Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travel questions, and a lesson from Mr. W

A gift from my dear friend Kathy while we wait for K -- so thoughtful of her! 
She said she was thinking of sailors' families who would have a candle burning
in the window while they waited for their husband and father to come safely home.

Anya wrapped up two of her little teddy bears to give to K when she arrives.

Although our travel to meet K is pretty far off, it's been very much on our minds this week.  Ever since we received her referral, we've been trying to find out if we will need to travel twice.  Some families whose children are in the same city have traveled once, while another family we know via their blog traveled recently to appear in court, and will travel again in about 6 weeks (we hope!) to bring their child home.  So our travel status is a little bit ambiguous at the moment.  We are hoping that the CARA conference in February will provide some answers -- and we're grateful that our wonderful case worker from Dillon is able to attend.

If you have a chance, you should check out the Carings web site.  They include statistics about how many children have been placed with families in the past several years -- and what is heartening is the dramatic increase in children who have been adopted!  While it's felt very slow from the "outside" due to that 18-month halt on families outside India adopting (while they revamped the process), the number of children adopted in-country has nearly tripled during that time!  That is good news, for sure.

Of course, our hearts are still aching for progress with K's case . . . and we are still waiting for NOC, court dates, and then a passport.  I am pretty certain that, short of a miracle, we will miss her 2nd birthday this summer, and I've been struggling with that.  Because we know a tiny bit about a few medical issues she is living with, it's so hard to watch another month slip by without hearing anything.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The prayer request I have right now isn't about that, though -- at least, not directly.  Would you all please join me in praying for Mr. W, a man from our chuch who is in the hospital right now?  His condition is grave, and his wife and sisters will have to make some difficult decisions about his care over the next few days.

Mr. W has become an integral part of our adoption story.  Every single weekend, for nearly 4 years, he has asked us about the adoption.  He always sits at the same table in the church lobby with his mug of coffee or soda.  Unfailingly, he asks, "Any news about that baby girl?"  He did the same thing when we were waiting for Anya.

Truthfully, there were times when I felt exasperated when he asked -- when the wheels of the process turned painfully slowly, or were at a complete halt, it was an effort for me to be gracious.  It was so frustrating to be reminded that, yet again, my answer was "no, we haven't heard anything."

But somewhere during those difficult months, my perspective changed:  Mr. W's consistency was transformed from an irritant into a comfort.  Because, clearly, he believed that IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.  And he believed it enough to ask me every single week, even though the answer was "no" literally for YEARS.  By doing this one, very specific, small thing, he has taught me so much about constancy and faith. 

So many people in the Bible had to wait -- Rachel, Joseph, Hannah, and more -- and I've always hoped I would be a good "waiter."  Turns out I kind of stink at waiting, especially when there's no definite end in sight.  But I am so grateful for Mr. W's lesson of remaining consistently faithful, and for the reminders that we were on his mind and in his prayers this whole time.  (It will be 4 years in March.)  That is a rare gift indeed in a culture that has an increasingly short attention span.

So please join me in praying for him -- that is one gift I can give back to him.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Too good not to share

This post is very good, and talks about how to explain some of the parenting choices that are best for our adopted kids:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Choosing a name

Well, another adopting mama I know -- she is achingly close to traveling!! -- posted about her new son's name, and I realized that I haven't talked much about our girl's name here.  I don't know if you share my obsession, but I absolutely LOVED looking on different web sites for Indian names and their meanings.  Just one more (enjoyable) way to spend the waiting time, I guess!

With our first daughter, we knew we wanted to keep her given name, whatever it was.  That is truly the only thing she "owned" from the first day of her life, and we felt it was a very important piece of her personal history.  We also asked at the orphanage who had named her, so that we would be able to tell her someday.

We wanted to honor her birth country by choosing another Indian name for her, and we wanted to give her a family name from one of our families, as a symbol of her new identity. 

Anya (a shortened version of "Ananya") was our choice, and it sounded beautiful combined with her given name, Rashi.  "Pearl" is my mom's name, and we chose that for her middle name.  It was perfect to our ears . . . although my now 6-year-old girl is insisting we call her simply "Anya" instead of "Anya Rashi."

With our next daughter K, we will definitely keep her given name.  We will also ask who named her, so we can tell her that information as she grows up.  Since she will likely be over 2 years old before we bring her home, we may keep her given name as a first name.  We love the meaning of K's given name, too, which is an added bonus.

We did choose another name during our research -- it is easy for westerners to pronounce, but is a decidedly Indian name:  Monika.  It means "wise counselor."  That's kind of a big burden for a child to carry, but we hope she will grow into it!  Then we will add the family name Ann/Anne, after Peter's mom and one of his sisters.  We haven't talked about which spelling we will use, though.

And since I love this topic, please feel free to chime in about what factors you considered/are considering as you choose your children's names!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year

Our Christmas decorations are still up -- partly because I have a sick girl, partly because I love all the twinkling lights and can't bear to take them down!  This weekend we will un-decorate, but I'm going to enjoy them for a few more nights.

I like to have a LOT of lights on the tree.
We had a great time celebrating Christmas and seeing our extended families and some dear friends.  Then, a few days after Christmas, our plans were sidelined a little bit by a head cold for Anya that turned into a cough and two-day fever . . . followed by a day with no fever (we thought she was better!), then more fever and a truly horrible cough. 

So this morning, the boys went back to school, and Anya went to the doctor.  She was pleased with this arrangement -- although she feels crummy, at least her vacation is extended!  Now, armed with some medicine, we hope she will be sleeping better and coughing less.  Thankfully, no one else in the house has it -- not even me, who has been sleeping with her some of the night, and managing various symptoms.  Whew!

*   *   *   *   *

We had to cancel some plans because of illness, but before that we spent time with dear college friends, a family from church, and a family from my museum days.  And in honor of some dear friends' 20th wedding anniversary, Peter officiated at the renewal of their marriage vows.  It was such a sweet night . . . my friend Kathy surprised her husband with the vow renewal, and I made bouquets for her and their daughters.  We met them just months after they were married, and have lived life alongside them as we both became parents. 

Maybe it's part of getting a little bit older, but I am savoring these long friendships in a new way.  I treasure people who've seen me at my best and worst, and loved me through lots of different stages of life.  As the New Year begins, I am feeling so grateful for them.

Then another family dear to us was blessed by the arrival of their fourth son!  As I held him in the hospital New Year's Day, I couldn't help but think of the infant Jesus, God come to earth in the tiniest, most vulnerable form, evidence of the greatest Love the universe has ever known.  What a thing to ponder . . .

No baby photos, so instead: snow bunny!

And a snow fort, with a supply of snow balls in reserve.

Another thing I'm so grateful for is the little blogging/Facebook adoption community that I'm blessed to be part of.  I've only met a few of you in "real life," but your understanding, companionship, and encouragement during our long wait is something I treasure.  Thank you!!

I am hoping and praying that 2013 brings good news from the other side of the world for each of you!

Peter snowblowing -- and going over to the neighbors' to help.
He's a gem.