Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 183


I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

I'm pickin up good vibrations
She's giving me excitations
I'm pickin up good vibrations

Close my eyes
Shes somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

I could totally be a hippie. Everyone was laughing at my "day 2" outfit and wondering where I keep pulling the clothes from. You know what's funny? Today and tomorrow's outfits came straight from my closet! I must be a love child at heart.

Make Love, Not War. Yup, totally down with the 60's.

Tomorrow it's disco fever....You won't be disappointed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 182

So...have I mentioned how much fun working at a college is? This week is homecoming and with it comes all the spirit festivities! The College is celebrating its 50th anniversary, so each day this week represents a different decade. Today, 1950's. Thought you might like to share in the fun.

Don't you totally love the bouffant?

I've had a lot of fun putting my outfits together for the week! I am so thankful for the distraction. Some days it feels like I'm going to die "waiting," it's nice to have something else to occupy my mind! Stay tuned for 1960's...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 178

My friend sent me a link to this article, "What NOT to say to a pre-adoptive parent":
Click Here for the Article

I know it's something all of us, adopting, can relate to! I find Kathy's story inspiring and encouraging. She's also here in bloggy world, if you want to check her out: Bring Anya Home.

While I'm sending you all over town, in your reading, please go give some love to a new friend: Pear Dream.

I've been meaning to send everyone over there for awhile, but still haven't! She is at a crossroads right now and deciding how to move forward (continue infertility treatments vs. moving on to adoption). So far, I'm the only one commenting on her blogs and I'd love to share my bloggy friends with her. Check out her story!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 175

I heart adventures.

I'm always up for a challenge; I love making memories; I love serving God outside the box. So...when I was asked to chaperone a "Shack-a-Thon" event, at the college I work at, I jumped in without fully knowing what I was committing to.

The premise? Live in a hand-built shack for 3 [very cold] nights with minimal food, the clothes on your back, minus all luxuries of home. Sound Crazy? It was! All the money raised went to a local organization that helps heat low-income family homes.

I have yet to process all that I experienced, but here are the highlights...

The Hilton of all Shacks

My Shack Mate, Kara (talk about co-worker bonding....)

I endorsed the back of the shack with one of my favorite life mantras. Jesus did it, I strive to.

There's a reason so many can be found sleeping on park benches. The nights are so cold, sleep is minimal, but enjoyed in the day's warmth. (BTW "warm" becomes relative. It was 51 degrees here).

I had the privilege of spending time with our students. I love them! My life goal is to live love out-poured and multiply the Jesus in me into the next team of Elishas.

We served at a local organization, sorting hundreds [and I mean hundreds!] of winter coats. We arrived at 10:30, in the morning and the coat line was already forming (they weren't being handed out until 2:30pm). Sadly, families were turned away when the coats ran out...

We went to a down-town, Detroit park and served over 200 meals to homeless and low-income families. My job? Love on the people. I didn't preach, I didn't pray, I just loved.

About halfway through the day I found myself surrounded by a group of black women. I held one of their newborn babies, while the mama ate her meal. I told her that I, too, was going to be a mom and asked for advice. It was amazing how one small question opened the door to the hearts of an entire group of women. Women who had lived harder lives than I could ever imagine. We laughed and shared for over an hour, teasing one another over childhood nicknames and encouraging each other's future dreams. I couldn't help but thank God in my heart. There I was, whitey-McGee, holding a precious black newborn, encircled by black women, in a grafitti-filled community, surrounded by dilapidated and forgotten buildings. I couldn't have been more out of my element, yet I felt home. I dropped every ounce of love I had into that baby and smothered her little face with kisses. Her mother's story was difficult, her little life would probably be hard. I wasn't chosen to be her mom, but I was sent to whisper hope, love, and future. Her name was Nyla and I pray God continues to intercept her path with his people.

I touched and hugged as many people as I could. I went looking to make a difference and I left changed.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with a few more pictures and a powerful song by Casting Crowns...

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in
Trying to fade into the faces

The girls' teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching

Why aren't His hands healing

Why aren't His words teaching

And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat And quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances tells him that his chances

Are better out on the road

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching

Why aren't His hands healing

Why aren't His words teaching

And if we are the Body

Why aren't His feet going

Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come

If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching

Why aren't His hands healing

Why aren't His words teaching

And if we are the body

Why aren't His feet going

Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus is the way

I am signing off, tonight, with a thankful heart. Thankful for my hot shower, my warm bed, my Savior's love, and an enlarged world-view.

I pray that as I search my heart, asking the Lord, what more I can do, that you'll do the same.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 170

Update....or lack of....

I emailed our caseworker, yesterday, because I couldn't possibly wait another day. We are supposed to receive statistics every other month, on how many moms (if any) have looked at our profile and it's been 7 weeks and we still haven't gotten our first report. I took the opportunity to ask her about a hundred questions--questions that don't make our baby come faster, but help ease the waiting pains! Surprisingly, she emailed me right back! Here are some of the answers to my questions:

They haven't come in, yet, but should be here any day. She told me to think "conservative" because, typically, new families aren't shown the first couple of months. To this I reply....WHY NOT!?!? I paid my money and did all the necessary work! If we're not shown for two months, than why don't they put us on the list prior to our home study being finished, so that when everything is complete we can be up and running!? Part of me says, "it's okay," the other part thinks this process blows.

Christmas Baby?
I know there aren't normal predictors....but, I asked anyway! I asked if we should expect things to slow down during the holidays and wait for activity after the new year. She responded with, "It is very hard to predict numbers for domestic placements. But, typically, we do not see a lull through the holidays - babies come when they want to! And we see just as many placements through Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared to the rest of the year."

Abundance of Baby Boys?
September's news report came out last week (from the agency) and it followed the same pattern as June-August. 85% of the babies placed in those months were boys (domestic only)! This seems crazy to me! I asked if there was a reason for so many boys and our CW basically called it "coincidence." I'm not convinced. She said the reason for so many boys is unknown and not predictable. If a birth mother is planning an adoption, the gender of her child doesn't usually affect her decision. That just doesn't seem normal. Either there is an abundance of boys being populated or b.moms have a really hard time parting with baby girls....Ben is convinced we're going to have a boy! (which is more than okay with me, but I do have the MOST adorable girl's name ready....can't we just have twins?)

Why does adoption seem to be getting harder?
When reading through the September report there was a lot of alarming news. China's program now has a minimum wait of 32 months (for a baby 10+ months) and all the European programs are currently only adopting out children about age 2. Guatemala is the only program that adopts out 6-7 month olds with a 12 month wait and the agency has closed their doors to non-Michigan residents until after January 1st, for the domestic program. I'm just curious as to what is happening? The only answer I got was that the economy and stricter border regulations have made adopting internationally a challenge. With only two months left in the year, the agency has done exactly half the adoptions they did in 2007 (in both international and domestic programs). I wonder why???? Ben blames it on the gas prices :).

That was about it, she told me I could email her anytime with questions and to be patient, positive, and stay busy (she also said she knows that's way easier to say, from her standpoint!) I know I didn't get much news, but it was enough for me to hang on to every word! It's comforting to know we haven't been forgotten...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 165

I’ve been a little absent from blog world, this week, and look forward to catching up with all your news, over the weekend. I’m in my last semester of my BBA program (THANK GOD!) and my classes are kicking my butt. Last weekend ranked as my all-time, lamest weekend ever. I literally did homework from 5:30pm on Friday until about midnight on Sunday. My only breaks were a quick dinner with Ben on Saturday and church Sunday morning! The good news is that each day we have to wait for a baby is one less day I’ll have to try to manage working full-time, school part-time, and a newborn! For that, I’m thankful.

On top of the busy-ness, I committed to speak at a women’s breakfast tomorrow morning. Ben thought I was crazy to take on one more thing…but I really felt the Holy Spirit prompting me. It’s the first time I have shared my infertility story publicly, and for that, I’m a little nervous. As most of you know, it’s an extremely private battle, difficult even to share between friends. I accepted the invitation because it feels like it’s time. I have finally reached the place of complete healing and I want to testify to what God has done!

I enjoy preaching and teaching, but I'm a writer at heart. I knew that journal excerpts were essential to telling my story, but didn’t realize how emotional it would be to read through them! Much of my week was spent remembering and re-living the struggle through my own words. What struck me most was my progression. The early days were light and hopeful, full of whimsical dreams and baby ponderings. They slowly morphed into a dark cloud of heaviness that was suffocating to read through. I didn’t start this blog until I had made a good dent in my emotional journey. Often people comment on how positive I am…and strong. It couldn’t be further from the truth. My 2007 journals are too frightening to share, they’re so dark. It just so happens that you all caught me walking the upside of the valley!

I am so thankful for God’s grace, today. Thankful that he didn’t knock me dead from my irreverent anger and onslaught of questioning. My topic tomorrow embodies my journey from abandonment to grace. I’m excited to share it, but not sure how I’ll hold up through it.

Here are a couple excerpts that I’ll be sharing that really moved me (and I thought many of you could relate to)…

December 2007
[One day, after months of turmoil and heaviness, I finally got breakthrough…It was the dead of winter. I threw on my coat and boots and stormed outside. I roughly commanded the Lord for his attention. I ran down the street and refused to come back until we had resolved things. I went round and round in circles that night and later wrote]:

Lord! My emotions are running in every way—I’m angry, but don’t feel entitled; I’m overwhelmed, but know you will provide; heartbroken, but don’t feel allowed…I can’t say “Where are you?” because I know you’re here. I can’t say, “Why aren’t you speaking to me?” because I’m probably not listening. All I can say is, “I need you.” I need you right now more than I have ever needed you before…

January 2008
[My first step to healing]
Today, I had a vision in worship. I was remembering a story in 2 Kings 4 about Elisha and the Shunamite woman’s son. She, too, was infertile. She shows Elisha kindness and in return he tells her to expect a son, that time, next year. She in fact has a boy, and years later he dies in her arms, after complaining of a headache. She rushes to Elisha and says, “I told you not to get my hopes up. My son is now dead!” Elisha walks into the room, closes the door, and lies on top of the boy. The Bible says, he laid “mouth-to-mouth, eyes-to-eyes, hands-to-hands,” and the boy’s body warmed to life.

This morning I was standing in worship. The Lord and I were embracing, the same way I would hold on to Ben…We had actual heart-shaped hearts and they were squeezed together so tight, they were nearly exploding. I heard the Lord say, “My peace is your peace. My joy is your joy. My life is your life. My promises your promises… And just like that, “Mouth-to-mouth, eyes-to-eyes, hands-to-hands,” he gave me breath to go on.

I know some of you are still working your way through the dark place. Take your time, know that it's okay to feel, let the Lord heal you, and keep pushing through.

Deuteronomy 30:3-4

“The Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 157

Waiting is for the birds!

Day 157...are you kidding me? How many more days do I have to wait? Take the 157 adoption journaling days, plus 365 days multiplied by 4, and you've got a whole lot of days--a whole lot of waiting. I am SO done waiting. Really. I've paid my dues, learned my lessons, wrote my book [okay, I'm in the process of writing my book]....what else do I need to prove?

Ben and I dated for four years, long distance, before we married. The last year or so was rough. We were done waiting. We never had a "normal" dating relationship. We were 9 hours apart for most of the four years and our time together averaged out to be about a weekend every month or so. I can't tell you how many times people threw around, "Oh...but absence makes the heart grow fonder..." Oh, yeah? Have you tried it? I mean really tried it...for years on end? Call us cynic, but we quickly modified the saying to read, "Absence makes the heart grow irritated." And it's true. I know.

And here I am, years later, in the same [albeit more difficult] boat. There came a point in our relationship (a few months before the wedding) where I physically thought my limbs were going to fly off and explode into a million pieces if I couldn't be with Ben. Maybe I dipped my toes toward the dramatic, but I couldn't wait any longer. I knew beyond a shadow, that Ben was the man God created just for me. I didn't simply want him, I needed him. There were things God was stirring in my heart that didn't come to completion until after we were married.

I feel the same way, today. Right now. In my pj's. Cuddled under the covers. It is time for me to be a mom. I know what some of you are thinking..."everyone wants to be a mom, nobody likes to wait." This is different. This is a readiness that was built into me the day I was born. It took 27 years to come to fruition, an ugly path--marked with the deepest pain I've ever known, and a complete heart shift. The readiness I feel, today, doesn't compare with the wanting of 12 months ago. God did something in me. He changed me....He changed Ben, and revealed his grace.

Maybe that all sounds like an excuse or justification, I don't know. But, I am DONE waiting. Technically, we've only been "waiting" for 1 month and 5 days [but, who's counting]; physically, mentally, and spiritually I've been waiting my entire life.

Tonight, I'm that 20 year old girl again...my heart's exploding, my head is pounding, everything in me is screaming and ready to open the next chapter. Because I KNOW. I know that God is stirring. I know that God is moving. He gave me more than any girl deserves in a mate; a marriage far beyond one I had ever seen. I have felt this earth-shake before and I know what it prequels. I am done waiting; I'm ready for the next chapter.