About Me

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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Somewhere in the middle

I go from one extreme to the other, one day to the next.  Either I'm wanting time to move faster, or I'm screaming for it to stop and slow down.  I guess you could say it's quite an awkward period of life.  Some days I wish I could find a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle.

Waiting through every step of the adoption is hard.  Emotionally, psychologically, mentally, spiritually hard.  There are so many "hurry up and wait" instances, that each time you're told there's one more thing to wait on actually ends up stealing so much of the joyful anticipation of finally bringing things to completion.  I'm so grateful for the four days we had with our son last summer--God knew we would need them as reminders to keep pushing through this never-ending maze.  God also knew that I needed to see how He had preserved our relationship with "Juan" over the three years of silence, showing us that our relationship will still be just as strong after yet another year of waiting.  I sure do miss him, though.  In this case, I wish time would move a little more quickly.

Then I'm reminded that David is about to begin the last month of his elementary school years.  We're nearing the end of our rides to school together every morning and our afternoons in my classroom after school gets out.  I cherish our morning conversations, singing Christian music together in the car, our deep theological talks, and blowing kisses to each other when he gets out of the car.  He loves school, and he loves his teacher.  I want us to savor every moment before the year ends.  I want time to slow down.

Yet after he gets out of the car and I get to my school, I'm reminded immediately of what a challenging year this has been.  Some years life gives you a class full of children who are eager to learn, eager to please.  Other years  bring you a class full of more issues than you're prepared to deal with.  I love each and every one of my kids, but they sure are difficult to teach as a whole.  The kind of challenge that starts the moment they walk into your door on the first day and doesn't end until they walk out your door on the last day.  That's the year I've had.  I'm sure my own emotional availability has played a part in that, as well.  But it's one of those years that I'm ready to pack things up and close the door.   I won't object to the next few weeks just breezing by.

Of course, that leaves me in a panic when I look at the calendar and see just how much needs to get done in such a short amount of time.  Is the extra bedroom ready?  Am I ready to spend several more weeks in Colombia?  Are my kids ready to move on to the next grade level?  Have we reviewed all the concepts they absolutely have to know? Am I caught up on all the end of year paperwork?  Have I let my students know, individually, that they are loved?  Have I made the impression upon each one that I was supposed to? I am running out of time that I can't ever get back.  Am I using each moment to the fullest or letting it slip by me, wasted?

Back and forth, from one extreme to the other.  Wishing time would fly.  Begging time to stop.  Somewhere in the middle would be nice.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A true hero

Yesterday was a pretty big day for us.  We started out the day remembering our sweet little Colombian girl on her eleventh birthday.  I hope her Mommy made it an extra special day for her, wherever she is.  People still tell me all the time that those kids never should have been split, but I'm not sure I can agree with them.  God had a purpose for her that obviously was not with us, or her brothers.  Who am I to say that the lady that adopted her didn't need her more and hasn't given her more than we could have?  I trust God enough to know she's right where she was always meant to be.  I have an incredible peace about that little girl. Still, we love her and are glad that her brothers have a family that knew and loved her so they don't ever feel like they need to forget her.  Maybe someday God will reunite them all again. 

Later that day, Mike headed to David's school to surprise him at lunch.  He got within two blocks of the school when he noticed smoke coming from a house.  He turned around to check it out and found the whole back of the house on fire! He called 911 and found out through a neighbor that a lady was most likely still inside.  After knocking on the door and banging on the windows, only to get no answer, they kicked the door down and found her still inside, oblivious to the fire.  He had to keep her from going back in to get her cats, who thankfully did not perish in the fire.  Mike said that once the firemen got the fire out, they brought each cat out, safe and sound.

Sadly, David didn't get his surprise visit at lunch.  I picked him up after school, drove by the burned up house, and told him about his daddy's day.  He decided proudly that his daddy had made the better choice.  Who knows, he may have saved that lady's life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One of my newest favorite songs


If there's ever been a year that I've embraced the introvert inside me, wanting to close the door and shut out the world for awhile, this has been that year .  Though our adoption has progressed positively since our first meeting with the men who denied us to see if they would reopen our case, the time and the energy spent on the process, and then the energy it takes to wait it all out have really taken a toll on me.

Next time (there better not be a next time), I think it might be easier to keep our mouths shut and not tell anyone else we're even in the process of adopting (except maybe a few close people who we know understand all the ups and downs of international adoption).  Truth be told, other people's insensitivity and ignorance of the process may just be the hardest part to deal with.  That's why the movie STUCK meant so much to us.  We finally felt like we were not alone.  We finally found other people in our shoes, walking this long, difficult, unpredictable road.

So, maybe the words of this song are a bit more raw than I'm feeling, but the main message is pretty clear.  I'm tired, and I'm worn.  I'm so ready to get back to Colombia (where I hear it's even more stressful to finish up the process over there), to get our son, and to bring him home so we can enjoy a few years with him before he becomes an adult.  I'm tired of dealing with people that don't understand how tedious and bureaucratic this process is, let alone how unpredictable it is.  It's not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A surprise blessing

So, tomorrow is Julian's birthday, and he will be twenty years old.  I felt bad that we weren't there to share it with him, nor had we sent a gift.  We've taken his birthday gift to him in June the last two years, so I assumed we would do the same--as soon as we get legal clearance to travel for adoption purposes. However, considering that he just found out a month ago that his own adoption was not going to work out, it saddened me that we hadn't done anything special for him.  Just because his brother's adoption keeps progressing doesn't mean that we love Julian any less.

When I asked him what he wanted (or needed) for his birthday, he specifically asked for a special kind of cream for his skin.  Odd request for a birthday gift, I know.  I actually had a tube of it sitting on the counter, so I mentally decided that we'll take it to him.

Then I got a surprise message this morning from our dear Colombian friend, saying that she was in Dallas--for the first time in years!  I felt so blessed to see her and talk to her again, letting her know of our progressing plans to return to Colombia as soon as we can.  I even asked her to do us the favor of taking Julian that little tube of skin cream for his birthday!  What a blessing!  (She's headed back to Bogota tomorrow.) God always has impeccable timing for bringing those unexpected miracles our way just when we need them.

So little, but so huge!  I feel so blessed and am once again reminded at how much God goes out of his way to care for the orphan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

So tender

I started to preview the DVD's for our next Bible study this evening.  So different from Beth Moore's dynamic and in-depth teaching that we get in many of our studies, but it's such a beautiful, tender study--helping us to see what many Christians completely miss out on--the act of falling in love with Jesus.  He really is our knight in shining armor, our prince who seeks us out individually, who came to rescue us from certain death.  He knows us personally and intimately, and He wants us to know Him intimately, too.  He longs for us, and He wants us to long for him, too. 

I look forward to this study, whether I am here for it or not.  God obviously chose it and has already hand-picked just the right group of women to study it together this summer.  I hope each of them find what we're all looking for--a real live love relationship with Christ. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

For real

So, it's all for real now.  We got our referral packet in the mail, offering us our son. We have officially accepted the referral, sent our acceptance to our agency, who already sent it to Colombia.  Still more paperwork for visas and immigration stuff, still more waiting, etc., but it's finally for real.

We didn't realize how much of the referral packet would have information about his siblings, both of whom we also know and love. We learned a lot about Julian by getting his brother's referral. 

The best part of reading all that information tonight was this very statement:

"The child traveled with his sister to the United States for the summer vacation program in 2008, but it was not positive due to the family's ineligibility."  Looks like God is still in the business of redeeming stories.

 Obviously the person writing that statement didn't know they were writing it directly to that "ineligible family".  

We got new pictures with the packet.  It may only have been nine months since we've seen him, but he's definitely grown.  I believe he's already taller than me....and David is not far behind. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

The sequel

So, I'm just about done writing the sequel to my first book.  It's still missing four poems that I either need to dig up or write to go with some of the chapters, plus it's obviously missing the final two or three chapters.  It's amazing how each book mirrors the other, always meant to go together. I asked God to give us a story to tell, and now He's given us two.   Thanks to my writer's group, I've gotten some help in fine-tuning my writing, as well as many different ideas as to how to go about getting the next book published.  It's been hard to concentrate on anything else for the last couple weeks, but I can rest now that I don't have anything more to add to the story yet.

Our agency sent our referral packet for "Juan" via Fed. Ex. today, so we are expecting it tomorrow.  We need to formally accept the referral and submit the documents to immigration with our I800 form.  They gave me a rough time frame to go on from here on out, but I never know how reliable any of those time frames really are.  We are just glad the paperwork is finally set to arrive at our home tomorrow. 

I know we're in pretty much the final stage, but I still catch myself wondering if it's safe yet to actually believe he's coming home.  This has been such a roller coaster, one I feel like I just rode all over again by writing it out over the span of twelve chapters, eighty-five pages (so far). I guess we'll wait and see how much more is left to write. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Moving along

My agency finally got the paperwork (our referral) from Colombia today, so they are reviewing it and said they'd send it our way asap.  Our next step--send it to immigration, along with more paperwork that I've been filling out.  We're definitely in the final stage here, but still more waiting time stands before us.

 I suppose it's good to not have to be leaving my class for so long during the school year.  I suppose it's good to not have to interrupt David's favorite school year of all.  I suppose there are a lot of positives here.  Yet I remind myself that he's already fifteen years old.  Precious time is just slipping away.

Still, I'm grateful that it's progressing and moving along--because last time, it didn't. (Read From the Mountain...to the Valley...and back! for that whole story.)

Speaking of moving along, our Bible study on James is coming to a close tomorrow night.  It's been a great study.  The Biblical history that I learned about James fascinated me.  The message of the book was pretty clear--live out your faith!  I also memorized quite a bit of the book--almost half.  According to Beth, it should take about five months to really learn it well,averaging a chapter a month, so that gives me another two months at least to finish it (if I can stay committed to the task).

My three favorite verses from James come from the first chapter.  Verses two and three--Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  And verse twenty-seven--Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I loved being part of the group, but I missed teaching.  I just wasn't near as passionate about being there or about the study as I am when I am teaching it.  I didn't teach in the spring because I thought this adoption would have moved a bit faster, taking me to Colombia around now.  So, now that we're moving along to our summer session, I signed up to teach and asked my friend to take over for me if I'm gone.  Our next study?  Falling in Love with Jesus, by Kathy Troccoli and Dee Brestin.  If you're local, I hope you'll consider joining us!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rolling the tongue

Big news in our house today!  David figured out how to roll his rr's!  He was looking at some pictures of Colombia, specifically our visit to Montserrate.  He tried to say it, and his rr's rolled out perfectly!  He's so proud of himself!  I couldn't do it correctly till I turned 20, so to me, it's a pretty big deal.  Just in time for big brother to come home and practice with him--now if we could just speed everything up to get him home.

I've made some excellent progress on Book #2 recently.  Very helpful for passing the time, keeping me from going crazy in this wait.  I'm so thankful for the writer's group I found because they've really helped me fine-tune my writing in so many ways.  I think attending that group is one of my favorite nights of the whole month!

School continues to be a real challenge in my classroom this year, but we're making it.  Thankfully, this year has been anything but a challenge for David.  He has enjoyed fifth grade to the fullest, and the best of the year is yet to come!  This month is full of STAAR testing, but he's off to fifth grade camp in mid-May.  He couldn't be more excited.  He loves his teacher and will miss him greatly.  What eleven year old athletic boy wouldn't love a male teacher in his late twenties who plays football and soccer with them at recess?  (He's awesome in the classroom, too. :))

Mike is busy working on some much needed repairs on the house, things we couldn't do throughout the adoption process until we started to catch up again financially.  He's doing a great job, and I'm always so amazed at the things he just knows how to do.

We're also getting ready to celebrate our 14th anniversary on the tenth of the month, followed by Julian's 20th birthday four days later.