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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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Article 5 ready

For those of you that understand international adoption terminology, we just got word that the Article 5 letter is ready, so the agency's attorney will pick it up tomorrow and officially request our appointment date.  We had hoped to get there early next week, but now we've asked for a date a few days later to give us time to get our own visas.  I'll post when we have a date. 

We are temporarily homeless yet again in Colombia, at least until the 16th of June (when one of the school's apartments becomes available).  We have two close friends looking into three different possibilities, so I'm trying to trust God that He's got a plan. 

I try to stay pretty positive on here, but if you'd really like to enter our world and understand what's it's really been like, try this:  Imagine planning a big trip out of the country, knowing you'll be gone for at least a month, if not close to two months.  You know it's not that far away, but you have no idea when you're leaving, how long you'll be gone, how much the airfare will be (since you can't purchase tickets until the last minute), you don't know where you'll stay, or if you can even stay in one place for the whole time.  You can't secure a thing or make a single plan because you have no dates to confirm with anyone.  You have no idea how much the trip might end up costing, nor do you know exactly where the money is going to come from.  You're headed to be reuinted with a fifteen year old boy who will soon become your son, yet you haven't had any contact with him for nearly six months due to someone making a wrong comment at the wrong time, tangling it all up in a bunch of red tape.  You also wonder every day if something could still go wrong that would make the whole ordeal crumble all over again.  To be honest, that whole description doesn't even begin to describe the reality of living through the international adoption process--TWICE--for the same child.  It's hard enough going through it once, but going through it the second time just psychologically magnifies every aspect of it.  No wonder I've had a hard time at school this year just trying to stay organized and keep up with all the issues contained in my classroom. 

On the days when I think I'm about to go crazy, God sends me another angel to get me through.  New clothes passed on to me.  Dinner paid for.  An offer to take my son shopping.  Offers of clothing for Juan David.  Encouragement at writer's group that what I'm writing about is valuable stuff.  Compliments on my poetry.  Unexpected gifts from a teammate.  Unexpected prayers.  Friends going out of their way to find us a place to stay that isn't going to empty our bank account. Offers to help with expenses. The list goes on and on. If you've been one of those angels to us, thank you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Any day now

The last update we got last night said that everything is at the U.S. Embassy now, and they are already coordinating things for us to be there the beginning of June.  So, with fingers crossed, we just hope that we'll be given an exact date any day now.  As soon as we get our date, we can purchase our tickets and head to both Austin and Houston to authenticate a document and apply in person for our own visas to travel. 

We finally got boxsprings for his bed today and set it all up for him.  I can't tell you what an awkward, nervous feeling that gave us.  A little deja-vu.  Haven't we done this once before?  Even this close, knowing we could possibly be in Colombia with him in less than two weeks, yet we still hold our breath, as if it could all slip through our fingers once again. 

I'm headed to a big sale going on on Monday to grab a few clothes for him.  It all makes me nervous, but we better be at least somewhat prepared for him!  Thankfully he and David are so much alike and wear a lot of the same style clothes--as long as it looks and feels athletic, they're good to go.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grateful

Still no date, still no tickets.  The last I heard from both our attorney and our agency's attorney was that they're waiting on Juan David's pictures from the orphanage in order to prepare his visa.  Then we should be able to get an appointment date.

Last night Julian told me that someone from the orphanage told him they were working on Juan David's passport, so he's pretty sure Juan David has finally been told about the adoption.  This absolutely warms my heart, to imagine how happy he must be to know that it all has gone through this time around.

We've been a bit stressed trying to find an affordable place to stay, especially when we can't confirm any dates yet.  We were SO grateful today to hear that we are no longer homeless.  One of the families that we met last summer is going to be traveling in the States this summer, so we are going to be able to rent their house.  What a huge blessing and answer to prayer!  God is definitely ahead of us.

I've been putting in a ton of hours at school, working into the early evening many nights, trying to get everything as finished as possible.  Yes, my sweet students lost all of their desks and chairs yesterday.  They all have to sit on a line of tape on the floor where their # is. I sure do like the room a lot better now--so much space to move around and do fun stuff.  We've been doing Art, listening to stories on CD to work on listening skills, and using lots of manipulatives to learn multiplication hands-on.  Next week we'll do some Reader's Theaters, play some English games for ESL time, create some landforms, and work on a class memory book.  It's all been fun so far, now that all of their testing is over. :)  I'm glad it's over, though, because truthfully, I've got one thing on my mind.  Getting back to Colombia to the boy that stole my heart nearly five years ago.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Home again

David's back from camp now.  He had a great time, barely missed us, and came back pretty exhausted.  He hasn't told many stories yet, but I'm sure they'll be coming.  His leader made up little paper-plate plaques for each of the kids, showing how they stood out.  David's said, "Most Outstanding in Everything".  That sure made me proud of my little guy. :)

He had to miss a soccer tournament while he was at camp, but the first game got rained out, so he gets to play in the rescheduled game tonight at 9:00.  He's glad he doesn't have to miss out on it, after all.  He only missed one of the games instead of two, and then they play again tomorrow afternoon.  After the tournament this weekend, another soccer season officially comes to an end.  Next season, we'll have two boys in soccer, so we'll get to see how other families juggle between their kids activities.  I can't even tell you how much I look forward to watching the other one play and to having him by my side watching David play. 

We hoped to have our airline tickets by the end of the week, but our own attorney let me know this afternoon that they're still waiting on our documents at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. Without those documents, the final steps cannot proceed nor can we be given an appointment date.  He said he'd meet with our agency's lawyer on Monday to see how things have progressed, plus our agency said they'd be on top of it all on Monday, as well.  Sigh.....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5th grade camp!

David left for 5th grade camp today at Camp Grady Spruce.  I will post pictures as I get them from the school.  David is wearing a red shirt and a red hat.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Felt like we were in Colombia again, at least for an hour

My Mother's Day Blessings

My husband and son(s) did a wonderful job of making my birthday special yesterday.  No exciting plans or activities, just a quiet day of being together.  David kept loving and kissing me all day long.  I woke up to a message on the computer from Julian saying in English, "Happy birthday.  I love you, Mom."  God gave me beautiful weather for my special day, we enjoyed hanging out at David's soccer game (he scored two goals for me!), and we ate at our favorite restaurant, saving the leftovers for yet another great meal later in the evening. 

Today for Mother's Day, we plan to celebrate at a cute little Colombian restaurant, anticipating our return to Colombia very soon to be reunited with our other two sons, one who will legally take on our name, the other who will forever be connected to our family. We are within days of finally purchasing those airline tickets to go back.  "Juan's" visa was paid for this week, now the agency's lawyer is just trying to finalize a date for us to take custody of him within the next few weeks.  I miss that boy so, so much.

Some people say, "Why would you ever go through this process again?" 

I say, "How could we not?"




Friday, May 10, 2013

I did it again!

Yes, it really is only the second week of May, but yes, I did it again.  I think maybe even earlier than I did last year.  Two weeks ago, my kids emptied out their entire desks and turned them around so they were unaccessible.  I kept all of their materials in bins around the room with their number on them.  They only got to keep a box with pencils and colors, plus their folders and library books--which had to stay in a neat pile in the corner of their desk at all times.  I hoped this would help the constant distraction of playing with all the junk in their desks that they kept sneaking in from home.  I also thought it might help me better monitor their organizational skills because they only had two things to keep organized--a small supply box and a folder. 

Ha.  That didn't go as planned.  Those little piles on the corners of their remained a sight for sore eyes day in and day out.  Plus they still somehow kept sneaking in junk from home.  Constant, non-stop distraction.  Ugh. 

So, I wrote a note home today saying that in order to have these children's entire focus while at school, I don't want them bringing backpacks, pencils, or anything to school anymore.  A folder and a library book.  I sent home all the pencil/supply boxes, all of their colored pencils, crayons, glues, etc. We will use a community pencil jar and a community art "center" in the room for any kind of art projects we might still do. 

The next two weeks are benchmark testing, then the desks are going "bye-bye", too.  Last year I put a piece of tape around the floor of the room with an assigned spot for each child on the tape, and without backpacks, supplies, and everything else, we ended up doing a ton of hands-on, physical learning.  We had fun, so I'm hoping we can end the year on the same note this year. 




Monday, May 6, 2013

Awaiting confirmation

We've requested a specific date to obtain custody of "Juan" and are awaiting confirmation of the date.  Once we get that confirmation, we finally get to purchase our airline tickets, apply for our visas, and make all those final plans, which all have to be done pretty quickly from here on out.  Our first two considerations of lodging have fallen through, so we've got some friends in Bogota checking into a few other inexpensive options for us.  I'm a bit scattered right now with my mind going in a million directions between finishing the school year (early), enjoying every last moment of fifth grade with David, and getting all these final details to come together for our travel.  AHHHH. I'm just so relieved that we are finally getting through this process and heading back to Colombia.  Only God knows why it had to take so long, but I trust Him.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Getting closer yet

I hate coming home to an empty mailbox.  Especially when I'm waiting for an approval letter for Part 2 with immigration.  Today proved to be no different when I arrived home at 5:00 to a mailbox with nothing in it.  Mike and I calculated at dinner that three weeks have passed since we sent it in.  Sigh.

At this point, none of us mind waiting until school actually gets out before we travel.  It's a busy time of year and a complicated time to leave.  However, knowing a date sure would help.  The last two times we planned a trip to Colombia, we had months to prepare and make every little arrangement we possibly could.  Not this time.

Well, the mail came late today, filling the mailbox with two items.  A piece of junk mail and our approval with immigration!  Yeah!!!! 

Now we wait on word that the Article 5 letter is delivered to the U.S. Embassy there and that our adoptive son's visa is ready, and then....we can make plans to travel! (Still more tedious paperwork to get our own visas to travel for adoption purposes after we purchase our tickets--but at least it's another step closer, to seeing Julian again, and to bringing his brother home after all these years.)