Wednesday, October 26, 2011

an update

The last few weeks have been exhausting to say the least.  We got a court date for P, then my dad passed away, then we got a court date for G (in January), then just as I was getting ready to travel to Uganda, we lost the court date for P.  Losing the date was all a big misunderstanding with our attorney in Uganda, and although I was hugely disappointed at first,  we are completely at peace with it all now.

I feel like I am finally able to breathe for the first time in a month.  I just want to be here and be present.  I want to get through the holidays and mourn the passing of my father.  If I had gone to Uganda, I would have gone from one very emotional experience to another with little time to process either of them before heading back to Uganda in January.  I was willing to do it if that was how it was supposed to go, but I also have always heard that God only gives us what we can handle. I feel like this was a huge answer to prayer.

So, for now it is life as usual with just our family of 5.  The heaviness of loosing my father is slowly lifting and in its place excitement is growing.  Excitement that we will be traveling to Uganda in January, and Lord willing, find favor in the eyes of the judges and bring both girls home to live in our family forever.

While I was hoping to have the girls home by Christmas and to even celebrate one of the girl's birthdays while I was there in November...this is right.  This plan, that is not of our own doing, is right.

I don't think I have never felt more at peace in my life than I do right now.  It truly is a peace that passes all understanding and for that, I am thankful!

Monday, October 10, 2011

sadness and beauty

September 27th was a good day.  My dad, although still critically ill, had made it through the crucial first 48 hours after his surgery. He was alert, talking and even making jokes with his nurses. We had hope that he'd pull through just like he always has. After all, he has fought cancer....twice... and beat it both times.
That same day, we got the news we've been waiting to hear for months....we have a court date for one of the girls.  I was so excited I couldn't wait to rush back to his room to give him the news. I was able to tell him, and of course, he was so happy about it and even shared the news with his nurse that evening before I went home.

Three days later I lost my daddy.

The excitement and hope from 3 days earlier was completely gone. Losing him has been more painful than anything I could have ever imagined.  My heart feels so heavy at times that I just want to curl up in bed and cry until it feels better. And it does feel better...for a time, then out of the blue it comes back and brings me to my knees.

During this time, in the back of my mind, I've been thinking of November 1st and that I am supposed to be in front of a judge in Uganda with our sweet P, hoping to finally bring her home to be a part of our family.

How will I fly half way across the world when I can hardly bring myself to get out of bed?

How will I go and leave my mom when she needs me the most?

Well...

I'll do it because I've made a commitment to P and G.

I'll do it because I told them I would be back.

I'll do it because my daddy thought so much of those girls and he would want me to.  Heck, if he was here and well enough, he'd be on the plane with me.

I'll do it because my mom has decided that she will go with me :)

My mom, who has never been out of the country and hates to fly is going with me to Uganda to hopefully bring her newest granddaughter home.  Isn't that beautiful?

As the fog of the last couple of weeks is finally starting to lift, I am beginning to see glimpses of joy and beauty again.  The one thing that has stayed constant through all of this is the goodness of God and his mercy and grace.  I've seen him hold other people up in times of tragedy and loss and prayed that he would do the same for me....and he has.  There is great sadness and mourning for my dad as it should be.  He was a great, caring, loving, sometimes ornery man, who loved his family well and he is going to be missed terribly.  But in the midst of this there is a great peace that passes understanding, a hope of a better life.

As much as I loved him, Jesus loved him more. 

I don't know why we had to lose him now. But I do know that God's timing is perfect and he can bring beauty and happiness out of the darkest situations. I know this because he is doing it in my life right now.

So tomorrow, I will wake up and get out of bed.  I will cry and mourn the loss of my dad, then I will spend the day loving my children and my husband, checking on my mom and living life.

In three weeks my mom and I will fly to Uganda.  I will give those girls a big hug from their papa.  Hopefully soon we will have them both home and I can tell them all about their papa and how he was so excited for them to join our family and how he would tell anyone who would listen all about them.

God is preparing our hearts for something big. I know adoption is not for the weak (so I've heard), but I think after these last few weeks, I can handle just about anything that comes our way. Besides we aren't alone in this...never have been. 

I want to live the rest of my life to honor the sacrifice that Jesus made for me....for my dad.  How do you say thank you for that? 

My answer? ....to love well.  To have my life reflect less of me and more of Him.

That's it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Well, I have been pretty pathetic about the whole blogging thing lately.  We had just started school when I wrote my last post and honestly it has taken me this long to get adjusted to it.  After a summer full of laziness, I completely forgot how busy the day is when we are homeschooling.  Showers and house keeping have taken a back seat and trust me it ain't pretty....but after a break down (or two) and some schedule adjustments, and hiring a sitter to help out with Alex in the mornings, we are finally getting back into the swing of things around here.

In adoption news...All of our paperwork (well almost all of it) is in Uganda with our lawyer . Yay!  This is a huge!  I just have to send an update to our homestudy tomorrow since Thom switched jobs.  I'm not sure if she needs that to submit to court but even if she does, she will likely have it by the end of the week.  It's still pretty uncertain but I'm thinking that there is a big possibility that we could be there this time next month.


We were surprised with a skype call with them last Friday and I can't even explain how happy I was when their faces came up on the screen...it was just all smiles from here to Uganda. We were all just giddy with excitement! It was only a 10 minute call, but we were so happy to let them know that we are still coming and that it will hopefully be soon!
 

We spent all last weekend getting the rooms ready.  Nothing like a hurricane rolling through to get you in the painting mood.  I spent all day and into the night painting the little girls' room and it looks "stunning" as Gabi described it.  Here is a peak into the new improved rooms.
 

                                                the older girls' room
    

                                    
                                        the younger girls' room

They are still a work in progress but we are almost done.  I always find it sad to paint the kids' rooms.  I feel like it closes a chapter in our lives...their choices in colors always change from little kid to big kid and in the case of both girls, they always start out pink until they realize there are other colors in the world.  This time it was more bittersweet.  Even though I was painting over the light pink walls in the room Ava and Gabi once shared, it was exciting to be decorating and making room for our expanding family.

As excited as I am to go get those girls, I can't even think about it!  I get so overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of it all....childcare, long plane rides, standing before a judge-not once but twice, embassy appointments, visas, traveling home alone with 2 little girls who have never been out of their small village, missing my kids here.  I could go on and on and see, now I am getting myself worked up!

Whew! Just Breathe....

It's very much like childbirth.  You don't want to go through the labor because it is so difficult and so painful but you know what is waiting on the the other side....your child. 

Adoption is difficult and can be emotionally painful at times and I wish we didn't have to go through the hard part but I know what is waiting on the other side...our children.

And that's what makes it so beautiful.







                                            

Monday, August 8, 2011

"soon"

Since Uganda is 7 hours ahead, I eagerly check my email every morning hoping to see that long awaited email containing our affidavit sitting in my inbox. It's been 3 weeks since we were told it would be ready soon. "Soon" obviously doesn't mean the same in Uganda--ha! This is the only thing sitting between us and filing for a court date right now.  It is hard to believe that it has been almost a month of waiting for one piece of paper!

The good thing is our dossier will be heading over to Uganda on the 14th along with letters and cards that we've all written to the girls.  We have had no contact since the day I left in June and it has been really hard.  At least they will know soon that we are still waiting and haven't forgotten about them.  I am hoping we will be able to hear something from them in the next couple of weeks....maybe even be able skype!

I started school with the girls today and it was as crazy as I remembered! This will definitely make the days until we travel to Uganda fly by.

So we live life and wait....and hopefully we will hear something "soon".



Sunday, July 31, 2011

saturday surprises

I love Saturdays! It's the one day of the week that we get to spend how ever we want.  When school starts back, it will be the only day of the week that all 3 kids will come and pile into our bed and watch tv until its almost time for lunch.  My favorite Saturdays are the ones when we have nothing really planned.  Today was one of those days...

It started as usual with the kids snuggling in bed watching tv while Thom went on a nice long 13 mile run in the scorching heat.  The kids and I finally made it down stairs by 10:00 for banana and chocolate chip pancakes..my specialty (atleast I think so anyway).  By the time Thom got home from his run I already had a few tentative plans lined up for the day.  Our Saturday was suddenly getting full.

Shortly after breakfast, we had a visit from my brother and his family which consists of his wife and sweet new baby boy, Mason.  He was stopping by to pick up a grill but we got a pleasant surprise when they all came inside to visit for a while and I was able to hold a sweet 4 week old baby.   I know people always say this but I'll just say it anyway... I can't believe Alex was that small just 2 years ago.  Time really does fly by and children are a constant reminder of that fact and the older they get the faster it goes.

As my brother was leaving, our friend, Margherita showed up.   She was coming to visit for a bit and offered to make us lunch! Now, she is from Italy and we LOVE to eat her cooking, so as hard as it was to give up our usual lunch of pb&j or left over pizza, we said yes...please! The next couple of hours were spent sitting around our dining room table eating a delicious meal, talking and sharing a bottle of wine. A meal that is usually reserved for dinner at our house, we are now thinking should become more of the norm at lunch.  Although I'm not sure we could get Margherita over here every Saturday to cook for us...Ha!

As we were finishing up lunch, our friend Thad stopped by.  Again this is a treat since he lives in Nashville and is just in town for a few days.   He is basically like family so when he is in town we look forward to him just randomly stopping by.  The kids love him of course, and often times I can look forward to hearing some live music coming from my family room (since he is a musician and all). Which, now that I have mentioned Thad, I must also mention his band Leagues. They have a new album on Itunes and they are going on tour with Mat Kearney in a few weeks. An awesome group of guys with some great music, so check them out!  Now, back to our day...our dear friend, Thad, decided to take our girls to Marbles, the children's museum downtown, while Alex napped.  Ava and Gabi could not have been more excited and I will admit that I was excited to get an hour or two of free time.
So off to Marbles they go.  How did I spend my free time you ask??  By sitting on the couch on the computer reading through dishwasher reviews and then... "ding ding"...times up! The girls are home, Alex is awake and my free time is over.  (In case you are interested, I have narrowed it down to the kitchen aid or bosch.)

Thad leaves and in come our friends, Taylor and Claire and their cute kiddos.  By this time it is almost five and dinner time.  We all decide to go down to an anniversary celebration at a local Peruvian restaurant.  They were having food, beer, face painting, bounce houses and live music in the parking lot. Yes, it was 102 degrees outside but we decided to sweat it out anyway. I am so glad we did...I was hesitant at first but it really turned out to be a great time! The kids bounced and we sweated but it was all worth it to hear Gabi say on the ride home, "that was the best time I've ever had!". Who knew  jumping in a bounce house in the parking lot of a Mami Nora's (in extreme heat) could be so much fun. Maybe we should rethink that next trip to Disney when a bounce house and a Spanish band will do!

Next we were home and I was exhausted.  It was 8 o'clock and I felt like it was midnight. Thunderstorms were rolling in I couldn't wait to curl up in bed and sleep, but the next thing up was a birthday celebration for our neighbor across the street.  I just didn't think I had it in me, but I had a cup of coffee, got a second wind, changed back out of my pj's and walked over.  I spent the next couple of hours catching up with the neighbors I haven't seen in weeks because it's been too dang hot to be outside. I'm so glad I mustered up the energy for that one last event of the day.

Now as I am going to bed my girls are curled up on the floor in their sleeping bags at the foot of our bed because of the thunderstorms earlier....a perfect picture of safety...of family.

A day that started out with no plans turned out to be one of the best Saturdays we've had in a long time.  


                                  It wasn't just full, it was over-flowing!

                                    Just the way we love to live life!









 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A new direction...

...not with our adoption just my blog!

I started my blog so I could write and keep friends posted about our adoption but I have been thinking lately that once the girls get home it will no longer be about our adoption but about our life.

I used to think that I really had nothing to say of interest to anyone out there...and probably still don't  :) but I have realized from reading other people's blogs that I really do enjoy connecting with and reading about people with the same interests or in the same season of life as me.  There are days when I do want to share something going on in the Asta home and I want more than 140 characters or a facebook status to do it.

So I will start writing more about what it's like to be a stay at home, homeschooling mom of 3,  anxiously awaiting the arrival of 2 more little girls from Uganda. A mom who loves to run but never seems to have time... and I may from time to time talk about how wonderful my husband is....just because :)

A post wouldn't be complete without an adoption update.

...we are still waiting on that affidavit!  Hoping it shows up in my inbox this week. I really miss those girls!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nesting

We heard from our lawyer in Uganda over the weekend and the investigation of the girls is complete!  We should be getting our affidavit to sign...soon.  I think this is something we sign stating our intentions to adopt. Paternal and maternal family members from the girls also must sign these.  "Soon" could mean this week or next week, but since we are talking about Uganda, I am expecting it the week after that :) Once we get this signed, we will send over all of our paperwork to our attorney and wait for a court date(s)!
    
                                       We are getting close!!

With this new information I have decided to finally start getting the rooms ready for our new additions. It feels a lot like the nesting I did during the last month or so of each of my pregnancies.  Right now Ava and Gabi are sharing a room so yesterday we spent all afternoon cleaning out the guest room to get it ready for Ava to share with her new sister.  Of course, the whole upstairs is turned upside down and now I need to figure out what to do with all the stuff I was storing in the closet that room!


The girls picked out pillows for their new rooms yesterday, so now we have a color scheme to go with.


Next on the list is new bunk beds, paint, comforters....you know, all the fun stuff!  This should keep us me pretty busy the next month or so!

Friday, July 8, 2011

As we wait...

Well, It has been 3 weeks since I last saw the girls.  It seems like forever ago! I think about them all the time and wonder how they are doing...are they sick?  Did they get enough to eat today? Have they finished all the food I left with them?  I am sure P finished all of the lollipops I gave her within a day or two. I'm just hoping she has been brushing her teeth....I'm sure a dental visit is in her future! I guess giving candy to children with minimal adult supervision wasn't the best idea I've ever had :)

So an update on where we are in the process. We are waiting....

For what, I'm not totally sure. Both girls have lost their parents, so extended family members are contacted to make sure there is no one who willing or able to take care of them.  Once we have the signed affidavits from the family members, then our lawyer will file for a court date. The courts in Uganda close from July 15-August 15, so it will obviously be after the break that we will be traveling back to Uganda for court.  We are hoping for September but it could be later and I am just hoping to have them home before Christmas.

It is hard to be so far away with no contact.   It is so easy to take for granted being able to make a phone call, to send an email or even to write a letter and put it in the mail (knowing it will get there in a couple of days) to keep in touch with people we know here.  I wish it was that easy there.  There are ways of getting in contact with us if there was an emergency, but just to say Hi and we miss you is not so easy...

I treasure the pictures and tons of videos I took of the girls while I was with them.  My favorite ones are the ones they took of each other and themselves.  One of my favorite things to listen to is a recording from my phone of about 30 little girls laughing at an Iphone app that P was showing them.  Any time we need a good laugh we all listen to it and can't help but crack up with them.

September is right around the corner, but it seems like forever away.  Some days I wonder if we will ever get the girls home at all, or worse yet, what if we are able to bring one home and not the other.  Since they are not biological sisters, we will have 2 separate court dates with probably 2 different judges, so getting 2 different rulings is a possibility.  This is my greatest fear!  I try very hard not to let my worries interfere with my being a mom to the children I have right now.  I know that God has chosen us to love and be a family to these girls. This will happen in His time and in His way.  Right now these girls know they are special. I'm not sure that they have ever felt that way before. They know that Ava and Gabi are excited to meet them and be their sisters.  They know they have their own bedrooms waiting for them. They know there are friends and family here who can't wait to meet them.  They know they have a dad who can't wait to teach them to ride a bike and a mom who can't wait to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight....every night.

These girls have already changed our lives and they aren't even here yet.  This experience so far has been one of the hardest most beautiful times of my life.  I'm sure there are many challenges ahead but that is just part of being a parent no matter the circumstances.  I am just excited to watch God's plan unfold no matter how exciting scary it sometimes may seem.  A year ago I never thought we'd be adopting from Uganda and now I can't imagine life not knowing about P & G.  I do wonder if there are others out there....maybe that brother for Alex??

As I wait I am comforted by these words..." A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families"....Our girls are not alone.  God has a perfect plan for them and us. I also think of the words of an adoptive dad we met in Uganda who reminded me that "God loves those girls more than we ever could".  I know this is true.  I am humbled by the privilege to walk this journey.  I am humbled that He would choose me.  I am humbled by His grace and mercy and that we don't "get" what we deserve.  I am thankful that He has given me an incredible group of friends to take this journey with (some I haven't even met yet). 

Those of you following our journey... again, I want to say thank. Our family is so thankful for your prayers and support.   It really is so encouraging on those days when I feel so discouraged and wonder just what the heck we're doing.  I hope the next few months that we wait are lived fully so the time goes quickly. 









Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Wow!  I seriously cannot believe that tonight is my last night here in Uganda.  My last night falling to sleep under a mosquito net and waking up to the sounds of rooster crowing outside our window.  I have really fallen in love with this country.  There is just something about this place that just sucks you in.  I'm not sure if it is it's beauty or it's people but I can see why it is called "The Pearl of Africa".


Today we rode a boda boda for the first time.  For those of you who don't know, it is basically a motorcycle taxi.  They are on every street corner here.  Either you hire a driver for the day or you take a boda boda.  I couldn't decide if I was excited or deeply concerned for my life but either way I absolutely loved it! We also had really good pizza for lunch.  In fact it was so good that we decided to have it again for dinner.  I think we are both missing food from home.  The first thing I want to eat when I get home is a cheeseburger!

So....tomorrow I visit with the girls one last time before I say goodbye.  I have played the scene a thousand times in my head.  I am hoping it won't be as sad as I have imagined.   It is really hard to say all that I want to say because I'm not sure how much they actually understand.  Even though they speak English, it is still hard.  At least now I have pictures and videos that we can watch and look at over and over and the girls have lots of pictures of us as well.

We will just all be praying hard that we will be back soon and when we do finally have court that the judge will give us a favorable ruling.  Then we can bring the girls home and the Asta family will be complete.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Uganda

We have been in Uganda for 4 days and I am starting to get used to it here...the smells, the sounds, the driving, the traffic!  It is an absolutely beautiful country... just a little dusty:)  The weather has been interesting and not at all what I expected.  The first day was sunny and hot, but it has rained at least briefly every day since. Saturday it even hailed...pretty hard.  Lizzy and I and one other American were the only ones who seemed to notice.  The Ugandans didn't even look up, even though I have heard that it's not common here:) 


Yesterday we were able to attend 2 church services.  We went to a Ugandan church service in the morning, which was very interesting and quite different than what we are used to.  The people there were so so nice and welcoming.  Later in the evening we visited Sojourn in Wabigalo which is run by the Morris family.  After church we had dinner with them and a friend from our church back home.  I loved talking with them and hearing about the difference they are making in the lives of so many in their community. 

I have had an opportunity to see the girls a bit every day (except yesterday).  Tomorrow I will spend the whole day with them!  It is still so hard to believe that I am here, even when I am looking at their faces and hugging them.  I am trying to soak up every second that we are together and I find myself just staring at them trying to memorize everything about their sweet faces.  It is so funny but they both remind me so much of the Ugandan equivalents of Ava and Gabi.  G, is so sweet and I can tell that she is thinking about so much.  She is getting better about feeling open enough to ask me questions.  Sweet little P is just precious and always smiling!  She is still learning english so communication is a bit harder with her but she likes to give lots of hugs, which makes up for what can't be said :) They smile and their faces just light up.

I honestly don't know how I will say goodbye. How do I do it?  Just writing this makes me tear up.  I have to let them know that even though I'm not here, I am still thinking about them every second. I want them to know that they are no longer orphans, they have a family who loves them and thinks they are so special.   Friday when I visited, I promised that I would be back on Saturday but when we didn't get there until very late, G said "I didn't think you were coming".  Those words broke my heart.  I want them to know in their hearts that I will be back for them and I pray that next time it is to bring them home.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Going to Uganda!

That's right...I'm going to Uganda next week and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Since we probably won't be getting a court date until at least September, I just couldn't wait that long to meet these girls that I will soon be calling daughters.  I thought it would just be impossible to go since ticket prices dramatically increase during the summer and June is just a crazy travel month for Thom. Fortunately I was able to find inexpensive tickets during the one week in June that Thom would be home, and a friend who wanted to go as much as I do.  

It all happened so fast and even though Thom and I have always considered ourselves very spontaneous people, I still can't believe I'm going!  My mind has just been full of thoughts of meeting the girls for the first time, hugging them and seeing their sweet faces in person, learning who they are and their history, experiencing their culture and seeing first hand this beautiful country I have heard so much about.

I have so much to do before leaving (although I am almost all packed) but everything seems to be falling in place thanks to some pretty awesome friends.


                                So excited to meet these girls!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the deep end of motherhood

Today has been hard.

It all started yesterday when I had a harder than usual day home schooling.  Fortunately those days are few and far between but when it happens it's enough to bring me to my knees.

These are the days where I wish I'd had more patience,  offered more grace,  saw the world through the eyes of a child and spent less time cleaning and more time dancing and laughing.  I begin to doubt my abilities to be a good mother to the children I have and now I begin to wonder how I can possibly be a good mom to the girls we are adopting.

Bringing these girls into our family is not something that I have taken lightly nor is it a transition that I expect will be quick and easy.  I just want to love these girls well.  They have been through so much already in their short lives and experienced so much loss that I just want them to know how special they are...to know what unconditional love feels like.  I think often of each of their mothers and how I want to honor them by being a good mother to their children.  I think of the kind of person I would want to raise my own children if I was no longer here.  Of course, I would want the most loving, compassionate, patient, joyous, kind, and gentle person I knew.  First of all, it sounds like I wouldn't even choose myself to be their mom (gasp!) and second of all, all these traits sound an awful lot like the fruits of the spirit.

So there's my answer...more of Him and less of me.

I know this.  I know I am not alone in this journey and that I never have been.  The problem is that I know me.  I know that there are days when I make a choice to do this myself instead of leaning into Him who has guided me every step of the way.  Those days when I forget who I am and what I was created for are the days when I fail miserably. 

I have had some amazing women on this same journey offer me beautiful words of encouragement today and it has been such a gift.  It just shows me even more of God's goodness and grace.

As Thom said today, I just need to hold my breath and dive into the deep end of motherhood! 

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory..." -Ephesians 3:20 


big sigh of relief...everything is going to be ok.

                                                      Our sweet P and G




btw.....P is doing much better from her burn.  I think it just looks worse than it is but she doesn't seem to be too bothered by it, thankfully!






 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

emotions! emotions!

The last couple of days have been a roller coaster of emotion!

Yesterday we walked in early to the USCIS office in Durham and had our finger printing done.  Me, being a big rule follower, was a little concerned that we would be given a hard time for coming in 3 weeks before our date, so I already had lined up what we would say if we were turned away.  Thankfully we didn't  need to say anything because they could not have been nicer! Whew...what a relief!

That excitement was short-lived.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I got word that some preliminary blood work was in for the girls.  Initially it looked like both girls could possibly have Hep B and that our youngest tested positive for Sickle Cell Disease.  The Hep B doesn't bother me as much as the possible diagnosis of Sickle Cell does.  That just sounds like a really nasty disease.  I have done so much research on both diseases today that I think my head might explode! Thankfully after speaking with a professional here it looks like there is a good possibility that neither has hepatitis and hopefully our sweet P doesn't have Sickle Cell.  It is still too early to know right now and I won't feel 100% better until they are here and seen by our doctor.  But I am feeling very encouraged!

The crazy thing in all of this is...I don't care!  Whatever path God has chosen for us to go down, I am ok with it.  When I heard they could have either of these diseases my first thought was "we need to get them treated". Thankfully we are a hop, skip and a jump from some of the best hospitals in the country. They will be in good hands here.

Also, in the middle of all of this, I found out that P fell and burned her face and shoulders with her porridge yesterday.  It really made my heart break knowing she was hurt and I wasn't there to hug her.
Thankfully she is doing fine today.  

If money was no object, I would be on the next plane to Uganda as we speak.  I just can't wait to hug them and kiss their sweet faces!

They're beautiful and I can't wait to introduce them to you!






Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy :)

These last few days have been so exciting!  We have been able to skype with our girls a couple of times, which was just so amazing!  It is one thing to see pictures of them but to be able to speak and interact with our daughters and to see them with huge smiles on their faces just filled us all with so much joy!  It was almost as good as being in Uganda....almost.

Today we got another surprise.  We got our biometrics (finger prints)  appt. in the mail.  This is the last step here before getting our court date in Uganda.  We did not expect to hear anything for at least another 5-6 weeks, so this is kinda huge :) Now we just wait for everything to be done on the Ugandan side.  Background checks, bloodwork and finally a court date!

My hope all along has been to have them home by Christmas.  Anything before that will just be icing on the cake!  The experiences of the past weekend have made everything seem so real and makes us all the more anxious to get them home.

But, we will be patient.  We know that everything is in God's perfect timing.

To those of you who are praying and supporting our family through this...

                                    THANK YOU!

 It means more to us than you will ever know!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the waiting game

I am so happy to have my computer back after a small (large) coffee incident :)

Now to catch everyone up....


Our home study was approved and we sent in a copy along with our I600a to USCIS.  Now we wait to hear from them so we can be finger printed.  Last week I made approximately 132 copies of documents that need to be notarized.  These documents will be in our dossier that will be sent to our attorney as soon as we hear back from the USCIS with our finger printing appt. 

In the mean time we wait.

That is so hard.  We think about them all the time!  It is so hard not to jump on a plane just to go over and see them.  We got letters from them on my birthday and it made my day! We have sent presents over and are anxiously waiting to hear back.  

Our girls keep talking about all the new things they can't wait to show them....their new room, the  beach, tv, wii, phones, toys, bikes, scooters, pizza, ice cream, dress up, american girl dolls, hot chocolate, our dogs Tahoe and Rossie, our cat Gracie, their little brother Alex and the list goes on and on.  Seriously they add about ten things each day just out of the blue.  I love it!

I think of these things too, but being a mom, I think of so much more...like what are they thinking, did they get enough to eat today, are they hungry now, are they sleeping, are they excited, are they nervous, do they lie awake at night missing their mom and dad (I'm sure they do), do they have anyone to dry their tears and hug them when they are sad, will they except me as their new mom, will they like it here....

The anticipation of one day meeting these girls face to face is sometimes more than I can bare.  They already have become a part of our family and have taken up a permanent place in our hearts.  God has grown my heart so much more than I ever imagined.  

Isn't love such a beautiful thing?  









Monday, April 18, 2011

A small change in plans

So remember in an earlier post how I said that God's plans were always bigger and better than our own?

Well....

We are still adopting but we have a change of plans.

Instead of Alex and the girls getting a new brother

It looks like they will be getting a new sister.....two new sisters!

That's right....if all goes well (and we pray that it does) we will have two beautiful little girls
ages 5 and 7 joining our family very soon!

Out of respect for them and their culture, I'm not going to post too much information until they are
with us, but I wanted to share the excitement and happiness!  I'll keep you posted on the process along the way.

We are so happy to know that we have found our children and and are all very excited to get to know them and prepare our home for two more. 

Don't worry, we still haven't ruled out a brother for alex in the future...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today

                 Today my heart has been heavy.
                 I have been thinking about a woman whom I've never met.
                 A mother who is looking for a family for her children
                 .....because she is dying of AIDS.

                The saddest part is, she shouldn't be dying.
                Her children should not have lost their father
                Her children should not be losing their mother

                If she lived in the United States things would be different
                She could have been educated on how AIDS is contracted
                She could have been treated with medications to live a long life
                She wouldn't have passed the virus to her son

                To put a story and face to adoption of orphans
                is simply sadder and heavier than I could imagine
                They all had parents
                They all have stories

                Today a woman on the other side of the world
                is preparing to say goodbye to her children

                ......so how was your day?


                www.reclaimorphans.org

                www.projecthopeful.org

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

one for you and one for them


                                                     


                                        What a cute idea for Easter!

                                      Order a bunny for you and one
                                     will be sent to a child in Uganda





                                 http://www.bunniesforbugembe.com/

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why Alex Needs a Brother

                       Wanna know why this sweet boy needs a brother?

    


It isn't because he is surrounded by Barbie dolls, Barbie jeeps, and Barbie houses or the fact that he regularly plays with the girls' Polly Pockets.  In fact he enjoys playing with all those things.

But what he really LOVES is wrestling and having pillow fights where he constantly gets knocked down only to get up giggling more than ever (those of you with girls know that only lasts so long before there are tears) and putting on his dad's boxing gloves and yelling POW as he punches you in the belly waiting for a return shot. 

When I first found out I was having a little boy, I wasn't sure what to think.  I was a mom of girls. I knew what to do with those.  I found out what to do with him the moment I held him and looked into his eyes...I'd love him.  He has stolen my heart like no one else has!  So much so that when we decided to adopt, without question I knew it needed to be another boy.

Give me a house full of boys so full of energy....wrestling, jumping off furniture (even when they are forbidden to do so), jumping ramps on their bikes and scooters, filling their pockets with rocks and snails, all those things that boys do for reasons that are so foreign to their mothers.

We just completed the final social worker visit for our home study. That means that Alex is one step closer to meeting his brother and we are one step closer to meeting our son.  We are praying for him now.  Praying that he is being loved and cared for until we get to welcome him into our home.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One day closer

What a week!

We have completed 2 of our 3 required homestudy visits and we had our first correspondence with our attorney in Uganda!  This is really happening!   I feel like I did those first few days after finding out that I was pregnant.  Suddenly the only thing I can think of is what our family is going to look like in the future.  It is very hard to concentrate on much else.  If I got a call to jump on a plane tonight, I would eagerly pack a bag and jump on the next flight to Uganda!  I feel such an urgency to get there and bring our child home.

I have often heard many people wonder if they could ever love an adopted child as much as their own.  I will confess, before starting this process that thought was there way in the back of my mind.  But I know I will love that child as much as the three I already have because I already do.

Our message to our child so far across the world is "hold on, your mother and father are coming for you soon and we love you more than you can imagine!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reclaim Orphans in Uganda

  I have mentioned before our friends John and Amber Heeley and the organization they started called Reclaim Orphans.  It exists as a resource to those who are interested in orphan care, in every aspect, not only through adoption.  There are so many ways to get involved in orphan care even if you don't feel led to adopt.  There is great need in the local foster care system, there are adoption funds you can donate to for those who want to adopt but can't afford it and you can help fund orphanages internationally for those children who don't have forever families.  The launch event of Reclaim Orphans was Saturday and it was a huge success.  There were over 100 people gathered together to find out how they too could become involved in the care of these sweet children.  It warmed my heart to see so many people wanting to live out a calling they have in their lives. I am excited to see how God is going to grow this organization!

  Thom and I have had the privilege of being a part of this group and seeing it grow from an idea to reality.  In August, Thom and I are joining 12 other members of the Reclaim Orphans team and traveling to Uganda.  We are going to witness first hand the orphan crisis and how we can best use our resources here to help so many in need there.  We will be visiting orphanages, of course, but also HIV/Aids clinics, and IDP camps among others.  On a personal note, there is a very good possibility that Thom and I will be able to meet the child/children that will one day be members of our family...they will be Astas!  This just gets me so excited thinking about it even though it will be very hard to leave them!

 This is where you come in. In order to make this happen Reclaim Orphans needs to raise funding for the trip. We hope to buy plane tickets by the end of April so time is of the essence!  Any amount can make a difference.  You can share in our journey there as many of us will be blogging and keeping in touch via facebook and twitter.  If you feel led to donate beyond that, Reclaim Orphans also appreciates your donation to our general fund and/or adoption fund as well.  How exciting to be a part of something new and to watch it grow from a fledgling organization to a huge movement that gives hope and saves the lives of so many children that were once without hope.

  I know that not all of us are called to adopt, but we are all called to care for these forgotten children.  Will you please join us in making a difference today?  

  To make a tax deductible donation please visit this link   https://reclaimorphans.donortools.com/


  With much love...
     Cindy
    


** If you'd rather donate by check, just let me know and I'll give you my address or you can send it directly to Reclaim Orphans.


 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Breathe.

 Wow!  It's really funny how you think your life is crazy busy, then you decide to adopt and suddenly you are wondering what you used to do with all your free time! This packet has been consuming my thoughts.  I feel like every free moment should be spent reading to get my adoption training hours in or making lists of things I need to do and questions I need answered. All this while homeschooling the girls, chasing a toddler, staying connected with my husband and all the other things that go along with running a household.  Needless to say, there have been many late nights.

  It's all still a bit surreal for me right now.  I think of and pray for a child who is waiting for us in Uganda, but until I see his face or know his name it's all just paperwork right now.

  What keeps me going when I feel like it is all just too much?  Knowing there's a little person whose face we will see the sooner we can get this done....so in the meantime, I will just breathe and take it one day at a time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's here, It's here!!

 Finally! The packet arrived today!  Now I know what will completely consume my thoughts the next week or so.  I say week because I won't rest until it is all filled out, in an envelope, and on it's way back to the agency!  We really haven't got a moment to spare.  We are planning a trip to Uganda in August with friends who have started a new organization called Reclaim/Orphans.  Our hope is to be able to have our first court date scheduled while we are there and then I can stay and complete the process at the next court date.  Of course, this is out of my hands and I don't want to stress about it, so I'm putting everything in God's hands right now.  Besides, as I have learned, His plans are always much bigger and more beautiful than our own.
 An interesting thing happened today that I'd like to share as well.  Thom ran into an old friend at the grocery store.  (to give a little background necessary for the story..she is a friend whom we haven't seen in atleast a year...maybe more and she is a physician who has worked in Infectious disease.)  While discussing our plans to adopt from Uganda, she asked about the HIV situation there and Thom filled her in on the statistics that of the 2.5 million orphans, 1 million are HIV positive.  After discussing the advancements in HIV/Aids treatments in this country she left him with this thought....Do we give a healthy child a family or do we give a child with HIV a life....Yes, adopting any child is beautiful, but a child with HIV in a third world country, basically has a death sentence. Here, especially in this area, he could get the treatment needed to live a long, healthy life where HIV just becomes a chronic disease, manageable with drugs that could literally make the virus undetectable in his system.
 We are completely fine with bringing a child with HIV into our family.  I know that it is not spread through casual contact and has never been spread from one family member to another in a family setting.  Although, I try to not base decisions on what others think, I am already defensive of a little child whom I have never met or seen.  I know there is still a stigma about HIV in this country and I would hate for someone to ever pass judgement or be prejudiced to this child because he was born with a disease that he did not ask for.  It already breaks my heart!
 So this is where we are right now....filling out forms, gathering documents, making Dr's appointments, taking adoption courses, reading, researching everything I can about HIV, and above all praying! I am praying for wisdom and guidance in all of the decisions we make.  I'm so thankful to put my trust in God, who has humbled me and changed my heart to be open to something that a year ago I wasn't even thinking about. 

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why adoption?

I tried not to be too disappointed on Friday when another week had gone by with no word from the adoption agency....BUT thanks to my wonderful husband for putting in a phone call to Amazing Grace, we found out that our packet of info should be here next week!  Now it is starting to feel real!

People have been asking why we have chosen adoption.  This isn't something that we decided over night. For a few years, Thom and I have always thought that one day maybe we would think about adoption.  We didn't know when, or how, or what it would look like but the seed had been planted.   I think that is how God works.  He plants a seed, waters it and sits back and watches it grow.  In the last few years, it seems that slowly we have become surrounded by families who have a heart for orphans and adoption and suddenly the idea has become reality.

Recently our hearts have been broken for the orphans of Uganda....a country the size of Oregon with 2.3 million orphans. The northern half of the country has been  ravaged for 20 years by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.  Because of the HIV/Aids crisis, half of the population is under 15 years old.  The numbers are overwhelming, but I can no longer sit in my nice comfortable world and simply read about it and do nothing.  I heard a quote from a recent adoption conference- "you can't change the whole world but you can step into the world of one person's and change theirs".  I have a feeling the ones whose lives will be changed the most are our own.

I am so thankful that God has put this on our hearts.  Ultimately at the end of the journey we hope to have a new child in our family, but no matter the outcome, I hope we learn a lot about ourselves and grow closer as a family... and grow closer to Christ in the process.

If you are interested in learning more about the children in Uganda...

http://www.uccf.org/facts/facts_about_the_children_of_uganda.cfm

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm blogging!

I've always wanted to "blog" but I've never really thought I had much to talk about until now...

Two weeks ago we mailed in our application for adoption from Uganda.  We have now begun the "hurry up and wait" game that I have heard is just part of the process.  This blog will give our friends and family an opportunity to share in this journey with us and hopefully inspire and encourage others who are thinking of adding to their families through adoption.  Enjoy!