Thursday, January 31, 2008

Official... again!

After Eight months, several errors by our adoption agency, multiple trips to the courthouse, and too many fees to count, Reagan will finally be adopted (again) tomorrow! Since Dan and I both traveled to Vietnam, Reagan has legally been ours since the Giving and Receiving ceremony there in May, but here we are replaying the game through the California system. The real carrot at the end is a U.S.-issued birth certificate. There are added benefits related to inheritance issues, and we will legally change her name to ours as part of the process, but mostly we didn’t want to have to depend on our ONE official copy of her Vietnamese birth certificate for the rest of her life – that’s just way too much pressure! I anticipate that the court hearing will be much like the one in Reagan’s hometown - a few signatures and photos, maybe a couple of little speeches exchanged - and though this one doesn’t change Reagan’s legal status as our daughter, she feels so much more like our daughter this time around. For that reason tomorrow will be a special day.
The day of Reagan’s first adoption was a little overwhelming – for her and for us. She had just left everything and everyone she had ever known, including the caregiver who clearly loved her and the four walls that had been her whole life, for the arms of some very odd looking, odd smelling foreigners. She was content – even happy (she repeatedly laughed and smiled at me that day!) – but her sweet little personality was still hidden. We had loved her in concept for almost two years, cherished her photos for 5 months, and visited her in her orphanage for three days, but she was still very much a stranger to us.
However, today I love Reagan in the deepest, mommy-est sense of the word. I know her as only a mama could. I understand her cries, her babbles, her patterns, and her preferences. I cherish her giggle, her swagger, her soft jet-black hair. I love the way she laughs at her brother, cuddles with her sister, can’t stop kissing her cousin, and embraces her role as daddy’s little daredevil. She just fits into our family. For all that went into finding her, bringing her home and now making her a Californian, it’s so clear that God made and choose her just especially for us. Reagan Thao-Van was “ours” legally on May 15th, 2007, but now she’s “ours” because she’s one of us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

House for sale!

In spite of the current, well publicized housing slump here in southern California (and elsewhere!), we've decided to try to sell our house. We love our home and will be very happy here if it doesn't happen, but one of the houses in our neighborhood is in foreclosure and could prove to be a good bargain. It's larger and has a pool, and with mortgage rates falling may even end up costing less each month than our current home. The only trick is getting our house sold first! Our realtor (my father-in-law) says it will be a miracle if it all happens the way we're envisioning, but for that we're grateful because we wouldn't want to move if it wasn't very clearly in God's plan. So far, it looks like His plan may be for us to stay here: it started pouring the day we listed it and hasn't let up since. We've received more rain in the last week than we did all of last year combined! Southern Californians don't go out in the rain (we like to pretend that we really do have a winter), so needless to say we haven't seen a lot of potential buyers. And in addition to the weather conspiring against us, three little kids tend to make it difficult to keep a "show-ready" house. We'll see how long I can handle it! So, if you live around here and want to be our neighbor, come brave the rain, rescue me, and buy our house!

Monday, January 21, 2008

My favorite time

Every night, before dozing off, Dan and I talk. We lie in bed discussing everything from the kids and work to ministry and dreams. There is no television in our bedroom, no desk, no kids, no computer, no distractions – just us. Our conversations may last only a few moments before we both succumb to the call of slumber. On other occasions we’ll lie there for an hour or more. Sometimes our talks are tainted by frustration and tension, but more often then not they are full of love and support for one another. While Dan and I naturally talk to each other throughout each day, I cherish the time we’ve set aside at the end of each to reconnect, and I savor the sense of oneness those moments foster in our marriage.
The sad part is, I have neglected to reserve such a time for the most important person in my life: Jesus Christ. Of course I talk to God throughout my day – I pray while driving, washing dishes, folding clothes, showering – through all the normal stuff of life, but I do not consistently set aside a block of time to really communicate with Him. Just as I see my relationship with Dan suffer if we too often miss our late-night talks, I can’t expect to have a deep, personal connection with God if I don’t talk to Him without distraction. As faithful as I might be to discover Who He is and what He says through Bible study, listening to His Word being taught, serving Him in ministry or worshiping through song, it can quickly become one-sided and mechanical if I’m not regularly confessing my sin, seeking His will, thanking and praising Him in prayer. So, I’ve made a resolution, as lame as it might sound, to spend 10 minutes a day in focused, personal conversation with my Lord. I’m embarrassed to even admit that such a resolution is necessary, but thought if I confessed my failure here, perhaps some of you might be willing to hold me accountable or be encouraged to join me. I trust that 10 minutes will often turn into more, just as my talks with Dan often run late into the night, and that those moments will bring glory to my Savior as I come to know and enjoy Him with greater intimacy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Brave again

Well, today Parker had yet another reason to summon up his courage: a gaping gash in his head! Apparently Skull had a close encounter with Cabinet this morning, and the result was a shiny new staple. With the staple came stickers and a new toy for bravery, so the boy is already back to his happy, energetic self. I'll spare you the photos because pretty it isn't. Did anyone warn me just how different raising a male would be?!

Monday, January 07, 2008

My brave boy (and girl)

This is a post I promised to Parker in commemoration of his first trip on the Matterhorn! The boy is terrified of the "little kid roller coaster" in Toon Town, but couldn't wait to jump on what I think is a far scarier (and bumpier!) ride with Daddy this afternoon. He loved it so much that he had to take me back for a spin too. And of course, once little brother conquered his fears, big sister quickly dismissed hers and also joined in the fun! Why do I get the feeling that this is a sign of things to come?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I’m back!

I’m sure I haven’t really been missed here in the blogging world, and you all have probably been just as consumed with the holidays as I have, but I have to admit that it has felt a little strange to be so out of the loop. Not only has this blog been lacking new posts, but I didn’t even read a blog for almost a week! Just today I finally caught up with all of our agency’s families who are in Vietnam trying to bring their new children home - I don’t think stories of those first meetings will ever grow old for me! Between Christmas (which didn’t wrap up until the 30th for us), spending extra time with family, New Year’s, after-Christmas shopping, putting away the decorations, making room for all the new toys, and reading the two new books I received for Christmas, my blogging time was quickly squeezed out. Honestly, the books probably are the most to blame. I’m the kind of person who can only read if that’s the only thing on the agenda. It a novel isn’t compelling enough to consume in a day or two, it’s just not worth reading. For that reason I have to force myself to leave them on the bookshelf until we’re on vacation or nothing would ever get done around here! In the five days after Christmas I read 1000 pages, and even with Dan home there just wasn’t enough time for blogs after that! So all of that is a rather boring explanation of what really could have been said with the title alone. Sorry about that… I’ll stop now, but hope to be back with something slightly more interesting to say soon!