Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Update of the Adoption Sort

"How's the adoption going?  How much longer till you get those babies?"  It's a question I get a couple times every week.....because people remember and people care.  Answering the question is good for me.... it helps me remember that things are happening and wheels are turning, even when it feels painfully slow.

It's been a while since I've given you all a straight up update about how the paperwork's going.  In my last adoption post I explained my dossier log-jam.  The amount of paperwork and detailed instructions have a potential for error greater than if I tried to pass the bar exam without studying.  It froze me.  After I got over the overwhelming desire to just take a nap, I got started.  I've been gathering, signing, notarizing and scanning through the requirements.  It's almost done.

Our adoption agency is pretty high tech....they've got an online adoption portal to answer my questions and double-check my documents.  I scanned everything in to get the professional once over and found we needed to make two corrections.  In my mind that should take 24 hours or so and we'd be on our way.  In real life large family style, 2 field trips, 4 Awana Grand Prix cars, 90 spelling words, 12 loads of laundry, 1 college visit and general sleeplessness caused it to take a bit longer.  I keep having to tell the perfectionist in me that what I have to offer right now is worth offering because God called me right now and He knows how to multiply loaves and fishes.....or tiny shreds of energy and lucidness.

Now the checklist is finally complete and the next step is to take my life in notarized paper form to the Secretary of State office to be State Sealed.  "What's that?" you say?  "I didn't know there was such a thing?" you say?  Well, neither did I....but apparently there is a system set up for formally proving that you are who you say you are and the documents you're signing are actually real.....and it's called State Sealing.  This is another process rife with potential for error.  Every country has different preferences for how they like it to be's my job to be an expert on Ethiopia style and pull out the "pushy Momma" growl if necessary to get it done.

The State Sealing feels like Willy Wonka's golden ticket to me right now.  I think the clouds will part, sunshine will fall in golden rays upon me and the birds will flutter and sing when I have it in my hands!  Now I get why adoption blogs are teeming with pictures of dining room tables full of papers and envelopes going into the post office box.  Those are adoption ultrasound pictures.  What an exciting day that will be!

The magic envelope will leave us and make it's way to Bethany Christian Services where more important papers and lots of Air-Mail stamps will be added before it's dropped in another mail box. Then the paperwork process of our pregnancy will be complete and our precious papers will arrive in the birthplace of our babies and put us officially on the waiting list.  That's our goal right now, the thing I'm dreaming about.

I have a missionary friend who turned each of these days of waiting and paper-filing into  beautiful links in a chain for me.  She reminded me that God's call was not just a call to the goal - adding two sweet new babies to the Florida clan.  God's call was also to the process that will get us there.  Each day toward that goal is a link in the chain of what God wants to do, an important part of His big plan.  Because it's a link, it's worth savoring.  It's worth pausing to get a good look at it, to make a memory of it.  It's something to relish, not to rue.  That, my friends, is a spirit-calming thought.

So let me set that same challenge in your lap.  Today....whatever it may consist a precious link in a noble chain of God's good purpose in my life....and yours.  Today I'm planning to take the next right step toward God's call....looking neither too far ahead where "what if's" loom, or too far behind where I'm blinded by "shoulda been's."  I'm gonna set my sights on today, and savor exactly this place along the way.  Look around you my friends.  Breathe it in, taste it, soak it up, savor that  little sliver of dark chocolate that flaked off the Godiva bar when you broke apart the last two squares.  I don't know about you, but I would lick my finger, press it to that sweet little sliver of goodness and close my eyes as it melted on my tongue.  Do the same with this's a beautiful link in your chain.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Birth of a Momma

A firstborn's birthday is really two holidays in one.  There's the celebration of the birth of the baby....and the celebration of the birth of a mother.  Both... life-changing, earth-shattering, cosmos-shifting events...equal in magnitude.  But the spotlight of celebration centers on the child.  There's something in the birth of the Momma that's content to be the holder, the arms that cradle, the person who throws the parties and ponders the memories.

I became a Momma 17 years and 4 days ago.  But enough about me....let me tell you about the star of the show.  His name was Riley Kent Florida.  The day he was born was like a dream....because he was a dream.

From the day the knot was tied I was ready to be a Momma.  But, alas, waiting had to be endured until the student teaching and degrees were finished and responsibilities were met.  The plan was to wait until we were firmly settled into a job with a paycheck.  It wasn't more than a couple months after Scott moved into his shiny, new youth pastor office that we had two little lines on the stick....and excitement bubbling over!!  9 weeks of dreaming, and then a baby off to heaven.  That little baby's early exit doubled my burning desire to be a Momma and poured fuel in the form of worries onto the fire.  My soul did a lot of desperate growing toward trusting my good Father those days.

The positive pregnancy test comes's the 9 week mark that makes my knees shake.  My full-time job was prayer, folic acid supplements, parenting reading, more prayer and a cautious dreaming.  The early ultrasound showed the flickering heartbeat of life and my heart hung onto my Dr.'s comment that a healthy early heartbeat looks good for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

She was right....this time pregnancy was trouble free and my dreams got free reign to run.  I remember sitting at a stop light on the way to work with cars stopped on the right and left of me.  I couldn't help but smile into the sunshine making everything glow, and feel bad for all the people in the world who didn't share my secret.  I prayed myself to work and back every day....always about the baby, my baby.  I'll admit, I prayed that he'd be handsome....more than once.  Praying for good looking children became kind-of an obsession after the pregnancy hormone induced dream I had of giving birth to my firstborn puppy.  I think God understands hormone induced prayers.....I sure hope He does, because I've prayed a lot of them!

Finding out my dreams were going to be of the blue variety was an exciting leap into the unknown for this girl who grew up in a family of only sisters.  Being the daughter of a great man and being married to another great man made the impending birth of a boy sound like a grand adventure.  I began shopping for tiny sneakers and ball caps.

Baby boy's Daddy's side of the family is known for birthing big, strong babies.  Baby boy's Momma's side of the family is known for being slight of frame.  Baby boy's doctor wisely suggested that baby boy shouldn't be given much opportunity for growth beyond his due date and baby boy's Momma quickly agreed.  "How about Monday?" she asked me at my Friday appointment.  The world stopped spinning for a moment as I realized there was a hard and fast clock ticking until the name Mom would apply to me!  What a drive home....sunshine, birds singing, every song on the radio just for me and my little one.  My first chance to share the excitement with Scott was at a funeral later that afternoon.  We tried to keep our excited whispers and giggles under control as we dreamed of a life beginning even as we acknowledged the ending of another.

Christmas Eve-like, we laid in bed waiting for the clock to allow us to get up and claim the day our baby was to be born.  We had an 8a.m. starry-eyed appointment with the Pitocin....and by 5:49p.m. a starry-eyed Momma holding her sweet firstborn son.

That whole next day in the hospital was dreamy.  No requirements but to hold this tiny, perfect little person I'd been sent from heaven like a gift-wrapped present.  No conversations to have but murmured assents agreeing with the adoring visitors who came to cuddle and congratulate.  No projects to complete other than basking in the amazement of having done something so spectacular with the person I love most.

Now, I have even more reasons to smile when I see him.  I smile because of 17 years and 3 days worth of things I've stored up to treasure when I'm old and gray about why I love being a Momma to my man-child.  Watching him on his birthday, as my mind replayed his first-day, made me realize I didn't really even know how to dream then.  I didn't know how to hope big enough for him to be who he is today.  I'm realizing that the dreams I harbor in my heart for him now still might not be big enough.

Michingan's Adventure fun!

Before he picks up his homecoming date....

He's really, really good at lots of things.  He drives cautiously, works hard, trains himself, sets might seem like he achieves effortlessly from the outside looking in.  I live with him, though, and I watch him make hard choices and think and pray and choose.  Parents get scout patches because of kids like him.

"See the monkey, Ging?"

Varsity Soccer

National Honor's Society Induction

But the real thing about him, the thing my Momma's heart celebrates isn't watching him do, but watching him be.  He reminds me of Lazarus in John chapter 12.  The Pharisees plotted to kill Lazarus because he had become such a threat to their schemes.  What had he done to cause them such alarm?  He reclined at the table with Jesus....ALIVE....he was what Jesus had made him.  I see that in Ry.  I see a beating heart who's only explanation is the work of Jesus Himself.  Every day I watch Riley be more than talents and abilities, opportunities, hard work or even good genes and parenting could have made him.  My son's life is proving to my heart, breath by breath, that the Holy Spirit is powerful and active.

My infantile Momma prayers have been answered....he's healthy and oh, so handsome!  My slightly more mature and thoughtful prayers are being answered too.  He loves his a way that's as apparent as sitting at the dinner table alive when you were in the tomb a few short days ago.  My dreams and prayers are expanding as I watch....because I know that that kind of proof of God's work is a threat to the enemy.

I love you so, Riley Kent....and I'm so happy to have been made a Momma the day you were born!