Saturday, June 30, 2007

Quick update and a Mother's Realization ....

Isn't it interesting how we are all created different and unique. I don't know about you, but I'm a "thinker" ... always have been, always will be. If I'm "doing something" ... I'm thinking while I do it .... If I'm "being still" ... I'm thinking while I do it ... If I'm "stressed", I'm thinking while in that state ... if I'm "relaxed", yep .... still thinking! So, as often is the case when I curl up next to my main man each night and hear him quickly drift into snoreland .... I recap the day, think of a few things going on the next day, check my heart to see where I've gotten of course, reflect on all the ways God is working in our lives and taking care of us .... not without fail, somewhere in there every night these last months my heart and mind drifts to Ethiopia.

Lately I've had a growing concern that when our child sees us for the first time, they may be afraid. Unlike with Naomi, I was there while she was still hooked to a breathing machine and could hardly "see" anyone! She came home as a newborn to her light-skinned siblings. Trust me, in North Dakota in the middle of winter, everyone is at their lightest! :) But this next babe .... they will have been surrounded by dark-skinned caregivers all the days of their little life. As I thought of each of our children and how deeply I love them .... something occurred to me that I hadn't thought of until this time. I know ... with all this "thinking" I do ... I surely should have thought of this before, right?! My mind drifted past the part of us meeting our wee-one for the time and onto life all together as a family. Then it hit me ... what will it be like when this new babe sees Naomi?!!! A sense of peace just washed over me ... and I thanked the Lord once again for each piece of this puzzle that He is putting together, so to speak. We've often thought about how another child similar in ethnicity to Naomi could be a blessing to her down the road ... but I hadn't spend a lot of time thinking of it in reverse! So now I wait with great expectation to see just what it's like when these two precious children meet for the first time.

The picture posted here is a special one to me. It was just a simple shot taken two summers ago while living in Lisbon. To me it depicts a special bond between brother and sister ... a bond that is greater than division of any color this world has accomplished to create ... a bond that goes deeper than genetics ... and a bond that can be for eternity, unlike any worldly good we can obtain.

Now for the quick update!: We got our letter stating the appt for our CIS fingerprinting. Gotta love how others schedule your appts for you! .. 8:00 a.m. in downtown Fargo (1 hr. away) which falls on a day right AFTER we have to be in Fargo for another appt. I guess they don't take gas prices or people's schedules into consideration. Ha. We also got two of our certified bank letters in the mail today. Funny how you can be "in good standing" with a bank with such little money. But as we all know, it's not how much money you have, it's how you are a steward with it that matters. I know many question why on earth we are adopting when we do not have a overly-substantial income ... I'll step up on that soapbox on another post ... but for now I have a stamp room to clean so we can keep on the assembly line for the Stamp a Child Home Project. Will be giving you and update on that soon as well!

Back to cleaning!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Good Day!

Today we made a mad rush to Fargo for lots of appointments. We started with Nathaniel's post-op appt. Everything looked good and he is able to do what he wants as he's able ..... in other words, start back to normal life without overdoing it! ... and don't break anything in the process!! He still has a ways to go in recovery .... but he's on the mend and doing well. Hard to believe he's spent half of a year dealing with the accident, two surgeries and recovery. It's not hard to believe for him .... but overall, he's been amazing and such a trooper.

We first though made a stop to the post office and filled out our applications for our passports! Trips like this make things seems more "real". Naomi took everything in that was happening. She's already protesting of getting left at home. This breaks my heart. She kept saying ... "Mommy is leaving me alone!!!". Josiah (the 9 yr. old) lovingly reassured her, "No, mommy is not leaving you alone, she's leaving you with Nathaniel and Josiah!". Try as he might ..... she was not consoled! She talks often about "the baby being in Ethiopia". She understand so much more than we can believe at her young age. She is eager to be a "big sister". Would someone tell her how "big sisters" wear big girl underwear????? I really thought we'd tackle that easily this summer. She's going through a stage of high dis-interest in getting potty trained. Ugh. I'm wondering if it's worth pursuing at this time. I'm one of those "wait til they're ready and do it in one week" kind of moms. I'm not seeing the potential at this moment! :)

We then went to get Nathaniel, Josiah & Naomi's physicals done so Gladney can know they are healthy. We got to talk to our pediatrician about contacting her when we get a referral so she can help us look over the medical reports. She did some studies in the cities with inner-city kids, from what we'd been told, hope that's right ... anyway we were really impressed when we brought Naomi home that she was very thorough about developmental issues. She was SO supportive and excited about the upcoming adoption. She talked of a co-worker who'd been in Africa on a trip a few years back and of the incredible needs there.

My amazing husband dropped me off at the nearby Arby's where a couple of friends were meeting while their daughters had sewing class. What a TREAT! It's amazing what an hour with other moms will do for you. We all got much chattering in ... gotta talk fast when you only have an hour! Anyway ... I was just encouraged by David caring enough to let me have that short break in a very intense season of life right now. The paperwork and fund-raising ... not to mention, motherhood, trying to be a good wife, ministry ... and whatever else I'm forgetting .... it can tucker a girl out. But I just also want to say that this has been such a "rich" time in my life. The Lord has ministered to me in such amazing ways. I honestly do not know what would have become of my life without Him. I'm learning about just how much He loves me .... even when I fail, or fall down, or deal with junk in my life.

David got a bunch of phone calls and emails done for our dossier paperwork yesterday. We are making headway! We want to have all of our part of our dossier paperwork in place by when we leave for TN the end of July.

And ......... for you stampers ..... it's also a good day ... no, GREAT day!, because my new stamping catty arrived!!! I'm so inspired with new ideas now. Yeah!!! It's gonna be a fun catalog year making creative creations with friends! ..... and fun new ideas to help Stamp our Child Home!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On the Mend!

Just wanted to post a quick update ... Nathaniel's surgery went well. He even got to bring home the flexible rods that have been keeping his leg together inside ... that made him happy. It made me happy that they came home sterilized! :) He is free to walk on his leg as he's able. No running, jumping, climbing or jolting for 4-6 weeks. That won't be so fun ... especially after a week or so and he's feeling better. At least the end is in sight for him and by the time we travel to TN early Aug. he should be free to do all he wants again!

This pic was taken on his birthday ... he had to have sis in it. They are pretty inseparable. What a great dad he's gonna be! She was not happy when he came home last night and she saw his leg that the doctor had hurt (her words). I said ... "What's wrong with his leg?". "It's BROKEN!", she replied. No ... thankfully it's not broken! ... it has actually gotten fixed ... try explaining all that to a 2 yr. old! :)

Busy week around here. We have our last homestudy meeting tomorrow, which we're looking forward to. We have such a great social worker.

We're still in the midst of home repairs. We moved into this house last year in major "fixer-upper" condition. After having done much to the inside, it's been time to focus on the outside! David, Nathaniel & Colton built a small deck where an outside entrance had been off the room we use as our bedroom. Then they replaced the door and window on that side. Progress is great ... but we're finding it a challenge to get an angle of the house for pictures for our paperwork that look "good" with all the construction! Ha. Crazy.

Thanks for all your prayers for our family during this time. Most days we feel we're running a marathon ... but we are learning much along the way.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Here we Go Again . . .

Well, 5 months have now passed since Nathaniel's sledding accident. Almost half a year ... that is hard to imagine. In some ways it seems like just yesterday that traumatic day (which is sis's birthday) happened. I'll never forget looking out my window seeing David pulling a sled with a body not moving on it. As a mom we feel so "in control", but sometimes we are shaken by the unexpected and realize we are not in complete control of anything. Thankfully, a dear friend was visiting that day .... we were supposed to be celebrating Naomi's birthday. She stayed with the other kids while we escorted Nathaniel through two ambulance rides, two different ERs and a terribly long 24 hrs. waiting for surgery. A little bit of shock set in that night as doctors and nurses told me time and again ... "Do you realize how hard he had to have hit that tree for his femur to be broken so badly?". God's grace was so evident in our son's life that day as He allowed his strong leg to take the brunt of that accident .... things could have ended so differently.

His surgery went well with a very long recovery to follow. Nathaniel worked diligently every day to improve and is now running again and enjoying pretty much all he wants to do. I have a feeling that Monday will hit him pretty hard. Thankfully this surgery is less invasive and is actually to remove the flexible rods that have supported his leg all these months so that it could grow back together. We are unsure of what recovery will be like til we see how things go. Best case we believe is crutches a few days and "going easy" a few weeks while the bone fills in where the rods have been and where surgery took place. As you can see from his picture, he's adventurous and LOVES to be outside. But we'll be keeping him quiet awhile out on the new deck he just built with dad. Being stuck inside in a ND winter was very depressing for him. I think he'll enjoy being able to at least be outside enjoying fresh air this time! :)

Nathaniel is a great kid ... hard to grasp he's half grown now, just having enjoying his 12th birthday. He's a wonderful brother and my "right-hand-man" most days. We grew a lot together this year. That accident really caught us off guard and we were faced with many challenges over the winter. As a family, we've grown to appreciate each member in deeper ways. We've learned not to take life for granted as much. We've seen the fruit of a family knowing how to work hard together.

We appreciate your prayers as we journey through this next little chapter in our lives. Surgery is at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 11th. This mom will be relieved once she sees her boy come out of recovery and catches a glimpse of those dimples. Yeah ... dimples ... some how this kid manages to keep smiling through each trial. No, not all smiles ... we shed our share of tears over the winter too. But we are so grateful for each member in our family ... even the one we have yet to meet! :)

P.S. (This picture is NOT of the tree he hit!, the one he hit was actually much smaller ... though caused him considerable damage. I will never take a picture of that other tree!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Little Progress . . .

Today was nice .... it was refreshing to get OUT of my stamp room and into town (Fargo) to meet with our social worker. We cannot imagine going through this with anyone but our amazing social worker, Sharon. She saw us through much in our first adoption with Naomi. We would not have made it through nearly as well without her strong support. We've been working so hard on the Stamp a Child Home project and it was really nice to take a break from that today and "talk adoption" with her. She rejoiced with us in all that's been going on with the fund raising and also talked through some of the preparation we're doing as our family grows.

We chatted about age, gender, extended family, community support, our awesome boys, the little Miss in the house and many other things. Curious about any of that? ... just ask.

We also discussed the difficult realities of Ethiopia and a people that we have grown to love deeply. As Americans ... we get so "busy" living life, buying "things", running here - running there, none of us really have much comprehension of the depth of poverty around the world. Sure, we've all seen pictures on TV, read stories, etc. ..... but it's interesting when God leads you to go bring your child home and you realize that now it is one of your own experiencing these things .... it all becomes much more real. We talked about the things we will see when arriving at our new child's homeland ... we discussed our sadness in having to take them from their homeland, yet the joy in being able to give them a family, food and shelter. It is all very bittersweet. Not a day goes by that we aren't torn with many differing emotions. We are growing in many ways and know that we'll come to the other side of this journey changed people.

Another thing we discussed was some of the factors in our daughter's adoption here in the US. Some of you know we faced some very challenging things in her adoption. In stark contrast ... we have nothing but good to say about the agency we are using this time, also in TX.

We have most all of our paperwork ready to send off for our I600A, which is a big accomplishment. This part wears me down ... all the paperwork. But David takes it in stride and we both know that when we see our child for the first time .... all that will be a distant memory.

Lord willing, there will be 3 Roberts getting passports soon. It is our desire for Colton (our oldest son, age 14) to go with us to Ethiopia. He has long had a burden for missions and Africa. He wants to coordinate an effort to take supplies into orphanages while we are there. If you are interested in getting involved in this part of our trip, please contact him!! ... he would so much love to hear from you.

Well, break time is over ... must clean up this room and get a plan for a very busy few days. Our last homestudy meeting is next week! We hope to have it wrapped up by the end of June. Next is tackling our dossier for Ethiopia. What's that? ... just tons more paperwork ... theme of our lives, remember? :) But that's okay. We continue to keep our eyes on the big picture and somewhere half a world away we know there is a child counting on us to finish this race well ... and so we keep pressing on, not looking back.

Don't be shy ... leave us a note so we know you came by to visit. Your friendship and support means so very much to us.