Monday, August 27, 2012

It occurred to Brad and I that our lives are forever changed

Yep - we finally realized that this adoption IS going to happen - and even more so, that our lives are forever changed :)   Mostly we are certain will be a blessing -- other craziness, not so much.  We don't even have her home yet -- and we've had to "educate" a few folks on adoption. 

It occurred to us that we've also signed on for a lifetime of educating people -- some curious, some just plain ignorant!  Here are a few things I've been told recently..... as you can imagine, little Lion Momma has already arrived:

"I'm not sure if your extra leave time will be approved, since it has been denied for other cases"... me: "where these cases adopted children"... reply:  "no, biological, so that makes it even WORSE for your case""what"???  did I hear that RIGHT?  Seriously folks, wake up to the idea that bio kids are NO different than adopted kids.... laws apply to both (like family medical leave).... she IS our family, always and forever!!  I "learned" this one on the process for it's different for well-cared-for bio kids compared to children in a more institutional setting...response was, "oh, oh, oh.... I'm sure you are right, you do have a point"....hmmmmmm

p.s. - extended leave time ended up working out and getting approved -- just needed to do some of that adoption education -- and work within the "system"

Showing her picture to someone...."Why are you doing this?  Why are you going to India to adopt???"  - this questioning seemed to have connections to skin color....from a person of color, believe it or not  ....not exactly sure....never the less, my Christian hat was on during this one and I was able to graciously explain the call to get our daughter. 

I'm certain that I will get better at answering the nosey questions -- or perhaps I will find a way to ignore them all together.  I will certainly need to find what works best for our little Miss.  Honestly, it saddens me though that at times people can be so uninformed!  I'm feeling a call.... albeit, not sure if it's from God - but honestly, don't we need a national educational campaign on adoption awareness in this country?  I can see a PSA (public service announcement) now - on TV - talking about adoption - the laws, the love, the gift.  For now, I'll graciously educate those that enter our world...invited or not.  Pray my Christian hat is always on yall... because I can be a momma lion at times for my kiddos. 

Funny thing is....when Brad and I talked about this .... he was right on board with seeing these situations the same way as I do.... I love that about him!  He LOVES this adoption as much as I do..... He LOVES Lauren as much as I do..... and He is EXCITED as much as I am to meet her, hold her, feed her, play with with her.  I LOVE my husband for many things, but right now.... I love him for loving her! 

Yep - as he and I talked, we are forever changed.... and it is good!  We are blessed. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Love bug's passport photo

Butterflies in the stomach ..... :)  Busy day today working on that to do list..... got a big surprise last night when we received a copy of Anjali's passport photo.  This little one is soooo cute :)  Can't wait.....

Prayin for a productive day, and for all the adoption news to keep comin'.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The To-Do List

Ok - so now that it's here --- what to do, what to do???

  • Book airline tickets ...... done, check
  • Pay all monthly bills in advance ...... done, check
  • Pack Lauren's bags..... LOL.... done (a LONG time ago, check)
  • Pack our bags........ not done
  • Get outlet / electricity converter .......not done
  • Call Lauren's doctor for advice on which "special" hair shampoo for little miss .......not done
  • Ask about how soon to book doctor's appointment for when we get home......not done
  • Pick up my new eyeglasses..... I want to SEE this girl loud and clear for the very first time....not done
  • Fill out FMLA paperwork......not done
  • Go through travel guide .... double, triple, quaduple check our travel paperwork..(done many times....let's do it one more time :)
  • Pick up a couple of special gifts for two very special people in India :)..... not done...but know what to get
  • Write letters to Joshua for him to open while we are gone....not done
  • Wrap little gifts for him for while we are gone....done, check
  • Go through travel meds ....start taking Malaria meds in advance.....not done
  • Download calming music on iphone....not done
  • Call phone carrier to ensure we can use phone in India -- and not rack up a bunch of charges...not done
  • Call credit card company ensure can use card internationally without fees....not done
  • Inform Joshua's teacher and school admin of our leave time and instruct to call my mom.... not done
  • Load friends phone numbers into my mom's cell phone - so she can get help with rides to school....not done
  • Tie up all lose ends at work....not done
  • Go through packing list --- charge cameras and video camera.... etc. .....not done
  • Get cash from the bank....not done
  • Get dentist appointment for Brad and Renae....not done
  • Load up on all of Joshua's snacks and lunches for school....not done
  • Catch up all Joshua's school uniform laundry, PJ laundry, and dirty socks....not done
  • Write out school schedule for Nana....not done
  • Stock up on food in the fridge
UGH - oh how I wish some of you blog girl-friends lived close to me -- only you would understand all this and raise your hand to help :) 

Nikki - what am I missing ??  LOL   - I got Anjali the current version of the gloworm today -- it's a seahorse and plays ocean music and soothing lullaby music - has various volumes... I'm thinking this might really help establish security and sleep -- prayin it so...hoping it helps in the grieving..... you guys, I can't WAIT to see this little girl smile.... I mean seriously, in every picture she's crying, frowning, or clearly afraid....... words cannot express how blessed I feel.... and yes, I know, she might not smile ...I mean really smile....for months -- I'm lowering mine own expectations.......BUT IF she smiles.... you better bet I will capture it -- and you all will be the FIRST to see it :)

Calling all prayer warriors -- and seeking any other advice on things I may need to bring that I've clearly forgot :)

p.s. -- have LOTS of food and snack for little Miss .... quite a bit of toys ....and a complete carryon - if case ALL our bags get lost :)

We have a travel date!!!

Hi all -
Life is surreal with us right now..... we finally after all these months, years....have a travel date to go pick up our little girl.  For security reasons I won't post when, you can private email me :)   - but let's just say it's very exciting times for our family.  We can't wait to meet our little Anjali! 

School is into it's first full week, Joshua had his first homework (which he loved doing in the car on the way home ... I'm sure that won't last :), and mom moved into her new little house that is about 3 minutes to our house.  We are so excited and happy for her.  This house is perfect for her and we are reminded once again that God's plans for us are always better than what we imagine for ourselves.  (She missed getting several contracts on houses because of timing, logistics, etc..... but her patience and God's plan won out -- and she got the best fit for her in the end)..... we are reminded that if we wait and delay gratification until the time comes, His plans are really great and often brings us so much joy.  His love for us is abundant! 

Still dealing with this allergy, cough, etc... but Joshua is totally healthy so I'm happy about that :)  My cough seems to linger on for a bit .... welcome to the Bluegrass State :)  -- hence the reason I'm up at 3:00 am writing this post. (Plus I knew to expect a little "confirmation" email from our rep Lisa .... which she faithfully sent!!)

Off to try to sleep on the couch for a bit (so I can sit up to avoid coughing.....) ....UGH!  But who is complaining..... we have a travel date!!! Thank you so much for all your prayers....keep em coming :) Especially for our little girl's sweet tender heart and her transition. 
Love (and good night) Renae.

Friday, August 17, 2012

No News is Good News...... ????

Really, whoever came up with the saying "no news is good news".  I bet it was back during the war.... if someone didn't come to your door then your loved one is probably ok.  We've used this saying for years, right?  I'm certain that whoever thought of this wonderful saying was not a PAP!

When I think of the days and nights wondering about our daughter with no news in sight .... I can't help but think of all the families in the adoption process right now....just waiting for news.....longing to move to just that next step.  My heart goes out to each of you!  Each story is a bit different....all bonded with one thing in mind to reach that child.  Each milestone is precious... and is celebrated! 

Then I think of the, doesn't that set you back on your heals??  For the kids, they likely don't get the news of each milestone.... their waiting must be excruciating.  I bet that wait changes some of them.... to the very core of who they are.  I can't really think about that -- and instead I choose to think that God sends them angels that comforts in ways we don't fully understand.  God does care and love his people, his beautiful creation.... he's faithful to us, he's faithful to these children for sure.  I pray these children hold on to the hope of a family - that they don't let that little glimmer of light burn out inside of them..... I pray they find faith.       

Monday, August 13, 2012

The enemy is on the prowl

Ok - at the risk of sounding really needy these days... I'm needing all of your prayers.  I'm really NOT a  hypochondriac - but it's starting to feel like it :)  ... just kidding.  So in Kentucky we have this BEAUTIFUL blue grass, right?  Well, what most may not know is that Kentucky is also known for giving about every "transplant" allergies ... it's just a matter of time.  EVERYONE gets what I've grown fond of referring to as the "Kentucky crud"  - it's the nagging cough, mucus, etc... you know the drill.  Well, I've had it now for a week...and I've just had it!  Had bacteria issue in the lungs - went to doctor and just finished a z-pac... but this nagging cough remains...... and of course, last Thursday when I got this news...took Joshua to the doctor too - because he seems to have a similar cough.  Only his doctor said, "nope - no bacteria thing - it's just allergies".... so we've used the over the counter products trying to get him some relief!

THEN today..... he was with a friend at an overnight sleep over last night - and woke up this morning WITHOUT a voice!  I had to work, so I didn't know about this.  Then they went to play tennis and apparently he couldn't breath!  (and had been coughing etc.).... so when I got him I immediately took him back to the doctor and guess what???  He has croup!  Seriously, he's never had croup.... he also has NO voice... he can barely whisper.... he doesn't feel bad necessarily - but I can tell he's not himself.  Doctor said, don't worry, this will all be gone in a few days ....ugh!

In all this drama - I think Brad is not feeling totally up to par either.  Honestly, I feel the enemy is ON THE PROWL..... He knows we are getting ready to travel and He knows I will worry about Joshua in this kind of condition while we are gone..... we are busy, my mom is closing on her house, then moving, we have beginning of school to start on Wednesday..... it's a zoo around here.... so I think the enemy is just really trying all He can to mess with me...... and I REFUSE TO ALLOW HIM THAT POWER IN MY LIFE!!!  I KNOW my LORD is going to see all this through.... we WILL all be healthy by the time we have to travel..... mom's closing and move will go as planned.... and school will get off to a great start!  I'm claiming this for our family right now and would love to have you share in this prayer against the enemy!  Our God is stronger, as Chris Tomlin this is jamming in my head!!!

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God, our God
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
Then what could stand against
(credit to Chris Tomlin)
 p.s. - and I know God is in control - because we just sent off our new VISA applications today - and I'm NOT even worried about those getting returned before we have to travel..... so there, enemy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Feeding Memories...and lesson learned

So as I've been continuing to read from Deborah Gray's book again on attaching in adoption - I'm reminded of a time in the past.  There is a story in her book about a child that was adopted into a family - and he had an identity founded in the fact that he was a "bad" boy.  It didn't go into how that image of him was created, but we can only imagine right?  This brought back a memory that I'll share partly to illustrate that we are not perfect parents and guess what, these kiddos don't come with a text book or owner's manual!  But this story also illustrates how instincts and connection come between a child and a parent when we give up our agenda, control and live in grace - and only through God's grace if we follow in our heart how He guides us....all will work out.   Here it goes.

Joshua as a baby was a great eater!  He wasn't picky and he LOVED to eat.  (On a side note - it's amazing if you watch a kid though have a natural ability to "turn off" food when they are full -- and he's great at this and so has always maintained a healthy weight).  Anyway, he was around 1 year old, maybe a little older and he began to purposefully throw food on the floor to "amuse" me.  I didn't find it so amusing, as you can imagine.

He would sling food all over the tray as if he were making a fine painting (he still loves to paint to this very day and LOVES art)... and at times he would look me right in the eye and then drop a cheerrio on the floor to get my reaction.  I started with the, "no-no - let's not do that".... he didn't get it.  It continued on meal after meal.... so here it day I said it, "baaaaaaad, baaaaaaaad, bad, bad, bad"..... I know, it just came out.  And then again at another meal..... "baaaaaaaaad, baaaaaaaad, bad, bad, bad" .... and I confess it became a little too much of a habit.  UNTIL..... one day, when he proceeded to drop his food, I walked up to his high chair and before I could even get it out of MY mouth what his tiny little gurgled voice he said, "baaaaaaaaaaaad, baaaaad, bad, bad, bad" - I stood there frozen.... in shock.....already ingrained in his little mind was that he was bad........and only through the grace of God did I fully understand that this little routine needed to change....but it was all going to be ok.  Oh my, I've created  a poor self image in a 1 1/2 year old.  I love this child..... he ISN'T bad.... he's actually great...... what am I saying..... he's bad because I continue to get frustrated over cleaning food off the floor?????

I vowed to NEVER say this "baaaaaad, baaaaaaaad, bad, bad, bad" again and made sure that anyone else in the family that might have picked up this little habit didn't either.  I think that's about the time when our night time routine started with these following words, "You are a very good boy.  I love you so very much...... all the way to the moon and back.  I'll see you first thing in the morning." That wording has been used for almost 6 years of his full life after that moment, with only the following modification on occaision, "I love you more than the moon, and the stars, and the sun, and the sky". Every night, this is part of our routine....and he looks up at me in the moonlight just waiting for it with those big blue/green eyes.  

I want positive scripts in our children's that assure them of our unconditional love for them. The things we say really do matter, how we say it is also just as important.  Of course, Brad and I have learned alot about parenting since then.  We've taken classes, read books, asked for advice - and most of all, we don't sweat the small stuff!  We can't wait to see all the growing and changing that Lauren will experience.  We are thankful of all our learning with Joshua - and feel blessed to have this great, adaptable, caring kid.  He is excited to teach Lauren stuff too. All our experiences with Joshua are certain to better prepare us to parent Lauren.  We also continue to learn from our adoption support group listening to their experiences.  We believe the key to a successful transition is patience, education and support ....and prayer. Can't wait to bring her home :) 

More feeding memories of my love, Joshua and even a few with my other love, Brad too!

Sucking thumb only when there is food on it :)  Seriously, he never was a thumb sucker until mealtime!

                                             Love the wagon "walks" with a bottle in the sunshine! 

Love the sleeping / eating pics -- with a belly full.... "it seems to make me soooooo sleepy"

Just a few days home .... not getting enough breast milk so had to supplement with formula..... love those crossed feet -- he does this to this very day --- and if Brad is sitting on the couch hanging out ... guess the position of his feet too :) 

                                     Sleepy ...early days..... can anyone get any sleep around here???

Folks - get those camera fully charged - because feeding, eating, cuddling, and connection times are the greatest memories to capture.  p.s. - and don't worry a bit about the messy house in the background or even a cheerio or two on the floor. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Passport Update -- Yippee... kindof

Spoke with our agency today and received some good news.  Apparently, Anjali's passport has been issued and "it's in the mail" to the orphanage.  Given location, etc.... that sometimes takes a little longer than one would expect.  So since it is not actually "in-hand" - we still wait to get our flights, but we have a couple of options for tentative travel plans...which is VERY exciting.  One somewhat downer is that given the tight window and the fact that our VISA expires in a few weeks, we will be applying for a new VISA to be on the safe side. 

But God is so good - even though additional costs for new VISAs (we won't be expediting them this time), we also found out several expenses we've budgeted for are actually less than anticipated. 

We are cautiously excited (until we know the orphanage has that long awaited passport in hand)... and perhaps a little in shock, because in a month or so, we'll be home with our precious daughter.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support :) 

This very long journey is just beginning ........

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Attachment Matrix

So, I've been reading some sections of Deborah Gray's book on attachment - called Attaching in Adoption. It's a fabulous book.  This was a required read for our service plan, so Brad and I both read the entire book previously, but I've just felt the need to read sections again.  In reading the book, it occurred to me... there is no way I can remember all these "milestones" or signs of attachment (or refusal to attach) "in the moment" when Lauren comes home, so I built a matrix.  Basically, I think it's an easy tool to use to measure how things are going - the concepts come clearly from the book - I've just put them on paper in one centralized place and put them under what I understand are phases I, II, and III.  There are other phases beyond this, but I think these are a great measure for the early days and if attachment is occurring ....or not.  I then made up a way to sort the list, given its length based on general topics or categories that I think these milestones fall within.  If anyone wants a copy of the matrix email me - I'd be happy to send it out - it's in excel. 

p.s. - I think this is part of my need to "nest" right now :) AGAIN.  Last night Joshua and I spent several hours in Lauren's room, folding and organizing clothes, and unpackaging food containers and kitchen stuff for Lauren that were gifts to us from friends.  Joshua went through her jewelry box - of which is currently the "holder" of hair clips - as she doesn't have alot of jewelry :)  He lines them up by matching color and design. we talk and play music in her room and love going through her stuff.  He is just as excited to meet her as we are.  Later today, we're going to do a video for her with a message from Joshua to her.  We plan to take that to her - and if the time is right, we'll show the video to her while in India.  "Are we there yet?"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Perhaps the Silliest Post Yet!

Ok, so for all you that follow our families LOVE of Holiday World - you may know we went one last time for the summer on Wednesday.  So I'm sure you are waiting for the pictures and wondering, why no post yet.  With busy schedules ....not time...Well today ... sortof a funny story. 

We went to Holiday World on Wednesday - and yes, I have many fun pics... (will post another day)...We got home at 11:30 pm!  Which for this family is late...we're in bed usually around 10 pm. Dropped off one sleeping boy to the neighbor and Brad carried in his sleeping boy to his bed.  Then on Thursday morning, I had to go to a CPE training (continuing education stuff for work)...and note - Sat all day in classes.  Joshua stayed with our neighbor and I headed off to Louisville for training...sat in a training all day.... and I could almost feel my feet in my shoes getting tighter and tighter.... walking nearly 10 hours straight the day before at HW and then sitting the next day in a conference I guess is not a good formula.  My feet were killing me.... I mean really hurting. 

Got up this morning - again...feet hurting, feet swelling, legs throbbing, and my right leg really hurting...and a purple bruise coming on.... I don't remember hitting anything....hmmmmm???? Went to work and all I could think about is....what if I have a blood clot and then travel to India and have a stroke?  I know, I'm neurotic at times...I do worry and times... I've actually healed a whole bunch from fears...using Max Lucado's book Fearless.... but today, it was one of those things that I thought, you know, I might want to see a doctor. 

So, I went to this clinic in the town I work in - not my primary care physician - but someone close by that I've been to before for sinus infection, etc.  She agreed I needed an ULTRA SOUND to rule out the blood clot.  Yes, there is an adoption connection....wait for it....:)

So, because of the size of the clinic (small town), I had to go to the hospital to their imaging to get this checked out further.  So after working my way through the PAPERWORK!! (And we thought adoption paperwork is hard)... I finally went up to the radiology and imaging area...of course they insisted on taking me in a wheelchair - which after thinking about how tired my feet and legs are.... I agreed...they said protocol... fine by me...sweet ride.

Here is the silly part -- for some reason, the ultrasound tech and I started talking about adoption -- I'm sure I said something like, "you know I wanted to get this checked out because I'm going to be on a very long flight soon and don't want any problems".... and of course the conversation took off from there.  She instructed me what to do and then came back in and began putting the warm jelly on my leg and using the ultra sound equipment.  The feel of that warm jelly.... just made me begin to laugh, I don't mean chuckle to myself, I mean laugh (it didn't tickle)... it brought back amazing memories of my J-man being in womb.... anyway, all I could think about was little Miss Lauren! And yes, I said it..... "you know, this is my adoption ultra sound!!" - the tech TOTALLY loved it and she and I both continued to talk adoption and laugh.  You know, this experience as worrisome as it was....gave me great joy today.... is that weird?  (oh, and BTW - no blood clots at all).... :) 

This journey has been long - it's been over two years for us since we started the India adoption process -- and we've been in the process of "adopting" since not long after Joshua was born  - so as my heart has been on adoption for easily 5 years - I've used various strategies to get through the wait.  Certain milestones got me very excited, then I had to tell myself, "Renae, sit this on a shelf for a bit -- because it's a marathon, not a sprint -- the journey is long - and it is hard - you have to live life, you can't focus so much on this process".... but I have to tell you folks, when you get to the stage that we are at (so close to the end).... your nearly every waking moment is on this little girl (or boy, perhaps for you).... your heart is longing, and you are just hanging on every phone ringing in your midst...thinking - that's the one from Lisa.  There is no putting it on the shelf any longer -- it's all consuming.... just aching to get to this child.  Today was a blessing and a really silly story -- my baby girl had an ultra sound today the most unusual circumstances.... and she's all girl....and she's all mine!