September 4, 2014

Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee

Much of my life, things have come quick and easy. Especially in regard to big decisions. God knows I am indecisive by nature. When picking a college, that was easy: the biggest school I could go to and the cheapest (thanks UT! GOVOLS!!!). God was again clear and direct when choosing whom to marry. From the moment I met Luke (and to this day) I am 100% sure that he is God's best for me as a spouse. Luke and I decide to start a family and literally 9 months later (10 if the doc's would be honest, because 40 divided by 4 is 10. ahem.), there was Sam. In much the same way, along came Ms. Caroline. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. My way, right away.  Once we decided to do something, I'm not sure I even committed much time to pray about it. I mean, I would throw out the "please let your will be done...keep my baby safe...etc" but to be honest, they were prayers like warding off a curse or passing on a chain letter. "if I don't pray and ask, then God might make my baby ugly." Which is ridiculous (Sam and C say 'ridiclious,' and we are trying to keep that one cause its too cute) because all newborn babies are ugly...except mine of course.

As we began the adoption process (a phrase I'm starting to loathe, I've used it so long), we approached it much as we had always approached big decisions. We felt led to go in this direction, and because it wasn't a typical decision like going to college, having kids, etc. we took it a bit more prayerfully. When we were pursuing China, we prayed over our paperwork before we sent it in. On sleepless nights I would pray for the orphans there and the families faced with these decisions. However, since with China you are basically in one long line, we didn't think about it a ton. It was nowhere near the front of our minds because we knew it would be about 4 or 5 years. However, the line grew (and sadly continues to grow) slower. Our 'doable' window started expanding to 6 years, then 7. For the first time, Luke and I looked at each other, a bit shocked (picture minions: 'whaaaa?'). This isn't quick nor is it easy: we must have missed something. Did we not do the right things? How is this not working out the way we thought? We were forced to face reality and this began a real faith struggle. When God doesn't behave like the American Dream (the one where you do the right thing and things work out perfectly just the way you wanted when you wanted), what do you do?

Options:
1. Cut bait. We tried to do the right thing. This must be God saying 'no'
2. Stay in line and hope for the Chinese government to grow a heart (NOT LIKELY, BUT THANKS FOR COMING OUT!!)
3. Get pregnant
4. Explore other options

If you read my 'letter to myself' after having Caroline (its in my blog somewhere) you know that pregnancy is great, but we felt called to adopt. Considering the Chinese government is so darn consistent, we weren't holding our breath for them to speed things up. Neither of us had a peace about cutting bait. So we began to do something that we hadn't really REALLY done before: pray about other options and for God to lead us where to go from here. I wouldn't say our hearts were open open, but there was a crack. If you want to read about how we came to the decision to do domestic open adoption through CPO, here ya go and here ya go. Open adoption is such an amazing gift to everyone involved and I love this ministry.

However, I'm learning that God was/is not looking to change how our family looks as his end goal. He wants to change how I look. Regardless of the outcome of this adoption journey (yet another phrase that is beginning to wear because it feels more like one of those 100 mile mega marathons that only crazy people run), I know we are in the right place. There has been growth and a dramatic shift in my relationship with God, with Luke and definitely with my kids. I don't know about infertility, but I know the agony of the wait and the unknown. I don't know about miscarriage, but I know the sadness of 'not this time.' I don't know a perfect relationship with God, but I know closer and I know more than I did before. I don't know what it was like to be Paul, but I know what its like to have God step in and change what you thought you knew...

...Boy that was a long and winding path to get back to the title of this post!

He is working. We are waiting and growing. We are thankful.


So there it is folks. Probably WAY MORE than you wanted in an adoption update. We've got our boots on, and we're walking, and we are going to keep walking until He's done.

If you have made it to the bottom, I owe you, like, coffee or something. Whew!

Peace Out,
Michele

Notes to any editors or english majors out there:
1. forgive my copious amount of commas and parenthesis. I often think in parenthesis.
2. I never got (NORDOICARETOGET) the It's vs Its rules.
3. Sorry for that last set of parenthesis

September 30, 2013

Sweet Caroline Turns Three

A moment to gush over my little girl...

She turned 3 on Sunday and she is a firecracker! She is funny, actually, she is witty. She doesn't know she is being funny, but the way her mind works is so quick.

She loves twirling and we do it often. She loves dressing up and when she and her girl friends play its so loud and squeally. When Sam and his buds play its Lego's and so quiet (and that, by the way, is pretty awesome), but the squeals are fun too! Her vocabulary is out of this world.

She is a snuggler!

She wants to be older than she is or just wants to do everything when Sam does it, but I love how old she is now. She says, so and so "is my best friend." We don't really speak about friends by rank, so I asked her who else was her best friend and she listed off almost everyone she knows including "Jesus and God." She cares intensely for people.

She loves painting and chalk and her daddy. They go on dates and she gets this very grown up air about her when she reminds me that "no, mom, I have a DATE with daddy in the morning"

She LOVES Rufus, much to his chagrin. If I don't say "Caroline, please get off the dog" at least 5 times a day, its shocking.

Completely unprompted, she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She uses my stethoscope from PT school and she puts it on my belly and says, "mom your heart sounds good, but you need a pill"

Oh, I just love her so much. God has blessed us with Caroline.

Peace Out,

 Michele

August 25, 2013

Summa Tiiime

I was looking back and I haven't updated since June! Oh my goodness so much has happened since then!


  • We went to Tennessee to visit my family which was so great! I love my family and they are always there for us. Of course the kids had a blast hanging with their cousins, setting off fireworks and going on adventures in the woods.
  • We went to the mountains. Oh man, I love Breck in the the summer. We went panning for gold and visited our dear friends. There was a rodeo and Sam and Caroline did the Sheep Scramble. Every time we go the kids beg to go on the gondola. We ride it up, walk around, then ride it down. Its thrilling.
  • Swimming! We have a pool walking distance from the house. Both kids made HUGE strides in swimming this summer. So much so that Sam did his first mini-triathlon. It was the freaking cutest thing ever! He finished and the next day was like, "mom, I want to do another one. When is the next one?" Caroline is becoming a fish as well! Sam better watch out next summer.
  • Camping. We went up to Breck again later and camped with some good friends who have a pull-behind camper big enough to house both of our families (They have 3 kids). I have never been so warm while camping and I never want to camp in anything else. I have been wholly spoiled. They had a bathroom IN the camper. AWE. SOME.
  • Now brace yourselves...this is big... I watched all of the Harry Potter movies. I know! (as you can see my summer has been a non-stop thrill ride). I have never read the books nor seen the movies, so I figured I'd watch the movies first so I wouldn't hate them, and then read the books. They were actually really fun and I didn't feel like I needed to take a shower afterwards, so there's that. It took me a few months, but it was worth it.
  • Sam started Kindergarten. He is going 1/2 day everyday and he is loving it. Caroline is not so excited, but I'm trying to spend really intentional time with her while he is gone.
  • Adoption update: NOTHING. Seriously, not a thing. I will do my best not to be a whiner, but I hate HATE not being able to plan. I'm not even a huge planner, but at least with China, I knew where I was in line. This is completely random. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year. My goal is actually not to think about it. Of course I pray about it, but I don't want to question God's goodness nor his perfect timing. Living in the moment vs. in the future is very tough right now, but I'm getting better at it. I do have times, though, where I am just frustrated with it. I feel like now would be a great time, but ultimately I want God's plan, not mine. And some of you might be thinking, "didn't you just turn in your book in like april or may?" Answer: Yes, and aren't you great at math, it has only been 4 or 5 months, but it feels like FOREVERRRR. And you're like, "you're killing me smalls!" (did you see what I did there? with the reference to the movie? I'm very quick that way).
So, if you are prompted at all to pray for us in this area, here's a few ideas:
  • That I would live in the present, not the future
  • That God would prepare our family for whatever he has planned
  • That I would be patient
  • That His plan would come about sooner than later
Thanks!


Peace Out,
Michele

June 24, 2013

OoooooooK-LA-HOMA!

You sang the title, didn't you? And probably the next few and then no one really knows the words after that, you just start making words up.

The old me is very passive. Life tends to happen to me, I don't make life happen. That is, until I married Luke. Luke, as you might know, is a "doer". So when I was looking into the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach in Oklahoma, the old me would have said, "three day training required? hmmm, no, this agency is not for us. I mean we don't even know anyone who lives there. We've never even BEEN there. How can we go to a training there? THATSCRAZYTALK! Stay in Colorado. Its safe here. Passive...yes." So you may be surprised (or maybe not) that this past week, our family hopped on a plane to Oklahoma.

It may sound silly, but God is so patient and is really starting at ground zero with me when it comes to stepping out in faith. It is really difficult for me! My initial reaction is, so many times, a quick and thoughtless, "no." No thanks, God, I'll stay here where its safe. God is bringing me to a place where I can say, "ok. not super sure where we are going here and certainly not sure how we are going to get there, but here we go, and ok lets take one step at a time."

I may not see whats around the corner or through the next door, but I am relying on my sweet shepherd to lead the way!

So, Oklahoma is actually not ugly. I thought it would be. Let me clarify. Tulsa is not ugly. I can not speak to the rest of the state. There is red dirt and oil pump things and lakes and ponds. There are cows and horses, and green rolling hills. It kind of looks like middle Tennessee. There are a lot of Mazzio's Pizza joints. They are really terrible. Someone could make a killing if they put a good pizza place in there. I'm sure there's one somewhere in town.

The adoption workshop was held at a church. There was childcare for the kids on site. It was really put together well. There were no pointless sessions, and they mixed it up as well. There were sessions on tax credits and the legal adoption process, we also heard from adoptive parents, birth moms, young adopted kids, and older adopted kids. We heard from people who adopted many different races, who waited a long time, who waited a short time, and who adopted special needs kids. One of the main things I took away was that this is not a traditional adoption agency. It is a ministry to women. They find families for babies. Their goal is whatever these moms want to do. They counsel them, support them and help them accomplish their goals regardless of if they choose to parent or not.

We as adoptive parents are also expected to maintain a supportive presence in these women's lives. Not because we have to or are required to, but because its the right thing to do. That is going to look different circumstantially, but it is what this ministry strives for: to restore these women and show them Jesus.

Overall, it was such a great weekend. It was encouraging and a reality check. I am so glad that we got to go, meet with other adopting families and learn more about this ministry that we get to be a part of.

Peace Out,
Michele

June 16, 2013

Next Step: Training In Oklahoma

So, here's the deal: I'm sick. I have had a fever since yesterday and every bone in my body hurts. My skin hurts. Then, I take 200 mg of Ibuprofen and it has totally taken the edge off. Most of you probably would head straight there, but I really don't like taking meds. I'm still baking, but not aching. Look at that-I'm well enough to bust out a mad rhyme.

All that to say, I am sitting here in bed and I have ample time to update you on our progress. I haven't looked back at my last post, but to bring you up to speed:


  • We have turned in our life book, home study, etc. Everything is set and birth moms have access to look at our book if we meet their criteria. 
  • There is quite a bit of required reading, which at first was annoying, but now I find that it is so helpful. The books aren't crazy long and each provides a different perspective. I have learned a lot through them. The books dispel a ton of common myths about open adoption and adoption in general. 
  • This week, we head to Tulsa for our required workshop. It is about 3 days and it is boot camp for adoption. For example, we will hear about the legal process in OK, interracial families, relationships with birth moms, etc. 
I have been to Oklahoma exactly one time while driving to TN. Thanks to the signs off I-40, I have been appraised of the various celebrities from the Sooner State. We are flying to Oklahoma, so if anyone has any ideas for things to do with our kids that only takes a few hours, let me know!

Please keep praying for birth moms who might be considering our family!


Peace Out,

Michele

April 14, 2013

Things Pinterest Has Taught Me (oh, there are many)

Things Pinterest has taught me:


  • I should read Harry Potter and watch all the movies and look for all the crazy details that make everything come full circle...like a winner
  • I am not, nor will I ever be creative on my own, and thats ok
  • I need a chicken coop on my 1/16th of an acre
  • If you are going to look super skinny, its best to have HUGE perky boobs. Makes you look much skinnier
  • Cats and dogs. Dogs and cats. They say the darndest things!
  • People are super obsessed with baking and exercise
  • Sewing is easy! I swear! That's why I bought a sewing machine on a whim! And the creativity and fashion sense comes with the purchase. True story.
  • I should be doing at home science experiments, feeding my kids only "real food," and making sure they have the book of Galatians memorized by the end of the week
So what has Pinterest taught you?


Peace Out,
Michele

March 10, 2013

Chuggin' Along: an adoption update

So here we are again with our adoption journey. What a crazy ride it has been so far! I feel like I need to update the ole' blog so I don't forget this stuff.

Between the time that we were looking at the in-state agency and now, we were introduced to another agency. It is out of state, but after researching them and what they do, and how they do it, we decided to head in that direction. I got on their website, and before I filled out anything, I called to make sure they were accepting applications. Thank goodness they were, so we sent it in before things changed. A week or so later (after an interview via skype) we were accepted. Then we received word from our international agency that we needed to update our international home study. This was in December. Luke and I had a very long talk about China.

From the beginning of our marriage, we thought that we would adopt a child, and that child would be from China. The time lines are just getting longer and right now, to adopt a non-special needs child, we are looking at 8-10 years. Caroline would be almost done with elementary school. The child would essentially be an only child. Now, as we have decided to seek out domestic options, we are faced with literally closing the book on this part of the journey. So after much prayer and peace from God, we did just that. Officially.

At the same time that occurred, we transferred our international home study to a domestic home study. We also made our Life Book that birth mothers look at to see if they want to consider our family for their child. Both of those things will arrive at the out of state agency in the next week or so. Then they start showing us to birth moms whose criteria we meet.

We have no idea how long or short this will be. We have no idea what God will do in our life during this section of the journey. We do know that we are sitting squarely in his hands and we are excited for what he has to teach us!

We will be praying for all the birth moms who look at our book and consider us for their child. That they would make good and healthy choices and that God would work in their lives to bring the moms closer to him. Please feel free to join us, as we covet any and all prayers!

Oh, and here's some irony (I think its irony, at least)...no more than a year ago, we were dead set against domestic adoption and especially against open adoption. I mean adamantly against (for our family, not as a rule). I remember praying, "lord, please don't ask us to do domestic adoption." And now, we are so excited! Funny how God changes things.

Peace Out,
Michele