Sunday, August 24, 2014

Origami Owl

If I've said it before, I've said it a thousand times - the community of fellow adoptive mamas has been the biggest support system that continues to blow me away.  I "met" Sara through the Congo adoption group.  I had the privilege of watching Sara bring home from the Congo her beautiful daughter Emily a few months before I was finally on a plane to meet Munni Bird for the first time.  Sara has been such an incredible supporter in both of my adoptions.  So when she approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like her to throw me a fundraising party, I couldn't scream YES loud enough!!!!  Sara has such a beautiful heart for adoption and has been involved in many projects that help orphans.  Recently, she became a Designer for Origami Owl Jewelry.  She wants the business to help families raise money for their adoptions.  Isn't that amazing??!!!!!  So here's the deal:  This online "Party" will be open until Saturday, August 30th at 8 p.m. - short and sweet :)   20% of anything you purchase will go directly towards the last part of Baby R's adoption- THE TRAVEL PART!!!!  But here's where it gets even better.  If you purchase ANY part of one of the two Signature Pieces, I will receive 30%!!!!  Isn't that incredible?  Origami Owl has so many beautiful pieces and the possibilities and combinations are endless :)

I am going to get the girls matching "Gotcha Day" necklaces with charms of the elephant and their birthstones.  If you are in the process of adoption and haven't figured out your Gotcha Day gifts, maybe you could create something meaningful  here!  Just please be sure to use this link when purchasing or else I won't get the credit :(

Here are the two Signature Pieces:

Or this one:


In case you were wondering what these pieces mean and why they are important to me :
Elephant- for those of you who know me well, you know that I've been crazy about elephants ever since I can remember. It probably sounds corny, but I have this strange connection to them  Anyway, India is known as "The Land of Elephants"
The Heart- Spread More Love  Last spring when I was praying about adopting again from India, God put that phrase on my heart one morning while I was in the basement taking clothes out of the dryer. God uses the most spectacular moments to speak  It was a moment where I knew it was from him. I went and googled "Spread more love" and immediately popped up Mother Teresa's famous quote, "Spread more love wherever you go" Obviously, Mother Teresa had a huge connection to India serving and loving the orphans there 
Milagro ~ One of my favorite words in Spanish. It means "Miracle." I started speaking Spanish when I was 26 and taught Spanish for 14 years. These two girls have been the biggest miracles to ever happen to me! 
There it is!!!  Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have given to me throughout this journey.  It means more than I will ever be able to express in words!
~ Love to all of you!!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Featured!

The community of fellow adoptive mamas that I've met through this whole process has been a HUGE blessing in my life.  They have been extremely supportive and beyond encouraging.  I love how we rally around each other, holding each other up and at times, dragging each other through the deepest, darkest of pits.  We do whatever we can to have each other's backs and that is a beautiful thing to witness!

I was so honored when one these amazing mamas asked if she could interview me for her blog.  It was a great experience for me.  I was able to pause and reflect on all that I have experienced and learned throughout Munni and Baby R's adoptions.  I hope that my story will encourage others ~ wherever they are in the process.

Please check out the interview on Lucy's blog and also see how God has been writing their beautiful story!  You can see it all HERE!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

One Step Closer!!!!

LOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE starting the week off with good news!

My cw called me to tell me that I have the state level clearance!!!  WOOOHOOOOOO!!!

She said to expect the federal clearance in about 2 weeks.  After that, my case goes to court and passport.  This step could be anywhere from 3-6 months.  So…. travel could be anywhere from December to March.  But again,  as I've learned from the past, all things are subject to change :)

For today, Munni and I are going to celebrate that we just passed another huge hurdle and are one step closer to bringing her baby sister home!

Thank you for the prayers!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Land of the Never Ending Wait

One year ago today I was officially matched on the C*RINGS website with Sweet Baby R.
One month ago, my cw verified in person that the committee who is responsible for issuing the state level clearance had everything they needed for my case.
I need the state level clearance to move forward to the federal level clearance and I need the federal level clearance to move on to court and I need court to get the written orders and I need the written orders to get Baby R's passport and I need Baby R's passport so I can make travel plans.
That run on sentence is exactly what my wait feels like right now.
Still no news.

Please don't tell me about God's perfect timing.  I wrote a whole post about that here.
There is nothing more frustrating than have everything regarding your child be in someone else's hands.  And I think every adoptive parent will agree that those "someone else's hands" don't move anywhere near the speed we would like :)

So I continue to pray.  I pray that people will feel moved to address my case and get us through the next step.  I pray that I won't get discouraged.  I pray that I will be present in each and every day with Munni Bird.  This summer has been sooooo good for us.  I know this is the last summer we will have together, just MommyMunni, so I've been losing myself in our time together.  That's the beautiful thing about having a child while you are in process of adopting another.  I love every moment of our time together because I know I will never get it back.  And at the same time, I imagine what next summer will be like with the three of us :)  


I admit that I am sad and disappointed because I really thought she would be home by her 3rd birthday. Instead, it will be another birthday that Munni and I will celebrate without her.  We will take pictures so that one day, she will see the two birthdays we celebrated with her in our hearts.

In the meantime, I've been taking a ton of pictures of Munni.  It never fails to amaze me the amount with which she has and continues to change.  I can't wait to photograph her with her sister :)
But for now, I will continue to wait on the Lord and pray.








…and photograph my beautiful Princess!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Beautiful Story

When Munni first came home, she would talk about her friends from her room.  I was able to piece together that there were 4 little girls who formed a "family" while living in the orphanage.  One of them was still there when I brought Munni home and I advocated for her on Orphan Sunday.  Recently, it has been confirmed that she has a family!!!  She is not home yet but there is indeed a family pursuing her!  The oldest of the Fab Four arrived home in January 2012.  They were kind enough to take pictures of Munni when they were there to pick up their daughter.  Those were the first pictures I ever saw of Munni Bird smiling :)

 And then there was Meena :)  She was the youngest of the bunch.  Munni must have said her name 100 times a day.  It was to the point that I called my caseworker and asked her about Meena because I seriously considered adopting her if she was available.  It was clear that Munni had an incredible bond with her and that she was like a little sister to Munni.  I found out that she too, was already home with her family.  Turns out that her family is very similar to mine - another single mama who is also a teacher.

I learned that Meena is deaf.  Munni told me that Meena couldn't talk.  And yet, Meena was Munni's best friend.  Even though they couldn't use words to communicate, it was obvious from the way Munni talked about her, that they loved each other very much.

Well, one thing led to another and I was able to find Meena's mama, Colleen, on Facebook.  It was so incredible to be able to show Munni pictures of Meena with her family!  We found out that she also has an older brother!  We connected via telephone and talked for hours.  I was able to share with Colleen details about the orphanage that she had never been able to learn from Meena.  She also shared with me that Meena was never taught any sign language at all while living at the orphanage.  Munni had told me that Meena didn't go to school, but I thought that was due to her age because she is 3 years younger than Munni.  Here was this beautiful, spitfire of a little girl, just languishing in an orphanage with absolutely no language.  Colleen is a teacher for the hearing impaired and is deeply entrenched in the deaf community where they live.  Once she got Meena home, they hit the ground running teaching her how to sign.  Turns out this little peanut is brilliant!

Fast forward to last autumn.  A couple of weeks into the school year, I discovered that there was a hearing impaired boy in Munni's class.  He had a full time interpreter with him.  Munni was stuck to her like glue.  Every day Munni would come home and show me a new sign she had learned.  She would incorporate the sign she was learning into our conversations.  In fact, she has learned more sign language than Spanish!

About two weeks ago, Colleen and I talked and figured out that we could meet halfway for a reunion.  Once we had everything confirmed, I told Munni.  She was ecstatic!  Every day she would ask me when we were going to see Meena.

That day was Tuesday.

I filmed the girls when they first saw each other again.  To see Meena running joyfully towards Munni made me cry :)

We spent the day at the conservatory and gardens- watching the butterfly release, splashing in the water, climbing in trees, running across open fields.  It was a perfect day for childhood memories to be made!





Beautiful Meena!




The key hole was a big hit, can you tell?

Meena has the perfect "duck" face- the envy of all selfies!

Beautiful girls, beautiful friends!

I think Meena was climbing something when this was taken!  Colleen and Connor!

Beautiful family!
 Colleen and I kept saying to each other how blown away we were to watch Munni and Meena.  They were running around, squealing with delight, and beaming with joy!  These two precious girls who had been passed over time and time again.

Guess what?  God put them in their perfect families for them :)



 Meena has some serious upper body strength!  I couldn't believe all that she could climb!




I am still in awe of how God continues to write this story for these two beautiful princesses!  And I love how he cares more than we could ever imagine.  The fact that Munni was in a classroom learning sign for a year, just blows me away.  To be able to see these two friends finally be able to communicate in the same language was nothing short of beautiful!  Even when I thought the story was "over" by Munni being home, God was not finished.  He showed us how much he loves these girls - that he would bring things to pass so that one day they would see each other again, they would talk, and they would know that their friendship will continue for years to come!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Please Pray! :)

I can't go into details but there is a big possibility that there could be some forward movement in R's adoption in the next couple of weeks.  I am hopeful that I will be crossing one major hurdle and really praying that it will be 2!!!  Please pray that the information requested gets to the appropriate hands in a QUICK manner and that the next step can be completed!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  I'm praying that my next post will have some great news!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heavy

It's been one year and 5 months since the day Munni and I met for the first time.  I recently got a new phone for my long, overdue upgrade so I saved the pictures from my old phone to my computer.  Going back through those pictures was like watching one of those science films that is sped up to show the growth of a seed into a  plant, into a bud, and finally into a beautiful, showy bloom.  Munni has definitely blossomed into her own!

And yet…

The pain of her past is deeply imbedded within her.  I was alarmed at the amount of information she remembered.   Late at night, when we were snuggled in bed, she would whisper the horrors of her past to me.  Each time she dared to open the vault that held those secrets, she would release more details of her horrendous past.  She did it in small pieces, as if she knew the weight of knowing it all at once  would crush me.

I spent many nights sobbing after she drifted off to sleep.  I don't care how many books you read or how many classes you take, nothing will prepare you to hear in your own child's words what they endured before they were yours.

I post a lot of pictures of Munni and they are almost always pictures that paint a joyful world in which she lives.  Yes, I would say that Munni is happy.  But there is also an underlying anxiety that plagues her.  She does so well the majority of the time that even I forget.  Until she blindsides me.   It's never expected and always feels like a punch to the gut.  In her beautiful innocence, she doesn't realize the crushing blows she doles out with her questions or observations.

One night we were watching a popular show on the Food Network.  We were laughing, having a great time and then she stops.  "Mommy- that person sitting at that table looks like X."  Her whole demeanor changes and I start to feel like the air has been sucked out of the room.  At this point I pray for divine knowledge to handle validating her and keeping my own emotions in check.  What I want to do is go freaking ballistic on X.  Instead, I rewind the program.  "Show me baby.  Which one."

We are driving to a birthday party talking about all the presents this person is going to get and what a fun party it's going to be.  "Mommy, will I ever see X?"
I think to myself, oh my God, where is this coming from?
"No baby, you will never see X."
"But what if X finds me?"
"Baby, X will never find you.  And if somehow X made it to America, Mommy will never, ever let anything happen to you ever again.  And you know what else?  ALL the people who love you will never let X see you again.  Do you understand how many people love you?  That's a lot of people who will make sure you are safe. And Simon, well Simon would rip X into 100 pieces.  He would never let X get between you and him."
She halfheartedly giggles and tells me she understands, but in the rearview mirror I see her face.  And in her eyes it's there.  Ever so small, but present.  A hint of doubt.  A sliver of fear.  In my mind, I simultaneously pray for healing and cuss like a rapper filled with rage.  I realize my knuckles are white from gripping the steering wheel.  What I would give to have 5 minutes….. I stop myself.  I can't go down that road because it leads to nowhere.  I tell myself that hurt people hurt people.  Only Jesus can give me the strength to forgive X.  Anger and bitterness lead to death, not life.  I slow my breathing.  I ask God to help me in my unbelief because right now, I have unbelief that I will ever truly forgive.

Munni and I still co-sleep.  She told me the other day that she wants to sleep with me forever.  I told her  that she can sleep with me as long as she wants.  When people give me disapproving looks upon finding out that Munni is still in my bed, I wonder why they even care.  I will do whatever it takes to make Munni know that she is loved, cared for, and safe.

The thing about adoption is that many times, these children come from hard places.  Places that you will never hear the parents sharing the details in their pursuit of protecting their child.  We remain vague.  BUT IT IS PAINFUL AND LONELY.  Sometimes her revelations wreck me for days afterwards.  Other times, I am successful at compartmentalizing my pain.   I cry a lot when I talk about Munni and how much she's changed over the last year.  There are deep wells of emotion within me because I know what a miracle she is.  I know what she has overcome.  I know what still lies ahead.  I pray prayers that no parent would ever want to pray.

If you know someone who has adopted and maybe one day they seem "off,"  please just give them a hug.  Things might look rosy on the outside but it's quite possible that a bomb went off the day before.  There have been many, many days where I could have used a hug.  I don't have any trouble asking for affection, it's the reason behind it that makes it difficult :(

Adoption has made me a more compassionate person.  It's easy to make judgments, comments, or comparisons about how people parent their children.  I used to do that.  I wasn't even a parent but in my "expertise" I would "never do such and such."  What a joke.  I was so insensitive and prideful in my naivety of non-parenthood.  Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons.  Now, experiencing what I have experienced has taught me that every parent could use a friendly smile and support; a sense of solidarity in this whole parenting thing.