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!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Article 5!!

I realized that I never posted that I finally got Article 5!!!!  I got the email from the Embassy on the 24th of April but the letter is actually dated for the 14th.  Not sure how that works since they emailed me on the 20th saying they were working on it!  I'm SO excited and so thankful that everything has moved out of the US and officially into Ind*a!!!   I'm praying for the next steps and hoping that they will happen super duper fast :)

1)  State level clearance
2)  Federal level clearance
3)  Court clearance
4 )  Written orders
5)  Passport
6)  TRAVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The night before I received it, I told Munni bird that I just wanted us to have some fun so we went to a local playground and she did what she does best…. swing, swing, swing!









I'm praying like crazy!  Having all this fun with Munni makes me think about all the fun the three of us are going to have and I keep thinking I just want to kiss her cheeks so badly!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Fools ! - NOT :)

So guess what I got in the email on Tuesday, April 1st?  yup, an email from my USCIS officer telling me that she approved my I-800!!!!!!!!

I was at lunch with my co-workers when I checked my email on my phone and at the exact time that the subject line came up, a little ladybug landed on my arm :)  I started crying because I had prepared myself for AT LEAST a month of waiting.  I still can't believe it!  I received the hard copy in the mail on Friday.  Next, I will fill out the DS-260, which is the visa application for Baby R!! And NEXT will be Article 5!!!

I also received another email from the DOS that I don't have to have Munni's COC (certificate of citizenship) completed before I request her file to be returned.  They gave me all the addresses and instructions on how exactly to fill out the forms.  Around 6 pm that night, I received another email from the DOS.  The officer explained that she had taken the liberty to request my daughter's file and unfortunately, there were no original items in the file.  That made me sad but the good part is that the officer took the time to do that and then told me to file the G-639 FOIA and I will get copies of her entire file!  While it's not her original, I'm hoping there is a copy of her Indian birth certificate in there.  I  had explained in the email about my luggage getting stolen upon arrival in the US.  The officer was so nice and said some really nice things in the email.  It renewed my hope in government employees because she went out of her way to make it easier for me.  There are people who still have compassion!!!

In some other good news, another family who is adopting from the same state as me, just found out last week that the SARA committee (for state level clearance) requested some more information about her child.  Why is this good you ask?  Because they haven't met in over 7 months so the fact that they are requesting info means that someone is looking at the files- and we are praying it's because they are getting ready to meet!  I know that all of my stuff is in the right place in Ind*a, so please pray that this meeting will happen.  It will affect all the families who are adopting from this state.

Please keep praying!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Walking On Water

To say that Munni has completely rocked my world doesn't even come close to how much she has changed me.  
I see things differently.  I can't go back and I don't want to go back to the filters I saw through before I found her.
My relationship with Christ has grown in ways I never would have imagined.  He has taken me to the highest highs and has wept with me during the lowest of lows.  And he has shown me time and time again that he never changes.  He is same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He will never leave me.  He may ask me to do hard things, but he will be with me right by my side and probably more often than not, carrying me :)
I am learning more and more that as uncomfortable as it is at the time, the best place to be is out of the boat.  Trusting in him, trusting in his plan.  
Sure I get soaked when I take my eyes off of him or letting fear and doubt drift into my thoughts.  But he never fails to grab my hand, lift me up, and gently ask, "My child, why did you doubt me?"

Why do I doubt him? He is supernatural and I am not.  My humanness battles within me as I repeatedly assign limitations to him based on my own myopic, incomplete views of the natural laws.  
That's my big, fat problem.  
I limit him with my own limitations when he is absolutely limitless.

Since January, I've really been praying about my trust in him.  At times I've done great!  Other times, like last week, I've failed miserably.  I'm determined though, to get up, dust off the dirt, and keep my eyes on him.  When my vision is locked on him, there are no limitations.

He is calling me to do some hard things and the only reason they are hard is because it requires 110% trust in him.  
I can't think about the what ifs, if onlys, and the buts.
I can't think about the opinions of others.  
I can't dwell on my imperfections and limitations.
I can't define my future and his calling on my life by the natural state of things.
I need to step out of the boat.
I need to believe in his supernatural essence.
I need to keep my eyes on his beautiful face.
I need to keep my heart full of trust in his goodness, his grace, his mercy, and his providence.
I have no idea how it will all pan out, but that's exactly how he has designed it.  He gives me just enough light for the next step.  
I am nervous and anxious but also giddy with excitement to see where this path will lead me.

What about you?  Is there a boat that you have been hesitant to step out of and into the water of the unknown?  I pray that you would take that step.  It's exhilarating beyond anything you can possibly imagine!




Thursday, March 20, 2014

So About That Lesson…..

Just two days later on Monday, I had a meltdown.  One of those ugly cry kinda meltdowns.  On the phone.  With my caseworker.

It hit me hard.  All day I was consumed with planning, strategizing, and trying to figure out a way to not have to wait 5 days to get the letter from my former agency.  And in the midst of that scheming, I called USCIS.  I did keep it together with the very nice officer who answered the phone while I explained my plight to her.  She gave me the news I was hoping for- they would accept a scanned copy of the letter!  I then went into full on email/call/text stalking mode of my caseworker.  When she called me back, my emotions erupted like a volcano.  Thankfully, she is so kind and understanding and was completely willing to go into psycho mode with me :)  She was able to get the agency to send her the letter and in turn, sent it to me.  I printed it off and high tailed it to the post office to overnight it to USCIS.

Tuesday morning my stalking practices resumed and I was able to verify that the documents were delivered and signed for at 9:25 am.

:)

A little while later, I received an email from my caseworker.  THE BEST KIND OF EMAIL.  It contained 3 new pictures of sweet baby R- and she is SMILING in the pics!!!!  I SO wish that I could show you her adorable face, but she's not legally mine yet so I can't.  Here's a sneak peak of her adorableness:

Please note- I LOVE that her orphanage is so quick about requests.  I LOVE that you can tell she is cared for and loved.  And I LOVE that they put the kissing angels photoshop sticker on this photo :)
The first thing my Munni Bird said when she saw this was, "Mommy!  R has yellow sunglasses same like me!"  Ever the fashionista…noticing the accessories first!

While I was thrilled to receive these pictures, it also made me sad because she is changing so much :(  It's painful to know that she's experiencing so many of her firsts without her mama and big sister.  I am going to call USCIS tomorrow in hopes that I will find out that my officer approved my I-800.  PLEASE pray that the approval happened!!!  I'm praying that it happened so the next steps will be:

1) DS-260 Visa application
2) Article 5 (last piece from the US side)
3)  State level clearance (Ind*a)
4)  Federal level clearance (Ind*a)
5) Court
6) Written orders
7) Her passport issued
8) TRAVEL!!!!

In some cases, steps 3 and 4 happened simultaneously.  I'm praying this will be the case for her!!!
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement and please keep praying… God is answering!!