Sunday, February 28, 2010

Flashback and flash forward

Yesterday, the three kids and I headed to Milwaukee to visit my sister Alicia. (Actually, we were on a mission to deliver fruit that she ordered from Aaron's boychoir fundraiser -- she won the award for furthest delivery, I think!)

Earlier this week, she'd been hinting at a "super secret project" she was working on. When we arrived, we went into her house to have a snack before going to Discovery World science museum, and she gave us a heart-shaped box with the project inside: a DVD that included all our photos from our 2007 India trip, along with the short videos we took, all labeled with names and places, with Indian music in the background! She did a beautiful job, and it looks like we could've paid a professional to do it. She has blessed us so many times over throughout both adoption processes.

What a gift to have this all in one place, and not on a computer (which I'm always afraid will mysteriously lose these precious memories). She even gave us a second copy, which we will put in our fireproof box for safekeeping. Right away, the boys asked to see the Taj Mahal photos, and the video of our first meeting Anya Rashi.

It is heartwrenching now to see how confused and frightened she was in those first moments -- she definitely knew something was going on, and it was going to involve HER. All she wanted was her bottle and nap, and here were these strangers making a fuss over her! It's amazing to look at her today, in all her joyful, noisy glory, and remember how timid she was.

While we watched the video of those first moments, something interesting happened: Anya Rashi said, "Is that upstairs, Mama?" I asked her to repeat her question, and she said, "Was that upstairs?" She caught me off guard, because I don't think we've ever told her that the baby home she stayed in was on the second floor of the building. (We live in a one-story home, so she likely wasn't talking about our house.) I wonder if some part of her remembers that scary trip down the steps with those pale, funny-looking new people.

After we got home and the kids were all asleep, Peter and I watched the other videos of our first days with Anya Rashi. It made us think about traveling again, to meet another tiny stranger who will become part of our family. We keep wondering if she's born yet, what her birthparents' circumstances are, and if she has any idea that there is a God who is working to bring our lives together . . .

We are still holding steady at #7 on the waiting list. I had a dream last night that there was a sudden burst of activity with new referrals, and we jumped up to #4. I've never had the experience that some people do, where their dreams are prophetic -- but I am hoping there's a first time for everything, and this might be mine!

Whether or not that happens, we are steadfastly praying that we will be surprised with good news about moving closer to our next daughter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Scenes from our house

If you'd been able to peek through the windows of our house these past two weeks, you would've seen a dizzying variety of experiences.

First, you would have seen me staring at the computer as I learned via e-mail that my friend, former co-worker and museum curator extraordinaire Kim had finally succumbed to ovarian, lung, and brain cancer. Her friends and family in Canada celebrated her life at a memorial service that I was not able to attend. But, in a divine coincidence, a mini-reunion of other museum friends was planned for that same weekend in our city. It was good to be together, talk about her, and remember all the people that made the museum such an incredible place to work.

A second look would've shown you an elaborate indoor picnic complete with fake food, doll house, kleenex, and more. Fun things happen when I have appointments and Anya Rashi stays home with Daddy . . .

But a night-time look in our window would've found two bleary-eyed parents and one sick little girl. Anya Rashi brought us a parenting first: our very first ear infection in 9 years as parents! She had a wicked cough -- so severe that she vomited 5 times in 24 hours from the violent coughing spasms. She's all better now, but the experience definitely left an impact: this morning, she was playing dolls, and placed a toy cup on her baby's lap "because my dolly might throw up from her coughs."

You would've seen more than a few laughs resulting from Aaron and Nathan creating a rock band starring their littlest stuffed animals. They taped spoons on for guitars, stood a pencil on end for a microphone, and used tiny medicine measuring cups to make a drum set. (Not to be outdone, Anya Rashi taped a serving spoon onto her stuffed jaguar. She wasn't quite sure why, but wanted to be part of the action.) The band's name: PET ROCK.

You would've witnessed a few tears when our beloved parakeet Cletus passed away. Afflicted with parakeet obesity, a grumpy disposition, and gender confusion (long-time readers of this blog may remember a visit to the vet where we discovered Cleo was, in fact, not a girl), Cletus died peacefully in his cage on a Saturday afternoon. That was actually an answer to my maternal prayers that we would not discover him deceased on a school morning . . . because my sweet sons cried their eyes out. We put him in an old 1-lb. chocolate box on a bed of bird seeds, and the boys had the brilliant idea to put their school photos in with Cletus. We tied on a silk flower and satin ribbon . . . but we live in Wisconsin, so we can't bury him until the ground thaws. You may be horrified to know that Cletus is currently resting in peace in his casket, wrapped in two plastic bags, IN MY FREEZER. This is not what you think about when you become a parent (and a germophobic one at that).

Another look through the window would show this mother learning some simple theology from her 3-year-old. When she prays, she has her own very touching way of beginning. After hearing us say "Dear Lord . . . ", she put her own spin on it by saying "Lord, dear, . . ." It sounds like she's having tea with Him and is about to ask Him to pass the sugar. Strangely, her little phrase has had a profound effect on me -- it's definitely made me think about how intimate I can be with Jesus, even to the point of calling Him "dear."

If you had peeked through the window this Friday evening, you would have seen us celebrating Valentine's Day a bit early. Peter is a wonderful husband and father -- each year, he takes the kids on a little shopping trip in the quest to teach the boys to be good husbands, and to teach Anya Rashi how she should expect to be treated by her future husband. The kids choose something small for me (one year it was a huge fake amethyst costume ring, once it was a bottle of perfume, once a cotton shirt), while I make a special dinner that we eat by candlelight. This year, we followed up with dancing in the kitchen (and teaching the boys how to cut in politely!).

What's the favorite scene from your house so far this month?