Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tears of joy

I can barely see the computer screen.  For the last two hours, I've been crying, then drying my tears, then suddenly sobbing again at the drop of a hat.  For all of the very best reasons.

Peter called me from work about something totally mundane -- he was checking if I could use a room at church for a meeting that had to be moved last-minute.  The woman who was going to host my meeting has a child with a miserable stomach bug.

Suddenly, I heard other voices in his office, and he said, "What? What?"  Then I heard one of the voices ask why he was crying.  I wondered what in the world was going on.

Then, she took the phone and talked to me.  A family I barely know has been talking and praying about our adoption.  They had a sum of money set aside, and felt that God wanted them to help us bring K home.  She quietly said the amount over the phone, and my face crumpled as I literally burst into tears. 

I am completely overwhelmed at their kindness and generosity.  They are choosing to be part of changing K's life forever.  I don't have any idea why they thought of us -- I believe it is just purely them listening to God and responding in love and obedience.  Our good Father delights in surprising us and lavishing us with unexpected goodness and provision.  Why does He do that?  Why would He bless us so?

What this family doesn't know is that we only had enough in savings to make our final adoption payment.  We had nothing to spare for the trip, and were wondering if we would need to ask for a loan from a family member, or dip into our home equity, or what.  Just this morning while he got ready for work, Peter was wondering if he should call our bank to start asking questions about refinancing our mortgage. 

Their phone call answered those questions.  Their gift will certainly cover all of our plane tickets.  I am still in shock, and so humbled at generosity that asks nothing in return.  They wish to remain completely anonymous.  That is so rare in this world.

Especially in these trying months since October, hearing nothing about K's case, this is such uplifting news.  We are praising the One who meets all our needs, and thanking God for this family's incredible gift.   

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flash mob in Mumbai

Just for fun, a little musical diversion!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bringing adoption to kindergarten

Anya in a nightgown Grandma sewed.

Today, I was a guest in my daughter's kindergarten class.  I brought in a basket of props and a doll, took a deep breath, and gave a basic explanation of adoption.  My goal was to talk about adoption at school while Anya isn't self-conscious about the topic or about having me in class -- and hopefully to introduce her classmates to positive adoption terminology at a young age.

I laid the groundwork last November, by asking Anya's teacher if she would be open to having me come in.  I wrote up an outline describing what I planned to do, and based it partly on an Adoptive Families magazine article.  I also linked to the article, so she could read a more expert opinion.  She read everything, and worked me into the classroom schedule.

She did have one very important suggestion for me:  there are two other children in Anya's class who are transracially adopted, and she wanted to check with their parents and see if they were comfortable with the idea.  We know one of the families, and knew they were very open with their child about adoption; I had already planned to e-mail that family if the teacher agreed to the talk.

But I am so glad she knew about the other family, and shared the information with them -- I would hate to have blindsided them, or had their child go home upset.  They were grateful, and wanted to tell their child in advance that adoption would be discussed at school.

Today was the big day!  I sat down in front of 25 eager faces, and started with the obvious: "I am Anya's mother, and she's my daughter, but we don't look like each other, do we?"  A sea of enthusiastically shaking heads and a chorus of voices told me that no, we don't look like each other at all!

That was my springboard -- that some families don't look like each other.  I talked about how families can have people who don't look like each other. Sometimes it's because the mom and dad don't have the same color skin, so their children don't look like one of the parents.  And sometimes, families have people who don't look like each other because the children are adopted.

Anya held up a photo of K, and we told the class we were waiting right now for another daughter -- one who also wouldn't look like me, but who would look like Anya.  Then I took the doll in my arms, and asked the children what we would need to take care of a little one.  I chose to bring in the doll to keep the focus off of Anya, and we also didn't share any of her personal details except for where she was born.  We used an older-looking, not-so-babyish doll, since K will be two when she comes home.

That's where my basket of props came in.  I held the doll and asked the children some things that babies or little kids need, and had children take turns choosing something from the basket.  One by one, they picked out objects that showed children need food, medicine, clothes, toys, books, and love.  When we had emptied the basket, I said that it was going to be our job to provide all those things for K, forever, because we were going to be her parents.  We left the objects out on a table where the kids could see them.

Then I said "There's one other thing we haven't talked about that every person needs, and that's to be born and brought into the world."  That, I explained was the job of the first parents.  Every adopted child has two sets of real parents -- the first parents bring her into the world and make sure she's born.  But then, sometimes, grown-ups have big problems that mean they cannot provide all the things a baby needs (and I pointed back to the objects from my basket). 

I stressed that the grown-up problems, like being too young to care for a child or having very bad medical problems, were never the baby's fault . . . and the other two adopted children each raised their hands and chimed in with parts of their own stories.  I wasn't expecting that, but it gave me an opportunity to say "Yes, that is a grown-up problem," and "They wanted to make sure someone would find you and take care of you," and affirm their contribution.

Then I briefly mentioned the helpers at adoption agencies who help the birthparents find families who can take care of their children, and that we were really looking forward to meeting our new daughter, being her family, and taking good care of her for the rest of her life.

Then the children got on a tangent about who had how many siblings, and at least one boy also claimed to have been adopted (I know him and his parents from preschool, and he's not!).  Hopefully that means he "caught" a positive picture of adoption today!  Another little girl told me, "I have light brown skin, and so does my whole family.  So we do look like each other."  It's always fascinating to hear what's going on in their minds.  :o)

I hope this experience will be a good building block for Anya and her classmates.  (And I'm fully aware that the only thing they may remember or report at home is "Anya's mom brought a doll to school!") It's pretty inevitable that someone at school will say hurtful things to her, or family tree/geneaology assignments could cause confusion or pain -- but I'm hoping that we have answered some questions before they needed to be asked, and reinforced my daughter's level of comfort in talking about adoption in general.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A little news . . .

Close-up of stonework at the Taj Mahal.
Just thought I'd share a little bit of good news . . . we heard that our case is being forwarded for SARA (state level clearance).  I don't know how long that will take, but please pray that it's quick!  Then our paperwork will be able to move on to NOC.

What a relief to hear something!

Monday, March 4, 2013

In memory of Mr. W and Jeanne

Our little crowd of faithful adoption supporters just grew smaller.  I'm sad to tell you that Mr. W died this weekend after six weeks of hospitalization and hospice care.  Please do keep his wife Sandy in your prayers, as she is feeling lost in these first days of grief. 

Jeanne, another person who also consistently asked about and prayed for K, died last week at age 84.  I first knew Jeanne because she served in our church's Lay Counseling Department (where I also volunteer), but during the last 4 years, I would see her at the YMCA a few times each week -- and almost every single time, she asked me if I had any adoption news for her.

It makes me sad to think that they've prayed for four years, and will not be here to see the day when we bring our daughter home.  I am taking satisfaction in the knowledge that they both got to see  pictures of her sweet face. 

And I have to brush up on my theology a little on this point, but I sure hope they will be clapping their hands and rejoicing with us in heaven when we finally travel to meet the daughter they lovingly prayed for. 

Until then, I'll remember this when I think of Mr. W and Jeanne:

But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
-- C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle