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.