Sunday, June 27, 2010

summer afternoon

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"Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the
two most beautiful words in the English language."

-uttered by Henry James, and recorded by Edith Wharton




Today has been the nicest day.


I slept until 8. i never do that, but after last night - filled with friends, china town deliciousness, homemade ice cream and an evening of meaningful conversation i think i needed to sleep off my overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the friends we have. See, this time last year we didn't know any of the (four) couples we went out with last night. But now we do and our life is fuller for it.


So i slept in and then we got ready and headed to church. As we were walking through the parking lot we saw some of our friends that we had hung out with the night before. We waved hello and waited for them at the door. Even before telling them how great a time we had last night they handed us a check and they expressed how they wanted to be a part of what God was doing in our family through this adoption. We were shocked and humbled. Curtis may or may not have cried. I was stunned silent. we hugged and walked into church already so aware that this adoption is so much bigger than us and that ultimately, God will (and already is) providing for our every need -- before we even asked.


We didn't ask our friends for money last night. we never expected anyone to give us any money. we don't need to. we know that God will provide for us and this is just one of the ways he has chosen to do it. and we are so inexplicably grateful.


On the way home from church Curtis made the joke that now our boy will call our friends aunt and uncle. he was joking but i kind of liked that. they have made an investment into our family and in my eyes that makes them family for sure. 


But helping financially isn't the only way to support us - (or to become the baby's next aunt and uncle for that matter!) There are so many ways to support us and we have already been overwhelmed with the support we've received. Emotionally, spiritually, and now financially we've been blown away by the goodness of God shown through our families and friends and it's only officially been a month. 


so that was this morning. 
this afternoon i lounged at the pool with my mom. it was just what i needed. 
then this evening we shared a pizza with Curtis' parents and our niece and drove home from their house with a trunk full of baby necessities. 


We can now check crib, stroller, pack and play and high chair off of our "need" list. and although they aren't new, they are each better than we could afford on our own and just gives us more money that can be put towards the adoption and not the stuff we need when he comes home. 


it's becoming real. 9we have a stroller in our basement to prove it!) -- a stroller that we will need one day for our son!


this has been an exceptionally good day. and not just because of the "stuff" -- we are on our way to growing our family and all the people we care about get to be a part of it in one way or another. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

check it out

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*this is me blogging, i'm a serious blogger, can't you tell?!

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*and this is me annoyed that Curtis is taking a picture of me blogging :)




anyways, where was i???


oh, right -- tabs.



I was just telling Curtis last week how I wish blogger would let you put some tabs on their blogs.


Maybe I’m just slow, but yesterday I discovered a link to add tabs. They read my mind. I excitedly created two.

::about me::
::our adoption timeline::

When we decided to adopt and I began to read other adoption blogs, I so enjoyed seeing how most of them had a timeline down the right hand navigation.


But, as I told Curtis, I don’t want this blog to ONLY be about this adoption, and turning it into a full-blown adoption-themed blog just didn’t seem my style. Plus, I have no plans to create a totally separate adoption blog, so I wanted to find ways to make adoption information seamlessly go with the rest of my blog – enter tabs.

I only have two now, and they are a work in progress – what do you write about yourself? But I wanted to take advantage of this new feature and build it out as it seems appropriate. I have a few other categories in mind too but just have to take the time to sit down and build them out.

So stay tuned!

crossing things off


Last night I must’ve gotten a wave of adrenaline or energy or something because after work I decided to undertake the basement and my office simultaneously. If I would’ve known how far I was going to get I would have taken before and after pictures, but lack of foresight didn’t allow me to think ahead.

In a previous post I told you how one of the most daunting projects in my mind was making room in my office for all of curtis’ stuff. His office will eventually become the baby’s room, so in order to start on a nursery, we have to find a way to make room to accommodate both of our stuff. Not a simple task. One that has actually given me waves of panic since deciding to fit another person into our cute little house.

So anyways, last night I was feeling brave enough to start the project I’d deemed impossible. Where would half of my stuff go? I told him I’d give him half the room minus a bookcase (I can’t give up my books). I was already regretting my generosity. So I went down the basement to assess.

A few months ago – maybe even last year – my dad gave us some old cabinets he had ripped out of a kitchen remodel he was doing. We put them in the basement for storage. They aren’t pretty, just basic white under counter cabinets. Curtis placed a big flat piece of wood on top as a counter and had semi-filled each one with his house stuff – tools, paint, gadgets, etc…

It was a mess.

But when I walked down the basement I saw potential. And so I got to work cleaning and organizing the basement. After about an hour I had all of curtis’ tools and stuff organized into half of the cabinet space that was available. I now had room to make myself a little space of my own. I swept and laid a colorful African mat on the ground. Color! Then I proceeded to start moving half of my office down the basement. This included anything that wasn’t clothing (I will not get dressed in our unfinished basement – that is where I draw the line!) …sewing stuff, knitting stuff, wrapping paper, cards, art supplies, journals – you name it. If it wasn’t clothing it went down the basement.

I must’ve made 25 trips – I’m not kidding. Today I woke up and my calves felt as tight as rubber bands. Who needs a stair master?!

After three solid hours I was soaked with sweat but unspeakably gratified.

I now had half of my office cleared and ready for Curtis to “move in”. It felt good. I not only made room for him, but now had a nice little section of the basement laid out just for me. No longer was the basement cluttered with tools and gadgets, it was now organized and useful. And if you know me you know I love things organized. I may not be the neatest, cleanest person in the world, but when things have a place, I am one happy camper.

I did leave a little corner of boxes for Curtis to go through. I know most of it can probably be thrown away, but I can’t be the one to do it. (he’s gotten mad in the past when I try to help and clean by throwing away what I deem as “junk” - years later he’ll be looking for a certain cable and blame it on the time I threw away his stuff!)

After standing in the basement admiring my progress I curtailed it back upstairs and began to clean Curtis’ room – against my better judgment. Similar to organizing his junk/stuff, he doesn’t always like when I do this, but I figured I would do all I can to make “the move” easier for him. I picked up all the dirty clothes, folded all his clean clothes, made a neat stack of all the miscellaneous papers, cleaned off his desk, threw away wrappers and true junk, etc. I figured, if it’s clean, he may be more inclined to start organizing to move into my room sooner rather than later. We can perfect the space-sharing before we actually have to in order to get the kinks out now rather than later.

Then I took a shower.

Then instead of stopping for the night, I sat in front of our case of cd’s in Curtis’ office (that will eventually have to be boxed up) and went through my computer to see which haven’t been loaded. We don’t need to keep out the hard copies if they are all at least on one of our computers, so I made a large stack of what I couldn’t account for on my laptop and began loading them one-by-one on my computer (this may take a while). I found cd’s I had totally forgotten about and even the cover art took me back, some ten years or more ago. It was like music therapy.

And then I was exhausted. I sat on the floor in the living room, inserting cd’s and watching last comic standing (which actually wasn’t that funny!)

I texted Curtis that I had a surprise for him.

He texted back, “Are you preggo?”

“Nooooo,” I responded. “not that big of a surprise – but don’t guess, just call me when you’re about to come home.”

I knew he was stumped.

When he pulled in the driveway I met him at the back door. I was so excited to show him all I accomplished in a few short hours.

Needless to say, he was shocked. And impressed. (it’s always good to impress your spouse once in a while!)

We went to bed late. Too late for a work night, but when I did eventually get to bed, I fell sound asleep in minutes out of sheer exhaustion. - Exhaustion and with one less burden on my shoulders. This was a daunting project for me to even think about beginning, and I was dreading it, so I’m glad I didn’t have too much time to mentally prepare – instead, I just went at it like a tornado.

Now that I have my biggest “to do” (besides the actual adoption paperwork) actually started, I have visions of our office. This weekend I am going on the search for some kind of bins for Curtis to keep his clothes/stuff organized. Because he won’t have a dresser, I thought it would look better than socks and underwear thrown on a shelf!

Here are some photos - taken tonight - for your visual enjoyment:

organization

*these are of the "after" - the first four are of the basement and the other are of the guestroom (aka my room) -- one side is empty, the other is packed...but it won't stay that way for long!

We have been accepted and things are moving – and I’m less anxious than I was before about being able to get stuff done and accomplished before the last minute. I know we have time and I’ve never been a procrastinator anyways, but the worry was still there. Since all of our timelines are fuzzy, we can’t risk not having time to finish up what we’ve started.

Everyone says the process will probably take longer than expected, but in the off chance it doesn’t we want to be prepared. So away we go with projects and paperwork enough to keep everyone on their toes!

we got the call

On my drive home from work I was talking to Curtis on the phone and I sadly said, "I guess today wasn't the day" (that we'd be accepted by the agency - America World Adoption). He knew what I meant.

We continued talking about how we hope we'd hear back from them by the end of the week at the latest. We talked about all the reasons a family wouldn't be accepted.

"I can't let myself go there - i know we're supposed to adopt, so I just don't think we'll be rejected."

Shortly after I said this we finished our conversation and hung up the phone.

Not two minutes later did my phone ring. It was an out of state area code and I just had that feeling.

It was the call.

We have been accepted. Officially accepted.

As I write this, the email we've been waiting for has popped into my inbox. I will glance at at, finish making the salmon and risotto I've got cooking for dinner, we will eat and then no doubt we will pour over the contents of the email.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, June 21, 2010

john piper on adoption

In 1995, after their four sons were grown and almost all out of the house, John and Noel Piper adopted an African American infant named Talitha. But before Noel's initial longing to adopt turned into a mutal decision by her and her husband to say "yes" to adoption, John wroter her {this letter}.

In many ways it echoes how we feel about adoption (although, keep in mind that the Pipers adopted much later in life - not to begin their family - so in that way we differ)

I have been wanting to link to this blog post for a while now. I read it even before we were seriously considering adoption now. It's incredible to me to think back just mere months ago - oh how our hearts have changed.

I didn't want to post the link until we had made some decisions (which, of course, we have) about adoption as it relates to our family. So tonight seemed the perfect opportunity to blog about it when my friend {Kate} sent me a link to {this piece}, entitled "Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel, also by Piper, earlier this afternoon.

Both eloquently explain adoption in light of our adoption as sons and daughers of God. both are so good.

We are learning that adoption goes so much deeper than simply adding a child to our family. there is pain in the story, that's for sure, but the story of redemption it tells is parallelled so beautifully in the cross.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

making a list...

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Today, in an effort to stop mulling over this stuff in my mind, I made a list of the big things that we need and need to do before baby P arrives home.


Here's what I've got so far:
  • Take down guest bed and save for toddlerhood
  • Paint room
  • Make space in my office for Curtis' stuff (this one alone gives me panic attacks!)
  • Crib (MIL has a used one we can have)
  • Crib bedding
  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Rocker (or some kind of chair for the nursery)
  • High chair/ booster (depending on his age)
  • Clothes! (my SIL may have saved all of her boys clothes from her son, but I'm not sure, they she may have already donated all of it. Also – I'm not above secondhand gear, so i think some major garage sale-ing is in my future, that and begging! haha)
  • Books/ Toys, etc
  • Monitors 
  • Bottles? Baby dishes (again, not sure his age, but I'm bound to need some of this stuff)
It's hard to think about all this stuff when we've barely begun our paperwork, but it gets me so excited I just want to go out and go shopping. Then I remember that we've got some big fees coming up and getting those paid for so he can come home comes before any shopping I can do (or most of it at least)


Luckily, I've never wanted a nursery that looks like it was right out of Pottery Barn or something anyway, which is good, because that's not what he's going to get.


I like the mix of old and new, bright and funky and unisex. I'm actually thinking pale grey walls, white trim and colorful accents and bedding. Yellows and greens and teals. I am not a pink and purple girl (luckily, because we're having a boy!) and at the same time, I usually not drawn to a lot of blue. Our house d├ęcor is very earthy, but that doesn't belong in a baby room. I think I'm going to opt for bright and cheery – a crisp, clean blank(-ish) slate to allow for vibrant bedding and accents and paraphernalia.


I've seen some blog photos online of nurseries that I love. I wish I would have saved them, but I honestly didn't think I'd be having to plan a nursery any time soon. But I am, even though we're not in a rush, it's never too soon to start.
All this to say for the fact that as I begin to plan a baby's room in my mind, the fact of the matter is becoming so much more real. 

Tonight we went to Melt for our anniversary dinner. Over a turkey and smoked gouda sandwich and a pulled pork one we talked about our family, adoption, Ethiopia and everything surrounding this new world we've just entered. At one point Curtis looked and me and said, "You know, next year on our anniversary, we may have to find a babysitter just to go out." wow. And again it hit us again. This is real. This is happening.

We're having a baby!
Maybe not anytime soon, but he's coming and we'll gosh darn be ready when he gets here!


*photo is not actually of me making this list, but it is of me filling out our agency application.

Monday, June 14, 2010

if we weren't adopting...


and had an extra $600 laying around




then i may be tempted 




to purchase this incredible











but we are
so i won't even tempt myself 
with dreaming


his words, not mine


On the morning we were planning to mail our application, Curtis was doing one final run through of the app. making sure all our i's were dotted and t's were crossed, when he got to the last page where we had written in our church's information. He had the thought that since we had our pastor's information on our application, we should probably talk to him about it before we mailed it in. My initial reaction was to grimace at the thought of putting our adoption decision in someone else's hands...giving him the permission to tell us what he thought, lest he thought it was a horrible decision or something (which i knew wouldn't be the case, but still) my first reaction was fear that he'd react poorly and we would have to put our application on hold and re-evaluate.

But, we've grown to understand the importance of submitting to this kind of leadership. It's been a while where we've felt comfortable enough at a church to open up and let people speak into our lives - it's a scary thing sometimes, but a gift we have come to value at the church we now call home. So, while my initial reaction was out of fear, we both knew that he and the rest of our new friends at church would be supportive. They already have been through our struggles getting pregnant. So unbelievably supportive.

So, when Curtis tried to call Darren (our pastor) and got no answer, he wrote him this email. I asked him if i could share it with you because i thought it was a beautiful description of what's in our hearts. That, and they are his words, not mine (for once):

Darren,
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you something that has been on both mine and Jessie's hearts for some time now, which we feel God has been authoring. As you may or may not know, we have been attempting to become pregnant over this past year and a half and have been unsuccessful. After many doctor visits, we have learned that Jessie has some physical things which may make us less likely than others to conceive. That being said, less likely does not translate to unlikely or impossible, but may take more time. Through the emotions and selfishness we have both experienced, by the grace of God we have been brought back to something which i'm sure most christian couples discuss before marriage, adoption. Adoption not as a second best thing to getting pregnant, but as a first option, just as we are children of God who have been adopted into his eternal family. I can truly say that God has blessed us beyond anything we can think or imagine by making fertility difficult for us, and we haven't even begun the process. We do not take this decision lightly or hastily, and ask for your "blessing" if it were, for us to adopt. As our paster we respect you and want to be sure that we putting ourselves under your authority. To which I have to apologize for not discussing this with you months ago. It something that both Jessie and I have treasured in our hearts, and have just recently began to speak openly about with others. I'm sure it was out of sin, but looking back I think it was mostly out of fear of what others may say or think, and fear that we would not be able to afford such a costly thing. Your sermons over on parables have sent us home every Sunday with a new conviction, a new piece of truth that shattered all of our fears of what the future holds in regard to money, faith, and prayer.
To give you some details, we plan to adopt a boy between the ages of 0-1 from Ethiopia through America World Adoption, a Christian organization who has helped close friends of ours in Dayton adopt, along with their friends as well. The decision to adopt abroad is a lot less complex than maybe it should be, but our decision was based on asking ourselves, "Why not?" followed by the desire to adopt locally in the future if God allows. Jessie has been to Africa on two separate occasions for months on end and myself for two weeks, so there is that connection as well. We hope to hear from you soon so we feel the freedom to send off our application to the agency, that is of course unless you have objections to this, to which we would wait.

-Curtis and Jess

Only minutes after hitting send, Darren responded with an encouraging "Whoa!" followed by this response:

I can't wait to hear more and have no reservations - especially in light of how God's using His Word to enlarge specific faith!

At reading these words, a relief washed over me that just more fully confirmed our decision. And we were both so thankful that we had made ourselves vulnerable to him before taking that first step of mailing in our application.

and i'm thankful that i have the great privilege of walking this amazing road with one amazing man. Actually, i think there may be some guest posting in his future - he's so eloquent with words - and oh so funny on facebook! become his friend on there and you'll see what i'm talking about!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

just one.

http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com

A few days ago i found this blog and i am so thankful that i did.

It's called The Journey and is the blog of a 21 year old girl that lives in Uganda.

I'm not sure what drew me to begin reading, maybe it was the fact that where we lived in Uganda wasn't too far from where she lives now. i know the smells she describes, i can picture the villages in my mind, the children with ragged shirts and bare feet, the red dirt that sticks to sweaty skin, white teeth grins from dark faces, the Ugandan spirit. i remember it all so vividly,

but what drew me to start reading her blog from the beginning more than all of that was her heart. She went to Uganda as an 18 year old girl to teach at an orphanage for one year. She is now a 21 year old mother of 14 adopted daughters and a myriad (in the 100's) of other kids that receive love (practical love, ie. medical care, funds for school, meals, baths, etc.) from her on a daily basis. she has made a life there. uganda has become her home. it's an amazing story. a story so fascinating that i've spent the better part of the last two days reading her entire archives, choked up and bleary-eyed. the emotion is raw and you can't help but be affected.

I am riveted by her story, not because it is such an extreme sacrifice (although it is), and not because it causes a guilt in me for not doing more, but because it shows me just how much one person can change the world. it gives me hope and inspires me to love better and more.

i read a quote this weekend by mother teresa that said,
"If you can't feed one hundred people, then feed just one."

it made me feel good - for a moment, in the light of this adoption. in a sense, we are feeding one.
but that word "just" sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
he is one but he will be "just" one -
one of so many...

i could list off the statistics from Ethiopia, or Uganda. they are staggering. they don't negate the "one" i am being summoned to love, but it does put my love for one into perspective.

katie is feeding the 100's. that is her calling in Uganda.
I, Lord willing, will feed one. and maybe one again. and again - (if we are given the privilege we will indeed take it, over and over and over again.)

but oh, may the suffering of the globe open our eyes to action. may this girl's humble, honest life inspire action and faith. she is just one, feeding multitudes.
she is sharing the gospel of Jesus in a way more than words.

it is that "just one" over and over that changes the landscape of the world.

may we all have an impact on "just one" again and again and again.

adoption: the backstory

us, a montage


decision made. check.
told our families. check.
told some of our friends. check.
sent in our application. check.
told the entire blogger world. check.

took a huge sigh of relief. check.
this is going to be fun.

my last post was titled "oh how this blog is gonna change" and in truth, it will and it won't.
I am still me and i still write the way i do, but in many ways, this blog will take a whole knew direction in some sense. i write about my life and right now, my life (our lives) are changing.

within minutes of deciding to adopt from Ethiopia my heart was connected to this country i have never set foot on in a way that i cannot explain. my son will be born there. it will be part of his heritage, his history, and because of that, it will be part of ours as well. i feel like it already is.

the decision to adopt has been a part of the conversation of our marriage, well before we were even married. i remember one afternoon, driving up Fairmont Blvd. together, while we were still engaged and Curtis turned to me and said, "One day, if we ever have the money, let's buy one of these mansions and fill it with as many adopted kids as it will hold."

okay, i agreed. we were both joking and serious. what better way to spend a fortune we figured.

So when we began having trouble conceiving, our conversations rather quickly turned to the possibilities of adopting, whether or not we ever had biological children of our own. But although we discussed the idea in theory, our conversations never led to any concrete decisions. But as the months passed it somehow became a central part of our vocabulary. A possibility that became more and more central in our hearts. We started talking in concrete terms, of concrete numbers and dates.

i started reading everything online that i could find. Curtis brought books home from the library. One on domestic adoption and one on international. We each started reading one. We began to talk and pray about it more. And the more we talked, the more were convinced that "eventually" adopting was turning into "now" whether we were ready or not.

Then we...

decided on international.
then on Africa.
then on Ethiopia.

And that was that.

We were sitting in the same Starbucks that i am sitting in right now when we made the decision. It was like this huge burden of decision was lifted in one moment. We were having a baby. a boy. it was amazing. i texted {Kate}, but i should've just called her. Two minutes later she called me and i talked to her on the stoop of Starbucks for a while, still in shock that everything we've been wanting for so long was becoming real.

And now we are here and this is now, and we have just sent in our application to the agency this morning and as soon as we are officially accepted we will begin the daunting process of paperwork and background checks and blood tests and everything else you can imagine in order to bring our boy home.

Right now we are looking to request a baby boy under one year old.
Right now the process looks as if it will take about a year - but to be realistic, probably longer.
Right now we are both overwhelmed and strangely more at peace than we've ever been before.

We don't have it all figured out - we don't know what to expect - and we're not entirely sure how we're going to finance it all, but one thing we do know, that we serve a very big God that is more than capable of walking us through the process and provide for us along the way. Of that we are certain, and so we move forward trusting that, similar to trying to get pregnant, the timing and outcome of it all really is out of our hands, all we can do is take the next step and trust in his guidance and provision. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

oh how this blog is gonna change




There is a quote that says, “Happiness is not real unless it is shared.”
It’s from Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild, I’ve never read it, but I’ve seen the movie.
And while I’m not sure I agree with this statement in whole, over the last few weeks I have found this: that guarded happiness is real for sure, but happiness that is shared is another beast altogether.


So, finally, i think i am ready to share...
Today I would like to bring you in and share in our extreme and utter happiness.


There is much to say right now, to explain, and i'm sure i will in time, but i will tell you this for now. this is what all the explanation and backstory would lead to anyways:


We have decided to adopt a little boy...


from Ethiopia.


This morning we walked out of the post office after mailing our initial application and we knew that our lives would never be the same. 


So, there you have it folks - the news you've been waiting for...much more to come as we are beyond excited to share our journey with you...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

lately...

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cottonwood is getting the best of my throat, eyes and sinuses. the soft tufts have made our backyard look like it has snowed in june. the roof of my mouth itches, causing me to make sounds with my tongue that Curtis can't stand.

i've always loved the idea of providing shoes to shoeless children, although i have yet to buy a pair of Toms. right now i really want {these ones} so bad (i'm a size 9 just FYI!)

Memorial Day will surely be a day we will remember for a long, long time. a memorial one for sure. Conversations were had and decisions were made that will effect us for the rest of our lives. I am anxious to share, but until we decide to do so, i feel like Mary, treasuring up all these things and pondering them in my heart until the time is right.

at any given moment i feel like i'm on the verge of tears (i think it may be the clomid)

i have let my google nearly reach 1000+ again, i so hate when that happens

i love the long days of summer, they make me feel like i'm not frittering away the daylight in an office without windows

i love the sounds of my husband's corolla rolling up the driveway on school night's...speaking of, he should be home any minutes, so have a good night!

 
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