Friday, August 14, 2015

Baby, mine.

My lovely girl-

Right now we are flying somewhere over Gettysburg on our way home from your birthday surprise- tickets to see a singer that we all swoon over! (I'm liking this new part of our relationship!) But, I cannot believe you'll be 11 soon. I want to throw my hands up to the sky dramatically asking time to slow down. 

I remember the last almost eleven years like they were yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. Watching your Daddy hold you for the first time wrapped up tight, pirouetting around our dining room in footie pajamas, princess dresses leaving trails of glitter in your wake, looking up from a book, eyes wide, with either a big smile on your face or teary because something just happened to a character you've become attached to. So many moments with you have been magical and filled with your laughter. 

Tonight watching you and your bestie dancing (and screaming and swooning) to Sam Hunt is something I will never forget. Because for a minute I glanced over and your head was tipped back in mid laugh, dancing with abandon and I saw her, the future you, and it hit me all at once that soon you'll no longer need Daddy or I to sit next to you at a concert. I grabbed my phone wanting to bottle that moment but instead I just watched you. I started to ugly cry as "Ex To See" played for thousands of people. And then without even looking you reached down and squeezed my hand. I live for those moments. 

I hope you never lose the ability to dance like nobody's watching and to laugh, really laugh, with head back and eyes closed. I've loved being beside you for eleven years and while I'm not quite ready to let go of your hand I look forward to the sweet young lady you're growing into. You are my treasure. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You've got a friend in me...

During this two year journey to our sweet Ugandan boy there have been many trials for Wayne and me.  I feel like I often express frustration with the situations that have come about in those two years more than I focus on the wonderful things that we have gained.  I saw an adoption t-shirt on the internet that said "Adoption gives you different stretch marks" and I thought it was totally stupid and would never wear it. But, when I think about these last two years we have been stretched time and time again. God has used this time to draw us closer to Him and closer to one another.  I've worked at giving up control of situations and laying them down at Jesus' feet because I cannot and will not ever be able to plan my life better than He does.  His will and ways are not always my will and the Bible tells us that they are definitely higher than my ways!!  :) As a control likin' person that it a hard, bitter pill to swallow.  And, in my stubbornness I find that lesson being repeated time and time again.  So, I'm 7,800 miles away from home, my family and my main support system and I finally laid it all down.  And, it felt so good to know that He's got this. And He does.

A little bit shy of two years ago I "met" Tracy through our adoption group facebook page.  We were both totally new to the adoption process and were in learning as we go mode.  We learned that our boys were around the same age (as are our bio kids!!), were living at the same orphanage and that we had a lot of things in common.  We started emailing & chatting on the phone and we bonded-big time. We met Tracy and her sweet family for dinner one night on our way to Disney (that meeting at Five Guys is now standard practice when we sneak away to Disney for a few days!) and I remember one moment looking around the table at all of us paired off having conversations and felt so much like we had all met lifelong friends.  It was an amazing feeling and I totally felt like it was all God...little did we know in the coming months just how much we would lean on each other as our processes hit major road bumps at every turn.  We traveled at the same time as them in July and felt like we were here with old friends as opposed to a couple we hadn't known for years and years.  God is so faithful to provide all of our needs...even putting people in place exactly when we need them...

But, this isn't really a story about Jenn & Tracy...this is about our boys.

On the last trip we learned that our sons shared the same little bed and pal around together at the orphanage.  I loved that as we were developing a relationship that our boys were doing the exact same thing.  The day we left the orphanage was such an amazing moment for us because I knew that our EC would never sleep in an orphanage again. But, many nights after that I thought about his buddy J and prayed that he was able to sleep without his (very wiggly) bunk buddy.  EC has talked about J numerous times a day for 3 loooong weeks.  In fact, last week on an especially frazzling day Wayne said to me, "Honey, hang in there, J will be there in 3 days!!"  Yesterday we had the honor of tagging along while Tracy went to sign J out of the orphanage forever! It was so awesome. I know how I felt when we went and being there as my friend did the same thing was so special...because we've walked through a lot of ugly together! I have pictures of Tracy holding J while EC is beside her holding on to J's leg. Totally PRESH! And, the fun continued all day as they realized that we were all bunking up in our 1 bedroom apartment! If we weren't close before this we certainly will be! :) Last night we decided that the boys could sleep in the bed & we would take the couches.  We each checked on them several times last evening and found that they had each made their way to the middle of the bed.  We found them exactly like that this morning as well. It was the sweetest thing that I have seen.  I love watching them together and seeing them open up around one another.  It was symbolic of my friendship with Tracy as well starting out the journey separately but ending up in the middle of all of this adoption nonsense holding on for dear life! :)

So, today, I'm just feeling really grateful.  So much good has come out of this journey and I don't want to forget that.  God gave me someone that I could laugh with, cry to, vent to and know that she has felt or experienced the exact same way.  He put is in country together (TWICE) because I think He knew that I would need that.  He gave our families lifelong friends...but he didn't just do it for me or Tracy or Jason or Wayne. 

 He did it for them, too.  

These two will always have one another.  They will always have a link to their childhood.  They will have a buddy to tromp around Uganda with when we return every five years (woohoo) and because of the foundation of friendship that we built during our two years of waiting we've ensured that our sons will also be able to maintain their bond and a tie to the country that both of our families love.  

I'm praising the One that put all of this into place.  Thankful for these moments that Tracy & I get to spend together and looking forward to making a lot more wonderful family memories with two more wonderful boys added to the mix. :)  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hitting the ground running...

Last night our drive into Kampala was a quiet one. It was late, we were exhausted from 24 hours of travel...but mostly we were unsure of what we were walking into today.  We didn't celebrate our departure because this isn't a "yay, everything's done let's go get him" kind of trip.  It's a "let's get it done this is ridiculous" kind of trip. :)

This morning we had a meeting with several key people with the agency here and felt very good about our coming week.  They know where we're coming from and seem determined to get us home ASAP.  Wayne will be leaving next Saturday to take Peyton to Outdoor School so I will be staying here until Charlie is set to return.

We picked him up from the orphanage today and he stopped playing in the yard when he saw us and started screaming "My muzungus (white people) are here!" It was comical.  We were told on our way out to the orphanage that whenever he is scolded or corrected he tells the mommas that he is going to report them to his parents. What a handful! :)

Please pray for our lawyer as we try to get him to quickly finish his part in this process.

I've gotta run, there is a four year old picking up the phone, scooping up loose change and hanging all over  his daddy. Sigh...

Today was a good day!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Here we go again

I was catching up on my friend's blog this morning when I really should be triple checking my packing list and suitcases...and I noticed that I hadn't written a blog for 6 months!! Honestly, I started this thinking it would maybe be an outlet during our adoption process and the fact is I'm absolutely sick of talking about & thinking about this adoption.  Two years ago I never thought we'd still be in this place. Sigh.

And, today we're headed back.  This is a trip full of unknowns and I'm nervous about what we're going to find when we get there.  The details are long and complicated and boring even for those who are familiar with international adoption.  But, people haven't been doing their job.  To make matters even worse, we have a very important piece of paper that expires on 9.17.2012.  So in the midst of very last minute travel (I had less than a week to pack & prepare myself for a possible month long trip away from my babies) we have also been hurriedly gathering documents needed for the extension of our VIP (very important paper).

I'm so excited to get to hold Charlie again. I can't wait for that.  :)  But at the same time I'm already missing my kids.  I spent a good part of this morning just watching them both sleep, taking in a sight that I'm going to miss so much.  They spent the last two nights snuggled up with me while Wayne was ousted to the couch. :)

Ways you can pray for us: pray for the judge & clerk in our case, our lawyer to begin working diligently & the PI as he prepares what he needs for the judge, pray for the kids & my mom as they are here holding down the fort,  for Wayne as he leaves to come home next Saturday & for our time in country.

We have amazing friends who have supported us in so many ways throughout this process.  Without you our lives would be less.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Maybe next week

I have had this post rolling around in my head for quite sometime. But then life gets in the way and it's a month later and I haven't blogged about anything.

I am in constant awe of my children. This adoption process has opened a lot of new (and sometimes very interesting) discussion regarding family, trusting in God, etc. Sometimes these conversations have made us laugh but sometimes we cry. When Emilia asked me why our little man needed me to be his mom when he had his own mom I had to gently explain to her that sometimes moms love their children so much that they know that the best thing is to put them where someone will be able to care for them when they cannot. The details of the story are not for her or here, but I wanted her to know that his mother had made the ultimate show of sacrificial love. When I heard his entire story for the first time I sat alone in the dining room and cried for her. I thanked God for her and I grieved for situations and circumstances that led her to leave her children.

The last few months have been very emotionally draining for us (me especially) as we hadn't ever dreamed that we would still be here...waiting. I thought by now we'd be settling into a routine, introducing him to Double Stuf Oreos and starting our lives as a family of five. Not waiting for any little scrap of news from our agency or adoption blogs & boards that sounds like maybe we'll get a court date soon. But, to God, this is history. He's already written out this story for us and I have to trust that. Period. Until I don't.

Emilia is in second grade. She is my sweetheart. She loves acting like a big grown up girl but really she's a sweet little crazy cuddlebug. She's still not too cool to hold hands with me or ask in the middle of a big girl shopping trip for a "holdy" while digging around in my bag for Busy, her trusted blanket. Peyton seemed like a 75 year old man when he was her age and I think that's why I don't give her credit sometimes for being so in tune with big things going on in our lives. Wrong, I know, but I'm just being honest.

Anyway, I'm at a birthday party a few weeks ago and hear from a friend of mine that her children have been praying for our family and that Emilia has reported that we might be going to bring him home "maybe next week". I laughed it off saying that if we were traveling next week I'd be non-stop smiling in a really scary kind of way. Later, on the phone with my bestie it kind of hit me. She prays for that. And when I say that I mean those exact words..."And Lord, I love you and ask you to please bring my brother home maybe next week." I have been in a struggle to just let go and trust for months. And, here my sweet Emilia is TRUSTING that what she prays is going to happen because "that's what God says, momma."

If you're reading this, please pray for my faith to be extended. Please pray that we get a court date soon so that I can finally hold my boy. I would really appreciate it :)

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." ~Mark 11:24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Roses are red, violets are blue, my baby makes creepy valentines.

Two posts in one day. A record for me! Today I was scouring Pinterest in order to plan for Emilia's first school friends playdate type of thing in which we will be doing Valentine's Day crafts and other girly goodness that I may dream up between now and then. Apparently while I was doing that sweet Emilia was making her own Valentine. For her brother.

I saw this sitting on the dining room table the entire evening:

It made me so happy to see that despite their what seems to me constant bickering there are still random acts of love between them. So, this sat on the table all evening and she hadn't handed it to him since he'd gotten home. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to look inside and see what she wrote to him. And this is what I found:

Peyton noticed that his name was on the front and came over to look at what had caused me to be laughing hysterically. Despite the theme of this valentine I love this girl's attention to detail. The dark, ominous sky; the way the blood is ripping through the neat circle which was once my baby boy; the choppy ocean water; all of the fins circling the same way (except for that one that's going the wrong way). My favorite touch is the one shark fin is saying "I'm eating you." You know, in case one was unable to figure out what was going on here. This is a girl after my own heart...with the details, that is.

So, this is parenting. Some days they're hugging it out and other days they're throwing you to the sharks!

So long, dim sum

In an area flooded with pizza joints and sub par Chinese buffet restaurants our family was thrilled to find a little gem of a Chinese/ Thai place a few years ago. We've been going there almost as long as Peyton has been in school. We have our mother-son dates there. We celebrate birthdays, report cards and family movie nights there. Emilia started calling it Turtle Chinese in homage to the two pet turtles they have in a tank at the restaurant.

It just so happens that it is also owned by the family of Peyton's classmate and friend, Nancy. We quickly became regulars and anytime they saw Peyton they ushered out delicious treats & extras. No wonder it was his favorite! :) The past few times we've stopped there for dinner the place has been dark and empty with only a small sign in the window notifying customers that it will be closed for renovation.

Peyton must've gotten anxious about the finishing of the renovation project because he asked Nancy at school when it would open back up. She explained to him that they had started to renovate but something occurred and it looked like they would be moving away instead. The restaurant would not reopen.

As soon as he had recanted their conversation he confided to us, "I cried after she told me that." Here he was, our sweet little boy saddened by his friend moving away. Or so I thought...I hugged him and told him that I was sorry that he was so sad that Nancy was moving away. He looked at me with all seriousness and said, "No Mom, I cried because that's my favorite restaurant." long, dim sum.


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