24 April 2012

Pregnancy: a Confession

No, I'm not pregnant. But I wish I was.
I know, some of you may be thinking, "you are crazy!" But I do, I wish I was pregnant.

I don't want to seem like I don't love Ezra or that he's not absolutely wonderful and worth my time and attention. And I really don't want anyone to think we aren't committed to adopting. We are.

But this disrupting of our plans, this limbo we're in right now, well, it sucks! And I just want to keep working towards bringing home our next child. And, while we're waiting for more information before we make a decision, I just keep wishing we could just go ahead and get pregnant. I know it isn't for everyone, but it's just so much easier for us to grow a biological baby. And right now, we're just bumps on a log. [laaaaaaaame]

17 April 2012

I don't intend to be terrible; I just am.

I mean, of course I'm really just paraphrasing Paul. And I'm sure it's just human foolishness, but I just don't get it. Shouldn't I feel more holy? Heck, shouldn't I be more holy? I sometimes get glimpses of the sanctification that the Lord has done in the last, wow, almost 6 years, but most days, I really don't.

Now, I really dislike the term "backslidden" because (a) I doubt anyone without a christian background has any clue what that means (and jargon shuts people out and is also a bit of a marker for puff-up-ed-ness), and (b) I'm not convinced that that it is even really a thing. What I mean is I don't know where something like that can be supported as a new Testament phenomenon.

And anyway, I don't think I'm backslidden because I am still a disciple of Jesus. I guess it is partly that the road has become dramatically more difficult, and my flaws are much more obvious, and my sin has greater consequences. Let's face it; it was a lot easier to follow God as a single woman in college. That doesn't make me superior to single women in college. In some ways I think I was a much better disciple. But in other ways it was just a lot less noticeable when I was relying on myself and not the Holy Spirit. I can't do it now. Not even a little. And so I'm kind of terrible, all the time.

Don't try and like make me feel better. I'm not in a bad place. And if Paul got to say he was the worst of sinners in the Bible, I know I'm not way out of line for saying that I'm often pretty terrible at this whole righteousness thing. I'm sure that I will be able to look back and see where the Lord's hand is operating on me. That is so comforting. Perhaps that's it. I haven't been making the time to look back at the wonders the Lord has done in my life.

No joke, y'all, He has done miracles. Miracles. for me.

09 April 2012

I wish people would stop bashing Bella Swan

I recently read a little bit of fan-fiction (I suppose you would call it?) that involved a hypothetical girls' night involving Bella, Katniss, Buffy, and Hermione.  The latter three were discussing how they generally kick butt and save the world and are no-nonsense about it. Of course, Bella was all mopey and pathetic.

Look, I'm not saying that I want Bella Swan to be a role model character for my future daughters. I'm really not. BUT (and it's a big ole but) Of the four girls there, I think more teenage girls are like Bella. Also, I am forced to assume the writer hadn't even read the Twilight series, because Bella wasn't actually that pathetic. I mean, she had friends. But, (at least like 16-year-old me) she was pretty into having a boyfriend and being in love.

I also think this writer did the other girls a disservice. I mean, Hermione was not only about defeating moldy Voldy. She was about grades and always having the right answer and, yes, BOYS. She went to high school dances and even married her high school sweetheart. Saving the world AND being a huge nerd AND wearing pretty dresses AND snogging. Sounds like a well-rounded character.

I hate when people use others' writing to make their own point. Like, for instance, third wave feminists pigeonholing characters to make their own point. But even more than that, taking aspects of a character away from them to subject them to ridicule.

Also, why must we ridicule at all? Why do so many of this generation's feminists need to tear down? Can't we all be women? Can't we be okay with each others' personalities? Maybe Katniss owns at archery and maybe she has what it takes to survive in a brutal world. Maybe I don't. Will I be ridiculed if I'd rather get married at 23 and raise my children than foment a coup? Does it make me less of a person? I assure you, no. [and if you think so, come tell me to my face.]

Forcing women to all be warriors and only warriors is unfair to womanhood. We should enjoy that we are fierce protectors AND nurturers. Some of us are better at some things than others. We shouldn't only have to save the world to be role models to our daughters. Surely a caring mother who takes care of her children and enables her husband to be a godly man is a good role model as well. Someone like, say, Mrs. Weasley (excepting the godly part, of course. Those wizards are godless heathens). But no, she'd never be invited to a girls' night.

06 April 2012

Adoption, Interrupted

I will post the next-to-last part of the Homestudy process (the education) next, but I wanted to give y'all a little update on what's happened this week.

Our agency emailed us Tuesday afternoon to avail us of some changes in the language the judges are using on their guardianship decrees in Uganda. Basically they've added a LOT of new requirements for families after they bring their children home. Now, adoptive parents have to complete four post-placement studies with a social worker (not so bad), self-reports every 6 months until the child is 18 (woah! So many! But theoretically feasible), and travel to Uganda every 5 years until the child is 18. That's crasy.

Now, if we were a two-income household, or if Stephen was like an engineer or corporation owner or something, we would probably be able to comply. But. We're not fancypantses. We never will be, and that's always been okay with us. But it means, at this point, we cannot at all promise that we'll be able to financially comply with these new requirements. We would probably need to save around/over $1,000 every year just to put aside for plane tickets.

I mean, that may not sound like much to some of you, but we have to focus to keep our emergency savings at a comfortable level. We don't have money laying around for a new t.v., or even a fence or a dishwasher (okay, we may have if we hadn't decided to adopt. But then we would've been saving for another birth, so...).

Sorry, I got into complaining. It just feels really unfair that we have to look for another country because Ugandan judges think this is what will keep children from being mistreated. Or maybe they think all Americans can afford these things. I don't know.

What I do know is the face I've been treasuring, a hazy little Ugandan face, the face I thought we would be kissing and cleaning and cuddling, is almost assuredly not the face of our child. I've been attaching to this face (I mean, not one particular face, but a conglomerate of Google Image-searched faces) for 6 months now. That's two-thirds of a pregnancy! And now I have to let him/her go, because some judge thinks this is in his/her best interest. It's in his/her best interest to have parents. There are children on the streets that orphanages just don't have room for. Babies are dying. I know you don't trust us judgeguy, but come on. Dead is worse than alive and being separated from one's birth culture. I mean, in my opinion.

Sorry for being a downer. I do believe God can do anything, but we also have to face other realities: how will our other children feel about so much of our resources being siphoned to what may feel like a vacation that only one child gets to go on? How will this affect our involvement in other ministries, like church planting? We don't parent in a vacuum. Even though every child waiting for parents deserves these sacrifices, that doesn't mean God wants us specifically to make them. I don't know.

I'm gonna hang up this phone. Stephen and I are in a bit of a time crunch because our social worker who's in charge of our homestudy is an intern, and her last day is Monday. If we don't give her a country to approve us for, our case will be shuffled to another social worker. Not the end of the world, but I don't really want our homestudy being written by someone who has never met us.

I know I can be excited about a non-Ugandan child. I just need to let go of his face. Of her face. And ask the Lord, "How do I grieve over a loss that isn't real? How do I let go of a person (my Ugandan son or daughter) who doesn't exist?"

02 April 2012

Homestudy Pt. 3 - P.S.

I sent my poor, well-intentioned husband to the lions on Friday. And by the lions, I mean the doctor.

The doctor's visit that you have to go to for your paperwork is... well it's daunting to me, which is why I was still putting it off after everything else was done, and only scheduled it basically because I knew our social worker would ask if it was scheduled.

Well, I knew Stephen needed for the appointment to be either on a Friday or a Monday, since he's full-o-meetings every other day. And so he got scheduled on Friday, whereas my and Ezra's appointments are today (Monday).

I know now that this was very foolish, indeed.

It sounded like the receptionist/appointment-maker was familiar with what would need to take place during an international adoption visit (i.e. the doc needs to fill out one form, and print out and sign another form in the presence of the notary they have in-office). But I don't think she did. Oops.

So Stephen's appointment was at 9:50. He gets there with his lil papers I gave him: one for the doc to fill out and sign for our homestudy agency, and an example of the letter he needed to print on his letterhead and have notarized for our dossier. For some reason, it was stressed in our paperwork that the dates need to be the same in our homestudy and dossier as far as the doctors visits go.

I don't know how it was unclear (my inclination is to say the doctor wasn't listening, but I know I don't really have a great opinion of most male doctors), but the doctor completed Stephen's physical, took the papers, and left the room. Stephen assumed he was going to fill them out, when he just went to see the next patient. So Stephen gets the first round of his travel shots (exciting! ow!), and I'm assuming the nurse tries to escort him out. Well, he lets her know that he needs those papers - you know, the entire reason he had an appointment at all...

No joke y'all, my husband rolls into our driveway at 11:30, still without those dang papers. I was a little bit freaking out, because what if Dr. Imperious just can't get to those papers until after the notary leaves for the day? Then Stephen would have to come in all over again (and plunk down another $25) because PEOPLE JUST WON'T LISTEN AND AUUUUGH! JUST BE COMPETENT! IS THAT SO MUCH?!?

Anyway, it turned out okay. We were already out of town for the Blassingame wedding by the time they were done, but they just put them in my file, so I can get them at my appointment.
And now I know.
If I want to keep my husband from needlessly being at the doctor's office for an hour and a half, I need to go in first. And you can be certain that I'm leaving my appointment with our papers. [endrant]