Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm Still Here

I've not run away; I'm not in Ethiopia, and I'm not shouting through the street telling everyone my good news. I've just been quietly soaking in the knowing that I am the mother of two amazing little people that will soon call this their home. These two weeks have been the calmest and most reflective time of this entire adoption journey and I feel myself slowly pulling away from the adoption hooohah of it all to the real-life mothering of it all.

For months, I couldn't sleep at night wondering what the first day home with the kids would be like and what we would eat. I now realize that in the two years that I've walked, run, cried, shouted and crawled through this process that I've also obsessed over every decision playing out hundereds of scenarios in my head. At the same time I was also doing some important preparation work for the life we would have together; however nothing prepared me more than going to spend three days with my children in December. They aren't just pictures on a page to me, I know their personalities, I've heard their voices, held their hands, kissed them, wiped their snotty noses, measured their feet, pressed my hands against their hands, and looked deep into their eyes with our foreheads pressed together. I walked out of the gate that night after kissing them on their cheeks knowing that I would return. I can't believe that six months will have passed before I see them again.

I've thought through most decisions that I needed to make for them hundreds of times like church, summer activities, school, language, family introductions, friends, doctors, food, clothes sizes, shoe sizes, sleeping arrangements, and crisis plans. I thought I'd feel more anxious now, more hurried, more how-do-I-get prepared but I just feel very calm and more steady. I'm not frantic about what I will pack or making travel plans that is the easy stuff.

I've researched, made decisions, revised decisions several times and now I am loving not having to wonder how to decide and if I'm making the right decisions. Now, I can just do and undo! I'm much better at doing than talking about doing, And, I've been busy doing things to help make their homecoming and transition a little easier (I hope).

The only unease that I do have is knowing that my children who were two of nine when I was there in December are now the last two of nine older children left at the orphanage. The director has decided to not take more children and they have watched their friends go off to live in Denmark and America and I'm sure they must be wondering what's taking me so long. When I think about that I do get a bit uneasy but, we are at the point of counting days now so even that will be of no more concern. I predict that all the time that has lapsed in between will instantly melt into the right here, right now and we will be in Illinois talking about, the do-you-remember-whens.

I know you all have had questions and I'll try to answer the big one:
  • How old are the kids? My son is 5(ish) and my daughter is 6(ish) probably 7.

  • What are their names? They are Meron and Wondessen. When I'm thinking about them they are affectionately known as Mimi and Desi or Baby Des but since I'm not a nicknames kind of person they may only hear those names sparingly in private moments. I am keeping their names and have chosen to give them Ethiopian middle names that are also Bible place names, much to my Robbin's dismay; however in some circles my baby girl will always be Merin Robbin.

  • Do they know about you and are they excited? They met me in December without knowing that I would be their mother. Since then they have been told and Kelly assures me that they remember me and are excited.

  • Where are their pictures? There are a bunch of them on Facebook and I'm just not comfortable at this point putting them on the blog. I'm still working through this one.

  • When do you travel? I'm keeping that to myself at this point, but I am making plans. Say a prayer that all of the travels go smoothly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Funny Thing About Adoption

Well, I don't know if this is funny haha but it is funny like curious. Think back to when you first thought about adopting. You spent time really thinking through and about your decision. You researched the process, you go through different scenarios thinking of how you will tell your friends and family.

Then you announce that you've made a decision to adopt. People immediately ask, when do you get the kids?

You spent months explaining and explaining the process and that you have to apply and then get a referral. You spent your weeks or months on the waist list and are so excited that you are getting close to the top and you share your excitement and explain that you are CLOSE. People want to know what's taking so long?

You explain and explain the process. Then you get the call or finally get a referral and you are busting at the seems with JOY! You share your excitement and people ask, so when do you get the kids?

You explain and explain that a referral means a child has been chosen for you and in all of your excitement and happiness people want to know. Well what happened to their parents? When do you get the kid?

You explain and explain and you anxiously, patiently, frantically wait to be assigned a court date. You mark the date in big red letters on a calendar and share the great news and people say, so when you go to the court is that when you get the kids?

You explain and explain and then you nervously, anxiously, patiently, frantically wait for the court date to arrive and maybe it is less that favorable news. You share your disappointment and people console you and then instantly ask, well are you still going to get the kids? Why is it taking so long?

Then May 18th comes and though I'd known for several days that I had a Monday court date I decided not to share it with anybody. That way I didn't have to give updates or explain. I also took a bold step. I decided on Monday to turn my cell phone OFF rather than feel the anxiety of running to it and checking it. I also decided not to check e-mail but rather just wanted to have a normal day and check on things when I felt most at ease.

I had work conference calls scheduled ALL day. I believe that I found out just before noon that the case had been finalized but I found it out browsing e-mail while on a business conference call. It was great news but I decided that I didn't want to share the information but I wanted to keep it ALL to myself. I'd waiting a long time for it and I didn't want to share my thoughts or feelings with ANYBODY. I didn't want to answer questions, I just wanted time to soak it all in by myself.

I believe that I called my father at about 2pm and I knew that he knew not to pepper me with a lot of questions. Like me he was so happy to hear the news that he just wanted time to process it all. We talked without screams or shouts about what it meant to us and for us and then we talked casually about travel options and prices. I had two more work conference calls and then contacted the kid's godfather, it was a simple congratulations because he also understood the long hard road and how important it was to just keep it right there, focused on this one moment of the journey. I had one more conference call and called my best fried at worked I think we both were so overwhelmed that we cried and talked workplace softly about how important and meaningful it was. "Thank God", is all she kept saying. "We did it. We finally did it." It was a quiet fifteen minutes together and we just hung onto the moment. It was very important for me to share the news with these three people who were the first people who ever knew my plans and have supported me in an awesome way for nearly two years.

In between calls I just sat with myself, I went into the kid's room, I touched their things and quietly got on my last conference call for the day. It was just too important a day to shout from the rooftops and take a chance that those within hearing distance would want to rush me on to the next step, "so when do you get the kids?" The moment that I legally became their mother was so monumental that it was not time, is not time to move on to those details.

At about 5:30pm I finally called my coordinator to let her know that I had indeed read her e-mails and that I'd not vanished from the face of the earth but just wanted time to take it all in. She confirmed that what I'd read was true, I was really their mother. That was about the same time that I made the announcement on Facebook. I had so many well wishes and prayers and congratulations and I was truly moved by them all. Still, I need more time for quiet reflection, moments to give heartfelt praise for this step alone without feeling the pressure of what comes next.

Isn't it funny how we pray and ask for things and then when we get it, we barely take time to give thanks before we say, okay now what I need is... I just say thank you for where I am. This final court decree is the BLESSING! I sat down with my friend to celebrate over dinner last night and just enjoyed this BLESSING without talking about what is next.

I've learned through this process that time takes care of itself but praise and thanksgiving is something that we can control. You can ask me but please don't feel offended if I don't answer what is next or when. I'm still reflecting on the wonder of the day and praising Him for this monumental gift.

Thank You!

Monday, May 18, 2009

REJOICE In The Midst of it All

What a day!

I barely got this post in before the strike of midnight. But I stop the clock on my wait since I learned that the adoption was made final today -- May 18, 2009 (32 days since my original court date). The day has brought with it many different emotions, none that I'm sure I could have predicted but more than anything in my heart their is nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful that I was led to this journey, grateful for all the good things that have happened along the way, grateful for the stops and starts, grateful for the high hurdles, and seemingly impossible mountains that I had to climb. I'm grateful that through it all, at every stop along the way when their were doubts, false starts, fear, and disbelief that Jesus kept me not in spite of but in the midst of it all.

This is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite gospel albums of all times. It sums up me feelings on this day better than any words I could ever say. As I listened to this song today, I think that this not only my song but it is the song of my children as well. There lives don't only begin anew once they find their way to me, Jesus has faithfully kept them through it all, in the midst of it all and no matter what I've gone through at 43 it pales when I compare it to what they have already endured at 5 and 6. There is nothing in my life that I could have ever done to deserve this opportunity and when I did things to blow the opportunity He was ever faithful to me. For that, too, I am grateful.

I've come through many hard trials
Through temptations on every hand
Though Satan's tried to stop me
And to place my feet on sinking sand
Through the pain and all of my sorrows
Through tears and all of my fears
The Lord was there to keep me
For He's kept me in the midst of it all

Not because I've been so faithful
Not Because I've always obeyed
It's not because I trust him
To be with me all of the way
But it's because He loves me so dearly
He was there to answer my call
There always to protect me
For He's kept me in the midst of it all

I've come through many hard trials
Through temptations on every hand
Though Satan's tried to stop me
And to place my feet on sinking sand
Because Jesus loves me dearly
He was there to answer my call
There always to protect me
For He's kept me in the midst of it all

No He's never left me
And He' never let me fall
Oh yes He will protect you
For He's kept me in the midst of it all

Yes, He kept me
Yes, Jesus kept me
Jesus kept me [3x], in the midst of it all
For He's kept me in the midst of it all

When I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Jesus kept me. Jesus kept me.
With his power Jesus kept me.
He didn't let me fall. Jesus kept me.
Right there, right there in the midst of it all.
In the midst of it all.

I don't know what you're going through. Jesus kept me.
But would you allow me to encourage you.
I know it he did it for me, for me, for me, for me.
He will do the same for you. In the midst of it all.
Jesus. Jesus. Yes he did!
Jesus. Jesus. Yes he did!
I don't know nobody else to call in time of trouble.
I tried my mother and I know she loved me.
I tried my family and I know they love me.

Nobody but Jesus.
He held my hand, he brought me through.
He wouldn't let me fall, so let me encourage you.
Don't give up! Don't give in!
I don't care what nobody else says. You can win.
With Jesus. With Jesus.
You can make.
Just understand that you have everything inside of you to take it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Faith Is...

Growing up in the CME church every Sunday we would begin with the Apostle's Creed. The question was, In whom do you believe? We answered, I believe in God the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ His only son our Lord who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified died and buried. The third day he arose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty...

I guess that I've repeated those words so many times in my life that today I can say that my faith is not something that I have to check on moment by moment. It is not situational or engaged because of or in spite of circumstances that change day to day. Either you believe or you do not. I do not have to continually assess the reality, sovereignty, or power of the God of my creation based upon how much or how often I get the things that I want when I want them. Either you believe or you do not.

Faith is for me the core of who I am and not something that I summon to get me through difficult times. Living and walking in faith is not a difficult thing for me. How can I look at the world, my place in it, the situations that I've come through, the grace that I've been shown, all the chances undeserved that I've been given, and not believe that there is something bigger, grander, and more powerful than myself silently moving on my behalf.

It is well, for I have faith that whatever comes in this life I will be what I have been called to be, standing where I have been positioned to stand, and doing what I was called to do.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]