Mindless Worrying

I’ve reached that moment where I spend time praying for our family, obsessively trying not to worry about the strange things that pop into my head, and then pray again. It’s a cycle. I’d say it’s a vicious cycle but its not. It’s just what I do. And I totally get it from my mom (Sorry, mom. I outed you on the interwebs. Love you!)

Anyways, sometime I write down the things that worry me. And then they don’t worry me anymore (mostly).  So in no particular order, here are the things that worry me. Some are really really dumb.

1. I’m really hoping that Lev wont sit on any of the kids at the orphanage the first week we are there. He loves kids and playrooms, and then he gets all excited like he does at soccer, and then he’ll sit on some poor little kid. It’s not a mean thing, it’s just a thing he does sometimes out of excitement. And I don’t want him to do it at the orphanage. I. Will. Die.

2. I’m afraid that we’ll miss one of our flights.

3. I’m worried that Violet will cry a lot. Lev never really cries, and crying actually makes me crazy, so… yeah. I worry about crying.

4. I’m afraid LadyJudge is just going to have a lot of mean fun with us at the court date: “Haha American people! You think waiting almost a year was fun??? Just wait… Hehehe.” I imagine she’s doing some sort of Mr. Burns hand thing and evil laughing just thinking about it.

4b. Alex is concerned the judge will ask him questions about his political opinions of Putin, Lukashenko, and Ukraine and generally be against all Russian people. He’s been thinking through a nice way to say, “Putin is a war criminal and abuser of human rights and should go to jail.” But he hasn’t ruled out just being blunt and saying that.

4c. I’m worried the judge won’t like that we’re protestant.

5. Let’s be honest. I’m just worried about the judge.

6. I’m worried Violet hasn’t started talking.

7. I’m slightly concerned that Lev have a hard time adjusting to the reality of  a sister. He’s very excited about it right now, but the moment she comes stomping through his tinker toys is an entirely different thing.

8. I’m afraid that people will stop us at the airport on the way out and ask us why we’re carting off one of their own.

9. I’m a little concerned that I only have 8 days to get halloween costumes ready when we get home. Halloween is FUN at our house, and we love working on DIY costumes in October together. Lev is insisting we all participate this year as various characters of Curious George. HOW AM I SUPPOSED COME UP WITH A YELLOW HAT IN A WEEK, PEOPLE???  Lev and Violet might have to be an Iphone and a Nexus Tablet or something. Last year, Lev was box of Kleenex, and he loved it. I’m sure it will all be ok.

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Now some people will argue that Lev is squinting his eyes closed to avoid the truth that he was a box of Kleenex for Halloween. But I maintain that this is the face of excitement, folks. He loves Halloween.

10. I worry about Alex going to Belarus to visit his family after the court date. I made him promise to call me every morning so I know he wasn’t carted off to jail in the middle of the night, and again in the evening to tell me what he did during the day. He promised me he’d get his brothers shady friends to smuggle him back if they try to keep him. But still.

10b. I’m sad we can’t all go to Belarus. My sister in law’s mother does this thing with yellow bell peppers, sunflower oil and sugar, and it makes me sit down and eat half the jar in one sitting.

11. I’m afraid I’ll get lost in Warsaw. In the city Violet lives in, it’s impossible because if you get separated, you just go to the cathedral and sit outside the chamber with the Madonna until the other party shows up (that’s what we agreed on one afternoon anyway). Warsaw is HUGE. I could be lost for days there.  Days. And I have a bad habit of making the bathroom guardians angry and getting on the wrong bus in Warsaw. Things happen to me there.

 

There’s more, and some of them are more serious than others, but this is a small portion of the things that run through my brain at any given moment.  I know that when we roll into the hotel, I’ll just be excited. But at the moment while I’m cleaning and packing, I’m also obsessing. I was like this before our first trip and I’ll be fine when we get there.

 

16 days to departure! <– i need to get off the computer and get cracking!

Clothes

Because adoptive parents bond with their absent children differently, I usually do it through shopping or creating. I’m calling this dress the “I’m leaving the orphanage forever” dress. I found it on clearance at Nuvonivo in downtown Raleigh. I decided that Violet (mostly me) couldn’t be happy without it, so I impulsively plunked down my money and walked out of the store a happy mama.

I’m actually glad I bought it. I thought I would have buyers remorse, but it was on clearance. It’s hard to have remorse about clearance. But I didn’t want Violet walking out of the orphanage with the old clothes she always wore. I want her to leave it behind and leave wearing something new and special for a new life! 10553361_10152207592357117_4210008923110575256_n

I’m not super fashion forward, but I do like my kids to look nice. So I spend a lot of time going through clothes that people give me, and hunting down sales for things I think they’ll wear a lot. I liked this dress, becuase as She gets older, it might still fit as a tunic over some leggings, which I know are sort of out of fashion now, but are totally cute on little girls. I also have a super cute pair of shoes, a head band, and some white tights to go with this. Her short hair and blue eyes will really look great and I can’t wait for everyone to see her.

Anyways, look for a picture of Violet sporting her new clothes and families sometime after September 19th. I’m looking for ways to keep everyone updated onour adventures as we go to Poland without having to log into wordpress constantly. I’m thinking something mobile based, but I’m still thinking about what I want that to look like.  I’ll keep updating the blog as much as I can with our adventures. But I do plan to start integrating this blog back to my photography/life (mostly photography) blog at some point. You can click here to see it.

Thoughts in the darkness.

 “the very pleasures of human life men acquired by difficulties”

St. Augustine

Every night, Lev climbs into our bed. 99% of the time, he lays down and goes back to sleep almost immediately. Bust last night he was having a hard time settling back down. He said he was itchy. So after we took care of the itchy arms and feet, I settled him back into bed and then went back to our bed.

Sleep was elusive as it so often has been during the last 5 years of non stop adoption of both Lev and Violet. I had been looking through her court papers and her birth certificate yesterday because I was helping someone with a form I had to fill out. The things on her paperwork leave with so many questions. Like her birth father signing the register. Why even bother? But he did it. And I have a certain amount of respect for that, no matter what choices he mad after that. He acknowledged her. I’m grateful for that.

I also noticed that her birth father’s birthday is on the same day we go back to orphanage to pick Violet up. I have a lot of mixed feeling about that. Will I remember that day that’s it’s his birthday? Do I say something to her about it? In a way it doesn’t matter becuase she won’t realize what I’m talking about.

I guess that as an adoptive parent I’m supposed to feel fiecely protective of my role as Lev and Violets mother. That I should be disgusted by the choices made by birthparents who ultimately place children for adoption and surrender them to the system becuase they either can’t or don’t want to parent. But that’s not how I’ve ever operated. Yes. Violets birthparents made some truly awful choices, but in the end, there’s some evidence they knew they just couldn’t parent. And I can’t really see that being so much different from the rest of us. We all make truly awful choices, and God gave himself for us. His compassion on us compels my compassion for her birthfamily. They are lost. They don’t know the Lord and they left this little person parentless. I hope  it wasn’t a callous choice on their part. I think it’s going to stick with them for the rest of their lives, and they’ll always hear in the back of their mind the guilt that haunts them, “I did this thing to that child”. And I feel compassion for them becuase they have to live like that. Hopefully someone will come along and share the gospel with them and free them from addiction and guilt. But they won’t ever know that it all turned out for the better for Violet, and they’ll always wonder what happened to her. I hate the torture of that for them. I really do.

To be honest, I want Lev and Violets adoption experiences to be the same. I want the openness that Lev has for Violet. I like knowing Lev’s birth family because it means when we have questions, we can just ask. One some level, that doesn’t exist for Violet. Her openness will be different. Her little playmates at the orphanage will all be within a days drive from us. She’ll be able to know them, and hopefully continue her relationship with them, becuase in a way, they were her first family along with the nurses who cared  so well for her. But I’ll miss not knowing anything about her birth family other than a few names and dates and places.

And that’s what I think about in the dead of night. I think about what brought about the events of the day that Violet was born. And if they wonder about her, and why her birth father bothered to even sign the register if he had no intention of being her father. I’ll probably never know. And in some way, while I already dread the discussion about how Violet came to be in the orphanage, I know that it will also have to be a conversation about her birth parents and that there will be a lot of “I don’t know’s” for all of us. It’s the ugly downside to international adoption.

I have to acknowledge though that I’m thankful for what little information we have about her birth family. We know she has a birth sister, and a birth grandmother. We have dates and places and some names. I made copies of all the documents that came to us and put them in a box for Violet that has letters I write to her, and some other random things I want to give her later in life.

And this is not say that her birth family is more important than us. Becuase they aren’t. We’re her family, the one that God designed for her. Her birth family biologically prepared her for the life that God has for her to lead, and Alex and I get the priviledge of preparing her spiritually and emotionally and physically.

I think one the most important blessings of adoption is the clear view of the gospel it gives us: Lives lost and found. The old off and the new on from first Corinthians. The perseverance of the Lord pursuing his children all the way to the very bitter end and beyond and our year of incompleteness, paperwork, and cranky Ladyjudge. That our lives are hidden in Christ with Jesus.  So I think that no matter what our conversation with Violet about her birthfamily and how she came to the orphanage have to be rooted in the gospel. That her identity is less about biology and more about who she is in Jesus and with us. We have to tell her ” we didnt save you. God did.  He made it so you were my daughter and I am your mother and he turned all our sadness into joy!” otherwise we’re all rowing down the wrong river.

This was long so I’ll stop here. Adoption is bittersweet. But the Jesus and the Gospel are better. That’s what I want Violet and Lev to hang onto in life. Who they were and how they started are not as important as who they will become.

The Call.

So it appears that I won’t need my contingency plans or my disclaimer anymore. The disclaimer has been discarded.  The list is still on the fridge, but it’s been covered up my own massive to do list since…

WE GOT OUR CALL!

I’m so happy! I was really hoping it was coming soon, as evidenced by this Facebook post from the June 23rd. I learned how to do screen shots to get it on the blog tonight, so I expect all of you to read it.

 

facebook Fun Fact: I saw that hummingbird 3 weeks before we got Violet’s referral. And I saw the firefly roughly 3 weeks before we got out call. I’m not a believer in signs, but I do like to think that Lord allows be reminded visually that he”s working even if we can’t see it. He’s been so faithful to us in our adoption and it’s really because of his grace that we’ve come this far. Here’s a recap of our story. Bear with me. It could get long.

On Saturday July 12th, Alex and I had a skype interview with the Lydia Fund. We were really hoping to get this grant because it meant that we’d be fully funded for Violet’s adoption. We were lacking $2500 dollars. And thankfully, we got a $2000 grant! I was stunned. People who know me well in real life know that it’s not impossible to stun me into silence, but it’s not common that I’m so stunned that I sit in silence for more than a minute. But there I was, sitting on the couch, stunned. Nothing but silence for a full 5 minutes. When I could speak again, Alex and I talked about how the Lord gave us $19,500 in 6 months. It’s the most amazing answer to prayer! Both our kids are visual answers to prayer, but this is close second.

On Monday, I call the agency and tell them that they can expect yet another call from a funding agency, and the director squealed on the phone out of excitement for me. And she said to me, your travel dates will be here soon. I know it. And I said, “well, it’ll happen, but I’m sure the judge is still on vacation.” Becuase that’s what our last conversation was about- a judges vacation. I didn’t write about it because there was nothing to say. It was disappointing, but also very nice to be able to ignore my phone when it rang or dinged at me.

So in all honestly on Tuesday the 15th, I was sitting on the couch playing candy crush after lunch while Lev was having video time. I heard my phone ring, but I ignored it because that’s what I do now. Then I heard it ding, as the caller left a voicemail. THen it rang again, which I ignored again, and then my ding for a text message to arrive and I’m thinking to myself,

“Whoever this is rather insistent, which is annoying because I’m very comfortable here on the couch and I don’t want to get up. ”

But Lev wanted Juice, yada yada, so I get up and go get it, and on the way past my phone I see another text message coming in from the agency director. I gae Lev his juice and called her back.

“I knew that the Lord would give you your dates soon when you called yesterday. You’re going back to POland next month”.

And the first phrase out of my mouth was,

“Are you serious? You’re not making this up? Are you serious?”

She was serious. I couldn’t write anything down becuase my hands were shaking so badly.

It was July 15th. 11 months and one day since I first say my daughter.

On August 25th, 357 days after I saw my daughter for the first time in person, I will see her again.

Exactly 2 months from today, on September 19th. I’ll put on a very uncomfortable black dress, and Alex will don a suit and tie, we’ll walk into a court room and a judge will declare us Violets parents. For the next 5 days I’ll have 2 children under 4. I try not to think about that preferring instead to rejoice in how the Lord provided for us when we were never promised children. And now I have 2. TWO.

It’s been a long time coming. A very long time.

The Lord has been very faithful and gracious to answer the prayers of huge amounts of people.

 

Contingency

Disclaimer: There’s a lot of waiting parents in our program who read this blog, as well as people thinking about adopting from Poland who are looking for info. My experience and their experience will differ very much and no adoption is the same. So from here on out as I write openly and earnestly about our experience, this “disclaimer” is going to appear at the top of my posts. Our crazy long sanctifying wait is not due to anything anyone at our agency, the facilitator, or our family has done. It just is. There’s nothing I can do about it, and it’s all our of our hands at this point. I’m doing my best to make the best of it. This is adoption, people. It is what it is. Thanks for staying calm with us

 

I’ve reached that point in adoption (everyone reaches that point) where I start making contigency plans, not becuase I think the plans I’m making are called for, but simply because I have nothing to do adoption wise.  And last night I was sitting at my desk, supposedly working on SEO for my studio, but instead watching adoption stories on the Archibald Project website. My very favorite most inspiring story is the one featuring the Via family. They’re from a city near me, and the Lord took them on an unexpected, and very amazing journey. I’ll let you watch the video(scroll down to the bottom), but I did want to share something that hit very close to home:Phonto

 

I won’t spoil the video for you, since I really think you should all watch it, but it made me wonder: if something happened and we couldn’t bring Violet to America would we give up everything here and go be a family there? I knew my answer right away, but later, I asked Alex the same question after telling him the story about the Via Family. And his answer was the same as mine:

Yes. She’s our daughter, and we’re not complete without her.