Friday, September 28, 2007

A Journey...not for the Faint of Heart

"We're adopting our 4th child"
"Oh really? How wonderful! China or Guatemala?"
"Ethiopia actually."
"Isn't that somewhere in Africa?"
"Yep it sure is!"
"So your daughter will be black?"
end of conversation....
I had this conversation with a fairly regular customer at the shop not too long ago. I was saddened and disappointed by her reaction, but unfortunately not surprised. I have been amazed at the "conversational double takes" that have occurred as we have told people we are adopting from Ethiopia. The best comment I have received was from a friend who hadn't learned of our plans. I told her "Ethiopia" and waited for the look of confusion that is becoming all too familiar. Much to my delight, she smiled and sighed..."Oh that gorgeous latte skin!!" Exactly...that gorgeous skin, amazing eyes, and the history of a people living in the basket of humanity. It is the country that has touched my heart, and a people I will proudly call family.

This week on The View, it was discussed that Paris Hilton wants to go to Rwanda. Sherri (Sheppard) said, “Oh, those poor babies. People used to get Chinese babies, now everyone gets African babies. It’s a Louis Vuitton bag.” Barbara said, to set the record straight, that she is not going there to adopt a baby, but to bring attention to the area so they can get more aid. So my wanting to adopt a child from Africa is similar to me going to buy a lovely (or ugly) designer purse. I think NOT! Needless to say, I believe The View has been inundated with e-mails from families adopting children, not accessories. I also hear all the time..."oh that child will be so lucky." No she will not. She will have been through a horrible and tragic loss, she will go from her mother, to perhaps 2-3 other caregivers before she comes to us. She will be uprooted from her family, her culture, and all that is familiar. I am not the ideal person to raise this child. Ideally, she should be raised in her country by her family. This will not be possible for her, and I will be her next best option. She is not the lucky one, I am. I am lucky to call her daughter and have the chance to raise her. It is an honor and a privileged to be given the opportunity to raise her. She is not an accessory...this path is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How life will change

It is very quiet here this morning. Ben is off on a date day with grandma and grandpa, the brothers are happily cocooned in front of Sat am cartoons, and I am sitting in complete peace and quiet. These moments are so few and far between. As I sit sipping coffee this morning, I can't help but think about how different life will be in just a few short months. We will have a baby here again! Wow....I am pretty comfortable in my little life right now. The boys are pretty self sufficiant (messy...but they can get their snacks and get dressed all by themselves!) My world is pretty ordered and predictable. I can not wait to have it turned upside down! I think of waking in the morning to baby smiles, laying on the floor, playing with stacking cups...having my house cluttered with "baby stuff". OH I just can't wait!

I started making a list in my head the other day of what we need to do to get ready for this little one. We have given away most of the baby gear. Toys and blankets are in abundance from the store...but there's the highchair, the exersaucer, the car seat...time to get the list of essentials figured out and start scavenging! What a fun quest!

I promised myself I would take advantage of this little oasis of solitude and realtive won't be back for a few years...but i am so glad it is just a little rest stop along the way...bring me the chaos of 4 kids! I am so ready!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things to ponder

We had an interesting discussion going on the Ethiopia Adoption Forum today. Someone posed the question..."What, if anything, do we owe Ethiopia after we bring our children home?" This question has been stirring in my soul all day.

I truly feel that we do not "owe" Ethiopia anything. Now that being said, I do feel that we owe our daughter the chance to learn the customs, culture, and heritage that is hers. Ethiopia is now a part of our family and our culture. I also feel that God has guided us to adopt from Ethiopia first because this is where our daughter is and secondly, because we are supposed to do something with all that we will see and experience. The trip we will take to Ethiopia will change us in more ways than adding a child to our family. I am fully prepared to be impacted to the roots of my soul.

I think God has plans for us...big plans. I don't think we "owe" Ethiopia anything in the sense that we have a debt to pay, but the fabric that is Ethiopia is now woven into the life that is mine, and the threads will undoubtably cross and create a new canvas, one that I can only imagine. God has called, we are answering. We owe it to God to listen, learn, and act... to be God's stewards in the country that gives life to our daughter, and new colors to our canvas.
Maybe it will take the shape of small changes in our life...only purchasing Fair Trade Coffee, supporting the Children's Home Society in the growth of their Ethiopia program, or raising the awareness of the plight of Ethiopia's orphans in our congregation ...or maybe it will be much bigger...something bold and important that I can't imagine yet. All I know is that Ethiopia, her people, her land, her spirit...are alive in my soul...and I listen and wait for all God has in store.

Friday, September 14, 2007

5 days magically gone!

I just got an email from our program specialist. She said we were officially waiting as of the 5th!! So we have 5 more days under our belt than we thought! Whoo Hoo! Love that! She also said we can certainly hope for the referral in 5 months...but it is hard to say for sure! So that was great news for a Friday afternoon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This journey has two sides

There was a comment made on my last post (I deleted it...I was a little ticked). In a relatively nice fashion, I was reminded that this daughter only comes to me through great loss on another mother's part, and that I shouldn't forget this mother in the joy of my raising this daughter.

How could I forget this mother?? She is carrying our shared daugther! I cannot even imagine the pain and heartache she will go through as she brings this child into the world and then must entrust her to be raised by someone else. I pray for this mother on a daily basis.

As I took my morning walk, this mother on the other side of the world that is carrying this precious child, was all I could think about. Was she cold? Was she hungry? Was she excited as this little one moved in her womb or does it fill her with fear? Has she already placed this sweet child to be raised by me? As I walked because I wanted to, I imagine her walking because she had too, for water, for food...

SO yes, there will be times on this blog that I relish in the thoughts of raising this child...where I celebrate the joys of raising a daughter...but never far from my heart or my prayers is the mother that is growing this child we will share. We are connected for life, by a thread that connects us heart and soul...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Has my daughter been born?

As I drove in the beautiful fall sunshine today I couldn't help but wonder about my daughter. Is she born yet? More than likely if she isn't born yet she will be in the next month or two. I think the youngest she could be at referral is about 2 months. It is so very surreal to think that I have a daughter on the other side of the world. I was thinking of this process, compared to my pregnancies. With the pregnancies, I started talking to the boys from the moment I got those two lines on the pregnancy test, and even though Ellia isn't in my womb, she is flourishing in my heart and I talk to her every day as well. It is different, and yet so very much the same. True, I am not connected to her in a physical sense every day, feeling her kick and wiggle, but she is already such a presence in my little world. As I wander through my days I imagine her , crying in the car as we shuttle the brothers back and forth, I imagine her sweet little face at the dining room table, disrupting her brothers and getting into all of their stuff, finding treasures on the floor that haven't seen the broom in a couple of days...giggling at the cat...snuggling in the night...

One whole day waiting...could be a long wait!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Officially Waiting~

We are officially waiting! The predicted wait for our little Ellia is 5-7 months to referral and 8-10 weeks to travel. I am soo over the moon right now I can hardly type! We can now officially claim to be "paper pregnant"!


Friday, September 7, 2007

Waiting to Wait

Okay, so I might as well just get this out there now. I suck at waiting. I like things done if not now, then yesterday. If I have an idea or a project I jump in with both feet and arms flailing to get it done. I was overdue with each of the boys...not a good mental health situation. How ever am I going to survive this wait? Right now I am waiting just to get word that I am officially waiting! YIEKS!! The dossier arrived safe and sound. We got an email from our program specialist who said she hoped to review it yet this week, but to know they got it. Well, now it is Friday afternoon. I am thinking I will have to wait all weekend to be officially waiting. In the bigger scheme of things, it really doesn't make a big difference if we wait an hour or a few days to get on the list...referrals seem to come in batches...but there is much to be said for getting the official word that everything looked good and we are on our way.
So I pray for patience. I am sure God is getting tired of hearing this prayer from me...but it is what I will need most. So patience, and a quick progression to "officially" waiting, so I can really need patience!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Baby Sister... we're getting closer!

The dossier is on it's way to St. Paul and from there to Ethiopia! We should be officially waiting in the next few days. As a girl who likes to accomplish her goals...I am pretty excited this am! I had set out knowing I wanted to be done with the paperwork before Eric went back to school. Eric went back this am and the dossier is on it's way and now all we do is wait! I can't believe we really got this far! Baby girl here we come!