Wednesday, November 28, 2012

National Adoption Month and An Update

This month has been set apart by our nation as National Adoption Month. In the words of President Obama:
As a Nation that believes all children deserve the chance to reach their full potential, we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure each of them grows up knowing the love and protection of a permanent family. During National Adoption Month, we give voice to children who are still waiting for that opportunity, celebrate the bond that unites adoptive parents with their sons and daughters, and recommit to providing every child with the care and security that will nurture their development and well-being.
We've been pretty silent about adoption this month. Not because it hasn't been on our minds. It is all the time. We ache for our daughter to be and connecting with us. Us learning her, her learning us and all of us learning that unconditional, selfless love is not bound by blood or culture.

There are many things going on with India and adoptions. Some things we can share here and some we can't, yet. The system that is supposed to make adoption easier and quicker as my Hindustan Times article boasted is in need of some tweaking. And while we have our dossier at our orphanage in India, no new applications will be accepted for a few months while some easier and quicker snafus are un-snafued.

But we are still in-process and are officially on an adventure in the land of waiting. With almost four years in this journey to our little girl of promise, we are learning to be thankful in the present because we're for sure one day closer. Also, we're grateful that our paperwork is on the other side of the ocean matched with our orphanage. This allows us to continue forward in the process. For many families and even more children, adoption is on hold again. Thankfully in February a meeting will be held in India with many international adoption agencies present to discuss the system and some proposed changes. If changes mean speed and more streamlined procedures, let the meetings begin. 

In our waiting we have filled out some paperwork for our agency and researched to find a few Indians studying at a local university willing to teach us some of the culture and language of our daughter's home state. We have found those we've connected with to be SO gracious and hospitable. Maybe it's because I'm in love with all things Indian or maybe it's just that I've seen a level of hospitality in our new Indian friends and other foreigners that warms my heart and makes me feel truly welcomed. I am taking notes for when you visit someone's home, follow-up thank you's and genuine offers to help learn culture and language. Wow...they are all so helpful and kind.

Hello = Namaskara
The language we are just stepping into is as you would expect...foreign. The beautiful, thick Indian accents and cups of coffee with a Karnataka native make us realize again that all this paperwork, money gathering and waiting might be the easy part. We are entering into a God-sized calling meshing two cultures under one roof. Then, we'll finally have our daughter and the aching will shift from aching for her to aching with her for the family and culture she has lost. We're trying to prepare for that coming ache- how to immerse her in American culture while offering her comforts of her first home, how to communicate, and recognizing and handling trauma in name a few. 

One thing, though, I think I can finally check off the preparations list as of today: hot, Indian chai. I've tried to replicate it since getting back from Kolkata and thanks to a helpful lady at a local Indian grocery, I think I got it. I've been jittery all day from drinking too much of the amazing stuff. 

Add water, milk, sugar and fresh ginger in just the right way and you have a heavenly concoction!

Also, word on the street is that the lady we met and worked with in India, Shampa, is visiting the states and will be speaking close by in the coming days. Plans are underway. And pictures will follow...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks Giving

Been thinking about something all day that is such a perspective changer and wanted to share. From Ann Voskamp's post on October 22, 2012:

Anything I have, I don’t deserve.

Everything I have isn’t a given — it’s given.

Nothing is a given — everything’s a gift.

Who am I to complain in losses when what I lost wasn’t mine to begin with?

Happy Thanksgiving! Let the thanks giving continue all year long!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Levi's Latest

While we don't catch a lot on video, every once in a while we pull out the phone and hold it down so he doesn't get distracted by it....and we get videos like these. Hope you enjoy a few clips of our great little entertainer.

No, he's not reading. Just enjoying repeating some of his favorite lines from If You Give a Moose a Muffin.... and the word he can't pronounce...jam. Because if you give a moose a muffin, he'll probably ask for jam. I could read the book with my eyes closed by now. :)

Last week in honor of the book If You Take a Mouse to School, Levi made a little mouse house for his newest pet (a.k.a. a pecan). And for H week, we took a hike in the woods to find lots of great Fall leaves to display at home. 

But all of those fun things couldn't compare to Levi's favorite, favorite thing to do the past few weeks....jumping in leaf piles. And even better when with his good friends Lukas and Everett.

I am so thankful to be a stay-at-homer spending my days with a little boy. I thought I wouldn't know what to do with a rambunctious toddling boy but I'm finding it to mean my days are filled with lots of running and laughing. These are days well spent...precious days for sure!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mutiny and Maturing

We've been on a semi-intentional mutiny against social media lately. Sometimes we hate how attached we've become to our phones and how social media has taken higher priority over simply talking, eyeball to eyeball, and paying full attention to the people and child in need of our attention. Two weeks ago we saw four girls sit at the same lunch table only to keep their faces buried in their phones not saying one word to the flesh and blood people sitting in front of them. Add to that a close friend who shared something big on her Facebook page but didn't say a word when we sat talking for two hours. Thus the mutiny against this life-sucking phenomena that's been trying to suck us in too. We're still trying to find a good balance. If you've found one, do share!

With that said, we do have a good bit to share in the next few days. Levi's been his usual fun self with a little defiance mixed in. We're entering a time of thinking through discipline methods that help us attach to his heart while teaching him consequences for actions. Even with discipline challenges, he's still the best little monkey(s) in the world (his new favorite book). How to savor every moment with our very funny blondie since we can't pause time? We've caught a few videos that we're working into a video montage of our little entertainer. We'll share tomorrow evening. 

I just got back in tonight from a weekend celebrating the big 3-0 for my cousin. When did thirty become a year of doom and gloom? Lots of comments came about it being all down hill from here. Really? My thirties have been the best yet (glasses and all)...and I challenged her that hers can be too. It's all in the perspective!

Yeah, she only looks 18.

During the many driving hours I discovered that even at my sleepiest, sunflower seeds are magic seeds for staying awake. If the mental process of moving unopened seeds across the palate doesn't keep you alert, the supercharge of make-your-tongue-numb salt will. Along the way I also discovered another incredible benefit of the seeds but that story will have to come with the next Cartoon series post later this week. :) You'll never believe it!

If you do give yourself some time on social media tomorrow, make sure to check out the latest of Levi. His dancing skills and storytelling won't disappoint!

Happy sleeping

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Cartoon Series: Buying a Book

I'm telling on myself tonight. 

A few weeks ago I was in need of a book for a group I meet with and had twice turned down the opportunity to buy it for $11 because I knew my cousin had it and wanted to give it to me for free. I called after my first group meeting to ask her to mail it but, as it usually goes for me, she was away from home for a few days and couldn't mail it until the following week. I wouldn't have it until after Wednesday. That wouldn't work. 

I convinced myself I'd seen the book at Walmart and planned to stop by Monday to pick it up to read the chapters before Wednesday's meeting. By Monday though, a miscommunication I had with Jason found us scheduled to have an apartment group over Wednesday night during my meeting time. I was discouraged to miss but also relieved because...I could call my cousin to get the book for free after all. 

Wednesday afternoon supper preparations were well under way. A big batch of chili was simmering in the crock pot and all the sides were ready to be poured into bowls. I had ten minutes before I had to get Levi up from nap and leave to pick up two little boys at elementary school. We'd hang out with them until supper time and then come home to welcome our guests. 

Five minutes before leaving, one of the dinner guests stopped by to say that unexpected company showed up and they couldn't come to supper after all. Never mind the chili, potatoes and chocolate fondue that we'd bought and fixed...I zeroed in on the two-fold reality-- Hurray, I get to go to group and oh shoot, the book!  

I scooped Levi up and ran with a groggy baby through Walmart sure I'd find the needed book. But, when does that kind of good fortune come in response to my procrastination? Nope, never. Finally, we pulled up to the car line and I thought I had the perfect solution. Whipping out my phone in the No Phone Zone I inched forward and called two local book shops. Neither had even heard of the book. This meant I would have to drive to the next town twenty minutes away to pay way more than $11 to have the book in my possession for the evening's meeting. And it meant I had to talk two tired, hungry boys into a frantic "adventure" to get the book. I wasn't even worried about the required reading at this point, it was merely about saving face and having a book. In my mind, no book meant no group. 

I scraped up a plan and presented the idea of a road trip adventure to the boys. The idea of having to look for some fun landmarks along the way swayed them, and we were off to pay too much for the book I needed. When we arrived, the three boys found their way to a toy section and told me with puppy dog eyes that they couldn't go on living happily if they didn't get the bright, plastic recorders hanging from the toy rack. Really, they were being such troopers and I envisioned happy musicians on the ride home so we added two recorders and one harmonica to the receipt total. They were doing me a favor, after all. Soon, the $11 dollar book deal I turned down turned into a $23 scramble. Bahh...procrastination will get you every time. Have I not learned? 

There was one positive to the $23 price tag though-- a happy, loud, not-so-melodious crew on the way home. Everyone played and did homework and tried unsuccessfully to perfect Mary Had a Little Lamb. When Levi and I left for home with harmonica in tow, we arrived just in time to have our chili supper with a different apartment group. And with the new group arriving early, there were five minutes to spare for walking to my meeting. 

Leaving Levi and guys and chocolate and piles of dishes behind, I walked over figuring I could read a few pages on the way. But how much can you really read when you're crossing streets, dodging cars and waving at people? 

One and a half. That was my half mile record.

I sat down with the large group so proud to have my book and folder and so thankful to see lots of other people to fill in talking about the awesome chapter "we'd" just read. With a whole page and a half to comment on, I kept my commenting to a minimum and enjoyed the discussion smiling to one knew the ordeal I'd been through getting that book or how little I'd been able to read...

at least not until now. :)

- - - - -

Hope this encourages someone today. I certainly don't have everything together...and saw a good opportunity to be honest and encouraging that it's sometimes okay and even amusing to live a little scattered.