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Sunday, May 30, 2010

ONE MONTH


We made it through our first month on the wait list!  Honestly, it's felt kind of like a vacation from adoption stuff. The 4-5 months leading up to getting on the wait list felt so frantic & frazzled with all the paperwork. It took a week or two to adjust to the idea that I didn't need to be thinking about where each piece of paperwork was and who I needed to call to check on what and how many copies of each needed to be sent where. Whew! But being on the wait list is easy (please remind me of this when we've hit month #7!)

When we first started out on the wait list I had it in my head that we would wait 10 months for our referral. I don't think I even told people at first that we potentially could wait only 5 months. But then somewhere along the way I started believing that we really might could get a referral this fall (PS Ethiopian playdate friends, I blame y'all for planting the seed! ha ha - just kidding!). In August, Allyn will be two which means that after that we could accept a referral for a child 12 months old, which is when the wait list time can be shorter. Of course, we could also still wind up with a tiny baby and spend the entire 10 months on the wait list. Or the wait time could increase due to something totally beyond our control.  But I'm heading down a dangerous path of planning for a referral this fall. I'll be praying hard about that over the next few months.

Lately I've just been celebrating other families' referrals. I've been stalking the folks who are the top of our "unofficial" wait list (it's called the Gladney FBI). So as soon as the family blogs about having received a referral, I hear about it right away. Rejoicing with those families helps me feel a little closer to the day we'll rejoice over our own child. It's still hard to believe that we really will get a referral one day. There really is a child at the end of this journey.

My prayers for month #2 are about getting our butts in gear for some fundraising. I'm hoping to sew some more stuff (I did get my etsy site up & running but the only thing on it right now are bag tags: http://www.etsy.com/shop/yklj).  We have our application in for the Both Hands fundraiser and I'm excited to get that going.  I have complete faith that God will provide all the funds for this adoption so most days I'm not completely freaked out! heh heh

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thinking ahead of myself

We had the craziest weekend this weekend. I don't know that we have ever crammed that much stuff into one weekend (and we still missed out on one birthday party & a graduation party). Sheesh! But one of the best parts was the Ethiopian pot-luck for families in our area who have adopted from Ethiopia. We were thrilled when we first started this process to learn that there is an incredible group of families around here who have adopted from Ethiopia and they get together every few months!

Have I mentioned my friend Teyobsta? She works at the hospital with me and I learned shortly after we started the adoption process that she is from Ethiopia. Her little boy is about Riley's age so we've gotten them together for some playdates and I invited her along to the cookout. She had a blast seeing all the Ethiopian kids and she could guess what part of Ethiopia each child was from just by looking at them. She'll definitely be coming along with me to the next get together. We laughed because I was telling her I'd probably be the only one there without an Ethiopian child & she reminded me that her son was born in America & had never been to Ethiopia :) And there turned out to be another family there (Wake grads, whoo hoo!) who are in the "paperchase" phase.

It was really an amazing sight to watch all these children running around playing together. Some Ethiopian, some American-born, and a few children adopted from some other countries as well. It was awesome. And I found myself searching the faces of each Ethiopian child wondering which one might have features that resemble our little boy.  I went home with a head full of beautiful faces and couldn't stop thinking about each one... I can not wait to see my son's face!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Our Baby in Africa"

I'm sorry I haven't updated in awhile! I actually did write a post about fundraising but I haven't posted it yet... I promise to tell y'all about our super-cool fundraiser idea very soon!

Today I just wanted to share about how my kids are reacting to the adoption. Riley prays for "our baby in Africa" every night. We have a close friend who is 34 weeks pregnant and went into pre-term labor this week so we've been up to the hospital a bunch and been praying a lot for her. The other night we had been praying that baby Maya wouldn't be born too soon and that she would come into this world safely.  Tonight, Riley wanted to pray that "our baby in Africa" would come home safely. And then he reminded me that that baby wouldn't grow in my tummy (as if I could ever forget that!).  I love how much Riley already is looking forward to his little brother. I don't know exactly how much he understands about adoption but his whole heart is in this process... all he cares about is that a little brother will show up at the end!

We've been asking Allyn if she wants a little brother. She always responds with "yeah."  However, she also says "yeah" when Riley asks her if she wants to eat a worm!  She is almost the age that Riley was when Allyn was born. That shocks me. And it makes my heart ache to have our next child here. I wonder how old she'll be when she finally gets to be a big sister. I've been planning out the kids' big brother & big sister t-shirts in my head. And I've ordered a special embroidery design for the shape of Africa for my machine... I can't wait for the kids to wear them! Since we don't get to surprise our family with a "I'm pregnant" phone call I figure we'll do something fun with the shirts somehow. Haven't figured that out yet... but I won't be posting it when I do - too many family members read the blog! ha ha!

I'm still praying for my little one out there somewhere. The oldest he could be right now is about 9 months. I look a babies all the time and wonder what he might be doing. I really do think he's already born by now. And I'm starting to think we really might get a referral this fall instead of in the spring, which is a dangerous thing to stick in my head. But I'm praying for it all the same!

PS. In 10 days I get to have a "one month on the waitlist" post! YAY! Gotta look forward to even the little milestones, right???

Friday, May 7, 2010

World AIDS Orphans Day

Today is World AIDS Orphans Day. Did you know that 25 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS in our world? And over 15 million of those are orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa? Yes, I said millions. Not hundreds or thousands but MILLIONS of children.

The thought staggers me. These are real live children. Babies who cry to be held by mothers who love them and those mothers are gone.  Imagine if my children lost both Rob & me to a preventable and treatable disease.  We would all agonize over what a tragedy it was.  Yet this is happening to 25 million children worldwide. Why are we letting this happen?

I can't know about this and not do something. It is physically impossible for me to do nothing when I know that children are losing their parents to a disease that, in our country, is no longer a death sentence. That is why I'm going to Swaziland with Heart for Africa this July. The kids I will be working with there have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. I worry about leaving my kids happy & healthy here in the States to travel to Africa three times in the next year (once for Heart for Africa, twice for adoption) yet there are mothers in this world who are worrying because they don't know what will become of their children when they die. What a petty worry I have.

Ethiopia has one of the largest percentages of orphaned children in the world (and the majority of them have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS).  I've mentioned this before, but I am fully aware that I will be adopting a child whose mother I wish I could have kept alive or able to parent him. This breaks my heart for my child. I cry about it even now when I've never even seen his face.  I hate so much that he will hurt in this way.

Before we started this journey, I asked Rob if it wouldn't be better to just donate $25,000 to a family in Ethiopia to keep a mother united with her children.  And maybe it would be. Sometimes I feel selfish that we are adopting.  But the thing is, there are children there whose parents are already gone and no amount of money in the world will bring them back.  That is why we are adopting.  So here's my commitment: once we have raised the money for our adoption, I have promised myself that I will continue to work on raising an additional $25,000 for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. I don't mean right away... I'm thinking more like over my lifetime.  Last Christmas, I did a TON of sewing and sold everything to raise money for my trip with Heart for Africa and I raised about $1000.  All I have to do is do that every year for the next 26 years and I'll have met my goal. :)  We also plan to return to Swaziland (and maybe one day Ethiopia) with ALL of our children to continue to work with kids who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

I know this isn't the most lighthearted post... sorry. Well, I'm not really sorry. I'm hoping you will join my ranks and not be able to sleep until you've found SOMETHING you can do for those children who have lost their parents.