Monday, February 28, 2011

The Beautiful Season

Soccer is fondly known as "the beautiful game" so I suppose it's fitting to dub the actual spring soccer season as the beautiful season.  The reality is it's more like the crazy season around here.  And today is the official start of D's soccer season.   For us, it means D getting home later, staying out late on game nights, and sitting in the indecisive Nebraska weather which may send snow or freezing rain into the month of April.  For D, it means getting organized, longer hours, and the renewed desire to coach his team to wins. 

Yesterday, we went to the last indoor soccer game that the boys were playing in during the off season.  I took the kids to the bathroom and when I returned, a former player had arrived to watch the game too.  He greeted me with "I was wondering if you were here" and a warm hug.  A 20 year old Hispanic guy who was genuinely glad to see this 30 something, whiter than white mom.  That sounds like such a trivial thing but it is such a positive moment to stick into my mind as the season starts.  (Especially because it can be tempting to complain when D is working 10 hour days on a regular day and 12 hour days on game days.)  We coach because we believe we can change lives.  We welcome kids into our home because we believe we can model a positive marriage and positive parenting.  We coach because we believe we can encourage kids to rethink their thoughts on life, to live up to the potential they have and to find the purpose they were created to have.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trust and Comfort-How Then Should We Pray?

Last week, I wrote about wishing God would make things clearer in my life and how that kind of runs in contrast with the Biblical truth of truth and faith.  I want comfort.  I want stability.  I want the assurance of saying "This is what God has for me.  See how it lines up neatly and how easily I can follow His leading."  Instead, what I have is a variety of paths, forking in many direction.  Instead what appears to be in front of me are lots of roads that appear to simply drop off once you start walking on them, with no visible end point.

While I've spent most of my time this week in James and Galatians, this video was part of my worship on Friday morning.  Oh how I appreciate the juxtaposition of praying for things that make us feel comfortable and steady with praying for things that make us stronger and wiser.  It's more on the long side (8 minutes or so) but well worth the watch, especially if you are questioning what God has for you or why God isn't clearer in what He is asking you to do.  And then just for good measure, head over  here.  (Another thing God placed in my path this week, all about the land of Inbetween and God's pupose in that place, which nicely crisscross across the idea of how should we pray.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello Morning!

I wrote a few weeks ago about craving some stillness and quiet with God.  Truth be told, sometimes the thought of that is completely irritating.  I'm a goer, a doer,  mixed with some major dreamer.  I don't always like the thought of sitting still and waiting, of soaking in God's goodness.  To be honest, sometimes it feels like a waste of time because I would rather be accomplishing something or at very least, doing a leisure activity that I would like to do.  But a few weeks ago, that was what I was craving.

Then this week, I decided to commit to doing a challenge from the Inspired to Action blog.  I had actually known about the Maximize your Mornings Challenge for awhile.  The challenge is about getting up before your kids to start your day with God and to organize your day.  But for me, a person who loves to sleep and whose children are always up early (as in I have one who I don't think has ever slept any later than maybe 7:30 on maybe a handful of times), the challenge of carving out extra time in your morning was unappealing.  Getting up before my kids are up would require probably getting up at 6.  I would rather be poked with sticks and prodded with hot metal.  The other problem I have is that I have no set schedule.  My work schedule is erratic.  My kids go to preschool three days a week and I am available to sub those days.  But sometimes I work and sometimes I don't.  And getting up and getting things accomplished even when you don't have to be to work is a challenge for me.  Anyway, the general jist is I'm a bit lazy.

But for some reason something changed in me.   My heart's been a bit softer about it.  And I actually looked at what the challenge was about and realized there were accountability groups on Twitter dedicated to other women encouraging you to do the challenge.  And for some reason, it seemed more doable.  I don't tweet so I've instead decided to join the Facebook group for Inspired to Action which also has a group of women who are getting on in the mornings and encouraging each other.  The Facebook page also has encouragement of other sorts like prayer ideas, worship songs, etc..  I haven't had time to read through the ebook that goes with the challenge.

If you're looking for a way to perk up your morning, completely rewrite your morning, or just some accountability to get going in the morning, check out the challenge.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day! 
(From two yahoos who probably don't have any idea of why they are wearing beards and hats)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One More Gathered from Afar

My friend, Cate, and her husband, Sean, are currently in a most exciting place.  They are waiting to bring home a sweet baby boy, who is due in a month or so.  I met Cate though our adoption of Kenson.  Their three girls are from the same orphanage as Kenson.  This newest adoption story is such a reminder of how God is at work in even the smallest details.  Their little boy will be born in the U.S. but will be of Haitian descent.   They are currently working on fundraising so I'm of course going to encourage you to come alongside them.  I just wrote a post on adoption fundraising so I won't repeat it but please pray about how your monetary gift might be used by God to write part of little Elijah's story.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Conleigh's 4th Birthday

We're a bit late on the birthday pics but better late than never.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited Conleigh was for her birthday.  She verbally repeated the procedure for handing out snacks many times before she got to take snacks to school.  She went to bed the night before singing "Happy Birthday". 
She was literally overjoyed to celebrate.  Such sweetness.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

God and Me-Product vs. Process

I often feel like when I sit down to write my thoughts on what God has been doing in my life, that lately, it seems to center around me sharing my complaints with God.  When I leaf back through my journal, I find that my prayers are often full of question marks and wishing to know what God has planned or wishing that God would act in a certain way. 

I wish our house would sell so we could be closer to my husband's work.

I wish our house would sell so we could be in a different town and able to minister to D's soccer boys in different ways than we do now.

I wish I knew what we will do when we do move:  are we buying a house in town or buying farmland with my folks in a partnership and then building?

I wish I had a consistent part time work schedule.

I wish that each month didn't feel like the extra money was always spent on adoption bills, house repair bills, or medical bills.

I wish that we would have finalized Conleigh's adoption in 2010 so we could claim it on our taxes and anticipate the refund that the adoption tax credit affords.

I wish that we had a strong sense of what direction to head to grow our family.

I wish that we had the money to finance another adoption.

The list often comes back to these same things:  money, our housing situation, our ability to minister through D's job, our ability to grow our family.  Almost always it's those things.  And it has been those things for a while now. 

Many of those things have to do with ministry and calling.  Feeling called by God to use our house in certain ways.  Feeling called by God to parent.  Feeling called by God that D has an incredible sphere of influence through his coaching job.

But at this moment, there are a lot of unknowns.  There are a lot of things that I want to look a certain way because in my mind, if they looked that way, life would be easiser and we could serve God better.  It's frustrating when things that are good, things that are a part of how you believe God would use you get stuck in wait mode. 

I've been there at least once before.  We waited 15 months for Conleigh's files to be released from a Haitian government office.  One office with no movement for 15 months.  It was beyond long.  It was hard to know that her adoption was a good, God ordained thing but to feel like God was silently working in painfully small ways.  It was a struggle at times to pray about it.

And in some ways, that's kind of where I am now.  I feel like we are standing on the brink of good things like an addition to our family or a new home that allows us to do more for God.  We've been standing at that spot quite some time now. 

But what is hard is that God is not a product oriented God. 

He is instead a God of the process. 

He could easily get us from point A to point B.  But instead life detours around point B, stalls out at point C, meanders around points D and E, and eventually ends at point F, a place we didn't even consider going. 

For some reason, I am consumed with the end point but God is fascinated by the middle.  The detours and stalling and meandering are His thing.  Very little is said in the Bible about end points.  Noah on the ark?  No one really knows what the 40 days and 40 nights were really like.  Isrealites in the Promised Land?  Isn't their story mostly about being lost in the desert?  Jonah in Ninavah?  More stormy seas, a big fish, and a complaining prophet than a detailed description of his arrival into town.

It is what we do in those moments of waiting that matters.  It seems to be about our interactions with Him.  It seems to be about dry hearts thirsting for Him, about heavy hearts crying to Him, about yielded hearts continuing before Him, about questioning hearts choosing to question Him.

I don't like this part of life very much.  I don't like feeling like I'm constantly complaining to God about how I would like things to be.  I don't like not knowing what the future holds or having some sense of vision as to what the next steps in our life should be.  I feel like we are heading out blind in a lot of different directions at once and hoping God shows up.  So for now, we wait.  We've thrown our hats into several different rings, so to speak, and so for now, we will just watch and wait.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's All Fun, Until It's(not)

We have had some major sick junk going around at our house the last few weeks.  Thankfully no puking.  Just snot.

However, sickness and two four year olds makes for some great moments.

As in, "Mama, I had to change my clothes at school today because I cough, den applesauce eveewhere."

And "Go get a kleenex, please."  "I don't need a kleenex.  I have a tongue."

Or "Go get a kleenex, please."  "I don't need a kleenex.  It crusty now."

I'll be glad when we're over this latest round of goop.  When I took Kenson to the doctor, his oxygen saturation was at 90 and the nurse practicioner said they usually hospitalize if kids are below 90.  So some swabs and a chest x ray and onto a diagnosis of almost pneumonia.  And Conleigh's cough has picked up steam and now sounds like she's about to lose a lung.  Although the pediatrician looked at her and didn't think it was a big deal and sent us out with no prescriptions so hopefully the pediatrician is right and it doesn't develop into something icky.  That's alright.  We don't need no stinkin' medicine!  Not when God gave you a tongue to use as a booger catcher!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Dish Drainer & Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is seriously the bane of my existence.  While I am not a total neat freak and actually am pretty able to overlook messiness, there are time where it feels like I am being overrun by paper.  Notes from the kids' school, art work by the kids, newspapers, unopened mail, coupons, bills, that pile of papers that need attention and you are afraid to file because you will forget about just starts adding up.

In general, I try to treat all paperwork with the "touch it once" rule.  That means just what it says-try to touch it only once.  When the mail come, I try to go through it immediately and throw away the junk and put away the bills.  When the kids bring art home, I try to throw it or swap it out with what is already hanging up.  And I try to throw appointment reminders away and opt to record them in my planner. 

But what really gets me is that the stuff that can't be handled immediately.  Like the disputed insurance claim that is dragging on and on for months.  Or my stack of coupons that need clipped.  Or the grocery store ads that I might use when I grocery shop at the end of the week. 

I have longed for an office space in my kitchen.  Somehow I've convinced myself that if I had an office space in my kitchen I would be able to conquer the battle with paper.  However, if you've seen my kitchen, you can probably guess that this dream is really just a pipe dream.  My kitchen is very small with zero counter space and cabinet space.  I kept thinking that maybe I could find an organizer that would be multi functional and address my biggest needs:  a place for the paperwork that needs to be easily accessible, a place for the kids to empty out their book bags, and a place for me to store my planner which holds my menus and daily schedules.  I checked out lots of online places, specifically looking for desk organizers.  And I found a few things that I liked but nothing that seemed perfect.  (Although one of them seemed very useable but it was $70.) 

I hadn't really looked in a store simply because I hadn't been anywhere to look.  Last Thursday, we headed to town to do my freezer cooking exchange and stopped at Shopko when we were done because my kids had to pee.  I decided since we were there, I'd look.  I went through the kitchen shelves and office supplies and didn't see anything I liked. 

Then I happened upon the hooks and dish drainers.  I tell you, the skies parted and the light shone down! 

There on the shelf was a coppery bronze dish drainer. 

I know it doesn't sound like much.  And actually I would never have thought to use it as a paperwork organizer until that moment.  But it works like a charm.

The silverware holder holds my writing utensils and scissors.  I bought some decorative file folders and used three of them to hold my coupon/grocery shopping paperwork, bill related paperwork (as in things that are problem bills which we seem to have had a lot of lately), and miscellaneous paperwork like the new car insurance policy that was waiting for D to sign it.  The first three plate slots hold those folders.  I use a regular binder to hold my organizer so that fits into the fourth slot.  That leaves the back section of the dish drainer open.  I set my photo album turned coupon organizer across that back space and there is still room for my kids to empty out their backpacks and pile the paperwork from that there as well.  All of it can be picked up as one unit and placed on top of my folded up lap top.  It is compact but holds a lot of stuff in one little space.  The bronze/copper finish keeps it from looking frumpy.  (And it matches my copper faucet and toaster!)  Possibly the best part is that it cost me $9.99 for the drainer and $4 for the folders.  I have to say, I am loving it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

God and Me-Convent? Monestary?

A lot of times people use the euphimism "run away to join the circus?"  And when I was a single eighteen year old I'm sure I spent a lot of time threatening to join the "nunnery".  (Thankfully my dear hubby made an appearance.  I'm pretty sure I would have been a terrible nun.  Especially since I'm not Catholic.)

Now, with all the hubub and noise of life, the monestary or a convent actually sound kind of appealing.  I am a bit dried out in a spiritual sense.  We've missed church several weeks in a row.  (One of which involved me 'coaching' a group of high school boys while they played soccer.)  We've been traveling.  And I've been tired.  And the kids have been sick.  And I've struggled with letting people get the better of me and responded with impatience and arrogance.  And I haven't done well in setting down and meeting with God.

Sure, the last few weeks have had some moments of spiritual consciousness.  But for me, I need a mix of the spontaneous spiritual moments and moments that come about because I specifically carved out time in my day for time with God.  I know there are some people who would say they've given up feeling guilty for not setting a specific quiet time each day and instead meet with God in places along the course of the day, from a quick glance at a verse to listening to Christian music.  I'm not saying it's wrong.  I'm just saying, for me, I need the deliberateness of a plan.  I know it's a bit stuffy and doesn't feel like a passionate love story.  But if love was left entirely to passion, I'm guessing it would quickly die out. 

I need to combine that passion with the choice to deliberately give God a set portion of each of my days. 

Without that?  Well, let's just say it involves daydreaming about the stillness of a wooded forest, monks in robes, and some choral chanting.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Funky Food Stuff

It's one of those things that you just can't put your finger on.  It's one of those things that is just a bit off.  It's one of those things where you convince yourself of one thing and then spend time second guessing the convictions you have.

The "it" in question could be anything.  It's some small, semi subtle behavior that your adopted child exhibits that just resonate in a weird way.  It happens to often to be completely innocent.  But it's not so dramatic that it interferes with every aspect of normal life.  If you are parenting a kiddo who does not see to have a major or somewhat major issue (be it attachment, cognitive delays, etc.), there's a chance you know exactly what I'm talking about.

For us, one of those behaviors centers around one of our kiddos and his/her food habits.  For kids who are struggling with attachment issues, hoarding food or stealing food can be major issues.  We are not dealing with that.  Instead, we have a child who wakes up every morning asking for food, demanding to be fed.  This same child is what I call a food scavenger.  This child snoops for food. As in looking in the garbage can for food during the first few months home.  As in opening cabinets looking for food.  As in keeping a keen eye on the kitchen counters for food.  And if there is food in one of those place, this child must touch it.  He/she doesn't always eat it, but, especially in the first few months home, touching it was almost always a given.  Sometimes this child sneaks the food off of the counter.  If food is present, it's as if the child has turned into a bloodhound on a scent trail.  They search out the food.  They look at whomever has the food with a look that says, "please feed me."  It does not matter if they have just eaten.  They will ask for the food.  They will, at times, beg for the food. 

Yes, some of it is a child's attempt at finding boundaries.  Some of it seems like something other 3 or 4 year olds might try.  But there is something about it that is not the same.

It seems a bit too intense to be normal.  It's as if this child gets fixed on food in a slightly unusual way.

I honestly believe that most of this is related to the way food is distributed in orphanages.  At an orphanage, food is dispersed on a strict schedule.  Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner all occur at specific times each day.  Food is only available at these times.  (It should be noted this child has never known extreme hunger like some children have who come to live in orphanages.  And the orphanage this child lived in did provide 3 meals and a snack every day.)  Contrast orphanage living to what it is like to live in a family. 

Yes, families often serve food at routine times.  But food is an ever present thing in a family setting.   By that, I don't mean that the food is always out and presented to the child.  Instead, I think that living in a home with cabinets and refrigerators and freezers full of food must be a completely mind boggling thing for a child who grew up in an institution.  Food is everywhere!  

In an orphanage setting, there are no dinner rolls cooling on the counter that you must wait until suppertime to eat.  In an orphange, there is no left over Christmas candy sitting in a bag, easily accessible to little hands.  In an orphanage, if you ate a few hours ago and it's not snack time yet, you have no way to get food so it makes waiting to eat until snack time a relatively easy thing.  And in an orphanage, food is not wasted so food thrown into a garbage can in a family home must be something that a little mind is not sure how to process.  In general, in a home, it is very easy to know where the food is and how to access it.  The temptation to get into the food is everywhere. 

In an orphanage, if a visitor or worker does bring special treats, it is often first come, first serve so it is a good idea to eat quickly and see if you can get seconds.  Specials treats are not able to be kept for a later time.  In a home, if the amount of special treats are limited, usually the treats are stored to eat later.

 It's actually the way one of my kiddos reacted in a situation with special treats that made me decide to write this post.  A few weeks back, at story time, the town librarian handed out treats to all the kids and then announced that there weren't enough for seconds but there were enough for the adults to have treats too.  My kiddo didn't hear or didn't understand what was said but saw that the treats were being passed out again.   He/she started shoveling the rest of the treat into his/her mouth, hoping to finish quickly and go back and get another, beating out the other kids who were still eating.

For us, we've chosen to go a couple of different routes in addressing this.  When the child first came home, we let it slide and instead encouraged the child to use his/her words to ask for food.  We tried to teach the child that if he/she wanted food, he/she needed to ask.  And we rarely told the child no if he/she asked in an appropriate way.  After we felt sure that the child understood we would provide the food, we then went back and changed our strategy a bit.  We chose to address it by looking at the child's heart.  What is impacting the child's choices?  In our case, we have focused on the words from 1 Corinthians 13, "Love always trusts."  This means love trusts that I will have food when I need it, not just when I want it.  This means that love trusts that Mama and Papa know what's best for me in terms of when and what I eat.  This means that love trusts that if Mama or Papa say we can eat a certain food later, it means we really will eat it later and I do not need to take it right now. 

And there have also been some logical consequence dished out.  Caught drinking out of Mama's pop can without asking?  (Which one of mine does often.)  You get water for the day.  Continually touching food on the counter?  (Which happens all the time and is often not just limited to food items but often includes the child touching all sorts of stuff that he/she is not supposed to.)  The child has now been given the task of giving themselves a spanking on the hand for every infraction.  (Suprisingly, I think it's worked well.  Spanking yor own hand gets old when you have done it 20 times over the course of the day.)  I've also made the offender tell the hand why it's getting spanked.  (Which can be kind of funny to hear.) 

Little by little, bit by bit, I think we're seeing progress.  Believing hearts can heal even if it's from something that seems like a minor owie...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More Groupon deals!

Today's Groupon deal for Lincoln, Nebraska is $20 worth of Barnes and Noble books, movies, games, etc. for $10.   Awesome deal!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Februrary 3

And to continue with the God is good train of thought, take a moment to read this post from last year.  Happy birthday, Conleigh.  We're blessed to have you home.

The rest of the story, Conleigh's homecoming, part 4

(the older connected posts are right below.  The quick version is we left for Florida on Monday morning, arrived in Florida in the afternoon, drove one way, then another, then stopped all because we thought Conleigh was coming.  On Tuesday, she really did fly in and we arrived only to find out she would have to stay at a group home that night.)

Wednesday morning, we decided to head back to the group home around 8. The four of us sat in the room designated for parents where we found the other HCH parents and the director. This meant that our kids had been separated from her. She had asked to stay with the kids but was refused that opportunity although they did put her up in another home they had on the grounds. The basic jist was that the kids left Haiti around 4 or so (if I'm remembering right). They flew on an army cargo plane. Upon arriving in the US, all 40 kids from many different orphanages had to clear customs. The kids then arrived at the group home where they were bathed, dressed, fed, and given a basic physical. After that, they were allowed to sleep. Needless to say, it was around 2 am when they were finallly in bed asleep. My sweet daughter was taken out of Melinda's arms asleep and basically awoke to completely new surroundings and new people. I do not think she was kept in the same house as the other HCH kids but I don't know that for sure. At any rate, we were actually one of the first families to have their name called to receive their child and their documents. We headed back to a narrow little hallway with about 5 or so other families whom we didn't know. We sat and chit chatted a bit and slowly the first of the kids was carried into the hallway to be united with the right family.

Conleigh was maybe the third or fourth child to come inside. We had a baby doll for her and pictures of us with her from our trips to Haiti but her eyes were glazed over and she really didn't look at any of the things. The group home worker handed her to us and the quiet lasted for a bit. (Maybe ten minutes.) And then the crying started.

I am not sure I can explain it with words. It started a bit mad and was interspersed with her pointing at every doorway, wanting down and wanting out. It continued for hours until it was this sad, mounful cry that seemed to be like it was all the cry she had left. It took almost 2 hours for them to process all of our paperwork. We tried distractions like food and toys. We were actually in a fairly small space with many other families and workers so we were awfully aware of how loud we were. We went outside hoping a walk might help. We sang and danced and maybe stood on our heads. Nothing helped. I am completely convinced that her pointing at the door was her trying to find Melinda or the other children she knew from HCH. I am completely convinced she was scared beyond words because she couldn't find a familiar face.

After almost an hour, some worker tried to offer us food or some other trivial bit to comfort her. I did my best not to be in full Mama bear mode but really wanted to say something snide as I was a bit out of sorts that the worker did not seem to understand why this child might be traumatized and not comforted by food. I told her that I thought Conleigh really just needed to see the orphanage director as Conleigh had not yet seen her since the previous night. The worker promptly found another person, took Conleigh from my hands, and handed her to this woman whom I didn't know. I then realized that the worker assumed I meant the director from another orphanage and that the worker had brought the wrong orphanage director to me. Obviously, that didn't help the situation. Plus everyone who was trying to help kept looking at the id bracelet on Conleigh and kept calling her by her given Haitian name, Youmie, which Conleigh has never known as her name was changed as an infant.

We finally got to see Melinda about 30 minutes before all of our documents were processed. Melinda showed Conleigh our book of photos and spoke with her in Creole about what was happening. Once we received the correct documents, we headed to try to find the other children from HCH so Conleigh could say goodbye to them but we only could find one of them. And by that time, Conleigh was completely reduced to crying again. We hastily left and headed back to the hotel.

At the hotel, Conleigh continued to point to the door and want to leave.  I don't remember how much crying went on.  I do remember her very clearly pointing to the toothbrushes on the counter and saying in English, "Brush teeth." She didn't eat anything and fell asleep around 6. She slept for 12 straight hours until 6 the next morning when it was time for us to head to the airport. While she was asleep, we quickly posted a few pictures online, booked our flight home, and called and tried to make arrangments so that someone would be at the airport when we arrived to take pictures of our arrival.

The next morning, the alarm rang and I woke up to an exhausted child still sleeping beside me. We dressed her in a 3T shirt and pants which were way too big and slipped on some gianormous tennis shoes. Then back to the Miami Airport for our flights out. Conleigh clung to me for the remainder of the way home. No fussing or tantrums, just a tired girl who was content with someone who seemed fairly safe. I had also asked a friend to share with me some basic Creole for "Melinda is not outside the door. You have to stay with us."

When we arrived in Omaha, we were greeted by the most unlikely welcome crew. Because of the short notice, we had no family to meet us. But two of our church friends, John and Paul were there. I'm not sure if I can explain the situation. Picture two 50ish/60ish men waiting to meet us, one of whom has a long ponytail. With cameras. Quite the pair to greet this little girl.

After a bit of visiting with Paul and John, we got on the shuttle and headed towards long term parking for our car. In the car, I sat in the backseat with Conleigh as she experienced a car seat for the first time. She did great and did not complain. She did not sleep at all. Once we had been driving for about 45 minutes, she started pretending she had a cake and wanted to sing "Happy Birthday" to us all. I can still hear her raspy little voice, very hoarse from all the crying and wailing from the day before, singing and giggling all the way home.

As I sat down to write all this, I was amazed by how much I had forgotten. It's a long story, but a beautiful one. One that only God could have written.   There have many many months of a Mama praying for her daughter's heart.  For her heart to stop the striving to get it's own way but instead to "walk humbly with the Lord."  (Micah 6:8)  For the anxiety that caused chronic sleeplessness to cease and be replaced by a "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, that will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  (Phil. 4:7)  And many months of savoring the sweetness of God's plans, of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The rest of the story, Conleigh's homecoming, part 3

(Scroll down to read if you'd like to read the long version of the story.  Otherwise the short version has us flying out of Nebraska on Monday, getting to Orlando, driving 2 hours north only to get a call saying they were coming in and turning around and driving 3 hours south, only to get a call saying tha they were not coming after all.  A night misspent in a hotel, then off to the mall to numb our minds, and yet another call saying that they were indeed coming.)

Out the door, into the car, and back on the Florida toll roads which are something this Nebraska girl is glad she doesn't have to contend with on a daily basis. We left a bit before lunctime, I think. 3 hours south, hurrying like mad to get to the Miami airport, praying that the GPS actually knows how to get us to the airport. We had contact with the other two American families who were waiting for their kids so we knew that they were both already at the airport. We finally got to the airport, parked, and tried not to race into the building.

When we got in, it took us a moment to find the other waiting families who were in a special room reserved just for families who were waiting. What we found out was that nothing had happened yet; the kids had not left Haiti yet. And what I feared-the kids would not be immediately released into our custody. The state of Florida had contacted with a private group home who would serve as temporary shelter for the kids until the proper documents could be processed. D and I headed to find some airport version of lunch and as we were getting our sandwiches, Jennifer (another adoptive parent) called us to say that they were requesting that all the parents head out to the group home facility. Since we had a rental car and Jen and her friend did not, we all piled into our car and headed for the group home.

At the group home, we were briefed on what the process would be. The group home showed us their facilities, where the kids would sleep, eat, etc.. Several of us were very clear that we had orphanage staff accompanying our children and that we felt it would be advantageous for those staff to stay with the kids. We were told that was up to the group home but no one would clarify what the policy actually was. It was after suppertime by this point and the kids still had not arrived. We were told that the kids would not be released until morning due to their late arrival time but that the state department officials who would be actually granting our kids parole would work through the night to process the documents. D and I, along with Jen and her friend, went with the general concensus which was to go find a hotel and return in the morning.

(More to come...See?  I've still got you hanging on the edge of your seat.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The rest of the story, Conleigh's homecoming, part 2

(Scroll down to the previous post for the detailed version of the story of our trip to pick up Conleigh after the 2010 earthquake.  The short version is with no real plans, we flew from Nebraska to Florida, arrived in Orlando, headed north two hours, only to get a phone call that the kids were flying in that night.  So we turned back around and headed the other way.)

After about an hour of driving, the family called us back and told us that the kids were not flying out today but that Melinda said we needed to be prepared to go the next day. We were still unsure of if the kids would arrive in Orlando which was about an hour from where we were or in Miami which was another 4 hours or so south. We decided to drive to Kisseemee which, if I'm remembering right, is a bit south of Orlando. That put us about an hour from Orlando and 3 hours from Miami. We thought made it very doable to head in either direction once we knew what airport we needed to be at.

So we checked into some random hotel in Kissemee and spent an absolutely lousy night.
It rained continually.

The alarm in the hotel room next to us started going off around two am and continued to ring for about an hour until D called the desk and asked them to solve the problem.

And before we actually fell asleep, the room above us was noisy doing who knows what.   (I'll spare you the details of what it sounded like they were doing.)

In the morning, the continental breakfast was appalling and I managed to slide off of the sidewalk and land almost under the car. (Grace is so my middle name.)

We still had not heard what was going on and so we were in a bit of a limbo about what to do. We decided sitting in a hotel room would make us crazy so we headed to the mall. We had been in the mall for less than an hour when we got the call that the kids were leaving Haiti. They were flying into Miami.

(More to come...I know you're hanging on the edge of your seats!)