Friday, December 19, 2008

Spinning in Circles

Greetings, fellow waiters! Hope this holiday season is finding you full of joy. We've been enjoying our share of Christmas celebrations. Our church has always done a children's nativity where the children act out the story of Christmas. This is my 9th Christmas at this church and ever since my first Christmas there, I couldn't wait to have a child old enough to be a "sheep" in the nativity.

Long before we even thought of having children (we had just gotten engaged that first Christmas), I loved the sheep. The sheep are 4 and 5 year olds who dress in sweatsuits turned inside-out. They enter from the back of the church and crawl down the aisle on their hands and knees "BAAing" with all their might. It makes me teary-eyed every year. The older children are shepherds and try their best to herd the unruly sheep. It's a mess every year, but such a delight!

This year, my daughter was finally old enough to be a sheep! I was so excited. She, however, was not. She did not want to be a sheep. I tried everything to convince her. I told her how sad Mommy would be if she didn't do it. I told her how much fun it would be. I pointed out other kids she knew who would be sheep, too. Finally, I gave up and told her Santa was still watching and he wanted her to be a sheep. (hangs head in shame). Parenting is not easy, you know.

The big day arrives and I have my camera in hand hanging out of my pew to capture the big moment. For a second, I think she may have "baacked out" of this, but there she is....last sheep in the flock. She's straggling behind, but she's moving. She finally gets up to the stage where they have practiced how they are going to sit and face baby Jesus. Focus on baby Jesus, the director has told them over and over.

I notice that my precious sheep is the only one without ears. This does not surprise me. I'm just glad she made it down the aisle. However, sitting still isn't her thing, really. So, she stays on her bottom, but instead of focusing on Jesus she spins in circles. Constant motion the entire time. At one point, she looks like she is going to jump off the stage, but I give her the "Mommy face" and a strong head nod, "no" and she goes back to spinning.

Later, I see that I failed to capture her coming down the aisle. I was so busy trying to find her and wave to her, I missed her completely. I did get a nice shot of the back of her head.

After I tell this story a few times, it occurs to me that once again, God is teaching me through my child. I know all too well that I am called to focus on Jesus, too. God knows all too well, that usually I can be found spinning in circles, totally distracted and looking like I may jump off, too! How many times does he gently shake his head, "no" and ask me to be still?

It's been a disappointing year around here. There were several big things that God said, "No, not yet, maybe later" to this year. It's frustrating. We get the message that he would like us to sit still. As we finish out the year, I am going to do my best to focus on Jesus. I'm thinking of making this blog more of a waiting devotional next year. Let me know if you like that idea.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. May 2009 bring us abundant joy!

Psalm 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want."
Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Waiting

The holiday season is upon us and this festive time of year can be tough on waiting families. On one hand, there is so much to do that there isn't much time to dwell on the waiting. However, the pain seems a bit deeper this time of year. We all want to hang another stocking by the chimney with care, in hopes our referral soon will be here!

How can we support each other during the holiday waiting? Any good ideas out there? Do you buy a present or two for the child that will be part of your family or does that make it harder? We did buy gifts for our daughter before we had a referral. Of course, we got a referral two weeks after Christmas, so it seemed more reasonable then!

A friend just emailed me and asked how she can love us better while we wait. Just by asking that question, she is loving us well already. Sometimes all you need is a little reminder that other people remember you are waiting and hurt with you. So, for all of you reading this, I remember you are waiting!

Now, go drown your sorrows in turkey and pumpkin pie!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

3rd Time's a Charm?

Met with our social worker this week.

Score is: Homestudy update 3 ... Referral 0

sigh. 'nuff said.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gift #7 Trust in God

I'm finally posting about the last chapter of the excellent book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" (Whitcomb). Waiting helps us learn to trust in God. One idea in this section is making a container to serve as "God's In-box." Whatever you are worring about, just write it down and give it to God. It's a visual reminder that God cares and is at work in our situations.

She also talks about how we console ourselves with the thought that God's will be done in our situation. However, we seem to always have a negative view of this. She talks about how people always say "It must have been God's will" when tragic things happen. But we rarely say "It must have been God's will that I got that promotion at work." We need to remember that God is on our side. She quotes minister Wayne Muller who says we need to substitute "Thy love be done" in place of "Thy will be done."

God waits for us all the time to be in communication with Him. One of the easiest and best things we can do is "offer it up" to God through prayer.

Great book. I encourage you to read it for yourself. I think it will really speak to the spiritual person who is waiting and doesn't understand why they need to wait. Has it made the waiting easier? Not really. But, it has given the wait a stronger sense of purpose. I get the idea that God has some things he's teaching me throughout the waiting. Now the question is, am I learning my lessons?

My wise and wonderful 4 year old daughter said to me out of the blue a few days ago:
"Mommy, God is my best friend."
Mommy says (while choking on the bite of dinner I had just stuck in my mouth), "What did you say?"
"God is my best friend. We play together all the time. I can't see him yet, but he's my best friend. Why can't I see God again, Mommy?"
I go on to explain that God is way up high in heaven and even though we can't see him, he is always with us everywhere.

And even as I'm explaining this to her, I feel God explaining it to me. "Hey Big Girl, I'm with you too, ya know. Maybe you can't see me right this second in this situation, but I'm still there. Am I your best friend? Do you play/pray with me all the time?"

Oh, kids...they constantly teach us parents all about the important stuff in life, don't they? Here's wishing you a divine best friend while you wait!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waiting and Depression

Betcha think we are going to talk about the emotional side of waiting today? Nope, I'm referring to the next "Great Depression" the news media has been predicting these past few days. It's hard not to freak out if you watch too many news stories!

However, I think this long adoption wait has actually been good for us in relation to the economy. Since we know/hope that someday we will get a referral, we have been very hesitant to spend any money outside of necessities. We have been trying to save up for the adoption and the longer it takes, the more expensive it gets. Just shelled out another $550 to the home study agency for another update. I think I need to own a home study agency!

I feel like we have already gotten good at being frugal and knowing what's important and what isn't when it comes to material goods. Of course there are still a few things we could quickly remove from our budget if needed. (Cable, newspaper, preschool if we absolutely had to!).

On the flip side, I'm worried about my hubby's job (in a construction related industry--not a good place to be). Wouldn't it be our luck that just before referral, he'll lose his job.

That's my biggest worry about this whole financial mess: something will get in the way of our second adoption. All of this waiting and money spent and we'll end up without another child. I pray that doesn't happen. That's all I can do. We've done everything we can do from our end to prepare. It's up to the Big Guy now! I know His plan is better than mine, so we'll just have to wait and see.

...and clip some more coupons!

Is this financial crisis affecting your adoption? Leave me a comment!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Waiting for a waiting blog post?

If you've been waiting for a waiting blog post, you've been waiting awhile! Sorry, I just realized it's been forever since I wrote on here. I think about it, but I just never sit down and do it!

We still have the 7th gift from the "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" book to be discussed, but that can wait until next time. Today's post is just gibberish, I think!

We did take our house off the market, so that is actually a big relief for the moment. We're getting ready to update paperwork for the adoption again. How many times we will have to do that is anyone's guess! Our daughter is back in preschool for her last year and I'm suddenly realizing how big she is! Less than a year until kindergarten. We should make more crafts, we should read more books, we should watch less TV, etc. I'm having a little Mommy freak out. Where did all that time go and did I spend it wisely? I'm so lucky to be home, but sometimes I let the housework and every day stuff take up the whole day and I don't just sit down and enjoy my kid like I used to.

We were watching video from when she first came home. She was so different. Take my advice...make sure you videotape! You won't remember what they were like. The pictures help, but the videos are so great to watch. My daughter thinks watching videos of herself is so much fun!

Fall is my favorite season. I love this time of year and it always seems to be so busy. From now until New Year's, time will fly by. That makes the waiting a bit easier, I guess. How are my fellow waiters doing? Thanks for reading and I will try to post more faithfully!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Found a Flower

My blog tag line says that I'm stuck in the weeds of waiting, but looking for the flowers. The photo is one of the morning glories that greet me every morning in my back yard. The past 4 months, we have been trying to sell our house. We almost did last weekend, and the buyer backed out. I think that was a blessing. We've realized that selling isn't a bad idea, but it is not the wisest decision for us right now. So, instead of focusing on all the things we dislike about our house and neighborhood, we are focusing on all the things we like. The "for sale" sign is coming down.

Funny how when you zoom in on the good stuff in your life, your attitude is cheerful and calm. On the flip side, when you think about all that isn't perfect, all the stuff you don't have, all the things that could go wrong, your attiude and stress level suffer. It's hard to remember how lucky we are, isn't it? Am I the only one who constantly struggles in this area? What are you zooming in on in your life these days? Are your thoughts full of good stuff or stress?

I'm gonna go smell the flowers...our flowers in our yard at our house. Happy Thursday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gift #6: Humility

Back to the great book, "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" by Holly Whitcomb. The sixth gift of waiting is humility. She opens this chapter with "sometimes we wait because we can't do anything else. We recognize we are powerless". We learn to lean on God during this time and experience grace because we can't "do" anything about our situation.

Once we stop trying to "do" something, we may have more time to see who we actually are and evaluate what is important to us. We see that the times we have "done" something are not as important as the times that we have loved someone. The author says that the despair of waiting can bring us low...and that change in perspective helps us see others around us who are struggling, too. We learn to value people more and honor the human journey more.

She ends with the thought that humility allows us to see our weaknesses and our flaws. But, it also allows us to see our strengths and our potential. As we wait, we need to acknowledge what good things the wait brings out of us as well as work on the not-so-good qualities we see in ourselves.

It makes me feel like while waiting, God hands you a great big mirror like the kind you find in dressing rooms. The lighting brings out all your flaws and wrinkles. What do you see in there? Do you still have a happy glow about you or is it all slumped shoulders and frowns? Do you look for the good qualities or only the bad? What can we learn from this mirror?

Here's looking at you, fellow waiters! Hope you see lots of good stuff in your mirrors!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Didn't get a chance to post last week. We've got our house for sale and have had some stuff going on with that. We also packed up Friday and went on a camping trip to the mountains. That was very refreshing!

Today is my birthday and I'm counting my blessings. Between the house and the adoption, my world is full of unknowns and anxiety. I constantly remind myself that I am waiting for all good things to happen. I have my faith, good health, a terrific hubby, sweet daughter and lots of family and friends. We have a nice house, two reliable vehicles, lots of "stuff" and lots of fun. All the worries, though major life changing things, are small potatoes compared to what many families deal with every day. I am blessed.

So, if you need me, I will be sitting in my unsold house, with a big smile on my face holding a big spoon above an even bigger piece of ice cream cake! Happy Monday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's Friday...I'm Fasting

I've been on a self-imposed fast from all adoption related internet groups, boards, blogs, etc. I am only checking my email and anything unrelated to adoption. At this for about 4 days now and I'm finding it quite refreshing!

I actually got a little bit of hopeful news relating to adoption in my email inbox during the last couple of days. I'm thinking this fasting thing is working out! Not sure how long I can do this, but I'm going to try it for awhile.

I have Google reader set up, though and I can see that some of my fave bloggers have updated recently. It's hard not to peek and see what's going on in their world, but I just think good thoughts for them and move on! I'll check in eventually.

I think it is possible that an adoption internet fast is harder for me than food. Well, maybe not, but it's a close race. Hope your bellies are full of nutritious meals, your spirits are full of peace and your inboxes overflow with good news.

Happy Friday!

PS: For a fun-raising Friday idea, I suggest watching the Olympics opening ceremony and eating foods from around the world. I'm letting my little one stay up late for some multi-cultural TV time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

#5 Gratitude

We're onto the fifth gift of waiting from the book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting." I especially liked this chapter on gratitude. I think most of the time, I find it pretty easy to be grateful for the many wonderful things in my life. I can always find someone in a worse situation and see that I have it pretty good. But, I do fall into the "woe is me" trap occasionally.

One of the author's ideas in this chapter is to look at what might be a depressing situation and try to "reframe" it. She uses the Biblical beatitudes as example. She also talks about how she has these ordinary items they picked up while traveling put in fancy frames in her house. The frame turns the ordinary into a beautiful piece of art. So, how we can we "reframe" the wait and see the beauty in it?

She also talks about gratitude vs. entitlement. Feelings of entitlement defeat feelings of gratitude. Her last point is that waiting opens our hearts, makes us vulnerable and allows us to see the blessings of small things we might have missed otherwise.

Let's have a little Thanksgiving in August. It's incredibly hot here in the South. I've been dreaming of a crisp, fall day! I'm going to try and spend the day being grateful. I may have to substitute turkey lunch meat for my Thanksgiving meal! Frankly, I've been a little blue this week. My head knows all the reasons why I should be grateful and content. But, in the words of Billy Ray, I've got an Achy Breaky Heart! No matter, though, because I continue to wait expectantly with hope and gratitude even on the hard days. Hope you are waiting well, too!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fourth Gift = Compassion

Back to the great book, "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" (Whitcomb)to learn about the fourth gift of waiting: Compassion. The author talks about how when we are waiting, we tend to seek out others who understand how we feel. That's what brought some of you to this website, I am sure.

I think adoption waiting is hard for people to understand unless they are in it or have been through it. Most people don't adopt, so they don't understand the roller coaster ride. I know that I find Internet groups of adoptive families to be helpful (most of the time) because though they may have very different lives than me, they have one important similarity...they are waiting for their child.

Compassion teaches us how to accept help from others. We need other people as we go through this process. It's hard to admit that sometimes. The author says "being able to receive comfortably and with grace is a blessed relief." So, if people want to help you in some way, let them! Sometimes we need strength from others to hold us up.

The idea is that through the waiting, there are other people who will be able to help us. To really see us for who we are and what we need at those moments. I think for that to happen, though, we have to open ourselves up to the idea that we do need other people to get us through this. It may not be the people we would normally turn to for help. Perhaps your close friends don't understand or your family isn't supportive of the adoption. That just means you have to look in other places for support.

I know that I count it a great blessing that through the adoption process the first time around, I made some incredible friends. They are people I would likely never have met, otherwise. That's one of the great side benefits to this process.

Who have you met through this process? Who do you turn to when you need support about the wait? Is there anyone in your life who sees you for who you are and knows how to lift you up? If so, let them know how much you appreciate it and look for ways you can show that kind of compassion to others.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Poetic Waiting

It's Friday and I can't really think of a good funraising Friday post, so I'm giving you a poem instead. I found this during our first adoption wait. I liked it then, but I'm really living it more now. Hope it speaks to you, too.

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate
...and the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"

I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.

You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.

You would know that I give and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gift 3 - Living in the Present

We're looking at the book, "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting." (Whitcomb)
Next up: Gift #3 Living in the Present.

The first sentence of this chapter is "Waiting teaches us to dwell fully where we are." I've already been thinking about this idea because I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's cd, "This Moment," non-stop in the car lately. The songs have taken on new significance since the Chapman's lost their youngest daughter, Maria in a tragic accident at their home. She was adopted from China and they have a wonderful foundation set up to encourage adoption. (Shaohannah's Hope)

One of my favorite songs is "Miracle of the Moment" and here's a little bit of the lyrics:

And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
Listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

That's the idea of this chapter, too. Be present right now. Let go of the worry of tomorrow and live now. Appreciate the small things, the good things you have now.

I know in my own life that I do tend to mark off the future in little increments. Like, I get back from vacation and then mentally check off how long until the next vacation? My daughter learns how to drink from a cup and I think, "how long until she learns to tie her shoes?" I'm always thinking about the next step before I get done taking this one. There's nothing wrong with planning for the future, as long as it doesn't get in the way of experiencing today.

Though it may not seem like it right now as we wait, time really does go by way too fast. Time to stop wishing our lives away to the weekend, to the next vacation, to when the kids are in school etc, and enjoy this moment.

Now quit reading this blog and go enjoy the moment with those you love!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Second Gift - Loss of Control

I'm loving the book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" (Whitcomb). The second gift discussed is loss of control. I'm the kind of gal who likes things to be organized and orderly. I have a plan, I arrive on time and I like being in charge. So this "loss of control" idea isn't really appealing to me!

During our first adoption, I was anxious as I prepared our adoption dossier documents. I wanted to be sure that I did it right, so we didn't hit any delays caused by my error along the way. However, once I sent that dossier off to the agency and the waiting began, I didn't find it that difficult. I knew that there wasn't anything else that I could do. It was in the hands of the agency and the other government. My part was done. I thought having no control over it would bother me, but it was actually kind of freeing.

I think that is the essence of the author's point in this chapter. Once you realize there's not a darned thing you can do about the waiting, it can give you a sense of freedom. It allows you time to let go and help others along the way. She also says it can teach you resilience. I'm sure it does, but that gift comes with hindsight, I think!

The difference between the first wait and this second adoption wait for me is that it is so much longer. It wasn't hard to give up control when everything went according to the plan in my head (if not a little faster than I thought it would). When everything seems to come to a screeching halt, it is much harder to feel the freedom in the wait.

I read once that you should take all your worries and anxieties and wrap them up in a little mental box in the morning and send them up to God. He's got it covered. I try to do that, but sometimes I find myself peeking in the box. Just shaking it a little or popping open the lid a bit to see what's in there. Then I remind myself I don't need to hold onto this stuff. Send it to someone who is better equipped to deal with it. Someone who sees the whole picture, not just the little pieces in the box.

How is that "loss of control" thing working for you? Love your comments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gifts-- First up...Patience

An anonymous poster left a comment that I should read "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting" by Holly Whitcomb. I just got the book and I love it! Written from a Christian perspective, the author talks about the gifts that waiting can give us, if we choose to accept them.

I'm going to do a sort of book review and look at each gift. Gift #1 is patience.
Some key points are:
"Patience means trusting there's no quick fix."

"What seems a often the essential prelude to a far greater YES." (Madeleine L'Engle)

"Don't let the time do you, you do the time" (a prison quote...waiting feels like a prison sometimes, doesn't it?)

"Waiting presents us with a choice: to fret in isolation or ...realize that we have the time to be available to others."

For my adoption related wait, I see those points from this view:
There's no point in second guessing our decision to go with the kind of adoption we chose. We can't move ourselves ahead in the "line", we just have to wait!

When we are told that our wait has been extended, it is not a "No", just a keep waiting. The child that will be placed in our family just isn't ready yet.

Don't let waiting be such a negative experience, find something good to do.

Especially in the adoption world, I don't wait alone. That's what inspired this many waiting families across the world. How can we be more available to each other?

My other favorite part of this chapter were 4 questions from psychologist Jack Kornfield:
How have I treated this difficulty so far?
What does this problem ask me to let go of?
What great lesson might it be able to teach me?
What is the gold, the value, hidden in this situation?

Good stuff! I'll leave you with those questions to ponder about your own wait.

Next chapter is on loss of control. My type A self does not like loss of control! Sounds like I need to keep reading!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun Raising Friday - Suitcase edition

To help pass the waiting time, we are headed to visit my family! Suitcase packing in progress as we speak. Any time her little red suitcase makes an appearance, my daughter gets very happy! She loves a trip.

When I was young, all my family lived nearby. Visiting family was our main source of entertainment. I think "visiting" has kind of been lost in the "busyness" of our lives, now. We should take more time just to visit each other. Not for any specific reason, just because it is fun to talk to one another and enjoy each other's company.

Great someone invite me over for a visit! OK, at least invite someone else that you know over for a visit. Nothing fancy, just conversation and cookies or something like that.

I think I was born in the wrong era. I need to be a 60's housewife. I do detest pearls and high heels, though. I much prefer Capris and sandals.

So there's your challenge....visit with someone you love! Happy Friday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things I Can See With My 20/20 Vision

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Since I've been through the waiting stage before with our first adoption, I've got some hindsight to work with. Though the wait was much shorter, I'm trying to remember the good things I did during the wait and the things I wish I had done. Please chime in with your ideas!

Things I'm glad I did during the first wait in no particular order:
1. Read a bunch of books about adoption and the country from which my child was adopted. Specifically, I would read about attachment.

2. Filled out a book for my child about our family, her adoption story, etc.

3. Set up a web page so that my family and friends could follow our adoption journey. Their comments to us when we first met our daughter and were struggling with our sick, scared new child were very comforting! I have printed out hard copies of the hundreds of comments from family and friends that I hope will be precious to my child when she is older.

4. Met other adoptive families. We used an agency in our state, so we had other families nearby who traveled with us. We were able to meet ahead of time which helped me feel like I already had friends on our trip. Also, we joined a local adoption support group and went to some of their functions before we completed our adoption. It helped to tangibly see that it will happen!

5. Prayed in my daughter's room. Of course we did all the normal stuff, like painting and decorating and buying too many clothes. One thing that really helped me feel connected to her was sitting in her room and praying for her.

6. Made lists. I searched out other people's online packing lists for travel and tweaked it for our needs. I also made a list of all the things we wanted to shop for in her country. You might not get to go back, so don't forget anything! I treasure every single thing we bought. We also bought our daughter a small gift for each "gotcha day" until she turns 18.

I'm sure there were more, but that's what hits me off the top of my head.

On the flip side, things I wished I would have done while waiting:

1. More dates with hubby. We tried to do this, but looking back, I would have planned out better, more romantic dates. The kind we can't do now easily. Our dates back then were a trip to Lowe's and dinner! I know, the romance is killing you, isn't it?

2. Read more about the places we were going to see in our daughter's country. We were so tired and so anxious when we were doing our sightseeing, that I couldn't really take it in. I wish I had read more ahead of time, so I could have appreciated what I was seeing.

3. 100 Good Wishes quilt. This is common in the adoption world. Friends and family contribute a quilt square and a note for the baby. You put it all together and you have a keepsake quilt for the baby. Just never got around to it the first time! Now, I feel like since our daughter doesn't have one, I can't do one for the next kid.

4. Stocked up the freezer and pantry. We are lucky that our Sunday School class provided us with meals for a week or so when we returned. I still wish I had frozen some dinners ahead of time. I know the foods I specifically craved the last time we traveled and I will be sure to stock the pantry with those for when we return!

5. Spent less time following Internet rumor sites. Though I am an advocate for staying informed, there is a limit as to how many web sites you need to read each day (hour, minute). I still struggle with this one a bit!

That's a few ideas. What do you wish you would have done while waiting? What did you do that was good? This time around, I know that I need to spend as much quality time with my daughter as possible. Her life is going to change dramatically once her sibling arrives. We need to enjoy life as a family of 3 until then!

Leave a comment and share your ideas with others!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fun-Raising Friday-- Picnic with Daddy

Some days you just need to get out of the house. Usually, Daddy comes home from work for lunch. There are many things about his job that he isn't crazy about, but lunch with his girls is one great perk! Today, we decided to kidnap Daddy and take him out for a picnic.

We picked him up at work and went to a local park near his office. My daughter helped me pack some snacks and sandwiches. She was so excited to take Daddy on a picnic. Nothing fancy, but lots of fun. There was some extra time for my daughter to play on the playground equipment, too.

My Dad worked in a factory. We lived out in the country, so he couldn't come home for lunch. A few times (and I could probably count them on one hand), we met him at his work for a picnic. They had a picnic table outside of the factory and I thought it was so cool to be at my Dad's workplace. I'll have to ask him if he remembers those picnics. I know I still do! I hope my daughter will, too.

So, pack a picnic and go outside for lunch. Save gas and head to the neighborhood playground or your backyard. If it's too hot/ not hot enough/ too rainy, then spread a blanket out in the living room and have at it. Picnics are just plain fun. Even the word picnic is fun. Say it a fews time fast!

It's the little things that get me through this wait. Humor me!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Volunteer the Wait Away

This blog is devoted to trying to find the good in waiting. My family is waiting for the referral of our second adopted child. We are doing an international adoption because we feel that is where God called us to go. However, our hearts ache for all orphaned children here in the US and around the world.

One thing you don't have while waiting for an international adoption is a lot of extra cash laying around. So, while there are many, many wonderful adoption related causes to contribute to, this isn't the time when we can contribute. However, we can still help.

A couple of opportunities that we have been involved in:
We started an adoption ministry at our church. Our local Department of Social Services contacted us to be part of their joint efforts between DSS and churches. Their goal is to get the word out about the local foster care and foster care adoption programs. We can help by posting signs, putting notes in our church bulletins and newsletters and hosting events at our churches. They are working on setting up a program where a family or Sunday school class group could help mentor a foster care child by spending time with them, taking them on outings, celebrating holidays, etc.

We have also been able to volunteer at a local children's home. These children have not been able to be placed through the foster care system and live on a campus that houses several hundred kids. We've been able to provide needed items for the kids, have a picnic with them, build picnic benches for their campus, fill Easter eggs with goodies, etc.

Honestly, we don't do enough volunteering. We really could do much more if we just took the time. Instead of complaining about the wait, watching TV, reading adoption Internet rumor sites, etc, I could be doing more for the orphaned kids in my own backyard. I'm issuing that challenge to myself.

How about you? What opportunities are there in your town? Do you have ideas you could share with others. Leave a comment!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fun-Raising Friday

Back to looking for some fun to take our minds off the waiting! Today's topic is public libraries. Most libraries have some type of summer reading program for children. I signed my daughter up today and she got some great stuff just for signing up. She even got a restaurant coupon for a free kids meal. When she reads for 10 hours (or when I read to her), she can go back and get another prize and again at 20 hours. Plus, they do drawings for prizes, too.

What I didn't realize is that they have an adult summer reading program, too. You record everything online and they draw for prizes each week. The grand prizes at the end of it are really nice.

I'm a big fan of the public library. I love reading and I love free. What more can you need? Our kids section also has great free crafts they can make and a fun preschool computer to play on. They are having family movie night this week, too.

My favorite part of going to the library happens the moment we get in the door of our house. My daughter runs to a big, comfy chair and snuggles in with me for story time. We can't stop until every newly borrowed book has been read at least once. I love her enthusiam for reading and I hope she keeps that with her for life!

For some free fun for adults and kids, check out the public library this summer.

What's everyone else doing for fun this summer?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Adoption Ministry

Ok, pity party, whine fest over. Sorry about that previous post. I'm back to looking for flowers in this weedy wait.

Today's topic...Adoption Ministries

My hubby and I started an adoption ministry at our church just before we traveled to adopt our daughter. We have a fairly large congregation and at least 20 families who have adopted. I started out pretty fired up, as did the ministry. Now, 3 years later, my motivation has fizzled a bit and so has the ministry.

We do have a little grant program going that provides small grants to members of our church who adopt. I really just want our members to feel supported, both emotionally and financially through an adoption. I also want to educate the church and encourage others to adopt. We've tried to bring in guest speakers, but have had little (or no) attendance. Not sure how to kick it up a notch.

Anyone else have a ministry at their church. What's working for you? What isn't?
I've found that once people adopt their child and return home, they just get busy being a family. Nothing wrong with that, I do that, too! But, my heart can't forget the children left behind, the ones still waiting in other countries, the children still waiting right down the road. Someone has to speak for these kids and I believe God still wants me to try!

Send me any ideas you have. A great resource for starting a ministry at your own church is Shaohannah's Hope. Back to doing good things with the wait!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Under Promise and Over Deliver

Prior to my stay-at-home life, I held various jobs and all were related to customer service on some level. I always held to the "under promise and over deliver" philosophy. Don't promise it, if you can't make it happen.

Many, many families in the international adoption community are waiting with me for their referral. Many, many families were given totally inaccurate timelines by their agencies. I concede that agencies do not have crystal balls and cannot ever know for sure what your timeline will be. I do think there are some agencies that do a better job of communicating realistic timeframes, though. Or at least try to keep people informed as timeframes change, so that they can change their expecatations along with it.

If you were say, pregnant for 9 months and then someone came along and said, "oh, the baby isn't ready yet, maybe in another 9 months," can you imagine what would happen? Do they not know that paper pregnant women are hormonal, too???

If I ever own an adoption agency or work for an adoption agency, I will make sure that communication with families is a top priority. I will remember how hard this journey is and how sensitive the parents-in-waiting are feeling.

My advice is to under promise in your own mind when it comes to expectations on referral times. Whatever the agency tells you, add on a few months, just for good measure. But, when even that comes and goes, it is hard on a Mommy's (and Daddy's) heart. This is happening a lot lately with all the bumps in the international adoption process.

How does everyone else handle this? Do you just go by what the agency tells you? Do you try to plan out the worst case scenario? Do you just live for the moment and not worry about that magic month/year that your referral might come? How can we help each other with the disappointing delays?

I've been reading Proverbs lately. Here's one that really jumped off the page at me:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy." Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)

Maybe my heart is just gonna be a little sick until the dream comes true! I know there are a lot of heartsick people in the waiting room with me. How can we help each other's hearts? If you have a friend who is waiting, send them some encouragement today.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun Raising Friday

I'm still looking for ways to raise the fun around here while we wait. Recently, I purchased a family membership to a nearby nature center. The best part about this is the reciprocal membership it offers at zoos, aquariums and museums all over the country (and in some other countries, too). We've already used it at the aquarium while on vacation and at the zoo last weekend. This weekend, we may go to our local children's science museum.

It's a great deal. We paid $60, which includes 2 adults and up to 4 children for a year.(another time when we wish we had more kids!) We've almost paid for it just by visiting two places and we have 11 months to go! There are two places in our town that accept this, so I know it will get plenty of use. I really like the science center, but it is kind of pricey, so we don't usually go there. Now, we can go as often as we want. Fun!

And fun is a great way to pass the time. What's fun in your family these days?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Can't Find the UPC code....

I just heard about this website called Apparently, you enter the UPC code or description of the item you are looking for and a price. When they find a website that meets your price, they send you an email. So, if you are wanting to make a big purchase, but want a good deal, they do the price shopping. You just sit and wait until you get an email that they've found it. That old friend of mine, delayed gratification...I could buy it now at any price, or I could wait for the right price and get it later.

Unfortunately, what I am waiting for doesn't have a UPC code and is priceless! However, it got me thinking. Reminds me how sometimes I see clothes that I like at stores, but I don't buy them. I wait for a good sale. I've walked by the same shirt 10 times in a season and thought how I liked it, but I'll wait. Don't you appreciate it more when you wait for it? Anticipation and all that...

So, our next child is surely going to be very appreciated because I have been building up anticipation for quite a while now! Certainly not the same as waiting for a good sale, a new car, etc. But, totally worth the wait!

What things in your life do you appreciate more because you waited a bit for them? My hubby comes to mind. I didn't get married until I was 27. In the perfect life plan I had laid out in my head, I was going to be married by 24 and have kids by 27. That didn't quite work out. However, I'm glad I didn't marry any of the guys I dated when I was in my early 20's. My life would be so different. I'm glad I waited for the guy God had picked out for me. (I can see God shaking his head now, thinking I might be catching on to something here!). How 'bout you? From a new shirt, to a great hubby...what's been worth the wait in your life? Leave me a comment.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Waiting Expectantly

My heart is so burdened by the Chapman family tragedy that I just can't come up with a "Fun-Raising" Friday post today. Steven Curtis Chapman's music has influenced my Christian walk for many years. About 4 years ago, I read an article his wife wrote in a Christian magazine about their decision to adopt. God used that article and other things to change my heart and lead us to adoption. Their foundation helped inspire me to start an adoption ministry at my church. I feel like I know them and I hurt like that child was my own relative. I know there are a lot of hurting families in the world dealing with loss right now. The Chapman's have hope, something many families do not have. I know that God will use these horrible circumstances to bring about a mighty good in this world. I eagerly anticipate watching how He will continue to use this family.

On that note, here's a link to a great article on anticipation and waiting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Ocean of Blessings

This post brought to you from beautiful Nags Head, NC....

I've taken up waiting at the beach for a few days, and I must say this is the way to wait!! Funny thing just happened and I had to share. So, I forgot to pack my Bible (hangs her head in shame), but fortunately my friend brought 2 with her. She gave me one to borrow and I just headed out to the balcony to crack it open. I've been reading Proverbs, so I opened it up and the first page I see is a devotional about waiting. It even asked the question, "Did you ever consider waiting to be a blessing?"

Coincidence...I think not! Even in this amazing location, I still have pangs of waiting blues. I remember several years ago when we were waiting for our first daughter's referral. We had to attend a workshop in the Charleston area as part of our adoption education. My husband and I were out on the beach watching families with children and wishing our child were there with us.

Here we are 3 years later, watching our 4 year old build sand castles and run from the water, and we are now wishing our second child was here with us. You get one blessing, and you want another!

I've sent up my "thanks for the reminder" prayer and I'm going to enjoy every minute of this trip with my family. I know God gave us the desire for another child and there's nothing wrong with waiting expectantly for Him to fulfill that desire. In the meanwhile, I'm going to celebrate the blessings I already have. Especially the one that is covered with sand and singing instead of napping!

Celebrate your blessings today! If you need me, I'll be making sand castles.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You're still adopting, right?

How do you respond to questions about your adoption? We get a lot of the above question and others like, "Any news yet?", "Did you already submit your paperwork," etc. My answers go like this, "Yes, we are still adopting, we haven't heard any good news, and yes, we submitted our paperwork 2 years ago." Then, they proceed to ask why it is taking so long and I proceed to curl up on the floor, pound my fists into the ground and scream, "Why, why, why....I want to know why, too!!!".

OK, so maybe that last part is a bit of an exaggeration. It is hard to explain the situation without turning negative, though. Plus, I don't really have any answers. I don't know why we are still waiting. I know what the agency tells us, what the rumor Internet boards tell us, what little the countries tell us and I assume the truth is muddled up in there somewhere.

I'm trying to challenge myself to find a better way to handle these questions. At heart, I believe that it all will happen in God's time. People seem to want details, though. If you aren't directly involved in international adoption, you have a lot of questions about how it all works. How can I be a little more positive with my answers without going into some long story about the various reasons that could be causing delays?

How are you all handling these questions? Leave me some ideas in the comments!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flowers for Mommy

When I started this blog, I sort of made an unwritten rule for myself that I wouldn't post on Sundays. I really want to treasure Sunday for the day of rest and family time that I think God intends it to be.

However, it is a blog about adoption waiting and it is Mother's Day. So, I'm going to give myself a little exception to the rule today. I just know I have readers out there who are a little blue today. Frankly, I have a little twinge of sadness, too.

Before my hubby and I decided that we were ready to start a family, Mother's Day was a great time to celebrate our Moms. I really didn't think too much about it. Once you actually desire to be a Mother, this day takes on a whole new level of importance. Something changes in your heart and you can't just coast through this holiday.

For those who wait for their first child, for those who have lost children, for those who have children and long for more, this is a difficult day. I don't have the cure for making it any easier. I just wanted you to know that I said a prayer for all the Moms who wait. You love a child you may not have even seen yet, but you are a Mother at heart.

If there are any flowers to be found on this weedy day, it is the support of a community of ladies who know how you feel. Hugs from me to you!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun-Raising Friday

It's Friday and no, I did not forget the "d" in my post title. I'm looking for ideas to raise the level of fun in my life. I'm guilty of getting into routines and not seeking out new adventures. Whether you are single, married, with kids, waiting for the first kid, etc, you can always use a little more fun in your life, right?

When I think back on my childhood, I remember few material possessions, but I remember lots of fun family memories. Our activities usually centered around family and were inexpensive. I loved going for Sunday drives, even if my constant chatter probably drove my parents (and I know, my sister) crazy! I still like to play car games to pass the time (and now I drive hubby crazy instead). I'm challenging myself to make fun memories for my daughter, too.

Last weekend, we took a drive to the country and picked strawberries. I did this last year with my daughter and she has talked about it for an entire year. This time hubby wanted to come, too. We had just started picking and the first few I threw in the basket were quite dirty. I heard a little voice say, "Mommy, these strawberries don't taste very good." Ooops, I didn't realize she would start eating them so quickly! Once I found a few cleaner berries, she had a juicy faced grin! Yummy burgers from a little diner on the way home topped off our day of fun. (Plus, I'm still enjoying those berries!).

Here's a challenge to raise the fun at your house and let us know what you tried! Not sure what's on the agenda at our house this weekend, so share your ideas! Having more fun HAS to be a "good thing" while waiting.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Distracted by Dust Bunnies

I've been having trouble coming up with witty and thought provoking blog post ideas. I've been busy with another way to pass the time while waiting--selling our house. As in the realtor is coming on Friday with a sign and the contracts, so I think we are seriously doing it! Of course, I know the selling market is bad. Unfortunately, we didn't pick a very good neighborhood 8 years ago when we bought our house, so we've known for awhile that selling it wasn't going to be profitable. Thankfully, the real estate market in our area is one of the only areas in the country that is holding steady. We'll just have to see how it all works out.

I've been working on cleaning out closets and finding every speck of dust in the house. (ok, more like ball of dust). If nothing else, I will have a sparkling clean house. Too bad it's not time for a home study update!

Selling the house is one of the things that we've put off while waiting for a referral. We've also shelved vacations, looking for new jobs, buying a different car, etc. It feels like you kind of put your life on hold while you wait. At least, we've tried not to make any major decisions. I guess we're tired of holding, so up goes the "For Sale" sign.

Have you felt like you were "on hold", too? What kind of things have you put off? Have you changed your mind and just started living like normal people who aren't "waiting" for some incredibly important phone call?

Thanks for the break. Look out dust bunnies...I'm coming to find you!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday Money Musings

I have a confession to make. I've developed an addiction over the last several months and it's a habit I don't want to break....... COUPONS! Coupons and CVS have become my newest entertainment. I was always a bit of a frugal shopper and used coupons when I had the time. At the beginning of the year, I decided to kick it up a notch and start really comparing my coupons to the various store sale ads and see where I could save. I have gotten lots of stuff for mere pennies and have started a nice stockpile. I don't think I will ever pay real money for salad dressing, rice, mustard, marinades, Hamburger Helper or canned tomatoes again! (That's my coupon binder above and yes, I know I'm crazy. Below is some of my CVS stash).

CVS is something I've recently started and it is so fun once you get the hang of it. Last week, I got 4 toothbrushes, 3 toothpastes, 4 deodorants, 2 packs of razor refills, 2 hairsprays, 4 Pepsis, 2 hand soaps and 1 greeting card for $3.45 and I earned more ECB's than I spent. (ECB's is the CVS money they give you back and you can use on your next trip). We sure are smelling good and have nice fresh breath here at the "good waiting" house!

The point of this confession is that one good thing we can do while waiting is use our money resources wisely. Most adoptive families find it a financial strain to come up with the funds needed for adoption. Fundraising is a good idea, too, but let's focus on how we can better use the funds we have and save money. I like to say that my hubby's job is to make the money and my job is to save it!

Another side benefit of my CVS addiction is that my linen closet is obviously about full of shampoo, bath soap, etc. I know I will be able to get more for free or close to free. I plan to use the extra as donations to local charities. I might make little spa type baskets for some of my girlfriends or new moms. While saving for our adoption, our family can't give much beyond our church tithe. This is a great way to be able to give.

If you want more info on how to start the CVS shopping, visit She has a link on the right hand side of the page, called "CVS 101" which is very helpful. She is one of my favorite bloggers and has saved me a bunch of money!

Happy Savings!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Coasters and Canoes: How to Encourage Your Spouse

Today's topic is how to encourage your spouse during the long wait. A special shout out to all the great single parents out there who adopt. This post won't be much help for you, but come back again!

Here's how things typically go at my house (we'll call it the good waiting house and my hubby shall be Daddy Good Waiting (DGW). During the wait, I am riding a roller coaster--a big one, with lots of loop-de-doops and sharp curves. It started out kind of fun and exciting. Then, it made me kind of nauseous. Every one in a while, the coaster comes to a stop, a bunch of people get on with me and the operator asks me for more money. I'm sick to my stomach, but I've ridden it this long and I'm not about to get off. Eventually, I get kind of numb and just keep hanging on, round and round, up and down.

During the wait, DGW is paddling a canoe on a wide, serene lake. He isn't distracted by the other people on the lake. He enjoys the scenery and the fresh air. He paddles slow and steady, carefully maneuvering around obstacles and keeping his eye on the destination. Perfectly even strokes keep him headed in the right direction. He has a clear view of the rollercoaster from the lake. He wonders why I'm still riding that crazy contraption when I could be paddling.

When I hit the top of the rollercoaster right before the big drop, I see DGW down there paddling away. I try to wave at him, let him know I see him there, but no time for that---here comes another big drop and loop-de-doop!

Do either of these scenarios sound like anyone you know? I'm amazed at how often this scene plays out with adoptive couples. One spouse is calm and patient, while the other one is following every yahoo group related to adoption looking for a bit of good news. You may have reverse roles in your house--or you may switch roles back and forth depending on the day.

My question is: How does the canoe rider encourage the coaster rider and vice-versa? While thinking about this post, I realized that I don't do a very good job of encouraging my spouse. Just because he isn't talking about the wait very often, doesn't mean it isn't hard on him, too. After all, even a serene canoe ride causes your shoulders to hurt after paddling for a while. Maybe we could take turns paddling. That seems like a better idea than riding the coaster together!

I'm going to tell DGW that I really appreciate his strength during this wait. I'm going to make sure he knows that he doesn't have to always be strong and patient. He can vent to me anytime he wants. I'm also going to try and stay off the coaster. Now, I'm not saying I won't sneak a quick ride in every now and then, but not every day!

What are you doing to encourage your spouse while you wait? Which one are you, canoe or coaster? I love to read your comments!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weeds & Flowers

My blog has a great new look thanks to Blogovers with Love. The design is called "Weeds 'N Daisies." After having too much caffeine before bed last night, I was up late thinking about why this design is just perfect for a "waiting" blog. Here's what my sleep deprived self came up with:

Weeds are a nuisance and aren't very pretty. We try to rid our lawns of them as quickly as possible. Funny thing is, my daughter just loves them. She has given me plenty of weed "bouquets" this spring. As she reaches out her little hand and presents them to me with such joy in her eyes, something magical happens to those weeds. Suddenly, they are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I "oooh and ahhh" over them just as she hopes I will. My daughter finds joy in those weeds and it's contagious.

Waiting is like a weed. We can try to get rid of it, complain about and hate "looking" at it. Or we can change our perspective and look for the joy in it. Maybe if we try hard enough, this field of waiting weeds will turn into a flower garden of good things.

Making it Personal:
The gals over at Blogovers With Love are a beautiful bouquet! Let's follow their lead and think about how we can turn our hobbies or talents into something good while we wait. I guess I'm taking up writing as a hobby (it remains to be seen if it will be a talent!). Hoping this blog will be a good thing. What are you are doing with your talents while you wait? Are you making a "good wishes" quilt, knitting blankets for the orphanage or taking meals to the elderly? Do you have a hobby, but aren't sure how you can use it for good? Leave me a comment and let's brainstorm and share our ideas.

Check back in again as we look for more ways to turn weeds into flowers!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Next question: What exactly is a "good thing?"

For me, a "good thing" is anything that helps me focus on something positive while waiting, instead of drowning in the negative, "this isn't fair" routine that I sometimes find myself in. It could be anything from volunteering in your community to cleaning out your purse/wallet.

Some days I have vision and energy and do things like start an adoption ministry at my church. Other days I aim to turn off the TV and read more books to my child. Perhaps clean under the couch or clip some coupons.

Those are all good things, really. The focus is off the "waiting" and on the "living". Taking care of my community, my family, my home, and myself are great places to look for ways to make good stuff happen around me.

I'd like to talk about the little stuff and the big stuff. Some days I can only handle the little stuff, but it all adds up in the end. Each day that passes is not only one day closer to my child, but each day is a gift to be enjoyed in itself.

Good Things Done By Those Who Wait

We've all heard that age-old expression, "Good things come to those who wait." It sounds nice, doesn't it? When you are stuck in the waiting phase, though, it doesn't feel "good" at all. I wanted to start a blog and wise people say you should write about what you know. I know a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about any one thing. One lesson I've been learning for awhile is patience while waiting.

So, I've decided it would be nice if I could find a way to do good things WHILE waiting, instead of waiting for good things! I had a pastor who said during a sermon that when we experience a period of waiting (and we all will), we should engage in activities that God can bless. This blog is my way of engaging in something that is positive during the wait and I hope that God can bless it

We are waiting for our second child. We adopted our daughter 3 years ago (she is now 4). The whole process took 12 months. We thought that was a very long time. We are now adopting again. We started the process over 24 months ago. That 12 month process is looking darn speedy to us now!

I've spent enough (ok...way too much) time whining, complaining, worrying and grumping about the wait. Time to find something good to do.

Let's talk about anything and everything good that we can do during the wait. I know there is a whole adoption community out there waiting right along with me. Let's do some good stuff. What are your ideas?