Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bumps in the Road

{I began this blog on Tuesday with this 'working title.' Yesterday afternoon, I received an e-mail which said: "Be assured! I'll be praying for all of you. You've really hit a few bumps in the road lately. Remember who will make the road straight." Hmmm. Kept the title.}

All in all, things have been moving along around here. We finally received the last two items of paperwork for the dossier and were able to send them in. (Forget what you hear about Southerners being slow; getting something from New York is like trying to train a sleepy sloth.) Now we are waiting on their translation and approval. Our caseworker said it takes about two months from the time everything is submitted until we will be placed on a waiting list for our child. We still have some online training to complete, but other than that.....the wait has begun! And I am ok with that.

The past few weeks in our home have been trying to say the least. We have spent two nights in the ER with our daughter for two unrelated issues--once for abdominal pain, once for asthma. We have taken her for tests, given her medications, and watched helplessly while she was in pain and we could not fix it. We seemed to make progress in one area only to have another evil monster rear its ugly head. Asthma is not my friend, and I can now also add IBS to that list.

I have felt frustration with the things that have hurt my daughter. I have felt that "inadequate mother" sorrow as I looked at my son who had not been ill but had been very, very helpful and pleasant. I felt sad that he received less of my attention because of the simple fact that he stayed well. I am certain he did not notice or feel slighted; this knowledge only made me feel worse. On my way to the ER last night (a path I know by heart), I almost laughed to myself at the thought of having a third child and managing successfully. "Really, God? You think I can handle that?!" But I know He has put that child in our hearts. I know we are making our way to her, however quickly or slowly it may happen. I suppose there are times as parents when we all feel ill-equipped for the task or just plain weary. And I am sure this will not be the last time those feelings come!

However, there have also been good things in the midst of the trials. We were able to buy a new vehicle which was completely due to God's grace and provision. I, the self-proclaimed anti-mini-van girl, am now driving around happily in mine. Part of moving forward in this adoption process has been prioritizing. We could not have another child without another car in which to transport them all. From my experience, letting one of them ride in the trunk or on the roof is not a good option. So......ta da!

The kids LOOOOVE the van, and I admit to loving it, too. I will shamefully hang my head for a moment and say that it is the same type of van that my mom drives, but then I will sit in its comfy seat and load up the kids and all of their various......well, junk.....that travels with us and I am not so worried about my level of youth and appearances any more. It is an excellent way to travel. And as a bonus, the pathway through the middle creates a nice buffer zone for the kids which provides peace and harmony to all. Success!!

There have also been tiny moments during the past few weeks that were in reality great big blessings, or at least reminders to me that someone cares. Things that may seem trivial--a cup of tea and conversation, a dinner brought to your door, being treated to lunch, laughing with a friend over something ridiculous until her eyes water, receiving a text at 1am when you are sitting in a chair by an ER cot--they all add up to something comforting and non-tangible.

I know I shouldn't need those reminders. If I were a proper theologian, I should be able to know that if God cares for me then that is enough. But I think He often uses the people around us to let us know just that--He cares. He cares enough to send us friends to hold us up as we keep walking--to travel with us on good days or bad. We need that comfort when the road is not so smooth. We also need it so we can rejoice together on the days when the path is clear. There have been many moments over the past few week and months when I have felt very lost and small and alone. Those little things, for me, add up to much-needed realizations. I am so grateful to be traveling among good company. And now if they need it, I can give them a ride in my van. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A few weeks ago while I was on my 2nd downtown document journey, I opted to use the GPS. I made a comment to a friend before I left that I hoped it would not misguide me. She replied that it could always recalculate. For some reason that word stuck with me on that morning--it seems that is the story of my life. "Recalculate." I mentioned this to my dear friend, who then said that is the story of all our lives. And many times we are so thankful or it. I went on my errand, but that thought stayed behind.

In the days that followed, this became so true and profound to me--this brief and humorous exchange between us. In my smallish circle of reference, life took unexpected turns. There was a lost job and the uncertainty that follows such news, there were children in the hospital or needing procedures and we took turns sitting together in waiting rooms. There were tears and doubts and questions and weariness. While those things did not necessarily end badly--there was a new job, children went home and got better (well, sort of), life went on--but that word kept coming back to me. "Recalculating."

Looking back, there are so many instances in my life where this has been the case. Many times I am grateful that God saw the need to redirect the path on which I was wandering. However, there are other times, moments, fleeting glances, where I have to stop and ask myself how I arrived at that particular place. In a literal example, during my downtown trip my errant GPS took me directly to the lovely area where the Crazy Horse Gentleman's Club is located. Yep. Had to turn around in their parking lot surrounded by the nice pink building lined with neon. Excellent. But often in a figurative sense, we ask ourselves which ridiculous map got us to this location in our lives. This detour was not on the itinerary we had for the day or the week or the year or at all. But we press on because there is no other choice but to relinquish our spirits in defeat, and we know that is not a viable option. So we adjust our expectations and our ability to meet them, and we go forward.

This morning I was reading the story of Zechariah and the birth of his son, John. For some unknown reason, I was again struck by the fact that our best-laid plans are often not what God has in mind. I doubt that good old Zechariah planned to be mute for 9 months, nor could he have foreseen the burdens his son, the locust-eating messenger, would bear to carry out his destiny. However, as he began to prophesy over this child he proclaimed, "And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord." (Luke 1:76.) Wow. We think we are under a lot of pressure. I began to think of my own children and the expectations that I have for their futures. Somehow, in the day to day muck and mire, I have forgotten that they have an eternal mission to fulfill--that I do, as well. Am I doing what I can to help them reach whatever potential they may have--that we may have as a family? Or am I just wading through and surviving, unaware of missed opportunities for all of us? Zechariah had to rethink things, and I am certain this altered his course. And we are asked to do the same.

Sometimes these recalculations are beyond our control. Sometimes that is very hard to endure. But then there are moments, like today, when I realize that purposefully redirecting my expectations, my focus, my daily "stuff".... might not be such a bad thing after all. And I am deeply grateful to know that if I come upon another detour, another waiting room, another day where things seem hazy, I will not be travelling alone. Perhaps with that knowledge, I can find my way.