Friday, July 31, 2015

This Is It

Last Friday, Andrew and I were out shopping. We were browsing around Marshall's when my sister posted on my wall on Facebook to tell me my phone wasn't ringing. I turned my phone off so it could reboot, and when I turned it back on, there was a voicemail from our caseworker asking me to call her back. I honestly thought it was about our home study because I had just sent an updated copy a couple days prior. But when I got on the phone with her, I quickly realized it was not about our home study.

It was . . . THE CALL!

There in the middle of Marshall's, shaking and trying my best to look sane, I heard about a precious little Bulgarian girl for the first time.

We've been waiting all week to consult with the International Adoption Pediatrician. Today, we finally had our consultation, and it went very well. Her medicals were pretty much as we had interpreted, and there weren't any big unknowns or surprises. Before we receive travel dates we'll get updated stats and videos. I wish I could give y'all all the the details, but I can't. Privacy is important, but I'll share that she's two and she's beautiful.

Our caseworker asked me today how I was doing, and it was the first time I really paused to think about it. I've been a bundle of nerves, but that's pretty normal for me. I'm also excited, but there's some fear there . . . a part of me is hesitant to fall head over heels in love. Last summer, I fell hard for another sweet little girl, and the heartbreak when we lost her was almost unbearable. But God does heal, and He has done amazing healing in our lives. He is a good God, and He gives us good gifts. And y'all this little one is a good gift.

I called my grandmothers tonight to tell them, and they were thrilled. It brought huge joy to my heart.

I seriously thought about waiting a long time to make this announcement. I even considered not telling until after Trip 1 or court, but first, I'm the world's worst secret keeper and second, y'all have been our partners and our support system throughout this journey. I think you deserve to know.  I've asked for prayers more times than I can count, and so tonight, I'm asking once again. Pray for our little one (name reveal to come soon . . . just as soon as we can come to a consensus . . . let's just say Andrew will not be naming her). Pray for her health, continued well being, and growth and development (normal kid stuff). Pray for us to have peace as we wait and peace as we go forward. Pray for smooth sailing and a quick process. Pray for great attachment and bonding for all of us.

As always thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mom Life

It's 1:15 in the morning. I've been asleep approximately 90 minutes. I've hit the sweet spot where deep sleep is starting to take over, and I'm starting to dream . Then somewhere in the recesses of my mind I hear something. At first I think it might be part of my dream. It's not.

"Mommy . . . Mommy . . . I don't feel good."

I pull myself out of the realm of blissful sleep and deliriously throw off the covers. I glance over at my sleeping husband and then trudge to the bathroom with my seven year old where we proceed to sit on the floor while he "decides" if he's going to be sick or not.

After about 20 minutes of hanging out on the bathroom floor, he says he's feeling a little better. He wants to get back in bed . . . the loft bed not the twin bed. I cannot convince him that the twin bed is a better option, and at almost 2:00 a.m., I don't have the fight in me to carry this argument further. I pray he doesn't puke all over his bed because I don't really want to climb up and down a ladder while cleaning his bed. I lay down on the twin bed in case he needs me. This might possibly be the most uncomfortable bed ever. Just as I start to doze off . . .

"Mommy . . . Mommy . . . my tummy feels nauseated. I think I'm going to throw up."

And up we go. Back to the bathroom. Back to sitting on the floor. Fifteen minutes pass. He's starting to feel better, but now he's worried that if he lays back down he'll feel sick again.

I have a light bulb moment. Didn't the pediatrician say you can give a child Benadryl if they're nauseated? Or maybe it was for motion sickness? Ehhh . . . potato . . . pototo (how the heck do you write that anyway???) . . . and maybe as a bonus it'll help him sleep. Who am I kidding? I hope it knocks him clean out. I'm tired.

He chokes down a Benadryl., "gacks" a few times but doesn't puke it up. That's a good sign. We head back to bed. It's now close to 3:00 a.m. Please Lord, let him sleep. He gets in bed. Thirty minutes go by, and he's definitely out. I roll out of my spot on the awful twin bed and stumble back to my comfy bed. Patrick mumbles, "Is Buddy okay?" I'm not sure if I answer. I'm asleep in less than 30 seconds.

And three hours later, the alarm goes off, and the day begins. I'm dragging, but Andrew? He's bright eyed and raring to go. Seriously kid?!?

These nights can be exhausting. The days that follow are long. But when it comes down to it, I wouldn't trade it for the world . . . or even a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Stitch Fix

Finally a post about something other than the emotional roller coaster that is adoption. And everyone said, "Hallelujah!"

This is actually a very superficial post, but sometimes that's okay . . . right? For those of you not interested in a post about clothes and hair feel free to skip out on this one. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming soon enough. 

First, I chopped my hair completely off today. I've had very short hair before, but for the past couple of years my hair has been pretty long. I have a ton of hair, however, and I was very tired of the maintenance and time that long hair takes. I'm hoping this will be quick and easy. 


And now, my Stitch Fix. If you don't know what Stitch Fix is you can learn about it here. I've been signed up for quite a while, but because I'm only working part time at a job where t-shirts and shorts are acceptable, I have been waiting to order. Since we are headed to the beach in a couple weeks (woohoo!), I decided to schedule an order for some cute, "beachy" type styles. Overall, I was pleased, but I didn't keep everything. Here's the breakdown . . . 
Awkward picture taking aside, I absolutely love this dress. It fits me perfectly, and the detailing is so pretty. It was a little higher than my normal price point, but I loved it so much that I decided to keep it. 

This shirt is super cute. The neckline has pretty detailing. It'll look really cute with skinny jeans. Another keeper. 

I liked these shorts a lot, but I already have quite a few pairs very similar in style to these. They were also a little big in the waist so they are going back. 





This tank was perfectly fine in the front, but the lace detail in the back was what sold me. That and the fact that it fit me perfectly. I will also be keeping this top. 

I wasn't crazy about this necklace. It was a little busy and costume jewelry-esque for me. I decided to send it back. 

I was really pleased with my order overall, and I'll be ordering again in the future. As I move into my mid 30s (yikes), I've decided that I only want to buy and keep clothes I love. I've also decided that my goal when it comes to clothes is stylish, comfy, and grown up. No I'm not going for frumpy, but I'm determined to stay away from the junior's section. Just because I can wear it, doesn't mean I should. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day by Day

I learned yesterday, through unofficial channels, that our agency received another referral this week. News travels fast in the adoption world . . . well, at least among the adoptive families.

A quick rundown on how the process works because I think a lot of people get confused and rightfully so. We are pursuing what is commonly called a traditional referral (someday I'll also explain the waiting child route). This is where the Bulgarian government makes the match for the family. When you submit your dossier (your file) to Bulgaria to be registered you also submit age, gender, and special needs parameters. Bulgaria then does everything within their power to match families with children that they feel are a good fit to those very specific parameters. This is why people get referrals out of order. This is why it can take so long. Our special needs parameters are pretty open, but there are others that are far more open. Our special needs range from mild to moderate, both correctable and incorrectable, possibly treatable. Our age range is quite likely what holds us back. In our latest home study, we did raise our age range, but we're still requesting a young child which is very common. I don't often discuss our parameters because there is so much controversy surrounding them. Some people can't believe that we are knowingly and willingly adopting a child that isn't perfectly healthy. Other people feel that we should open our special needs and age parameters even more. These are hard decisions to make, and we did not make them lightly. 

So back to the referral . . . I have no idea if the referral was for a boy or a girl. I have no idea if it was for a younger or older child. I have no idea what that's child's special needs are, and it's likely I never will. I'd love to say that I felt joy . . . joy for a child that finally has a family . . . joy for a family that finally has a child. But I didn't. I felt hurt. Gut wrenching hurt (and maybe just an inkling of anger . . . I'm being real here). All of the thoughts and fears with which I've often struggled came flooding in . . . Is there something wrong with us? Maybe we aren't open enough? Did I do something wrong? Am I not a good enough mother to be a mother to a child from a hard place? 

None of these questions are true depictions of the situation, but they all cast doubt in my heart. They are not the thoughts nor the plans God has for me. They are fear driven thoughts, and I refuse to let fear drive this train. I struggled with them throughout the night. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. with a physical ache in my heart. While my inclination is to throw myself a pity party, I know that's not what God wants me to do. So I turned it all over to Him.That sounds so simple, but the process of "turning it over" is far from simple. It's more along the lines of prying these thoughts, pains, and doubts from a very closed, very clenched fist. There is nothing wrong with us (well, nothing that hasn't been redeemed by the blood of Christ). I'm not a perfect mother, but God has infinitely blessed me as I seek Him in how to parent my children (however many I end up with . . . I'm leaving that number open ended). This is not punishment no matter how much it may feel like it at the moment. And we've sought God in making the decision regarding the special needs, as well as the age range, we can and cannot accept. 

I have to remember to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I have to remember that this battle is not just physical but also spiritual. I have remember to pray more than I whine . . . to continue to stand . . . that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). 

I don't write this for sympathy nor do I write it for accolades. I'm not amazing. I'm not always good at this waiting thing. I'm not superwoman, but a while back I was praying and telling God that I would have a huge testimony when this adoption is finally done. What the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart was not, "Yes, one day you will have a huge testimony." Instead it was, "Your testimony is now. Your testimony is what you are living each and every day. Your testimony isn't in what you perceive as victory because even after the adoption is finalized there will still be obstacles to overcome, but your testimony is in how you live and rely on Me daily." Some days I do well. Other days, I don't, but I want to be honest. I'm hoping in my honesty that I don't come across as a big crybaby, but as a person, seeking God and learning to rely on Him and His Word. I'm hoping that in my honesty others see God and His goodness and also choose to seek Him day by day.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Reflections on 12 Years of Marriage (and An Awesome Post Script!)


Tomorrow, on July 12, we will celebrate 12 years of marriage. When I look at this picture, I think, "Gosh we were just babies." Were we ready to be married? Maybe ... maybe not. I think marriage is a lot like having children, it's something you learn by doing. You're going to have good moments and bad moments. You're going to say and do things you shouldn't. You're also going to do and say things you should, and it will be awesome. Two imperfect people, coming together, working toward becoming one isn't a completely cut and dry process, but it a beautiful process. If you were to ask me what to look for in a spouse, I'd say don't look for the smartest, or the most attractive, or the most charming ... I'd say look for someone who respects you. Look for someone who works to understand you. Look for someone who supports you and cares about your needs. Look for someone who serves God first. And also work toward being the person who has all of these qualities. (And if you're already fighting and having major drama before you're married, marriage isn't going to fix those issues. It will only amplify them ... just my 2 cents.)

This past year of marriage has been challenging. Not by our choice, but life has thrown us some pretty big curveballs. I'm not going to rehash everything. If you want to read about it, you can go back through the last year of posts. But what I can say is that this last year has brought out our best (and maybe sometimes our worst) qualities. It has been a refining year for us personally, as a couple, and as a family. It has found us leaning into one another and on God more than ever before. It's been a pretty amazing year. I haven't loved every second. There are actually big chunks, on which I'd rather not dwell, but I wouldn't change it. I think this past year has shaped us and has been significant in growing us up more than any other year in our lives. 

Having said all that, I'm hoping that the next year of marriage and family life holds amazing and beautiful things. I'm praying it's the year we become the parents of two children. I think we're really ready (go ahead and laugh at my naivety). I'm praying that we become even closer in the next year, and we continue to grow in love for one another. I'm praying for great things this next year. 

And now a little (amazing) Post Script: Every year, in August, Bulgaria (and a lot of Europe) basically shuts down for summer vacation. This means that during this time, the Bulgarian government works very little and no referrals are issued. This summer vacation usually starts a little before August, and extends into September a couple weeks. Last year, there were six weeks without any meetings of the adoption committee. I was really dreading the break this year because I knew it would mean weeks lost and wasted. On Thursday, we got word that the branch of government that handles international adoptions will not shut down, meetings will still be held, and referrals will still be issued! This is huge y'all! Things may (or may not be) a bit slower, but stuff will still be happening. That in and of itself is a huge answer to prayer.