Rockin' Adoption

Venting

I promise this wont be a blog about me complaining all of the time.  I just need to get some chips off my shoulders!

 

I feel like I’m under heavy attack here.  I know.  Sounds paranoid.  But its true.  I am feeling pretty hopeless about the adoption process.   I have been saving money so that we can start making payments to the agency but financial needs keep coming up, I can’t seem to keep my spending in check, and every time I bring up the adoption people look the other way and change the subject.  Like they never really thought this was going to happen.  I know what I NEED to do.  It’s just finding the will to do it!

I know- truly know that my heart/life is on the right path.  I know and feel complete peace and not a moments question that the DR Congo is where my heart has been all along.  I cannot wait to hold my little one in my arms, and I cannot wait for Bens prayers to finally be answered- because he really does pray almost every day for his “baby brother in Africa”.  No, we still have no gender preference, it’s just what he kid is wanting.  He “already has a sister”.  Maybe we’ll get super blessed and find  twins of each gender!  I’ve always wanted a family of 4!

See- just typing this all out is lifting my spirits again.  I need to STOP buying junk that I clearly do NOT need.  And I need to put my money where a piece of my heart is.

So if you’re reading this.  I’m asking for prayers.  Just prayers for this whole process.

 

Thanks!

Dangers in the Congo

I was talking to our adoption coordinator about the dangers I’ve read about while traveling to the D.R Congo and I have to admit.  I’m a little ashamed of my doubts and fears.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not going to strut off the airplane decked out in expensive jewelry and tour the city solo at night.  But I am ashamed at what I let the fear of traveling do to me.   I struggle all the time with the adoption.  It’s never that I don’t want to adopt.  It’s just different struggles each time.  Money, wait time, Money, traveling, Money.

I worried about the safety of traveling to a dangerous area and then wondered.. would local adoption just be easier?

Enter the shame.  It’s not shameful that I feared my safety- I have two kids that I’m certain enjoy having a mother.  But the fact that I would break so easily.  And the fact that I failed to realize that I’m scared of my money being stolen or getting a curable virus when my child LIVES and BREATHES those threats EVER. SINGLE. DAY.  Child armies are not uncommon in the D.R Congo.  This isn’t like the military here.  Boys are forced into these armies starting at the age of 3 and forced to kill their parents to “harden” them and to help them realize they have nothing to go back to.  They are also forced into mutilating and killing many, many other people- often siblings and relatives.  At the age of 3.   It is uncommon for a girl to go un-raped by the age of 6.  Sexual crimes are one of the most common war crimes in Africa right now.   Families and children walk for hours and miles upon miles at night to as an attempt to avoid and go undetected by the L.R.A.

THIS is what my child has to fear.  My adoption coordinator assured us that they have someone with us at all times, and I know that I have Someone even greater with me at all times that wouldn’t ask me to do this- if it wasn’t something I needed to do.

I’m in this.  For our child.

 

Updates

I know its been FOR-EV-ER since I’ve posted.  But honestly- not much has happened for me to post about.  We were saving up for the payment due with our Dossier and so things were moving very slowly.

WE do however- have a pretty big update.

After much prayer- Paul and I have decided to pull ourselves from our current Ethiopian adoption.  We were notified the other day that the waiting time has been moved up to 24 months for our approved age range.  And although we would wait for our child for as long as we have to.  I want to be honest with you.  Ethiopia has never felt “right”.  Its soo hard to explain.  Adoption feels absolutely 100% right.  Africa feels 120% right.  The fact that I have a child out there- possibly not even born yet is 100% true.  WE are still adopting.

I have always had a heart for the D.R Congo.  We donate monthly to programs that help children in the Congo.  It’s always where my heart was.  But it wasn’t an option at the time.  And I quite possible got false information that it wouldn’t be a possibility for many years to come.  So we decided Ethiopia would be a great alternative.   So we applied, and were approved and started the process.  However- the entire time I would keep checking back up on the Congo and just wonder if God had it in his plans to open it up later on so we could adopt again.  I’m totally down with that!

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe that God makes things happen.  He lines circumstances up perfectly for you.   You just have to be open to accepting those circumstances.

Fast forward to now.  Or ate least a few days ago.  I received an email from a different adoption agency saying that they had openings for their D.R Congo program.  Wow.  My heart skipped a beat.  Then came the fear of maybe leaving the Ethiopian program would be a mistake.  Maybe its not what we were suppose to do.  And seriously.  MINUTES later an email comes from our coordinator from AWAA saying that the Ethiopian programs wait period had been extended to 24 months.  Keep in mind when we first started the program the wait time was 10-12 months.  So I’m not a believer in signs- but I am a believer in things being lined up in His perfect timing.

So it is with happy hearts that I tell you- we are still 100% absolutely adopting, and in the process of adopting- the geography has just changed a bit.

Hi, Remember me?

I’m the girl who started a blog about nothing and everything, then transitioned into an adoption blog, then another smooth transition into.. nothingness.  I am a horrible blogger.  I have a work blog for my small hair/makeup business (LucieMarie) that I never update as well.  So don’t feel left out.  Its just how I roll.

So-  an update with the adoption.  We were fortunate enough to have enough debt, that we earned enough Marriot Reward points to get a couple of free hotel stays.   We were also foruntate enough to be able to save a couple hundred dollars and drive up to Dallas to meet our adoption Social Worker for the first leg of the home study, rather than her come here for a couple of days.

I was really worried about this first part because we had to have a group interview, then Paul and I each had to do individual interviews.  I was afraid my past was going to come and haunt me, and I was afraid Paul was going to say something bad.  I don’t know what he would say.  Its not like we run a secret drug ring.  But sometimes he doesn’t sugar coat things.  And, because I’m a control freak, I think I secretly wanted to feed him his “lines”.  As it would turn out, my past was only a slight concern.  And I thin our Social Worker likes Paul better than me.  Which, I can totally deal with.  Kinda.  The control freak wants to be more likeable.  But- Paul is a pretty likeable guy.  I like him.

After the first part of our meeting, Paul and I got to have date night in a fancy hotel and I got to sleep without having a little one drop kick my head in the middle of the night.  Oddly enough.  I missed it.

Our final portion of the Home Study is coming up next week.  Our SW comes here, and gets to see what our house looks like, meet our kids, and hopefully doesn’t wear a white glove.  Actually.  I hope she doesn’t want to see in our garage.  I think a whole episode of Hoarders could be filmed in there.  Ironically, we now have MORE stuff in there from the last garage sale, than before.  Anyone need a couch?

So, that’s where we’re at.  I need to start gathering all the important info for our Dossier.  As well as gathering some heavy cash to send in with it.  But I cannot believe how much closer we are to bringing home out little one.  I just pray that God performs a miracle and shortens the wait time for a referral!  (Um, when we actually get on the wait list that is).

Heart to Heart FAQ

I get asked pretty much the same questions regarding adoption.  And I hear the same comments as well.  And although I’ve addressed many, many of these questions, I’d like to share some with you guys, who might be wondering the same things.

Why Ethiopia/Africa?

I was reading this blog called A place called Simplicity and she addressed this question perfectly.

“Because that’s where our son and daughter are!!”  And this is so true.  If you’re not adopting, I understand that its hard to wrap your head around the whole emotional process.  But the best way I can describe it, is by being pregnant with a baby you have been praying and praying for.  This baby is growing inside you and you want him/her sooo bad and already love them with all of your heart.  You’ve never really met this child.  You don’t know what he/she will look like.  You don’t know if they’ll grow up to be a doctor or lawyer, or Pastor or in prison!  You don’t care!   You  just love this faceless child.  Well.  that’s how I,  and probably most adopters feel about their adoptive children.  I’ve never met my child.  I don’t even know if he/she is born yet.  But I do already love them as if they were my birth child.

What if they have behavioral, or mental issues?

I can’t lie and say that it’s not a concern.  And I definitely pray for a healthy “normal” child.  But guess what.   I have the same prayer for my birth children.   When I went to the hospital to have them, I didn’t sign any papers with the doctors, nor did I see any waivers with the prenatal vitamins I took guaranteeing that Ben or Laney would grow up happy, healthy, and outstanding citizens.  The ONLY guarantee in life is GOD!  I know you feel like its different, because this child is grown up in poverty and less that ideal living situation.  But things happen here too.  Drugs, rape, violence, bullies, all sorts of things that can shape ones character negatively.  I feel that the only thing I can do is love on each and every one of my children, teach them about God, encourage them to live life by His word, and be good people, and lead by example.  So if my adopted child has any of these issues, I would do the same for them as I would Ben or Laney.  Take it one day at a time, and pray, and pray hard!  And absolutely love them no less.

Isn’t it wrong or traumatic to take them from their culture.

This is a weird argument for me.  Because these children, live in orphanages.  I’m not flying to Ethiopia and plucking a child from their mother and taking them away from a loving home.   Orphanages aren’t luxury boarding schools.  The nannies and care givers do their very best to love on these kids as much as possible but they are stretched thin with very little resources.  Its hard for me not to wonder how someone thinks that an orphanage is ones culture.  The mere definition of  Culture is this- The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions..”   If a child lived in an abusive home, with an abusive family wouldn’t that make “abuse” their culture?  Or if you grew up with alcoholic parents, whose parents were also alcoholics.. wouldn’t alcoholism definitely be your culture? I think sometimes people think of these kids living in a happy tribe, dancing around half naked, and us greedy Americans thinking its not good enough lets bring them into “society”.   But in truth.  I hope that you can take the time to google African orphanages, and do a little research on the “culture”.  True, however, that there is a bit of a culture shock,  and transitions aren’t always easy.  But neither is dropping your child off at school for the first time.  Both terrifying, but both something that needs to be done.

How are you going to afford all of this?

Quit going to Starbucks?!  No seriously.. I am trying.   My husband and I don’t have much money financially.   We’re typically living paycheck to paycheck.  But the Lord loves him some orphans I tell you!   I seriously, have not “struggled” once during this time to get money together for the funds needed for the adoption.   I’m not saying there wont be struggles, and tests of faith.  We will soon have to pay well over $7000.00 for our next payment.  I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to get that kind of money.  Because I can assure you its not sitting in my bank account right now.  But I can rest assured that this is something the Lord wants me to do, and he has already proven to me that he will provide what I need to make this happen.  So I am prayerfully trying not to lose faith.  And I am constantly amazed at how amazing, awesome, and astounding He is.

Does/will your family and friends accept this child?

I can’t answer for the hearts of my family.  I can say that we have been met with some pretty hurtful resistance.  But we’re not letting that keep us.  Our God is an awesome God.  He called us to do this and broke our hearts for the orphans.  He’s certainly capable of doing the same for them.   The Lord didn’t ask us to obey our friends and family and do what we can to make them happy.  He’s told us to be good people, and to love them no matter what.  But our purpose is to obey Him, and do what makes Him happy.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:27

That bible verse speaks volumes to me.  “refusing to let the world corrupt you”.  Amen!

We have been blessed with other family and friends who have supported us abundantly through all of this.   I cannot thank them enough.

Are you afraid you may not love them as much as your own children?

First of all, he/she is my own child.  Secondly, I think this very thought crosses any mothers mind.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I wondered if I would ever love him as much as my dogs.  I know!  But really, really love my dogs.  Guess what?  I still love my dogs, but I do have to say I love the kids more!  Um..  bad example huh?  Okay, so when I was pregnant with Laney, I had no idea how I could love another child as much as Ben.  And as it turns out.  I don’t.  I love them equally, and differently.  And I feel silly for ever thinking that my heart would only close off after my amazing Ben.  But silly, spitfire Laney made sure that, that wasn’t going to happen. I’ve talked about this question on here before, but there’s no harm in repeating what I’ve said before.   The Lord has asked me, and taught me, and made my heart capable of endless love.  Unconditional love.  It’s a powerful weapon against the enemy who loathes adoption.  A weapon I plan on slingin’ the entire time!

I leave you with a great song from Casting Crowns.  Very motivational!

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Holla!

I know its been FOR-EV-ER since I’ve posted on here.  I think about it all the time.  Heck, I even have a bazillion “drafts” that never saw the light of day.

I wanted to post an update on how the garage sale went.   It was awesome!  We sold more on the first day (Friday), and sold TONS of clothes which normally isn’t a big seller.  But apparently having your husband bring home a giant 80lbs slab of wood and hoisting it up on two plastic saw horses, and piling the clothes, all sizes, genders, and styles all in one giant pile, makes said clothes more appealing.   Its like digging for gold.

My sister donated huge ticket items, and my friend Joelle donated a TON of baby items.  Nice ones.. and Nicole donated clothes and a bunch of great miscellaneous stuff.  (BTW Nicole, if you read this blog at all, or come over and happen to see a mini old school metal bicycle that you donated sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets.. I did try to sell it by putting it in a laundry basket off to the side covered in trash bags.  But it just didn’t sell so it managed to find its way into my house.

Jacquetta donated a ton of her sons toys and lets not forget, her time.   I felt so bad because we agreed to start setting up at 5am the first day, and I forgot to set my alarm clock, and was awoken to my husband saying, “I think Jacquetta’s outside”.  And there she was.  Sorting what she could in the dark.    She stayed outside with me all day.  In the heat.  The high was like 102 I think.    THEN Saturday rolls around and I’m all sorts of sick, its 105 outside and there she is.  My warrior.  Selling things like crazy while I excuse myself every 5 minutes.  I’m not sure how I lucked out with a friend like her.  But I did!  Thank you Jacquetta for ALL of your hard work and generosity.

And thank you ladies for your donations, without them, there is NO WAY I could have made $830+ !!!!!!!!!!!!  SOO excited about that number.  We still have a ton of stuff left over- big ticket items such as furniture and a vehicle.

I realize I started this process with so much optimism.  I just knew the money would get here.  And I just knew this was the right thing.  Well, I can’t lie.  I’ve had my doubts.  For a while I even doubted if overseas was where we were being called.  Then I wondering if Uganda was where we were needed.  And then I questioned if we would ever get the $7700 that’s due with the next step.

I do know now, that local adoption isn’t in our cards right now.  It just never felt like.. “this is it”.  Uganda.. still feels right, but I’m praying that will be adoption #2.  I can’t believe I ever questioned on if that would even be a possibility.  Because for a while, adoption #1 was out of the question with Paul.  And the Lord softened his heart.  He moved a mountain, and here we are.  My wonderfully amazing husband is the one keeping me on top of things.  So I now know that if God wants us to have more than 3 children, He’s gonna make it happen!    I felt immense guilt “giving up” on our child in Ethiopia.  Well, that’s what it felt like anyway.  And after days and hours of prayer.  I know this is where HE wants us right now.  THIS is where we’re needed.  And I will NOT give up on our little one ever again.   The wait time is daunting, the money is daunting.  But EVERY SINGLE TIME I’ve needed to make some sort of payment, the Lord has provided.  I need to stop doubting and start realizing and remembering that HE backs up his investments 110%!

And now I leave y’all with a picture of a Gorilla and a $800 sign.  I realize that it has a “B” in it as well, but I’d like to think of him as saying, ” Yo!  $800 dollas B.  Fo Realz”

Mammoth Garage Sale!

Paul is taking off work on Thursday, the grand parents are keeping the kids, and we are making a mad-sweep of the house and getting rid of everything.  Well.  Not EVERYTHING, but lots and lots of  junk  beautiful, wonderful, what-a-treasure-to-own stuff!

One of my dearest friends Jacquetta is going to be helping and hopefully we can have the boys together and they can do a little lemonaide stand as well.  We’ll see how that goes first.  But what a blessing that we have a friend who would actually want to come help organize our stuff and sit in the hot sun with me while we try to sell it!  If there is one thing you can say about Jacquetta, it’s definitely that she has THE most giving heart.  I’m pretty sure if I had to sell my car she’d let me  use hers without hesitation and then wake up extra early so she could get her son to daycare and carpool with her husband.  Luckily, I don’t have to sell my car.  Come to think of it, maybe she’ll loan me the 30k I need for the adoption…..

I’m pretty excited to A. Raise some money so we can get our munchkin home!  and B.  To de-clutter our house.  But Mostly A.  I cannot wait to meet this little person.  I know it sounds crazy, but I already love him/her.  I think about munchkin every day, a million times a day.   Ben asks about his baby brother or sister, or asks to pray about him/her.  It’s expanded and warmed my heart beyond what I could have imagined.  I am so honored that HE picked us.  That He found us worthy of adoption and loving on one of His lost and precious babies!  I will do everything I can to make Him proud!

I’ve only ever made like $200 on garages sales before so I have NO idea how much we’ll make for this one.  I’d be happy with $200 again.  Whatever gets us closer to bringing our son/daughter home would be amazing.

 

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

Colossians 1:10 NLT

Breakin’ in

A while ago I locked our filing cabinet because Laney was able to get in it and eat remove some papers.   Paul, decided it would be a great idea to tape it closed.  This was a great idea.  Until I needed to get into it.  Which really never happens but hey, adoption will make you  do some crazy things.  So I cut into the tape got what I needed and decided that I should just lock it and not have to worry about re-taping it.  Then I decided I’d put the keys somewhere, where we’d be able to find them.  Some place I would definitely remember.

Weeeelllll… I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I don’t have ANY idea where those darn keys are!   I’ve racked my brain trying to think of where I would think a safe and memorable place would be.

After many frustrating, days Paul finally broke into the filing cabinet.

 

I’m not sure how.  But I’m sure it involved some of those many muscles of his.  My man is hot.

(Disclaimer- this is not my man)

We have all our records that we need except for Pauls birth certificate.  We’ll have to send for one on Friday.  But this paperwork will be done and mailed by Monday!!!

And on a completely different and unrelated side note… is this real?

I found it in my google search for the pictures above.  I’m holding on to this monstrosity gem forever.  Infact.  Consider it my screen saver.

I never thought…

…Paperwork could be this challenging! I think I can say that I’ve given this adoption process a LOT of thought. Lots. and Lots and Lots.. and you get the point. So I can honestly say, that despite how some may feel, this is not an impulsive move on my part. I can assure you that. I haven’t been blissfully naive that it would all go well. I- however. Can say that I was blissfully optimistic and probably a little naive thinking I would whiz through the paperwork no problem. And I would have it done before I had enough money to pay for the home study. I. Was. Wrong. There is currently $$$$ lots o’ money in my savings account. Waiting. Waiting for me to get this DONE! I am really terrible at this paperwork stuff I tell you. I have somehow gotten under Gods good graces and have been blessed with an amazing husband who as of right now, is trying to decipher the jumbled stack of papers that I have filled out, and right what I have wronged. I love that man. And for some reason. He loves me.

We should be done shortly though, we both just need our physicals. I don’t have a regular doctor. I’m not good about going. No particular fears of phobias. I don’t mind shots or needles.. I just don’t go. But I think this occasion is important enough to make a little call and get in somewhere!

So anyway- I leave you with this awesome video. Seriously. Its amazing.

Behind Enemy Lines

I remember reading somewhere about someone talking about how the enemy hates adoption. I definitely believe this. I think he creeps into the hearts of our friends, family, and even strangers and attacks us. As cheesy as it may sound, we are battling a spiritual warfare. I don’t expect everyone to understand why I want to adopt, or even for them to want to adopt themselves. I certainly don’t judge people who don’t have it in their hearts to do so. Its not for everyone. I wish it were. But its not. And I can deal.
What I do expect is for people to respect our decision. I think we’ve felt really attacked lately and as frustrating as it is, it will not defeat us. We have been called. And we’re going to answer that call.

I think a lot of concern we’ve heard is about the actual child. Will he/she have emotional issues. Will he/she have mental or physical delays? I remember reading a question on a questionnaire that we have to fill out for the agency asking what we will do if our child is teased about his/her different race.

Well my answer is- I don’t know. Although they do have all the medical testing needed, they cannot guarantee that our child will be a happy healthy upstanding brilliant surgeon. Can you guarantee the same for your child? If they aren’t completely healthy and well adjusted, would you love them less? Would you give up on them? I can almost guarantee though that they will probably be teased. I definitely was as an Asian kid. And so will your kid- no matter how thin, pretty, perfect, and smart they are. Someone will make their life miserable. Its how it works. Its what we have to deal with. It’s what we use to grow, to become better people. And hopefully we can teach our children that there are better ways to treat other people. I pray that my child whomever God has chosen from us doesn’t have to deal with too much resistance from our peers. But if they do. I hope they know that Paul and I are here. And we love them, UNCONDITIONALLY and we will do so no matter what struggles they have. We will love them the same as our birth children. Because to us, they are our children.

“But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Matthew 5:39 ESV


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, …”

Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV