we will be a family that can encourage others as they begin their own journeys. For now, I am just taking it one day at a time. Which is really all that God asks us to do in the first place.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~Matthew 6:33-34

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bienvenidos 2010!

In light of the fact that 2010 has arrived, I felt it was time to climb back on the blogging wagon and attempt to share the events that have taken place in the past few weeks. First of all, I will go ahead and explain the above photo.

Along the way I have purchased a few random items in anticipation of our daughter's arrival...whenever that may occur. My rationale was that if I did not buy these particular things when I saw them, they would no longer be there in the future and I would mourn my consumer loss. (I must admit to being quite proud of the Cabbage Patch doll and her accurate skin tone.) These small things bring me joy and somehow make this feel like a reality in the midst of the piles of paperwork and the self-imposed panic of getting things in order. And since I cannot buy clothes yet, these things will have to do.

The end of November and the month of December brought some great mail and a sense of accomplishment. Our home study was completed and sent to the powers-that-be. We received agency approval which basically means we got a nice certificate and are on to the next phase. We also received our immigration approval, or I-171H. While this was wonderful news as it came more quickly than we expected, the timing also caused a bit of anxiety for me as 2 weeks of sickness had cost me a lot of prep time for the dossier. However, as our fantastic social worker reminded me ~ God knows the timing of this entire process and will not be surprised by any of those "minor" setbacks or details. She also said I am just stressed enough to do a thorough job on the dossier. I love her. :) Last week another letter from immigration arrived, this time informing us that our petition was being sent to Tegucigalpa for review. This was so simple and yet so exciting to me. It was the first time I had actually seen a destination on paper. For some reason this tangible reminder of the future of our journey was so encouraging. Who knew opening the mail could be such an emotional experience?!

And now we come to a brand new year. The kids wanted to stay up on New Year's Eve and watch the ball drop, so prior to that "event" we all took turns sharing our hopes/wishes for the upcoming year and toasted with our sparkling white grape juice. They thought this was very grown up and fun for whatever reason and were excited to list a few things. Natalie said she hopes her 4th grade teacher will be very nice and Grant, who has had a bad cold, said he hopes he gets well. They thought of a few other things, as did Victor. Then it was my turn. Of course my first hope and prayer was that we will have our daughter here with us this year. Then it struck me how much importance that fairly simple statement held. This could be the year when all of our lives will change in the most amazing ways possible. We will stretch, bend, and grow together ~ hopefully all 5 of us.

Our pastor has been challenging us to find a "mitzvot" ~ 'a path or a discipline one undertakes for a season in order to “put on” some new habit, skill, or knowledge.' He has encouraged us to choose such a task for this year, invite a friend or loved one to keep us accountable, and achieve a goal that we have always wanted to reach. He wrote, "Each of us can think of something we have always wanted to do, something we have intended to learn, some way we have planned to serve, some action that is deeply connected to our passion for life." Sounds easy enough, right? HA!

For our mutual mitzvot, Victor and I are going to learn the Spanish language. We both took 2 years in high school, but as that was in the dark ages we are in desperate need of a refresher course. This will be important for us and also for our child. We want to be able to interact with the people of Honduras as we travel and to be aware of things being said around us, but we also want to be able to comfort our child in her native language and help her transition into our family be a smooth as possible. I am excited about this challenge. It will be fun to do something like this together, and I hope it will strengthen our relationship as well as increase our seemingly ever-shrinking brain capacity. I pray that you will be able to find your passion for life this year, as well. It may not be in a particular task or attained goal, but I hope you find it somewhere along the way. There is so much joy and blessing for us to observe in our everyday lives; may this be the year that we all remember to stop and give thanks for it.