On Waiting Well and Disappointment

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 been kind of remiss in posting. Maybe that’s an understatement. I don’t really know. I don’t really know much of anything right now. And honestly, I think I prefer to be in this place. If I knew stuff I might go a little crazy. I have renewed appreciation for the phrase no news is good news. I’m learning to embrace these moments, where we live our lives, not really sure what invitations to accept or decline. In the end, we accept them by saying “Maybe, but probably yes.” It’s the life where we pray for people we’ve sarcastically named Ladyjudge, who I suspect probably doesn’t like me because Polish people really don’t care for our President Obama. But there’s no way to send Ladyjudge a message that says, “don’t hold him against me! I didn’t vote for him!” so I accept my theoretical guilt by association and move on.  My studio schedule is only open for two weeks at a time. I tell all the photographers I work for that if I’m here two weeks before an event date, than I probably will be able to photograph with them that day. We live life 2 weeks at a time. That’s not really convenient.

See how I’m not really going anywhere with this? It’s because I’m actually really not going anywhere. While I’m not mad about that, I’m not really happy either. I’m not mad becuase being angry and worried and calling our agency every week won’t get me anywhere. I’d just be annoying people. And annoying people isn’t really my bag of tricks. Anyways, more importantly, when I look back on however long this time of excessive waiting is, I don’t want to have a ton of regrets. I think I have a couple here or there, but by and large and I’m thankful for the endurance given to me. It’s what I pray for when I pray for travel dates, and Ladyjudge and Violet. I just want to wait well. Except for that episode where the doctor didn’t want to fix my medical form, and I told someone at our agency that I was going to slap the doctor, I think I’ve waited more or less pretty well. It hasn’t been free of fear or frustration, but I don’t spend all my time wasting my energy on this wait. I have better things to do and I refuse to feel sorry for myself or be angry. It’s not the most God honoring thing I can do.

But just to placate people that I do indeed feel emotion, here’s some evidence that I’m not entirely happy.  Violet is turning 2 this week. I used to hope we’d be home by her birthday. We had tentative plans to go to Savannah to see my parents. My grandparents were coming to meet her, and Alex and I were going to take a day trip into Savannah to get some fresh seafood for a seafood boil. I was going to have an awesome mom moment and brave the heat and humidity for my girl. But I let go of that sometime in the beginning of May, thinking instead we’d be with her on her birthday,  then last week, I let that go. Remember that 2 week thing? Yeah. That came. Yesterday I gave it up for good. We’re just not going to be there. And I have to file that disappoint in the mental box with the rejection letter from NYU where I really really wanted to go graduate school, and the fertility clinic, and various other keen disappointments that live in the past. I chose cinnabon to celebrate her birthday, and we ate them after dinner, and then I watched an episode of the West Wing and now I’m here, writing that this is a huge disappointment for me. I know we’ll still get to do the Savannah seafood boil plan, and my grandparents are still going to come and meet her, and I escaped the heat and humidity of Georgia in the summer. But  still, it’s not how I hoped it would be.

Anyways, I’m going to end here, becuase it’s clear now there’s not really a point, and it’s starting to head into a downward spiral that I want to avoid. Plus did I mention it’s hot and I hate the heat and humidity? I just want to be somewhere cooler than my office. But I want to say here that despite the fact that we aren’t with her on her Birthday, I know that the Lord is with Violet, and us, and all the other people who are stuck waiting for people like Ladyjudge to do their thing. I don’t want this to deter people from adoption, but I also don’t want to sugar coat things either. It’s sometimes not a fun thing. But it’s always worth it.

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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

 

On Monday, it will be 9 months since our first trip. That’s quite a chunk of time. In that time, Lev got totally potty trained. My sister had a baby. He just arrived a couple weeks ago. I wish I could describe how much we’d like Alex to get a new job, but he can’t because we’re sitting around. But in 9 months, he could have totally found a new job.  I’ve taken down the wall paper in one bathroom, and painted. We threw out so much stuff it’s almost hilarious. I’ve eaten most of the stuff in the freezer that I made to eat after we came back. It was getting freezer burned. We got $13000 in grants. WE’re very thankful for that. We’re just a couple thousand dollars away from being fully funded for this adoption adventure simply just doesn’t end. I’m trying to think up fun things to do.

Frankly I’m running out of emotional energy. Someone suggested we get together and I need to email her and say, “I have enough emotional energy to put on some bug repellant and sit on your front porch. If I summon all my strength, we could go eat a snack downtown.” I jokingly tell people that I’m on a 5 second delay. It takes a slightly longer amount of time to process things people say to me.

Anyways, the latest news is that we learned a tiny smidgy little bit about our Judge. She’s a lady. She’s not known for being timely. If you can all pray that she’ll sign the paper soon, we’d be very grateful.

I remind myself everyday, the Lord knows the end of this.  When I wake up at 4 am everyone morning becuase Lev is climbing into our bed, I remind myself that we are one day closer to the day we get to go back and get Violet. And today I was thankful for a (mostly) very encouraging conversation with the agency director. She commiserated with me, and encouraged me to keep trusting in the Lord. Some of the things the Lord is teaching me about himself are very simple. He Knows. He hears. He knew all those years ago when I sat in the Dr.’s office and she told me that it was going to be an uphill battle to have bio kids. He knew on the day when I left the fertility clinic  for that last time and went home and told Alex it didn’t work. I was only 28 at the time.  He hears my prayers and he answers them. One of my favorite verses is from Isaiah 65:23-24:

 

They will not labor in vain….
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.

 

There’s been many many times in the last 5 years of adoption, first Lev, then Violet, that I’ve felt like I’m a slow boat to nowhere. When I first read these verses it was just so encouraging to me.  There’s just so much uncertainty in adoption but knowing that the Lord hears and acts even when I can’t see it is comforting.  The Lord has been so kind to give us not one, but 2 children. That kindness is not lost on me, and I think it’s what keeps me from getting totally crazy all the time.  In the end, even though things are no where near where I wanted them to be, and that there are people actively wishing for Lady judge to spill red wine, or coffee or whatever on her blouse, I know that we’ll get there.

State of Being.

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. 

 

In the last few months, we’ve been celebrating each month that passes on Violets birthday with some sort of treat. Since she and lev share the same birthdate (different months and years though) we usually celebrate them both. Last month, I took the easy out and bought some prince polos, which are a fun chocolate wafer cookie candy thing from Poland. This month I tried to get fancy with Pinterest, by making something called an apple pie wrap.

Now, Pinterest and I don’t really get along. I see things, I pin them, and sometimes I attempt a project or a recipe. The last couple of months things were going well. Food tasted ok, projects were doable. So I really had high hopes for these apple pie wraps.

malvina 23 months-1

I followed the directions perfectly. I didn’t skimp on the sugar like I normally do, and I even did the egg wash. And they came out looking like this. And tasting even worse. As I put them into the oven I thought to myself, “I wonder if I should fry these. They don’t look like they’ll be crispy and crunchy.” And they weren’t. It was a disappointment, but we struggled through them after dinner. I forced my way through one. Alex managed somehow to eat 3. Lev picked his up off the plate and examined it, gave it a sniff, then a cursory lick, declared it “gross” and asked to leave the table. We like to think Violet would have probably just thrown hers on the floor in disgust. I wouldn’t have blamed her either. I should have followed my instinct and fried them. Whatever. It’s just a dessert right?

Next month is Violets actual birthday. In all honesty, we thought we would be back home by now. We were planning to have a family party at my parents house in Savannah, and my grandparents were going to come for it. We’re still going to have that party, but probably not next month.  So I’m sort of at a loss as to what to do. Not making something seems kind of terrible. This is our daughter, so not doing something to mark the day doesn’t sit well with me. So I think I’m going to make a strawberry shortcake (not from pinterest) and we’ll all eat it after dinner like we normally do.  I can’t say for sure yet, because I don’t know how I’ll feel that day.

Marking the passage of time isn’t something I like doing. On one hand, it’s fun to think up ways to honor her every month and to look forward to going back. But at the same time, the fact that I’ve been doing this for almost 9 months totally sucks. Sorry, mom. I said Sucks on the interwebs and I know you hate when I do that. But I think this happy-sad state of existence in adoption is part of the reason some people think of adoption as a beautiful tragedy.  It’s beautiful for all the obvious reasons. And it’s tragedy because a kid loses their first family, and then has to wait 9 months for the new one to come and pick them up. There’s other more deep and spiritually profound things I could say about it, but today, I’m sort of operating on a superficial level. It’s been like that for a couple of weeks for me. I’m afraid that if I scratch deeper than the superficial, the emotions and thoughts I have to deal with after that will be a little much for me. 9 months is a long time, and as I told the agency director the other day, it would be easier if there was a person I could attach my negative emotions to. But the Lord has been gracious to keep me from blaming people for the way things are, and it’s a waste of my time and energy to be mad at someone who’s not at fault for the long wait. That’s unfair, and unnecessary and immature.

Anyways, back to the brighter side. There’s a bunch of fun things going on otherwise, that I’ll write about instead! Like my new nephew and nice weather, the fact that Lev is TOTALLY POTTY TRAINED NOW and all the weddings I’m hopefully able to photograph this summer in between galavanting about the european countryside.  It’s not all doom and gloom around here. I’m headed out now to enjoy some afternoon shopping with Lev! Everyone go outside! Happy Spring!

Our wait is almost over. Still.

It’s may 2nd people.

MAY. SECOND.

And I am still in America. And if I had a dollar for everytime someone said, “Geez, girl. I can’t believe you’re still waiting for those dates!” I would be wealthier than Oprah. I’d have so much money, I wouldn’t know what to do with it all.

 

Side Note: It’s actually much more helpful if people would say instead, “Hey, Girl! You’re one day closer to getting those dates!” Becuase that’s what I tell myself every morning when I’m drinking my coffee. It’s what I told myself when we were waiting to be matched with Lev’s birthfamily, and while we were waiting for him to be born. It keeps me positive. THat way, when people tell me, I can say cheerfully, “I KNOW!” instead of when people say things like the “Geez, girl,” comment I get more often, after which I don’t really really know what say. I usually shift my eyes off to the right and up slightly, and say something dumb while sort of sighing like, “Yep. That’s true”. It doesn’t even make sense as a response.

But I’m off topic.  Instead, here’s a brief funny story, and a list of things I do to make it through my crazy, silly wait.

******

We signed court papers last week. I was reading through them, becuase we had to get them signed and notarized and sent back, and I was reading along. TO summarize, they basically asked for a date that bonding could start (meaning we go there, and get Violet) and then a bunch of other legal blah blah stuff. And then on the second page, was this paragraph that said a lot of things, but then said this:

“The State of North Carolina, where we live, is mainly inhabited by people of Polish descent.”

It also said a bunch of other stuff, which I found rather amusing. So I call Alex, loyal american, and teller of truth. We chat:

“I sort of don’t want to sign that paper. I mean it’s true, lots of people here are of polish descent, but that doesnt mean everyone is. You’re not…”

“True, but you are.”

“But not everyone is. And those other parts, I don’t know about them.”

After some more back and forth, I call the agency. They assure me it’s jut a legal formality and tell me to just sign the papers. I call Alex back.

“It’s just a legal formality.”

Yeah, but I don’t want to sign it. I cant say it’s all true.

Well, basically they made it sound like we have two choices, babe. We sign the paper and go get Violet, or you don’t sign, and this whole things ends right here.

We signed the papers. With smiles on our faces.

And Alex is fine now.  He just needed time to get used to it all. I love that guy so much.

And that was our most recent adoption activity.

****

In the mean time, since our predicted 4 month wait has stretched into 8 months and counting, I’ve had to find things to do with my nervous energy. Here’s a list of things I’ve done:

1. Precook. Then eat the stuff I made in february in May becuase it was getting freezer burned….

2. I discovered the bands The Head and the Heart, Imagine Dragon, and Bastille.

3. I went back to photography a little bit.

4. I precooked some new meals.

5. I’ve been working out more.

6. We put Violet’s room together.

7. I’ve watched way too much TV (and I’m not proud of some of it)

8. We went to FLorida, then to the beach. And to georgia a couple of time.

9. I removed the wallpaper in the master bath, and I’ve been painting.

10. I’m reading a novel called “The Deluge” by Henrik Sinkewicz. It’s about Poland and Sweden and Russia. I like it, but there are large sections of horseback riding and fighting to wade through.

11. I’m doing my best to read through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy by the end of May in my Bible reading. Unlike other Christians who use fancy pants plans, I just read through my Bible.  It works for me.

12. I made crib sheets for violet’s crib, which she might grow out of before we got get her…. but whatever.

Basically, I’m resolved to do my best waiting without freaking out too much. I remind myself that everyday is one day closer to going, and that I’m not missing out on any time the Lord has ordained for us.

*******

Last but not least is a funny story about Lev waiting to go get Violet.

Last night, I gather up some pictures and Violets Easter bunny, and we get in the car, drive out to a place called Siler City to meet up with another family from our agency. They’re going to take the bunny and picture to Poland for us and give them to the facilitator to give to Violet. Hopefully.

Anyways, we’re most of the way there, and Lev is a little antsy and we tell him we’re going to go see some people about Violet, and he gets upset, throws the bunny up to the front of the car, and says to us,”Let’s just go get Violet.” We tried to explain about judges and such, but he was not hearing it. “I don’t care what they say. Let’s just go now.” Funny, but we feel the same way. But that’s why we’re the parents and not him. Lev’s way would get us sent to jail or something.

 

Hopefully we’ll have more exciting new in a week or so. Or two months. You know how it goes. =)

 

So as I wait out the last weeks of this wacky, seemingly endless wait, I need to keep in mind the following things:

 

1. I’m not missing out on anything. The Lord has planned out all the days we get with Violet as a family. Apparently those days aren’t supposed to start yet. It’s ugly to think about that. But it’s all I’ve got at the moment. As much as I would like her to be with us already, she’s really ok where she is. I mean, if you have to be in an orphanage, her’s is the best place to be. They have a new therapy room, full of bright new toys looking out on a peaceful “back yardish” sort of place with trees. She’s well cared for, by people who’ve loved her well for almost 2 years. They are truly her fist family in some ways.

2. There’s actually no one to blame. In all honesty, I’ve directed some negative emotion in the last few days at the Facilitor in Poland, but I don’t know if thats really fair. I mean, sure, I think there should be two of her, but I really don’t know if our paperwork has been looked it in the court system. And it’s easter, and John Paul is being canonized. I’m pretty sure the whole very catholic country is in a tizzy right now. But here’s to hoping that judge  will be sitting at his desk, thinking about how he’d rather just be somewhere else, and then happen to let his gaze fall on mine and Alex’s ugly mugs in our passport pictures and say to himself, “If I have to look at this horrible looking American, and this random Russian guy anymore, I might lose my mind.” and then just stamp something official and give it back to the facilitor. But whatevs. I also imagine to myself that he spilled tea on our file, and ruined all our paperwork, and cant bring himself to tell the facillitator. Who knows. But thinking up likely scenarios keeps me from negative rumination.

3. I have this time to do what I want! And I’ve decided that lev and I are going to work on some prewriting/writing skills and some phonics. And go to the zoo, and watch too much TV, and basically yuck it up before we go to Poland. I love his little voice, how he climbs on my lap and talks about Violet, about his trains, and how he sees the world. I’ll miss it when it’s not just the 2 of us anymore, but it’s going to be super fun when VIolet finally get here.  It’s also  been fun sitting down for just a few minutes every day and learning to have a greater control over pens and crayons and sounding out letters and stuff. And in the meantime, I’ve gone back to “working”. I’ve have some fun new clients, and I’m very excited about it all. Today I blogged a wedding I worked at with a friend, and these were two of my images:

Untitled-3_edited-1

Those are cookies and cream cupcakes people. COOKIES AND CREAM. I love weddings for many reasons, but down near the bottom of the list is that I get to sample really yummy food.

2 (9)

 

At the very least, doing mundane marketing tasks for my studio takes the edge off the wait. I’m not sure what’s in store for my studio for next year, especially now that I’ve gotten two small kids under 4 soon to be in my house, but I know that life will be fuller and richer. Photographing weddings makes my life a little busier, but also a little fuller. I’m actually really thankful for it in these last couple of weeks. I’ve missed it, but now I’m glad I started to take a couple of sessions.

 

In which I give up and go back to my photography.

Well, last Monday I decided that I was over this rediculous wait of ours, especially the people who say they are going to send stuff and don’t. I’m WAY over that. So we planned a trip to the beach. And since I’ve taken some time off of all of my photography, and it was all for nothing (even though the break was nice) I decided to take some bookings. I’m still not commissioning my own weddings, and won’t until the end of  the year, but I’ve taken on some new clients who should be a lot of fun to work with. I’m hoping it will take my mind off the ballyhoo (or lack there) of that I find myself in.

So in the meantime, we went out town to the beach this last weekend for our anniversary. And we’re going to the mountains next weekend, and I might head into Virginia the weekend after that to have a session with a nice looking couple. And there’s 15 preschoolers in cute little caps and gowns  that I’ll be photographing this week. I’m working on a contract for another job, but I have to write this thing  in a particular way becuase no one seems to know when this wait will be over, and the client’s like “I don’t get it. How can you not know? Can’t you just call someone?” And I’m like, “I can see how this is all very unsettling. I’m very unsettled about it myself. But I can assure you that if I am still in the country I will personally be there myself. And in the even that I am not, a well qualified, well vetted associate will be there in my place. The associate will be named in the contract, and under contract with me so that I can be assured that there will be coverage at your event”.

And it’s a good thing this client likes me because that contract almost tanked right there at noon today.   I keep telling myself that this is all just temporary chaos. I don’t know if I believe that at this point. At one o’clock, in effort to relieve this clients worry, I call the agency and ask about the time line, and of course, no one knew anything, and then thankfully, we got disconnected before I  could get crabby. And becuase I have clients to work with and trail mix to emotionally eat, I didn’t bother calling back.

The contract is ok for the moment. And if it’s not, then it’s not. People always ask me how they can pray for us, so if you’re praying with us, you can pray that when we finally get back to Poland, that I will be gracious to the facilitator. I work very hard to remember that she is BUSY. She works for more than one agency, and her time often gets taken up with various people and their problems, or by translation or paperwork, or whatever. But today was the first day I felt negative emotion and directed it at an actual person, which is slightly unfair of me. I don’t know that she’s really the reason. But either way, I need to remain cool, and the Lord has been very kind to help me remain rather calm and reasonably well put together, with only mild freak outs. I don’t know that people at our agency would agree, but considering that the week Lev was born, when I cried all day. everday  and didn’t sleep for a week, I’m doing spectacularly well.  I’m about to end my office hours for this afternoon, but to “reward” you for still reading this blog, and praying with us, and generally being good sports about our odyssey,  even though i currently have nothing to show for it but this pitiful blog, I’ll share some some images from our weekend. We love being outdoors, and spending time together as a family. We’re looking forward to when Violet is ready to go to the beach.

emerald aisle 2013-11 emerald aisle 2013-22 emerald aisle 2013-10 emerald aisle 2013-9 emerald aisle 2013-7 emerald aisle 2013-5 emerald aisle 2013-4 emerald aisle 2013-21 emerald aisle 2013-19 emerald aisle 2013-3 emerald aisle 2013-16 emerald aisle 2013-18 emerald aisle 2013-13 emerald aisle 2013-12

emerald aisle 2013-15

Lev is “Hulking” here. He made Alex be the Sand Man and bury him in the sand, and he hulked himself to get out. Good times with my hulk obsessed 3 year old.

Both Hands Project Part 2

It’s been a while since I talked about our Both Hands project. I’m still thinking about it and tossing it around in my mind. So this will probably be one of those posts that doesn’t really have a point and just wanders from here to there and back again. It’s been hard for me to verbalize all the things I feel, and it’s easier to to make a crack about something or be self deprecating. But I’ve been trying to avoid rather unsuccessfully, doing either of those things, and the result has been silence on the blog.

But anyways, the Both Hands Project. I liked this project for many reasons:

1. It’s service based- You serve a widow for a day and raise money for your adoption at the same time.

2. As far as I know, No one really gets rejected from the Both Hands Project. You send in your application, and get accepted and “simply”  follow the instructions in the materials they send you. Obviously there are some challenges, but it’s nothing too hard to overcome.

3. The amount of money you earn is based entirely on how well you promote your project and how many letters you send you. Each person on our team sent out between 3 and 15 letters. We sent out one to everyone on our christmas list which was about 40-50 people. This is genuinely the hardest part. We had very conservative goals for this project and blew right past them. I was totally shocked when I saw how much people had donated for our adoption.

Challenges and tips:

We had some pushback from people about weird things, which totally irritated and frustrated me. But I moved past that because I had no other choice. Don’t let the people rain on your parade.

We originally just had 1 widow. But there were changes in her circumstances, and we were able to find a second widow, and even help a 3rd. So that was pretty awesome. MOre than one Widow on a single project day was hard  to plan, but we had smaller projects a lot of people so it worked out well.

Don’t plan on working if you’re the coordinator. I spent all day running around organizing, moving people around, and chatting with widows and super curious neighbors.

Know your limits. I had to stress that we needed smaller projects. We can’t build decks, demolish walls, etc. So the projects we did were moving, cleaning, yardwork and minor landscaping. We basically did some freshening up in time for spring. We rented a uHaul truck, and our volunteers supplied tools and garbage bags, and we bought everyone lunch. That was about the extent of our expenditures for the project. We spent about $500 total on materials, a baby sitter for the small babies and toddlers, and on postage and printing for the letters we sent out.

In our letters, we put a postage paid envelope back to the Both Hands Foundation, and broke down our goal on a small paper we tucked in with our letter. WE told everyone that we’d reach our goal if everyone sponsored someone for $30. Some people donated more, and some less, but we made 80% of our goal and I’ve heard there’s a few more donations coming in and being posted. We’re really amazed becuase as I said above, we had very conservative goals.

 

Rewards:

Living out that verse in the Bible about bearing one another’s burdens is very cool. All the women we served were so incredibly thankful, and it was really eye opening how much help so many people need. A lot of people, including myself also commented on how this work day is really the way community should be- coming together to help alleviate people’s needs. And we all had fun doing it. A lot of us don’t get to hang out very often, and coming together to chat and do something worthwhile was FUN.

We’re almost fully funded for Violet’s adoption. It’s really amazing to me that the Lord would provide so fully for us this way. It took a LOT of courage to do this project. I almost didn’t do it becuase I thought, Meh, we got this other grant from SHow Hope, which was really unexpected and such a blessing. But people pointed out to me that doing the Both Hands Project is also a blessing to us and to people we can serve. And it was. I’m so glad I did it.

So, for all the adoptive parents out there looking for funding, this is a good thing. It takes some work, and it takes some courage, but you can do it and it’s a proven excellent fundraiser. We set a goal of $3000, even though had a greater need ($10,000 and smidge more) and we’ve raised almost $8,000. I was blown away when we received our current total of donations. BLOWN. AWAY.  We stand a very excellent chance of owing very little or even NOTHING on VIolets adoption. It almost knocks me over every time I think about it.

You can see our project page HERE

We had to make a video about our day, which I’ve embedded here. It’s not an oscar winning endeavor. But we think it gives a good overview of our day. Enjoy!

I am not losing my mind. I promise.

The last few weeks of the adoption have seen action. And while I’d love to say that we’re merely limping across the finish line, we’re not. We’re still going strong and in good spirits despite all that you’ll read about below. Nothing about our adoption or Violet has changed. We’re still glad we’re doing this becuase that little girl is totally worth it.

I should say that this is actually kind of funny to me. I can’t think of another family any of this would happen to except us. All of things you are about to read are real, and names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Our lives really are this ridiculous. I’m laughing to myself as I write this. “Smooth” is not a word that describes adoption. Eliminate that word from your adoption verbiage.

about 8 weeks ago, the agency says to me, “Hey, we think you should get your USCIS fingerprints done to extend your approval so we dont run into problems at the embassy. Sure, I say, no problem. So I send the email, get the date.

But in the meantime, the polish clerk of court has rejected my physical because someone, probably me, wrote my married name not my legal name that’s in my passport on the form (why I never changed my name after getting married is a long story involving eastern european politics, the USCIS, and the fall of communism. True story.). “Can you go to the dr’s office and have it changed?” Sure, I say, no problem.

Are we seeing a pattern yet?

But it is a problem. Becuase the Dr. doesn’t want to do it. Something about legal ramifications. So i make an appointment, gather my adoption box, a picture of violet, and go in there the next day and tell my sad tale. Alex comes with me, ready to intimidate with his (not really very) scary Russian accent. The agency is on hold on my phone, ready to fight with me, but miraculously, it all works out. He just whites out my name, writes it correctly, writes a short note just in case, charges me the copay and sends me on my way.

I could have done that myself for free. But whatever. I’m moving on. The high road and all that.

Are you still tracking with me? Let’s go skip forward, back to the fingerprints. We showed up last Thursday at the USCIS. Lev objects as usual to being wanded at the USCIS (we’re libertarians, against such things. He learned it mostly from me, that pesky protest of a perceived invasion of privacy). Fortunately, everyone thought it was cute. Then I had to sit under a photo of the current president, which I didn’t really appreciate, becuase again, I’m mostly a libertarian and we’re against big government and so on). And then, when they start scanning my fingers, there’s a lot of beeping, and they say,”You might be missing parts of your fingerprints. It’s called effacing.”

Naturally, I get an email 2 days later, from Gretchen, Violets USCIS caseworker. She’s actually super cool. “Your prints are unclassifiable”, she says. “I’m sending a new appt. You can just try to walk in an see what they say, but if theyre rejected again, you’ll need to get a letter from your local police station.” I”m glad she told me this. She’s the nicest immigration person I’ve encountered in 12 years of slumming it at USCIS. I’d totally be her friend in real life.

THese last few weeks have been annoying. It’s enough to make me take up smoking and sit on the couch with a whiskey on the rocks and say “WHATEVERRRRRRRRRR”. Except that I’ve never had whiskey, or smoked. And now I understand why some people do. That’s all I’m saying.

Upshots:

THe orpahange sent us new pictures of violet. She’s adorable as always. She’s also starting to walk and eat solid food. Double awesome. I can’t wait to get back to her. Those pictures are keeping me going. I put them in my drop box so I can look at them on my phone tablet or computer anytime I want, and I look at them a ton and pray for her and for us, and for miraculous healing of my fingerprints.

We’re still going to get her and bring her home. We’re going SOON. I’m in mostly good spirits.

Rumor has it that we’re getting a letter from the Polish court on Friday, which means in eastern european time that it will show up sometime 2 weeks after that. Or it could just show up on friday, right on schedule. It’s all kind of a crap shoot. Its also not helpful that Pope JOhn Paul II is being canonized soon and everyone in Poland is all excited about it. I hope they all remember that both Pope Francis and JOhn Paul would tell them that giving orphans parents is more important that being canonized. I genuinely think they were both cool enough to at least care that an orphan is missing out her family because of them. I don’t know.

or maybe I could just write to Pope Francis. He probably wouldn’t reply because we’re not catholic. But he might if I wrote in Spanish. La Raza and all that. Sort of.

Whatever. It is what is. I tell myself that everyday. I also tell myself that the Lord wrote this story. None of this is shocking Him. But I’m very thankful the Lord has allowed me to remain mostly calm with a minimal amount of tears and negativity and whining. THe Lord is good to us and faithful to keep us going and bringing us updates on Violet just when I want and need them.

Also, I should say that I’m not mad at the agency. None of this is their fault. They are very organzied and efficient, and  they’ve been very supportive and very nice when I call. I’ve found that being super nice and understanding gets more info than if I was grumbly.  I’m really glad that we used them for our adoption, and would totally use them again if we do a 3rd adoption. After a long break from paperwork of any sort, that is.

We’ll keep updating as we know more. THe end is NEAR!

 

 

 

 

Because who DOESN’T love a good long wait?

I’d really love post here that we have travel dates becuase today, the 24th, Lev is 3.5 years old and Violet is 21 months old.

But I can’t. Becuase we don’t.

And I wish that I could accurately describe how I feel right now. But I can’t either. Words sort of fail me right now.

So I’ll just say that I’m totally befuddled. I have lots of things to do, and lots of lists, but I simply can’t focus on any of this.

I’m so tired, I’m almost not tired.

It’s hard for me to look forward to anything, to plan anything, to say yes to anything becuase I simply don’t know if I’ll be here.

BUT:

I am doing considerably better than the week that Lev was born. That week, I didn’t sleep, I cried constantly, and the adoption agency called me every day, multiple times a day. It all came to an end, and so will this.

I am not mad or bitter that these dates aren’t here. It is what it is and I can’t change it.

I am taking time to do things I want.

To get ready for this on my own schedule.

To not be rushed.

And I don’t *feel* overhwhelmed, even though I’m acting like someone who’s completely overwhelmed. I think the acting like I’m overwhelmed part is a better indicator of how I actually feel.

I’m not suffering from insomnia anymore. *Major Plus*

 

I thought planning another fundraiser, but I’m not going to. I’m also not going to apply to anymore grants. We got 2. I think that’s good.

I’m trusting in the fact that the Lord knows the end of this. He wrote it, after all, and he’s brought us this far.

And those are all the words I have. There aren’t anymore. You can all pray the travel dates will come quickly. I know that we’re almost there. I KNOW it. It’s just hard to hang onto that.

 

Enjoy Spring! Lev and I are heading out to enjoy happier weather this week.

Our Show Hope Essay

A few people have asked about our Show Hope essay we (we means I on the blog.) wrote for our grant application. I thought I’d share it here with a few updates.

**Violets immigration approval came. We sent it off to the facilitator in Poland, and we’re waiting for dates. We also wired the money for her visa yesterday. Some people have asked what happens next. The honest answer is that I have no idea. At some point the facilitator will take a pile of paper to a judge and get a court date, and then we get to go to Poland.

But really, the end of an adoption is near when I give up trying to understand what’s happening and just give people money, and know that at the end, I’ll most likely get my girl. I think it’s a fair trade. Normally I’m on top of information about the process, where everything is, who it’s all with. But at this point, my brain is over saturated, and I’m on a 5 second delay. When people talk to me these days, there’s a 5 second delay while I process what anyone has just said to me before I respond. I attribute the 5 second delay to all the things I have to keep straight in my head. Theres a lot move through in there. The 5 second dealy most recently reared it’s ugly head at Gymboree yesterday. The clerk was genuinely concerned for me, but I told her it wasn’t her fault- I’m just at the end of an adoption and I’m on a 5 second delay. I apologized for not warning her in advance. But I digress.

**Our Both Hands Project is on Saturday. We’re down to the wire, but just tonight I was able to speak with the widow we’re working with and finalize a schedule. I’m starting to get really excited about this!  When the project is over, I’ll write a blog post complete with pictures and a video. But just know it’s coming.

 

Anyways, here’s our essay. I took out some personal details and such, so what you’ll read is somewhat edited version. I went through 5 drafts before I was happy with it.  The Show Hope application process is no joke. It took over 2 weeks to get everything ready and in the mail. It was crazy, but worth it. Enjoy. When you get to the bottom you get to see a picture of more Violets room. I’m really happy about how it’s turning out.

We’re Alex, Charity (I’m the writer), Lev and soon, Violet, who’s waiting patiently in Poland for us to come back and get her. We love each other, love Jesus, and on a less profound level, love photography, Curious George, trains, ice cream, missions to Russia and eastern Europe, hiking in the woods, walking, reading, biking and movies involving long dresses and British accents. Some might not call it the most exciting life, but we like it, because God gave it to us, and we’re glad we can share it with another child and all the people he puts in our lives.

When we began to think about a family, adoption as a method of family building was not something we thought much about until I was 26, and doctor told me that my body didn’t work right. That was very uncertain time as we pondered what our family would look like. But the Lord knew how it was all going to be for us, and brought us to something better in adoption. He graciously allowed us to let go of the idea of biological children and embrace adoption not as the next best thing, but as the Lord’s best for us. Through the adoption of our son, Lev, in 2010, we learned to love the gospel more clearly and to see our salvation, as children adopted into the family of God, mirrored in the adoption of our son.  It was a powerful experience for us, seeing everything in Lev’s adoption as an earthly reminder of our own salvation. Lev’s birthmother, our roles as his parents, and God’s love for us all played parts in us seeing the enormity and profundity of our own salvation.

When we decided to adopt again, we chose eastern Europe and Poland specifically because Alex is from that region and is grandmother was Polish. We knew that if we ever go on the mission field, it would be to Poland, or Belarus (Alex’s home country), or Russia. And when we read Violet’s history this past August, we knew that while Lev would certainly have been loved by his birth family if he had not been placed with us, we knew that guarantee did not exist for her. At the tender age of 1, adoption was already her last hope. If the Lord had not seen fit to send her to us and us to her, she would be without hope and without a future. And her adoption is again mirroring the power of the gospel. While Lev’s adoption was a broad and beautiful view of how God loves us and makes his children, Violet’s adoption is a picture of hope. In the same way we walked into that nursery and saw our daughter in that crib, rocking violently the way kids in orphanages do, small and alone and without hope, and reached down and picked her up and promised her she would never be alone again, is the same thing that the Lord did for us- picking us up, making us his children, and promising never to leave us or forsake us. It’s the single most humbling thing that we’ve ever done- pick up that sweet little girl and recognize our own state before God, while at the same time, seeing the wide and deep and free grace and hope offered to us in Jesus. We are so in love with this little girl, for all she is already to us and all that she already is and will be one day in Christ. She shows us that adoption is a pursuit. A heart wrenching, gut twisting, budget busting pursuit of family, justice, God, and his glory. We would never have chosen this path for ourselves. And God knew that and chose it for us, and we’re so glad that He did.

As we go forth as parents to Violet and Lev, the most important thing we hope for our children is that the Lord will grow in them a love of the gospel, and a love for Himself as they process and learn about their adoptions. And then, we hope that they will take that love, and give it away to others so that they and everyone else can see that the Lord is good and faithful and kind. While we have high hopes for all that our children can do in life, our greatest one is that their earthly adoptions will allow them to see how great and beautiful the gospel is, and that they will embrace it wholeheartedly and share it with others wherever the Lord takes them.

 

Violet's room is almost done. This wall faces east, and I took this picture around 9 AM this morning. I really love how the light floods into her and Lev's rooms and makes them feel large and airy and full, even though we;ve chosen to limit the amount of stuff in her room.  We picked very neutral and soothing greys and yellows for her room and a minimal amount of objects and stuff in her room to minimize sensory overloads.  We're also working on purging a bunch of other stuff around the house as well since we like this minimal thing way more than we thought we would. It's freeing to get rid of all your unnecessary stuff!

Violet’s room is almost done. This wall faces east, and I took this picture around 9 AM this morning. I really love how the light floods into her and Lev’s rooms and makes them feel large and airy and full, even though we’ve chosen to limit the amount of stuff in her room. We picked very neutral and soothing greys and yellows for her room and a minimal amount of objects and stuff in her room to minimize sensory overloads. We’re also working on purging a bunch of other stuff around the house as well since we like this minimal thing way more than we thought we would. It’s freeing to get rid of all your unnecessary stuff!