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Friday, September 21, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Home study Visit

That was great! It went so much better than I could have ever imagined. Apparently Dustin got all the major questions. She wrote pages and pages about his history. She asked him all about the structure of our family, etc. So many details that she never asked me.

I was amazed that it went so smoothly for me. Just a simple cut and dry history with dates, etc. Nothing real deep. I guess I was expecting more of a psycho analysis or something. I am so weird!!

Dustin wondered why she didn't get as specific with me as she did with him. I could only offer my speculations that a) He's the head of our family so she wanted o know where he stood on all the issues, b) She wanted an awareness of his involvement in child rearing since I am a SAHM, c) She gleaned so much info from interviewing him that by the time she interviewed me she had a sense of our family.

So many prayers were answered with this meeting. I have a renewed sense of confidence and I feel like a load is off my shoulders!

Tomorrow she's back to interview the two older girls and inspect our home. Then we are finished (providing we can get that darn pool letter). She informed me it would take 8-9 days to type our report and then she'd submit it to our agency. then we'd only have to wait for the courts and U.S.C.I.S to get our forms back before we can send the Dossier to the SOS (Secretary of State) once we do that it's off to DC for our Dossier!!!

We are making progress!! Slowly we are making progress. Thank you Lord!!!

Red Letters Campaign- Right this minute...

Dustin is in the other room with our social worker! I am sitting in the TV room the girls. I feel as though I could get on the phone and call a billion people right now to keep my mind occupied and from racing about what he's saying and what I will say, etc. Calling would have been far too conspicuous so here I am being a total bloggin' nerd and writing to you all!!

Can you just believe Dustin came in here and couldn't remember the name if his niece?! He's THAT nervous! He forgets things like that when he gets nervous! Once when Ally had to go to the ER he forgot her b-day and gave them Rory's middle name. I was in shock that he could do that... but I feel for him! Poor guy. I guess I need to be sitting here praying instead of typing!

Who knows what stupid stuff I am going to say? I am really prone to sticking my foot in my mouth.. if only Dustin was into blogging too, then he could come tell on me when it was my turn!

I'll update you after she leaves!! Love you all!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- HS Insanity

Everyone chuckles about it after the fact. I'm just not there yet!

Until you've lived through it I guess you just can't grasp what it feels like to prepare your home for a Home Study visit. The intense labor of love whereby an adoptive family attempts to prepare their home for inspection while entering into the insane world of obsessive compulsion, hoping to somehow make the grade as great parents just because your base boards are sparkling clean. Well, I know I am not the first perspective adoptive mother to get down on all fours and scrub my grout with a tooth brush for the sake of a a bit more confidence when our SW walks through the front door!!

This week has been one of the most insane weeks of my life and it's only Thursday! Our whole family was sick beginning last week and is still battling a viral infection this week. We thought it was strep but the tests came back negative. I was the only one who survived without getting the funk. Who-hoo! Thank goodness for small miracles, because that left me able to get all the work done I needed to finish up for the visit.

My beloved mom came over yesterday to help me finish up the finer points of cleaning I really wanted to accomplish but just couldn't seem to get around to it this week. What with our A/C unit blowing up! Yes, the irony of the A/C Contractor not being able to get his own unit fixed was not lost on my hubby who has been fighting to get our much needed parts from Tennessee (they were lost in transit and now have to be resent! Ugh!)

All this to say that I have obsessed about as much as I can take. I leave it to our SW and the Lord to work out the details. At least I know that every inch of this house is as clean as it will ever get and that I have organized and "nested" 'till my heart's content - just as I have done in preparation for all of my children.

I'll fill you all in on how our visit goes tomorrow night! Pray for us!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

red Letters Campaign- Second Home Study Meeting

Saturday we met with our social worker (SW) for our second meeting. It was relatively short and sweet. She warned us that the next one would me much more intense.

Last night I found myself thanking the Lord for her. She is definitely on our team and I can tell she wants us to succeed. That's all a person can ask for right!?

I keep thinking about this Home Study Report. How would our SW, or any person for that matter, be able to sum up all that Dustin are in one short report. How can I express to her with accuracy in the short time we have together who I feel I am as a wife, mother and a woman? Will she "get" us?

I keep wondering if the HS Report will truly reflect our hearts. I had to turn it over to the Lord last night and just trust that He will have in that report just what He wants and just what is needed. I did ask Him to bless the heck out of that report once it's finished!! That somehow whoever picks that thing up in ET will know who we are and somehow miraculously sense our hearts through the black and whiteness of a crisp sheet of paper.

Too weird!! The thought of it. Really, that someone across the world will read our life story in a report and somehow "choose" our child for us. Of course I know the Lord will direct that person, whoever they are. It's just surreal. The whole adoption process can be pretty surreal at times. Wonderful...... and surreal.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Learning Through Play

I stumbled upon the girls paying an interesting game today. The had arranged their little table in front of the entry to their bedroom. Ally was sitting behind the table with a three drawer plastic toy box on casters behind her. As I walked down the hall I could hear Ally hawking her wares. Babies! Babies! Get your babies! Babies anyone?

The older two girls came walking out of another bedroom behind me. Rory had a doll stuffed up her shirt and Rienne walked hurriedly to Ally's desk. I cut in line and said, "I'll have one of your babies."

Out of the drawer Ally pulled a baby doll and said, "Here is brother. You can have him."

Riennne immediately placed an order for a girl.

"Oh, yes. We have those." Ally replied. Then out of the drawer came a red headed Little Mermaid doll. Rienne was well pleased.

I looked at Rory and she informed me that she wasn't going to order her baby because she had one in her tummy like Auntie does.

I'll let them go on playing their game since they are having such fun, but tonight will be another good opportunity to explain a bit more about the adoption process. Seems they are doing some processing on their own. Wouldn't you think?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Red Letters Campaign- Dreams and Imaginings

It's been a current theme for those bloggers who belong to our adoption agency to write about the dreams they've had about their child/ren. I have only had two so far. I thought I would share mine with you all.

The first dream I had wasn't only about our child per se. He was definitely the star of the show but he wasn't the leading character in my dream. I don't really know who that role would go to. Let me explain the dream and you decide.........

Dustin and I arrived at the orphanage where our son was and a rush of children came to greet us. My heart began to break for them all and I distinctly remember I wanted for all of them to be going home with parents on this day too, not just our son. Our son was off in the distance and couldn't approach us because of all the kids trying to get a good look at us. My heart was yearning for him, to hold him close.

Racing through my mind the whole time was the question of what to say. How do you introduce yourself to your child -who is, as of yet, a stranger- the love of your life? I wondered how could this child understand and know all that the LORD has placed in my heart for him when I myself don't fully comprehend it? How could I express all this to him in a moment? Should I express all this to him in this moment? Would I overwhelm him? Would I smother him? Should I allow myself to get emotional or would that not be best for my son? What does he need from me the most? Calming stability or a lavish display of affection and emotion? Is it possible to do both at the same time? What would that look like? (as you can see my mind is just as jumbled and crazy in my dreams as it is in real life. I don't know if that should concerned about that or what!)

Apparently my mind couldn't come up with a satisfactory scenario that fit my liking because my dream immediately then skipped ahead in time. (I guess I really still have no clue how "the moment" will happen or how I will react when we first meet our child.) Our son was in our arms and Dustin held on to him while I hugged them both. The Orphanage Director walked forward and instantly I felt we needed to pray over him. He was a featureless man who just was. I can't remember anything physical about his appearance just his being and his presence. Much like the featureless son in our arms only I was more familiar with our son in my dream than with the Director. He felt like a stranger in my dream but our son felt like our son (if that makes any sense at all.) We prayed and prayed and blessed him and his work. I woke up praying feverently for some unknown orphanage and the director and all the children there. I prayed for them as if they actually existed and i knew them all individually yet not personally.

It was surreal. I don't know if it is actually the orphanage our son is at with an actual man or if the dream symbolizes more than the specifics of our situation. Perhaps the Lord used those pictures to call me to prayer for all his faithful serving His children. Whatever His purpose, it was an amazing dream.

My other dream is hard to share. I was sort of half awake and half asleep. I don't remember much other than our son's birth parents were suffering. I was crying and begging the Lord to end the suffering, to keep them alive and let them parent their child. I felt almost like I was stealing our son away, but I knew that they were dying. I was so angry that it had to be this way. It is good for us to adopt, I thought, but even better for the need for adoption to be eradicated all together. I was pleading with the Lord that if there be any other way for them to survive and not lose their child that it be done. It dawned on me just what it would feel like if the tables were turned and I was dying and I knew that my child would be going to a loving mom and dad. I still would not find it as desirable as living and providing for them as their mother. I woke up hysterical. I was praying through many, many, MANY tears for the birth parents and family of our son. I still haven't gotten over the sick feeling I feel at the loss that surrounds adoption for our child and his birth family. I don't know the specifics of our son's circumstances. No matter what our son will experience loss. In some ways I think I was processing how in many ways his loss is our gain. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

I guess I haven't had many dreams about the daily life of parenting of our son because I feel confident in that arena. I know what being a mommy feels like and what the practicality of the job description entails. I think that's why I haven't been dreaming of what to do with him once we get him. I have that pretty much planned. I secretly plan to smother the heck out of him by wearing him or carrying him on me constantly and probably giving him more physical contact via hugs and snuggles than he'll be able to bear. I also know that there are 4 other family members who secretly hope to be able to do the same. Hopefully he will indulge us all. If not I/we will back off.

But I hope I won't have to!! (wink, wink)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Books on Parenting

If there is one thing I can say for sure it is that I have really enjoyed the reading process in preparation for bringing our son home. All of the wonderful books on adoption and attachment have, I think, not only served to prepare us for the task of adoptive parenting, but have actually made us more well rounded parents to our bio kids. But, it's not just the books on adoption. I have been reading many different parenting books lately. As with everything I eat the meat and spit out the bones. I figure it never hurts to expand my parenting database.

As I was talking with my dear friend Brooke who has adopted one child and is fostering two more ( we're just waiting for the day that they will be adopted) she highly recommended two more books to add to my growing collection. I will be reading those soon and including my thoughts on them afterwards. For now I will be adding to this post books I have finished or am currently reading and my thoughts on them.

Parenting is definitely a journey with many twists and turns. I am glad to have resources such as books, and friends and family!

Raising Adopted Children by Lois Ruskai Melina: a general purpose book. Easy read. Not clinical but worth a read.

Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray: Includes checklists for each stage of emotional development and suggestions for promoting attachment. I highly recommend this book!

The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine by Laurie C. Miller: Comprehensive and accessible for non medical professionals (like me) I wouldn't want to be without this book!

Romancing Your Child's Heart by Monte Swan: Largely about the authors' childhood including examples of how his parents got it right. Not intended to be a guidebook but more of a conversation starter and to spark the imagination.

The First Three Years of Life by Burton L White: Confession time, I never read a book like this w/our three other kids. Now that we were bringing a child home that could possibly be delayed we really felt we would need to have a solid understanding of the age appropriate stages and development to check and monitor our son's progress against. I have only just begun to read this one so I will reserve my opinion until later.

Criticism Kills

As I have been meditating on our Memory Verses for this week (Phil 4:11-13) I have been thinking A LOT about contentment. It's an interesting thing contentment. Too much and it can turn into complacency and too little into ungratefulness. Complacency has no place for those of us who are free in Christ, and thoroughly equipped to do good works. See this and this. But how do we keep ourselves from swinging too far the other way? From becoming legalistic?

I have also been thinking about the body of the church and how we tend to sometimes have critical attitudes towards ourselves and each other. I have seen churches divide over the lamest stuff!! I mean I have witnessed the absolute tearing apart of relationships and the effectiveness of the body's witness come to a screatching hault over the most stupid things. A friend posted about one seemingly harmless aspect of worship and how funny we can all get about it. It's things like that which shouldn't be a big deal but somehow end up being that way. I guess it goes back to UNITY and sharing Christ's heart. Placing concern for your brother or sister over your own self. It;s about really taking responsibility for generating unity in your church and fighting for it! Even if it means doing serious battle with your own heart and putting your own needs and desires on the back burner. All in faith that the Lord can manage His flock better that you can!!

Last night I had to really hash things out with the Lord about legalism and how it creeps into my personal life. I can easily get drawn into perfectionism in my life and it so killer. It's a joy killer and a peace thief! I have come to see that perfectionism is a form of Godlessness and sin. It's root is pride. It is anti-faith and anti-reliance upon Jesus and all the grace afford us through the work of the cross. It tends to highlight the weakness in ourselves and others. With a mind focused on falling short how can we be focused on God's power and His grace (2 Cor 12:9)

And so, I am working on being content. Not just with my physical circumstances but my spiritual circumstances as well! Content with myself and with others. Where ever we may be in our journey with the Lord. Trusting in HIM to direct the affairs of all of our lives and relying on Him to do what he does best: Redeem His children from sin and give them Life to the fullest.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Update on Optometrist's Letter

Remember our friend the grouchy receptionist at my Optometrist's office? Well she was much nicer to me yesterday when I called. Praise God, He had mercy on me and must have caused that woman to feel some compassion for my case. The Doc said he had no trouble with writing up a letter. I was told that he is out of the office until Thurs., but that I should call then to work out the finer details of how to get that thing notarized. Will do!What a relief.

Also, in related news the we passed our city pool inspection which means yet another thing to check off the "to do" list. Yeah!!

Scripture for Memory

Dustin and I are memorizing this Scripture this week. It was funny because we had been studying this on our own and then last week Pastors Mark and Ryan used it as one of the central verses of their lesson. We figure we ought to camp out here for a while.

Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.