September 2010

The miracle of adoption isn’t just the creation of a family from disparate, distant people. Adoption is a phoenix; a miracle that arises from the ashes of despair. A baby is abandoned, a family lost and a whole new world gained. Like nearly everything else, an adoptive family is born of both joy and pain.

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Today this verses mean something new to me.

 28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

I’ve always thought that “those who wait upon the Lord” were those doing the work of God (wait on – to perform the duties of an attendant or servant for). That is how the verse spoke to me, if I did the work of God my strength would be renewed.

 Today, I read it a new way. “Those who wait upon the Lord”  are those waiting in readiness (in waiting-to look forward to eagerly) . I am waiting for the Lord to open the door to go to Ghana to get BabyBoy.

Two years ago, at this moment, I was awake and preparing for my first trip to Africa, our first adoption. I would spend most of the next day of my life in an airplane taking me to Ethiopia. It was my last moments of who I was. I suppose if I’d only known then what I know now, I likely would have grieved a little. I would have grieved about the loss of innocence I was about to experience. I didn’t know Africa would change me.

I am confident in my prior 30+ years of life, that it never once crossed my mind I would ever go to Africa- EVER. Who goes to Africa? Not me, not even anyone I knew. Besides, didn’t we all know Africa from the media? We knew the famines of Ethiopia. Maybe some day I would sponsor one of those children, but even that didn’t seem likely. I specifically remember thinking those commercials were over the top. I really wondered what lengths they went to in finding these kids to put in the commercials. I pictured men in vans with cameras, traveling to the most remote places and finding that one small village of suffering children. I often wondered how the media got queued in to find these remote areas. And why didn’t they just leave behind some food and money to help these people. What I didn’t know is that I was about to enter Ethiopia to find there was no over-dramatization on the part of the media or those trying to feed these starving children. No need to travel to a remote area, no need to search the country side for these starving children. No, they would be everywhere. I would spend the next week without a break from the reality of the poverty of Ethiopia.

As for the adoption, I was about to fall madly in love with a little boy I’d only seen in pictures. I did love him from the moment I saw his photo, but nothing could prepare me for the this amazing and instant bond I was about to experience. In an instant I would realize I wasn’t whole while I waited to meet this child. Before I met him I experienced this external longing for him, wanting to hold him or hug him, or rock him to sleep. But once I held him, I realized there was an empty spot in my soul that had grown to epic proportions and as quickly as I realized how big that hole was, he filled it. He filled me up and overflowed.

If I’d only known that a little boy and his country would change me. I would have braced myself for what I was about to experience. I would have entered with fear and trembling, with a fear that EVERYTHING was about to change. I would have stopped for a moment to say good-bye to the person I was.  I don’t want to go back to that person. I am so blessed to be here today, who I am now. I just think it would have been nice to know my life was about to change.

From 2 years ago. This is written just days before our journey to Ethiopia for our first adoption. All the words written here are still heavy in my heart. Thanks to all the “passers” I have met in the two years since I wrote this. Thank you to everyone who has joined us in our journey, and for those who are still to come.

Preparing for the next book in the series

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the fact that this chapter is nearing an end. Or is it the end of a book? I do have an emotional attachments to many books, if not all books, that I read. I’ve never found myself feeling a loss at the end of a chapter, but on more than one occasion feeling sad, and at a loss, at the end of a book. Before you start to classify me as “normal”, take note that I only read non-fiction. It’s not about the end of the story, it’s not about happily ever after… the books I read are lessons to move me forward into the next stage or deeper into the current stage of my life.

Most vividly, I remember coming to the end of the “The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching” By Coach Dean Smith former basketball coach for North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was so sad to come to the end of that book. I learned so much from Coach Smith, he was like a mentor. The point here is that I was sad at the end; there was closure and a time to move on. What I learned I would take with me, but I couldn’t go back. You can re-read a book, you can recall a memory, you can, but it’s not the same as the first time.

While I am thinking of that book and Coach Smith, I want to mention a lesson I learned from that book. “Point to the Passer” – encouraging players who scored a basket to point a finger at the teammate who passed them the ball, in honor of the passer’s selflessness. What a great take-away. Point to the passer, the person who made it possible through their selflessness. The game of life is not something you do alone. You can’t score all the points without assistance from those around you. It’s not about me, it’s not about my skill, it’s about making sure the person next to me trusts me, and I trust him or her, and we can plan to be successful together.

Let me point to a few “passers” in my life.
– God, seriously I have been entrusted with a lot a blessings, gifts and talents… I assume I am entrusted with what I am willing to take, as well as what I am able to manage.
– GrandmaBabe – She gave me the power, she gave my mother the power, to be a strong woman, to get what you want out of life. Make decisions and don’t let life happen to you. And when life does happen, make the best of every bit of it.
– My parents – The sacrifices they made, the opportunities they missed out on so that I could be successful. I am grateful, and anyone who thinks that I have ever accomplished anything or have been successful at anything or have made good choices, should look at my parents, my role models. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be raised by these people! Selfless!
– DaddyT – here is the greatest example of pointing to the passer. My life partner, my equal. Always willing to share the ball with me and to be selfless. Supporting me in parenting, career, womanhood, and equality in marriage and life responsibilities. Supporting me in who I am and knowing when I am too tired to have the ball passed to me in the first place. And most importantly allowing me to take the ball, when he could have made the shot just as easily.
– Family – From those I talk with twice a day, to those I talk with once a year… to those I have never met. The network and support system created by all these people, past, present, and future has been, and is, key to my success. I’d like to thank them all!
– Friends – just too many to mention, all those referenced here in this blog and many who are not. People who have supported me, I couldn’t have been successful in so many ways without all of my friends and supporters. Special thanks to Sister-In-Love, Soul Sister, and all my other Sisters. All women who have been willing to walk by my side in any and all of the crazy journeys I have attempted in my life. Without you there, the journey would have been lonely, wouldn’t have been successful, or may never have started.
– Career partners – I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have indeed been the recipient of many balls from many, many passers in my career. I appreciate everyone who ever thought I was worthy to carry the ball, much less actually make the shot. If you didn’t believe in me, I would have never made it to where I am today!
– Those who were just passing through – Thanks to those of you who barely knew me, or whom I didn’t have the opportunity to meet, who left a ball in the air for me to catch. Maybe I made a shot or maybe I passed the ball again, but I hope I was a part of helping the ball move forward. Because it isn’t about making the shot, it is always about moving the ball forward. I appreciate those who let me move the ball forward, and those who let me take the shot… it’s not about me, it’s about you.

I am just so grateful to all the people who have supported me in life! And I’ve still only been here a short time, I can’t wait to see what’s next. So many willing to be selfless, instead of selfish, allowing good to happen, sometimes in spite of their own wants or needs.

So back to my original point, there is a chapter here… or a book, that is about to end. It’s a book in the series, there will be many more to follow. But the excitement of this book is due its review. This adoption journey has been fun and exciting, exhilarating to say the least! The wait is almost over. I have learned so much about patience (not that I have improved, just that I am more educated on the subject matter), I have learned about how to have friends and hopefully more about how to be a friend. I have realized how exciting life is for everyone and how we can all celebrate something new in our lives.

Some of you have heard me say this, but I want to put it in black and white:

If I made a wish list of things I might learn from this adoption process. If I choose exactly the way I wanted it to go, I couldn’t have created a more perfect journey. I couldn’t have possibly comprehended what I was about to learn.

If I made up the perfect child to match our family, if I described that child the best I could with all the perfect qualities to fit with my already perfect family, I could not have possibly made a list that would have included all the matching qualities we know of our little ComedyBoy. He is absolutely a perfect match for our family… I am sure in the next book in the series, we will learn a lot more about that (the perfect matches and our areas of learning)… Today, today he is everything I could have imagined and more, so much more.

Here is acknowledgement that this has been an amazing journey. I have a lot of new, exciting and positive experiences ahead. But I want to make note of the loss I feel for the end of this portion of the journey. I know I will never be here in this exact place in life again, and this is good too. But right here, right now, I realize how much I have learned, how blessed I am, and I could only have learned these things through this journey. I am grateful for the journey, but sad in my own way to see it end. I know it has prepared me for the next book in the series. I am sad to say farewell, yet so excited to see what I am preparing for next!

Most days I get an update on BabyBoy… I am in frequent contact with my Ghanaian family who is taking care of him.

Today I got an “urgent” update. I wondered what was so important, as this was an online chat… and an actual emergency would require a phone call. So I knew whatever it was would be interesting. I was told that I needed to bring new “stiletto” type shoes for someone in the house. An odd request, usually the requests are more for basic needs not fancy shoes. The story goes that BabyBoy has been stalking the women’s shoes. And they were teasing me and trying to get me to guess who needed new shoes stilettos in the house. Knowing I would not guess BabyBoy. Apparently he waits for any of the women in the house to take off their shoes and then he puts them on and will cry if they try to take them back from him. They said that he is trying to walk on mountains (frankly, I like that in a person, especially my own son). Tomorrow I should get pictures of these sightings of BabyBoy in heeled shoes. I’ll post them if they arrive.

I am less than 9 days from the 30 day max for the I-600 (classify orphan as immediate relative) approval. That means I should hear something this week, but it could be next week. I am just ready to get to the next step.

This post was too fun not to repost…

The deadliest catch and other tales
Salmon fishing expedition 2008: Team Big Shvundo.
My brother indicates that the name of his boat is “Team Big Shvundo”. According to him Shvundo means “fun” in Bohemian. I tried to Google it, worried “fun” might roughly translate to some strange innuendo I wasn’t prepared for. Google turned up nothing, so I decided I shouldn’t be doing any damage by posting the word in my blog (if this is some strange profanity, please notify me immediately, this is a G rated blog!)
Day 1 starts at 2:00am- 1 big boat, 1 Great Lake, 1 motion sickness tablet, 1 extremely long nap (the word “dramamine” translates to “coma” in my world), and 1 big fish, complements of the other fisherwoman on the boat.
Day 2 starts at 1:ooam – ZERO motion sickness medication, 1 bad belly ache, and 7 fish. Two fish complements of my talented fishing (fish on, pole handed to me, and step-by-step instruction on how to reel it in). There was also an interesting CB radio conversation between the “Salmonator” and the “Skinny Dipper” the most hilarious part of the conversation was the names, I don’t have more to report on the details of the conversation.

I decided that a Triathlon is easier than Salmon fishing. Though I would prefer another round of Salmon fishing to another Triathlon. But, I plan to do both again.

Thanks to Baby Brother for the excellent chartering job, we all had a blast.

Apparently the assignment of a court date managed to keep me “satisfied” for the weekend. Once I got home I resumed the passion to pack. Another huge round of shopping tonight. I have a bedroom full of Target bags. I have no idea how all that stuff will fit into 4 suitcases, and I still haven’t actually packed my clothes. I’d tell you how much we have spent in purchases, but the number is embarrassing.

Edit: I posted this last night and as of this morning this “team shvundo” is now a Googlewhack – ok it’s not an official Googlewhack, but it’s intriguing. (I found this in one final attempt to make sure “shvundo” is not a profanity in disguise).

9/14/2010 – still a Googlewhack in the English language… I suppose all that will change when I hit publish on this post

New endeavors

A small group of friends and family are working with me to set up a non-profit that will center itself in helping orphans and missions.

I will have much more detail on this soon. For now, I have set up a blog to kick off what we are calling “Project Global Hope”. Soon this will be a registered non-profit. In the mean time, the needs exist and I will be using it to post updates about the situation with the orphanage in Ghana that you all have been reading about.

If you have a moment to visit the blog, you will see a list of needs from the orphanage. If you are interested in helping please contact me:

**SIDE NOTE: As of 9/14/2010, we are a non-profit registered in the state of Minnesota. We are still waiting for our Federal 501(c)(3) making us an official tax-exempt organization. Watch for upcoming news when that status is achieved!!! Thanks for those supporting us in the process~!

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