Thursday, January 31, 2013

Number One

I have this button that came with a cute Mother's Day card from Baby BlueEyes a few years ago. I wore the button that day, but after that I felt kinda silly wearing it. For a variety of reasons. Reasons I'm sure most of my fellow mommas would understand.

It kinda felt "braggy."
It kinda felt like too much pressure.
It definitely didn't match most of my spring clothes.
Ya know, important stuff like that.

Last month, I cleaned out the van. I found the button in the bottom of our "catch-all" basket. Our catch-all basket is full of lollipops for long car trips (to ward off motion sickness and provide good behavior incentive for long shopping trips) and empty bags for trash. Oh, and a couple small car treats for Momma - for those days on the run when I'm anything BUT a stay-at-home momma. 

There in the bottom of the basket was this button. I pinned it on my sun visor. And smiled.

Li'l Empress noticed it RIGHT.AWAY. when I picked her up from school later that morning. She read it out loud, all by herself. And has, every single day since then. (She's very, very big on her little rituals like this one.) 

Yesterday, the conversation took a twist.

Li'l Empress: "Mommy, that button says '#1 Mom,' right?"

"Yup. It does."

Li'l E: "So, YOU! are the NUMBER! ONE! Momma for us, right?"

"Yup. I'm the number one Mommy, just for you. And for Shaggy. And for Dr. D. And LadyBug, and Baby BlueEyes, too."

Li'l E: "And for Mei Mei! Don't forget Mei Mei!"

Momma: "I didn't forget Mei Mei. I never forget about Mei Mei."

Li'l E, more quietly and almost hesitantly: "Mommy?"

"Yes, Li'l E?" - here it comes. This is new to the conversation... I feel myself getting ready to verbally tip-toe.

"Am I the number one Li'l Empress?"

Phew. That's easy. No tip-toeing necessary for this twist! "YES, Li'l Empress! Yes, you are our Number One Li'l Empress forever and ever!"

Very confidently and with a contented (think purring kitty) kind of smile at me in the rear-view mirror she said, "Oh, good. I am the Number One Li'l Empress." 

(Heh. Written out that way, it sounds kinda funny. Like the stories of Ancient Chinese History and the Dowager Mother. Heh.....)

Quietly, almost in a whisper, she said, "And soon Mei Mei will be our Number One Mei Mei."

Sigh. Melt. My. Heart. I love this kid.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Train is Back on the Tracks!

After 2 weeks of waiting and praying, I am happy to report that the adoption train to Mei Mei is back on the tracks. Chugging via express mail from Cambodia, this much-anticipated form arrived at the front door yesterday.

Last night, The Boss completed the missing information that surrounded Shaggy's original signature, all the way from Cambodia to home, and compiled the entire package of the requested evidence needed to file the Supplement 3.

This morning, he copied it all. As I'm typing this now, he is at the post office arranging for an overnight delivery to the lockbox at USCIS in Texas. Once we receive confirmation that it has been received and logged in to the system, we should also hear that Shaggy's formal request for fingerprinting has been submitted.

It's our understanding that once the request is "in the system" Shaggy is free then to go to the nearest federal offices to be printed. This most likely means that he will head into the nearest USCIS offices once he returns to Colorado next week. We'd, of course, prefer that he have a way to get to the embassy in Pnam Penh sooner than that but it's a good distance from his village to the city. It's idealistic of us, and we know that it is far too much pressure on Shaggy. To boot, it does NOT promise anything in terms of expediting that part of the process according to our Immigrations officer.

As we've mentioned, we do have requests for inquiry in to our local Congressman's office AND our Immigrations Officer has been doing what she can to move this along as quickly as is possible. We feel so grateful for the prayers and the encouragement AND the creative suggestions folks have sent to help us do that on our end.

I know some folks are likely wondering why we've documented here all the details of the process. This is certainly not the exciting or heart-warming part of adoption, is it? But I really want to document it for our daughter. So that she can see what our side of the journey was like as we worked to get her home. I want her to sense our love and our passion for not just making her our daughter in name, but for the fervor we have to surround her in all areas of her life with our love and our unconditional acceptance and care. God's been working something in my heart over the last few months regarding those very things and I'm anxious to get all that down in writing also. Hopefully soon.

But for now, I am sitting back and enjoying the feel of the train moving forward on the tracks to our girl. I can feel it gaining speed in my spirit and I'm glad the derailment looks like it is over!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The good news is that we just found out (via tracking) that the Supp 1 form from Shaggy (sent a little more than a week ago from Cambodia) was recorded in US Customs on Saturday and processed at a "domestic location." So we know it made it to the US!! Once we get it, we'll send the whole Supplement 3 packet to the USCIS lockbox in TX. From there, it will be sent to MO for Immigration/Adoption processing once again... that's the point at which we hope for the local Congressman's office to "inquire" about our case on our behalf.

Once the Supp. 3 is logged in to the system, we'll arrange to get his fingerprints done in CO (the site to which he is returning state-side first). Again, that's another point at which we hope to "make up some lost time" via the inquiry by our Congressman. Finally, when it all gets sent back to the CCCWA, we expect (in faith!) to hear that they have granted our request for medical expedite based upon her needs.

The bad news is that I have a full slate of appointments and "To Do's" to accomplish today and the weather is worsening here by the minute. By my calculations (and the forecaster's predictions), it's all bound to come to a head at the exact same time I need to pick up the girls from school and head out for an appointment at one of CHOP's satellite offices. And NOT the satellite office closest to home, of course.

The ugly of this Monday morning is that Dr. D has been up since 6 a.m. with ummm, digestive distress. It's not pretty - he looks terrible and feels worse. I've sequestered him in his room and anti-bacterialized all the surfaces he's touched already. If there's any illness that I just cringe and creep out over, it's tummy turmoil. I just hate it. For my kids, for me, for the airborne ick that floats around. Most especially for the ridiculously highly contagious nature that they seem to carry. Ugh.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mei Mei's Life Verse

One of the things that I really desired to accomplish this January, aside from all the sorting and organizing I'm doing in my "Get Ready for Baby" mission, was to finally get a "life verse" nailed down for our girl. It's something that I did for each pregnancy with my older bio kids and the Lord gave me one for our journey to Li'l Empress too. While we were waiting for Li'l E, I actually also had a regular "playlist" of sorts - songs that ministered peace and hope and purpose to me while I was praying and waiting. So as we entered our church-wide season of prayer and fasting, I have been asking the Lord to give me a verse for my sweet girl and bring a song or two my way that would capture the essence of what this adoption means to me and to our family.

I had no idea that this month of focused prayer would be so incredibly meaningful in this journey to our girl. That I would NEED it to steady me and anchor my swirling thoughts and feelings quite so much. But He did. He does. I'm so grateful for that.

This particular journey to Mei Mei has been so different from our previous adoption, what with all the obstacles we've faced and the crazy busy pace of life that our home has now with 5 kids. I've been sorely distracted by it all (not necessarily in bad ways, just not as focused on the details of the process. Till now that is!). While that often helps with making the days fly by till we meet our Mei Mei, it doesn't help when I realized that I've yet to find a verse that I feel rightly characterizes this journey and how to pray for our girl.

Before all the "stuff" with our I800 approval blew up, I'd been spending time soaking in some of the new worship music I got for Christmas. Several of the songs really were ministering to me and so I sought out the verses from which they originated. And I wasn't surprised at all to see that it was a section of Scripture that I have long loved and relied upon. That I've quoted it here before. That it FIT.

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!"
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV~1984)

And just like that, I've found Mei Mei's life verse. I feel sure that while it is of great comfort and sustenance to me right now in this hardest part of the long adventure we are on, He has a bigger purpose and a plan behind this urge He put it in me to seek these verses for each child. And now for Mei Mei in particular. I've seen it come to life in front of me over and over with the other kids and I can't help but think that it is a unique gift that He's letting me give to them, for now and for their future. (I'm kind of a big picture thinker by nature, can ya tell?!)

I'm excited about the couple songs He's led me to and I'm singing them over her in prayer daily. I'll share them with you later. In the meantime, why don't you share with me a life verse God's given you for your child? I love hearing the stories of how that happens for other families!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday {$1.99}

I think this is the best $1.99 I've spend all winter long.
She's barely taken it off since Saturday night!

It's been a long while since I joined in,
but  if you want more Wordless Wednesday fun,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Shaggy was finally able to locate a printer, download the Supplement 1 form and sign it. Getting to a post office, however, proved to be a bit trickier. But we got news yesterday that the form has now been shipped by "express mail" from his village in Cambodia.

Heh. Not entirely sure what "express mail" from a remote village in Cambodia will actually look like but word is that it should be here in about a week. He's going to send us whatever tracking information he has so that we can follow the progress. There's no personal information or data on the form, so we're not worried about security. BUT! We have heard mixed reviews about the state of "express" and international shipping from that country so we are quite literally "praying it in" at this point.

Once that form is received, The Boss will compile the entire evidenciary package (Supplement 1, 2, 3, and a hefty check) and overnight it to the lockbox of the USCIS offices in Texas. At that point, our Immigrations Officer can be notified and hopefully begin the process to request a fingerprinting appointment for Shaggy. Given the time-line that this puts the process on, it's most likely that the fingerprinting would have to happen in Colorado once Shaggy's team has returned for their week of de-briefing. Having it done as early as possible in that week is a much better option than waiting another week-plus to have him come home and do it here. Especially since he'll be coming home on yet another long federal holiday weekend and The Boss has very limited time off to take before we leave for China.

As I said in my earlier post, there's nothing about this mess that will be quick or easy to fix. We're settling in for an extended delay and, again, trying to keep our hearts and minds prayerfully focused on HIM and HIS promises for our family. He gave us this dream and as my daddy said to me in the first couple days of the problem coming to light, "The waiting is the hardest part. But God is never late."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not For the Faint of Heart

I was talking yesterday with another mom in our church, inquiring about the state of their domestic adoption process. They've been anticipating a court date for months now, only to have one "paperwork" related issue after another. "No date yet" was her sad report and I immediately repeated to her something a friend told me a long time ago: "Adoption is not for the faint of heart, is it?"  We commiserated over each other's stories and agreed to hold each other in prayer for the specific steps needed to move these processes forward.

The conversation was over but I've been thinking about that phrase a lot since she and I talked in passing. While I said it kind of "off the cuff" (because I am trying to stay focused on His Word and His promises to us despite the many obstacles that keep getting thrown in our path to this daughter of ours), and while I know it's very cliched to even say, I also know how true it is. How REAL it is.

Adoption is hard work. It's messy. It's a lot of hurry up and wait. Only to hurry on to the next phase and have to wait again. And each bump in the road, each obstacle that crops up requires fortitude, strategy, and forward-focused eyes.

But that's not just true and real for adoption is it? It's true of any dream that God places in your heart, any journey that He places you on for your life. It's not easy. It's not smooth sailing. In fact, it's often quite the opposite. It's grueling. It's disheartening. It challenges what you thought about yourself. And if I'm being totally honest, it often challenges what I thought I knew about God.

In the days following the phone call from our Immigrations Officer, I knew I needed to keep this current situation as primarily a matter of prayer. Given all the variables that are involved, with Shaggy in Cambodia and largely unavailable during our regular business hours here in the States, I figured out pretty quickly that whatever solution would come about would NOT be of our own striving or action plans. Certainly we know that there are steps to be followed to fix it all. But I sensed fairly quickly that this would not be an easy or a quick fix and that we needed to be in prayer for our focus to be right throughout. As I spent time fasting and praying on Wednesday morning, I felt the Lord lead me to His Word. To a section of Scripture that has long been a touchstone of my life. In fact, in both of my older Bibles, it's highlighted and marked up. It's a section of the Word that I go back to whenever I feel like I need to adjust my course or my perspective. In my new Bible, it's marked with a date that was just a couple days after The Boss lost his job. Just weeks after our dossier was completed.

When we were growing up, my dad would remind us that this life would not be smooth sailing and calm waters every day. That we would face troubles, persecutions and difficulties. But he also taught us that when life got confusing or when we questioned what to do or what we knew about the circumstances, we needed to go back to what we know. I've said it before, actually fairly recently about this particular adoption journey: Go back to what you know. It's been good advice. I'm so grateful for my parents' training in The Word.

So I am going {again!} back to what I know. And I'm standing on it now. Regardless of what the current status of the "fix" is, regardless of how it all plays out. This is my declaration. And I know it's His promise to me and my family. It's okay that my heart is faint - His never is. And that's what really matters.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore."
Psalm 121 ~ King James version

I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life!
Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you –
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
Psalm 121 ~ The Message

Saturday, January 19, 2013


So, there's no real movement yet on the process of rectifying the I800 paperwork issues. We're trying to stay in regular contact with Shaggy for his part of the process. He got the link we sent him but had quite a time finding a printer so that he could download, print, and then sign it for us. He found out that his village doesn't have access to Fed Ex. But he missed the post office hours to further inquire about other options. We are in a holding pattern for ANY further action till that form is signed, shipped, and in our hands.

The other piece of the puzzle of this all that we didn't mention earlier in the week is that many of our other supporting documents are due to expire. Some quite soon, some in March. Previous to this snafu, we had discussed those looming deadlines with the agency and came upon a solution that we all could live comfortably with. But that solution assumed imminent I800 approval. Now that that is not likely to happen before the end of February, (Yes, I said February. I can't even believe it but that's the likelihood.) we are forced to make some decisions and start some renewal of documents.

Most of you who are familiar with international adoption understand that these looming deadlines mean additional money we'll need to spend to accomplish the renewals. Some of the renewals are inexpensive, but a couple of them carry weighty price tags. As does the paperwork that we need to rectify this current situation we're facing. (The snag we are facing carries with it its own additional expenses and looming deadlines, incidentally.)  We have been taking this all to the Lord and asking for wisdom and provision, as we know that we will need more money than originally estimated now. We would appreciate your prayers with us over this piece of the puzzle now, too. If you feel led to share, you can always let folks know we are still working with Wild Olive Tees' fundraising program. (Our family code is WHITNEY407. Details and the link are on my sidebar to the left.)

For those who are unfamiliar with the paper-chase of adoption, I realize that much of this likely sounds like a lot of panic over a little problem. Please understand us when we say, it is more than a little problem. Taken all together, this situation is likely costing us 6-8 weeks. And now a lot of financial resources. The concern over the finances is less tangible than the deadlines of USCIS evidenciary products and less than the expiration dates of documents. But certainly no less "looming" to our hearts and minds. Obviously, the hardest part of it all is that it literally translates to Mei Mei sitting in an orphanage for 6 to 8 weeks as opposed to being home, with us. But the other difficulties are coming in to play while we navigate how to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and then move forward. The whole "fix" itself is costing us an unknown quantity of time and expense because there are soooo many variables to getting that one form signed and shipped home. Once we have that form home, we'll have a more quantifiable sense of what comes next and when.

Until then, we are trying to keep our eyes on Him and trust that He's working on our behalf. We are taking whatever actions we can in our efforts to fight for our daughter and for this process to move forward. At the same time, we are trying to rest in the knowledge that ultimately He holds it all. That He is going before us to make our actions productive and valuable toward accomplishing the ultimate goal - bringing Mei Mei home as quickly as we can!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Updating the Prayer Need!

I've been working all morning with The Boss and a couple friends, along with our Social Worker and our Immigrations Officer to sort out the tangle of this situation and create the appropriate action plan.  Some of you have offered help, some are asking which parts of the process need the most "Divine Intervention" and some of you are even offering alternatives we've not thought to consider. But all of you have been so thoughtful and encouraging and we appreciate it more than you can know.

Because Shaggy turned 18 during this process we needed to register him as an additional adult in the household. That came as no surprise and we had done clearances, etc. on the state level to preventatively have that in place. But what was missed is the Immigrations biometrics/fingerprinting and clearance so that the Supplement 3 (registering him into the adoption documentation) could be filed without delay. That step could have and should have been done in September when he was prepping for YWAM and we are playing catch up to figure out how do to it all now. It's quite tangled and messy and we're pretty sure it can be LOOSELY summarized into the four major things we are facing (and waiting for creative answers to):

  1. How to get him connected to our Social Worker so that she can verbally interview him for the summary that must be written to register him? This is where the spotty internet access is problematic. Along with the 12 hour time difference. *Update: This was done by phone mid-morning with the Social Worker, after Shaggy's team leader got our message to please have him call home.
  2. How to obtain his original signature on the documentation we must submit? We have an email into the USCIS officer but that's not likely going to yield more than a "policy" driven response.*Update: Around 11 a.m. we found out that it does indeed require an original signature. :(  The Boss is working with the YWAM leadership to make that happen. Seems that they don't have much access to printers, etc. Still needs considerable prayer as we work out logistics.
  3. How to get him fingerprinted in as timely a manner as possible? He's at a YWAM base in Siakhounville, Cambodia - quite far from Pnam Penh, the capital and where the embassy is. His internet access to even get these messages that we need him, etc. is spotty and unreliable. Waiting till he arrives back in Denver is certainly an option but adds weeks to the wait to keep this paperwork moving.
  4. Add to this that we cannot just work on our end to get him fingerprinted, where ever that might be, because he has to walk in with an official gov't form (in the system at the minimum, on his person is "standard procedure") to do so. The logistics of THAT depend on many steps along the way, starting with the first two steps above being completed.
So, there you have it. We are looking at a potential delay of months over this - rather than traveling in early March as we'd hoped. And we're still wondering if the Chinese gov't side of things is going to approve the medical expedite request that we'd made back when we submitted our Letter of Intent to adopt her specifically. She has some medical needs and while she isn't fragile or critical right now, there is indication that her environment is very spare and austere and she has a need that could easily be compromised or disintegrated by a simple cold or infection at the site of her need.

This momma is really struggling, frankly. And The Boss is, too. In our hearts, she is OURS. And putting her physical needs aside for the moment (which is so hard to do), we know that another two or three months in any institutional setting WITHOUT a firm attachment and bonding experience is really hard on her heart, mind, and spirit. And potentially on future bonding. Especially in light of the fact that she will also be facing a couple surgeries in addition to the transition of becoming part of our family.

It's already an uphill battle of "learning" how to love and be loved for these little ones. Some easier than others. The older they are, the more spare their environment or their interactions with their caregivers, the harder that hill is. Not impossible, we know. But harder. And by all accounts, her location is a pretty "old school" - style orphanage. We know that it's fully equipped and medically prepared to care for her but that's only half of the picture. That grieves our hearts for her sake.

We are battling frustration and helplessness and fear. We really appreciate the prayer. And the offers of help. 

As we find out more, we'll be updating here, as opposed to Facebook.

Please Pray!

Late Tuesday afternoon, we found out that approval of our I800 request is being withheld pending production of evidence - basically there's some "missing documentation" that belongs in our packet. Because Shaggy is now 18, we are required to submit additional documentation specific to him (known as a Supplement 3). That slipped through the cracks in our paperwork tracking and now our social worker is working quickly to rectify the paperwork part of the issue. We are praying for favor with the logistics of her connecting with Shaggy quickly given the time difference, as well as spotty internet and phone access.

However, the bigger issue is that once that documentation is submitted, he needs to get fingerprinted in a US government office. We are working to figure out where in Cambodia that might be and IF or HOW he might be able to get there from his (very remote) YWAM base. We are praying for clear answers and quick access to whatever location is appropriate and can handle the request. We are also praying for favor with the officer assigned to our case in the US Citizenship and Immigration offices. She's so far been amenable to our agency's suggestions and we are so grateful to the Lord for her willingness to work it out quickly.

Both of these issues combined now bring an almost "automatic" and additional delay of at least two weeks because of the necessary processing. But it's looking more like it could be 6 weeks of processing delays. That's in view of the issues of getting information back and forth between us, Shaggy, our agency and our assigned officer at USCIS. Plus there is the issue of the logistics for Shaggy signing paperwork, receiving the documentation AND arranging transportation to walk into the right embassy offices. We are praying for favor and for expedited processing.

We are asking God's intervention in it all.

Further updates with more specifics will be coming later today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saturday Night Business

Normally, I spend my days following the Christmas and New Year holidays busily sorting and organizing and streamlining our home, one room at a time. But this year, January has been deemed our "Get Ready for Baby" month. So instead of sorting closets and bookshelves, I've been making contacts with specialists and searching websites to educate myself on Mei Mei's medical needs. I've been calling pharmacists for advice, consulting with our pediatrician and nurse practitioner. Making lists and planning groceries so I can make some freezer meals for the family while we're gone. The paperwork of adoption just seems to never end and at times it feels so tedious. In fact, much of last week felt like one tedious, boring task after another.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to break away from all that. A group of us who have formed a wonderful on-line support network on F@ceb**k gathered about an hour away for brunch at a very well-known smorgasbord restaurant. I was really nervous to go, because I love breakfast buffets. LOVE. Them. And because I recently started a partial fast for the month of January. I am not a huge breakfast-lovin' gal here at home, when there's just cold cereal or eggs from which to choose. But put me in front of rows baked oatmeal, cinnamon French toast, made-to-order omelets, hash browns with oozy cheese and onions, heaping piles of bacon and more? Well, I've been known to get a little crazy. To go a little overboard. My sweet friend shared her own similar concerns with me and I suggested that we stick together by encouraging each other to make healthy choices AND to keep our focus on the people around us as our goal. And you know what? We totally did it! We both ate only what we needed to, and we made some darned healthy choices, doing it! It was pretty empowering - especially for this carb lovin' gal who has NEVER met a breakfast casserole she didn't love.

When we got home, I was pretty wiped out. But I knew I had a lot of work-time available and I didn't want to waste it. So I got down to business as soon as I changed into some comfies. I whipped up a brand new recipe for an early dinner with my gang and The Boss pulled a bin up out of the basement for me while the kids set the table. And guess what was in that bin?

Uh huh. Yeah. Sweet little girl clothes. Piles and piles of pink and purple. Flowers. Ruffles. Oh, my lands. I know most of those clothes have been around since we had LadyBug (13 years ago now) but gosh! I had forgotten just how tiny 12 month clothing is. And I had totally forgotten about some of the really adorable outfits we had for her and Li'l Empress. I really had a hard time leaving the bin alone until dinner was done and cleared away.

But once that was done? Look out! LadyBug and I sat in front of the washing machine, loading in cute little running suit after sweet little sock after funky little tights. Oh! The dresses! And the onesies. Such cute onesies! And the zip up footie jammies! Oh, I forgot all about those cute monkeys and kissable yellow duckies. 

There was a lot of ooooh'ing and aaawww'ing and "OH! I remember Li'l Empress wearing that!" and "I remember buying that for you, LadyBug" and so on. The men-folk just steered clear of the space for the duration. Heh.

Later that night, I spent some time matching all those little socks and folding all the dresses and tees and little yoga pants. And I prayed.

I prayed for the sweet little one who will be sportin' those snazzy clothes to be
strong and healthy in the cold Beijing winter.
I prayed for her need to be healed.
For wisdom in seeking treatments and doctors to help that happen.
I prayed for her heart to be filled with hope and longing for love.
I prayed for her tiny little body to fatten up a bit while she waits.
(Don't want those cute yoga pants dropping
to her knees every time she moves!)
I prayed for The Boss and I to be strengthened in our understanding
of HIS unfailing love so that we might share it
and show it unconditionally to our girl.
And I prayed for that medical expedite to be granted,
for the rest of the paperwork process to move smoothly and quickly.
(Quickly might have been said multiple times. Maybe.)

Each piece I touched, I prayed. While this journey has been long and often hard, it has never been lacking in prayer. Each twist and turn in the road to our girl has sent me to The Father's lap. Each day has found me conversing with Him about this gift, this treasure of adopting one of the little ones He watches over and sings over. (He does that, did you know that?) He has never once forgotten her. He knew her name long before we got ourselves on the same page to finally pick the "right one." He knows every single hair on her head (even the ones they keep shaving off). And He knows this past Saturday night, He and I had some serious business to attend to. Nothing tedious or boring about THAT. Even on a Saturday night.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Which My Cheeks Get Rosier

I had a terrible craving for a fresh salad for lunch yesterday. It might have been The Boss's lengthy and detailed description of the gourmet salad he crafted for himself on his lunch break yesterday. But I could NOT stop thinking about garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, and fresh broccoli on a bed of mixed greens. So I picked Li'l Empress up from Kindergarten and headed to the local grocery store. It's not the best salad bar in the area, but it fit the bill for me: close, inexpensive and already chopped and ready. Li'l Empress was duly excited because she knew some hot bar mac n' cheese was comin' her way.

We got in line, wherein Li'l Empress spied the Chinese take-out end of the hot bar and the "home-made, ooops, I mean Loooo Mein Nooooodles, Mommy!" were waiting for her. I asked her if she was sure she wanted that in place of mac n' cheese and she (I kid you not) jumped up and down in place, and said, "Yes! Yes! I'm sure, Mommy, I'm really really sure!"

Well. Okay then.

"Li'l Empress, please. It's not safe to jump in the store and you don't have to yell, I'm right here next to you."

I filled a little take-out box with her favoritest! noooooodles! in the world! and then she spied the cantaloupe. Oh, heaven help me. "Mommy! Mommy! Look! I would like some cantaloupe, too, please! It's my favorite!"

"Yes, cantaloupe is fine, to go with your noodles. But that's it. Okay?"

"Yeah! Sure, Mommy! Ooooohhhhh, KAY." She saluted me. Really. She did.

While I was assembling my salad and guess-timating how many artichoke hearts are in one serving, Li'l Empress tapped my arm. "Mommy? Mommy? Is that lady next to you a stranger?"

(Apparently the stranger-danger conversation really took. Now, every where we go, she asks if the person closest to us is a stranger. Every.where. Seriously.)

"Yes, Li'l E, she is a stranger. But if you would like to be polite and say hello, you may because I'm standing right here with you."


Dear Lady at the Salad Bar, I am so sorry for what that normally benign permission unleashed upon you. I do hope you can find it in your heart to shop there again. I promise, if I see you hanging around the salad bar on one of our ventures into this store, I will distract Li'l Empress's attention and unleash her onto some other  unsuspecting customer. You have my word. Sincerely, The Gang's Momma.

Seriously. Ser.I.Ous.Ly... Are you ready for what came next? (I'd type it all together without a space to replicate how she spoke it all without a breath or a pause, but that would give you all a headache.)

"Hi, lady. I am getting a new little sister. She is waiting for us in China. When my mommy and daddy go to get her, she is going to come home and live with us. Because she is supposed to be part of our family forever and ever. And when she gets here, her and I will have a sleep-over together EVERY!NIGHT! in our new room. Daddy painted it green and pink and now all the pretty stuff is hanging up on all the walls. And Shaggy is in Thailand but today he's going to Cambodia and he's gonna come home and take care of me when Mommy and Daddy are in China to get my sister. She's gonna be called Brynna Rose and I am gonna learn how to feed her and ......."

At some point in there, I was able to put down the utensils I was using to make my salad and turn for a moment to gently place my hand on Li'l Empress's shoulder in an effort to stem the rushing tide. I could feel my already rosy cheeks start to flame and I was getting a little clammy. Between her loud exclamations and her overwhelming exuberance, I was starting to feel as if a huge spotlight had just been turned on in the Produce Department. Oy, this child of mine.....

But that sweet lady being accosted just chuckled and shook her head at me.  When Li'l Empress was (finally!) done, the sweet lady bent down at the waist, THANKED Li'l Empress for sharing all that and said she was so very happy for Li'l Empress.


I explained, in a very brief summary, with cheeks burning, that she is very excited that our adoption process is coming to an end soon and would she please excuse my child's brain dump of exuberance. She proceeded to then "P'shaw" me and ask a few polite questions about adoption from China. All while we finished making our respective salads. She was so incredibly gracious and gave Li'l Empress a big smile and wished her great success in becoming a big sister.


It didn't stop there. Heh. Lucky me. We happened to be exiting the store at the same time and as we stepped aside to let this kind stranger pass us, Li'l Empress shouted, "Hey! Look Mommy! We know that lady! She isn't a stranger anymore!"

Uh, yeah.

To which she very graciously stopped, turned, and said to Li'l Empress, "That's right, my dear. Now we can be the very best of friends. Have a lovely lunch with your Mommy."

You can't make this stuff up folks. And I'm very certain my cheeks could not get any rosier.