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.




Friday, May 2, 2014

Let's Spread More Love :)

I've been dying to write this post!!!  Seriously, I am overwhelmed by the way God continues to work in Sweet Baby R's adoption and in my unbelieving heart :)  On top of that, I just found out that my caseworker will be going to visit Sweet Baby R!!!  She is going to get videos and lots of pictures for me!!  We are also hoping that the visit will be a catalyst for the state approval I'm waiting for.  Please pray that this will happen!

O.K., let me give you the quick back story before I showcase all the goods for the fundraiser!

When I got the Article 5, it was a huge relief and also a dive into the unknown since now everything will be on Ind*a's timeline.  I have been praying since last summer that this summer Munni and I will be able to go and bring R home.  It would be amazing on so many levels, including not having to take another 12 weeks of unpaid leave.  That's kind of rough when you are the only breadwinner :)  Traveling to bring her home will cost about $8,000.  That includes all of the plane tickets ( two round trips, 3 in -country, and a one way back to the US!) the lodging in two cities, guide, meals, transportation, and embassy fees.   I had been praying about doing another fundraiser and knew that God was leading me away from just relaunching the previous t-shirt.  I will admit that I had a serious case of the doubts.  I went to the OT like I always do when I'm struggling and landed in the book of Numbers.  Now, I know it was the Lord because seriously?  Who just randomly says, "Today I'm going to read out of the book of Numbers."  Anyway, chapter 14 hit me like plank over the head.  God had just parted the Red Sea and led them to safety and now they were freaking out about whether or not they would be able to eat.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'How long will these people spurn me?  And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in the midst?'" - Numbers 14:11

 I am so like the Israelites.   God parted the Red Sea for Munni's adoption and He continues to do it again for R.  And yet, I flounder.  I get scared.  I worry.  I stress.  I start looking at the natural instead of focusing on the supernatural.  I read that verse and knew He was telling me to trust him.  So I kept praying that he would lead me to the right fundraiser.
And boy, did he!
I ran across this company on a Congo mama's page and when I clicked on her link, I got that "buzzing" feeling.  I knew I was onto something.  Linda, the woman who started the company, Tees With a Purpose is also a fellow adoptive mama.  Here is her statement:

"My passion is adoption and God's heart for the orphan.  As a mom of 3 adopted girls, 2 that are home (China and Ecuador) and one that we pray will be home soon from The DRC, I would consider it a privilege to work with other adopting families as they move towards bringing their child or children home.  I would love to come alongside of you as you consider fundraising to meet the financial goals that lie ahead of you.  My commitment to you is that I will make your experience through Tess and More With a Purpose easy and stress free so that you can begin to fund raise without any money out of your pocket."

Well, we hit it off immediately.  I shared R's story with her and she said to me, "We are going to bring your daughter home!"  I started crying because to have a stranger I had just met rally the battle cry for this last phase of R's adoption completely blew me away.  On top of that, she arranged it for me to partner with Melissa & Doug on some extremely cute items!!

So here's the deal.  These items will be for sale through my blog until 12 midnight on May 18th :)  Once I tally all of the orders, Linda will place the order.  It will take about two weeks for the items to get printed and dropped shipped to me.  I will then sort and ship everything to everyone.  All in all you should receive your items about 3 weeks after the sale ends on May 18th.

So.......... Here they are!!!!  I hope you love them as much as I do!!  The prices include shipping except for international orders, which will need to add an additional $5.00.


I'm am so excited about the women's t-shirt!!!  I wanted a shirt I could wear with my "skinny" jeans and heels - one that would be figure flattering and super cute!

Women's Next Level V-neck Slub crossover blend in White, Grey, Yellow, or Blue - $25  
sizes S-2XL





I apologize that the white, yellow, and blue photos are not as sharp… I had to doctor them myself to save money and was dealing with lo-res files but I want you to be able to see the different colors with the logo on it!

Next Level Unisex Tri-Blend Long-Sleeve Hoodie in Blue, Grey, and White - $35 
Sizes XS-2XL

Too bad the model doesn't come with the hoodie ;)




Real Men Spread More Love :)
Men's Jerzees Blend in White, Grey, California Blue, and Vintage Blue - $20
Sizes S-5XL


California Blue
Grey

Vintage Blue

Don't forget to include the littles!
Jerzees Youth Heavyweight Blend in Columbia Blue, Grey, White, Pink, and Yellow - $16
sizes XS-XL
Columbia Blue

Grey

Munni insisted we have pink :)

white
Butter yellow
Be green and Spread More Love at the same time with this super cute tote that is made from 50% recycled material!  
Comes in Grey, Bright Yellow, Turquoise, Pink, and Light Tan - $28


Grey

light tan

pink!
Turquoise

Bright yellow
These will all look amazing in person---much better than all of my photoshopped samples!
I'm excited to think about everyone wearing their Spread More Love gear and being a part of bringing Sweet R home!  I hope that every time you put one one, it makes you smile- knowing that you are playing a huge part in this sweet little girl's life!


And here are the amazing Melissa & Doug products!  How cute are they??

Melissa & Doug Toy Stacking Truck - $25 (cute toddler not included!)
I love this truck!  I love the letters, I love the animals, I love it all!  



Melissa & Doug Magnetic Responsibility Chart  - $32  
Munni has told me that this will make doing her chores "fun!"  I'm banking on that!




Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Sideline Chair - $28
Those antennas crack me up!


Melissa & Doug Butterfly Sideline Chair - $28



Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Umbrella  - $18
Seriously----those antennas!!!


Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Umbrella  - $18
Munni has already informed me that she "has" to have this...love her  fashionista ways!


How it works:
Once you decide what you would like to purchase you will:
1) click on the "Paypal Donate" button at the top right hand side of my blog, directly above Simon's majestic picture :)
2)  Please add up and put the total dollar amount of the items in the donation amount box.
3)  In the comments, please tell me how many of what you would like.  For example, if you are buying several shirts, please write "1 W shirt size M in blue; 1 M shirt size L in grey; 1 Y shirt size xs"
3)  Also, please make sure if your shipping address is different from the address verified through paypal, that you indicate to where you would like the items shipped.
4)  If you live outside of the continental United States, please add an additional $5 to cover the extra shipping costs.

Below, I am posting the size charts and product specs.  Hopefully these will be helpful in making your decisions.

Women's V-neck:


Unisex Tri-Blend Hoodie:

Men's short sleeve crew:

Youth Tee:


Tote:

I am THRILLED that the Lord led me to Linda and her amazing company!!  I truly hope that this campaign Spreads More Love and that all of you who participate will be blessed beyond measure for your generosity, love, and support!  THANK YOU!!!!!!!!