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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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Restless

Some days I find myself much more restless than other days.  Today seemed to be one of those days.  I miss him and hate how long this process has to take.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A huge step closer

We got good news from our attorney today that the official, long awaited referral for "Juan" is on the way.  This is definitely something worth celebrating.  Could still be at least another two months before we can actually see him, but without it, we'd never be able to complete his adoption.  Praise God!!!!

She called me "Daddy"

I've been called "Mommy" accidentally on many occasions in my classroom, but yesterday was a first to be called "Daddy".  Actually, it was one of the most touching moments that made me want to cry.  The other students chuckled, of course, wondering how I could be accidentally confused for a male parent.  However, this little girl happens to have no mom in her life.  Cancer stole her mom and a huge part of her heart three years ago, and her dad has let me know that only this year has she even taken an interest in learning.  She's a handful, but so hard not to love.  Just seeing the spark in her eyes, knowing what she's been through, is enough to tug on your heart strings and make you just want to hug her.

So, with that being said, when she accidentally addressed me as "Papi" yesterday (Daddy), I took it as quite the compliment.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mission Waco

Today is David's last day of his mission trip to Waco.  I hope the trip absolutely exceeded all of his expectations, too.  By the looks of the pictures on the Mission Waco blog, it looks like the kids have not only had a great time, but have also really done a lot of hard work to help others.  Here is a link to the blog if you want to see what he's been doing with his spring break.  I only found David in three of the pics.     http://surge-missionwaco2013.blogspot.com

One amazing day

Photo

You know, sometimes you look forward to something for so long, and then before you know it, it's over.  You're somehow let down, as if the day just didn't quite meet all the expectations you had for it.  Well, that's exactly what DIDN'T happen yesterday as the STUCK tour made its way through Dallas.  I'd have to say it exceeded all my expectations and left me with a great sense of satisfaction.

The day started at Chick-Fil-A for breakfast where we got to meet the rest of the volunteer team (that we'd only ever met through conference calls).  We each had a chance to informally tell our stories to each other and to the producer of the film/founder of the movement.  We sold merchandise, bought our own t-shirts, held a sign outside, and even got some customers going through the drive-through to sign the petition that's headed to Washington D.C. for the March for Orphans.

After that, we all headed to a local church where they hosted a luncheon for the leaders and volunteers and also held a carnival to celebrate the concept of family.  At the luncheon, Mike and I got to join four other families up in front so we could tell our story of how we and our children are stuck, stuck being separated from one another for years now because of a complicated process.  Our story held the most hope because Colombia doesn't have the issues in their process that the other countries represented do (we were just one of the few who had such a bad experience).  However, "Juan" has been stuck in this system way too long, especially when he knew that there was a family who has loved him and wanted him all along.  We just want him home already, and we're so grateful to know we have such a great attorney advocating for these final steps to speed up.  Truthfully, after hearing the other stories from the other families up there with us, our story didn't even pale in comparison to how stuck their children really are.

After the luncheon and carnival, we headed to dinner where they had a Celebration of Families "party" and another two couples shared their stories.  The best part was just connecting over dinner with so many other people that have a heart and passion for children without families.  Over lunch, we sat with a lady who has family that adopted from Bogota', Colombia, and then over dinner we, we sat with a man who works with a local adoption agency that has programs in Colombia.

We pretty much had to race across the street to the theater after dinner in order to make it in time.  We're proud to say that Dallas has had pretty much the greatest turnout so far!  Thank you, Dallas!  Before the film started, Craig gave a bit of the history and passion of how and why the film was made. The actual film was so incredibly moving and heartbreaking at the same time.  Of course, I cried throughout most of it because I could relate so well to many of the situations, especially the heartache that you can feel for a child that's forced to be separated from people who love him.  When the film was over, Craig did a question and answer session about the film so you could know more of the behind the scenes aspects of how it was made.  Then yet another family shared their personal story about their child who has been stuck in process for 7 years.

International adoption is complicated enough, but then when you hit roadblocks, it takes that complication to a whole new level.  It is one of the loneliest roads we've ever walked.  People all around you think you're crazy for continuing to fight through the process, but they just don't get it.  They don't get the love and commitment you have for a child that you know is your child.  What the day's events and the film did for Mike and I was just to know we're not alone.  There are other families who are fighting for their children and who are refusing to give up.  They get it, and we all agreed that we were so encouraged to finally have someone else to truly connect with.

If STUCK has not come through your area yet, please, please, please make arrangements to see it when it does.  Having the chance to meet the producer and stay for the question and answer time will make it worth the time.  If you missed it, go to www.stuckdocumentary.com and watch it online.  If you know anyone who is walking the international adoption road, you will gain so much more understanding and compassion for them and their children.  To see the tour schedule, go to www.bothendsburning.com.




Thursday, March 14, 2013

This event just keeps on growing!!!!

Here it is, the official flyer for Saturday's events as the STUCK bus comes through Dallas.  It's been neat to follow the STUCK blog to see how the momentum is growing after the showing in each city.  Mike and I are super excited to be part of the Dallas team.  We sadly have done very little in all of the preparations for the event other than advertising, but we are looking forward to volunteering with all of the events from early in the morning till late at night.

Do you believe every child has the
fundamental right to have a family?
So do the 10 million children worldwide
who are growing up in institutions.

The film, Stuck, is raising awareness of the
problems with international adoption. The film &
call to action are coming to Dallas on March 16th

8:30 - 10:30 Free chicken biscuits at Chick-Fil-A
2652 Old Denton Rd in Carrollton
11:30 – 1:00 Church & community leaders’ lunch.
1:00 – 3:30 Family fun carnival at The Ridge Church
4561 N Josey Ln in Carrollton
5:00 – 6:30 Celebration of Families Party
Macaroni Grill at Stonebriar
7:00 – 8:30 Stuck premiere at AMC 24 Stonebriar

Email: stuckdallas@gmail.com for info on these events.
Sign the important petition online at
www.bothendsburning.org
Or text ORPHANS to 67463



It's neat to see how God has turned what was once our greatest pain into such a passion.  We know all too well just how STUCK some of these children are.  Waiting to complete "Juan's" adoption is hard, but we're okay.  It gives us time to finally begin to recover from all of the expenses of the U.S. side of the process while beginning to rebuild our savings for the Colombian side and for the future.  However, knowing that "Juan" just waits, not even knowing that he's closer to coming home than he has ever been before--it breaks my heart.  I feel like he's just stuck--stuck far away and out of touch with the people who love him the most.  It's just not fair.  His life just keeps going, time that we could and should be together as a family just keeps ticking away, while we still wait on paperwork to be matched up right, translated, and sent to the right places. Ugh.  I feel like every little step seems to take an eternity.  Too many i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed, if you ask me.  But what can I do other than pray and wait for God's timing--and advertise for this tour so we can at least get the government's attention for the need for a better system.

I hope to see some familiar faces at one, several or all of the events!

Off to Mission Waco!

Today was a quieter day.  I made banana bread for breakfast, David finished packing, we played some Skipbo, ate lunch, went out for ice cream, played some more Skipbo over an iced coffee that we made at home, and then he was off!  They should be arriving in Waco about dinner time, will have an orientation, and will enjoy the evening.  Tomorrow they start their work/service projects and then get to enjoy each evening.  Sunday they will go to church at the Church under the bridge.

I sure am growing as a mom because I still remember how it broke my heart to see him drive away for his first week at camp.  Now with two years of camp and one mission trip behind us, today wasn't as hard on me as it has been in the past.  I loved seeing him so excited to go.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring break adventures

I am not much of a planner anymore.  I just kind of go and do, with little plans in mind.  "Let's see what we can make of the day, and let's see where the day leads us."

Yesterday we wanted to go see the new Perot museum, but when I went to order our tickets online, we found that the place was pretty much booked.  We were disappointed, but I woke up in the morning and decided we were going to make an adventure out of our day anyway.  I woke David up and said, "C'mon!  Let's go jump on the DART train, head to Dallas, and get off at a park so we can go for a hike or something."  So, we ate breakfast, packed a few things in a little backpack, and we set off.

We hopped on the DART train, and we got off at White Rock lake.  We walked for quite a while, enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and the fresh air, fed some ducks, stopped for a snack out of our backpack on several occasions, and then we walked back to the DART station to continue our adventures elsewhere.  We got off two stations later, which dropped us off in uptown Dallas. We spent the rest of the day riding the free trolley, eating pizza, exploring the Dallas Museum of Art (free on Tuesdays!), walking through Klyde Warren Park, and just walking all over the place.  We had a blast together.  Some people think that the downside of having an only child is that your child wants to do everything with you because they don't have a playmate.  I find it quite satisfying, that my child truly wants to do everything with me.  We have a very special bond together and love hanging out together, just the two of us.

We were going to go out for a treat before heading back home, but we decided to wait so Mike could join us later.  So, after dinner, we all three headed out to get ice cream together.  It was such a fun day, but by nine o'clock, we were all ready to hit the sack.

Today we're staying close by on our bikes to enjoy the beautiful weather, plus David has to pack to go on his mission trip tomorrow.  He's super excited, and I'm so glad that he gets to go again this year.  Last year he loved every minute of it, and he learned so much about serving others by doing tons of yard work and volunteering in a homeless shelter.  There's a different leader this year, but she's great, so I know she's going to be just as great with the kids as the other guy was.






For a day with nothing planned, I'd say we made the most of it and weren't too disappointed. :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

You're already there

This song came on the radio the other day while David and I were on our way to school.  I turned it up and told David that I loved this song.  He quietly listened to the words and then said, "Wow.  This really tells our story."  I love that.  He really gets it.

Officially official

Lots of things became official this week.  Yesterday I started feeling crumby as I got rained on at the end of David's soccer game, and this morning I am officially sick with a very bad cold. :(

Tuesday we received our translated copy of our approval from Colombia.  I didn't really think to celebrate just yet because it doesn't mark the end of the process, nor does it give me a date to travel to Colombia to be reunited with our boys.  However, it was a piece of paper that was actually very significant because not only was it the piece of paper we never got the first time around, but it also was officially the very first one to ever be issued after a case was officially closed.  So, that being said, it was a piece of paper worth celebrating, and it sure feels good to know we are no longer that family that couldn't get approved.  It would have been nice to know all the rest of the paperwork for "Juan" came with it, but alas, we still wait. One step at a time.  That's all we can do.

However, Tuesday also marked the end of our extension time with immigration (U.S. side) to include Julian.  I know this is all a confusing mess to all of you that don't have a clue how the international adoption process works, but Julian's case was completely separate from yet completely tied to "Juan's".  We couldn't even petition for Julian to come here without the approval to adopt his younger brother.  With that approval, we needed to submit specific documents for "Juan", the specific documents we're waiting on now.  We were supposed to submit them at the same time as our petition for Julian's visa.  Because of a deadline written into the immigration website, we had to submit Julian's back in November, and immigration was kind enough to give us all the way until March 5th to get "Juan's" paperwork submitted, as well.  That didn't happen, so we were finally forced to drop our case for Julian.  Our immigration officer has been very kind to us through this whole process and was saddened to hear that it didn't work out, but yesterday we got the official paperwork from immigration stating that the case for him was no longer in existence.

I'm not sure how I feel at this moment.  I'm saddened for Julian, yet surprisingly relieved, as well.  Relieved to have some closure and stop wondering if he's coming or not, relieved at not having to face the financial pressure of adding him and his schooling to our already minimal income level, and relieved at not facing the struggles that were inevitably going to come with trying to parent and mentor an adult who has never had such an influence in his life. I love him and adore him, but it looks like his future is in Colombia, not here.  He is currently studying what he is already very passionate about, so it will be good not to interrupt those studies, anyway.  However, with all of that said, I'm still left a bit bewildered at why God had us push forward to try to adopt him, despite all the odds, adding so much extra stress and complication to this whole process, only to officially close the door on the very day we got our official approval to complete his brother's adoption.  I know there was a reason, but for now we're left wondering why.

Friday, March 8, 2013

So, so proud!


I think I need to take another blog entry to brag on my son again!  This morning Mike got a phone call from David's principal letting him know about an honorable choice that David had made earlier in the week.  David is a safety patrol volunteer, and while on duty, he found a wallet on the ground.  David very honestly turned it in to the office, even after noticing that there was money inside it.  Little did he know that the owner of the wallet actually had enough cash in it in order to pay both his rent and his car payment!  

The principal said that he knows that many other people that might have found it would probably never have turned it in.  They were so proud of David that they wanted to let us know, as his parents, and then they also treated him to a Chick Fil-A lunch at school!  I'm so glad that they went out of their way to recognize him because it shows that they want to make sure that good values are noticed and honored.  

After the principal called Mike,  I got an e-mail from his teachers.  Here's just an excerpt of what they had to say:  

 As teachers who see our students every day and witness countless decisions on a daily basis, stories like his are not only becoming harder to find, but more inspirational to others. I am simply blown away by his honesty and integrity. I don't have children of my own, but I hope that one day when I do I can feel the amount joy and pride that I'm sure you and your husband feel as his parents.
 
I know he didn't think anything of it. I know he thinks we may be over-reacting in our praise for him, but wow! His kindness has taught many students (and adults) a lesson I assure you that we will never forget.
 
Just wanted to share with you how amazed and proud we are to be his teachers!

When I got that e-mail, I thought back to an incident when David was about 8 years old.  He found a ten dollar bill in the bathroom of a local store.  We talked about how there was no way we could give it back to the person who lost it, so we should just give it to God and trust that God would give it back to them in some way.  He very proudly put that ten dollar bill in the offering at church, and God blessed him within days by having a friend invite him to an event that we could not have afforded to take him to.

I mention my memory of that incident because when I picked David up after school today and immediately began telling him how proud I was of his actions, he said that the bathroom incident when he was 8 years old probably led up to him making a similar decision that now involved several hundreds of dollars.  Interestingly, he'd made the same connection with the past as I did.  He still remembered that decision now years later. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We made history!


Our Approval!
According to what they told us last summer, this has never been done before.  No one has ever been denied and then given another chance, and apparently we were the very first to ever try.  So it looks like this paper just made history.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Go, David!

Gotta take a minute to brag on my son.  His soccer team played their first game of the season today and found themselves up against a bigger challenge than they were used to.  The team did so well last season that they were asked to play up this season (meaning they are playing against an older age division).  David got out there and scored the very first goal of the game!  They didn't end up winning today, partially due to the fact that they were missing several of their players, but I was so proud of David for getting out there and setting the tone, letting those "big kids" know that this wasn't going to be an easy team to mess around with.

Way to go, David!

Another crazy week behind us

There are two specific weeks out of the school year that I dread the most: the week of Fall Parent Conferences and the week of Spring Parent Conferences.  Don't get me wrong here.  I truly enjoy actually having the conferences with each parent.  I like telling them positive things that I see in their child, and I enjoy helping them find ways to help out at home to get them to improve in other areas.  It's enlightening to find out more of the home situation so I can better meet the needs of the kids while they're at school.

However, being a good teacher takes time.  It requires time for planning, time for gathering materials, time for grading and reflecting over assignments and tests, and time to rest and take a break from it all. I've noticed that the more I force myself to take a mental break in order to meet my own needs, the healthier I am as a teacher.  When you add trying to plan for 22 parent conferences and then adding them into your normal busy schedule, along with adding picture day, extra tests, and a book fair, it's enough to push someone like me a bit over the edge.  Let's just say that by Friday afternoon, my brain was pretty fried, and my kids knew it.

Thankfully, we all survived, and we can put the week behind us.  One more week of classes and tests ahead, and then we can enjoy a week of spring break. I honestly thought I'd be in Colombia by then, but alas, we're still waiting our way through the end of this process.  Though we have no official paperwork at this moment, our attorney told us off the record that we've been approved and that he put an urgent notice on our case as it goes through the next level.  I hate all this waiting, but I trust God's perfect timing and sovereignty.  He's got a track record with me for always coming through at just the right time in ways that are greater than I could have imagined.  So, rather than wallowing in self-pity and frustration, I am looking forward to enjoying the week of vacation with David, sending him off for the last few days of vacation on a mission trip to Mission Waco, and volunteering with the STUCK tour as it comes through Dallas on March 16th.