Thursday, March 27, 2008

wonder twins in pinck

My boy is a little crabby.
But we have another sweet, sweet smile as well...

words are hard to find.

Honestly, it's been a hard several days. I am processing and sorting through all kinds of emotions. Usually, I find that at times like these, it's best not to try and blog. And probably, it's a bit too soon today as well. But somehow this helps heal me. This helps me figure out what is real and what is just a distortion in my mind. So this is pretty raw.

The first family is home. It's our turn now. There is nothing standing in our way from getting on a plane to get our kids except a phone call. A phone call that says, "come get them." I can feel us getting really close. Yet I know too it could still take them several months to make that call. I feel more intense, more urgent than I have yet in this process. And I still have no idea how much longer I have to wait. I want to pray about timing. But honestly wonder if God cares about that or if it's just my personal preferences. I am weary of praying and finding Him seemingly silent. I know in my head that it is more likely that I am not aware of His answers.

I seriously love these kids. It hurts. The longing for them is so real right now.

And yet in the same breath, I am fearful. I wonder if we really are going to be able to do this. Are we going to be able to nurture each of our children in the way they deserve? Are the boys going to be OK? Are we prepared and equipped to help Zeke and Kora through a very traumatic phase in their life? Is our marriage strong enough to handle the extra stress and pressure? Can we afford to feed them (seriously, Dawson has just started eating about 4 times as much as he used to)? How am I ever going to be able to figure out how to braid Kora's hair? Will they all ever know how much we love them and how committed we are to them?

I don't know if we can do it.

So two seemingly contradictory emotions have taken residence in my heart. And they are fighting it out.

At the same time, as the day approaches where Zeke and Kora will be physically present in our family, the critics seem to be on loud speaker. I don't know if it is me trying to prepare myself or wanting build a wall of protection for them before they get here.

I've said it before and I believe our lives and actions were provide evidence, but our love for Africa and our children there does not negate love and passion and commitment to our 'neighbor' here in America. Here and there. Both. Because we chose to give a home and family to children in Africa with no other options, does not mean we do not care about the people here. We have quickly become the biggest fans and advocates for families who are on the edge of caring for these children here as well. Many are our heroes in the truest sense. We have not and will not disengage from active involvement in people's lives here. Our eyes were opened to a need and we could not ignore, we could not turn our back on the children of SL. Race and location on the globe should not be determining factors on who is welcomed into a family.

Wish I could say it wasn't hurtful. Wish I could say I don't care.

I am working on getting a little tougher skin...as it appears having a large, transracial family will require it.

I wonder what heaven will be like? I imagine somehow that black hands will hold white hands. And I don't know why we have to wait for heaven to see it happen.

Our obedience to God is more important than people's comfort. God's promptings and peace are louder still than all our critics. And I love these children more than i dislike the disapproving looks.

So as I ache for them in anticipation of their arrival, my heart breaks as I recognize some of the challenges we will face. And as I wrestle round and round with fear and longing and anger and pure love--I know His grace will be sufficient. And I seen His heart more clearly than ever before. And that can't be such a bad place to be.

So for a blog entitled 'words are hard to find'--that was sure a lot of words.

Take it with a grain of salt...you are reading the heart of a 55 week pregnant mama of twins. I am quite uncomfortable.

Friday, March 21, 2008

we have connection.

Got the pictures this morning of Zeke and Kora receiving our package.
We have complete and utter cuteness from Zeke--

And I believe we have a smile from Miss Kora--

a little update

I got an email this morning from the mom currently in Dakar picking up her daughter from SL. She has a visa in hand!!! They should leave to come home tomorrow! We are taking a deep breath today and thanking God for this family and how they braved their way through this new program. We will hopefully be soon behind them.
She said this about Zeke and Kora after spending a little time with them:

“Zeke is so very tender and cuddly.
Kora has a sweet-heart and a hoot! What a personality she has! “

We are certainly missing them today. Kora apparently has 3 boils on her eye. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do wish I was there taking care of her.

therapy in blog lurking.

I love this. I needed this.

It is a post written by a Dad who just brought home his 3rd adopted child from Ethiopia…and added her to their already family of 4 biological kids.

I don’t know them, but he does a great job of capturing a lot of the emotions of adoption and family.

This one in particular I just understand. Even now in process, I have moments of longing for a simpler life…

And it’s good to know I am not alone. And that it is worth it.

Read it here.

just good

I was trying to get a quote out of the below prayer to post. But I couldn’t. The whole thing was too good and gave me the words when I couldn’t find them.

‘Dear Lord, in the midst of much inner turmoil and restlessness, there is a consoling thought; maybe you are working in me in a way I cannot yet feel or experience or understand. My mind is not able to concentrate on you, my heart is not able to remain centered, and it seems as if you are absent and have left me alone. But in faith, I cling to you. I believe your Spirit reaches deeper and further than my mind or heart, and that profound movements are not the first to be noticed.
Therefore, Lord, I promise I will not turn away, not give up, not stop praying, even when it seems useless, pointless, and a waste of time and effort. I want to let you know that I love you even though I do not feel loved by you, and that I hope in you even though I often experience despair. Let this be a little dying I can do with you and for you as a way of experiencing some solidarity with the millions in this world who suffer far more than I do.
Amen.’ (Nouwen)

well, that was good practice.

Andy had a conversation at a restaurant yesterday. Luckily he dealt with it graciously and didn’t tell me until after we left what was said. A couple, who we really do not know well, had some strong opinions about our adoption and felt the need to share. Now I was steaming.

Everything in my being felt as though I wanted to turn the car around, flip some tables perhaps, and share a couple things of my own. It was so hurtful. And so wrong in my understanding of the Jesus.

Andy and I talked through it and began to discuss how we will deal with it in the future. Because surely, it won’t be the last time.

I had to do some searching and deal with my own anger. Praying not for God to open the eyes of others, but for me to see all people–including those who hurt me or my children–with eyes of grace and love and forgiveness. This, my friends, is not easy.

I’m pretty sure there was steam coming out of my ears all day yesterday. I’m better today.

This quote posted on Joanna and Taylor’s blog had new meaning this morning…and has become today’s prayer–

“It is not our job to convict the world, but to live as a convicted person.” (John Piper)

those are our kids.

I have been put in contact with ‘the first family’ in the SL adoption program (the ones who are currently in SL picking up their daughter). I love them and have so appreciated their wisdom and encouragement.
Anyway, I was looking through old pictures of theirs from their first trip to SL which was about a year ago. The mom is a wonderful photographer. And I was getting so excited as I flipped through looking for pictures of Zeke and Kora. She had taken beautiful head shots of each of the children in the home. I knew as I clicked through that I was getting closer to some gorgeous, unseen pictures of our kiddos. All the children were smiling beautifully, breathtaking shots. And I finally got to Zeke and Kora– (their only pictures, the only ones with this particular pose…)



They are going to fit right in around here.

its a small world indeed.


Most of you are never going to be able to follow how we are connected with the above people.
I grew up in Colorado with Josh’s family. Have been lurking and chatting with Amy through the blogs. Both passionate about our babies and the place they come from. They live in Oklahoma. We live in Muscatine.

Today we ran into each other in the Des Moines mall.

So weird.

So much fun!

Silas is cuter in real life than he is in pictures…and he is pretty darn cute in pictures.

I got black skin and hair care 101.

We shared a few stories and a couple hugs and enjoyed connecting again (and for the first time) with a family whose hearts beat in such a similar way.

And as all good bloggers should, Amy and I both had our cameras in our purses….

new pictures of zeke.


Friday, March 7, 2008

an update.

We got an update on the kids today.

A couple funny things. I know a lot is lost in translation..but we got a few glimpses into their sweet little lives.

Both are still weighing in at 21 to 22 pounds…tiny little ones.

Kora was taken to the doctor this month for a fever and runny nose and treated with what sounds like an antibiotic (so weird and kind of scary that they go to the doctor without us knowing).

There is a list of questions on the update form.

Zeke’s went like this:
Does the child obey? Yes. Is the child happy? Yes. Sad? No. Angry? No.

Kora’s went like this:
Does the child obey? Yes, she’s very obedient. Is the child happy? Yes. Sad? No. Angry? Yes.

:-)

She’s strong. And perhaps occasionally pissed. I get that.

Zeke is described as ‘an easy going child and likes singing, playing and smiling.’

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

we got to send the kids a package.

The traveling family offered to take the kids a package for us!  I was so excited.  It was our first opportunity to do this.

We gathered all this...to fit into a ziploc.



We were in a major time crunch (like everything else in this adoption...wait, wait, wait, hurry! hurry!) to get this to the traveling family.


So I had big dreams for what I would send them...but they could not be completed in 24 hours. So we had to improvise.


And it came together.


The photo album--with pictures from our time in SL and of all the boys and our family.


I used my Krio workbook to use a couple words the nannies and kids would understand.



We used a little voice recorder and left some messages for them.


Each of the boys gave a little greeting.


For a very goofy group, they were all very serious about their messages...



Andy sang a couple songs with his guitar. 'Jesus Loves the LIttle Children' and 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'You are My Sunshine.'


I recorded myself reading them a bedtime story.



"How long will you be my mother?"


"Always," said Mama.


"How long will you love me?"


"Always." Mama smiled.


"How long is always?"


"Miles and miles forever," said Mama.