Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Calling all adoption fans (or Veggie tales or SCC fans)

Oh this video, it made my day.  It took me back, to THE day, the one where he became mine.  Where I was allowed to carry him away and whisper, Mommy loves you.

If you have never prayed about adoption, pray, just ask, is this to be my story, just ask for the wisdom to know and strength to obey.  If He has already placed adoption on your heart, don't say no.  My words are too small, but you'll just have to believe them, loving a child that God gave you through adoption, will be the greatest gift you've ever been given.

And here's a picture I've never shared with you, it's from that day, the one that was meant to be.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The students came back

We live in a college town and while some will tell you otherwise, there is pretty much no down side to living here.  Sure there are crowds and some increased traffic, but as a home towner you know what restaurants to avoid and the back roads to take to get around.

While out with Kyle today amidst the students stocking up one last time on Mom and Dad's dime it occurred to me that the business owners must be so happy this week, for them this week means the money is back in town.

I am not a business owner but I too was excited this week as I noticed the students around town.  I love all the excitement they bring.  I love all the possibilities they have before them, that they are clean slates on which the entire adult life is yet to be written.  I love the way they don't hesitate to walk three blocks to get to church, the way they sit in the pew with their notebooks and take notes on all the pastor has to say, and that it goes without saying that they will be going out to lunch afterward.

I've had the opportunity this past week to spend some time with a student who came here from another country, a country that might as well be the moon for as foreign as it seems to me.  She inspires me with her bravery to leave behind her family in pursuit of something more than just a degree, she is searching to experience another life, one that will help her to better understand this world that we so often forget is bigger than the small towns in which we live.  In one week she has already become a part of our lives.

I live in this college town that while it stays the same, the people who inhabit it are constantly changing, starting over, moving on.  Classes are yet to start and one friend has been made and another contact is being pursued.  I realize that this summer I had allowed myself to become discouraged, to think that maybe I should just give up this idea of being surrounded by people who reflect back the differences I want my children to embrace.  Then the students came back and with them they brought me hope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You gave him life*

Jack turns two this week and I've been thinking of you. The one person, besides Kyle, to whom this day is equally significant. The person who feels everything and nothing I feel on his birthdays. I wonder how you're doing. Do you have peace about your decision? Do you know anything about his life now?

I wish I had a picture of you. Somehow I feel if I just could see you I would be able to know you better, to understand how we came to be tied to each other in this inexpressible relationship of love and loss. I wish I could show it to Jack on his birthday and say, "This is your birth mom, she loves you and is thinking of you today". I will tell him those things, I just wish I had a picture too.

Are you beautiful? I know that you are. I see the little boy who carries part of you in him and he is the most beautiful little boy, he must have gotten part of that from you.

Or your name. I want to be able to give Jack part of you, to be able to tell him your story and I don't even know your name. If I could speak your name to him, I know there would be power in that, it would make you more real to him.

I couldn't love you for a long time, it was too hard, too scary. I realized as I was thinking of you this year that I've learned how to love you. I began to pray for you, for your family, for the little things I know, and I found the love I was looking for. I know I need to love you, if I am to teach him that's it's okay for him to love you he has to see it in me first.

You've given me the most amazing gift I've ever been given and I wish I could tell you that. I wish I could tell you how you changed my life, how much you didn't make a mistake, none of it, it was all part of God's good plan. Thank you. Thank you for giving my son life, you didn't have to, and I wouldn't be me without him.

Most of all I pray that you let the Lord love you, that you accept His gift of salvation, because I'm afraid that heaven is the only chance I will have to know you and I can't imagine not knowing the woman who gave me my son.

* originally posted March 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Share your ideas

I'm sorry it's been a little while since I posted, I've been lying in a puddle in my den, praying that Kyle comes home and tells us he's been miraculously offered a job in Colorado and we're moving there today.  Sure I'd miss you guys, but it would be a few months before I'd realize it and let's face it 107 degrees days that "feel like" 115, are just too much for any stay at home mom of toddlers to handle.

Tell me this, what do you do when you're trapped inside on hot days, I mean it literally, comment below and tell me.  I've been googling this question and keep getting the same few answers that I've read in all the parenting magazines and frankly, they're kind of stupid, or maybe they're genius but I'm so irritated by the heat that everything besides submersing myself in a cold pool, sounds stupid.

Here's what I've managed to come up with so far:

* The best idea yet (and it of course came from handyman Kyle) was making jello jigglers.  Now since Kyle assumed that I'm smarter than I am, he just told me to make these, but didn't tell me how (the directions are right on the box, who knew), so I did it wrong, but they came out ok and they still tasted good.

* An indoor picnic.  We spread out a blanket had fun finger foods and watched a Sesame Street.  I am trying with every bit of will I have to keep to under 2 hours of TV a day, despite the heat, but it's been hard lately.

* Art time, whether play dough or coloring or cutting and gluing, this is a favorite in our house.

* Playing Memory or Candyland, or I'm considering giving them a deck of cards and seeing if they can pretend to play cards long enough to entertain themselves for a few minutes.

* Learning: we've been learning our letters with Kylynn, using worksheets I printed from online.  We've also been doing the "Play and Learn" bags from our local library, the bag contains a book and an activity to teach a concept, this week Kylynn learned about what is alive or not and Jack learned colors.

So that's what I got, how about you, share your ideas with me, please!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A real update

We've reached the magical time again, where we've been saying we're adopting long enough for people to want some updates, like a real update.

Unfortunately, I usually disappoint.  But not today, today I have an update.  Well, it's really not that exciting as far as steps in the adoption process goes, but it's an update and I'll take what I can get.

Today we completed our fingerprints or biometrics as they are officially called.  We had to drive an hour and half to Houston, we arrived 45 minutes early, and instead of acting like red tape, this government office said that was okay, put us in line and had us out of there five minutes later!  That's right, 5! minutes later.

This is especially good news since we took both of our kiddos to the appointment with us, can I just say how much money I would pay to have one of those glass screens they have in limos, that we could put up to block out the shrieking of the kiddos.  They're not doing anything wrong, they're just really loud with all their giggling and screaming, right next to your ear.

So there you go, a real official update.  We have successfully completed another step in the journey to bring home our baby.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My offering

I didn't bother to tell Him, after all He knows all my thoughts before I think them, He would figure it out.  I was done, there would be no more talking from me.  I was angry, He didn't hear my prayers, or He did but didn't answer them, and then this, You say this is my will for you, my good and perfect will.

We'll see about that.  I find the strength for my best silent treatment.  In the days that follow, I never allow for silence, I might hear You in the silence.  So I sit on the couch and watch stupid TV shows that I have know desire to see.  And then it happens, some cheesy movie makes me cry and I cannot stop.

I cry for what is really making me sad and angry and really let's be honest, scared.  I cry so hard my body shakes and You come to me, You are there as real as ever, holding me, loving me, and telling me, this is Your good and perfect plan for me and everything is going to be okay.

I figure what the heck, You'll never stop loving me, and again You already know what I'm thinking.  I tell you everything.  I tell you how angry I am at You, that this is the path You have for me, it was not part of my plans, I tell you I am scared to death and I tell you why.

You minister to me and heal me and make me whole and I decide it's time.  I tell you my plans every single plan I've never given words to, the marriage I would have, the perfect children I would raise, what our home would look like inside and out, what I would look like, how nothing would ever really go wrong, how we would grow old and boring in the same house we raised our children in.  I speak it all into existence and then hand it over to You.  My offering to You, here is my life Lord, my dreams and my plans, I no longer want them, they are Yours.

You whisper, My plans for you are so much better, so much bigger, they change lives and this world, in them I am glorified.  I accept, the fighting is over, the anger gone, the fear a small thing I will someday learn to fully move past.  I find joy and peace, I find rest in submission.  I no longer have to make a path for myself, but I can walk on the path You've placed me on.  I breath in deep and realize, there is no longing for what I've given up, breathe out and understand what it means to be free.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wanted Ad

Wanted: Friends.  Not just any friends, friends who my family can relate to, friends that my children can look at and feel accepted.  Friends that have grown their family through adoption, and/or friends with an interracial family, and/or friends who are Korean.

I'm thinking of posting the above on Craigslist, what do you think?  One of my great frustrations in the year and a half since our Jack came home to us is the lack of friends who's family resembles ours in any way.  We do have a few, don't think I've forgotten you but we're still lacking a family or two that are a constant in our lives, that reinforces our choices.

I read every article I was told to in order to prepare myself for becoming an interracial family, I went to the training, I listened to every single word.  I took it to heart, I committed to do everything in my power for my child to grow up in a world where he did not feel alone.  In a world where he knew other children that had been adopted, other children that were a different race from one or both parents, or at least a world where he didn't think he was the only child with brown skin out there.

I have run into many brick walls in my pursuit, first discovering that indeed my training was not incorrect in suggesting that Korean families would not be accepting of white parents raising a Korean child.  I do not wish to make generalities, but so far it has been my experience.  In thinking I had met some friends who were just like us...only to have them move far away.  In discovering by moving to the more diverse of our two twin cities last year, I did not move into a diverse school district, quite the contrary, it is one of the whitest schools in our town.

I remember the piece I read on children who are surprised by their race when they look in the mirror, how they always see white faces, their mother's white face, their farther's white face, their siblings white faces, their friends' white faces and therefore forget that they are not white, until they look in the mirror and are surprised and saddened by the face they see.  I do not want that for Jack, for our next baby, for our family.  I want a family where all colors, all cultures, move in and out of this house, where Jack has so many brown faces surrounding him in different roles that he is not surprised when he looks in the mirror, but pleased and confident in who he is, our Korean son, whom is adored.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A weekend recap

Well my internet is back up and running so it's time to get back into blogging.

This weekend I...

Tried to find my inner Ree, and take pictures of a great meal I cooked, but only remembered to take one picture and decided that taking pictures just makes cooking that much more time consuming.

Listed to NPR (well actually I do that everyday), but I heard a story on an orphanage in Iraq, they talked of how many orphans are in Iraq now and how few orphanages there is.  They spoke of the fact that three fourths of all Iraqi children show signs of PTSD, how it's not more I don't know.  They said that for the children of Iraq, violence is normal, it is all the know.  They ended the piece with a quote that will stay with me for the rest of my life, "In this war you got rid of one Saddam Hussein, but you created a thousand more."  It made me stop and consider these children, to pray for them, for their future, I am embarrassed to say that I have done very little praying for the Iraqi people during this war.

Shopped.  I went over to the farmer's market and got all of this produce for 5 dollars, I was pretty pleased and so far it's been really great stuff.

Was pleased to find a new movie in my mailbox from Blockbuster, was sad to see it was a movie that not only had we already seen, but that we didn't like the first time, I need to pay better attention.  Was again pleased to remember that I had picked up several movies at the library that we could watch instead.

Chopped.  I made this recipe, that requires a lot of chopping, but my Rachel Ray knife made it fun, really I love my knife and any excuse to use it.  A fact about Jenny:  I L-O-V-E Rachel Ray.

Watched, Welcome, which I had gotten from the library.  In a surprising theme of the weekend, it was about an Iraqi refugee in France and his attempt to make in into the UK to be with his girlfriend.  It was an eye opening movie, very well made, and made me pray some more, but also made me proud that our country although not perfect, is still a place where I am free.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You are my future

We sit on the couch in a room of white paint done in a hurry, sloppy, and the perfectionist inside of me cringes.  He begins to tell me of his dreams and suddenly I am not there, I am in a magical place, a beautiful place, there is no longer any imperfections, only plans, and a future, and hope.

He will build a bookcase here, and I will paint here, a mantel for the fireplace will make it so much more handsome.  The furniture will go here and it will be both old and new all at the same time, beautiful to look at and comfortable to pass the hours away in.

 We make plans, we leave this time and place and travel together.  We will spend a summer in London and another traveling the US, seeing every national park.  We will grow old in this house and make it ours, we will make the yard something to behold, a place of rest and escape.  We will raise our children well and have a future for two to look forward to.

We will spend long hours sitting side by side in this room, reading, sharing what we've learned, we will drink hot tea, and we will look at each other and still see beauty.  Or we will move to Africa, we will raise all the children that we never brought home, we will tell them Jesus loves them, and will find the strength to be a mommy and a daddy all over a again.

The dreams are just dreams, the plans written with pencil on scraps of paper, for we know they are not real, they are just words that weave us together tighter than we knew possible.  They are thoughts that one person begins and the other finishes.  They are the promise that you are my future, no matter what it might be, it must be you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I spent the afternoon talking to our pediatrician, talking about Jack even though it was Kylynn's appointment, we were chatting about great pastors and listening to their sermons, we were talking about new research on cleft lips, we were talking about doing this adoption thing all over again, and what I can handle, what our family can handle and what our kids can handle.

He is a dear man, whom I adore, but I know that although he understands my love for God, he does not understand my love for adoption.  He gave me advice on looking over an assigned child's medical records and new research on children born with a cleft and what that could potentially mean for our next child, he wanted me to look at this rationally, to separate my self, my heart, from the process, and consider the science.  He is a doctor, that's what doctors do, they make decisions based on the latest science.

I started to answer him, to tell him the truth.  To tell him that I can't do what he wants me to do, I believe that God will assign us our child and I will not turn my back on my child.  Out loud I only nodded and said I would try.  I didn't think I could make him understand how terribly difficult it is to be given a picture, a small life story, a name and say, 'no'.  I know people do it, but I don't know how.  How does one refuse a life being offered to them?

Just like when a woman becomes pregnant, I do not know what my child will be like, and though I feel like I have less control than a woman giving birth, I know that's not true.  So I trust and I pray, I pray for our child's protection in his first mother's womb, I pray for the choices she makes, I pray for ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes.  And I wait for when it is my turn to say the yes out loud that I said long ago to the Lord, when I chose to allow Him to be the one to add children to our lives.  When I gave in to Him, when I said yes to allowing His plan for my life, my children, my family to unfold, I finally found contentment.  There is such peace in knowing that I am not in control, that I can follow the lead of the One who has a good and perfect plan for my life, that I have traded in my dreams for something so much better.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A birthday weekend

Boy do we do birthdays big around here, ok not really, but we celebrate in our own strange way, here's a recap of Kyle's birthday weekend.

Friday evening, Kyle arranged a Settlers of Catan game night.  This is something he does from time to time and it's always a lovely evening for me to be trapped in my bedroom with no TV get a lot of things accomplished.  But this time it had come to Kyle's attention that some wives are actually nice enough to play Settlers with their husbands and, get this, some wives are so nice that they actually like playing Settlers.  So I was forced invited to play along so that our friends would feel welcome to bring their better half with them.  We had a lot of fun and if they promise to always have Reese's Pieces there, I will never miss another Settlers night.

We got up Saturday morning and drove down to Houston to visit our friends.  Their daughter, J, was in Seussical the Musical Jr. and we wanted to see her debut.  Let me just say that this girl's got a future in showbiz if she wants one.  We had the extra blessing of home cooked meals heaped on us while we were there, can I just say homemade Indian food AND homemade cinnamon rolls, I am already searching my calendar wondering when we can make it back for another meal visit.

Sunday we headed back home, but not before stopping to eat at a seafood restaurant for a birthday lunch for Kyle.  We all had some amazing seafood, then we all slept like babies on the way home, except for my hubby who drove, of course.  Then I let Kyle plant our fall vegetable garden, it's the least I could do, it being his birthday weekend and all.  I kid you not folks when he was done planting he actually thanked me for bugging him to get our fall garden planted, it was then that I decided it's official, I won the husband lottery.

Happy Birthday, hon.  You seriously amaze me more every year with how hard you work, how well you serve others, and how diligently you lead our family.  I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Because she gets me only in a way that only another mommy who loves children who became hers through adoption can.

Because it will make you cry and make you think.

Because I can't find the cord to get the pictures off of my camera.

Because she puts words together and makes them beautiful.

Please go to Flower Patch Farmgirl and read this post.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Biblecation School

Kylynn has been spending her mornings this week at Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church.  We talked it up the week leading up to it, told her how much fun it was going to be and how much she was going to love it, but come Monday she was decided that she didn't want to go to VBS and that she would not have any fun.  It only added to her misery that she was to wear a toga, even if it was a pink striped toga made from the fabric she picked out at the store (confession: Kyle made the toga, all I did was hem the edges and it took me hours!).

After one day, she was hooked.  She decided that indeed, she loves VBS or Biblecation school, as she calls it.  Jack is not really all that thrilled about his two hours a day alone with mommy, he would rather stay and play and most of all dance to the music they start with each morning.

It has been a prayerful week for me, watching these children pile in our church to learn about just how much my savior, Jesus loves them.  I am reminded that VBS means everything to my family, that the path that brought Kyle and I together to start this family began with VBS.  Both Kyle and I said yes to Jesus, at different VBSes, thousands of miles away, in the same summer.  Both of us were invited by neighbors, both of us lived in homes where we had never heard that Jesus came to this earth and died for our sins, both of us went to a VBS in someone's home, and both of us were changed that summer.

Not only did I accept Jesus as my savior that summer, but my family soon began to attend the church that the host of VBS attended.  My family was changed that summer as well and it reminds how simple it is to share the gift we've been given with others, God will take care of the hard part, but by loving those around us, entire families can be changed.

When I watch those kids running into VBS each morning I wonder who will leave here a new person.   I wonder how many families will be changed, how many moms and dads, brothers and sisters will come to know the Lord because a friend took their child or sibling to VBS.  I watch them and I pray because for some of them this is the only time anyone will ever tell them that the God of the universe loves them.

Got questions: Does God Exist or What does it mean to accept Jesus as my savior

Monday, August 2, 2010

A few of my favorite things

This little girl, more when she's smiling, even more when she's smiling and I can see her freckles, oh I love those freckles.

Cilantro, oh how I love you let me count the ways.  I think you should be on every food and when I carry in a big handful from the garden, I am intoxicated by the smell.  I'm getting carried away, moving along.

Horses.  In my perfect world I own a horse, also in this world horses are no more work than dogs are, until then I love looking at these majestic creatures.

My sweet puppy, I take her for granted  it's true, but I do feel like you are one of our great blessings, you amaze me with your love and patience towards those crazy kiddos.

This guy, more when I can see his blue eyes, even more when he's cooking me an amazing dinner and I can see his blue eyes.

A really full fridge, I don't know how to explain this.  But when I get home from the store and put everything away I feel completely satisfied.
These crazy girls, more when they're making me laugh, even more when they're making me laugh in the Bahamas.  

This boy, who is the cutest boyin the world, don't argue with me, I know.  More when he's laughing, even more when he's laughing while licking the mixer after making chocolate pudding.

Lemons, oh how I love me some lemons.  If I find a restaurant that has a big bowl of sliced lemons next to where you fill up your glass it will be on my list of favorite restaurants no matter what the food is like.

*The pictures in this post are from early spring, I took the pictures long ago wanting to write this and somehow it kept not happening*

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grocery store confessional

We've crossed some kind of threshold in my family now and a trip to the grocery store with both of the kiddos is no longer a terrifying thought.  Kylynn no longer fits into the cart and has to walk so there is a lot of, "put that down, please" going on, but she is actually sometimes helpful and always entertaining.

The other day we were walking around the grocery store and Kylynn was talking on an old cell phone that is now a toy.  She would say both sides of the conversation, "Hi, Audrey how are you doing"  "Oh, I'm good"  "That's good, actually we're at the grocery store"  "Oh that's nice, what are you buying"  "Well, I want to get strawberry ice cream, did you know that when I grow up I'm going to be a ballerina, a mommy, a baby doctor, and a teacher!"   And so on, you get the idea.  This guy was walking by us and he looked at her so confused as to whether or not she was actually a four year old with her own cell phone walking around the grocery store talking, I could see it in his eyes, the thought, "is this what our world is coming to."  In case you too are wondering that, the answer is yes, but not with my family so don't judge me, it's just a play phone.

The trip usually goes pretty well as long as I have a good bit of resistance built up to Jack's whining, he is really into whining these days and can do it for a few hours straight, no problem.  The check out lane is the hardest part, I never noticed how many items they put down on the kids' level to drive their parents crazy tempt them.  I spend a lot of time saying no, you cannot have a barbie coloring book, no you cannot have a new movie, no you cannot have a lollipop, and Kylynn please come back over here.  All the while ignoring Jack's whining and unloading my cart.  But all in all it's a good trip and I hope to get all my grocery shopping done before baby #3 comes home, because I cannot imagine what that would be like, I'm getting hives just thinking about it.

Oh, it has just come to my attention that I will still need to purchase food after having three children, I need to go and think that through.  But I'll leave you with a walk down memory lane, back when times weren't as easy.

I apologize (Originally posted April 2008)

I owe some people an apology.

Have you ever seen the show "Super Nanny"? It is a great show and I think the super nanny is wonderful and quite talented at child rearing techniques. I watch it from time to time and even did so before I had a child myself. That's where the apology comes in. I used to watch the show and go, who are these people! Who can't control a two year old, after all you, the parent, are bigger, stronger, and smarter than a two year old! I passed judgement on them and decided that they were "bad parents". I most sincerely apologize.

A few days ago, I took my little two year old to the grocery store. She wined the entire time, causing me to begin to become frantic and lose my mind (we were there almost two hours!). She whined and demanded a cookie, I went to the other side of the store and gave her one, just for a few minutes of peace. 

She took off her seat belt and laid on the floor of the "car" shopping cart, I kneeled down and begged her to please let me put the seat belt back on her, I apparently sounded as stressed as I felt, because a police office and his partner came down the aisle and stood there and watched me until I got her situated (that didn't help with my stress level). 

She knocked down an entire box of taco seasoning packets and as I bent down to try and pick them all up, I considered laying down on the ground and crying for a few minutes, but decided against it. I had two employees come up to me and ask if I needed any help finding things, because I was staring into space trying to think about which product was cheaper, but not able to concentrate due to her whine/scream. I may have developed a fear of going to the grocery store with a child (does that have a name?). And I am sure that anyone who watched how I dealt with Kylynn, thought, that lady needs to go on super nanny, she can't control her little two year old!

Considering that this is not how my days normally go, I don't think I qualify for super nanny. But the point is, raising children is so much harder than it looks, and two year olds may be smarter than we think :) Now I know, I will never again look at someone else's parenting and say, "I will never ..."