Monday, May 24, 2010

Good news and bad news

Our week has been filled with good news and bad news.

Bad news: Peter's dad had a heart attack last week, and spent 3 nights in the hospital. We were all shaken up and surprised, because he is so engaged in life that we often forget he's actually 73. He loves to travel, volunteered this year helping seniors prepare their taxes, does computer work for a local model railroad club, participates in a Bible study with his beautiful wife, and much more.

Good news: it was much less damaging than it could have been because he and Peter's mom paid attention to what was happening, and went to the ER right away. His prognosis is pretty good -- he's had two stents put in, and he's doing cardiac rehab. Everyone in the family was very worried, and this week just reinforced how dear he is to us all.

Good news: After nearly 5 months of no activity, several families accepted referrals of children in Dillon's India program! Three families ahead of us on the non-NRI list have been matched with their daughters -- congratulations, Lisa, Melanie and Emily! Because of these referrals, we have moved up to #3, which is very exciting!

Bad news: The baby home in Kolkata has been diligently attempting to renew a certain license that allows them to clear children for international placement. After a lot of waiting, they were issued a temporary license that allowed for the recent referrals. The bad news is that this short-term license expires in mid-June, and there's no way to tell when it will be renewed in the future. Needless to say, the open-endedness of this situation is a bit discouraging.

Good and bad news: The past two days, temperatures have soared to 93 degrees here! It's bizarrely warm for May in Wisconsin, and we've had some fun getting the sprinkler out. The bad news is the kids are still in school for another two weeks, but it already feels like summer!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thoughts about waiting

Anya Rashi's referral photo.
Gidget and April, two of my blog friends, are in India right now meeting their new daughters! (They aren't blogging during their trips, or I'd post links -- there is nothing better than seeing a family created right before your eyes.)

With them on my mind, I've been thinking a lot about the strangeness of meeting a little person you've gotten to know by staring obsessively at photos from halfway across the world. I wonder if it's like an arranged marriage . . .

While you wait to travel, you try to glean ideas about her personality from the handful of photos you've been given. You search each expression and try to see if she's going to be shy, outgoing, creative, athletic, sunny, fiesty . . . and in some ways you create an identity for her. (And that identity may be nothing like her actual personality!)

Then, when you arrive at your child's orphanage and actually feel the weight of your baby in your arms -- you realize that this little one doesn't have any idea that her life is about to change drastically. Although you've had time to let love grow in your heart until it's bursting with joy, she doesn't know this weepy, happy, pale stranger at all.

There was a distinct moment when I realized that, despite my consuming love for her, we were strangers to each other. I was overwhelmed with the idea that she was so vulnerable, yet willing to trust me to feed her and take care of her. What a gift that trust was.

Then the real love begins -- the kind where you really get to know each other, where you're up late with a jet-lagged baby, where you get to see the first belly laughs, where you find out which songs are favorites, where you catch vomit, where you get used to each other. Where real life happens . . . together, forever.

I continue to marvel at the way she fits naturally into our hearts and family. It reminds me that God already knows who our next daughter will be, even as we wait for those first pictures of her.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A few special days

We've had our share of special days lately. First was Nathan's 8th birthday . . . my middle son is getting so old! He had pancakes with a candle on his birthday morning, and was thrilled to receive his first ever video game (so was Aaron, by the look of that picture!). We invited some friends to visit a local museum to celebrate, and shared the party with Nathan's lifelong buddy Jack, who was born exactly one week after Nathan.

Our guy still loves to use his imagination, build with Legos, and do all the fun things he's done for the past few years -- but I can tell he's getting older because he asks great questions, knows so many scientific and historical facts, and tries some new defense lawyer-like logic when he's in trouble! He will be out of second grade in a few short weeks, and we are so proud of his curious mind, compassionate heart, interest in anything outdoors, and fierce love for friends and family. We are immensely grateful that God chose us to be your parents, Nathan.

I also had a wonderful Mother's Day. Saturday night found us at a favorite Mexican restaurant with my Mom, Dad, and sister and brother. Since becoming a mom, my new love language is when someone else cooks for me! We had fun celebrating my amazing Mom with some great food, and our waiter brought us complimentary drinks at the end of the meal -- I'll have to ask my Spanish-speaking sister what it was called, but it was almond flavored, with little bits of almond in it. Delicious!

On Sunday morning, all the kids piled in bed with me to start my day. With a little help from Peter, they remembered that my college sweatshirt was dying a slow death, and got me a new one. (And since it was about 30 degrees that morning, I really wished I could wear it to church!) I also have a coffee gift card to use, and some beautiful earrings Anya Rashi picked out for me.

Sunday evening was spent with Peter's parents, where we discovered that my sweet mother-in-law has kept a journal since they moved to our city in 1984. Peter and I were both in tears reading through good and sad entries, and looking at a book of poems she's written over the years. I have been truly blessed with both of my moms, who consistently honor God by choosing to give selflessly to others.

We also received a very welcome e-mail from our adoption agency -- over the next two weeks, we can expect to see some referrals happening for the families ahead of us! I just love seeing those new little faces, and knowing that these children will have a family to love them forever. We're also pretty happy knowing we will be moving closer to the day when we find out who "Number 4" is -- that's how Peter and I have been referring to her for a few months now. :o) (Hmm. #4? There may be a Brett Favre jersey in her future . . .)

When we got home Sunday night, our three kids were noisy and fun and LOUD. Peter and I exchanged a look over their heads and started laughing about how much louder it will be with another child in the mix. And then one of us may have started a chant: "Number Four! We need one more!" Yikes!