Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HOME.

For those who don't check the other blog...
We are all home and settling in.
We made it through a whirlwind trip to Africa and brought home the 2 most beautiful and amazing little people.

Go to jodyrlanders.com ---scroll back to get the full story and see how things are looking now at the Landers house.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Houston, We Have VISAS!!!

I'm am sneaking my way off this ferris wheel and heading to Africa!

The call came this morning, the kids have visas and we can go get them!!!

fine line.

i'm walking such a fine line between peace and panic.

it seems like with each passing moment, i swing from one to the other.

it's this "risky hope" as someone else put it.

it's so very uncomfortable.

nothing

I think we can safely say no news will come today.

I don't know, people. I need it to come tomorrow.

I do feel we are in some sort of spiritual battle.

It's very bizarre and I don't really know how to describe it.

On a lighter note:

I did find these replica posters on etsy.

The background is this:

In the Spring of 1939, with war against Germany all but inevitable, the British Government's Ministry of Information commissioned a series of propaganda posters to be distributed throughout the country at the onset of hostilities. It was feared that in the early months of the war Britain would be subjected to gas attacks, heavy bombing raids and even invasion. The posters were intended to offer the public reassurance in the dark days which lay ahead.

Not only perfect for adoptive parents. I think it will be rather appropriate in a house with 6 small children as well.

So here it is. Hanging on our living room wall.

tuesday.

I feel like time is standing still.

I want to crawl into bed and wake up only when the phone rings to give me an answer.

I know that is horrible.

The boys have lots going on this week. I need to be present--fully present--for them.

I'm afraid I am failing miserably today.

I am trying not to be an alarmist.

I am trying to be realistic.

The truth is we have no idea what is going on over there.

It could be that they are just slow.

Or it could be that there is some problem.

We don't know.

In my mind, I understand that I should not be panicking yet.

I should just relax, turn it over to the Lord, and carry on.

Could someone please tell me how to do this?

I can say that the sparkling clean car and continual consumption of processed sugar is not even touching the aching and heavy heart.

It usually helps.

Not today.

OK.

(originally posted monday, 5/19)
Breathe in. Breathe out.

Dakar responded this morning and said, "We are hoping to have a decision by the end of the week."

And this decision determines, not timing, but whether or not we will ever bring Zeke and Kora home.

It was not an encouraging email.

First of all because it looks like at best we will know something at the END of the week.

Which means a full week on the warp speed ferris wheel that is literally making me so sick.

And second, the tone made me so nervous.

I am trying not to panic yet...but I would venture to say that now, if ever, is a very, very critical time. And some of our worst fears are real threats.

The agency even said today that we "need to be asking for God's will to be done in these children's lives." And although I do believe that and it is my prayer, it is so, so scary to think that his plan for these kids might not include us. Neither the agency nor us has ever truly allowed ourselves to go there. You can't in this process. But now we are.

And I can't describe that to you.

Prayer is one of those mysteries that I just have never quite understood. All I know is that He asks us to do it. And so I will continue.

But I must say even in my prayers....I'm so scared.

Monday, May 19, 2008

full circle.

Looks like we are going to do a full circle again today.

No word from Dakar.

Our agency has emailed them and asked for an update.

We won’t hear anything about that until tomorrow or Wednesday at the earliest.

Ugh. It’s the knotted stomach that I just can’t shake.


I’ve read that when you feel poor or out of control of your life–you should clean your car. I’ve found in the past that it actually kind of helps.
So today we are deep cleaning our cars.
Good times.

i hate ferris wheels.

I hate ferris wheels.

I don’t know. They are just not good on my stomach.

I have forced myself a couple times to ride them with the boys. And every time, I just try and concentrate and count until it is over and I can get off! It is just the most uncomfortable feeling.

The going up. The coming down. The constant motion.

Every now and then, it would stop to let someone off. I would take a deep breath each time it stopped. Trying to gather myself until it started moving again. It would start moving again. And I would squeeze the hands of whoever was sitting next to me. And then just hope that we would be the next one to get off.

That’s kind of how I feel tonight.

Like I’m on top of the ferris wheel. It stopped for a second (the week-end). And I caught my breath. But I know that the only way to get off is to keep going around. So I am gearing up for the wheel to start moving again.

Monday comes in the morning. Africa works all night tonight.

Here we go….

it's friday.

The week is over.
I kept telling myself, “It’s OK, Jody. YOu still have three more days, two more days, one more day until Friday. You can do this until the end of the week.”
I was pretty confident that I could not go into a week-end without hearing anything.
It looks like I have no choice.
And that future grace is starting to kick in.
It is nearly impossible to describe the anticipation and then the let-down that came with each day this week. And the weight of wondering if something is going wrong. And the disappointment of being unable to prepare to bring them home after we were almost certain it would happen this week. Our hearts and minds must race with the possibilities that the future of our family is very unknown right now. We do not know what is going to happen…
But for now we are heading into the week-end. The next possible opportunity for any information is Monday.
We are emotionally exhausted. I have never experienced anything like it before. But Andy and I have regrouped after dealing individually with the stress of it all.
And we need to be present and enjoy the boys. There are no other options.
Please continue to pray with us for a favorable embassy decision very soon.

wow.

well, this qualifies, I believe, as a hard day.

andy and i are at our breaking points.

we are trying. but i think the pressure we are putting on ourselves to hold it together and not let it affect us might be making it more complicated.

there are some outside circumstances that are adding strain as well.

breathe in. breathe out.

i don’t know, folks.

ugh.

Adoption, my friends, sucks sometimes.
I literally had myself physically sick this morning waiting for a phone call.
We have indication that we should hear about visa approval this week.
I thought Monday or Tuesday should of been the day.
But the window of opportunity on those two days has closed (meaning they are not working in Africa right now and therefore will not send notice of visas).
So it means tomorrow, I have to do this again.
From 7 to about 8:30 am, I am so sick.
There is a lot riding on these visas. Everything hinges on these visas.
No visas…no homecoming.
And the weight of that is so heavy.
We do believe the signs are positive. But you never know…
With word of approval, it will be a mad rush to get arrangements made to get to Africa.
This limbo stuff I am not crazy about.
I need a nap…but I can’t sleep.
I want to throw up…but I have no appetite.
I want to trust Him and simply relax and wait…but well, I just haven’t figured out how to do that.

monday

(we were told 2 weeks ago that the field investigation should be done within 2 weeks. And the investigators were at the orphanage one week ago. Judging from those signs, we assumed we would certainly have approval this week)

I was up most of the night tossing and turning. I kept thinking, “It’s daytime in Africa. Please let them get their work done today!”
We were hoping for confirmation today but it didn’t happen. Night is falling there now so we will pray for tomorrow.
But we did get new pictures!
And I’m sorry, but this is hilarious….



First of all, they are the most beautiful little people ever.
And check out his shoes! Oh my gosh.
And Kora’s hair. I believe they must be preparing her for her white mama by shaving her head….
We love them.
The end.

As if I wasn't emotional enough...

I walked upstairs because I noticed a light on in Zeke and Kora’s room.
I was a bit frustrated because they boys are not supposed to be in there.
Frustration grew when I walked in and saw baskets stacked on top of each other and a number of things out of place.
Until I noticed this:


Gabe had taken great effort to get up to the shelf to put this note on it.
‘Zeke and Kora. I’m glad you are here. From your big brother Gabe.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Operation Homecoming Blog Auction


We are having fun over at the other blog trying to raise travel funds to bring Zeke and Kora home. My family and friends are putting on an auction using the 'Africa Bags' we crafted and lots of special treasures.
Surely, surely I should never forget those who helped us bring these babies home...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

breakout 2

Breakout two was taught Mark Gregston who runs a ministry and intensive therapy camp for troubled teens.

Honestly, I walked in the room and wanted to sneak out the back. I just kind of had a feeling he was going to scare me.

And I think that was his point. That's what he wanted to do.

The thing I hear him saying is, "If you are an adoptive parent and you think you are going to get through this thing without some sort of intense suffering, you are a fool."

But rather than making me question everything, it actually was comforting to me.

Because unlike much of Christianity today, we need to understand that God's aim is not a conflict-free home. A suffering-free life was never in His plan.

So rather than shrink from it or be shocked by it, we just need to be prepared. Prepared to embrace suffering if we have to. Prepare to enter into our child's pain and have conflict with our child.

Just because it's hard and the children struggle does NOT mean God's fingerprints are not ALL over it. He calls parents to times like these.

He encouraged us to talk about the hard stuff. Help others embrace it. And don't freak out. (my paraphrase). :-)

I didn't really want to hug him as much.

I did want to say "Thank You" and "I hope I don't ever have to send any of my children to your camp." :-)

But I know it's a possibility....

from my breakouts.

I hesitate to even try and sum up what I learned. But I will attempt to articulate a couple thoughts that I took from my breakout sessions.

I went to 2 breakouts that were specifically addressing the needs, issues, and support of adoptive families.

The first was taught by Karyn Purvis whose book, "The Connected Child," has been sitting on my night stand. I have read it. But I didn't 'get' it until I saw her explain and demonstrate the principles. She is a scientist. A research Ph.D. who is the director of an Institute for Child Development. She's a smart lady. She tried to explain to us what happens in a child's brain when they experience harm or great loss in the beginning of their life. There is science that can clearly show that things change in the body when that happens.

But what struck me was the tears that would well up in her eyes as she talked about 'science.' Coming from a clinical and research background, it was her passion that captivated me. She so longed to train parents how to connect with a child whose brain has been altered by no fault of their own.

It was fascinating. Slightly overwhelming. But hopeful as well.

It certainly prepared me to bunker down for a couple months of hard work when Zeke and Kora first come home.

I wanted to hug her.

I didn't.

But I wanted to.

Orphan Summit

(I snuck away this past week-end to attend the Orphan Summit in Florida. It is an alliance of adoption, foster care, and orphan care activists and workers and parents combining voices for the cause of the fatherless. I am trying to unpack some of the information and blog it in order to remember....)

So there is no way I can recapture everything or really give you an accurate glimpse of the things God did in my heart and the things God is doing around the world on behalf of forgotten children...

But a few highlights--

Kay Warren spoke (or really wept her way through 45 minutes) about the responsibility of the Church. Her faith and evangelical Church had prepared her and she could teach lessons on how to find the best price on chicken breasts in town, how to lose those 10 extra pounds, how to decorate a table, and even have a family devotion. But what her faith did not prepare her for was meeting a woman dying of AIDS living under a tree whose only cry was "Who is going to take care of my children when I die?" As the wife of the most recognizable pastor in America, she was not prepared. And she can almost guarantee 98% of her church body was not either.

Does your church have an answer to that woman's question? I hear that over and over in my head these days. "Does your church have an answer for that?"

143 Million orphans in the world. What is the Church going to do about that?

(I can only blog for 5 minutes at a time these days. I'll be back later with the other reminders and challenges that haunt me....)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So.

So apparently our agency does not only email first thing in the morning.

I got an email at about 2 today that said they had gotten word from Dakar that they have 'strong hope' that the Visas will ready within 2 weeks.

2 weeks and we could have clearance to GO!

But nothing is definite.

Andy and I were both very cautious in our excitement.

This is the first we have heard in months. I was smiling. But I would not allow myself to freak out yet.

So I made a couple calls to some friends who I knew would scream.

They did not disappoint.

And they got excited enough to cover my caution.

It was nice.

Andy says he won't relax with jubilee until we are on the plane with them in US air space.

This is progress, folks.

Please keep praying for the action that will happening over in SL in the next couple weeks.

it's a sick game.

Each week day morning I get a little excited.

Because I know it is possible that we could hear something.

I know my agency gets to work at 8 am Colorado time.

I know she is checking her email first thing for word from the Embassy.

If by 8:10 (9:10 our time) I have not heard anything--it means I probably won't hear anything that day.

So by 9:10, I get a wave of saddness.

Another day with no news.

Our agency worker said I was doing a good job being patient.

How nice...
....and how disillusioned of her.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

he's ready for us to pick him up.

Photo taken by the first traveling family.

Doesn't he look like he is ready for us...ready for anyone to pick him up?