Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


Insurance - A Bit of Good News

I wrote yesterday's post with a fever and the feeling of the flu arriving and with rain pouring outside and the max temperature hovering at 55 degrees for the day.

This morning the fever is gone, the sun is out and...best of all...our insurance company made a personal wake up call!

My New Best Friend From Assu*rant He*alth: "Hi Amanda, this is so and so, I want to talk to you about this adoption form you sent us a month or two ago."

Me: (Very wary as I have been expecting that our private health insurance will reject pre-existing conditions for adopted children and thus jeopardize our entire homestudy and dossier which both require that this form be returned proving coverage for future child.) "Yes?"

MNBFFAH: "Well my dear I just want to know if we should send the form back to your adoption agency or directly to you." (Apparently my cover letter was lost in the 2 month shuffle it has taken to bring about this day at the insurance company.)

Me: "Well, first can you tell me what it says? I have been dying to know if we'll be approved."

MNBFFAH: "Oh my dear, well of course. Assu*rant has been covering adopted children just like biological children for the last 15 years. We can't deny coverage. I just went ahead and marked yes on this form and am sending a little letter attached letting you know you have 60 days to notify us of the adoption after the child is home."

Me: "What? You do realize I am not a group policy? I'm a private policy holder? Right? And some companies can make this difficult. Let me get this straight, if she comes home with some huge pre-existing condition (thinking to myself of exactly what we are planning and just how much an insurance company will hate to cover her) you are not going deny her service or coverage?"

MNBFFAH: "Of course not. We'll cover her just as if you had a biological infant. No exceptions."

We then have a long and friendly conversation about adoption and children and my newfound adoration of Assu*rant He*alth for coming through for me.

Yesterday Jeremy and I were contemplating finding a local Sta.rbucks job just to get group insurance coverage for this adoption.

Maybe I can't hate the week of July 26th, 2009 afterall.



Calling on Sara Groves again

It is Thursday and it has been a long hard week already. I don't have to say that very often thank God. But today I am just one disappointment away from turning off the lights and drowning myself in Indigo Girls circa 1993.

It's funny how you can never predict how a week will turn out. Sunday afternoon it was all looking bright and rosy...a path of happiness just laid out ahead of us.

But God was preparing my heart for the storm because although I blogged that
~Life is Messy and God is Good~
I hadn't had to live in those words just yet.

Blogs aren't always the right place to say absolutely everything.

But I will say this. The process of choosing a waiting child for adoption is a bit different from waiting for a referral. When you wait first I'm sure you feel the pain of every day dripping slowly by. When you choose first you risk loss after you've attached. Neither is very pretty or safe until the day they say "this child is legally yours now please go get her and adore her, amen."

So. You get the idea. That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday our church began to unravel over theological differences. As I read the relevant emails and learned what the fallout would be, chills ran up and down my arms. We just got here. We just felt home, finally. We thought our tiny extension of Pathways hiding in the Highlands was immune.

I am disappointed. I am angry at this stupid week of July 26th, 2009. And I am tired of being a sensitive person. Sometimes it would be nice to just not be that person - the involved person.

I may have to see if Jeremy would mind if I moved into a bubble and had him just deliver taco bell and wendy's and chocolate chip cookies to me till death do us part. (Death by fast food and cookies...mmmm...)

Last night just as Jeremy was about to hear me say some very unchoice words about this week a song popped into my head. Sara Groves interceding for me with God?

We are in very strange days over here in Denver!! You know you have moved into a whole new realm of "life is odd" when someone you've never met is your God-line. This is an odd little Amanda, God, Sara Groves triangle I'm in but hey, I'm not going to question it! The words really do SO fit.

Trying to choke back my frustration and listen...

When anger fills your heart
When in your pain and hurt
You find the strength to stop
You bless instead of curse

When doubting floods your soul
Though all things feel unjust
You open up your heart
You find a way to trust

That's a little stone that's a little mortar
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming

When fear engulfs your mind
Says you protect your own
You still extend your hand
You open up your home

When sorrow fills your life
When in your grief and pain
You choose again to rise
You choose to bless the name

That's a little stone that's a little mortar
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming

In the mundane tasks of living
In the pouring out and giving
In the waking up and trying
In the laying down and dying

That's a little stone that's a little mortar
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming

~Choosing to keep rising ... A


Life is Messy and God is Good

What does faith look like when you don't know where you're going?????

This has been my heart's question for months now. Ever since we picked up and ran away from DC to Denver. We had reasons to leave and general faith that we were doing the right thing but we sure haven't known where we are going. So how to continue having faith that you are doing the right thing?

Life is messy and God is good. When I heard it, I felt it in my soul.

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit." That is faith. Just trying to keep in step with God, even when we have no idea where we are going or what will happen in life.

I don't think it means (now theologically am going to make a major detour here from what some of my friends believe so hang in there) that God is in control of every move we make and every event in the world. No, God is not a God that kills parents, gives children HIV, and creates orphans. Not His plan. The world operates on free will, as proven by the never ending sad and catastrophic events around us, and so here we are making our own choices and weaving our own messy crazy lives.

But God has a will and often a redeeming plan for the sadness. No one finds God's will in a straight line. We take our circuitous route in life and we pray that through our mess and choices He will use us where He needs us.

This is getting preachy in my opinion. But it brings me around to adoption.

I have come to a realization over the weekend. God did not create an "orphan" for us.

But God saw that we would be a good family for a child who needs one and as we've wound our way around having children he has tapped on my heart to see if He can use us for a specific child.

I think if we rejected His tapping he would hopefully find another family to fulfill His redemtive plan for a child in need. And we would continue on our circuitous route and I believe He would tap again in other ways.

But we are trying to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. So even though adoption is hard hard work (our dossier packet arrived and man, I did NOT know you have to send every stupid document to the Se.cretary of State for authentication - what the heck?) we remember that no one finds God's will in a straight line and we just keep trying our best.

Sunday's sermon reminded me of one of the reasons I go to church which is to be real, hopefully hear God whispering a word in my ear or feel the tap on my heart, and to know that we are not alone. We are new here, but not alone.

Here are the things I love about our church:
It is not normal.
You don't have to believe to belong is the mantra.
We meet in a historic neighborhood theater.
We host Denver musicians on Sunday nights and congregation members come out to listen and support.
The kids church is in the lobby - it shares the space with the ticket office and a waffle restaurant.
Our pastor lives and plans to die in this neighborhood - he is commited to our community.
We are a bunch of neighbors who still don't know each other really well but we are trying hard.
We called ourselves slacker church for a long time - because we could only meet once/month - but in the fall we are going to become a weekly church and I am proud that we've gotten here.

The route is very circuitous but I sure am glad that for now it has brought us to Denver, to Pathways in the Highlands, and to, hopefully, our little girl.

Dad is here and we've been talking a lot of theology. Thanks for helping me wrap my mind around birth family loss and adoption as it relates to God's will.




I have been shooting off a lot of random prayers/wishes towards the universe lately.

And it bothers me. Because I believe in a God that answers prayers.

But ever since this adoption started I've been living in a half-panicked half-giddy state of mind. I can't seem to sit still and just be. And prayer really requires some measure of sitting and being with yourself. Yes, yes, I realize it doesn't always have to be like that. But don't you think God would prefer not to receive semi-screaching panicked giddy "thoughts" directed and shot off towards him as I drive around Denver singing Sara Groves at the top of my lungs?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if I could calm down and just sit and be for awhile?

Here are the most recent examples of complete mind meltdown:

We missed our flight to MN! As if we were completely rookie travelers. We forgot Jeremy's passport (he only has a paper license for now) and we were all the way there when we realized he needed photo id. Instead of just calmly calling an airline to figure out what to do I decided we should drive all the way home, in rush hour, to get the passport! And that wasn't the end of it. Several other odd errors in judgement lead to a complete MISS of the flight. Many prayers shot off to the universe to get us on the next flight.

Yesterday I found myself in Sunf*lower Mar*ket (well, I drove there but lately my mind is somewhere else and so I seem to find myself places) wandering the tiny little child section. I was being furtive and sneaky because I felt like everyone in the entire store knew that I didn't belong there, shouldn't be purchasing things for a future child, and was jinxing my entire adoption by selfishly fingering baby stuff! Admission time. I bought things. I bought more than one thing. I bought several. I bought wooden puzzles. I bought a tiny tiny Si.gg waterbottle with dolphins on it. I bought other things. Oh dear. The bag (yes, we are putting it all in a huge bag) is getting full already! (BTW, I feel compelled to say here that I promise we will actually create a room for this child!)

So I felt I needed to send up a few shots of prayer that I wasn't actually jinxing the adoption and that little #3 isn't at jeopardy due to my selfish purchasing desires. I just feel convinced that if I build up a little storehouse of child goodies I'll never get a kid to go with them. So, many prayers and wishes tossed out.

But I feel guilty and wish I could pray some sincere prayers to God for our adoption, the safety of our child, and for our friends and family who will need to adjust themselves and their expectations so much in all of this. Maybe the rest of you could say these prayers for me? I am assuming you are all much better at it and much less giddy-panicked.

I posted Sara's song yesterday, It's Going to be Alright, because it is the song that plays over and over in my head all day and all night. I think maybe it is God's answer to the panic-giddiness. A little gift. Actually, last night I finally slept.

Look, I know these posts can be vague and I haven't said much of any substance about the adoption. Thanks for so many good comments and emails!

In answer to a few questions:

We are going with Ethiopia, for now, as long as it all works out on that path.

We are open to changing to China if need be.

Our parameters are that we would like to adopt a child under 20ish months, with a very certain special medical need that we feel ready to handle, preferrably a little girl (we have our reasons but are open if that ends up not being the right direction.)

I have other information but I just can't post it on this blog. We have reason to be giddy-panicked though!!!!!!! I swear!!!!!!

Traveling baby waterbottle



Choosing our International Agency

We chose an international agency!

And that application process involved really thinking through exactly what we are looking for.

We are looking to be the last option for a child. The only option left before permanent life in an orphanage. In agency searching I realized how much I detested the phrase "we could find that child for you." It made me feel, whether true or not, like agency representatives are just combing the country and hospitals asking for people's children. I felt like I was talking about a commodity with some of the agencies I called.

We sent a pre-application to WACAP in February because we knew that they had subsidies available for special needs adoption (they have lost funding for this since then) but hadn't made a final decision. A phone call turned it around for me.

Last week I called the Ethiopia program manager at WACAP. I think she didn't initially realize that we are looking for a special needs child. She began by giving me a speech saying that we would need to be very patient, that they work within the community to help families keep their children, so we would need to be prepared for a long wait for a healthy infant.

I had to keep myself from laughing. Her words are our mantra. What a perfect fit. It was the sign I had been looking for. (I feel like so much of this adoption is searching for signs.)

So we are now officially a WACAP family!

On the full spectrum of care for children I really think that inter-country adoption should be listed well under placement with extended family, adoption into the local community, or local foster care. Who am I to believe that I would be better at raising a small African child than an African family??! But for some children, when all else fails, adoption is the only family option left. It is hard to wrap my mind around. That we so desperately want a child but at the same time, realistically, are the last rung on the ladder, after they have lost everything else, before permanent orphanage life.

Even though I work in this general field, the adoption brings it home, makes it personal, will connect us permanently to another family. It totally boggles my mind some days.

In other news...we have managed to shift the baby items from the dining room table, to the coffee table, to the kitchen in the last 24 hours. It is becoming a sort of Where's Waldo - Where are the baby things? game at our house. I just can't bring myself to clear off a shelf anywhere yet. I don't want to jinx anything!




We had the most amazing four days in Minnesota!

And we received three great gifts!

Gift 1: Sharing in the love, laughter and hugs of our friends' children. We needed that. Oh to be smothered for hours at a time in smiles and soft hair and star wars and boys hockey enthusiasm, twirly dresses, baseballs, dimples, and warm pajamas and pink cowgirl boots. We were blessed with the gift of child love for the entire day on Sunday and it couldn't have been a better reminder of why we're adopting our own ray of sunshine. On Monday in the airport Jeremy kept pointing out little girls. They were everywhere. Little girls all over the airport and everywhere we looked. The world has been taken over by little girls. I think he is smitten. ;)

Gift 2: Our first physical gifts! I have never, in 10 full years of wanting children, succumbed to the urge (ok, more than an urge, the overwhelmingly powerfully bizarre hypnotic trance inducing pull of the baby aisle at Tar*get) and actually bought anything for a "future" child. This weekend we were gifted with presents! Actual little sippy cup with giraffes, actual little tiny multicolored feeding spoons, actual little bright colored non-spill plates and bowls. BPA free. Oh my. It was surreal. I couldn't stop looking in the bag at all the little baby things. I carried them on the plane! I don't even know where to put them. They are lined up on the dining room table. Now what?? We don't even have a spot in the house for collecting kid miscellaneous!

Gift 3: Sara Groves. I received the gift of Sara Groves. More than cosmic coincidence I think.

I rarely RARELY have interest in a specific musician. Indigo Girls for a solid 18 years - check. Now Sara - check. So believe me I'm not a rabid fan for just anyone.

But Sara's music absolutely reaches in and touches my heart and soul. I think she must have been Indigo Girls inspired because I hear a lot of similarities in her social justice lyrics.

On Saturday night I was talking to my college roommate's boyfriend at our other roommate's wedding. I knew he was a musician but hadn't learned much more than that in the past. We were talking about his group and the tour he was on this fall, etc. I was maintaining very low to minimal interest when he mentioned a Christmas CD. I actually said "oh! I love new Christmas music, why don't you write down the name so I can look for it." and then think to myself "wait, no, I just bought Sara Groves' Christmas CD and haven't even opened it yet. Might need to hold off on more Christmas music for now." He says the name of the artist and the world stops for a minute, slowly spins around (could have been the dance floor spinning), and I seriously feel like I've just received the most beautiful God present.
Sara Groves. Aaron is her bassist. He tours with her. He is recording with her. He is friends with her. I told him that she reminds me of the only other major musical influence in my life, Indigo Girls, and he said she would feel the same.
When we first thought about adopting, before I even starting "feeding" it to Jeremy, I would land on adoption blogs and often hit on Sara's songs. Sitting in front of the computer I would cry these huge ugly tears that I never cry anymore. I really believe that God can use anything, especially good music, to teach us and to move us towards goals and plans we might never have had the courage to run towards on our own. Sara's music is my adoption anthem. My career anthem. She is the soundrack of my life in 2009.

Thank you for that gift. I can't wait to meet her and say it in person!



We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program...

for this announcement.

We're Minnesota-bound!

Home to see friends, share in a wedding in Stillwater, tube the Apple River, eat at Lea.nn Ch.in's in Ha.r Ma.r Mall, walk around Lake Calhoun and visit with the kids I used to nanny for in college. (Now they are in college!)
They are the base I built my best "mom" practice on and I think they came out pretty well if I do say so myself!




Thanks to the women who responded to my post so quickly tonight. I just got home and checked and I felt not nearly so alone in my thoughts and fears.

Thanks for being these amazing, blogging, caring, women who I feel I already know even though I wouldn't recognize you on the street.

Thanks for answering questions, connecting me with adoption groups, and allowing me into your very personal stories.

Thanks for...being here with me.

In case I haven't said it before...I'm reading along with you too!


Being Real

Being real is important. I think we can all agree.

So in the interest of being real I'm going to say something that maybe an adoptive mom shouldn't admit to. I don't know. I've never done this before. But something tells me that the people reading this - who are basically mostly blogosphere adoption friends - might have some advice/thoughts.

I have been nauseous (is that the right spelling?? Nauseated-better grammar?) all afternoon.
Do I know why?
Yes, the stupid gigantic afterthought multivitamin that I took on a half-empty stomach sometime in the middle of the day. Just when I think I've made friends with the multivitamin he stages a surprise attack.

This has lead me to get angry. Quite angry. Angry that I am nauseaus and laying on my couch nibbling peanut butter toast (the food I always assumed I would eat a lot of when I was pregnant) but not because I'm pregnant.

Thinking like this can lead down a very sour, bitter old woman type of road for me. I am feeling angry that some people who don't want kids get pregant, oops, by accident! That teenagers having sex for the first time get pregnant - thank you M.TV for showcasing this bitterness inducing example in your oh so aptly named 16 and Pregnant every week.

You get the idea. Sigh.

Then I feel guilty. Very very guilty that even though I want to adopt, and truly honestly always have from the bottom of my heart, I also still have this...more than desire...a yearning to experience pregnancy. To have a baby shower like the ten million I have thrown for other people. To get to hold a tiny baby when it first comes into the world.

I feel guilty that we put off trying last year to ensure that I wouldn't be too sick to travel for work. And mad that for some reason I assumed it would all work out in my timing. I feel guilty that my future adopted child might feel like second best/second choice (when that SO isn't the case...but still, it sounds like it doesn't it?)

I don't know. Yuck. I have a meeting tonight, for church ironically, where nobody knows anything about us - adoption, pregnancy or not, etc. and I guess I'll have to smile and pretend not to be nauseaus (nauseated). Fun.


PS. This wasn't the post I was planning for today but I guess a blog really doesn't follow any cosmic outline.


Questions of Color

Question 2: The Question of Color

The following comment arrived in my hotmail account yesterday and I asked the writer's permission to share here so that I can blog on this topic.

"I don't know if I could love a black, brown, green or blue child when I am so white. If we were in Walmart and we got separated, would I automatically always look for a white little boy/girl or could I learn to look for a child that is a different color than I am? If I were braiding her hair for a school picture, would I secretly wish that it wasn't so kinky? Would I have any desire to visit their homeland or understand their culture when the only places that I want to visit are populated by Caucasian cultures?"

Boy was I surprised to get this email. And then I realized, yet again, that maybe others feel this way but are embarrassed to put the thoughts into words.

I don't think there is anything embarrassing about these questions. We live in a society that while no longer segregated still has a long way to go before we could consider ourselves color-blind. According to the website Rainbow Kids, these are questions that come up frequently. Here is an article to prove it!http://www.rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=601

So here are my thoughts, which work for me, but I bet that different families would answer these questions in different ways.

First, I have learned, through experience, that when you intertwine your life with another person's life, you begin to see them with a different set of eyes. Maybe we could call them the heart and soul eyes.

An example from my foster care days:

One day my officemate and I were preparing a toddler for her visit with her mom in our office. Our supervisor was standing in the doorway and when the toddler left with her mom we continued to praise the child's beauty and charm which led to praise for ALL of our little foster kids' adorableness. Our supervisor said something that struck us as so strange. She said "I don't know why you think that little girl is so cute. She's just average, not a beauty queen or anything." We were SO surprised. We honestly thought she was lovely. But we realized that we thought "our" children were all so cute because we knew their little hearts. We knew which songs they wanted to sing in the car, how to cheer them up when they were sad, and we knew they thought we were safe and fun and looked up to us with big adoring eyes. It was a heart and soul connection.

Second, just like ducklings imprint on mommy duck, I believe that we will "imprint" on our child and vice versa. I don't imagine we'll ever get confused and look for the wrong child in Walmart. I think our child will be so imprinted on our hearts that it will be impossible to get confused.

As for the culture question I think that for some people this is also a question of experience. (For others maybe there is a natural interest but this probably is not the norm.)

We naturally think that what is normal to us is best. We've been raised in a culture that says America is best, English is all you need to know, the rest of the world is a scary and dangerous place. And if I never got on a plane to see it for myself I might think this way too.

Fortunately I have had half a lifetime of travel, particularly to developing countries, so in some ways I am a little ahead of the curve at least in terms of knowing for a fact that I can appreciate and celebrate diversity in people, song, dance, food, religion, language, norms, climates, animals and landscapes. We are designed to appreciate the difference but without seeing the world it can be easy develop a barrier of fear.

As adoptive parents we will see the heart and soul of our child and I feel sure that will help to create love and bonds. We will travel to his/her country to explore and appreciate so that there will be no fear. We will encourage our child to return. We will seek out other families that will appreciate our child's culture, language and even hair and will be able to give us advice and encouragement. For those that can't automatically appreciate I hope we'll be able to help break down that barrier.




Tonight we are watching Philadelphia. It's been so long since I've seen this movie and I had forgotten how powerful it is. It really signalled a turning point for our society and awareness about HIV/AIDS.

We have come so very very far. HIV is no longer a death sentence. It is considered to be a chronic, but manageable, disease not so different from diabetes. We were educated about HIV this past year.

Do YOU know that:

children who start medication early often have undetectable traces of HIV in their blood?

if being treated there is no reason that people with HIV can't live a full and long life?

universal precaution (ie. using gloves around blood) is practiced in all hospitals, schools and daycare centers?

the HIV virus is extremely fragile and dies very quickly outside of the body?

you cannot spread HIV through sharing a bath, your toys, a brush, a cup or bottle, a pacifier, or a kiss?

HIV does not need to be disclosed in the workplace, school, church or daycare center?

Do you know that despite all of the information we have now there are still people who say they would not let their child interact with an HIV+ child or adult? That there are still people who believe that HIV/AIDS is a curse from God and in some way deserved by the infected person?

There is a really special woman who writes a blog about caring for her adopted HIV+ children. She also writes about HIV in a really easy to understand way from the point of view of someone whose family is made up of both HIV- and HIV+ family members. Not many people blog publicly about their child's HIV status. But thank goodness someone does because we all still have a lot to learn!

I sent off our homestudy application today. It was a lot of work but a good preview of the dossier to come.



I Can't Sleep - Now THAT is not Normal

I have not been getting my eight hours every night!

I love to sleep so much that if I could make money as a pro sleeper I would. A mattress critic? An extra in hospital scenes of bodies in bed? I'm really not ashamed. I like to think of it as a super-skill.

But now I can't sleep. It started a couple of months ago and has progressively gotten worse.

At night when I lay in bed my brain starts talking to the heart and my body is stuck in between fully awake and wishing for internal earplugs.

Here are some of the things I'm worried about:

1. That we will not find the right international agency. Despite spreadsheets and emails and phone calls we still haven't chosen and time is drawing near. But this is the agency that will bring us a child. A CHILD! This is not online shopping or Q.VC! Here are my worries in no particular order: What if the agency can't find us the child we're looking for? What if the agency charges so much because money is getting into the wrong hands? What if the agency doesn't care about us or we find them to be frustrating? What if the agency can't get us through court? EVER? What if the agency is good but their field representatives are horribly corrupt? Who would even know??

2. If we don't choose a child from a photo listing of waiting childen then we'll be offered a referral. What if we receive a referral and in a moment of extreme selfishness and cruelty we just don't think the child is cute? Does this happen? How could it not? A photo is all you have to bond with before the real thing but what if we don't "feel" it when we look at the photo? How horrible will we be? Our child might be sick and sick children are not always the sweetest and cutest children. How will we know the right child for us?

3. What will we do with him/her after the first day home? After we've been to the local park? What will happen when it is time to watch Th.e Bach.elorette??? I assume he/she won't go quietly rest in the nursery so I can enjoy my reality tv.

I just don't know that I will be as good as the mommy bird in our yard. She lives for the 2 babies. Here is the way they spend their days - mouths open waiting and the squeaking and chirping begins if mommy is late for a meal. She spends all day flying to them and feeding them.

I REALLY think she isn't watching Sur.vivor or Am.erica's Next Top Mo.del in her down time...I picture her knitting little birdy caps, finding soft pieces to add to her nursery, and running through her strategies for flight training the babies. (We put some padded chairs under the nest in case this doesn't go well.) She is ALL about the babies. What if I'm not?



The Promise

"When does God begin a special plan in a life? Is it when he makes a promise or when he finally brings the promise to pass?" (from the Strength of Mercy)

I read this book last night in 2 hours. Today thoughts of promise and calling have been following me everywhere.

When I was 16 I volunteered in a migrant camp in Mexico full of children under 12. Anyone over 12 spent 18 hours each day in the fields working.

I was the girl they couldn't get back on the bus at the end of our week at the camp. I was the one with my hand through the fence holding the little brown hands on the other side. I was the one offering to give up my hairdryer if I could just stay with them. I was the one who didn't leave and go home and just resume life as normal.

I went home with these things:

A blue plastic bracelet. (A gift from Elena, an 11 year old in her last year of childhood.)

A promise God gave me that my calling would allow me to love and help children.

I thought I was bringing this promise to pass through a well-planned career. First working in social work with children and then in international development and child protection. I thought big. I thought global. I thought it was a good thing that finally, after so many years, I could travel and not want to give my life for every child in need. I could flip past the Fe.ed the Chil.dren ads on tv without batting an eye or shedding a tear. I hoped a stronger heart could help more children. I thought that was what I was called to do.

A part of me still pondered that individual connection.

Then I read a blog. A father describing how his little adopted daughter clutches food in her hands everywhere she goes. She sleeps with cookies in each hand, she rides in the car with crackers in her hands, her rare smiles are for food. She was hoping to find food wrapped under the Christmas tree. She is that scared that she will be alone and hungry again. She's 2 years old.

It completely broke me. I felt like I was reaching back through that fence in Mexico. God's promise came at a time when I was most susceptible to molding. It shaped who I am. But I forgot over the years how personal it was. This adoption process has brought me back to where I started. The desire to help children on a large scale is still there. But to be a mother, day in and day out in a child's life, to make sure that he or she is never hungry or scared again, never has to live life in an orphanage... That is redemption. That is fulfillment of a personal promise.

The words from Sara Groves (sorry for the Sara obsession - fyi I'm sure it doesn't end here) about redemption of life and work are so touching to me. Finally returning to my desire for a child through adoption has redeemed this life and work I have been so focused on. It brings meaning to my work for children and families. It connects both my heart and mind when I talk about ensuring that every child grows up in family.

I hope it is hard to find my child. I hope there are not enough children that need me. I hope he or she only comes to me as a very last resort. But when all of his/her other options have been exhausted we'll be here waiting for little 3.



The Right Words

My last post got long.

I think Sara Groves wrote the words I was searching for.

Lyrics - Add to the Beauty

we come with beautiful secrets
we come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
we come to every new morning
with possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
calling out the best of who we are

and I want to add to the beauty
to tell a better story
i want to shine with the light
that's burning up inside

it comes in small inspirations
it brings redemption to life and work
to our lives and our work

it comes in loving community
it comes in helping a soul find its worth

redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
calling out the best of who we are

and i want to add to the beauty
to tell a better story
i want to shine with the light
that's burning up inside

this is grace, an invitation to be beautiful
this is grace, an invitation

redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
calling out our best

and I want to add to the beauty
to tell a better story
i want to shine with the light
that's burning up inside...



Questions and Vulnerability

The first question/comment : Why share personal information so publicly?

Maybe a lot of people would never want to do that. Maybe that thought/question lingers in a lot of our friends' minds.

I honestly wouldn't be blogging if I felt I had nothing but myself to talk about. I've tried that and it is only entertaining when I'm living overseas. My U.S. "normal" life doesn't provide enough fodder.

First, I suppose I'm blogging for the same reason some people write books. I want to leave something in this world. I'd like to add something-to both the adoption story and orphan care story. All you can do is put your life and work out into the world and hope not to be judged too harshly. Hope that the reward of dialogue and community outweighs any risks that come.

I could be proven completely wrong but I am the eternal optimist and believe there is value in this public process. I know I have learned a lot and been greatly inspired by reading other blogs.

Second, bringing home an adopted child is very different from carrying and delivering a biological child. I know the process has been compared in many ways and emotionally are probably similar. But the facts are different. VERY different. And before we know who 'little 3' is and before we bring him/her home, I think we have this amazing period of time to better understand how this child will be different from a biological newborn.

For example issues like attachment and bonding, parenting a child of a different race, and medical issues we might expect are all things better shared before we arrive home and just expect our friends and family to "get it."

I have the opportunity to share resources, information, joys, questions and concerns here, while I wait, and in this way hopefully our child will be better supported and understood by our community of people when he/she makes an appearance in our life.

For now I leave with the image of our uber clean child-free living room. We'll have to enjoy our last few months of that cream colored rug...

And for everyone who asked about our trip to Santa Fe to find the perfect coffee table this is the 18th century window we restored and turned into furniture!

~ A


Throwing Caution to the Wind


Last night I sent this blog address to a small list of people.

And am pretty sure I swore my parents and sister to secrecy just a few days ago...

But we are throwing caution to the wind and telling everyone our big news!

In very J like fashion he said to me last night "why are you building this blog again but not sending it out to everyone?" When you put it that way the logic just doesn't hold up.

I'm not a happy secret keeper and I've kept this one for way too long on the scale of Amanda's ability to keep secrets.

So if this is your first visit just scroll all the way down and start with the first post to see why we are so excited.

Thanks for the comments of support so far!

Here is some eye candy from Colorado this past fall.
Maybe more than anywhere I've been Colorado reminds me of God's unique design for beauty.
It is a good place to be for inspiration.



Not Deterred

Driving the 4 hours home from Aspen last weekend we talked about horror stories. Yes, there are adoption horror stories. Stories of pain (on the side of the child and the family), stories of disruption and foster care placement, and stories that would make you weak with fear for your own idealized plan.

We heard one of these stories from a good friend while we were in Aspen. I try not to protect J from these issues. The truth is important in adoption and realistic expectations have to be part of the plan.

But I was nervous for the conversation on the ride home. To my surprise J did not flinch. Yep, he heard the story. Yep, he knows there are all sorts of possibilities for problems. BUT, he thinks we need to get educated and prepared and that is all we can do. Can't worry about every possible hurdle in life.

That is why I love him. I could worry myself sick over hurdles in life. But he does not and life is so much much smoother and calmer living like that.
These are the photos of our drive home over Independence Pass. Lovely. God created a lovely world to soothe the soul. Can't wait to share CO with little 3.

(The adorable small furry children are the babies that have gotten me through 10 years without. Feel free to compliment their beauty since our genes contributed so greatly.)

"Add to the beauty."



Def: A watershed is a critical moment in time. A turning point calling for action.

Our spring evenings leading to our watershed went something like this:

Me: "Let's go for a walk around the lake. The dogs really need the exercise."

(conversation on walk)
Me: "Sooo...how was your day? Good, oh good. Yes, hmm.
Well....I was looking at a few more adoption websites. So many sweet children waiting for families. Isn't it so sad that they have to wait just because they were born early, had surgery, (insert other medical issues here that we would not necessarily even consider special needs)?

J: "Interesting."

Me: "Yes. I mean. I'm not saying we have to adopt a child but if we want to be three there sure are a lot of little kids out there waiting for a family.... And you would be awfully good at treating medical needs.... I mean, you are so good at that kind of thing you definitely should have been a doctor." (insert sly smile)

J: "hmmm."

Me: "Ok, well I have just a couple of photos at home I can show you. It really isn't very hard to do a pre-application and then you can get more medical information. You know. Just to give you an idea of the needs out there..."

J: "I guess I could look at a photo or two. But we ARE NOT on an 'adoption journey'!" (J objects to this term which is used by several friends - no offense friends!)

And that is how it went for several months of walking. Instead of dinner I fed him adoption information. And slowly we walked to this turning point.

This is my husband. The man who swore he would never have children. Ten years of marriage and some serious crises of the soul later we are finally in the same place and ready to be 3. (At the risk of pushing my luck I am going to say at least 4.)

This is a photo of our application for our homestudy.
It is a lot of work but I am convinced we are breaking world records in speed.
(Has any couple ever rushed downtown to get fingerprinted so enthusiastically?!)
J actually called and scheduled my physical! Who could have predicted this?

We are taking a walk of faith believing that we were meant for family and that we will be good parents. That three cords really will be stronger than just two.

I hope you'll join me here regularly. I think this is the exciting time. I know there will be challenging times to come. Cheerleaders are so so welcome!


About Me

My photo
J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.