Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mo is dead. Just shy of one year in our home, the tenacious goldfish finally had enough. Saturday night I changed his water, Sunday morning he was gone. Maybe it was too cold for him. Maybe the new water filters didn’t agree with him. I choose the latter because that’s Dan’s department. We put off sharing this news with the kids until after church and their naps, thinking that this could be a really intense time and an opportunity to talk about what death means. We were prepared to make a quick trip to PetCo to procure Mo II. No need. Both of them shrugged it off and wondered aloud what pet they could get next time. I guess I was a tad more attached to the silly fish than they were.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Speaking of uncles, I thought I’d share a note we received from another one yesterday. F~ said:

"Hey, I was having my cup of coffee the other morning and this was the cup that comforted the cup that I was enjoying, and it reminded me of you guys. Instead of sending you the entire cup, I just cut out “the way I see it.” It too is the way I see it. So there you have it. "

Enclosed was a portion of a cardboard cup with this statement on it:

"I wish couples who desperately take every means to conceive a child would realize that adoption is a wonderful alternative. A child who becomes your child through adoption completes a family. Just as when you commit to your spouse or partner there are no biological ties, yet a family was formed. This child enters a family the same way! It is not blood and flesh that form a family, but the heart. "

I agree. And I'm grateful that our daughter will have an extended family that also recognizes what a gift adoption is. I would only add that adoption isn't just a great "alternative" for those who cannot have biological children, but also a tremendous blessing for those who choose adoption because they CAN.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Doesn’t every kid long to hang out with firemen? Well ours get to! Their Uncle P~ is proud to serve his community as a paramedic and fireman. This week he, along with the other gracious men at his station, invited us to have dinner with them. The kids were in heaven playing in the trucks and trying on the protective gear. Even just watching a movie on the firehouse TV was somehow far more special than watching the same flick at home. The firemen served us a delicious meal, and even welcomed some dear friends of ours who are missionaries in South Africa. The highlight, however, had to be a ride on the engine itself, complete with lights and sirens! Each of the men worked hard at convincing us that they love to have families visit, so I have a feeling we’ll be back soon!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I now officially have normal kids. Dan and I are champion sleepers. Alyssa and Parker, therefore, by nature are champion sleepers. We have been incredibly spoiled as parents. Alyssa slept through the night (as in 12 hours!) from the 2nd week on, and Parker was right behind her with 10 hours by the 4th week. They still each take an afternoon nap of 2 ½ - 3 hours. But as of the last few weeks they have become normal in this sense: no matter when they go to bed, they wake up at the same time. Granted, that time is 7 am (not the requisite dawn of most) but if you’ll notice the time stamp on this post, I am very much a night owl. 7 am comes early for me. We used to be able to keep them up until 9, 10’o clock if our evening plans required, knowing that whatever sleep they missed would be caught up the next morning. No longer do we have that luxury. I know I really shouldn’t complain. I have been incredibly blessed, and in many ways this is great prep for the day when a new baby (who likely doesn’t have the “great sleeper” genes) will interrupt my tidy life. It’s also an opportunity to prepare for the sad day when Alyssa starts kindergarten. But when you’ve enjoyed something so luxurious for so long, it’s hard to say good-bye!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So it’s pretty funny that my last post was about our fabulous weather because today we got snow! Not the light fluffy stuff that sticks, but something closer to real snow than anything else we’ve had in the 11 years I’ve lived here. Of course, it only lasted about 15 minutes at our house, but that was long enough for the kids to take a quick run around in it (in their pajamas because we didn’t know how long it would stay around), eat a little, and snap a few pictures. We later stopped by the college where I’m an adjunct professor and found a little more to play in. Alyssa and Parker loved it, but I don’t think they quite grasped the fact that this may be the last time they ever see white stuff in their backyard!

Monday, January 15, 2007

One more reason we love where we live! These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago, but even though it's now cold by southern California standards, it is still warm enough to play outside without a snowsuit. We're also only 4 hours away from our favorite world-class ski resort, Mammoth, so don't think we're cheating our children by keeping them away from snow! My heart goes out to all you blog-friends who are suffering through such extreme weather... I will appreciate my hassle-free drive to Target today even more because of you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another precious bit of information came today from Casey who was recently at Reagan’s orphanage picking up her own sweet girl. Here is what she said:
I can tell you that I spent more time holding your baby than any other child at the orphanage besides Olivia… She was so so tiny and still had her umbilical stump. I didn't think she could be more than a couple of weeks old. She was so very little. The nanny's take very very good care of the babies. They obviously can't hold them all the time, but they swing their little bassinettes almost constantly. Your little girl was absolutely perfect and precious. I'm glad I was able to give her some hugs and love while she waits for you!

I can’t begin to express what a joy it is to hear that she is being loved, and especially that she’s been held by someone I “know.” It sounds like she might even be a little spoiled! Another mom also wrote to say that the babies stay in those bassinettes until they’re a year, so we’ll probably need to get a swing! I’m just relieved that Reagan, Lord-willing, will never have to sleep on those wood slats. Praise God for my “absolutely perfect and precious” girl, for the care He is ultimately providing for her, and for these little confirmations of His generosity toward her and us.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A sweet surprise! Today we received another picture of our little Reagan! It was taken November 19th by another family traveling to pick up their daughter. We are immensely grateful for this glimpse into Reagan’s life. I had thought she was sleeping in more of a wooden crate structure with no mattress or blanket, but apparently those are the toddler beds – the infants are coddled a little more and get real blankets and pillows! Again, I’m reassured that while the orphanage is quite poor, the care for these precious ones is quite tender. Reagan looks very clean (as does her bedding) and comfortable – and still VERY tiny! Look at that little elbow! I’m so anxious to see what she actually looks like. Every picture we have is so different from the others that I wonder if I’ll even recognize her when we meet for the first time. I wonder what she looks like when she’s happy, when she’s upset, drinking her bottle, playing… Does she smile yet? Does she chew on her hand or cross her legs? Does she like to take a bath? Does she eat fast or slow? So many things that you know intuitively about your biological children, but I have no clue about. She is every bit my daughter, but still very much a stranger to me. I wonder when that will change. I’m prepared for the possibility that those feelings won’t be transformed the moment I first see her, but I hope that it will be sooner rather than later.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I just thought I’d share with you a small victory from our home. Though not earth shattering, and maybe a little too personal for a blog, it’s a big step for us. Are you ready? Parker is potty trained! Personally I’m quite proud and equally shocked. He only just turned 2 ½ and I’d always heard how much harder it is to train a boy. With that in mind, I hadn’t planned on even starting the process until he was at least three. Several weeks ago, however, he moved into a new Sunday school room, and the teacher there asked if we could put him in a pull-up since they don’t have a changing table. The next day we tried it out at home, he loved it, and basically potty-trained himself from that day forward. He’s now dry most every night, and I can even trust him to wear big boy undies when we go out! The only real drawback is that he’s the narrowest little guy ever and if his pants were falling down with a diaper to add bulk, just imagine what it’s like now! He still wears 6-12 month and 12-18 month clothing at 24 months old. Height-wise he’s normal, but he’s barely on the growth charts for weight – a combo that destines him to wear a tight-cinching belt with every outfit. I wish you could see him in his new get-up, but for propriety’s sake I will refrain. Just know that there’s nothing cuter than a tiny little boy in a white t-shirt and Mr. Incredible briefs!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

DTV! Our dossier is finally on its way to Vietnam! The Secretary of State returned the problem documents (medical approval from our doctors) to our agency, Dillon over-nighted them to us, I tracked down the notary who had made the mistakes, he corrected them, I returned the documents to the Secretary of State, they authenticated them and forwarded them to the Vietnam consulate. The consulate approved them, sent them back to our agency, and the medicals, together with the rest of our dossier, are actually now ready to be translated! The error that precipitated all this mess? Two lines which were filled in “November 22” instead of “November 22, 2006.” Never mind that both pages had the complete date in two other places! There’s no way you could look at either document and draw any other conclusion than that they were signed on 11/22/06. Proof positive that the Secretary of State of California really is the pickiest! The seeming insignificance of the error just leads me to believe that it had to be the hand of God. He clearly has a purpose in the delay, and though I may never know what it is, I am grateful to have a God Who’s plan is even better than mine. I’ve long been encouraged by the promise of Psalm 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” He is the perfect provider and protector, and as long as I’m careful to live a life pleasing to Him, He’ll never withhold something that would be good for me. That means that complete paperwork would not have been good for me two weeks ago when the other families’ dossiers were sent off. That means that having Reagan home now is not the best thing. So while it’s frustrating to be held up by such silly things, and heartbreaking to know that our little girl is growing up without us, I am confident that God’s plan is perfect and someday I’ll look back in awe of His orchestration of these events for my good and His glory. Somebody just remind me of that in April when my confidence will likely be waning!