Friday, March 30, 2007

We’re not exactly city slickers, but we’re far from country folk. However, our home is situated almost equidistant from one of the largest cities in the world and this ranch. A co-worker of Dan’s graciously invited us to his home today where the kids enjoyed some up-close time with animals slightly more exotic than grandma’s dog. Parker was nuts about the horses, chickens, goats, and donkey. He wants Buttercup (one of the miniature horses) to come stay in his room! Alyssa wasn’t quite so sure, but ask her about it now and she’ll talk a big game. We all had a great time and even got to take home some authentic ranch dust and “souvenir” chocolate bunnies!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Some of the fruits of my nesting:

I love to paint… rather I should say, I love to paint walls. Children’s play “barns” and moulding… not so much. My next painting projects involve stripes in the kids’ rooms that necessitate a lot of taping and prep (diminishing the instant-gratification factor significantly) but I am thrilled to be done with these two tasks. They both look pretty good if I do say so myself. Dan helped quite a bit with the sanding inside and rolling outside, so here’s a little credit for him!

Our garden has been sadly neglected over the last year since we moved in because we’ve been so busy on inside projects. Our home is 7 years old, but apparently the two previous owners were not much concerned about landscaping either. These little plants which I gave a home to this weekend represent the only non-builder-installed vegetation on our property. Hopefully they’ll grow quickly and cover up some of the more utilitarian elements of our front walk.

Today I’m working on sorting through Alyssa’s old clothes. I feel a little bad, but based on the boxes in front of me, I doubt that Reagan will be wearing anything new for a while. Pictures of one very full little girls’ closet coming soon!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

So I’ve been thinking lately about why it is that I’m so anxious to pick up Reagan. Of course she is my daughter in so many ways, but I know it will be some time before my affection for her will rival that which I have for Alyssa and Parker. I don’t know her at all, so the love I have for her is more in my head at this point than in my heart. That isn’t to say that my heart doesn’t ache for her, or that I don’t long to hold her, but I don’t miss her in the same way I would if one of the children I already know intimately were taken from me. Is that bad? I don’t think my feelings are totally out of the ordinary. Based on what I’ve gleaned from other adoptive moms it seems that while the unconditional love one has for any of your children exists almost immediately, the emotional bond takes time.
In addition to the love factor, I’m also trying to learn to enjoy my life as it is without Reagan. I liken it to those who are overly anxious to get married. Singleness is a gift – whether you have it until age 25 or for a lifetime, it is a gift to be grateful for, not wished away. Singleness brings opportunities for service within the church and freedom that don’t exist within marriage. Not that marriage isn’t wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade Dan for the world, but I wish I been more faithful to the call to use my singleness for God’s glory. In the same way, I need to make the most of my time with only 2 children. Alyssa and Parker are such a blast! They are easy to have around, are becoming more and more independent every day, and can go just about anywhere. I know that having a baby home will change some of that. I will still be determined to get out (most) every day, but a quick stop at the grocery store will be an even more distant memory. Solid nights of sleep will be more rare. A three-hour chunk of (nap!) time each afternoon to get stuff done will no longer be all mine. We’ll be sharing our life and home with a child who doesn’t know us, our country, our habits, our smell – anything about us!
So, while I love Reagan and can’t wait to bring her home, I think I’m becoming more realistic about what that will mean for all of us. I know from experience that another child in our lives will bring unspeakable joy, but also some very real challenges. I’m learning to trust God’s timing and trust His perfect plan for our family… whatever that might be!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I started packing today. I know it’s crazy. I know it will still be a month or more before we actually get on a plane. But I had to do SOMETHING!!! I am nesting like I’ve never nested (this time I have the energy to match my drive) but all of the projects on my to-do list are either in the kids’ rooms or outside. Since it rained a little today, and my best project hours are during Alyssa and Parker’s sleeping hours, I packed. I also had a couple of hours to shop this morning without kids in tow so the corner of my closet devoted to Vietnam was overflowing. What’s amazing to me though is just how much more packing there is to do. How am I ever going to fit all this stuff into the recommended ONE bag, ONE carry-on? While I admire my agency’s optimism, that simply is not going to be a reality for us. I've barely put a dent in my shopping list thus far! You would think I had never traveled internationally before. In college I picked up and moved to Israel for almost 4 months with less than a week's notice. How can it take a month to pack for a 3-week trip? Of course I know the answer: my baby is there! I have to pass the time somehow!
... Well, now I need to edit this to say shame on me for even hinting at a complaint! I am so blessed to enjoy two precious babies every day, and a little time to prepare for another is a good thing (just not too much please Lord!). Check out this link to "Zerfoss Journey." Joe is a friend of mine from Jr. High and High School. He and his dear wife have been working towards adopting their first child domestically for almost 2 years. They found out last Monday that their profile was being presented to a birth mom, and they brought home their new son this Tuesday! Talk about a whirlwind of emotions! Somehow I doubt that her shopping list was completely checked off. So I've spoiled the ending for you, but theirs is still an incredible story and I recommend starting way back in her archives at the beginning. The testimony of their faith through both joy and heartache will undoubtedly touch your heart.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Well I just had to post this little glimpse of Reagan related to me by a mom who met her (and of course her SON!) on Wednesday:
"Little Reagan is a doll. . . and so photogenic. She just laughs all over herself. . . a very happy little girl. I told her that her mommy and daddy were coming for her. I know she is so ready, although she is getting much love at the orphanage for now. She looks really healthy and well fed. She is probably in a 6 months right now (clothing). When she smiles, she is all gums! Too cute!!"
What a treasure these little reassurances are. I just can't wait until the day when our knowledge of our daughter will not be limited to a handful of pictures and a few paragraphs of second-hand descriptions!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring is here. Well, not officially until Tuesday, but evidence of it abounds around here. We actually dug out the sunscreen for a trip to our favorite park yesterday and were warm in our tank tops and t-shirts. The trees in our neighbors’ yards are blooming beautifully, and this weekend we’re going to fill in our rather sparse yard with some new plants. Yeah for spring!

Monday, March 12, 2007

What an encouraging (but exhausting) week this has been! One of the highlights of our church’s year is hosting the annual Shepherd’s Conference. Pastors from around the world gather to be equipped, encouraged, and generally spoiled by our church. I can say that because I had very little to do with any of the spoiling. I did, however, have the priviledge of being on campus Thursday to witness what amounts to Disneyland for these men. Many of them come from churches that little appreciate the demands of teaching the Word of God, and this week alone is a breath of fresh air. We got to host 4 men from Texas in our home, who so overwhelmed us with their gratitude that we felt like we were the ones being served - even the resulting 9 loads of laundry felt insignificant. One of the greatest joys, however, was fellowship with a dear friend who is serving as a missionary in Croatia. Sitting here after dinner tonight, amidst almost constant laughter, he testified to the fact that his service in a foreign country is no sacrifice. Over and over again he isisted "It is no sacrifice." Sure, he is human, and there are comforts that he and his family forego living outside the United States, but they find such joy in doing the work God has called them to that it seems as if they’re giving up nothing at all. Lately Dan and I have been challenged to evaluate our financial giving to the Lord, but compared to what our friends have foregone in His service, money is nothing. If God is really going to be honored by the investment we make in His work, it must be a joy. And it is a joy. While it must be sacrificial, it is no sacrifice.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Boys are gross. The grown-up-type are gross, as any male or married female can attest, but I always assumed that must be due at least primarily to training. I was wrong. They come out of the box with a propensity towards grossness, and most it seems never grow out of it. Fortunately for mommies, the innocence of the littlest males makes their grossnesses (spell-check is telling me that’s not a word) very nearly hilarious. At least that’s true in the case of my sweet Parker. As you may remember, he’s been potty-trained for several months now. However, when you’re dealing with a male bottom, there are more issues to be dealt with than simply timing. There’s this thing called aim. Parker doesn’t yet have that part down. We’re working on it, but we have had the inevitable accidents. This is where the gross part comes in. A few days ago, I was observing as Parker did his business. Unfortunately, in the handling of the appropriate member, his fingers got a little wet. And what do you do when your fingers are dirty. Well, if you’re a two year-old boy, you lick them off. Yes, lick. Do you think an exception would be made for urine? Of course not. Do you think there would be enough hesitancy to give mom a chance to stop the offensive action? No again. Do you think the taste would cause him pause? Nope. The crazy part is that this is the boy who can’t stand to have a little sugar on his hands from a churro. Licking is out of the question when it comes to sugar. Mama must come to the rescue with a wet-wipe for that kind of dirty. But urine? No big deal. At least it’s sterile, right?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Our precious Reagan is now 4 months old, and just look how she's grown! I have to say, it really is strange to watch your child grow up in photographs. I hardly recognized her, and truly had to look at these side-by-side with her 2 month photo to assure myself that they got the right baby. Of course they did, and I do see some similarities, but she certainly has changed. I'm glad they keep sending us these updates or I'd be liable to embrace the wrong child upon arriving in Vietnam. While I love this little girl, and long to hold her, she still is so much a stranger to us. My thoughts are so often consumed with her, yet until I received these pictures today I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of a crowd. I wouldn't recognize her cry if I heard it. I no nothing of her habits, temperment, preferences... yet she's my daughter all the same. I'm encouraged to see that she's grown, but relieved to see that she's still so small. I love the little shirt she's wearing, but can't wait to see her in the outfit I bought today. I'm glad that she can't take her eyes off of this caregiver, but wish it was my face she was glued to.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

NEXT month might be THE month! I am still holding out hope that we will be able to travel to Vietnam in April. Things have to start moving here pretty quickly if that is going to be the case, but I am optimistic! Supposedly, the Vietnamese return from the Tet holiday anxious to work hard and start the New Year off right. If that’s the case, the police in Reagan’s province should be wrapping up her paperwork soon, and progress like that would certainly make this mama very happy. At the very least we anticipate receiving a new picture this week or next. The director of the Vietnam program at our agency just returned from a visit to all the orphanages, and will be dolling out her photos as soon as she recovers from jet lag. It seems as if most of the families from our agency are getting very anxious for some good news, and I count myself among the antsy crowd. We’ve only been logged in for a month, but it’s been almost 3 months since our referral and I am READY to bring that baby girl home. I have started filling a corner of our closet with all that we’ll take with us. I’ve complied a very extensive packing list. I’ve purchased at least a suitcase full of orphanage donations. I've started to come to terms with the fact that I’ll be away from my bio babies for 3 weeks. I’ve resurrected all of our baby gear. I’ve reorganized our entire house (don’t think nesting is just for the physically pregnant!). Just give me the word and I’ll be out the door!