Friday, September 30, 2011

The real meaning of Christmas

Today at lunch I ran over to Target and scanned my little heart out.  It was so much fun to dream about what's going to be sent down to COTP over the next few weeks.  (Remember my evil scheme about overwhelming Nick when he goes to the airport to pick up the mail from Agape?)

As I was scanning, I started to think about the meaning of Christmas.  I asked this last year, and I'll ask again this year:  "What does Christmas mean to you?"

If you asked 100 kids in the US what it means, what do you think their response would be?  Think about the Facebook posts after Christmas.  What pictures are you seeing?  How about when kids go back to school?  What are they talking about with their friends?

How about kids in a third world county?  What do you think their response would be?

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One of the managers in my office left to work for another company.  I don't know why, but it's customary at my job to celebrate when someone leaves.  On their last day they order a cake, reserve a conference room, and let people stop by to give their regards to the person who's leaving.  The guy that left this week - he didn't want a cake.  He just wanted to pack his box, say goodbye to those he's closest to, and quietly leave.

Guess what they did?  They got him a cake anyway.  As he approached the conference room he said, "I told you I didn't want anything."  He was polite and gracious, but you could tell he was irritated.  They didn't listen to what HE wanted.

Sometimes we project what we want on other people.  Obviously the people at work felt it was important to get a cake for this guy, so they did what they wanted.  Not what he wanted.

When it comes to Christmas at COTP, I ask you to think about that.  Maybe you want to send a huge box of dolls and legos and battery-operated toys.  Seeing food and bottles and pack-and-plays is not your idea of Christmas.  Kids are supposed to get toys, right?

You'll be happy to know that there are toys on the registry.  But you're also going to see a lot of the basic needs - like snacks, formula, teething rings, and bottles.  Yah, we want to make sure their Christmas is filled with joy and laughter and toys!  We also want to make sure their bottoms are dry and their bellies are full.

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As soon as Nikki and I get the list finalized, I'll get it posted for you to review and share with every single person you know.

Click.  Ship.  The real meaning of Christmas.

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"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
~ Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Christmas they'll never forget

I have to start this post by saying this - Nikki is a genius.  She came up with the greatest plan for Christmas this year.  I'm so excited!!

As you know, we're working on getting all the kids sponsored again this Christmas. Nikki had the brilliant idea of starting a Target registry.  Isn't that a great idea?  This week I'm going to get it started and sent to Nikki.  After she adds/deletes items and gets it finalized I'll post it here.

For those of you who want to sponsor specific kids, I'll email you their wish-list.  The items will also be listed on the registry.  

The beauty of the registry is that you can forward it to everyone you know and ask them to pick a few items to ship.  My goal is to exceed the items on the list.  Let's overwhelm Nick when he goes to the airport each Thursday to pick up the mail.  I want him to scratch his head and think, "How am I going to get all this back to COTP?"  I love it when my evil schemes are actually for the greater good.  

Click.  Ship.  A Christmas they'll never forget.

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On a different note, I want to get the word out about a special boy who's currently in Port-au-Prince, but will soon be at Children of the Promise.  Please check out this blog:  He sets the orphan free.

Maybe you aren't at a place in your life where you'd consider adoption.  Maybe it's been tugging at your heart and now's the time to explore.  Maybe you know someone who would make the greatest parent to Moses.  Please read this post and forward it to everyone you know.

If you want to adopt but you're scared about the cost, please email me.  We live on a single income and we're paying for our adoption completely.  We aren't taking out loans.  We aren't borrowing money.  And we certainly aren't rich.  There's this amazing thing that happens.  When you accept that tug on your heart, that whisper in your ear, that postcard...God provides.

I didn't give you the gift of life.
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real.
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
is like a dream come true.
No, I didn't give you the gift of life.
Life gave me the gift of you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There she was...

Every day that passes without hearing about movement on the adoption front is torture. My mind starts to drive me crazy as I wonder about everything. Where are we at. Who has our file. What is she doing. Who is loving her up today. It goes on and on.

Adopting parents are pretty impatient. It can't happen soon enough. There isn't one parent out there who says, "I'm so glad the adoption took 6 months longer than we expected..." or "I'm happy they delayed our meeting by a week. What does that week matter anyway?" No. We're quite the opposite. If I got a call tonight that we were through the process, I'd be on the first plane to Haiti tomorrow. If that wasn't possible I'd start working on beaming technology so I could get down there. I would go in the clothes I'm wearing and spend the entire week in this same outfit if it meant I could bring her home. I'd forgo all luxuries like a toothbrush, clean underwear and my coveted Burt's Bee's lipgloss if I knew I could hold her.

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The other day I added her picture to the wallpaper on my computer at work. When I logged in this morning, there she was. It's the front side of the picture I posted earlier. The most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. She was there smiling at me. It's as though she was saying, "I'm ok Mommy. They are taking great care of me. I'll be here waiting for you!"

I paused, said a prayer, told her I loved her, then started my day. It was a beautiful way to start the day. 

The day was unusually busy, and by the time I went to shut down I had forgotten who was waiting for me. As I closed out my Outlook, there she was again. "I'm glad you had a good day at work Mommy. I was here with you the whole time. God's in charge Mommy. Don't forget that."

I paused, said a prayer, told her I loved her, told her angel mother I'd take great care of her, then grabbed my bag and headed for the parking lot.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two less orphans

I'm excited to report that two beautiful little girls, currently living in Port-au-Prince, will be going home the end of this month.  It's been such a long, emotionally and physically draining process for my friend.  It's a beautiful feeling each time I hear a child is going home.

At the end of this month there will be two less orphans in the world.

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Last week was hard for me.  An adopting mom friend of mine told me that the paperwork was by far the hardest part of the process.  Notarizations, translations, certifications, duplications.  She promised that once it was done I'd breathe a sigh of relief.

I did.

It lasted until I got confirmation that the paperwork reached Haiti.  Then a new level of 'hard' began for me.  It's call - waiting.  Waiting without updates.  Waiting without knowing.  Waiting, just trusting that the process is moving.

Those of you who know me know that I'm terrible at delegating.  When I want to get something done, I do it myself.  I'm lazy as the day is long, but when there's work to be done I'm in the trenches working my butt off.

The most frustrating thing for me is that I can't do anything right now.  I can't drive to the courthouse, make calls, or send a massive basket of chocolate to give the workers incentive to keep my file at the top of the pile.  I want to DO.  And I'll admit that, while I am praying A LOT, I just feel like I should be doing more.

I wish I could do more.

I just want her home.

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Henry and I are both sick.  Right now we're home together having a much needed lazy Saturday.  I feel like crud, and I know he feels like crud too.

Earlier this morning he sat in my lap and grabbed my arms and wrapped them around him.  You know what happened then.  I though of her.  I thought about what happens when she's sick.  I thought about who she wants to have wrap their arms around her to comfort her.

Then I thought about the day that I get to hold her when she sick.  Hug her when she's sad.  Cuddle her when she feels like crud.

That day will come.  I know it will.  One less orphan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First days of school

I've been meaning to update this for days. Life has been absolutely crazy since I got back from the DR. Our sweet kitty went through two surgeries and a pretty long recovery. Thankfully he's going to be ok. It's hard to understand the love of an animal until you watch how your children love them. When I brought him in for what I thought was a really bad seizure and stroke, I wasn't prepared for my daughter's emotions and making a tough decision. Weepy blue/green hazel eyes will always win the fight to save a pet. I'm happy to report that Squeaks has made a miraculous recovery. Even the vet team that worked on him thinks so.

Here's a picture of him from last winter.
How could I not fight for a little kitty who cuddles with Sofia's tush?

Last Thursday was the first day of 4th grade for my sweet daughter. She was fortunate enough to get her braces off right before school started. I can't believe this is my daughter.

It was a very big day for this household on Wednesday. Henry started preschool! He's been talking about it for weeks and was very excited to go. Here's my little man walking in on his first day. He's such a big boy.

Just last night I received another wonderful gift. A friend who recently brought her daughter home send me more pictures of our daughter. While we still aren't far enough in the process to be comfortable with revealing who she is, I will share one of the pictures.
Isn't she beautiful? Even the back of her head. I'm not sure what they were doing this day, but all the little girls were dressed up.

Have I said before how much I can't wait to bring her home? We're 3 months and 1 week post referral. We're nearly at the year mark since we started this process. To say that I'm impatient, frustrated, hopeful, detached, and in love would be the mixed bag that's Karen. We did receive a short update on how she's doing. She hangs out with the boys and gets into trouble. It seems she rallies them together and plots how to break out of the baby house. I can only imagine what she'll do with Henry!

One thing about adopting parents is that we're hungry for information. ANY kind of information. We spend hours surfing the Internet, reading blogs, pushing the F9 button just hoping an update email will come in. The Haiti blogs I've been reading indicate that it's taking 7-8 months in the process before the Visa gets issued. If we work a best-case scenario, that means she could be home in February. Mostly likely won't be, but she could be. When adopting parents don't get information, we make up our own. February.

 Will you please pray for that?