Sunday, September 30, 2012

Preparing for a Broken Heart

Today, our family got to head to a local state park for a potluck with other families who have adopted from Kenson's orphanage.  It was a nice, relaxed afternoon with the kids playing soccer and frisbee after enjoying the large playground all while the adults visited.  We talked a bit about our upcoming trip to China and two other moms, both of whom have adopted toddlers, asked if I was ready for the what our next month will look like.  One of them even asked if the third time around made it better or worse.

And the answer is without a doubt, I think it is worse.  You cannot know what you don't know so your first adoption is often a bit of bliss.  You know it will not be all roses and happy times.  But you are a bit unaware of exactly what it will mean to bring home a toddler and you are a bit unaware of how your child's losses will follow him home.  Each time I have brought home a child, I have felt a bit more pricked about the monumental tasks that are awaiting not just me but that child.  I just seem to be more acutely aware of what a big thing I am asking of such a little person. 

This time around is no exception.  Zeke has lived with a foster family for most of his life.  The same family.  Assuming best case scenario, he loves them and they love him.  They kiss him and hold him.  He cuddles on their chests when he is tired, he runs to them when he gets hurt, he knows their smells and their touch.  Today I found out what I pretty much already knew, that his foster family would not be accompanying him to Guiyang to meet us.  He will instead be picked up from his foster home by an orphanage representative who will then transport him to Guiyang to meet us.  He will leave his safe little nest with a stranger only to be handed to another set of strangers, never to return to that safe little nest again.  It breaks my heart.  Yes, we have sent things to his foster family to help explain who we are.  Yes, we hope the foster family will have told him what will happen on that day when he leaves them. 

But none of it stops the break.  None of it seals the wound, repairs the rip, soothes the soul. 

I'm preparing for a little boy with a huge broken heart.  And really, how do you prepare for that?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Linky Love

Check out Lori McCary's blog.  They are an adoptive family whose little girl may die from a heart condition without a heart transplant.  They knew that going in to the adoption but chose to love their daughter anyway.  I was humbled this week to read her blog, to hear her say that God did not send them their daughter with promises for healing attached, to hear her share her authentic feelings of worry and fear and peace in the midst of a long hard season. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

What We Need

With less than two weeks until we leave for China, we have had several people ask what we need for Zeke.  Aside from a fee practical things like diapers and a mattress pad and socks, what we need most is some mental rest.  I cannot tell you all the dopey things I've done this last week.  From walking away from a running sink faucet (and leaving to to run for 10 minutes) to entering rooms and having to think way too hard about what I was doing in that room, my brain has been ping ponging all over the place.  I have two kids who I am leaving for two weeks, two grown ups who need to make sure that all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted on documents and travel plans, a new toddler to safeguard the house from, a dog to keep from starving to death and a newly sodded backyard to maintain.   I know D has been feeling the stress as he has had some not so nice headaches and a really icky canker sore.  He also has the last paper of his college career to write (a lovely 40 page affair) and he needs to get it done before we leave.  I didn't realize how much I had been feeling the stress until I sat in church on Sunday and had the opportunity to soak in the restfulness that worship often brings.   Realistically, what we could use most is some prayer.

For Kenson and Conleigh, who will be staying with my mom, my aunt, and a friend.  Two weeks seems like a long time to leave them.  I am especially concerned about Conleigh not sleeping well.

For Zeke, whose world will be completely upside down in a few short days.  Pray for his heart to grieve (so hard to watch but such a necessary part), for him to feel safe, for him to stay healthy, for him to adapt and adjust to our family and our life.

For us, as we head off on a long journey to a foreign land, for our sleep deprivation, our hearts that will miss Kenson and Conleigh, and our actions as we love a new child.  For D, as he finishes his paper.  For me, as I organize this grand adventure.  For our finances as we are already about $1500 over where I hoped we would be.

Know we also hope you will offer up a prayer of thanksgiving with us as well.  For friends who go the extra mile.  For family who are flexible and determined to show us love.  For D's job offering him adoption leave.  For being able to have an experience that others dream of.  For God saying to us, "Go.  Do the right thing." and giving us the chance to go.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tickets Booked and Dates Set

Well, with the exception of about a million details, our trip to China is set.  Hard to believe that we will soon be leaving our two babes here for two weeks while we travel to get another one who will be essentially a mystery to us.   Lots of thoughts whirling about my head this week.  From trying to figure out the cheapest, most efficient travel plans to unpacking a few more clothes for Zeke...  From trying to piece together the child care arrangements for Conleigh and Kenson to fretting about the handful of boxes on the main floor that still need to be unpacked before a two year old finds them (the ones that are hard to unpack because I have no idea where to put the stuff that's in them)...  From getting out the baby carrier to downloading Chinese language apps on our tablet...  It's a fun, crazy, exciting time full of anticipation around here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wedding Plans

Well, the Nick and Conleigh saga continues but this time it's Kenson who is involved.  Yesterday, he asked me if Nick and Conleigh will kiss when they get married.  I replied that we weren't going to talk about it, because it's going to be a long time before Conleigh is ready to get married.  

His reponse? 

"Oh yeah.  She has to be six."  

Say What?

A few lines from the girl for the week:

While sitting and snuggling with Mama on the couch, completely out of the blue, "I want to paint my teeth."  "You want to paint your teeth?  What would you paint them?"  As if there were any other correct answer. "Rainbow."

In the car while driving home from church on Sunday, while D and Kenson were discussing something loudly, she puts both arms emphatically down and in an authoritative voice says, "Side Yard!"  Hmmm...side yard?  I was pretty sure I had her figured out.  "Silence?  Conleigh, do you mean silence?"  "Yes, silence!"  followed by her arms going out to her sides again just to demonstrate how she was a voice to be listened to.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Adoption Timeline for Zeke 
(Waiting child from an agency specific list)

Submit LOI (Letter of Intent) to China that identifies a child you'd like to adopt.  (Submitted LOI December 20)

Wait 1-4 weeks for Pre Approval/PA (Received January 3)

Complete homestudy and start assembling dossier (3-4 months)
*Complete homestudy (started mid December, homestudy completed by homestudy agency March 1)
*Send in I800a paperwork (can't apply for the I800a until you have your completed homestudy, application received by USCIS March 8)
*Be fingerprinted  (Received original fingerprint date of April 17, walked in to Omaha USCIS office to be fingerprinted April 5)
*Receive I800a approval  (Received verbal approval April 12, will hopefully have it in hand at the beginning of next week)
*Authenticate documents at the secretary of state's office  (All are done)
*Send documents to the US Department of State and then the Chinese Consulate  (Have to have the I800a approval authenticated by the secretary of state before we can send our documents)

Send dossier to China on May 11 (DTC)

Wait for LID (log in date) which is China acknowledging that your dossier has been received (LID of May 23)
Wait for LOA (Letter of Approval) which is China formally approving you as parents for your child-July 18

File I800, I864 (US immigration paperwork).  Wait for I800 approval (USCIS received our I800 7/23 and we received our approval letter back on 8/4)

Have I800 approval cabled to US Consulate in China (August 13)

Wait for Article 5 (August 28)

Wait for travel approval, TA (September 10) 

That's it.  That's all she wrote.  We're done.  Now it's scheduling our consulate appointment and booking travel.  If it had been any other time of year, we would have been able to travel in just a few weeks.  But due to the Chinese holiday the first week of October, we are unable to go until after that.    But it will be here before you know it.  Not sure if I'm ready to welcome a two year old into our midst (I mean, because really who is ready to welcome a two year old?) but I'm excited to finally be done, traveling and home.  Just a few more weeks...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Since we got moved into our new house, I've had a few people ask how we are liking the house. 

Things I'm loving...
  • Having my husband home by 4:30
  • Being able to quickly run to school, to Walmart, to church, etc..
  • The open layout which makes us feel more connected especially at meal time as I'm preparing food in the kitchen

Things I am not loving...
  • The fly invasion, apparently from open doors from the builders and during the move
  • The muddy yard which is a bit of an oddity since it has not rained all summer long; it's really due to us watering plants, hitting the grassless yard with the sprinklers, and then the kids, the grown ups and the dog tracking it in
I also have a few diy projects that I'm really thankful we did in the new house, things that I love because they are functional or just because they make me smile.
Kitchen-I really like our penny tile which ordered from  (2.95 shipping made it completely affordable.)  I love our grey black laminate counter tops.  And I love the barstool which we ordered online from a school supply catalog.

Kitchen-if you could take the above picture and turn to the right, this is what you would see.  It's actually a large black stripe of chalkboard paint with cream on the top and the bottom.  The frames are Goodwill finds which we painted and distressed.  I love having my calendar right in front of me.  I have been putting our verse for the week on it plus a prayer chart.  And, it's also handy for writing up consequences when you don't have time to enforce the consequence right away.

Kids bathroom-I used some old pieces of molding to make these towel hooks.  The vertical one has a Mason jar attached with wire to hold the toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Love these prints that I found on Zulily.

Love the light fixture which is actually from a farm supply catalog.

Living room-perhaps the item I am most excited about...our entertainment center.  We made it from our old dresser and two old doors.  I think it maybe cost us $50.  The oil can on the bottom left shelf is from D's grandpa's gas station.

Dining room-This bookshelf makes me smile.  I bought it many years ago at an auction.  It was painted a reddish orange.  I added the gingerbread brown and distressed it.  The sign we found this summer at an antique mall.  I actually spent $50 on it which my mom thought was crazy.  The painting is from Haiti.  The top shelf has Jadite from Derek's mom and grandma, Derek's grandma's nut chopper, my granny's rolling pin, and a few other bright bowls.  The second shelf has a display of marbles, dominos and blocks with the first two being from Derek's grandma. 

Entryway-The chalkboard was Derek's mom's when she was little.  The hooks are from an auction and are wonderfully chippy.  The cubbies are a bookshelf I found at my grandma's.  I painted it and had Derek cut part of it off so I could turn it sideways to use for shoes.  The handprints were a gift from Derek to me and each clipboard below the handprint is for the kids to hang their favorite pieces.  I'm hoping to get the words "Our Gallery" to put above the handprints.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Otherwise Known as Ekjodld

I wish I could explain my daughter.

She really defies explanation.

There is no putting her in a box or matching her with a label.

She is a girlie girl who likes pink and purple and skirts but she often gets the best of her brother when wrestling and fights like the devil if a blood draw or shots are involved.

She is thoughtful and compassionate if you are sick or sad but will dig her heels in and battle you the next minute over some small thing.

She is quirky, dramatic, funny, giggly, determined, and a little too smart for her own good.

The latest evidence of her uniqueness came home via her school work.

I mean, why just write your name on the line when you can write other letters?  Surely that is a much better way to show your teacher just how much you know about the alphabet?