Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 64

A Weekend of Beautifuls

A beautiful garden. We ate the first fruit [veggies] of our labor, this weekend! We had lettuce from the garden, green beans, and sugar snap peas. We're going to have a great summer ahead, just look at all those green beans!

A beautiful rocker from my crazy beautiful sister and mama. Rachael saw my rocker-search post a few weeks ago and wanted to be the one to give it to me. While I was looking through Salvation Armys for old rockers and perusing Craigslist posts, they went out and splurged on the Cadillac of rockers! It rocks and swivels both ways and has a matching ottoman on the way. Last night and this morning I spent time rocking...dreaming and imaging of all life's possibility. I can't wait to get started on the room!

Beautiful friends. My forever friend Laura with her Maddy (and hubby) came to enjoy the fireworks with us this weekend. Listening to a two year old narrate the display of fireworks is enough to make anyone's weekend!

Beautiful family. A family of girls! Poor Andrew (little brother). From left to right: Gabrielle, Rachael (holding Nya Grace), Me, and the Queen Mum (although she TOTALLY looks like an older sister!)

A beautiful romance. Just looking at the guy melts my heart. All weekend my sister kept saying she won the baby lottery. Turns out Nya Grace is a complete angel who doesn't even own a set of lungs. I kept thinking, "You may have won the baby lottery, but hands-down, I won the husband lottery." They don't come any better than, Ben.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 61

We had the best meeting with our case worker (Jodi) on Tuesday, but I haven't had time to write about it! I have to say, I'm so thankful that we went with a Michigan-based agency (Adoption Assoiciates, Inc). I love our agency and our case worker! Compared to other blogs and stories I read, it seems like our process has been seamless, without some of the time-consuming requirements that other agencies consider mandatory. I'm so happy with our decision!

We walked into Tuesday's meeting, nervous. Neither of us had any idea what we were going to be asked, why we were meeting, or what sort of information we should have prepared. I was immediately put at ease when we walked into Jodi's "office," a cozy little room dressed with adoption photography, with a couch, overstuffed chair and old rocker. I immediately felt at home in an unfamiliar room, with an unfamiliar person. Jodi expressed her surprise at how quickly we had completed our requirements. I smiled to myself, thinking, "What? We weren't suppose to complete everything in a a week? Doesn't everyone do that?" Knowing full well people take months to complete their profile. Jodi said most couples don't even start their profile until after they've met with her at least one time. We walked into the meeting completely done with everything! Because we're uber-efficient, our home study will be complete by the end of July and we should be on the waiting list shortly thereafter! Jodi said she would do her best to work on our home study write up as we go along, this month, so that she can make us official in a short amount of time after the final portion. How exciting! My dream of mama before Christmas could still happen!

Jodi was able to offer encouragement in some of the areas that have caused me worry. She pretty much told us that our chances of being placed with a Caucasian baby are 1 in a million. My astute, mathematical husband later corrected the statement (in the Jeep) due to agency statistics (chances could never be 1 in a million unless there were actually 1 million families). We were told that there are few families that are as open to racial selection as we are and that we should expect to be placed quickly. [How exciting!!!]

We talked about concerns we may have as a trans-racial family and issues we might face with friends and family. Jodi shared her own story with us (she has adopted two Guatemalan babies) and some of the issues she's faced. She asked us how we were prepared to share our child's adoption story with them. Beyond knowing that we want to be as open as possible from an early age, we hadn't given thought to specifics. She shared a really sweet and heartwarming story of her first son. that I couldn't wait to share with you!

Jodi and her husband took the stand that if they started talking about baby's adoption from day 1, they would get enough practice in by the time the child was old enough to ask questions (when the story really matters). She said every night she would tell baby, "Mommy and Daddy prayed a long time for you, do you know that? We loved you so much we traveled all the way to Guatemala to get you. Mama Melinda loved you so much, but wasn't able to feed you, so she let us bring you home so you could live a long healthy life." They lived next to an airport and Jodi would point to the sky and say, "Look, baby, Mommy and Daddy took an airplane just like that one to go to Guatemala." She said by the time baby was 1 he would ask "Mama plane" he wanted to hear the plane story every night before he went to bed. Jodi said his adoption story was celebrated; an every-day part of their lives, and baby was fascinated by it. One day they were at the park (baby was 2 1/2) and a nearby mom said, "You must look just like your daddy!" [why do so many people feel the need to ask this question?] Baby looked up at the mom and exclaimed, "I'm a Guatemalan baby!" Baby proceeded to tell his story, "Mama and Daddy loved me so much they went all the way to Guatemala to get me. Even when I was in Mama Melinda's belly they prayed for me..." Jodi said she about fell to the ground. She had never heard him talk about his story and at 2 1/2 didn't realize he understood so much of it. Her heart swelled at her son's secure, confident identity. This same scenario has played out multiple times through his short 5 years.

I LOVE that story. What a beautiful picture! On the ride home, I told Ben my response to the "He must look like his daddy," question is going to be, "Indeed he does. In fact, he is a spittin' image. A true reflection of his heavenly Father."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 60

Little Nya Grace

Ben and I went to the hospital again last night to celebrate with Rachael (sister) and Jason. And, of course, to kiss on that beautiful little baby. I am a proud Auntie that has been taken in by her sweet little dimples. On our way home I told Ben, there is not a doubt in my mind that my heart will forever be anchored to our baby the moment we touch. If I can feel such undying affection for the babies of my closest friends and family, how much more love will be poured out on my own?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 59

Yesterday, was a difficult day. My sister had the most beautiful, and I mean beautiful, baby girl. Nya Grace. I had the privilege of holding my sister's hand and encouraging her through the process. Moms are seriously superheroes. Really, I mean it. Strap on a cape and they can pretty much do it all. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I have had the opportunity to see not one...not two...but three live births! Each one has left me in awe and wonder. It is absolutely incredible. There aren't even the words to describe it.

After I got married, my girlfriends and I had a joke. I was always the bride never the bridesmaid. We thought ourselves clever for that one! In part, my "bride" syndrome came from age. Ben and I were only 20 and 22 when we got married and it took a few years for my closest girlfriends to catch-up! [side note: Laura gets favorite friend award because when the time came she's the only one who actually let me stand in her wedding, of all my friends! If my sisters are reading this, know that I expect to be in yours...I have lots of good "bridesmaid" years left!]

Anyway...back to yesterday being a hard day. Our coined phrase quickly came to mind. First with a smile, then followed by tears. Always a bride never a bridesmaid. Always a birth "friend" never a birth "mom." Not an easy concept to swallow...even after all these years. It's hard to express my feelings because they're so conflicting. It wasn't being in the room that was difficult...that part was amazing. It wasn't holding her hand, or wiping her tears. It wasn't the cry of precious life or the sweet daddy/baby moments. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't even the fact that she could conceive and I cannot. It was the simplicity and assuredness of the moment that smacked me in the face. My sister had sex. Got pregnant. Never planned a thing. Had a baby. Easy...simple...pure. Now don't misinterpret my emotions. I KNOW how difficult actually having that baby is. I have seen the pain, heard the cries, and watched the exhaustion. I'm talking about the ease of the process. No hiccups. No risk. No wondering if this baby will actually go home with you. No waiting. No heartache. Yet, my expectant journey if full of all the above.

You know how there's certain things in life you were born to do?

I was born to worship God. Born to write. Born to make a difference. Born to be a mom. I am sure in those things; confident. They run through my blood like a part of my DNA and no one can ever take them from me. I was not, however, born to have a baby. (Right now every person who thought/said "don't say that" or "don't lose faith" or "that's not true!" take it back. Really, take it back. Take back what you think is the right or godly response and hear my heart.) I don't think I was meant to have babies. As in birthing them.

I first witnessed the birth of one my closest girlfriends, Laura, [man she really gets the kudos, wedding and birth!). After Maddy plopped her way into the world, with all sincerity I looked at Laura and said, "Will you have all my babies? There's no way I can do this." And I meant it! Watching my sister, last night, the same sentiment came to mind. These fantastic, heroic women, have a strength that I do not posses. I am in awe of God's handiwork at large. I really don't think I was born for childbirth. Truly. I'm not speaking from insecurity or fear or lack of confidence. I just don't feel born to do it. I don't. There's no part of me that even WANTS to do it. For years we went the infertility route because I wanted a baby and that seemed the easiest method. I'm loving life now, knowing that I get to skip over that whole process!

I've read several books that expressed the ache and heartache of adoptive moms that long to carry their own babies. I don't feel it. I've talked to women who have had a difficult time meeting with their birth mom because they are jealous of their ability. I don't understand it. I've heard stories of women that live life torn even with their adopted child. I won't. Those that know me best would agree, I am in confident in everything I do. My confidence comes from knowing who I am in Christ, and walking in it. I am confident in my role as adoptive mother and I am confident that this is the path God has for us. I am secure in my ability and honored to be given such a gift.

We were all born for some things. And maybe not born for others. The balance comes from embracing our talents and not chasing others.

I know I was a little scattered-brained in writing, but there's so many emotions running through my heart, I'm just trying to make sense of them. When my head hit the pillow last night I wanted to cry with exhaustion, but sleep won. Today, is a new day. Jason and Rachael's, Nya Grace, is God's gift to our family today. Ours is a gift to come.

[I'll post a picture when I can!]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 56

My weekend task list included cleaning out all the storage closets in the basement (hours of work) so that I could move the furniture and items in the guest bedroom into those that we could start making room for baby. Ben had Friday off and I told him he should get all the "fun" out of his system and prepare for a day of work all day Saturday. Well, he sweet talked his way into going trail riding on Saturday morning, but promised to help upon his return. Sounds fair, right? WRONG. 20 minutes into his ride he hit a root, flew over the handlebars, landed on a rock, and busted his shoulder. 30 minutes later we were sitting in the ER waiting for the verdict. Clavicle. Broken. That's just great, I thought. I'm a compassionate person, I really am, but I have taken my husband to the hospital and ER more times than I can count. Lord, why me? Why my husband? Why on THIS day?

I know it probably doesn't seem like a big deal, but my weekly schedule is jam packed between working full time, attending school part time, doing the books for our Church, and fitting homework in when I can. This weekend was one of those free weekends with no plans and no homework. I LOVE those weekends and do my best to capitalize on my productivity. That being said, you can imagine my disappointment. Just so you don't think I'm completely hard-hearted, I immediately put on my nurse "hat" and have been waiting on my husband hand and foot. The weekend didn't go quite as planned...but when has my life EVER gone according to plan? Needless to say, my husband proved completely useless this weekend, but I still managed to complete half the project! Better luck next weekend!

[And for all those sensitive type, Ben is doing okay. He's hiked up on Vicodin and Tylenol. It's pretty painful for him to move so he's trying his best to remain still. In 2 weeks he should be living relatively comfortable, minus some stiffness. Full recovery won't happen for about 8].

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 54

I sent our case worker our profile for feedback/approval because I'm uber-proficient and couldn't wait until our meeting on Tuesday. Here was her emailed response back:

Ben and Rebekah -
This is simply a marvelous profile! The wording, the pictures, the layout, choice of content....

I love the way you have described each other with just words upon words...

It feels great to have so much affirmation. We're now good to go, I'm sending it to the printer, this weekend. Yah!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 53

The theme has been decided....Moo la la. Sophisticated Cow it is! I had fun picking out all the fabric for the baby, today! As sad as it is to prepare a gender neutral room, I love celery green, and already had purchased some fabric a few years ago. I'm still not sure how I'll paint, but feast your eyes on the pre-masterpieces below:

In a matter of a few months they will be quilted into a beautiful baby bedroom set...all for $30!!! You can't tell in the picture but all fabrics are perfect for cuddling baby. They are warm flannels and cozy chenille's. I can't wait to get started! If our baby is a girl, shocking hot pink will be the accent with hot pink taffeta curtains. If it's a boy, I'll stick with onyx--less baby more manly. The current guest room below is soon to be baby's room!!!

["soon" is a relative term for a student working toward a Masters with a long baby wait ahead of her!] I'm going to relish every part of the process.

Before Picture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 52

Who knew that going to the post office mailbox would become such an invigorating part of my life? We officially finished all of our paperwork, exams, and fingerprinting! I dropped our packet in the mail last night! Naturally, I went directly to the post office since their mailbox is distributed more often! [smile]

I got a kick out of the fingerprinting. Ben and I both went yesterday but at different times during the day. Let me set the scene for you. I was fingerprinted by a head-to-toe tattooed man named "Ricco" (no joke) in an older house that was a step above shady, with a sign out front advertising their #1 status in spousal surveillance. Because I'm not one to get fearful [to the point of foolishness sometimes] I got a kick out of the whole thing! Some days I would fit in better with the grunge crowd than others. Yesterday was not that day. I had on a sweet little pink sun dress with a pink cardigan sweater and pearl earrings--a far cry from rocker chic. So, I ask Ricco, "what do these fingerprints prove, anyway?" His answer? "Oh, don't worry about a thing, little miss. They don't catch any of the small stuff: possession, underage drinking, DUI, etc. Only the real hard stuff like murder." I couldn't stifle my laughs. I assured him that I would be "cool" on both accounts! Ricco then proceeded to tell me that if he ever tried adopting a kid he would be vetoed very quickly because of his dicey background and long record [comforting]. As I left, he made sure to hand me a business card just in case I ever need his services in the future!

The entire experience made my day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 50

It's hard to believe it has been 50 days. It has been quite a whirlwind and my heart is a ball of emotions. On one hand, I feel like our dream is finally becoming "real," but on the other I am nervous and concerned about the months ahead.

Let's first talk about the realness. In a very short amount of time we have finished all but our final homestudy meetings. We have successfully completed all the paperwork, evaluations, physicals, reference letters, employer letters, profiles, fingerprintings (tomorrow), adoption classes, and read most of our books. It doesn't seem so daunting to read through that list, but it was! All we have left (to my knowledge) are 3 meetings with our caseworker--one in her office, individual interviews, and then one in our home. We meet with Jodi (our caseworker) next Tuesday and have yet to set up the other appointments. I am stunned that we have made it this far. It might sound absurd, but I was expecting someone along the way to say, "you know you're not actually qualified..." or "this isn't going to work out." I was even more petrified that something was going to happen on the money end of things. That we were going to get this far and then be told "sorry, I'm not able to help you." The fact that everything has been so smooth is shocking! We have even had 3 possible birth moms come across our path in the meantime! Two didn't work out for varying reasons, but we're still waiting to hear about the third. All elements combined have made us say, "Wow! This is really happening!"

Now about the concerns. This week, I heard/read about 3 different couples that left hospitals empty handed because birth parents chose to parent their children. It seems like 2 or 3 matches is more of a norm for adopting parents, than an exception. So many people have nonchalantly asked, "So when do you get your baby." It takes me aback every time. This process is not cut and dry. There's no security or assurance...and certainly no "easy" button. The mom that is looking at us now isn't due for several months. That concerns me. The moment I heard her story my heart expanded. Love I didn't know existed, overflowed. Not just for the baby, but for the mom too. I cannot wrap my head around the idea that nothing is certain. No matter what anyone says. The "what if's" can be suffocating. Trusting God is not an easy answer, although many throw it around like it is. I do, however, know it's the ONLY answer. I have to trust God for my family. I have to trust Him that the child meant for us will come in His perfect timing, not mine, not anyone else's.

I'm at peace knowing that we've done our part. There's nothing left to do but sit and wait.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 49

We finished our profile!!! Here's the rest of what we've come up with. Again, please give us honest feedback if you think we should revamp anything, before we send it to our caseworker. We are still working on getting two more pictures. One for Ben's section and one more vertical. Is there anything we've left out? Does our profile summarize us well?

Ben Loves . . .

…Rebekah…playing sports with friends…pizza…rocking out on guitar…making people laugh… watching movies…golfing with his dad…the smell of fresh cut grass…walking around big cities…working out…riding through the woods on a mountain bike…chess…70 degree days…ducks…soft pretzels dipped in cream cheese…recording music…his mom…football…getting a good deal…coffeehouses…road trips…driving with the windows down…suspense novels…pool volleyball…growing vegetables in the backyard…having friends over for dinner…sports in HD…ice cream…long snowmobiling weekends with the guys…buying presents for his wife…going to Comerica Park to watch the Tigers play…Magglio Ordonez…adventures…chocolate milk...loud music…live concerts…Gatorade…things that go fast…jeans and a t-shirt…king sized Paydays… Mr. Moo (his cat)…sleeping in on Saturdays…roasting his world-famous Thanksgiving turkey.

Our Faith

. It seems like such a simple word to describe what has truly defined and shaped our lives as individuals and as a married couple. We are actively involved in our church, but believe our true role is outside the church. We aim to live love poured out. Whether opening doors for a mom with her hands full or smiling a word of encouragement to the cashier with a long line of agitated shoppers, we strive to live His love out loud. Jesus was not pompous or arrogant or selfish. He did not come to be served, but to serve and we do our best to live up to the call. Worshipping our Creator comes easy as he holds our breath in His hands. We’ve had the privilege of growing up in the church and our lives have been marked by His grace and faithfulness.

Our Story

Roaring Twenties Costume Party

It has been a long journey trying to figure out what we want to be when we “grow up,” but we’re finally starting to get somewhere, as we both work toward our Master degrees. Ben is a mechanical engineer with a brilliant mind and even better people skills. He may work toward management or teaching, but he's always secretly pursuing his dream of being a rock star. Rebekah is currently working as an office manager at a local college. When her degree is completed she hopes to teach at a nearby University, as this will allow her more flexibility in raising a family. Rebekah also loves to write and is hopeful that she will be a published author someday. We chose adoption after years of struggling with infertility. The years were marked with gut-wrenching heartache as our desire to be “mom” and “dad” remained unfulfilled. The adoption process has renewed our hope as we excitedly wait for God’s perfect timing. We’re not sure what the rest of life holds for us, but at 26 and 28, we enjoy each day as it comes. Our dreams include raising a family and traveling the world. We have yet to travel globally, but have enjoyed both sides of the coast, nationally. We have a major love affair with big cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, and Toronto, but also enjoy God's landscapes. From Floridian beaches to the red rocks of Sedona, we love finding new vacation spots.

It’s difficult to throw our life on paper and to express just how much the gift of a child will mean to us.
We have an incredible marriage, wonderful families, and even better friends. A couple of years ago, Ben’s grandparents took all the grandchildren out for an amazing steak dinner. Before we ate, Grandpa called everyone’s attention and looked down both sides of the table. With arms spread wide, he said, “I have worked my whole life for this…” The gesture brought tears to our eyes as we understood his meaning. He had poured his life into his children, who then multiplied his love into their children. We hope to carry on the same amazing legacy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Day 43

Okay, we're finally getting somewhere on the profile! I've picked our layout, now I just have to finish all the writing! We're taking a little more creative approach and are ditching some of the traditional methods that others use (but are still confined to the layout). So here's what we have so far. Please give us honest feedback. If you don't think a picture is good, or if something doesn't make sense...or you think it might look negative PLEASE let us know. We've been over the few paragraphs we've deemed "finished" several times, but our opinion is a little bias. Here's what the front cover will look like (we are able to use cooler fonts than blogspot has available!):

Ben and Rebekah

"You have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes."
Song of Solomon 4:9

If we had to explain our life in two words, we would choose passionate and genuine. We embrace life, cherish family, and relish our friends. We've been married for 6 years…together for 10 (we were high school sweethearts!) and still feel like newlyweds. Our life is marked by passion and we have learned to serve one another in everything that we do. Our secret is pretty simple: we love each other more than we love ourselves and we choose to view each other through the eyes of God. We are quick to forgive, easy to please, and willing to see the best in one other. Although we've experienced struggle, marriage has always come easy and because we married right from college, all our life experiences have been together--from making pot roast dinner to buying our first home. We enjoy mundane chores like laundry and grocery shopping by adding elements of fun. (We often can be found sword-fighting in the aisles or racing carts in the parking lot!). We are laid back, energetic people that work hard and love life.

Inside the folder, Ben and I will each have a section. Mine will read "Rebekah Loves..." and Ben's "Ben Loves..." Ben is still working on his, but here's mine (It looks cooler laid out on the profile, but I'm limited here on blogger!):

Rebekah Loves...

…that her girlfriends are few, but forever...curling up with a good book on a snowy afternoon…nibbling on dark chocolate...writing…eating fajitas at Don Pablo’s…roller coasters…watching old Cosby re-runs…a crisp fall day…being home…slipping into clean sheets…thunderstorms…color coordinated clothes closets...Christmas…staying up all night talking with Ben...laying on a raft in the middle of the pool on a hot summer’s day...Oreos...smelling BBQ chicken on the grill…game nights with friends…quilting...getting the her house...presents... Target...getting a new hairstyle... pineapple...going on vacation... people ... having dinner parties ... learning ... reminiscing ... babies ... seeing old couples in love…gardening...walking on the fires...road trips...driving her Jeep.

This is our "Friends and Family" section:

Friends & Family

Rebekah's Family this past Thanksgiving

Family and friends play a significant role in our everyday life. We wear our “Uncle Ben and Aunt B (for Bekah)” titles proudly. We have three “nieces” by way of our best friends and will soon add a fourth when Rebekah’s sister has her baby—she is due any day now! We both have fairly large families with multiple siblings. Family gatherings are loud with lots of food and laughter! We are lucky to have Ben’s parents nearby and enjoy getting together for family dinners. Most of our family and friends live close, some even within walking distance, which is great for bike rides and quick walks to the ice cream parlor.

We have three sections to complete--Ben's section, "Our Faith", and then one more large section (300 words)--that section will hold our jobs, education, future plans, reasons for adopting, and whatever else we come up with...

So what do you think???

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 42

Ben and I celebrate our 6th anniversary today!!! I can't believe it. Time goes so fast. Six years ago, today, I was standing in the back of a small room, left with only my thoughts and a small flower girl poking out from behind my dress. The bridal party was lined up at a different location in the church. I remember it like was cool and quiet, for some reason the lights were mostly dim, and I prayed, "Lord, thank you for this man. You brought him into my life when I needed him most. Through Ben, you've given me protection and encouragement and family. It has always been just you and me. Today, you're ushering me down the aisle in your grace and we're letting someone else in on the secret. The secret romance. Lord, don't ever let me forget this moment. This day." And he hasn't. I think about our quiet conversation in the moments leading up to the doors opening our future.

We reminisced today, over breakfast. God has been so good. Our marriage is the best, our foundation solid, our love not our own. There's no way we can keep what we've been given to ourselves. It's time to pass on the legacy. How cool that God alone will choose who receives such a gift. My heart overflows.

[Ben's love song to me]
Take my breath away
I waited so long for this day

Today, is the day
That two become one
Today is the day
We ride off in the sun

We've been through so much
We've waited for so long
Now our dream is today
And our life has just begun

So, take my hand and we'll run
And we'll dance together
I don't care where we go
'Cause I'll be with you forever

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 41

Question of the week:
[Asked during my physical this morning from a medical professional]

So did you pick your baby yet?

Um....Well first of all we're not going to the meat market. I didn't say that! ::smile:: I actually smiled politely and explained that once we finished our assigned work we would be waiting for the mom to pick us. I started to take offense, but then quickly reminded myself that I am immersed in this process and that most people know very little about adoption or how it works, and what they do know is based on media projection (not always an accurate view). I did get a smile nonetheless!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 37

Okay, new idea for the baby's room. I am now going to line the walls with adoption paperwork; a "clerical" motif if you will. I think I like it.

We had our second class tonight "Adoption Awareness." It's actually supposed to be the first class (before Trans-Racial Families) but I didn't want to wait a month to take them in order, so we did a little flip flop. Tonight's meeting was SO informative, answered all the questions I had, and gave us a really good idea of what the next several months of our lives are going to look like. It's hard to describe what I'm feeling. Excited, of course. Overwhelmed, not really. Surreal, definitely.

In the car, Ben said to me, "It just doesn't feel real. There are so many hoops and roadblocks, it doesn't seem like it will actually happen." I completely agree. Back to what I wrote a couple weeks ago, part of me is preparing for disappointment--it's all I've known in the "baby" department. Nonetheless, we're going to press forward, one step at a time. The only problem, for those that don't know me well, is that my mind (once made up) only has one function: turbo. I am the sort of student who gets assigned homework and immediately wants to go home and do all of it before I go to bed! I'm displaying serious restraint right now in not cracking open "THE" binder that holds all our paperwork and assignments. Before you think me a dedicated blogger, know that I am only issuing restraint because if I were to open the said binder right now I would spend the next 48 hours completing every step in the adoption process, without fail. While that may be uber-efficient, I am not currently able to sacrifice all sleep, food, and other social responsibilities--school, work, Ben, etc. I'll have to wait until the weekend when I can afford the extra indulgence.

Stay tuned, there's definitely lots of information to discuss and decisions we'll need to make in the very near future. Please continue to pray for all parties involved. There are several disheartening and scary pieces to the puzzle, but I'm going to let God handle those, while I gear up for that binder.

Day 36

Thoughts from our “Trans-racial Families” meeting last night:

I never heard Ben complain (not even once!) about missing the Red Wings Game. He's the best. (I'm secretly thankful they didn't take the Cup last night because I want him to be able to enjoy the victory).

The meeting. As we pull into the parking lot we see several young couples making their way into the building. My ever witty husband started breaking down a game-plan "Okay. See our competition. Know our competition. Don't make friends. Winner takes baby." As it turned out, a majority of the class was adopting internationally, so naturally we won. (smile). It was exciting to talk to so many families that were in our situation, most of them also struggled with infertility.

A couple things struck me. When adopting trans-racially, simply loving a child is not enough. Education is extremely important on a variety of levels. Here are a couple of questions that we were asked:

1) How will you answer your child when asked why you chose adoption?
Before we could answer the instructor said, "Most people have selfish answers to this question. If you're choosing adoption to meet your need of wanting to parent or love, you may not be ready for adoption. Adoption should always be about the child and that's who we are here advocating." We then heard from an adopted child (who seemed to have some angst) that really resonated with me. She spoke of what it felt like to be "plan B." She had nothing but love for her adopted parents and praised them for the life she had been given, yet she went through life feeling 2nd rate, because after infertility, her parents chose adoption as an alternative.

2) How will you handle discrimination?
Quickly, I found myself thinking, "Well we're not prejudice and color doesn't matter..." Wrong. It does matter. People laugh and joke "innocently" or harmfully all the time. We walked through a variety of situations that never had crossed my mind, as well as listened to real life testimonies of those that have walked in our shoes. We learned about "white privilege"...another concept I'd never heard before and was shocked to realize it existed. The following ideas feed into it:
  • When I am told about our national heritage, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  • I can go into the grocery store and find food I grew up with, into a hairdresser's and find someone who can deal with my hair, and into the the drug store to find beauty products perfect for my skin.
  • I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  • If a police officer pulls me over or if the IRS audit my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
  • I can choose bandages in "flesh" color and have them match my skin.
  • I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • I can walk into a classroom and know I will not be the only member of my race.
These are only a few of a very long list of privileges. We were encouraged that although we can't completely change our lives, there are many ways we can implement cultural value so that our child does not feel isolated. There are several easy changes that can be made: choosing a diverse church and school, joining support groups and allowing our child to play with others in their race, driving further (if necessary) for diverse doctors or hair salons, and promoting cultural awareness in the lives of our friends and their children (easy to do with books, dolls, toys, etc). The overall resounding message last night was to live culturally aware, which is a great reminder whether adopting or not.

I walked away from the meeting with a stack of reading and an informed heart. I don't care what anyone says, I do believe that love conquers all. If I could only instill one quality into my child it would be confidence. When a child--or anyone for that matter--knows who they are in Christ, it doesn't matter how hard the wind blows, they will always have a sure footing. The lines of biological and adopted blur; both need confidence and Ben and I can instill it. I know we're embarking on a road less traveled, one that is sure to be marked with some difficulty, but like everything else in life we simply need to let go and let God. I am so thankful for the path we're walking. The lessons I'm learning reflect the very heartbeat of who God is.

All morning I've been singing an old Audio Adrenaline song from back in the day, "My World View." Check out the lyrics.

I want to see the world through Jesus eyes
See through Jesus Tears
I want to see the world through Jesus eyes
My visions' not as clear
I want to feel the world with the hands that made it
Know the pain and appreciate it
hear their cries and hope to understand

My world view
It's how I see the world
It's how I look at you
My world view
It's how I see the world
Would you like to see it to
My world view

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day 34

I've been a little lax on the blogging because I've had my head buried in my pillow for most of the week. I had a little bout of the good old influenza. It was pretty miserable actually, but I got a bunch of reading in. On the adoption front, we heard from our case worker, Jodi. She is actually leading our class on trans-racial families tomorrow, so we'll get to meet her and answer some preliminary questions. I will be having a little heart-to-heart with her to ask that she call my cell phone opposed to Ben's. So far all contact has been through Ben, and let's just say he isn't as detailed as I am when it comes to discussing conversations and asking questions...

We have both our classes this week. I am excited to have some interaction with the agency as well as check two more steps off our list!

In other random mind has been whirling in a thousand directions (even with congestion!) as I think about our future. Here's whats on my mind:

Randomness #1
Going "green." A little shout out to Jen's Blog (Anxiously Searching). She was singing the praises of a book called "Big Green Purse," and inspired me to purchase it. I have never been one to side with the hippie tree-huggers...but in the last several months I have been disgusted by the amount of waste that our small family (of 2!) produces. I have slowly been making changes in terms of recycling (which cut our trash in half!), using my own bags at the grocery store, buying local, changing out our light bulbs, growing our own food, etc. It has definitely been a progression, but now I'm getting hooked! I am currently trying to rid our lives of BPA and will soon be introducing more natural products into our household (starting with all beauty and cleaning products). Just so you don't think I've gone off the deep end, here's my official stance: I am not concerned with global warming. God created the earth, it won't be destroyed until God says it's time. It is however, our responsibility to take care of what we've been given. I believe that living green offers immeasurable health benefits that will echo through our lifetime. I am not jumping on every trend bandwagon, but I will be making educated decisions on what's best for our family. Many of the decisions I'm making will save us loads of money in the long run, as well as offer satisfaction in knowing that we're doing "our part." I've made three decisions thus far for our baby: cloth diapers (had to pass it by the mom-in-law because she'll be watching the baby until I'm done with my Master's. She gave us the green light and was more than happy to oblige!), glass bottles, and chemical free/natural beauty and bath products. Because we have nothing baby, the decision to start out green is easy--nothing to replace!

Randomness #2
The Nursery. I'm torn between "Cow Chic--Moo la la" and "Sophisticated Simplicity." I'm not really a baby-decor person...I have a strong aversion to cartoon characters and pastels. Ben happens to love cows so it seemed the natural choice...but I'm having second thoughts. I absolutely love our house and have worked hard over the last few years to mold it into homey, magazine-ready perfection. The house flows well and I feel like a baby-themed nursery stops the trend. Instead, I'm thinking of using a natural grass-cloth wallpaper (similar to a linen look) with dark furniture, large wall frames for the pictures to come, and earthy elements (rich/warm colors)...and then if I want to add baby elements in I can. For me this type of room would serve two purposes, 1) the door can be left open and the room will be an extension of the house and 2) when the baby is 4/5 they won't need new room decor--perhaps just a change of elements. I'm still giving the idea some thought.

Randomness #3
I saw three very pregnant women, today. It's amazing to finally feel a part of the crowd.

Randomness #4
I am madly in love with my husband...I'm talking about throw-down, I'd-give-anything-to-be-with-him-right-now, can't-take-my-eyes-off-of-him, scream from the mountain love. We celebrate six years on Sunday and I couldn't imagine a better life. After 4 years of dating I was more than ready to be with him...but when I look at him today....oh man! His heart and smarts are all fine and good...but He has been a rockstar athlete of late. He's training for an intense bike race at the end of the year; the more chiseled he looks the weaker my knees become. I am so taken I feel like the same giddy girl who kissed him for the very first time.