29 January 2013


And, just like that, after a week of not nursing, Ezra doesn't remember how to anymore. It's bittersweet; I really enjoyed nursing a toddler - our last-resort calming tool, our night-time sleep aid - all the benefits of nursing without the difficulties of him being breastfed only. Oh well. Ezra's officially a little boy now!


Finally, I found my Word of the Year (WotY)! Last year's word was freedom. Did I grow in freedom? Probably. I think, though, mostly I grew in my awareness of my own self-preservation. I wall myself in so no one can hurt me; but then I can't get out either. To stretch the metaphor, there are so many layers I've added to my fortress over my lifetime that one year isn't nearly enough time for me to say, "Ta-da! Healed! Wall down, moat filled in, barbed wire and electric fence and attack dogs all neutralized." But you know God. He tells us the same Story over and over, and it's better every time.

Anyway, I've been wandering all over my mind asking the Lord, "This word? This one? Oh, this is a good one! Is it that one?" But none of them were right. But finally it clicked.
I need a thankful heart like I need oxygen. This semester has me working 3-4 times what we'd planned for me to work (all with Ezra). On top of that, there are one-time things, like planning the food (and a breakout session) for our women's retreat, doing our taxes, selling our car and buying a new one, planning our Spring Break trip, fundraising for our adoption, etc. Ezra's definitely acting like a two year old (my darling fallen son). I've started a new workout routine and a new way of eating. And really I don't feel like I have a handle on a single one of those things. But they're all here, so I have to find a way to deal with them that isn't me losing it on the most important people to me. I run to things to bring me comfort; I try to escape for a while; I take it out on my husband who just doesn't understand and my son who really doesn't understand. But what I need is a thankful heart.

I have such a beautiful life. Do I wish every part of it were the way it is right now? No, duh, this is actual life. Actual life is refining. I'm so glad God uses actual life, because I'm sure not going to refine myself. Instead of being cranky at the situations God is giving me to learn and grow in, I want to be thankful. 

[*note: God, this is not an invitation to heap more things on. Love, m]

23 January 2013

I don't know how to say this.

Because I've been there. And I mean actually there, making the decision that only a wee percentage of people have had to make compared with those who talk about the implications of that decision.

On Sunday, my birthson M turned 7. SEVEN! Time flies. Oddly enough, Sunday was also "Sanctity of Human Life" Sunday. Now, listen, I'm not going to get "preachy," because, as I said earlier, I've been there. I've been at the moment when your world goes for a swim in front of you, and everything gets kind of floaty, and time really does slow down because holy $h!t you're pregnant. [look, I'm just saying what I did when I found out. I don't say that word now.]

I'm so glad I had people in my life who told me as a teen that, if I decided to have sex, I needed to know what I would do if I were to get pregnant. I'm so glad I was raised to believe that a fetus is a person. But I'm most glad that I had given my life to Jesus two weeks earlier, so I had the Holy Spirit to help me.

I don't know if there was one factor that was more important than others or what, but I just never thought that abortion would "make it all go away." But, now that he's older, I can't help but wonder if people know how it's the same thing to kill M now as to have killed him when I was 8 weeks pregnant. It cannot be anything other than the same thing, because that fetus is now M. He has food preferences and big blue eyes and a wonderful personality. It would be a travesty for him to die. And I wish there was some way to lovingly communicate this to girls and guys who are there right now. That a person's a person, no matter how small. Let this person live. They will be beautiful and uniquely themselves and will add to the world.

It's hard to lose your life for a while. It's hard to let your body change and have people give you looks and feel such pain for someone you don't know. It's hard. But the opposite of that is not giving that person a chance to live at all. M deserved to have life. I know that my need for justice is showing, but it's only fair. I don't get to take a person's life because they've drastically changed mine. It's not my right. And I know because I was there seven years ago.

I think of seven years ago and the old cracks in my heart open a little. I so desperately wanted to keep him. I was so not ready to be a parent. I held him in the hospital all night my last night there, mourning. But I did the right thing for my situation, and I have no regrets.

If you've had an abortion, please understand that I don't judge you at all. That time is so intense it's almost an alternate reality. I believe it as much as I believe in the air I'm breathing: God can redeem anything. Jesus died so we could be forgiven of everything, and He really does forgive everything.

14 January 2013


Well, we didn't get the matching grant we were hoping for. We haven't received any outright grants or matching grants. We still have two left to apply for (once we have accepted the referral of our child).

I just got the news an hour ago, so I'm still a little discouraged, but I know it'll be okay. I'm glad that there are so many people adopting that there aren't enough grants to go around, you know?

Anyway, we'll still be fundraising through Lifesong for Orphans; they're great because they don't take out any administrative fees (except for credit card fees). That means every dollar you give will go towards an adoption (so, even on the off-chance more than the amount we need is raised, they will put it towards other adoption funding).

An important note: since we also raise our GCM support for work, we are not allowed to fundraise to supporters for our adoption (as in it's illegal!). So, if you support us financially through GCM, we cannot contact you. I will have a link to the Lifesong Paypal account when our support letter is approved, and you can also email me at [myname]@gmail.com if you'd like to receive a letter.

We will have other ways to support our adoption, but some people like to just give money (or receive a tax benefit from donating), while others like to buy things in support. We definitely have a few more things up our sleeves in that respect: our craft fair/silent auction, which will happen later in the Spring, and Stephen's finishing up a couple of songs he's written and recorded to sell for our adoption.

Stay tuned!

06 January 2013

Sundraising (that's fundraising on a Sunday)

Financially, things are looking good: we have $3,333 in the bank for our adoption and should be hearing soon about a matching grant opportunity - hopefully next week!  Big shout-out to Stephen and Ray for a partial roofing job that brought in $500! David and Ben helped out too (they definitely shaved at least a whole day off the job). Roofing a house during your winter break is an obvious sign of love and devotion. We have good family.

My mother and I have started working on something that should become a craft fair/silent auction of sorts, so if you have something to contribute, give me a shout! We'll also be doing another garage sale around the beginning of March. :-)

Another good bit of news is that the adoption tax credit has been made permanent. It's not a refundable credit, so you essentially stop paying taxes from your paychecks, and the amount you owe the government at tax-time is subtracted from the credit. Oddly, I feel better about this way of "getting something" from the government, as we're not receiving a pre-allotted amount of money -- we're just not paying taxes during the year we adopt. It also frees us to put that money towards our adoption at the time the costs are incurred, rather than paying it all and being "reimbursed" during the next tax year. We won't use the full credit, just for the expenses we cover out of our own pocket. Sound fair?

I have an overdeveloped need for fairness. I was, indeed repeatedly, told that life isn't fair. But oh well. We will continue to pay our regular tax amount for the next few months to get a better grasp on how likely we are to adopt this year.

Also some greatly-needed news is that my father will most likely have enough frequent flier miles to get all of us to Uganda and back!!! Talk about a load off! Apparently tickets to Uganda are not many more "miles" than tickets to Chicago... ? Companies are so weird. I've still included a one-way ticket for baby A, since we may or may not need to buy it - you don't always get a nice, long amount of time between when you receive your court date and when your court date actually is, which greatly affects the number of miles needed per ticket.

So here's where we stand:

Agency fees left: $3,500
Lawyer and court fee: $2,500
Orphanage services/humanitarian aid: $2,250
Baby A's visa: $230 (the Department of State lowered this fee by $174!)
In-country medical exam (required for visa): $100
Document mailing US-Uganda-US-Uganda, etc: $300
Immunizations: $400 (only a couple are expensive, but boy are they!)
Airfare estimate: $1,500 (one way for baby A)
Ugandan visas for 3: $150
Lodging for 30 days: $1,800 (we'll be there 3-5 weeks)
Food estimate: $300
Car service estimate: $1,000 (seems crazy expensive! but what are you gonna do with two little ones?)
Court report for re-adoption in the US: $500
Citizenship certificate: $550

Less our $3,330, we have $11,750 left to raise! [for reference; just 5 months ago, we had over $19,000 left to raise!!!] And remember, we still don't need any money until we receive the referral of our child (except for immunizations, which we obviously have the funds to cover). So nothing is terribly urgent; we're just slowly building up the pile, since, once we need it, we will use the whole $11,000 in just a couple of months' time! I CAN'T WAAAAIIIIIT! :D

05 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Howdy howdy howdy! [yes, we watched Toy Story today. Stephen's out of town and E woke up at 5:45, so today was about survival.]

It's 2013! I think this will be a doozy [really? "doozy" isn't a word?] of a year. Hopefully we'll bring home baby A this year! I admit, I had a hard time over Christmas, thinking it could very well be another Christmas before we have our child in our arms. And just missing our next child and feeling helpless to speed up the process. And the news of Russia legislating an abrupt end to adoptions from the US... my little, flimsy hope was faltering. But, just as I was starting to freefall, the Lord scooped me up and puffed some life back into my piddly hope. What a weak thing it is! But ever growing - you have to work something out for it to get stronger; I'm glad I'll end this year with better hoping muscles.

Our agency has also told us they've began to seek the Lord about partnering with another orphanage baby's home in Kampala. Please pray God would make it clear what His will is (of course, we'd love for it to end up being His will so more kids would be adopted in the same amount of time, AND we would bring home our kiddo faster!).

I think that's all the news for now! Tomorrow will bring a fundraising update. Your favorite, I know!

Oh my goodness! I forgot to tell you: we're #14 on the waiting list! So 10/1 was #18; 1/1 #14 (there were numbers in between; I just like that it's at the start of the month. Nice and clean.]