Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Hey, Can Dan come out and Hang With Us...?"

1.28.08: A couple weekends ago--in the middle of a bitter cold day--the door bell rang. Dan and I looked at each other, and thought, hmmmm...who's that. We opened the door and it was a couple of our neighborhood kids, "Leah and Luke". They are best pals, always have been. They live next door to each other and are often seen, out screaming down the sidewalk riding scooters together, building snow forts in sub-zero temps, riding bikes and so on. And if they see Dan outside, they head our way to visit with Dan and play with the girls. Sometimes, if they don't see him out, they'll come to the door and ask if Dan is home and if he can come out and hang with them. It's the sweetest thing. He always stops whatever he's doing and goes out on the front porch and just chats with them. I listen from inside and it's adorable the conversation they have. But, this all normally happens in the summer. So this visit in the middle of the winter was a surprise. Dan had been working non-stop and was exhausted. I answered the door and of course they asked, "Is Dan home?" I invited them in, Dan headed to the front door, stopped in the middle of the living room, as they found their way to the edge of the foyer. Then Luke said, "Ah, Dan, you look like you need a hug!" He went straight over and wrapped his arms around Dan's waist and gave him the sweetest hug. It was precious. I wish I had a camera-I didn't. But I did snap this shot of Dan and his neighborhood friends, Leah and Luke. They're very special to us. And sure to be grand friends to Izabella. Dan is a "kid magnet". Kids just love him. What surprises me is he's a very tall 6'1" nebraska guy, and you'd think kids would be a bit frightened, but it's just the opposite. Everytime I see kids, from complete strangers to neighborhood friends with him, I am so excited about the day he wraps his big loving arms and heart around our Izabella. Surely, she will see what all those other kids see, that he is a very big man with a very big, warm, caring and loving heart. The same thing I saw the first time I laid eyes on him. It is my hope this way he has about him with children, will be a place of comfort for Izabella too, as she works through this very tough, journey to be a part of our family. That is my wish for her. We can not change the circumstances of her abandonment, nor can we wipe away the feelings of grief and loss she will experience, but if we can offer her a place to feel safe while dealing with these feelings—a place where she so naturally finds and steps into without hesitation—that is safe and feels so natural and right. That is my wish for her.

I just want to add, as much as I want to wipe away all the pain, all the loss and make her feel like she was born of my body & heart and not just my heart—I realize that she will most likely never stop grieving the loss of her birth family, her country, a place where everyone looks like her—I know this and it makes me sad. We will never ignore the scars of this part of her life. What I hope to do, is to provide her a safe and secure place to deal with those painful times, and help her understand, like my mom did when we had to deal with painful and hurtful events of life. She taught me to accept these things and realize that those events are as much a part of the special person I am as the good things that happen to me. That I have a choice, to learn from these experiences and find the value in what they've added to my life. I don't know Izabella yet, but something tells me—given the opportunity to flourish in a safe environment—she will grow into a very special woman. And the strength, courage and resiliency she has in her early years will surely contribute to her beautifully special character as a grown woman. I might be all wrong about this. But, I firmly believe, we can look at all the terrible things that happen to us in this world, and find the good in it, find something we came out of it with, that is unique to you, that became a part of who you are, that adds another dimension to the way you see life, in your own special way. We have all experienced our own challenges in life. Some at a very young age, some as adults, but no matter, if you aren't afraid of it, and get your head and your heart around it, it will not rule your life, it will enhance it in whatever way you chose. I know some adoptive parents out there, wouldn't agree with me here. They think the trauma these children deal with is different. I can't say I disagree with that, but isolating and labeling it only gives it more power. I believe we need to weave all of lifes challenges and joys into the special person we are today, everyday. Jesus is our best example of this. I am the sum of my experiences—and how I wove those experiences into who I am today, everyday.

Thankful Thursday...

1.28.08: Last weekend we had the honor of attending a beautiful party celebrating 2008 for echo publications, one of my first clients. Nora has been a HUGE blessing in my life and instrumental in building my studio. She is such an inspiration to me in her strength and resiliency. She is an amazing faithful servant and shares her faith where ever and whenever she can. When she is confronted with challenges overwelming to her, she goes straight to God for answers and always comes away with them. I also admire this in her.

She always has a party and always folds me into her celebration as if I was a full-time employee. It is an honor I don't take lightly. At this years party, she took the time to thank each and every person, for the special role they played in her life over the past year. It was very touching. Then after a 5 course meal, we dove into a game of name that celebratie, and finished with the newlywed game. We laughted and laughed, and laughed! At the end of the party, I said to her, "This is the best celebration yet-what a wonderful way to get to know each other better. It was an amazing group of people, that by the end of the evening had unveiled themselves in the most fun way!

A very special moment came when after Nora's "I'm grateful" speech. My husband shared a story about me and my studio and how proud he was of me. Thankfully, those at the party know, he doesn't do this often, and were very patient in listening to him share the muses of his heart. After Nora said, "Dan! You do have a voice. I guess it makes a difference if you can be with us with a full 8 hours sleep under your belt." Dan is usally arriving at the party after working 1am-6pm shifts for days on end, and is seriously asleep on his feet. In the end, if "I" who was proud of him, and so "grateful" he was mine. :)

This pictue shows a snapshot of the "laughter" and joy we shared that evening. Thank you Nora.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...

1.27.08: It's a few hours before it's offically Wednesday. But I had to post this illustration. It's gorgeous! I don't know who painted it. I'm still looking for the artist. But it's precious. There is even a little "montana" in the corner. :)

Ah, ha...thanks to my new friends...I know who did this amazing very touching illustration. It's from a book called "Motherbridge of Love" by Xinran and illustrated by Josee Masse. Thanks Janet and Laurie! I put it on my wish list on Amazon. I love it!

Matching Outfits....

1.27.09: A funny thing happens at our home, something we didn't pay attention to, until our friends pointed it out a little bit ago--and since I've noticed quite frequently. Dan and I often have matching outfits on when we venture out to dinner, a movie, shopping or any kind of outing. This past Saturday was one such I had Dan snap a photo of us. We both decided "rust" was the color for the day, and because it was so bitter cold out, we both opted to wear our white under armor shirts--hence--matching outfits. When we realized this--we almost changed--then I said, "No, I like being a matched set." :) Ok we're dorks, but that's ok too. I love this man...and I'm so happy he's mine.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Congratulations Don and Dodie!

1.18.09: Last week we found out izabella will have new Aunt to welcome her home. My brother called to announce his engagement to his long time girlfriend Dodie. They have been together a very long time (they met the same year Dan and I met, and my sister and Christopher met--pretty special I think...1998 was a great year!) and have endured many hardships together and supported each other against the odds. I'm so proud of how they have perserved and managed to keep the love alive in their lives. They are planning a July 18th wedding and all is falling in place...surely that is a sign this is perfect timing for them. I pray they have a continued renewed zest for life together and enjoy many, many years of happiness, love and oh yes...much laughter. My little brother is quite the comedian...and I'm sure they will have lots of those.

Izabella is sure to love her new Aunt. She has already emailed a very touching note that shows her love for her and us--it brought tears to my eyes—"I wish you and Dan all the luck with your journey to Izabella Danielle and I pray for you to meet her as soon as possible. I can tell through your blog how much you yearn for her and you deserve to have her as much as she deserves to have you."

Congrat's Little Brother! LOVE YA LOTS--Your Big Sister--Lisa!

February Parents...

Febrary Parents. On Thursday, in the midst of a very busy day at my studio, I was waiting on my computer to process a very large file. When the latest issue of Parent's magazine caught my eye. I thought, "Hey, I'll glance through this a minute while I wait." I rarely do anything as casual as this during the work day--as my studio is swamped right now. So I've been trying to stay focused and very efficient. But for some reason this silliness just seemed right, so I opened the frist page and at the top shouting to me was the words "February Paents". I didn't read any further, cause I was stopped in my tracks by this, oddly simple thing. I can't explain it. I thought, "hmmmm....what if...what if Izabella's file arrived in February's referrals...hmmm.....what if we became "february parents"....that would make a good scrapbook item. I should keep this." My file finished up on my computer, I closed the magazine set it aside and was back at work, all in a matter of minutes. Over the past day that page has crossed my mind over and over again. That night I dreamed of getting our "shots", it was the oddest dream. I could even feel the shots as the doctor injected them. I remember telling Dan in the dream, it's ok honey, this will keep us safe. I awoke thinking that's odd. I wondered what this all meant. Maybe it means nothing, but it all seemed so orchestrated in a way. So I wanted to share it here.

A Flood of Emotion that Floods Me.
This morning, after our regular "Saturday morning coffee and paper time" together. We headed into the front room for some reading, computer time. I love this room. No TV, No distractions, just reading and hangin' out as a family. I sat down with my laptop, and checked my email. There was a blog update from AWAA, not a referral update, but I love the blog updates especially the beautiful stories about the amazing AWAA families. Nothing really special about this update, but for some reason, this excitement poured over me, thoughts of the arrival of Izabella rush through my heart and my head as I got this big lump in my throat and felt all funny inside. And then the tears came to my eyes...oh, my, what was that all about. Again, I don't know, but it was a "sweet" moment. So special I wanted to remember...

My our journey has changed A LOT in just 4 short months. I also wanted to share—I had to pull some information from an old blog post from October for the Ride for the Cure, we're in the planning stages for this year's ride. When I hit the October Archive there was a post about "whether this journey was about the journey, and not the end (Izabella and growing our family)". I re-read the post and realized that just 4 short months ago, I was thinking it just might never happen. Wow, God is great, our journey has taken a 180 and our magic carpet ride couldn't be more hopeful, more exciting, than at this very moment. Thank you again for all those people that are praying for us, for all those that believe in us, that have always been there for us.

As I close,
I just swirled around in my big comfy chair to see what Dan's doing on his computer. At the same time I'm reading, writing and dreaming about the "Everything Izabella" dream, he is researching the "everything Harley" dream. Dreams...the hearts desire for...

Izabella, your "harley rocker" awaits you, in the corner of mom's favorite family room.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

people touching people without really touching....

1.14.08: Some decide to adopt after years of painful infertility struggles, some after they've already a full house of children, some feel a calling from within their faith, some just feel a deep need to reach out and help, and some like myself just because it is part of our destiny, a dream that started in the heart of a teenager, that always just wanted to be a mom, most specifically to an orphan child. The reasons go on and on, and all very personal, not one better than the other, and all incredibly unique, and an amazing blessing. Technology today, has made all those ever beautiful stories available at your fingertips. With a fresh cup of morning coffee, armed with your computer, you can cruise thee internet and land on family adoption story after family amazing story, and live their journey day-to-day with them-from the deepest parts of their souls. Witness the struggles, the joys all of it, on display for inspiration, encouragement and yes lots of giggles, and be prepared, with a tissue for a tear or two. If you haven't had a chance or taken the time to do this--I highly recommend it. It's a great way to start your day, to watch childrens lives and families changing right before your eyes, just like watching a flower blossom in it's ever so miraculous perfect way. The families blogs I've listed here on my blog are a great place to start. They have all inspired me, made me laugh, calmed my fears, touch me--take a peek--some of the families are in CHINA right now and received their children just a couple days ago.

Every family is unique and beautiful, an adoptive family or a family without an adoption as part of their family. All families have peaks and valleys, dreams and goals, hopes and inspiring moments. I have posted about some of those families here. This post does not in any way diminish the importance and beauty of all those families. I am equally touched by them--have been all my life. I have learned and grown watching and being a part of many of them. Most immediately my own dear sweet family--in all it's beautiful unique-ness. (Not a word but I like it.)You all have read--I was raised by parents that "family" was the standard battle cry of sorts on all kinds of issues, times. So much so, it's surely a part of my DNA. Manufactured by amazing parents that made "family" the number one priority for us. I don't know how to live without one--which I honestly think is a big part of my heart for orphans--without a 'family". Thank you Mom and Dad for laying this seed and for your support in my pursuit of a family built through adoption--no matter my age.

No matter your reason for starting this journey of adoption, you are in for the journey of a lifetime. All the professionals give you warnings and caution you to all the peaks and valleys and pit stops. You realize early on you will meet some new wonderful people. The agencies tell you to get involved in groups that are on the same journey. But no one ever could tell me the absolutely amazing power of the women and families in this community. I am touched daily by these people and I have yet to meet any of them in person. In the almost just over two years (including our paperchase time) since starting the adoption journey, I have witnessed daily unselfish random acts of kindness. All happening with one family reaching out to another sometimes a 1/2 a world away. Yesterday I recieved a package (as part of a secret gift SWAP among JULY 07 LID families) from someone who is in the midst of her own precious journey-just pulling out of a very tough spot, emerging to the light in pursuit of her son from Ethiopia. Surely she has more to do and worry about then sending a package of "hope" to a complete stranger across the country. The wait to grow your family on a timetable that is not predictable can be long, scary and at times seem it might be fruitless. These gifts drop a ray of "hope" on that journey. But she meticulously put this package together for me. Her thoughtfulness, like many others is very emotional to me. It is a gift of adoption that I had not expected and am continue to be shocked and awed by.

I will most likely never meet many of these families, but I must tell you, I consider them my friends every much as much as the people that can knock on my door or have a cup of coffee with across the table. And in some ways know me better than most.

This post is dedicated to all those beautiful women that have touched my life. Gave my dream magic again, when my magic carpet had lost it's magic. Who encourage me, inspire me and humble me in their humility, honesty and untethered giving spirit. Who's compassion, motherly instincts, deep faith, and capacity to love continue to amaze me and touch my soul deeper than I can ever write or speak. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this new "circle of sisters that so naturally reach out and touch without touching". May God continue to bless you over and over again.

I for one anxiously await what un-folds before us next. Until then, hold on tight, the journey has many blessings awaiting you--some so ever beautifully unforseen and unexpected.

Those considering the adoption journey reading this blog--I encourage you to take a chance. Run the race, follow the journey that adoption gives you, it gives you more than you can ever possibly imagine.

Love, Izabella's Mom--patiently and gratefully waiting and preparing for 36 years to be "Izabella's Mom"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

a beautiful winter day...

1.10.08: We got 8" of snow last night, so we awoke to a blanket of snow covering our neighborhood. The best part is it was a bright sunny day--so it was a great temperature to be outside. The girls love the snow, especially Sadie. Montana just hangs out watching with...she often appears to be on "watch duty". So after Dan got home from working clearing the roads for the county--on his day off--we all dove into clearing the drive way--there are no pics of my shoveling and plowing but I did..I promise...honest...:) I had made homemade chicken soup and fresh biscuits for dinner--a perfect meal after a wonderful cold day of work and play outside.

I simply can't wait to have Izabella join us--she would have had so much fun in the snow and playing with the dogs. We're sure they'll be her best friends. They are ours..that's for sure. Perhaps by next winter she will be with us. We pray.

Here is a little glimpse of our time together. BTW--for those that don't know us--this is a regular thing for Sadie. Unless the weather is too icey and she might get hurt...Dan plays with her every night. You can see by the tail, she's in dog heaven! We love her tail, it's so expressive.


Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm giddy...I let out a little giggle of pure glee....

1.9.08: We got approved for the Waiting Children Program at our agency today! What a great day. I had to run some errands today, so I decided to take advantage of the drive to the east side of town to hook up with a girlfriend I hadn't seen in ages! We had a wonderful lunch. She has a lot of things going on in her life too. So it was great to catch up and just have some special girlfriend time. I also called our SW, as that was also on my way home, and I've been wanting to touch base with her our application-I just needed to touch base with her. And it was so great to see her. She told me she had approved our application on Wednesday, so we should be hearing from our FC Lauren soon. Really?! Yeah! She was so reassuring and very always...and answered some logistic questions I had about doctors, who to call, who to use..etc. We're so blessed to have resources like her available to us.

When I left there--I headed over to our doctors office to see if we could establish a plan for when we get our referral, for him to review the file. And to discuss the needs we had selected and get his wisdom on those things. This visit too was very assuring and again--we're so blessed to have such an amazing doctor. What a comfort to us. He always has been.

While I was waiting to check in at the doctor's office, for some reason I was compelled to check my email, and I couldn't believe it when I pulled out my phone...right there, the first email that popped up (at 2:52 pm--it was rec'd within minutes of me seeing it) with the subject line, "Waiting Children Program application approval". When I saw it, I let out a little giggle! It was so sweet! I looked around the room and wanted to tell everyone! But of course they wouldn't understand...and frankly, I was compelled to keep this moment to just me and my Izabella...and Dan. That night at dinner, I told Dan and in his easy going, always confident attitude he said, "no kidding, of course we did". Hmmm..yeah why did I ever doubt it? Silly me. :) He's so adorable sometimes...he's always surprising that big guy...

So, we're really on our way now. We just need to sign the paperwork and get it off to AWAA tomorrow, and yet again begin the "wait for the call."

I'm giddy--I'm so happy. My husband thought I'd been drinnking--I told him no--just "happy", "very happy". To top off our amazing day, as God planned it, we had made arrangements to have dinner with Dan's best friend from high school Todd and his wife Tammy. They were in town from Grand Island, Nebraska for the weekend and of course we wanted to see them. They adopted a little girl 7 years ago and have always been an inspiration to us. And oh they understand what we're experiencing and it was such a joy to share with them our thoughts and feelings. I didn't realize they too waited 2-years...and got the call their beautiful Kennedy was waiting for them. She is such an amazing mom and Todd is an incredible Dad...oh, God is good. God is sooo good! When we arrived at the restraurant--I didn't see Kennedy! I said, "oh? where is Kennedy?" She was with her grandmother for the weekend. I was so disappointed I had even brought my camera to take pictures...I just love seeing her, she's such a huge bundle of joy! I was looking forward to seeing her! But we had a wonderful visit with them....what a blessing and the timing couldn't be perfect. They were so excited for us!

Another funny thing happened--and thankfully God had this one under control as well--a storm had just hit, but our friends wanted us to take them up to see a car they are in town to try to purchase--so we hit the road. On the way home, Todd says to Dan, "where are you going?" Dan says, "too get some gas before we run out!" We all nervously giggled and talked about how close we came to ending our evening run out of gas on a very cold night on a dangerous snow and ice covered highway in a snow storm waiting for someone to bring us gas! But as God would have it we got to the gas station ok with just .125 gallons to spare! We took my SUV, that night instead of Dan's Truck because we wanted to re-fuel it. But our timing was off and we needed to meet our friends, so we opted to get gas tomorrow--not thinking we'd be making a trip up north! So...thank you God for keep those angels close--to hold our incredibly beautiful day together...perfectly. Dispite our human error in judgement about the gas tank...yipes...

DADDY SIDEBAR--one of the beautiful things my husband (Izabella's dad) lovingly does for me since we met, is to always keep my car with a full tank of gas. I think I've only pumped my own gas just 2 times in the last 10.5 years. And he never let's the tank below 1/2 full--he's diligent about it. How sweet is that eh? I really do love this guy...yup I sure do...

I'm exhausted...but before I closed my eyes on this day, I had to post the events of the day. It's not the most exciting post, or the deepest most thought provoking post. But one day, Izabella will read this and she will know beyond a doubt, we really, really wanted her in our lives, and as the poem I read earlier said, "you did not grow under my heart but in it"....yes she did.

One more step closer to our little girl. I can hardly believe it's happening! Izabella, where ever you are, we pray you are warm, and cared for. That somehow you can feel our love from half way around the world, even though you don't know our faces, you feel our love reaching out to you. I pray when we meet that you will be comforted and safe in our arms, as though you've known them forever. That God grant you the peace of knowing you are so very safe in our arms. May God please hold you in the palm of His hand and watch over you, providing you with all you need my little one. This I pray..with all my heart. Love, Mom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009