Thursday, February 28, 2013

Waiting Well

Or maybe not waiting so well.  I'm afraid that's been the case this week.  and that's not such a good thing because we are way at the beginning of things.  Our agency gave us a check list of the order things will go in.  We haven't even check off number one yet.  UGH!  Our home study is moving along well. We have actually done everything we need to do on our end.  All our papers are done and I will stick the last few in the mail today.  We attended a seminar last weekend that we had to go to in order to do our next meeting.  We have it scheduled but with scheduling issues it is not until March 11.  We will have one more interview after that.  In my mind I wanted us to be finished with the interviews by the end of February.  That's not gonna happen and for a couple of days I took my eyes off who was in control here.

Here's a hint:  It's not me.

I am an admitted control freak.  I'm a list maker and a doer.  I'm not a good sitter.  I have a hard time even watching a 30 minute show on TV and not doing something else.  But I'm not in control here.  It's easy to begin to feel like I'm at the mercy of social workers or government agencies.  It's easy to feel like I'm going to get lost in bureaucracy.  But they aren't in control either.

And today I am choosing to find peace in knowing that my God is in control.  He knows my heart.  He knows my daughter's name.  He knows I want to see her face and hold her and he knows what it is like to not be able to hold your child.  He knows.

His timing is perfect.  He is good.

One of my favorite verses when my Daddy died was I Corinthians 13:12
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

I think one of the most beautiful things we will get to see in heaven is how it all makes sense.  Why things happened the way then do.  We get to see God's plan in total.

Today I am committing Psalms 130:5 to memory.  Hiding it in my heart.

"I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope!"

And what does His word promise me?

He knows her.  He knows her name, her face, her needs.  Psalms 139

He gives us strength when we wait on Him. Isaiah 40:31

All things work together for good.  Romans 8:28

He helps us in our weakness.  Romans 8:26

So today I am going to readjust my attitude!  I am going to pray for my daughter in China.  I am going to get ready for Jenny's birthday.  I'm going to enjoy my teenagers good mood.

I'm also going to move the coffee table from the playroom to the keeping room.  That's part of the rearrange the house plan and it will satisfy the need to do something!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

So I had a meltdown in the Social Security Office

I wish that statement wasn't true, but.......

It is.  And it was a doozy.

A little background before we get to the juicy details.

During my happy dance at Kroger Tuesday when Shane told me we had our fingerprint appointment he mentioned we needed to bring our social security cards.  That put a little hiccup in my happy dance because that was a bit of a problem.  Awhile back my purse was stolen and along with it my card along with Will and Jenny's. (I know-dumb). I had not ever replaced them because I just didn't feel like going to the social security office.  But now it was imperative!  I knew I couldn't get the actual cards but maybe I could get something proving they were on there way.  It was worth a shot! I was not cancelling that appointment.

So.....I gathered all my documents,  filled out the application and made plans to go to the social security office this morning.  I read that list 100 times to make sure I had it all right.  I had an old card of mine (with my maiden name on it), my marriage license, my much sought after birth certificate and my passport.  I had Will's birth certificate and passport as well as Jenny's.  Ready!

I was honestly nervous about going.  I don't like driving downtown, I don't like trying to park downtown and I just don't like sitting and waiting.  Luckily I drove straight to it and parked along the street.  Whew- that was easy!  Until the security man stopped me told me I couldn't park there and I needed to park in the garage.  Parking garages don't play along well with my dislike of enclosed spaces, but I found my way into the garage and got a decent spot next to the stairs.  I walked to the building and found the right room.  A room slam full of people.  I took my number and settled in.  I spotted a friend from church working at one the windows and waved hello.  Things seemed to be moving quickly and in about 20 minutes they called my number.  This is going ok I thought.  Prematurely.

I sat down and told the lady what I needed and handed over my already filled out applications.  She said, "I need to see your drivers license and their school records or immunization forms."  Um.. no.  I responded, "I have their birth certificates."  She said-and I quote, "You will recall I asked for their school records or immunization forms."  Fabulous.  I explained I had read that form 10 times and thought I had brought the right hings.  She asked did I have their school records or immunization forms.  Again.  I responded I have birth certificates and passports.  "Passports!" she said.  "Passports will work."  Yea!!!!  I waited for 5 or 6 minutes while she typed in all my information and then moved onto Jenny's application.  Wait for it.....the passports are expired.  Won't work.  Sorry.

This is when I began to feel that panicky, vomitty feeling in my stomach.  I have to have this TODAY! I explained.  It's really important.  Tell me what to do so I can come back!!!  You guessed it.  "School records or immunization forms.  Now, let me get your receipt."  And she walked away from the window.  And that's when it got ugly.

Now let me make an aside here.  Adoption is an emotional experience.  Much like pregnancy.  I've held it together pretty well so far.  But it's been an emotional week for me.  Shane and I have had some decisions to make and things to talk about. We've had LONG home study interviews.  It's been a bit of a roller coaster.  This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

She walked away from the window to get my receipt and I fell apart.  The flood gates opened and the tears began to flow.  I was standing up now, with my little folder of useless document clutched in my hands crying and crying and crying.  Apparently not very quietly because the people at the window behind me kept saying, "Ma'am, Ma'am!" When I finally turned around they were holding a box of tissue.  She came back to the window with the list of instructions so she could personally show me where it says no birth certificates.  "I believe you- just tell me what to bring you!"  I think you know her answer. This is when I really sort of lost it.  "I don't know what you mean by school records.?!?!"  Well, she said, "Do they go to school?"  "YES!"  "Then go to the school and have them print a record."  This did not help the situation.  I verified that an immunization record would suffice (again!) and got the heck out of there as fast as I could.  I managed to not fall face down on the floor of the elevator and raced to my car, sobbing the whole way.

Here's where things go really bad.  I hate, hate, hate parking garages.  I got so lost in a parking garage one time when I had jury duty that I had to find the little man on the golf cart and have him take me from level to level.  Hate them!  I went straight to my car and could barely breathe.  I was in the middle of first class meltdown people.  I pulled out and followed the signs to the exit.  Only I didn't exit.  I went round and round and round.  At least 10 times.  When I ended up at the level 4 elevator for the tenth time I yelled to absolutely no one, "I am going to die here!!"  A few more times around and I finally figured it out.  The poor lady I paid to get out of the garage thought I was crazy.

I came home.  Got a diet coke.  Ate some M&Ms.  Got the immunization forms and headed back.  I put some makeup on too.  It didn't help a whole lot.

I walked back into the office, got my number and sat down.  Breathing deeply and feeling nervous but back in control.  A few minutes passed and they called my name over the intercom.  "Stacy Huff please come to window B."  What in the world?!  That was my church friend's window.  I didn't want to be a line cutter but I was glad to see a friendly face.  I said hello and that I was surprised to hear my name.  I mentioned I had been here earlier, and that I had cried.

 And here is the embarrassing part.

 "Yea, the manager sent around a message that you were coming back."  Oh my word.  He told her I was back and she said to go ahead and call me up.  That's the magnitude of the meltdown-it warranted a memo.   I didn't ask but I'm afraid they sent that memo as a security precaution.  Crazy lady trying to get to China is coming back.  Be on high alert.

Ten minutes later I was on my way with temporary cards and a smile on my face.  Thank the Lord for friends.  I apologized when I left for having a meltdown and he answered.  "It happens."  Giving me hope that I am not the first.

We went on to our fingerprint appointment and it went fine. While Shane may be smarter than me it appears I have easier to read fingerprints.  That boosted my self esteem a little after a day of humiliation.  He got the brains but I got the fingerprints.  I'll take it.

One more step down.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This and That


When I left our homestudy interview on Friday I was admitedly frustrated.  We can't schedule our next meeeting until after we attend a class we have to go to in Birmingham.  That class isn't for 2 1/2 more weeks.  I feel kind of like I am answering the same questions over and over.  I know its all necessary and all leads to our daughter but I was just kind of over it to be completely honest.

Then yesterday we were surprised with a call giving us our fingerprint appointment!  Yea!!  This is sort of the first step outside of our agency that we have had to do.  And to me it was a pretty big one.  Just another step forward.  I've heard of this as being a stumbling block sometimes, just getting the appointment and being able to go at that time, etc.  I am so glad it's tomorrow and we can work it all out.  I may have done the happy dance in Kroger when Shane called and told me!

And then.....  FINALLY!  My birth certificate came! Eight weeks after I ordered it, it finally arrived in the mail!!  I ordered two and they only sent one but I'll take it!!!

So after feeling kind of stuck on Monday I feeling slightly less stuck today!  Moving forward!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Things I've learned this week

I have just about worn our computer out watching adoption videos the past few weeks.  Precious videos of people's adoption journeys.  People just like us who have felt God's undeniable call on their life.  I've always loved these videos.  Several years ago when we were contempleting adoption seriously for the first time I came across a video of a family bringing their baby home.   It was on an agency website and I think I watched it 100 times.  I just kept thinking that I was supposed to have a moment like that.  That that was supposed to be part of my life.  I remember being so happy for the family but sad at the same time.  Wondering if I was missing something God was calling me to.  As I have watched these videos in the past week I am not sad at all.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  I am impatient!  I am ready!

God has affirmed our decision to go with our agency over and over.  That is a hard decision and one we made rather quickly based on reccomendation and instinct.  It was a good choice!  I have emailed and called those poor people numerous times and am always greeted with kindness and understanding.  Each email I am reminded that they are praying for our family.

The Lord has drawn close this week.  I am so reminded of His promise to draw close to Him and He will draw close to you!  I have spent so much time pouring over the waiting children lists.  We can go one of two ways in finding our daughter.  We can submit all our  paperwork- our dossier- and wait for a referell or we can ask to view a file of a waiting child and decide whether or not to pursue that child.  Those children are called "special focus" children and are generally older and may have more signifigant needs.  Because we are looking for someone a little older we have felt strongly from the beginning that she is on that list.  It can be very overwhelming looking at those children.  The mama in me just wants to go get them all.  I have found a blog that I have been stalking   reading a lot.  They have adopted 11 children from China!!  She talked in one post about searching those lists and feeling overwhelmed.  Another blog I was reading talked about the importance of praying for those children.  When you are overwhelmed at their needs, pray for them.  So that's what I've been doing this week.  Praying for them by name-at least the names assigned to them for list purposes.  I have found such joy in praying for them and peace in knowing God is in control.

God has called our family to adoption.  I know that he doesn't call every family to adoption but he does make it clear in His word that we are to care for the fatherless.  Praying for these children whether you have seen their faces or not is a huge way of caring for them.  Please pray for them today.  In doing so you are praying for our daughter as well.

We have another homestudy interview on Monday.  That will be 2 down and 2 to go.  We are waiting to hear about our fingerprint appointment.  I have no idea how long that should take but I am hoping to hear from them in the next couple of weeks.  Oddly enough the thing that has given us the most fits so far is my dadgom birth certificate.  Its been nearly 2 months since I ordered it.  They assured me Wednesday that it had been mailed out but it did not come today meaning we cannot turn it in on Monday.  Trying not to be frustrated but not trying hard enough!

My favorite verse this week is Isaiah 43:5
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

He is pulling us together.  Please pray for us and for her.  Please pray for Will and Jenny.  Please pray for the millions of orphans around the world.

Who is she?

Although full term, she was only 4lbs. 11 oz. when she was born.  She gained weight and was catching up physically but she did not reach developmental milestones when all the other kids were reaching them.  She didn't walk until she was almost 18 months old.  Talking didn't really come until she was almost three.  She had surgery at the age of one to repair a hernia, a rarity for a baby girl.  Two more minor but necessary surgeries followed.  Later she would be diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that affects her growth and digestion.  She would have to follow a strict diet for the rest of her life.

Who is the baby?  She's my daughter.  Not my soon-to-be daughter.  My biological daughter, Jenny.  I do not look her in any way as special needs, but the truth of the matter is she would most certainly be labeled as such in an adoption referral.  And some of it sounds scary when written out that way.  She didn't walk until she was a year and half old and she barely said a word until she three. (She has more than made up for lost time though.) She weighed four pounds when she was born and she really does have celiac disease.  

She's also the smartest 11 year old I know.  I cried every day in 6th grade and failed math one 9 weeks (true story!)  She hasn't shed a tear and has made straight A's.  She's taking pre-algebra as a 6th grader and making an A!  My daddy would be so proud and I am in awe.  She copes unbelievably well with her celiac and is an all around good kid.  She is self confident and she loves Jesus and has a heart for orphans.  I am one proud Mama!

My point in writing this it that the Lord is speaking to me and convicting me as I pray for my new daughter and think about what kind of special need I can "handle."  If I had a read a file on Jenny would I have passed it by?  What qualifies as too much for me?  My prayer is that we won't be scared off.  I read a blog post by another adoptive mom the other day who was writing about how their son's needs were greater than they anticipated.  She said she had learned a hard truth and that it wasn't that his needs were greater than she had thought,  it was that if she had known the full extent of his needs she might have passed him by and what a tragedy that would have been.  What joy he brought to their family.  What a joy it was to parent him.  I'm not saying that I think parenting a child with special needs is a joy all the time.  I know it's not.  I know that there are things I think we can't handle.  My prayer is that I won't be looking for just what I can handle, but for who God has for our family.  Who He wants me to parent.  I want to rest in the knowledge that He is in control.

And I'm anxious to see my daughter's face.  Teach me patience Lord!