Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Celebrities Who Adopt

We're in the middle of state testing, so I've had a little more time for distractions in the mornings. Today, when I opened up the CNN homepage, my eyes caught a link to about celebrities who adopt. I, of course, was hooked. I expected some of them, but was surprised by many. Besides obvious ones like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and of course Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, there were a lot of favorites like Julie Andrews, Sheryl Crow, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Nia Vardalos, Kirstie Alley, Barbar Walters, Steven Spielberg, Calista Flockart, Burt Reynolds...Mia Farrow adopted 11!!! (in addition to 4 of her own). Bob Hope and his wife adopted 4--and stayed married for 69 years! That's amazing in Hollywood! Katherine Heigl just adopted a special needs little girl from Korea with her husband.
Many of them dealt with infertility first, but some of them were simply passionate about adoption. It was so cool and I was so inspired. (And I must back I had to swallow back a few tears!)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, Jim and I had our FINAL adoption interview. Yes, that's right, we are now officially DONE with our part of the process!!! Woo hoo!!! And contrary to last time we were "done" (with the classes) and left feeling discouraged about the length of the wait time, this time we are ECSTATIC! As our social worker reviewed our interest form, she was somewhat surprised at how "open" we were. The three that especially caught her attention were that we were willing to take children with HIV+, parental bipolar, and parental schizophrenia (see my previous post for my discussion on this). And while HIV+ is rare in San Diego County, the other two are pretty common but also commonly avoided by adoptive parents. Which means that we'll be available to more kids...which means that we could get matched much more quickly! (She once had a family like us matched within a month!) No promises, but she felt pretty confident that by Christmas we'd have our child. Actually, that was the timeframe we suggested and she assured us with something sooner than that (but Jim would rather not make it public in order to avoid the pressure of everyone's expecting questions).

We are SOOOOOOO thrilled! Last night (more like this morning), we both ended up awake at 4am thinking about it...and talking and giggling and dreaming and naming and....We could be parents very soon! All our hopes and dreams are finally coming to fruition! While we don't have the luxury of a due date, we are really, truly "expecting"!!! Woo hoo!

Yet in the midst of all this excitement, I have to be honest about some of my concerns:
*I'm going in for my exploratory surgery next Friday, with the goal of identifying and eliminating potential causes of our infertility. I immediately considered cancelling it, but Jim and our families are encouraging me to follow through, because all of it is still so uncertain. i.e. Maybe this will solve the problem, but maybe not. And maybe we'll get a child soon, but still maybe not. We might as well keep pursuing all our reasonable options, and let God pull all the pieces together as He sees fit (even if that means getting a kid while being pregnant. eek!).
*We will most likely be matched with a child with very real hereditary and/or drug-related issues. While I am okay with this in theory, it is a little scarier once those issues become tangible in a little person. (And by the way, we will be unable to share this private information with anyone once we get the child, so take this as an advanced warning.)
*We plan on actively pursuing movie #2 this summer (after book #2 is finished). Where does a kid fit into that busy process?

But as Jim keeps reminding me, any of those concerns are infinitely better than our state of empty arms currently. So bring it on!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Last night, I sat in my bed trying to write a novel, but got captured by the simple sunset. Ahhhh...

Weekend in Davis

This weekend, I ditched school on Friday so we could fly up for a quick trip to Davis to celebrate Jim's mom's 60th birthday and still be home for church on Sunday.
We did a lot of hanging out, had a picnic at the UCDavis Arboretum, did some yard work, had a little party, ate A LOT, and then enjoyed Picnic Day at UCD.

At Picnic Day, we spent some time watching a track meet, including the "alumni mile"...
I love track meets. They remind me of the good ol' days when I was fast. But that also reminds me of how fast I am NOT currently. Bummer!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Individual Adoption Interviews

Yesterday, Jim and I were able to check three more things off of our seemingly endless adoption to-do list: we each had our individual interviews, and then we filled out our form that they'll input into the computer to match us with a kid.

Interviews: Our social worker loved both of our autobiographies, and said they were very well written. They gave great details but were concise and to the point...Well, what can I say, we're writers (wink wink, j/k!). Jim's took an hour in the morning, and I had mine after school. The number one thing I learned through this experience: both of us TOTALLY scored when it came to the parent lottery! Most of the interview was addressing issues of our past, and neither of us had any issues. Our parents did amazing jobs--in spite of adversity and struggles--and it was fun to share about all the wonderful things they had done for us. I almost felt like my answers were too "perfect" will it look bad that we haven't experienced things like abuse, addictions, or drama in our lives? Hopefully not.

"The Form": At the end of my interview, our social worker gave me the checklist form where we indicate what kind of kid we're willing to accept. Jim and I filled it out over dinner. We have been so excited to get to this step, but it was actually a pretty difficult. It felt like we were choosing what kind of child was "worth" having--and who are we to judge! I felt guilty and ashamed of some of my restrictions. Just because a child has certain symptoms doesn't make them less of a human or less worthy of our love. If we were pregnant with a child with disabilities, we wouldn't get rid of it. So why should we avoid them now? Those are heavy issues to discuss over dinner! However, I had asked our social worker if we just selected everything, would the computer be more likely to pick out for us the most severe cases, and she said yeah. She suggested being a little more picky at first--really thinking about what we would prefer--and then we could always go back and loosen up our request later...Sooo...we got on the computer to look at how different things affect children growing up...and we considered how some of these conditions would affect our lives/ministry in the future...and we made our selections...Eek!

Overall, I think we still stayed pretty open minded. Ethnicity, we made no preferences. Behavior, we accepted anything. Heredity, we said bring it on (heck! schizophrenia, depression, and mental illness run in my genetic code, thanks to my mom's lovely side of the family, so I've got just as much luck here as if we were having a child that we conceived!). Even drug exposure, we checked them all. (We discovered, ironically, that even babies exposed to cocaine and meth have less risk of brain damage than alcohol exposed babies. Isn't that crazy?! The legalized substance will absolutely wreck a child's brain capacity, but the illegal stuff will "merely" expose them to withdrawal symptoms and potential behavior issues down the road. I would fully support another Prohibition!!!)...And that's where we started saying no. We said no to infants with alcohol exposure (except for mild/possible). We said no to babies with brain damage. We said no to cerebral palsy, and Downs Syndrome, and autism (except mild forms). We almost said no to babies of incest, due to genetic abnormalities, but decided to keep that one at the last moment. I think we said no to a few other severe disabilities, and felt horrible each time. Whew! What a weight of responsibility!

We have a week and a half before we submit this form, so I suppose we could still change our minds. Next Friday, we have our final (yes, that's correct...our FINAL!!!) interview, and then it's all about processing the paperwork.

If you could, please pray that the paperwork process would go as speedily as God allows it. Our social worker is swamped right now, and it could take months or longer.
Also, please pray for our Foster Licensing paperwork. I just found out that our Foster social worker went out on medical leave before processing us (we finished it all back in January), and our file is somewhere lost in the shuffle.
And pray that God prepares us for whatever child he chooses to place with us--special needs and all!

I'm curious, if you had to make these choices (or if you already did)...what would you choose?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring "Break"

70 teens X 2 meals a day x 5 days = 1 exhausted chica
Simple math equation, right? I mean, I got a 5 on the AP Calculus exam in high school, so I should have guessed that answer easily. Contrary to common sense, however, the result I expected was a semi-busy week that still included lots of time to write in the afternoons. Ha! Boy was I wrong! However, I have endured the week of cooking for our Spring Break missions trip, and while completely and utterly pooped out (Jim and I both woke up this morning feeling run over by the same dump truck), I have to say, I kind of enjoyed my week.

(This is only about half of the food I bought for the week. I heaped up 3 baskets at Costco, 1 at Food 4 Less, and 4 at Walmart...You should have seen people's eyes. It was a great opportunity to tell them about what we were doing!)

After 6 years of taking our youth to Mexico over Spring Break, last year due to safety concerns and money issues for a lot of our kids, we decided to do an in-town missions trip. Because, afterall, our entire lives are supposed to be a mission, right? It was such a success last year that we decided to do it again this year. So we set up base camp at Lake Oneil on Camp Pendleton, sent our students to three different chapels around Base to do Vacation Bible School in the mornings, and then set them up with a variety of different community service activities each afternoon. Each night after dinner, we had the traditional speaker/worship/application activities, and of course time in between for the fun camp bonding stuff. I was soooooo proud of our group!

(The cute "Barnabas"awards I made for each day's most-encouraging/helpful guy and girl. Everyone was so great, it was so hard to just pick two a day!)

We ended up with 73 people, including middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, college age (and Marines), and parents. It was so neat to watch them interact across age groups, and to see the new friendships form. There were no real attitude or behavior problems, and on Friday, while everyone looked forward to sleeping in their own bed again, many really wanted to stay. The crazy thing is that the whole week, we were only a few miles from home. Yet it felt like a different world. Lots of great ministry happened, from little kids at VBS asking Jesus to be their "forever friend" to single moms getting yard work done to teenagers just hanging out with old people in a convalescent home to something like a ton of clothing being sorted for distribution to poor people, and lots more. (Funny side note: everyone that helped with the clothes distribution got to pick out one item to keep. Our kids have quite the sense of style! That night at dinner I saw a neon blue 80s ski suit, a banana suit, an asian-style robe, and of course, Jim wearing a woman's blouse while playing football--because he liked the way it felt silky!)

And of course, going back to my ridiculous choice of a task for this week...hey, in spite of all challenges (including my oven overheating--oh the irony!--and conking out mid-week), I enjoyed my time alone and everyone seemed to love the food. I've never had so many requests for recipes! (Seriously, I think anything tastes good to a teenager after working hard all day.)...The introverted side of me got to spend most of my day alone in my kitchen, which is just what I needed; and then I got to hang out with everyone at meal times to hear all the cool stories.

I'm utterly exhausted, and nowhere near ready to go back to school in 2 days. And I didn't get the writing on our sequel done that I needed to (so why am I writing here? hmmmm....). But it was a good week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Miracle Stain Remover

It's Good Friday, so I probably should be exploring the miraculous death and resurrection of Jesus, whose generous death on the cross amazingly removed the stain of sin in our lives, past, present, and future. That truly is something to brag about while remaining humbly grateful.

At the same time, I have another stain remover, in a bottle, I must brag about. My sister's friend Janna gave me a bottle of this "SoilLove" from the 99c store, right before Sarah's wedding. She claimed it was amazing stuff that she bought by the case load. I must admit, I was skeptical. I mean, it was only 99c. Oxyclean doesn't even work that well, and it costs a whole bunch more! I used it once on a minor stain, and I think the stain went away, but I didn't really notice. The cheap green bottle sat untouched in the cabinet above my washer.

Until... crisp white table cloths were marred by huge ugly purple stains from the Passover Seder we did at church. (Note to self: kids + grape juice = big mess.) I was bummed and set them aside for several days, not wanting to face the reality of the ruin. Finally, I figured I might as well see if a combination of all my costly stain removers plus a gallon or so of bleach could get the table cloths back to at least a semi-usable state for next year. I reached for the Oxyclean and my hand bumped into SoilLove. Hmmm...Why not? With no expectations, I poured a little onto the ugliest of purple stains, and my breath was taken away by what I saw. I fell in Love! I grabbed my camera and tackled the next tablecloth. Let me show you what I discovered:

This transformation took place within the span of less than a minute. Every one of my crisp white tablecloths is perfectly clean. It's amazing.
Alot like what Christ did to my heart.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our Final Adoption Class!

Last night, Jim and I celebrated the completion of all our adoption training classes. 36 hours! Woo hoo! It was an adult adoptee panel, and it was interesting to hear the stories of these two individuals who went from unwanted orphans to highly successful adults. (It was also a little sad and daunting to hear the stories of their adopted siblings who went down less successful roads...Same parents, different outcomes...I pray that we have the wisdom to meet each of our childrens' needs differently and effectively!)

As we picked up our final certificates, Jim conferred with our social worker (who hosted the class) about our last 3 interviews this month, and asked about what the timeline for an actual child placement might look like. We know that it all depends on the situation, and could be immediate or several years, but I guess Jim just wanted a hopeful answer.

Hope is not what we got.

Her trite response was "Oh, that could be another year and a half." We wandered back to the car, and reality hit us like a dump truck. The elation of being "done" deflated into the understanding that the waiting game is really just starting.

But we're tired of waiting. We want a child of our own so much it hurts. Last weekend, Jim's sister's baby came for a visit (ok, so Matt and Becky came, too), and Jim just couldn't wait to get home to play with her. At church, he wanted to be the one to pick her up from the nursery, and then he carried her around on a tour of the church showing her off to anyone he saw...I'm going through that phase again where just the sight of a pregnant woman or a baby in the store gets me all teary...We can't wait!...But it looks like we have to...Urgh!

As we drove back home, we sighed and reassured ourselves that God has a plan, and however long it takes, it's going to be perfect. Maybe He'll surprise all of us with an immediate match. Maybe He'll wait until we're done with all our writing and movie-making dreams. (I hope not, because I'm not sure if Jim will ever be done with those!) Maybe (dare I think this aloud?) He's going to let me get pregnant afterall, and then match us with a child so we get the twins I've dreamed about...

Whatever that "maybe" entails, we can't keep living for the future. We have to live in today. We have a novel sequel to finish. We have another movie script we're moving forward on. We have teenagers who need us. We have a missions trip coming up in five days. We're going to Haiti this summer!

So, onward we go. Any of you praying for our adoption process, please pray that God will continue to grant us peace and patience, and that He'll be preparing us to meet the needs of whatever child(ren) He gives us in His perfect timing. Thanks!