Monday, March 31, 2008
I'd like to type more, but I feel a nap calling. Josh and Dad are at baseball practice so this really seems to be a good time. It is also the first time I haven't coughed so hard that I thought my ribs were coming out (that good old cough syrup, I'm sure!!). I think the next worse thing about pneumonia are the full body sweats where you feel like you're melting into a puddle. Man, is this what hot flashes feel like?? Whew!!!
So, thanks to all of you who have called, emailed and commented. I'll fight this a little while longer, but I'm definitely on the right track now.
Heart contents by Maria at 4:58 PM
Sunday, March 30, 2008
So, sadly, I didn't make church today. I really like going to church and feel like my week just doesn't start off right if I don't. I wasn't able to teach my Beth Moore class this week. I sent the video materials in thinking they might want to go ahead and watch the video, but they opted to wait. This is a class that Satan has really attacked; we've had illnesses, bad weather, holidays, etc. so that a class that was 7 weeks has taken us almost twice that long. We will prevail though.
I had the most wonderful dream about Ellie last night. One of the most incredible side effects of the meds is that I dream all night long, but I dream that I'm awake and going about things. One night I made adoption fundraiser plans all night. When I got up, I wrote them all down and had some great ideas. Might as well get some work done while I sleep since I'm not doing much while I'm awake.
Anyway.... I saw her and my mom and me and we had just met someone and my mom said, "You haven't met Ellie yet, have you?" and Ellie, who was just toddling around, stuck her hand up to the person. She was dressed in yellow capri type pants and had short, straight black hair with a a yellow headband. She and my mom were standing on the sidewalk at an intersection. All very perplexing. You folks who feel the need to interpret this, jump in on the comments and tell me what you think it means -- if anything. She was just so cute, had a round face with the most smooth complexion. Odd... she's been strangely absent in my dreams before now. I've thought many times, isn't it odd that I don't dream about her. The same was true with Joshua though. I didn't dream about him much and I thought I would. Maybe she's being born, or is close. God keep her safe until we can bring her home.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:20 PM
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I am happy to report that I do see improvement today over yesterday. I had a long talk with the Healer, the Great Physician and the One who Made me last night and explained how very much more agreeable I might would be toward others were I to feel a smidgen better today. So, I've tried to be nice to those around me today -- they might not agree.
I spent the day in bed -- literally -- with my laptop working on LISTS upon LISTS of things that needed to be done and making packing lists for trip 1 and trip 2, recommended travel agents and travel insurance providers, where to stay (and where NOT to stay), local things to see, do and where to eat (and where not to), printing out some common Russian phrases. Oh how I know I'll end up like the mom on my yahoo list who posted that the only foreign word she spoke over there was a Spanish word and she wondered why they looked at her funny until her kids burst out laughing. This WILL be me, people -- imagine Russian with a southern drawl -- it just isn't funny, is it? DAH??? (yes, in Russian, I think). I've gone back through the emails I've been putting in a special file over the past few months that held little tidbits, treasures worth remembering: like remember to bring Kleenex or wipes as there is no toilet paper -- and likely no toilet either. "Go before you go" is our new catch phrase. I've made lists of items I'm hoping I can collect from folks in our church/community to take as donations for the children in the orphanages. These things include:
- infant fever reducers
- poly-vi-sol infant liquid vitamins
- snacks for the older children
- donations for the babies in the hospitals (blankets, socks, hats, etc.)
It's amazing to see the referral photos of these babies in westernized items and know that our baby will be clothed and wrapped with items from families who came before and were generous and kind. I want to repay that to someone down the line. But, more than that, I want to help those I have to leave behind -- even if in some tiny, small way. I remind you again -- if you have time -- to visit a missionary's blog who is working there. John's site, click here, is a tragic reminder of the life we have as citizens of the US and what a tragedy it is for us to turn our backs on others in need. I was particularly upset by his recent story of helping the men in Kyrgyzstan. I'm certain John would not mind me re posting a sentence or two that grabbed my attention:
he also had a street ministry working with the homeless.. We asked him what are the contributing factors... His response took us off guard... We have seen and heard a lot, but still could not get our minds around the answer.... A large percentage of the homeless on the streets of Bishkek are Kyrgyz men that had gone to Kazakhstan seeking employment and then were kept as slaves. They have had there documents taken, then have been forced into labor, and kept in cages. When and if they do escape and make there way back to Kyrgyzstan, they have no money and no paperwork, so they are not able to get a job.. they have also suffered so much abuse that they are emotionally scared for life.
Read his blog and you'll have some idea why I want to help those little kids as much as I can. Someone on the adoption list I'm on pointed out that while we can't help everyone of them, by adopting one we are opening a spot , a door really, for another that might have had the same fate as these men.
Oh, WOW! I really got off task. So, I've spent the DAY working on my taxes. I'm stilling missing an envelope of receipts from a trip I took in February (does this suprise ANYONE???) and still need to verify some data, but I'm pretty much done. We are getting a small refund, but it is going directly into the adoption fund. We are excited to just not have to pay this year. It's the first year since I have been working for myself that we didn't -- yay!!! And, it is a blessing from God, a little more of His help and re-assurance that He has this all under control -- thank you, God. Oh, and if you are reading my blog, tonight, God, could I please please be well (and maybe even nice?) tomorrow?
Heart contents by Maria at 11:46 PM
Friday, March 28, 2008
Well, the Lathams are not moving up to the east side or to a deluxe apartment, but as of today, we are moving up on our agency's adoption list. I know that two families received boy referrals (which won't affect us at all, but I'm still very happy for them!!) and that one family received a girl referral. I've yet to get confirmation that there is another girl referred, but I think there might be.
You ask where that put us on the list, and unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. There are a couple of families in front of me who are specific in the ethnicity they want their daughter to be. So.... if they don't accept the referrals (which, I assume will be offered to them each time there are referrals available no matter what ethnicity they are), then we are higher on the list. Basically we are somewhere between #2 and #5. Much depends on the decisions of other families. There are lots of ways the scenarios can play out, so I can't be more concrete. The one thing I'm certain of, and what I told my friend Susan today, God had our daughter picked out for us before time began. He knows who she is and when she will enter our family and there is nothing we can do to speed that process up. The way I feel today (still extreme yuck!!!), I'm really glad that I didn't get a referral today. It would be sad to be so sick and so contagious that I couldn't share the excitement!! What is has made me reallilze is that we have to get a "To Do" list going -- just in case. We will probably travel within 10 days of getting the referral and there are multiple details to work out.
I'm now looking at the calendar and thinking that there is a remote possibility that we will be in Kyrgyzstan for Mother's Day. I can't think of a more appropriate place to be after all this time. However, if I'm not, it will be fine as well because I'll be really really close!
To whine a bit more on my "funkymunkyitis", I'm now certain that the downhill slide Dr. H. was referring to was into my grave. I don't DO sick well (does anyone?). I've taken to my bed/couch. I don't feel like doing anything else. I've seen all the re-runs of Reba I think I can stand. My fever has not gone away since Tuesday, not matter what I take. I'm congested, have a horrible cough (which is only made better by the cough syrup that knocks me out), and my head and body hurt. I think I have the flu, but that's not what he said. Oh well... maybe tomorrow will be better.
Joshua got an Electronic Banker Monopoly game in his Easter basket and he's wanted to play since he got it, but I've been too sick. I was feeling so guity about it that I told him tonight we'd play. I was the "banker" while he and Kevin played. Didn't last long before I broke down. UGH!! We'll try again soon.
And, let me BRAG where it is due, I have had the MOST INCREDIBLE caregivers during my illness. Kevin and Joshua have gone now to buy groceries. One night, Kevin kept cool rags for me to try to help break my fever, and he continues to pull "single" parenting responsibilities throughout it all. He reminds me to take my medicine and lets me sleep while he tries to stay quiet and keep Josh quiet. He's gone to the store to get me Sprite and ice cream and is just generally taking very good care of me. What a great husband I have been blessed with!!! Josh, well, his favorite thing to do is look at me and go, "You sound AWFUL --- and you look awful too!!" :-) I'm sure I do.
Ellie, we are getting closer!!!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So, I went back to the doctor this morning ony to be told that I don't have bronchitis but some type of viral infection (he told me that name, I didn't pay attention) that, surprisingly enough, has all the same symptoms I'm experiencing. He told me I could stop the antibiotics, which were probably exacerbating my gastrointestinal issues (by the way, why do boys think these types of things are hilarious??? Joshua has laughed and laughed at my "symptoms"), gave me yet another cough medicine and told me to continue to take the cough pills but to double up on the and add mucinex to thin up the "gunk". He says I'm on the "downhill slide". I'm hoping it's not into a grave -- haha!!
So... in a few days, hopefully, I'll be back to "normal" -- whatever THAT is!!
On the adoption front, our agency got some referrals yesterday but they were boys (as far as I've heard anyway). I'm hoping there were girls too and I've just not heard. That could move us up a few spots. We'll see. I'm really hoping for summer travel, though, because of school being out. We are really close to having enough $$ to fund Trip 1. After the next concession stand event (next weekend) and with our tax rebate/stimulus check, we will be within $1,000 of having enough for Trip 1. If we can get that yard sale planned and executed, that might take care of Trip 1. The families who got their referrals yesterday will travel April 6. That's 10 days' notice, which is all we will have as well. Upon return, we will have 6 weeks to raise an additional $6,000 for Trip 2. It will come; I'm sure of it. We are still waiting to hear from a grant and from The Abba Fund. Hopefully, one of those will come through. Where God guides, He provides.
And, on the camera front, I recently had to send my digital Canon EOS Rebel back to the factory as it is making poor quality photos. I'm hoping to have it back in 10 days or so -- repaired and back in the quality photo business, just in time for baseball season to start. Anyone interested in Joshua's baseball schedule can check out the blog we've set up for his team at Joelton Padres 2008.
And for those who are wondering what "funkymunkyitis" is - well, it just what I call The Crud.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:40 AM
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Date/Time Activity Location Details
Mar 26, 2008 9:09 AM At local FedEx facility SAN DIEGO, CA
Package not due for delivery.
Now, I'm not quite sure why it isn't due for delivery, but it states it will be delivered on the 27th, so, I'm comforted by simply knowing it is in the right city and state.
Yay!! Tomorrow, I can rest.
Heart contents by Maria at 4:42 PM
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Heart contents by Maria at 4:51 PM
Monday, March 24, 2008
This is where I left my dossier.
Tracking document -- this will get some use in the next few days
So, it's official, I'm crazy! :-)
Heart contents by Maria at 4:15 PM
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Heart contents by Maria at 9:56 PM
Heart contents by Maria at 8:53 PM
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Here are some photos from the day:
Sara and Makayla -- my girls from church
Dianne, Josh, Lisa and Mary working hard
Lisa making sure it all "adds up"
Thank you to all who helped with this event. We are all really tired. As Kevin said, "I think this is going to be an Advil night." Now it's on to make Easter lunch.
Heart contents by Maria at 2:46 PM
Friday, March 21, 2008
Great Friday: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece (Μεγάλη Παρασκευή / Megáli Paraskeví), Hungary, Macedonia, Malta (Il-Ġimgħa l-Kbira), Poland (Wielki Piątek), Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, [[Slovakia]Velky Piatok], Slovenia, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church generally; Sri Lanka (Maha Sikurada); Indonesia (Jumat Agung)
Holy Friday: Latin America, Spain (Viernes Santo), France (Vendredi Saint), Italy (venerdì santo), Portugal, Brazil (Sexta-Feira Santa), Philippines (Mahal na Araw or Biyernes Santo), Vietnam (Thứ sáu Tuần Thánh), Japan (聖金曜日)
Sad Friday: Arabic-speaking locals
- Day observed as a federal holiday in countries with a strong Christian influence such as Brazil, Canada, Germany and the UK -- EXCEPT in the U.S. where it a state holiday in some locations. (Isn't it ironic that a country founded on Christian principles is a country that doesn't recognize it as a federal holiday? Separation of church and state?)
- Ireland prohibits the sale of alcohol
- In Germany, comedic performances that include dancing are illegal on this day
- In Muslim-majority India, Good Friday is a national holiday. Newspapers are not published on this day.
- Eastern Orthodox Christians are not supposed to eat on this day and the next
- In Bermuda, kites are flown. The shape of the cross for the kite symbolizes the cross on which Jesus died.
- There is no horse racing in the UK on Good Friday.
- In Louisiana Cajuns have a tradition to not dig in the dirt on Good Friday.
- In many English speaking countries, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday with the cross on the top of the bun as a reminder of Jesus' cross.
However, you choose to remember Good Friday, I hope that it reminds you of the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross for you. Remember, even if you were the only person on the earth, He would have come to die for you.
Heart contents by Maria at 8:33 AM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
How beautiful -- there was an entire field of these!
Stuart lived at one of the houses I inspected. Why was his name Stuart? Because he was Little!
Heart contents by Maria at 11:18 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The thing I remember most from the years before reuniting with my birth family is my birthday. For years I spent the day wondering if somewhere someone was thinking about me and wondering how I turned out. I spent the day wondering "why". The "why" of it all is what was the driving force for me. Don't let your adoptee fool you into thinking, "It's for the medical history." I can't tell you how many times I've heard that as an "acceptable" reason for wanting to find an adoptee's birth family. I'm willing to bet I used it a million times. It's safe and socially acceptable and no one is going to want an intense conversation about that reason. They will, however, want to spend a lot of time talking you out of your feelings if you say you need to know why. Apparently, our desires to know the circumstances surrounding our birth and subsequent adoption into another family are not legitimate reasons for opening what others consider Pandora's Box. Everyone seems to have a really good reason why having open access to your birth records and birth family is a bad idea. Ironically, the most common reason is to protect the birth mom. Paradoxically, it seems that the adoptees' rights are not an issue -- ever. So, much like abortion, the child's rights seem to have no consideration in the equation. When did age become the determining factor in equality of rights?
I had great adoptive parents who spent time doing all the right things for me to help me become emotionally stable and, as the current terminology would indicate, attached and bonded. There was never any question about their love, commitment or parenting (except maybe in my mind when I was a teenager, but that's really another story that neither side probably wants to re-hash! :-0). But, no matter what they did, there was always something missing. Even when I didn't realize it was missing, it was. There was always the questions rolling around in my mind, "Is that person I just passed on the street my birth mom?", "What if I marry my brother?", "Why did she not want me?", "Who do I look like?", "What time was I born? What did I look like as a baby?"
Visits to the doctor's office were always uncomfortable when the doctor would ask about family history and I had to answer, "I'm adopted. I don't know." WHAT??? So who's to say I'm not entitled to know my medical history? Everyone else is entitled to that basic information, aren't they? Since I was a toddler when I was adopted, I had no photos of me before I was about 20 months old. Stop and think about how you take for granted the photos you have of you when you were a baby -- how you pulled them out at the birth of your child to compare. I had none. The moment that rocked me the most when I was in the midst of my search and when I got my records was when I found someone who had baby pictures of me. I cried because I finally knew that my son looked like me when I was a baby. I remember staring intently at him in the hospital, wondering, desperate to know if we looked alike and thinking how completely unfair it was to not have that piece of who I am available to me -- to be robbed of that.
On the flip side, though, I do not believe in the concept of open adoption. I know I will be argued into the ground by professionals and by families who are currently existing in successful open adoption arrangements. I suspect the person who would not argue with me might be the adoptee who is in the midst of this arrangement. Our family attempted to participate in a fully open adoption of a toddler girl several years ago. It failed miserably for all involved. Our hearts were broken, the child was split between two families and cried constantly and the birth family was unable to let go and transition. I know that birth moms who feel that their lives are not such that they are able to keep their children do so, most of the time, with much angst and heartbreak. I know that were their situations better or different they would be able to parent that child. So then, why do we think that exposure of a child to a lifestyle where it would not be appropriate for their birth family to parent is a positive experience and won't cause some level of confusion in a child? I'm told it "cures" those "why" questions and fills that "hole" I spoke of early, but ... I have to wonder what other "holes" it causes and what other "whys" it causes. Is there not guilt of the adopted child for leaving the birth parent when they are in a situation that is not as optimal as theirs might be? Do the children feel responsible to help them? Do they not feel a bit of anger that the birth family is going ahead and leading their lives without them? I don't know and I'm definitely speculating at this point, having not experienced it. However, I do know that it would not have been a good answer for me. I think it would have definitely caused confusion, additional anger and even disrupted the family life that I had as an adopted child. As an adult, I would not be willing to trade off what I had for the opportunity to be in an open adoption situation. As a now parent, I would not be willing to trade my adopted child's emotional well-being for the promise of a "more emotionally secure child" which is what is promised through open adoption. I really am happy for those who can make open adoptions work, but I think those situations are very few and far between.
My fight for my records, the search by the state for my birth family and the subsequent reunion were not without pain, heartbreak and many tears. I'd be lying to say that it was the Cinderella story every adoptee thinks it will be. However, I wouldn't trade all I went through during that really difficult time for the truth, the information and the closure I have in my life now that I know MY story. I am reconciled to where I came from, where I went and who I am because of it all. And because of that, I can be the person God created me to be without spending time worrying about who I was and what was wrong with me and why I was given away. I can release the anger I felt and be at peace and offer forgiveness.
I do not believe in having closed records. I believe that the choice to obtain this information should be up to the adoptee. In juxtaposition, though, I do not believe in a fully open adoption. I think there is a happy medium. I think probably that happy medium should be determined by the adoptive parents until such time as the adoptee is able to voice their desires to have such information. It's a fine line, I know. I've walked it all my life and now am about to come around, full circle as I adopt my own daughter and begin to navigate the adoption waters from the other side of the fence.
In our adoption, however, I fear access to her birth family might end up being very difficult since she will be from another country. I want her to have the option - when she is ready -- to find her birth family and to know her story. It is not my story when she comes to us, it is hers. It is not my decision to make when the time comes, it is hers. I know I will understand that it has nothing at all to do with me or her father or brother and that it doesn't mean she is unhappy with us. I hope she can find her story and fill her hole. Don't let them fool you, they all have it -- the hole, the part that is missing. It may take years to surface, but, it will. I think it's just an innate part of being human, the need to connect ourselves with our past and our future. The Bible does it -- you know, all the begats. We all need to have the right to know our "begats" in our time and in our own way. It's our story.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:21 PM
Josh's ear is now draining. It's gross, really gross. I called the doctor today to make sure I should be concerned. I would have been concerned no matter what he said, but I guess he deals with crazy parents like me every day. I told him I was ok when it was creamy yellow, but now that it was turning pinkish-red, I was concerned. He called us in some antibiotic drops which my daddy picked up at the pharmacy this afternoon and dropped off at the house. When we get home, he's getting "dropped up" (ha! that's a ridiculous phrase). Hopefully, by tomorrow, this will stop. Not meaning to be gross, but I have NEVER seen any one's ears just ... well, drip. We solved it by getting some cotton balls at Walmart which he routinely sticks in his ears.
I'd like to report that we did something terribly exciting, but we drove there (stopping to eat dinner at Cracker Barrel -- does anyone recognize the fact that I LOVE this place? -- and then stopping at the outlet mall outside of Dalton, GA. I managed to get through the outlet with only a clearance outfit and "ellie"phant toy for Ellie. For those who fear that Josh has been slighted (that would be the grandparents :-0), he got a shirt today and another webkinz dog (which he slept with last night).
We checked into the hotel and went to bed. Josh wanted me to sleep with him and he was flippy-floppy all night and woke up several times because his ear was hurting. He ran a fever some and we had to give him some meds. It was a long night. I HAVE determined though that NO MATTER what the weight, there WILL be a white noise machine travelling with us to Kyrygyzstan. Due to the snoring factor of one of us, and knowing that we likely will not have an air conditioner to make noise, I fear I will get NO sleep. I am also taking some kind of knock-me-out-asleep pills as I get a wee bit cranky if I don't get a little sleep. (Hope Ellie is a good sleeper!!!) So, this trip was productive to that end.
While Kevin was in his mold class Josh got in the pool (head above water), we went to Walmart, ate lunch and packed up to leave.
That's it. Isn't it sad? :-) I was glad to get away from home for a bit though.
Speaking of the mold class, I was asking Kevin, "What in the world can you talk about mold for four hours?" I told him I could pretty much sum it all up in a few sentences: There is brown, black and green. It's all nasty and will cause your sinuses to act up. Spray it with bleach and it dies. What else could you need to know? I haven't asked him what else he learned, but he did say he enjoyed it. Ahh... opposites definitely attract. I'd rather watch mold grow than sit through a four hour seminar about it. I'm sure he feels the same way about scrapbooking so it all evens out.
So, now, back to reality. Many jobs to complete in the field and to get entered, a pizza fundraiser to wrap up on Thursday, food to buy for another fundraiser on Friday, a fundraiser/community Easter egg hunt on Saturday, waiting anxiously to hear from our grant applications, Easter musical for church on Friday night, Kevin's mom coming Friday, Easter on Sunday, cooking Easter dinner and having the parents over on Sunday, squeezing in a visit to the nurisng home to see Grandmother sometime during the holiday and I'm sure some house cleaning and laundry to keep it spicy.
I need a vacation. :-)
Heart contents by Maria at 8:18 PM
Monday, March 17, 2008
Kevin has a class in Atlanta tomorrow and since it is spring break, Josh and I decided to tag along. Hey, it's a free night in a hotel, away from home and it will involve a stop at the Cracker Barrel. Who would pass that up? As for Josh, there will be pool time and so he's all for it. Sadly, he woke up last night with what has turned out to be a RAGING ear infection and we had to make a stop at the doctor's office and at Walgreens for antibiotics. The doctor also gave him an antihistimine and decongestant to help dry him up. He just never got all the "funk" out from when he had strep back-to-back with the flu. I'm hoping spring is coming and these germs will all die soon. Oh, look, I'm off topic again!
Anyway, as we are driving there I thought about the hotel that Kevin booked, a Fairfield Inn/Suites -- because it was the only one in the area that had an indoor pool, of course. And I immediately went back in time some five years to a summer in Orlando, Florida to a Fairfield Inn and Suites near Disney World in a lobby where I first met several of the members of my birth family. I met Derek, his girlfriend/fiance' Nicki and her son, Robert and his wife Tammy and her son and Ricky. I still remember what I wore, what I felt and how very scared I was to go down to that lobby to meet those people. My sister was living in North Carolina at that time and wasn't there and my birth mom, well, she didn't come, but nonetheless, it was a momentthat changed my life forever.
Sadly, since then, my brother Derek has passed away and really that's what took me back there. I really miss him. Most days I go along just fine and don't think about him, but some days it really hits hard. He was just so good and so young and so much like me. We spent hours and hours on the phone talking and talking when we found each other. I get teary just thinking about it now and he's been gone two and a half years now. Sometimes Josh will say something and sound like him and I'll just stop and stare. Sometimes I'll throw out some crazy piece of humor and think, "Derek would have really gotten that and thought it was a riot." I've noticed Josh drawing a lot lately and Derek was an artist. His last job was at EA Sports creating artwork for video games. He was SUCH a kid at heart. Josh asked the other day if he practiced enough could he go to art school. I told him he could do whatever made him happy. I don't know if he has talent, but I know genetically he could. I know that whatever he wants to do in life I'll be behind him, supporting him. I wish Derek were around to share the ups and downs of our adoption. I wish I could just call him up and hear his voice.
Strange, how just the thought of a hotel can bring back all that.
Heart contents by Maria at 3:46 PM
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Rules are to link to Ukok's Place http://catholicconvert.wordpress.com/then choose 5 other bloggers for this award.
Ah... and there is the problem. Choosing only five websites??? When there are so many blogs I follow regularly? How to choose.
So, with no offenses meant and hopefully none taken for those I choose and those I must save for another time, I nominate:
Hilary at A Leap of Faith (aka Bringing Home Anara)
Anita at He Leads Us
Allison at In a Land Far Far Away
Verna at The Bigs and The Littles
Andrea at Holding on for the Ride
Heart contents by Maria at 3:11 PM
Friday, March 14, 2008
I started at the Robertson County Clerk's Office and let me say they are the MOST friendly and efficient folks!! And, additionally, since their Clerk has a heart for adoption, she has determined that certification for adoption is (get this) FREE!!! It's one of the only things in this process that has been free!
After that, I headed over to the Davidson County Clerk's office. I got a parking spot right up front and walked right in with no waiting and was done in less than 10 minutes.
I headed over to be fingerprinted after that. Apparently, I have perfect fingerprints. I'm SO HAPPY to have something perfect about me. *smile* Processing time in the Memphis CIS is 8 weeks so hopefully, we will get the I171H right about the time we get our referral or have to travel.
I then spent 20 minutes driving around downtown Nashville trying to find a parking spot near the building where I had to get our documents authenticated. Finally, on what I had decided was my last round before I parked three miles away, I found a spot -- right in front of the door again. The lady working there was the same one who did ours for China. She is SO nice!! They were also not busy and I managed to get them done quickly. Right at the end, I realized one of the documents I had combined really needed to be separate. Unfortunately, it was one that was from Robertson County so I had to drive back to that office to get a new certification. I will go Monday and get it authenticated and put the package in the mail. I just didn't have the energy (or gas money, for that matter!!! at $3.19 a gallon) to drive back to Nashville.
And, the best of all is that after reading about how much folks in other states have had to pay for their authentications, I was very pleased to have walked away with all my documents having only paid $40.
Our fundraiser for this weekend (concessions at a ball tournament) was cancelled due to the storms that are expected. While this is disappointing in that we needed to have the fundraiser, it will answer a prayer that our family has been praying for just a little time to get some things done at our house. I'm behind in my paperwork and Kevin's working very hard on building up the floor in the office.
I'm EXCITED to report my friend Jennifer has received her daughter -- a big surprise to me as I thought she was still waiting in the Vietnam program. Congratulations to her and her beautiful daughter. Jennifer was my Secret Santa this past Christmas. Visit her blog here.
Heart contents by Maria at 8:10 PM
Fasting is a time honored Christian ritual. It is the voluntary sacrifice of food and sometimes drink, too. What is its purpose? How do we make a decision to fast? How long should we fast?
Abstaining from food is the typical kind of fast. (Daniel 6:18) There are occasions when people abstain from both food and drink, though this is not common. (Ezra 10:6) Typically, fasts are one day in length. (Judges 20:26) Sometimes, they are three days (Esther 4:16), or even seven days; “And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. (1 Samuel 31:13)
On three occasions in the Bible, people fasted for forty days. This is not a prescribed practice; these were very unusual circumstances. The first occasion was when Moses received the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:28) The next occasion was when Elijah encountered God before the anointing of Elisha. (1 Kings 19:8) The third occasion for such a fast was when Jesus was in the wilderness and tempted by Satan. (Matthew 4:2)
There are many reasons given in the Bible for fasting. The fasting itself is an act of sacrifice and when we fast and experience hunger, we are reminded of God and His sacrifice for us. While fasting denies the flesh comfort, it feeds the spirit strength. Fasts are voluntary, part of religious tradition or done in obedience to God. When you decide to fast, be clear with yourself and with God about why you are fasting, how long you will fast and use the time normally spent preparing and eating food to deepen your relationship with God. The fast should serve a purpose; there should be a significant reason for it.
Bereavement was once a common reason for fasting, though it is not so much anymore. The fasting may have been incidental in some cases but was often a way to feel closer to God during a particularly difficult time. “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4)
Distressing or difficult times are reasons for fasting. Fasting is a way of communicating feelings of fear, anxiety, distress or grief to God. Self-denial is one way of expressing genuineness or sincerity. It’s also a way of making a spiritual contribution to relieving the situation, a way of showing God a willingness to do our part and asking Him to make up the difference. (See Esther 4:3) Fasting is sometimes used as a sacrifice when asking God to intervene in a situation. “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” (Psalms 35:13)
Fasting can also be a way of expressing sorrow or regret for sin. God doesn’t ask us for this sacrifice but He is pleased by it. “And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, we have sinned against the LORD…”(1 Samuel 7:6) When this kind of sacrifice is made as a sincere gesture of sorrow or penitence, it is accepted by God.
When Christians seek guidance from God fasting may be an action that is helpful. The idea is to use the time we spend on food to spend with God instead. It provides extra time to spend in prayer, worship and listening. It is also a way of preparing for a spiritual event or change. It’s an act of submission, a way to get our desire out of the way in order to allow the spirit to work. (Acts 13:1-3)
Fasting can be a form of worship. “And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” (Luke 2:37) Surrendering comfort as an act of worship is not necessary but it is pleasing to God if it is sincere. It is much like saying, “Thank you God for giving Your Son for me. Let me be a little uncomfortable for Your sake.” Here again fasting is an act of sacrifice.
Fasting is a way of communicating emotion to God; it’s a sacrifice that can be made for the sake of restoring a right relationship with God, or can be made coupled with a request for help. Fasting is a way to subdue our flesh for the sake of our spirit. Fasting must be done sincerely to be a pleasing sacrifice to God.
Fasting can be used for a variety of reasons but it must be done sincerely. Choosing to fast can be a way to communicate feelings like sorrow, grief, and regret but it can also be a way of worshipping God. Fasts can be a sacrifice when we ask God for help or guidance and they can be acts of obedience when God asks us to fast. Fasts are time limited and are done for a reason; be clear about how long you will fast and why you are fasting. Whatever your reason for fasting, use the extra time to grow closer to God. He will honor your sacrifice.
Here are some other great links for fasting if you are interested:
Prayer and Fasting - Focusing on God
Scriptures on Praying and Fasting
Fasting - The Key to Power
Heart contents by Maria at 7:48 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Heart contents by Maria at 10:30 PM
Heart contents by Maria at 9:54 PM
I'm such a "mean" mama!!! :-)
Heart contents by Maria at 9:42 PM
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So, the last few weeks were not surprising, I suppose to me, but they have proven to be an enigma. During a time I should probably be the happiest since we are so close to the "prize" or the "goal", I find myself feeling ambivalent. This seems to be the best word to describe my emotions right now. I'm tired from all the work that we are pouring out right now with trying to get our house in order so we can add another person and from fundraising to raise funds more quickly than we had anticipated we would need them.
Somewhere along the way I lost sight of why we were doing this. I got caught up in the thought and process of adoption and forgot to focus on the outcome of the adoption. Someone who is adopting using our same agency just travelled for their first trip. They shared their blog with me yesterday and I spent quite a while marveling over this tiny baby girl that they were blessed with being told was theirs. Somehow, in the painting, the hammering, the baby clothes, the pizza kits and the paperwork, I haven't been still enough to think about the child, the baby.
I got a sample diaper in the mail today. When I held it, the reality of the fact that a little wiggling baby girl would be in that diaper and in our home and our hearts came crashing in. I went into her room and thought of her sleeping there, crying in the middle of the night. I think, because I have been here and done that before, I can understand that even though she is not "real" to us yet, she is going to touch our hearts, our home and our family in such a way that none of us will ever be the same people as we were before she came. I hope I can change her life in a positive way as well.
A friend commented as we talked about the things I'm writing here that I'm in my last trimester of our adoption pregnancy -- the time when you are most miserable, most anxious and most afraid. You have no idea when the baby is coming, but know that everything is going to change. You are tired from all the work of just existing and carrying a baby. You are so anxious about "nesting" and getting it all ready for the baby and yet you are also so tired. That's exactly where I seem to find myself these days.
Our family is ready (pretty much, anyway) to receive our referral when it comes. We are ready to dive in headfirst to find what our "new normal" is going to be. We are ready to go back to life without the burden of adoption work. While adoption will always be a part of our lives, of Ellie's and my history, it doesn't have to be the focus of our lives all the time -- like this seems to be.
I can envision my little girl. I see her small with dark hair -- lots of it -- and dark eyes. She will be dark complexioned. I see her tiny fingers clutched around one of ours. I see her yawn and hear her coo. I see her sleeping in her brother's arms. I see her, just like her brother did, sleeping on her daddy's chest for a nap. I see her in church on Sundays, knowing "my girls" will all want to be holding her and playing with her (Sara, after all, has called dibs on babysitting). I see her at MeeMee's and DeeDee's for Christmas and at Nana's for Sunday afternoon dinner. I see her chasing the cats and laying on the dog like Josh used to do. And so while I am fearful, I am excited.
I found the following verses that gave me comfort this morning. I hope if there are other parents who are adopting and waiting that are reading, they will find some comfort in this as well,
The dossier is ready sans one employment letter and one set of police clearance letters. I forgot to tell them I needed two. I have have those done and a couple of documents notarized and Friday I will go about getting it all authenticated and certified. We also get our fingerprints done on Friday and will begin the tedious wait of getting our I171H.
We are waiting to hear from two others who are in front of us on the Adoption Options waiting list. When their referrals come I will begin to get antsy.
Heart contents by Maria at 7:09 AM
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Today we had the remaining dossier documents notarized. I thought that would finish things up, but wouldn't you know it, there is always a piece or two missing. I realized I only have one employment letter for me and the lady who did my letter is out this week. I only have one police clearance letter for each of us, but that lady is coming back this week. I need to make my photo pages which I can do within a very short period of time. I need to take the passport copies to the bank and have them notarized since I forgot to take them today. THANK YOU to Lisa for notarizing our things (again!). Will this dossier ever be done????
So... laundry tip. I have a messy, messy boy who loves condiments of all varieties and never fails to wear them. He gets this from me. We have found that Easy Off BAM will take out pretty much any condiment/grease stain on colored clothes. It works OK on whites, but you might have to run it through twice. On colored clothes though, we have managed to take out grease stains on clothing that has already been washed and dried several times. This is a product made to clean the grease off your appliances and out of your stove, so it makes sense. We have seen no loss of color on the items either. So, there's your tip for the day.
On the fundraising front (will that ever end??) we will be selling concessions at a softball tournament this weekend at Joelton Park. We are doing the breakfast booth on Saturday and Sunday. There are supposed to be between 20-30 teams there, so we are hopeful that it will be a productive couple of days. Our Sunday school class informed us today that they want to help with this by purchasing the items we will sell. I was just floored by this offer and generosity. I'm always amazed at the ways God chooses to help. It is never a way I would think of on my own.
Along those same lines, our pastor has encouraged us to memorize (in however long it takes us) ten scriptures. We are to pick verses that apply to us at where ever we are in life. We are to write them on cards and take them with us and study them until we have them memorized. I'm going to list my ten verses here so I don't forget them (people who know me will find this both funny and sad -- but true!). I'm cheating a little because some of them I already know, but during the next few months of this adoption, they are truths that I need to continually remind myself of. It's been a hard few weeks emotionally on the adoption front and I know if I commit these to memory, they will serve as a reminder of the promises made and kept.
Heart contents by Maria at 8:57 PM