Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just don't know anymore....

11.19.08: My heart is up in my throat, tears are on the verge of dropping, and I'm lost. I pray, and pray and will continue to pray. I am trying to leave this at the feet of the God that has been so good to me. I hesitated to write this-I don't want everyone to worry about me. Really. But I wanted to post my heart this morning for Izabella. I want her to know how much I want to find her, the one that is meant for our family. But today--a day after our conference call with both agencies--I'm struggling. What do we do? I so want it to be the right thing--the decision that is from God and what is so perfect. Even if it's not the most perfect for everyone else, I just want it to be our perfect. That it follows our plan, the one that's in our hearts. Heck, I'm even doubting whether we should have started this journey--it feels so uncertain right now. All along this journey so far, I've had such confidence and faith that it would all just happen, the way it should, all we had to do was hold on to the edges of this beautiful magic carpet, and do our part to get things done that must be done. It was such a beautiful place, even in it's immense uncertainty. But now--I'm just don't know anymore. What path do we take? Of course we don't know what the paths are yet--we've still to have our meeting with or family coordinator--to access those options. And God knows I don't understand all that's involved in any of the options in front of us. So maybe that's where the lost is. I need more information from people I can trust. I almost feel like we're at the beginning of this journey--deciding which way to go to grow our family. Or if growing our family is not for us. OK--I'm sure all this sounds skitso (is that a word)? But it's how I'm feeling. I went to bed last night and like always--prayed for Izabella, I see her sweet face in my mind and fall to sleep. But, as clear as her face is in my mind and my heart, I don't for the life of me right now know how to find her. God, please help me. I pray for your infiniate wisdom and guidance.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is it possible.....

11.14.08: Is it possible the date my heart told me something would happen for us and our Izabella could be our time? I have always felt July of 2009 was a date that would change our lives on this journey. Now as I do the math, it seems IF (and I say IF) we switch to the SN program, and the timelines for an SN referral hold true, we could have a referral next summer--July 2009.

And as long as I'm dreaming...which as a cautious waiting mom--I don't let myself do this often, especially with the uncertainty of the China Program of late--but, is it possible my little sister, Shelly, one of two women in my life I treasure more than any other and her husband, Christopher, would be here for that event? They visit every July for the 4th. As fate (God) would have it--she was with us when the call came in that we were "Logged-in"! We were shopping at Wal-Mart and my phone rang. If I remember right we were eye-ing the Double Blueberry Muffin Mix. It was a milestone for sure--and one I was so grateful to have her here with me to share. God willing, she might be with me on referral day too! I don't want to get ahead of myself, but, I wanted to share these thoughts this morning before I start my day.

As I contemplate that possiblility--it shifts my attention to all the work we still have to do to prepare for her. We need to finance this adoption--in a bad economy--I have some ideas about how to manage my Studio business when she gets here--but I need to get a more detailed plan together. Those two things are the biggies--I might be missing something--but if I can manage those things--all the other stuff will fall in place.

Only God knows. Until then--we continue to prepare our hearts, our marriage, our home, our lives. We continue to pray that Izabella is safe, warm and strong, that someone is there to hold her, even for just a moment each day, that she feels in her heart that feeling that we have, that her day will come, and she will be with us--just as it should be. We continue to look forward to the Joy, Laughter and Love she'll touch our lives with. We just plain HOPE for a new day and appreciate today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This magic carpet ride shifts gears and takes a turn....

11.13.08: Dear Izabella: I've been restless and had a hard time concentrating on anything. Seems our magic carpet ride to you, was changing without knowing. And would prove to be just the beginnings of a stirring of my soul--that often happens before something happens in my life. Last week, I was so distracted, I even called our agency and talked to Beth. My restlessness needed assurance and some informed counsel. Beth our CW and Agency Program Coordinator is always so good for great advice and counsel. She knows Dan and I--sometimes I think better than our own family knows us. I asked her about other countries we might qualify for, if this wait for China doesn't get better, I asked her about India--it's a program I researched and discovered we qualified age limit wise and one that intrigued me and stirred my heart in way that is not explained in words--but it was not a program offered by our agency. She didn't know a lot about India. I asked about Guatemala--not available at the time. I also asked if they had a sister company we could go to. She was so wonderfully supportive--and told me that the agency was working on something that would open up other opportunities for the GOL families. She said more information would be coming soon, within the next couple months. Well, today my dear Izabella we got a letter. GOL is merging with America World Adoptions out of McLean VA, and all China Program family contracts are moving to the McLean Office to finish our journey to you. This news was bitter sweet, as it's good as opportunities are opening up that GOD willing will lead us to you, but it means we will leave the comfort of the beautiful and so confident hands of GOL and our Beth. That bought tears to my very sad...what will I do with out Beth? She has been with us since DAY 1. Which was years before we actually got to the application to GOL. So, your Dad and I talked about it, we cried...for the loss of something we knew, and we had grown to love...and we were scared, our magic carpet ride just got a new driver. And it's a complete stranger...or is it? We were so blessed with the wonderful care of GOL, and now, as God would have it, we are now in the hands of complete strangers, half way across the country, that we probably would never meet. How will it work, what will happen? Your Grammy says, "it will be fine, you'll get to know them. Beth wouldn't let you go with someone not good for you." She is right. But it's such a big thing, finding you, bring you home, we were so careful. OK--deep breath--God has a way--ALWAYS--telling me, in little ways, like little winks, that it's all ok...and we're on the right path. Several have happened in the short 2 hours since opening that letter. One is, I headed to the store for milk, when I returned, your Dad was watching a new channel, commercial free, and guess what was on...a group of people were making a trip around the world, and the episode on they were in India. India my dear, is a program that our new agency is just developing--not many agencies have this program, so perhaps this is where you are..are you in India? Then, it occured to me, that maybe, just maybe one of the families in our sweet loving group of July LID'r was with this new agency--and maybe, just maybe, we'd be traveling with them...after dinner, I jumped on line to check the database--and scrolled I scrolled it was like looking for hope....and you won't believe it, but there IS A FAMILY in our group, NOT just one FAMILY there are 3 FAMILIES. OH my and God would have it, they are 3 of the sweetest most wonderful families. And ones that I God has given me to prepare me for this moment. It's so obvious to me, that he has truly done what I have been saying all along, preparing us, every single day, every step of the way...AND as God would have it, his last wink is that one of the families that is with our NEW Agency--just got their referral to their daughter Caroline approval to adopt TODAY. Yes TODAY. I couldn't make up all this amazing work of God. The other family is by far one of my favorites, they are so much like Dan and I and she is so fun, I just love watching their family do LIFE, her blog has brought me so much joy and hope and inspiration. AND they too have been referred to their second child (their first child is from China adopted a couple years ago) and it's a BOY--they named Aaron. They are waiting approval to adopt from China--then they too will be traveling. AND finally, a family with 4 boys, they wanted a girl, they are the family with the same LID date as ours--which I felt bonded to from the start of the group--our journey--and she is an inspiration to me. All of them are such faithful christian women, who have taught me so much along this journey, so strong, so wise, so full of life, so compassionate. I watched them move to the SN program and go to China and bring home their sweet little Maggie, while we waited, she gave me hope. I had wished we had the options available through their agency. And now, my dear, our beautiful God has made those options available to us. Are you out there now, with a special need that we can take care of for you? I don't know the answer to those questions. But I can promise you, we will figure it out my sweet little brown eyed girl. We'll find you, wherever you are, and I know when I see you if it is you..if it is you that is meant to be with us..and if not, I will know that too... Hang on, be strong, have faith, our day will come. God would not abandon you or us on this journey of good and love and life. He would not. This I am sure of. I love you Izabella Danielle. Your mom, finding her way to you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Utah vs AFA Game--9.20.08

9.20.08: I have to post this movie I made for my nephew. Dan and I went to see him play for the AFA Falcon in mid September. We are so proud of him. Unfortunately, as we were driving there--he called to tell us he wouldn't be playing, his coaches benched him because of a shoulder injury--so he'd have to have surgery on it the following week. But of course we went anyway. We wanted to see him, and we had a great time. He's a great host, and the experience of a AFA football game is like no other college game I've ever attended. It moves you in ways you never knew. It always strikes me when we go there--these are the future leaders of our country. It's so special. This is my favorite shot of the day--it's my nephew driving us around the base/campus, with his Uncle (and what he loves to tell everyone--his God Father) Dan. He's such a great kid.

Enjoy--it's posted on YouTube at this link:

My dogs are spoiled...

10.5.08: Izabella, your Cousin Katie--who can't wait to meet you, stopped by on her way to Colordado to start a new life. She didn't go half way around the world, but she did go 1/2 way across our country. And she's starting a new life...we're so excited for her. She stayed with us a few days, she took a ride with Uncle Dan on a Harley Motorcycle, she spent a day using my camera with a Macro Lens (her favorite kind of shots--close ups), we went shopping, we set up a computer for her to work with me at my studio, we went for a Dairy Queen soft serve (we call them creme's back East).So, as you can see from these photos, our dogs are little beggers. But they're polite beggers. :) They love to lick off the cone--Dan started this bad habit on our first date--with Montana. I loved it then--a guy that will share his cone with my dog is alright with me.

Iowa State vs. Nebraska Game

10.20.08: This is a late post. But we had such a great time. I wanted to share a couple pictures. AND hey our HUSKERS won too! It was a great game, but it was so much fun to spend time with our firends (and reference families for or adoption) Shayna and Matt. They are so dear to us--we treasure our time with them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Millions Spoke..and the light of American Shined Bright Again...

11.8.08:I haven't gotten into politics on my blog much--don't want to offend anyone. I believe everyone has a right to feel the way they do. But this is a time in our history, in Izabella's history, that I don't want her to not know. So I want share with her my heart on this historic time in our country.

I am a proud decendant of President John Adams, and President John Quincy Adams. I remember the day my grandmother discoved this in her geneology research. I was so very proud. . Life in America has been less than desirable of late. In fact to put it bluntly, it's been rather embarrassing at times. No matter your religion, or your political party, or the color of your skin, let's face it we have not been at our best lately. Listening to President Bush during both the 2000 and 2004 elections (and I'm a political junkie of sorts..not just this year..always have been), I remember his promises, and his promises scared me. Especially his willingness to go to war. Funny thing is, that is the very reason most folks voted for him, only they called in "tough on security--keeping us safe". I didn't like what he said then, and I knew in the deepest part of my heart, he would lead us down a very scarey path. Those that know me...know this. I told them, I begged them to not vote for him. But, that's what democracy is all about, and I really had no choice but to see it through. Hoping that our founding fathers had put enough checks and balances in place to keep him in check to some degree, so we wouldn't completely lose. But I have to tell you, my heart drops when I see we've lost almost 1/2 million jobs in 6 months and they say we'll lose another 1/2 million before the end of the year! I can't imagine what all those families are doing right now. I cry and my heart breaks everytime our boys go off to war, I have so much respect for them, but my heart bleeds for them that we couldn't find a peaceful way to conduct ourselves that wouldn't require sending them in harms way. I have 4 nephews in the military right now, they make me so proud.

But this week, I witnessed what was the most amazing event. It was 2 years of hard work, and movement that rose from the grass roots of our country. I am so proud of our country. That we can have two parties that disagree and after it's over not kill each other, we actually come together. What a shining light that is for other courntries to follow, not just in electrions but in living day to day with those you don't agree with on all things.
OK, I cried, immediately after I was in shock, and holding my breath thinking it wasn't true, that maybe like last year the networks made a mistake...when they announce our next president would be Barak Obama. I wasn't crying because he was the first black president, I was crying because we finally had a young, thoughful, careful, compssionate, alive, passionate, articulate, and intelligent person running our country. We need that so badly. A leader that wants to bring people together, all the best minds, no matter their party, race or religion. We needed someone that would make all those really smart americans out there working in the private industry to WANT use their skills to serve our country! Thank God.

But I have to go one step further--this week I was speaking with our agency about our paperwork renewal and the status of the China Program. My heart tells me we're on the right path, but at the same time, I feel a need to keep our eyes open on this journey--my faith is HUGE, but I can not hear if I don't ask questions. While chatting with her, she pointed out, the state of international adoptions really mirrors our standing internationally as a country. Of course. She didn't go into detail. Just made the observation--in the hopes to give me "HOPE" that with our new president--our relationships with other countries would improve and hence our journey would pick up the pace. I can only "HOPE". But it drives home for me, how very much we're all intangled together. This election hits home for me in so many ways--some I didn't realize. Restoring our standing around the world effects how "safe" we'll be, enables us to talk instead of going to war, and yes, it just might bring our Izabella home sooner.

One final note. Dan and I went to dinner tonight and then browsed through Best Buy. I was standing in a narrow aisle looking at the "Wii" games, when a family crowded politely by me. They stopped to talk a minute--when this little girl stopped in front of me and turned to her father and begged for a "cookin mama" Wii game. She spoke a foreign language at first, it was so sweet, then she spoke the most beautiful english. To make a long story short, I engaged in a conversation with them. They were Muslim, from Pakistan, had been in the US just 1.5 years, and were very happy to be here. I asked them about the election. They said they couldn't vote, but that they had made phone calls for Obama's campaign and that they were planning on voting in the next election, by then they hoped to be citizens of the US. I think they were as proud of our country as I was. As we talked, the little girl (9 years old mind you), said, "We hope this new president will bring world peace. Cause it's not good that people are killing other people. That's not right." She went on to share, similar comments over the next 10 minutes or so. I wondered, how did this 9 year old get to be so wise, and learn such good english in just 1.5 years in the US? She was so very bright. Her father said she'd be bored with the "cookin mama" game before the end of the night. But he would get it for her anyway. She said she researched it online with a friend, and they concluded it was a really good Wii. So smart. I was completely impressed with this family. I learned so much in the 10 minutes we shared. And before they walked away, the mother looked me right in the eye and said "Thank-you, thank-you so much..." I knew what she was thanking me for without her saying it..and she leaned towards me to give me a hug, which I was happy to return. It was a sweet moment. That is what we're all about here in the US. To learn from our differences from each other. To welcome diversity in all kinds and ways. To smile and embrace a stranger, because you had a kind exchange, that warmed your heart. I think that's what Barak Obama is going to do for our country, he will let us be ourselves again. We'll feell safer, yet more open, we'll be comfortable in our skin again, and others will be comfortable with us for it, he will set our enemies at ease without them even knowing what's happening to them. He really does give us "HOPE". And my favorite saying is "It is better to HOPE than to EXPECT for in Hoping we invite surprise, and in expecting we only invite disappointment.

Did you know Michigan elected the first Muslim to congress this week? And to top it off she was a woman. I have a sneaking suspicion--that little girl I met tonight could very well serve our country someday.

One final note--to my Izabella, wherever you are my dear, I want you to know, in your home here with us, you will welcomed with open hearts, of course. But also, thanks to millions of Americans, you will blend in with our blended country, just like you were always here with us, in America, and your Chinese culture will be fasinating not taboo. I can't tell you how precious that is.

God Bless America. I am so proud to be an American.