I've written about 23 blog posts in my mind over the past month... But haven't had time (or energy or motivation or SOMETHING) to actually type them out. So I thought I'd do a hodge podge post of things we've had going on and things we're thinking about.
Our last piece of paperwork was shipped to Ug this week, which sends us to a new chapter in our waiting. At some point we'll be submitted for court and receive our court date. We're excited, but also realize that court date could be relatively soon... Or we could still be waiting next month. Or next year even. And that's OK. (at least today. Today I'm really resting in the Lord's timing. Ask me again tomorrow and maybe you'll get another answer. But I'm committed to patience with this process. It does feel a little like the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, when you technically could have the baby, but probably won't for a month or more.)
While we wait...
...We continue to be blown away by the support and encouragement we've received from so many.We don't know what our final cost will be, but we do know that God has provided. I was just thinking this week that it would be nice if I could earn/raise just a bit more in these next weeks...and got a check in the mail for the exact amount I had in mind, from an old and very dear friend. I'm amazed. And a little ashamed at how amazed I am. Thank you for loving us, and for the encouragement that God provides through you. He is so good.
... A sweet friend who is also an adoptive mommy encouraged me last month to be all where I am right now. She shared that during her adoption process she found it east to be so focused on the "unknowns" with her daughter that it was tempting to forget she had sons in her home already who needed her. I so relate to that - and want to really relish and enjoy and LIVE IN this moment we are in right now. I want to give my boys' my full attention, and drink up this moment in time when we are still a family of four. I am so looking forward to being FIVE, but don't want to miss out on the two I have now, today.
...Enjoying the Fall. I love living in Nebraska. It's actually warm and balmy here today, but we're in the time of year when the leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors, but the flowers are still blooming. I pointed out a burning bush to Tobin a couple of weeks ago - we planted one at the corner of our house a couple of years ago, but I'm not sure if we got a dud or if it just takes a few years for them to be mature enough for the leaves to be bright red and all turn? Anyway, ours has just a few sad reddish leaves, but others in the neighborhood are just gorgeous. T now likes to play the "Who can spot the most burning bushes" game. Of course, he practically calls every tree or plant he sees a burning bush, so maybe he didn't completely understand my explanation?? :)
Our last trip, we rode the train as always... And yelled as loud as we could, as always... And sat in the very front seat behind the conductor, as always. But THIS time, the conductor offered to let the kids get up in his seat (after our ride) and ring the bell. That was a HIT I tell you.
Brooke gets home tonight, and not a minute too soon - we've been counting down the "sleeps" until Mommy gets home all week.
Tobin and Luke LOVE Sarah days, and I'm pretty attached to her myself. I am super excited for Brooke - once she gets home, she gets to be a SAHM and have lots more Sarah-time herself. But we're going to MISS our little friend. I got a little teary about it at the end of the day on my last day with Sarah. I know we'll still see her (and her family) lots and lots...but we'll miss having regular Sarah days as part of our week!
... I didn't want to sign T up for preschool this year for a variety of reasons. For one thing, he's already at the church 3 times a week, so I don't think "socialization" is a problem. Secondly, I hate the idea of planning our schedule life around preschool, and we didn't want to finagle our budget to cram praying for preschool in there. And of course, I LIKE spending my days with the little guy, so it was hard for me to pay and schedule around something I was sure I am capable of myself. But mostly we knew that if I'm gone for a month or so with the adoption, getting T to and from preschool would be a hassle.
SO... We're doing homeschool preschool. The first week was an absolute BLAST. He was so excited to learn and have me be his teacher. We've done some fun crafts, lots of alphabet activities (I might blog a couple of those, he LOVED them), phonics and pre-reading, and some fun pre-math activities. This picture is from when I gave him a tray full of cheap-o shaving cream and had him practice writing the letter of the week (A, since that was the first week :D). He drew 3 As, a rectangle (which was the shape we were learning that week as well), and then played with the shaving cream for over an hour. Wow. That stuff was a HIT. I gave him a bin of water to rinse his hands with, and after entertaining himself forever with it, he then took the water and dishrag and gave all of the vehicles (scooters, big wheels etc.) on the back deck a "car wash." So long as the weather permits wherever you are, I highly recommend shaving cream as a "mommy needs to get some work done" activity.
Did you notice I said "the first week was really fun"? That week I was like, "THIS IS THE GREATEST I LOVE BEING HIS TEACHER HE LOVES TO LEARN I'M TOTALLY HOMESCHOOLING KINDERGARDEN AND BEYOND!!!" A month in, and I'm not so sure. I think the major thing that's made it less enjoyable is that I haven't taken (or in some cases had) the time to plan as well as I did that first week. So I haven't planned as many fun/play activities mixed in with the work-like activities. This has resulted in a lot more authority-challenges than I enjoy - I certainly believe that he needs to learn that I (or whomever is his teacher) am in charge, but I also want him to continue to ENJOY learning. And think 4 year olds learn best through play, whenever play is possible. Most of the time, if I'm gentle with him and wise about how long we try to "work" at a time, he responds pretty well. I just have to not laugh when he flops himself on the table and tells me, "This is such a PAIN." :)
I'm going to take the time and energy to plan much better this next few weeks, before I make any decisions about the future.
... The most helpful thing I've done to make the WAIT bearable has been praying for others on this journey. I am so thankful to have friends here in town who are also in the process of adopting (one of whom is leaving for China THIS WEEK to bring home her little girl - after a 3+ year wait, so I have nothing to complain about!!!) I've also been able to connect with sweet friends all over the country who are in the process of adopting from Ug, several from the same babies home where our little guy is now.
Some of them are ahead of us, and some are behind. It's been especially precious to pray for the families whose children are where our little guy is, since I've met those children (even though I've mostly never met their mommies in real life - I feel very connected to them!)
One in particular I've LOVED becoming friends with is my new friend Tammy. Tammy is adopting 2 little one from M's babies home, one of whom is a little girl with special needs whom Matt & I seriously prayed about adopting ourselves. We are open to special needs, so long as we feel they are special needs our family can care for and needs we can help meet. Even though we felt a boy was a better fit for our family, we got some information about little E and prayed seriously about being her family - she's 4 and has been in the orphanage since she was very small, so many families have passed her by. I just didn't know how I could leave her there, even though I wasn't sure our family was the best fit for her. At first I told Matt, "We're just going to have to say YES to E, because I cannot leave her without a family." But as I prayed about it, I felt a strong sense from the Lord that I wasn't her Mommy. I wasn't sure what to do with this... It's just a feeling, so how much do I listen to that when a child's life and well-being are on the line? Maybe I'm just afraid? Maybe maybe maybe. So as I continued to pray about this, I asked the Lord to please bring a family forward before I went to visit the babies home - so that I could know that E has a family and we're not supposed to be her family. Otherwise, I feel like I would have made the choice to say YES to her, and trust the Lord to sort through my feelings.
The week before the babies home emailed us matching us with our little guy, someone wrote a really sweet blog about little E. Tammy - who was in the process of pursuing adoption from Ethiopia - read that blog and looked at pictures of E. She felt the Lord telling her, "You are her mommy." So by the time I met and fell in love with little E myself - helping to care for, feed, and love on her while I was in Ug - I was able to know for sure that I am not her mommy. And take and send pictures of her to her forever Mommy. Such a joy.
Because E's family had planned to pursue adoption in Ethiopia (which is a pretty slow process right now, comparitively), they thought they had a couple of years to raise the funds they'd need. Now they're needing to move pretty quickly, and I totally agree that it would be best for little E if she could be in a home and family YESTERDAY (or 2 years ago...but you know, not possible.)
They have several fundraisers going, including one that involves the chance to win an iPad... If you're interested in supporting them (and we have, and I hope you are!!) check out Tammy's blog, and tell her I said hi. She'd be encouraged :D.
Wow. For a post full of randomness, this is really long :). I guess that's what I get for blogging in my head and not ACTUALLY writing any of it down for over a month!!