Friday, April 27, 2012

I Went Off.... In a Nice Way

The other morning, I was reading a story about another celebrity adoption. Now, say what you will about celebrity adoptions and the coverage that they receive... Cuz there's lots to say about it and those within the adoption community always seem to be split on the issues. This time around, I have nothing notable to say about any of that. Rather, my post today is motivated by the rude and judgmental things said by a couple of folks who were commenting on the article.  You'd think I'd be used to it by now and able to just "letitgo" to a certain degree. And normally, I probably am. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe I just have a wild hair up my nose. Maybe it's all the emotionally-charged stress going on here in The Gang's house as of late. But I couldn't let it pass.... I couldn't.

The comments were mainly along the lines of "why can't people like this adopt from this country?" and "sure, another rich celebrity throwin' their weight around and going somewhere else for 'the perfect baby' while older kids sit here in foster care," and "people go to other countries to avoid birthmoms" and other such nonsense.

After several edits and re-writes, here's what I said.
As a mom of an internationally adopted child, and in the middle of our second adoption from the same nation, I can tell you with certainty that it is NOT easier to adopt from another nation. It's not a choice we made to AVOID birthmothers either. And there really, really are lots of problems, the likes of which NEVER EVER happen here in the States.
Most folks who choose international adoption do so for very personal, private reasons that are about their individual families and their individual desires to build their family. For example, one of the many, many reasons we chose our daughter's birth nation is because it has a proven, stable track record of resulting in a child at the end of the long, arduous process. We already had four kids in the home and we needed to choose some program that would limit the heartache of a failed system or a failed referral or a failed adoption. Too many other programs (here AND across the world) at that time were struggling to consistently take families from application to actual adoption with minimal surprise and interruption along the way.  Additionally, we have always, always been drawn to the Asian nations when feeling the pull to further build our family.
The bottom line is that EVERY child, in EVERY nation, deserves a permanent, healthy and loving home. And every system, in every nation, has its pro's and con's that families must consider carefully for their own circumstances. Rather than make assumptions or judge families or systems, I would urge you to consider finding a foster family or adoptive family in your community and find ways to support and encourage them, if you yourselves do not feel the unction to adopt or foster. Because really, it's about the children and finding them a forever family they can call "HOME."
And I must say, I said it all way nicer than I had originally planned to. Way gentler than the first two or three "editions" I wrote before I self-edited.... And far vaguer than I'd planned also. But I'm learning along the way that our story is just that: our story. And while I am happy to go off on the occasional rant (and really, who isn't? Occasionally and anonymously? I'm just sayin'...), I don't feel the need to bolster that rant's validity by over-sharing our experience. Cuz folks like those commenters? They usually don't really want to know the "why." At least that's how their "drop and run" harshly worded comments come across.... If they did really want to know, I tend to think they'd say it differently. Or they'd speak up as someone who is doing about the broken systems they are griping about. Something more tangible to speak up or even act on behalf of THE CHILDREN. And that's really what adoption is supposed to be about, right? THE. CHILDREN.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mother of All Give-Aways... Just For Mom!

Ever since I discovered blogs, even long before I started writing a blog myself, I've been following the goings-on at 5 Minutes for Mom. I love their sister sites, their efforts to educate and inform their audience and their regular introductions to all manner of things new. But what I love most of all???  (And don't mess with me, I'm betting you love this, too!) Is their Mothers' Day Give-away.


Each year it seems to get bigger and better. More cool products that I'd never buy for myself. New trends in jewelry and clothing that I'm totally not "up" on. Gift cards to places I love to shop. Or would love to try out but have never just jumped in to. Tickets to shows I'd love to see. The list of prizes this year is growing by the day.

Really. You need to head over and check it out for yourself. It served as my little "stop and dream indulgently" moment today. And don't we all need that a little more often these days?  Who knows? You might even win something for yourself that is truly indulgent. Wouldn't that be totally fun?  Go. Surf around. And have a few minutes of fun. It's my treat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {paperwork}

There's been a sudden influx of government
paperwork in the Gang's house.
Take a look-see!

On Monday, The Boss and I received our
I-800A Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child
From a Convention Country - Approval Notice.
Can I get a WOOT WOOT?!

On Tuesday, Dr. D proved his pre-driving skills
by taking AND PASSING his driver's permit test.
My prayer life just got a whole lot more serious!
But WOOT WOOT for him too!

So, not terribly "Wordless." But it IS Wednesday.
And it's all worth celebrating and capturing here, for sure.

head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.
Mostly everyone is, in fact, NOT wordless.
I mean, we are moms, after all...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where, Oh Where Have Your Readers Gone?

Oh where, Oh where can they be?

I think I might know.... I mean, after someone else totally told me and explained it all to me in really simple, easy terms..... It doesn't explain where I've been, but....

Lately, I've been pretty far behind in my reading and commenting on ya'll's blogs. I know, I know. I heartily apologize. It's not cuz I don't love ya. Really, it's mostly cuz I'm trying to sort out the new normal that is hopefully very, very temporary, all while trying to manage a couple big things that are going on here at home.

Things that are fairly "every day real life" stuff for The Gang, but still big projects. Things that are BEYOND the big huge employment issue that is looming over the regular every day real life stuff.  Things like seasonal clothes change-overs. Inventorying who needs what for spring and summer once the clothes are changed out. Running the on-line yard sale (prayers for continued sales would be appreciated, thankyouverymuch), and managing the calendar for 7 busy, active Gang members. Phew. I'm tired again, just typing it all.

And in the middle of all that, I'm falling behind on the things that aren't connecting to hungry little (and big!) eyes begging me to find them a snack (again!) or naked little hineys asking me if their pretty brown capris are clean yet. Sheesh, don't these darned kids know how much I miss catchin' up with ya'll?! The nerve.....

Anyhoo, I found something today that I think many of you will really appreciate. It doesn't affect me in my READING of blogs and commenting. No, I already gave you all my whine and excuse for that above. Rather it should help all of you who are wondering where your readers and commenters went.  It's a techy-schmecky kind of thing, particular to those of you who do your reading on a smart phone. I'm still pretty old school. I do all my reading on my desk top. With a big mug o' hot coffee flavored with the sugar free hazelnut creamer cupped in my hands in the wee hours of the morning while the kids are getting themselves up and dressed for school. When I'm really only capable of being an adult presence in the house and not much else. Not that you really care how I read your blog... I know, I'm sorry. I'm working on it.

But this little gem of a post might help you explain why OTHER folks have stopped commenting frequently on your brilliant, witty expositions of life, love, liberty and disco

Oh, wait. That's a Newsboys tune. Sorry. I got caught up in the moment.

Anyhoo, again.  Go HERE and read. It's so easy. I changed my settings and I'm hoping that helps those techy friends of mine to drop me a line a little more often. And if any of you know of a magic pill that would settle things down to a dull roar around here so that I can drop YOU a line a little more often, I'll considered it a fair trade. Got it?! Good.

Monday, April 23, 2012

We're Nesting Again!

No matter what other changes go on in our lives, one thing remains a constant: we are always working on SOMETHING around this house. The latest project is to start the switching of bedrooms that is necessary to move Li'l Empress into a bigger room suitable for sharing with her mei-mei.  We've been talking about it for months, kind of laying the plans out for the kids, prepping Li'l E and introducing the topic as matter-of-factly as we could, for the sake of helping her see that it's one of the "okay" changes in life. So, while The Boss is job hunting and has some free-er time than the normal pace of a full-time job, we decided it was wise to get started now. We are trusting the Lord for a career position very soon and trying to be sure that there are fewer pressures and "to do's" on his list to accommodate the learning curve that comes with any new job placement.

So, Saturday afternoon, the kids cleaned the baseboards and window sills of both the affected rooms and began packing up Baby Blue Eye's front bedroom and Li'l E's smaller back bedroom.

Li'l Empress's room - Before

Baby Blue Eyes' room - Before, sorta...
Two months ago, I sold all the fire dog and fire truck pics and poster
thinking we'd have started this project much sooner.
I didn't know about all the "surprises" that would distract us
for the last month.

We watched Li'l E carefully (without saying anything to her or the other kids) through the processes of packing up and moving her bed into her brother's room, as we know big changes like this can sometimes trigger anxieties. And frankly, as tired as we are, neither of wanted to be up in the middle of the night with a freaked out four-year old if we could avoid it. She did great, until it was actually time to crawl into the actual bed in her soon-to-be-actual room. Then, she got a little anxious. But we talked about it right away, just matter-of-factly phrasing it as a sleep-over for several days with her brother and as great practice for sharing the room someday soon with mei-mei. She calmed right down and went from her classic over cute "I'm okay" mode into a state of peace and settled right into bed like a champ. I take that as a little victory, considering that all the other changes that have been going on in the house this month have definitely required extra patience and prayer for her to manage. That's a whole 'nuther post for another day....

She definitely was expressing a bit of concern
about the big changes
that were happening to her room. 

Nobody is really sure what to call this.
Is it still BBE's room? Is it Li'l E's room yet?
They have fun trying to figure that out when they talk about it.

I won't tell you everything about the project just yet, rather, I'll leave you with a little bit of a peek to see who of you can figure out what we are doing in there. It shouldn't be too hard, for those of you who know our Baby BlueEyes.

I'm quite excited about the plans for this room.
And Baby BlueEyes is OVER.THE.MOON.

Poor kid - this was the only gift he "really, really, really" wanted for his big 10th birthday. Back in Sep.TEM.ber. Ummm, yeah. Slacker parents. I know.  But really. We still hadn't totally figured out who was moving where and when to accommodate our little Brynna (who didn't even have a name yet, let alone a place to sleep!). So, slacker? Maybe. Indecisive and inconclusive? Definitely.

Keep your eyes peeled, there's more fan-tastic photos of the progress coming soon.

Did ya like how I dropped a big ole
hint on ya there? In that last line? 
I know, I know. 
I'm da bomb.....

It took me forEVAH to come up with 
that little teaser cuz I??? Am. so. fried.
Friends should let friends blog fried.
It's just not pretty.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Yes. I really did find her asleep like this.

Yes. She really did give me the evil stink-eye
for disturbing her slumber.

head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.
I'm pretty sure mine is the only kitty
embracing a Honey Ale.
But it's still lots of fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Book Review {Daddy, Come & Get Me}

Several months ago, I connected via the wide, wide world of F@cebook, with another adoptive parent, this time a dad. Since I am not a dad, but I am married to one, I am always intrigued by another dad's point of view on all things parenting. Especially adoption parenting. Mostly cuz it's still kind of new to The Boss and I. In our various interactions on FB, we'd had some good conversations. As a result, I was further intrigued to know that this adoptive dad is also an author. How cool is that? An author.

For those of you counting, and that know my weird tendency toward obsessions and crushes, that makes four real life authors that I have "met" via the big world of adoption.

Ooooooh, I'm giddy thinking that out loud.

You'll remember a long, long while back, this gal stopped by my blog a couple times and commented on my travel posts while we were in China for Li'l Empress.  I was tickled to death.

This gal and I have "bonded" over our desire to see EVERY child find a forever home. If you aren't reading her blog, really, you should be. I am regularly amazed at the selfish and consumer-minded patterns in which I indulge in my own life when I read her thoughts.

And then, more recently, this lovely lady became a "real life" friend and huge supporter of our adoption journey to Brynna Rose.

So having this guy in my circle of adoption-minded friends was an added bonus. I feel so well-rounded in the assortment of authorship represented here. I'm so tickled to say that I know FOUR real, live, published authors. I know, I know. It's a strange little tic I have. Just keep reading and ignore my crazed fan-groupie behavior. Please. I'll be okay in a minute.

So this book. The point of this review. Yeah. I'm on it.

Daddy, Come & Get Me by Gil Michelini is billed as "a dad's adventure through Guatemalan adoption." And it's really worth your time. It's worth purchasing for the adoptive dads in your life. No matter the country, no matter the journey, Mr. Michelini writes his story in a real and vulnerable manner that completely grabbed my attention and held it, in the midst of some of the hardest days I've experienced in a very long time. It often feels like peeking into his personal journal in its conversational tone and heart-felt pleas for God's interventions and answers.

I happened to pick up the book as a diversion that would also be productive, since I'd promised months ago to do a review for Mr. Michelini. I needed the diversion that particular week because we were running full steam ahead with this online yard sale project and I was beat. Weary to the bone.

About three or four chapters in to my reading of this story, The Boss informed me after dinner one night that his employment circumstances would be changing and that our lives were thus also changing in many, many ways. I admit, for the first 48 hours after The Boss's news, I was angry. I felt truthfully angrier than I had felt in a long, long time. I felt defeated. I kind of shut down and said not much of anything during those first two days. But I read. I holed up on the couch with my fleece blanket and read this book. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that this book became very, very personal for me.

The Michelini family feels like every-American-family. They had some cute kids, an active faith, and a fairly typical suburban life-style. They were plugged in to their community, to their church, and were doin' okay. But they weren't typical for long. Mr. Michelini's story of how diving in to the journey to finding their daughter and building their home as God called them to do was just what I needed at the very moments that I was reading it. He is searingly honest (in my opinion) and doesn't spare himself at all in his self-doubt or his steps of faith toward the daughter in his dreams. His vulnerability and soul searching connected with me. Pulled me in to his story and gave me a bird's eye view of the big picture. And not just of what he was recounting in his story. It made me look at our own story. From the big picture view.

There were many similarities between Mr. Michelini's trek to his daughter and my own life. He faced unemployment, failed referrals, agency hiccups, in-country stresses, uncertainty in the process, documentation problems, all of it. All the "stuff" that most adoptions, no matter where they are heading, face at one time or another. The thing that came through loudest and strongest for me was his focus on his mission: he had a daughter in Guatemala. God revealed it to him in a dream. God confirmed it to him and he was pushing on toward that goal, often in spite of great opposition. That resonated with me, given what we have recently been experiencing. I pored over the details that God wove into their story. Mr. Michelini's belief in that dream for his family came through loud and clear and he testifies to each detail as glory to God and His Master plan for them all. My faith was encouraged and built up with each event that pointed him to give glory to God.

I highly recommend this book to any adoptive parent. There are things in the story that ALL adoptive parents can connect with. But if you have an adoptive dad that wants to know that he is not alone, that God is in the details, and that those details MATTER in the big picture of our lives, then this book is a must. From where I'm sitting, several week out now from news that rocked my world for a couple days, I can hold this book up as just one more detail that God is using to weave OUR story for His glory and our good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {love notes}

Someone has been writing love notes to The Boss
and leaving them around the house.

I'm a little chagrined to note that I did not know
that she knew how to write all those letters
all. by. her. self.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun,
Join in the blog hopping
and leave me a comment
if you've come by from there.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The last two weeks have been full of surprises. Unfortunately, not the happy-variety of surprises. Rather, startling, disappointing, and frustrating varieties of surprises. These surprises have taken us some time to digest. It's been a rough two weeks here.

I'm not intentionally being vague, (and I am happy to chat with you in private should you desire to know more) but as this blog serves as a chronicle of our lives together here at The Gang's Headquarters, I feel pressed to get some of it down. To record what we know, what God is doing, and wrap my brain around how this is going to change and grow us as a family.  Yesterday on F@ce-book, I posted this status:
"When I am faced with a hard season in my life, my goal (and my prayer, really) is to face it and move through it with more grace and more maturity than the previous times I faced hard times. Some days, that feels pretty attainable. Other days, not so much. Today, I am thankful for friends who spur me on to that grace and encourage me to seek to persevere."
This post (and likely the many that will follow in the coming days!) is my attempt to stand on the foundations of the hard things we have faced before and look forward to the grace and maturity I desire to see in my life as we face these surprises. To encourage myself, through the encouragements offered by others over these last two weeks, and to affirm my Cornerstone.

Here is what I know. What I am standing on today.

He is Faithful. It's His character and He cannot and will not lie about who He is. To me, to this season, or to any of you. This is just one of His many promises to that end:

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you –
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

He is Our Defender. Again, it's His character. He covers and protects and champions those who seek His face and call Him "Father."

Psalm 37: 1-9
Do not fret because of those who are evil 
or be envious of those who do wrong; 
for like the grass they will soon wither, 
like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good; 
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the LORD, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him and he will do this: 
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the LORD 
and wait patiently for him; 
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, 
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; 
do not fret—it leads only to evil. 
For those who are evil will be destroyed, 
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

He has a plan for us. He has a GOOD plan for us. Over the last two weeks, that didn't FEEL true. But thanks to my amazing parents, I have learned that this walk of faith is NOT based upon what I feel. It's based upon HIS WORD. HIS TRUTH. And it's just that: a walk of faith. It's standing on the Word and saying, "I choose to believe THIS, even if I feel that." I'm choosing. And I'm standing.

Romans 8:26-28
From The Message
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
knows our pregnant condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That's why we can be so sure that every detail
in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.


Psalm 71:5-8
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

And so praise Him we will. Even when we can barely choke out the words. Even when we cannot see right now how it will all work together, let along together for our good. He does. And for now, I am trusting in that.

Come on back later in the week and I'll attempt to share more of our journey. In the meantime, your prayers for peace, continued faith, and perseverance for the path ahead. This Gang appreciates it more than you know.