31 December 2015

How I'm Feeling

If you've had a baby (and probably if you've adopted before, but I don't know), you may be familiar with the feeling when you're nearing 40 weeks, and all the nerves and excitement and fear and everything starts to give way to the overwhelming desire for this current stage to be over. The I'm so uncomfortable I don't care if I'm unprepared for parenthood feeling. Or that was my feeling. The I'm so done with this feeling.

So yeah, basically that. Am I ready for the challenges ahead? NO! No. Do I feel even kind of prepared to parent four children four years old and under? No. I don't even think I know all the things I could be preparing for (despite having read many books on adoption or parenting or grief)? No. I feel about as prepared to bring these girls into my home as I did having Ezra.

The learning curve for me with Ezra was so immensely high that it took a long time before I got my head above water. I mean, some of that was hormones, but a lot of it wasn't. At least this time I know that the next few months may kind of totally suck for me. I mean, there have been times when parenting my biological, never-been-traumatized kids has kinda sucked. Some normal stages of development are kinda sucky. That's not very nice to say, but people aren't always very nice, and small children are just people with no filter on their behavior. You know?

But I am not going to be caught unawares when it happens like with Ezra. And the transition may be much smoother than what I've read about. Lots of people bring children home, and they attach to them, and they love their siblings and integrate easily into the home. I have no idea how it will go. It's all a big question-mark,  a white space on the scrolling page of our family story. And I'm just ready to move into that space and explore it, for all the pain and beauty.

So yeah, I'm excited and relieved and so, so thankful. I'm also terrified of how out-of-my-depth I will be and wary of the pain and selflessness it will require. But the prevailing feeling I'm having is just let's do this. Let's go get our girls and start to be a family.

30 December 2015

Tickets Booked!

Our flights are booked -- yes, OUR flights! Stephen and the boys are coming for a week to Uganda! The four of us will fly over on the same plane(s), and then they will come back without me. Feel free to send a prayer for the boys to fly well because eeeeek! It will be quite the trip. We leave January 12th, so in 13 days NO BIG DEAL.

Please be praying as we figure out how to secure the final funds for the trip. We had a LOT of unexpected expenses on the last trip (what with Mirah being so sick and with our agency not telling us about several large expenses they absolutely should have mentioned to us), so about $2,500 we thought we had ready for this trip was instead used for the last one.

My parents have blessed us by paying for the boys' plane tickets and by using their frequent flyer miles to get me there. Another close friend of ours has given us enough in our Lifesong grant to buy Stephen's plane tickets and probably my and our girls' tickets home! Such generosity enabled us to not be apart for several weeks, and for the boys to be able to experience their sisters' home country. I know they may not remember it, but I think it will mean a lot to the girls that their brothers have spent time where they grew up. I'm also really glad the boys can meet their sisters on their home turf, in the foster home they're enjoying right now. I was dreading their meeting being right after I took the girls from their home country.

The rest of the trip we will have to pay for with a small, interest-free adoption loan. I'm so glad we sold our house; the downsizing means we have extra in our income for a small loan payment as well as the added expenses of having two more children.

I will post tomorrow on how I'm feeling, since people have been asking. :)

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

From our growing family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Stella's four, which means she makes awkward faces when people tell her to smile. <3
Our plan is to leave January 12th. I'll be outlining our costs and plans soon. We've been so busy with the end of the semester and with making plans for the trip, I've quite neglected the blog! Sorry!

18 December 2015

FINALLY Introducing...

The judge said "Yes!" So introducing:
Stella Muenich, age 4

Stella is actually laughing in this picture because she put her sister in the wardrobe. It's pretty obvious she's going to be inciting disobedience in our house. I mean, what's a big sister to do but try and get her younger siblings in trouble? She also really likes to help me do basically anything. She is so precious to me. 

Also introducing:
Mirah Muenich, age 2
This child is so sassy. I don't think we've seen a lot of her personality because she was so sick when we got her, but this girl. She's gonna be a handful in the best way.

These are pictures from the last two days we had our girls. I don't think I'll share pictures of them from much earlier -- they're kind of hard to look at for anyone who knows what grief looks like in children. Besides, Mirah was so sick.

14 December 2015

a Pre-Update

We just got an email from our lawyer in Uganda. #finally

Turns out the courts don't close until the 23rd. We were told they close on the 15th by our agency, so we actually have a little bit more time to get over there if we have to. Our lawyer is going before the judge again tomorrow; his response tomorrow will determine our course of action.

Please be praying that the judge's heart will be softened and that he will give us the written guardianship decree without us having to fly back over to see him.

11 December 2015

A Little Update

Our in-country guide (bless her wonderful soul) went to visit the girls today. They are doing fairly well and are doted on by the other kids (who are all older). I had to share this precious one of our younger kiddo.
This totally counts as not-identifiable. Also gorgeous. And I love that big (nearly) bald head.
I have recaps of our trip all ready to go, but I was waiting on the court to come back before I posted all the pictures. Now I'm trying to decide what to do with them. It doesn't help that our agency still hasn't gotten back to us on if I need to travel, you know, in two days. *sigh*

09 December 2015

difficult news

Finally got some news about our case. The judge is refusing to issue the ruling until we appear before him so he can explain the conditions of our legal guardianship. We are trying to figure out the best course of action.

A few scenarios are playing out in my head:

1) We wait until the new judge comes in office on January 8th, not knowing how s/he would rule on our case, and probably having to do the court proceedings all over again (meaning another two months from then before we could get the girls home).

2) I go now before this judge leaves office and get the written ruling and go through the passport & visa process without the family, or the judge's conditions are such that we cannot accept guardianship of the girls.

I wish we could all go and just have Christmas in Uganda as a family, but we don't have the funds. We are trying to get more information so we can make a decision. Please pray for us. I was really hoping to introduce our daughters to the public today...

08 December 2015

Welcome to International Adoption

Got this email today after asking for our court info:
Daniel is our lawyer in Uganda.

*sigh* I'm not entirely sure no news is good news, but I guess no news isn't bad news. I guess. Hopefully we'll have good news tomorrow.

07 December 2015

(Almost) My Girls

The judge is supposed to rule on our case tomorrow. I can't show you clear pictures of the girls until we get the ruling. This one of our sassy little two-year-old will have to suffice until hopefully tomorrow.
Wearing the lil romper. #lifewin

I'll be posting details on our trip over the course of this week. Stephen has had a terrible bout of food poisoning (Lufthansa, you failed us, despite your abundance of movie choices AND awesome outside camera feeds!) since before we even got off the last plane (the plane ride was 11.5 hrs long, so yes, long enough to eat something and get the symptoms of food poisoning from it before even deplaning). Luckily I didn't eat very much of it, so it's hit me less hard. Still, going straight from leaving my precious girls with near-strangers to traveling for 35 hours to feeding the boys and putting them to bed by myself was... was not my favorite period of time in my life.

Please pray (tonight!) that the judge will issue a written ruling tomorrow (around 5:30am Texas time). If that happens, we'll be traveling back right after Christmas, and then finally, finally having ALL our kids in the same place.