Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wading through the Worries

First things first...Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!   This was our first Christmas and New Year's celebration with Karolina!   A dream come true and an answer to prayer.  The entire holiday season has been surreal as I basked in the blessing of the gifts we had to celebrate this year.  This was Augustine's first holiday season too of course.  Here we all are wishing you a Merry Christmas:

Now, on to the update.    I've come to realize that despite my best efforts, motherhood and worry just seem to go together, to some degree, for every child.   Worries about your kids fitting in, worries they may hurt themselves after learning how to ride a bike, worries about bad influences affecting them, etc., etc.   Try as I might to relinquish the worry, it still seems to creep in.   
 As we continue to settle in to life with our daughter (going on 6 months now) we have begun to see patterns that are promising, and others that, well...make my heart worry.     I have to preface my concerns by saying that I know things will take time, I understand it may be years before Karolina adjusts to all of the monumental life changes, and it may take years for US to be able to bring out the fullest in her and develop ways that will help her blossom and thrive in her own time.   That being said, part of my own worry stems from the different feedback we are getting, both from medical, and the child development standpoint.  
Karolina is 18 months old (as of Friday)!:)   She was evaluated by early intervention and was found to be between a 6-9 month developmental level, 10-12 in others (like gross motor skills) and a below 3 months of age in reception/communication.    Daily,  I work with her by repeating the basic words "ma ma" "da da" bye bye" etc.   She has never attempted to repeat any words or phrases. At first I was very defensive when it was brought up (she heard only Polish for the first year of her life, what do people expect)?!   As time has gone on though, I do understand what the "experts" were saying, even basic sounds she still does not repeat.
I did hear a great tip about imitating HER though, so we have begun to do that.  Instead of asking her to repeat after me, I follow her lead, and imitate the sounds she babbles.  She is very attentive so I know it's sinking in, it's just a matter of it coming out. :)    

Earlier this week it was recommended that down the road,  she should be tested for a genetic abnormality.  The medical person suggested Karolina may have signs of mild mental disability.  Yet, other medical specialists have not mentioned this, and have even been encouraging.   What to make of this?    What I see before my eyes every day, is a happy, beautiful daughter whom I love with all my heart and who is taking her time on some things, but I KNOW she is aware and engaged.    Yes, I realize she's not catching up at the level that would be preferred, and this weighs heavy on a moms heart, because I take it personally now that she's home.    I have so many questions.   Is it just that she will take longer, but still be totally fine?   Will she continue to have significant delays but nothing more?  Or are we looking at a lifelong diagnosis with substantial life-changing challenges?   It's impossible to know that information TODAY.    So, I'm trying to rest in that realization and not worry.  The best we can do is love her, give her all we've got, and trust that God will carry the rest.      And  I's still very early.  We still have a lot of things left to try, and  I am excited that she will begin therapy in January.   She qualified to receive in-home occupational and speech therapy from a place the comes highly recommended and I am looking forward to getting started.    She's also continuing to get one step closer to walking!    Just this week she has been standing, sturdy as a tree trunk, independently by herself.  Look at our big girl!

All that's left is for her to put one foot in front of the other!:)    I am so, incredibly proud of our beautiful daughter.   I see her and realize how far she's come already, and it's a reminder of how much we have to celebrate.  I need to stick Matthew 6: 25 on my refrigerator for that constant reminder about the futility of worry:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catching Up

Happy Advent!    It's hard to believe Christmas is less than a month away.   The past year has been intense, and it's been emotional to reflect on everything that has taken place since last year at this time.   Our referral, meeting Karolina, my dad's cancer diagnosis, a surprise pregnancy, the adoption of our beautiful daughter, and birth of our new son.   I still have not caught my breath just yet but,  through my newborn-induced-sleepless-haze  I am still well aware that we have much to be thankful for.   We may not be rich in monetary things, but we are rich in all that matters.   Love, family, and a God that is good.

Since my last post, many things have happened and we continue to grow as a family and adjust to the changes.  I thought I would post some pictures and do a quick little photo recap.  First, our son Augustine Lawrence was born.  I gave birth to our fourth boy on October 27.

 Karolina is a big sister!   Our family has expanded for the second time in one year.  God is good.

Karolina enjoyed her first Halloween!  She was Blessed Mother Teresa and her brother Grant was St. Francis of Assisi
 She also celebrated her first Thanksgiving!   She LOVED the sweet potatoes. :)

We have also been very busy with various medical appointments,   to get a feel for where Karolina is developmentally.   She has made huge strides since we picked her up from the orphanage in May, but there  is still a lot to figure out and assess.    This was a learning experience for me.   During the adoption process  I focused a lot on the actual adoption, bonding, and possible behavioral issues that might arise.   However,  I didn't realize  how much we would be in and out of doctors offices when we returned.   

So far it has been a positive experience, and I am very grateful to have access to good medical care nearby.  When we received Karolina's medical records,  it stated she had "absence of septum pellucidum" in her brain.    This is a rare neurological condition that can cause seizures, various disabilities, optical issues and pituitary problems.   We heard that Poland sometimes exaggerates information on the medical reports so  no parents are "surprised" and caught off guard by something that wasn't listed.  Yet, you have to be prepared that everything on the medicals is accurate until proven otherwise.
After arriving home and having her looked at, our doctors did not believe she had this condition, but a few weeks ago she had an MRI just double check.   In an answer to prayer, her scan came back perfect...she has a beautiful brain!  No problems there whatsoever.
The hearing test however, did not turn out as well.  She failed two hearing tests and will undergo a "BAERS" test in a few weeks and see if it's a brain/processing issue, or something else.     

We took her to the doctor in July and she recently went back for her 3-month follow up.  The physical therapist said in terms of her delay that she's "not closing the gap, but she IS holding her own."    Karolina will be 17 months  on November 30, and is mostly at a 9-12 month level according to the assessment charts.   She still is not walking, speaking, or doing any gestures yet but we will get there!  We have an appointment to begin work with a physical therapist next week, and the local early intervention has also been to the house and will continue as she gets on a program.  

With this new territory, I am learning new things all the time.   Her physical therapist told us that Karolina is a "W" sitter ...I had never heard of that before.   When she sits, she bends her legs behind her to get more stability, but it's actually bad for her hips. Evidently, sitting like this can cause a child to be pigeon-toed when walking, and pose orthopedic problems. Here she is in her "W" pose:
  When she does it, I've been diligently changing her position to this instead: 
 And here is one,  just for fun.  :)  Karolina being her charming, smiley self!:)   

As I mentioned in my last post, this has been such a big learning experience for all of us, but one that I embrace.  Karolina is a beautiful child and I am so proud to call her my daughter.   She has seemed to adjust to the new baby without skipping a beat.  It's been hard for me because I am a picker-upper kind of mom, and was used to carrying her EVERYWHERE with me on my hip.  I suppose it's better for her to be  more independent, working on her cruising skills, etc. but having a newborn and a toddler has been challenging.   I have learned that is a great benefit of a large family, everyone steps in and there are more people to help.  Many hands make light work!   Well...there is still a lot of work, but I'm sure glad for the team-effort of the family. ;)
It's brought us closer, even if some days are a little chaotic!   We will hit our stride in time.

I can't end this post without  mentioning fellow families still waiting or "on hold" on their journey.  Not a day goes by that we don't pray for those who are yet to be united to their children.    We pray for the children to be matched, couples to be moved to adopt, and those in positions of influence to discern the best match.  We pray for the judges, officials, Magda, and the agencies to have prudence and efficiency to be able to get families HOME to be able to start their lives together.  

It's such an agonizing feeling to live in silence.  I hope this Christmas season brings good news of great joy for the families still waiting.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Chapter, New Territory


It's been 3 1/2 months since we picked up our sweet Karolina from the orphanage in Czestochowa, and 8 weeks since she's been home with us.   The many months of waiting,  praying,  and anxious anticipation have given way to a calm rhythm.   The passage of time is a funny thing. Our adoption journey was so intense and emotional, and seemed never-ending at the time, but now it seems like so long ago.  We pray for the families still waiting, and I hope for the same experience, that the sacrifice and waiting are worth every second, and dulled by the joy of what's to come.     I can hardly remember life before Karolina was here, and grafted on to our hearts.  I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't gotten teary-eyed at some point looking at her,    in awe of God's amazing hand in our lives and the fact that she is actually HERE.   

Her personality and development have blossomed over the past month. I need to make a record of specific dates and milestones of her achievements because she is growing so quickly. That being said, since arriving home, our lives have been filled with a flurry of medical assessments, doctors appointments, referrals to specialists and long days in waiting rooms. Sometimes I question if it's all necessary. So much so, that I recently cancelled a scheduled MRI because I just wasn't convinced the need was justified (and after consulting with her specialist).   She was born 6 weeks premature, and with a medical condition that may, or may not affect her brain. At this point, she is not showing any signs of a neurological defect, except for some general delays. So, I seem to vacillate between immense pride in her accomplishments, and fear and worry over her being slightly delayed. When we picked her up she was 11 months old and couldn't sit up on her own, crawl or use a pincher grasp. Now, she's 14 months old and crawling, standing (with help), using her fine motor skills to eat Cheerios and even scooting up the stairs!   

Pretty remarkable in my book. However, her Pediatrician is concerned that she's still not saying any basic words (like "dada").     With her doing so many physical things, I'm not surprised she is behind verbally, and coupled with the heard she only heard Polish until we picked her up...I still have faith she'll communicate normally in her own time.   I just wish I knew of a support group a way to connect with other families who have been, or are going through, the same things. This is new territory and I feel inadequate to understand it all.    I know she is smart, so my gut instinct tells me that with continued love and stimulation she will catch up. But, I would feel forever guilty if I was negligent in an area and missed something that could be corrected with early intervention. Although she is our fourth child, I feel like a novice and have been driven to my knees a lot lately, asking the Lord for wisdom and direction.

To add another twist, our surprise miracle baby is due at the end of next month. So, I'm half expecting to gain a little more confidence, just in time our lives to be shaken up all over again. Ha. :)      I say that with a grateful heart, I just pray for energy and teamwork with Jim to know how to juggle it all. God is good...great is thy faithfulness and rich in kindness is He,  and I trust Him implicitly with all he has blessed us with...crosses and crowns, in drought and abundance. I'm hoping to update this blog a little more now, and can't wait to see the community of Polish adoptive families share good news to come. I know there will be much to celebrate in the coming months and I can't wait to see it all unfold.    

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Official!

Court proceedings went great and Karolina is now legally our daughter!:)  Overjoyed!!    You can read the recap and see the photos here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We are Here!

Warmest greeting from Czestochowa, Poland!    My apologies for being MIA on the blog.  I have another  "every day" blog where I have been updating our adventures, but haven't had a chance to update this one.  I was hoping to cover more of the logistical angles here, and I'm hoping to do that this week.   Anyway, we are with our precious Karolina and tomorrow is our court date!   We arrived on Memorial Day weekend and picked her up on Sunday, May 29... "Gotcha Day!"
You can follow our updates  here, and then by clicking "newer entries."   I pray this is an eventful, happy summer for all other waiting families too.  We are REALLY excited for Heidi and her family to meet their new additions in a few days!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meeting Karolina!

What a whirlwind!   On April 12 we left the states for Poland.  Our trip was nearly 24 hours but we were energized with the realization that we were on our way to our little girl!   We had a layover in Amsterdam and flew into Warsaw where we waited for a driver to take us to the region where Karolina is.  It was a 4 hour drive and gave us a great opportunity to see the sights along the way.   There were so many thoughts going through my mind, most of all the amazing way that God lead us to Poland, so far outside of our little bubble and in a way that only He could've ordained.  Over and over I just kept thanking God for this experience, and Karolina.

Our hotel was clean and nice.   The currency is the Polish zloty, and the exchange rate was very good (as opposed to the Euro).   Magda met us there and we felt we were meeting someone familiar after hearing so much about her from other families!    She was just as delightful as we had hoped.  

After we got cleaned up, she took us straight to the orphanage to meet...(as my heart skipped a beat) our daughter!   When we arrived we met with officials and were impressed with the cleanliness and atmosphere of the room.  They told us about Karolina, I cried and asked questions and then they asked if we would like to meet her.    Are you kidding?!   Jim and I looked at each other with our palms sweating and our knees knocking.   We nervously awaited her arrival until the door finally opened with a little bundle wrapped in a pink blanket.   They unwrapped her...and there SHE WAS!   What a beautiful face!   Her skin was so perfect!   Her cuddly body was so healthy and strong!      

We held her and I prepared myself that she might not look me in the eye or respond with affection.  In our adoption classes, we were told to expect that might happen,  and we understood completely.  However, she DID look me in the eyes AND SHE SMILED!    Here are our first photos together:

In the days ahead we bonded beautifully.  Thanks be to God.   We spent a lot of time together just falling in love. 

 Here is one video where a spontaneous moment made her laugh (and made me cry tears of joy). :)  I will forever cherish this video.  
Our last day was excruciating.   We knew the sooner we went home, hopefully the sooner we would return for her.   However, I never expected to bond with her so quickly, so completely.  We held her, prayed over her and I sang to her, hoping chisel every last detail into my memory for safe-keeping.

  It was devastating to say goodbye.  I didn't sleep for days and had a harder time than I had even expected.   I think the woman on our flight to Amsterdam  may have thought I was losing it.    I was sobbing one minute, and then hysterically laughing because the person next to Jim bit into an apple and shot juice across the isle into his eye and on his face.    I had tears of laughter and sorrow at the same's been a while since that has happened!   Lol.    

It's impossible to adequately convey our gratitude to Lina, Magda, and everyone involved for changing our lives for the better, forever.     There were moments of impatience on my end, and of lack of understanding in the process, but I have learned a lot and have a greater appreciation for the entire journey.        In the beginning we were so fearful of the cost, and although it was a valid concern, I realized then when God calls, God will provide, and He truly has.    Holding her, everything else seemed to fall away, and I realized the things I often place value in, are of little value at all.  Every single penny we spent, and will spend was more than worth it.     Clothes and eating out, vacations and cell phones are all nice, but I would sacrifice it all again in a heartbeat, in order to experience the joy and love that has come with Karolina.     

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

It's a.....

A beautiful, precious, baby GIRL!    We received the amazing news on Saturday night, March 5.   I wasn't expecting to get a call on the weekend (I'm not sure why) but it caught me off guard and was instantly reduced to tears when Lina told us!    Best of all, I knew it "was her" the moment she told us her name.
From the beginning, we had discussed names.  We thought we had settled on Mary Grace but still left it open to see what her birth name was too.  Around January I started feeling drawn to the name Karolina.   I asked my husband about it, he said he liked it and we could consider it.   I would be running on the treadmill, or praying at church, and the name "Karolina" would come into my mind.   I thought perhaps because it was the feminine version of "Karol" (Pope John Paul II's given name) and maybe I was drawn to that spiritually.   That day, on March 5, I ran into a friend who is from Poland.  She has given us advice and tips regarding traveling to Poland, and Polish culture, and she asked how things were going.   I told her "no news yet" but then asked her if she liked the name Karolina.   Well...later that night when Lina shared the news about our referral, her age, region etc. she also told us her name was: Karolina.    My jaw dropped!   On one hand I couldn't believe it.  On the other hand, I just knew it!    I am awe-struck that God would work down to the detail of a name.  We are humbled and grateful about it all.   So, we definitely will not be changing her name....Karolina it is!:)  

We received word that we would be traveling on April 12 to meet her!   Her birthday is June 30th and she will be a year old.   My heart is jumping for joy!    At the same time, I wish all of us waiting for referrals in our adoption group could receive good news at the same time.  The waiting is hard, and I'm not sure how/why the process works differently for every family, but Lina said it's a God thing, and his timing is always perfect.   I trust that, I just pray so much for everyone to receive "the call" soon.   
    This year has been such a whirlwind already, with my dad being diagnosed with cancer, and some unexpected life changes.   We are so overjoyed about the gift of our daughter though, and can't wait to count her fingers, touch her soft hair, and give her lots of kisses and hugs!    She is loved so much already!   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Old or New, What to Do?

We are now at the point of our adoption where I think we can have a little fun with planning and starting our daughter's room!   I wish I could run out and buy clothes, a car seat, and all things pink, but that will come in time.     We've run into a little dilemma though regarding her bedding.    We do have a nice crib set that we purchased for our youngest son, and it's still in  pretty good shape.   It's a unisex color and we initially purchased for a boy or a girl.    We were all set to use it again until.....I ran across a website with the most frilly, feminine, adorable bedding sets for a baby girl.  I will admit, I had to control my drool.  :)  So, now I am tempted to beg my husband to purchase an overpriced bedding set for our very special little girl.     One on hand, I know it's not being a good steward of our funds, we have pinched every penny and we DO have a perfectly good set already.    On the other hand, she is likely to be our one and only girl and my dreamy side wants to make her room an estrogen oasis (he he).     So, what to do? 
First, here are a few images.   This is what we have already:
This is one of the sweet sets I found at
What do you think?   Maybe the whole thing is silly, but I'm still just giddy about having a girl in the house.    I would be curious to hear your comments. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Happy Distraction

I just wanted to write with a quick update and share a few new pictures.   We just got back from a weekend trip to Tybee Island, GA and we stopped in Charlotte and met Lina and some new friends!  

First, was our blessed little adventure to the beach.   My husband was born and raised in the south (Florida/Georgia) and although he has come to accept the north, he still has a hard time with the cold at times.  I admire his good attitude, in fact when he was a mail carrier in downtown Green Bay he really enjoyed his walking route, despite the sub-zero temps!   What a trooper. :)  Anyway, every year (usually in March) he gets homesick for the sun and warmer weather.  So, we were all happy when we learned we had a free weekend and could have a little sunny escape.    It was so nice!  Here a few photos from our trip:

It was nice to be buried in something other than snow for a change!:)   Fyi: what a mess to get the sand out of their swim suits!  Lol.
Bike riding was the best!

It was was really a gift to have that time together.  It goes without saying that our little Polish princess was on our minds as we were there too.  As the sun set, I prayed for her.   In the morning as we walked along the beach, my thoughts drifted to the day when I will be able to hold her hand along the shore too.   Which brings me to our second highlight!

We stopped in Charlotte on our way back to meet Lina and Nick at St. Mary's.  When we arrived, we were delighted and surprised to meet Rebekah and Mike and their beautiful daughter Madeline!   What a little star she is!    We had a ball interacting with her, marveling at her charm,  and hearing about their adoption experience.   It was so exciting!    However, in the excitement and the flurry of questions, we forgot to take a picture.   That is not like me, normally I document every possible life moment. ;)   It is marked in our hearts though, the exchange will be one that will be an indelible part of our adoption journey.  It was such a joyful experience to see the pride and happiness they have in their blue-eyed miracle.  It was also great to finally meet Lina and Nick.   I think our boys thought she was an imaginary adoption fairy-godmother until they actually met her!   Ha.  After they left they were excited to know she was a real person, the one who was working so hard to help bring baby sister home.   So, overall it was a lovely meeting.     We are back to the routine now,  but I think we are all still enjoying the afterglow of the weekend.  God is good. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Polish Easter Baskets

(picture courtesy of Catholic Icing)

I just wanted to re-post something great I ran across today. It's a beautiful entry on the website Catholic Icing, via special guest poster from Frugally Blonde. It's about celebrating Easter with Polish traditions. The food looks mouth-watering! Every year we have the butter lamb, but this year I hope to incorporate several more recipes that are listed.

Things have been busy in our family lately, but our hearts are always in Poland. I keep hoping to see news from others who are waiting for a referral but the blogging community looks pretty slow lately. Continuing to hope and pray for all waiting families and children!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Arms that Hold the Universe

 Today on our morning show, we welcomed the group 33 Miles. The name of their group represents the age of Jesus and the journey of his life.  Listening to a live studio performance is definitely one of the best aspects of being in radio, it's such a gift to be able to hear artists with amazing voices belt it out! In the midst of our morning lighthearted zaniness, Jason and Chris transported me to Poland and brought tears to my eyes, thinking about the Lord holding our little girl, and all orphans who cry out .  This song is a powerful reminder of the magnanimity of God, and his loving mercy. I think many people will be comforted by "The Arms that Hold the Universe."   I hope you enjoy it too!

"His grace will lead you home."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I had an obvious light bulb moment here:   international adoption is not compatible with the "planner" personality. :)   Lol!      It's so funny/odd to think about traveling to a new place and staying there for 6 weeks, but not being able to really plan for it.   I am used to micro-managing every aspect of trips, from weekend getaways to family vacations, and the more detail we have, the better.    This is completely different though!   We don't know what part of the country we will be traveling to, the history of the city and/or where we will even be staying or when.  One part of me wants to embrace the adventure, but the other part of me is freaking out!   Ha ha.   I think I would be more carefree about it if we didn't have our three boys in tow.   I am not even sure how to prepare?   
We have our passports, luggage and Polish language app on my iPad, but that's about it!

I will admit to slacking these last couple of months , but I think it's been a necessary detachment.  I have been trying to resume life as usual until we get some news.  I do have a question for adoptive families though.   Is there anything special we should bring for our first visit?   I would like to leave our daughter with something she could keep until we return  but I'm not sure if there are any special restrictions?   In my "un-planning" I feel like I still need to slightly plan for things like that.   I know if our child is in an orphanage, we may be limited?   I think I read that somewhere. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Comic Book Cash-In

Happy February!   I thought  this month might bring news of a fund-raising effort to announce,  but it looks like it's a bust unfortunately.   What happened is,  a  few years ago I was helping my mom organize and and throw out some items in boxes.   I ran across a Marvel comic of Pope John Paul II.  I thought it was so unique and well done that I asked her if I could have it.   She said I could borrow it and,  well.... I've had it ever since.  Lol.      Anyway, with adoption expenses mounting  and our need for donations and funds increasing, mom hatched a plan.    A few weeks ago, the exciting announcement was made that Pope John Paul II would be beatified this year, and mom felt this would be a good time to sell the comic book.  She suggested we auction the "rare" edition on eBay,  and use the money for our adoption fund.  Great idea mom!    I have never seen a Pope John Paul II comic before,  and I thought she might be on to something.  Secretly, Jim and I hoped it would be like an episode of Antiques Roadshow when the appraiser reveals the item is worth thousands!   Ha ha.   Well, not so much.  :(   It turns out it's worth anywhere from $3-4.00 (although one copy did sell for a notable $200).    D'oh!  It seems my visions of a bidding war turned out to be as far fetched as winning Powerball. :)   It was fun to dream though.   Here are a few images from the comic, it really is a neat edition!
Marvel Comics Presents The Life of Pope John Paul II, 1982 one-shot. Written by Steven Grant, drawn by John Tartaglione.

   I will admit, the financial part has been the most challenging aspect of the adoption thus far.   We knew it would be though, and tried to prepare as much as possible going in.     There are some days where we don't know how we will do it,  but God has taken us this far and He will get us through.    It's also been comforting to look back and remember how clearly the Lord led us to Poland has guided us to this point.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..."

Jeremiah 29:11

 In the words of Pope John Paul II in the comic book:   "In the name of obedience and in the total confidence of of his mother, the most holy Madonna."  I trust!!   :)

Friday, January 14, 2011


Yesterday on the morning show, we shared the latest news (or non-news) on the adoption front.   It was so wonderful to connect with other listeners who have been in the same boat in one way or another.  It is such a gift to be a little fly on the wall and get to hear so many wonderful stories and amazing journeys.    I wanted to share one e-mail in particular I received yesterday.  It's written from the perspective of a sibling,  and his reflection on the waiting period.   He was in fifth grade at the time, and it reminded me of my oldest son Gabriel who is now in the fourth grade.  By the way, tissue alert warning about the song "Blessed" .  I have heard that song a million times but must've missed the message or not paid attention to the lyrics.  I cried buckets.
Brian writes:

"My family adopted my little sister from China in 1996. I was in fifth grade at the time, but I can still remember much of the adoption process pretty vividly. I remember well how difficult it was to be patient and to wait all those months prior to her coming home to us. When we finally got our referral, we had little more than a wallet sized picture, but we clung to that picture we everything we had. We made dozens of copies and blew it up (and we didn't even care that it was grainy and blurry at a larger size). We hung that picture everywhere and gave it to everyone because it was our only connection to the little girl on the other side of the world who was soon to become a part of our family. There's nothing anyone can say to make the time of waiting any easier, but I did want to share a song with you that we found to be very meaningful throughout that time. It's called Blessed by Elton John. Here's a YouTube link.    When we were waiting for my sister to come home, we bought the CD of this song and every time it came on the radio we would turn up the radio loud and the family would sing along as we waited for this girl who was still little more than a "child in our head".  You, your family, and your new child will be in my thoughts and prayers as you embark on this journey. Thank you for being so willing to share your story with us all - I love recalling all the memories of my sister as you share your story with us.



Thank you Brian!  What a beautiful e-mail.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be Anxious for Nothing

Lately, I have really been trying to recite, remember, and live by the widsom in Philippians 4:6: 
 "Do not be anxious about anything,  but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."

The part I keep getting stuck on is:   "the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind."   My faith must be weak because instead of feeling a sense of peace, I find myself more tense.  The Lord certainly knows best how to sanctify and temper us,  and this has been a continued lesson in blind trust and PATIENCE.    I thought the infertility process was emotional!  Not to take anything away from that (there are enough roller coaster rides there) but with that aspect already added on to the journey I just feel weary and ready for some good news.    Like so many others, we are waiting for news of a child.  It could be today,  or two months from now.   Recognizing my weakness for waiting, I was happy to see this book today:
This book is a compilation of Advent reflections focusing on, you guessed it....waiting.  Although the Advent season is over now, I think this would be a good one any time!    My goal is to not lose sight of the gift of each ordinary day, not to rush away the weeks until we receive the phone call.    My husband is so much better that this than I am!   I guess part of my sense of urgency is, the feeling that we are keeping our daughter waiting.  I long to see her face and meet her.   In the meantime, life goes on and there is much to enjoy in the moment.  I am still a novice in the "art" of waiting, but thankfully I have the best master/teacher in the Lord. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seeking the Finish Line

Happy (belated) New Year!    I am trusting 2011 will be a banner year for fellow families on the adoption journey.  I am excited to see the months unfold and I am getting pretty antsy in the process. :)    So much so, that I have decided I need to focus my impatient energy into a productive place.    If all goes as planned, my husband Jim and I are going to run our first marathon!    I am a runner anyway, and although I have completed 3 half marathons, a full 26.2 marathon was not something I envisioned doing in the next decade.  Due to the time commitment of training, I've always thought it was something better left for a time when our kids were older.    However, with so many unknowns with the upcoming year, I virtually cleared my calendar, stopped accepting speaking engagements, MC opportunities, and left everything open.   With the vague timeline of our adoption, I wanted to cover our bases.    What I realized last week is,  it also opens up a window of opportunity to train.   Also, with homeschooling the boys, we are together almost all day, so the guilt factor of going out for a 2-hour run in the evening is lessened.   Anyway, the only hiccup would be if we signed up and trained, but missed the race due to being in Poland. I am fine with that though!!  No problemo.    We thought about possibly running for donations or raising money for an adoption charity but I'm not sure. If we did end up missing the race, it would put us in a predicament so we are still thinking about that. We are planning to run the Cleveland Marathon in May. A great course! It's where I completed one of my half-marathon's a few years ago:

It's kind of crazy to embark on yet ANOTHER endeavor in our lives, but it feels right.  I have prayed about it and God has given me a healthy heart, lungs, legs, body and I am going to do my best to honor that and give Him glory.  I have learned that a marathon mimics the journey of adoption in many ways as well.   I smiled as I read a snippet from Kristin Armstrong's blog that really underscored my belief in that, as well as echoed my blog title   Kristin is the former wife of Lance Armstrong and a runner.  Here is what she says about "joy in the journey:"   

"Oftentimes the precursor to joy is a lot of hard work, which seems to oppose joy at the outset if you aren't careful or intentional. We have to find joy in the journey, not merely the fleeting accomplishments."

Also, this week we received a phone call from Lifesong for Orphans.  We applied for a grant and they are reviewing our application.   Praying, praying!   The Lord's will be done.