Friday, April 30, 2010

On Our Way

I am sitting here in the airport with Kam. It is pretty surreal. You make the decision, do paperwork, wait, do more paperwork, wait, wait, hope, plan, get frustrated, wait, get excited, wait, get nervous, did I mention you do a lot of waiting?

And then, BAM, here we are. At the front end of our long trip many miles away to bring our little boy home.

I am excited, nervous, a little tired at the moment from packing & rearranging luggage to use up every one of our allowed pounds. I'm a bit emotional, too...It's hard to realize you are going to be away from those that you love the most for 10 days. But I continue to pray & trust that God will have His hand on all of us.

Since I am unsure of internet connections while I'm gone, Kaelee has offered to do a couple of updates on what's happening. Who knows, Joe may even pop in if he needs a place to "process".

So, friends, here we go!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Being Brave...Being Blessed

I have a confession: I like being comfortable & knowing what to expect.

The problem with that? I had kids.
Comfort: Over.
Knowing What to Expect: Definitely over.
And how thankful I am!!

The reason this has come up is that there have been a lot of people asking me how I am feeling about traveling to Africa to bring home our son. Honestly, I have not allowed myself to think about it too much for fear of my mind paralyzing me. I've kind of gone into "mommy auto pilot".

However, last night I decided it was time to think about it a little bit as the reality has hit: I'm leaving in less than a week. So, I prayed. And you know what came along? The realization that without my husband & children, there are a whole lot of things I would have avoided just to remain comfortable.

Which translates to: I would have missed out on a whole lot of living!

Because of my family, I have stepped out of comfort zones to experience the things that bring them joy or the things that they want to experience.

Each of my children has opened my world to new things, but for now I'll just share a few that have to do with Kearsten. She has been the one that has had me WAY out of my comfort zones. From wanting desperately to try the Hulk roller coaster to dropping 12 stories on a water slide (which ended with the biggest wedgie of my life) to parasailing wayyyy up high....What an adventure being this girl's mother has been!!

So, yes, there may be a bit of apprehension as I get ready to travel over 8,000 miles away to a different country, but I will do it for the sake of my son. And because of him & the rest of my family, I will continue to experience this life as an adventure instead of a comfy, boring existence.

And I'm cool with that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

One Week

I just heard "the word". Our embassy appointment has been confirmed for May 4th. We are leaving in one week to go pick up our son!!


Holy smokes.

I need to quit buying toys & start making a dent in "the list". Seriously, my cart at T*rget yesterday looked more like I was Christmas shopping than getting ready for a trip. I had a list. I just chose not to use it.

For now, I will go to bed in denial & dream about bringing home my son (and, of course, in this dream, everything is neatly packed & ready to go).

Tomorrow, look out...I will be a woman with lists a-plenty on a mission!

Mommy's coming, Little Man....................

Sunday, April 18, 2010

No One Ever Told Me

No one ever told me I would laugh so much...

No one ever told me I would cry so much...

No one ever told me I would worry so much...

No one ever told me I would pray so much...

No one ever told me I would hope so much...

No one ever told me I would dream so much...

No one ever told me how I would move heaven & earth, or travel across the ocean...

No one ever told me how fiercely I would love & protect...

No one ever told me I would lay down my life...

No one ever told me that one of life's greatest blessings is to be called "Mommy".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is "Hope 4 The Wounded"?

When I first started this blog, I was trying to come up with a name for it. It finally hit me that "Hope 4 The Wounded" would be the natural choice as this has become an extension of not just Joe, but of me, as well.

Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC, is a consulting firm that Joe & I co-founded. Joe is definitely the front-line person for this venture while I try to tackle the behind the scenes stuff. Joe has authored a book, "Reaching the Wounded Student", which is the foundation to what he speaks about at conferences & when school districts hire him to do professional development trainings.

I have started to get some questions about it, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share a couple of links. His publisher, Eye on Education, just recently did a two-part author spotlight about Joe, so if you are interested in where our hearts have led us over the years, these might give you an idea.

You can view Part 1 of Joe's Author Spotlight here.
Part 2 is here.

This whole adventure has really been an amazing journey. I can't go with Joe all of the time when he travels, but I have been able to go to some of the bigger venues when he has needed help. Joe has been given a wonderful gift to reach people, engage them in what he has to say, & give encouragement. We have been blessed by so many educators & other people that work with children who have come up after he's done speaking to share their stories & how what he's said has impacted them.

We are ever so thankful for the passion God has put in our hearts for the hurting & lost children of this world, both in our personal & "professional" lives & especially thankful for those we have the privilege to meet along the way that share that passion, too. I'm guessing that if you've taken the time to read this far, you are one of those people, so thanks...YOU ARE AWESOME!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Little Man's Ouchie

I feel very, very fortunate to be with the agency that we are (International Adoption Net) & to have had a friend that just happened to be over there picking up her son that was able to see our Little Man right after he broke his arm. Here's the update she emailed before she got on the plane home:

So I saw your boy and he is doing well. He was in a cast and they say that he broke 2 bones. I guess he was miserable yesterday but today was smiling and let me love on him. I tried to download a picture but it didn't work. I will call you tomorrow night some time. He will be fine:) I bet this is so hard for your momma's heart. Praying for you.

My adoption coordinator sent me these pictures today, too. I cannot say enough about how all of this is being handled & how they are so sensitive to our feelings as his parents. I mean, my goodness, it's Saturday & I was not expecting to hear anything today!

We're not sure, but we think in this picture he is still in a "pre-cast". I know one thing for sure, I will be shopping online to find him a cool sling because the gauze has got to go! As a side note, it warms my heart to see that he is still wearing the bracelet that Kami made for him.

Praying that we get some news this week that allows us to start making some concrete plans for travel. Thanks to all you sweet friends for sending lots of love & encouragement to this momma in her time of need!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good News & Tough News

We'll start with the good news. I got this update earlier in the week from another adoptive parent through our agency (who just happens to live just 45 minutes from me) that is in Ethiopia picking up her son:

-Dardi, I am in love!! He is the sweetest boy with a killer smile. Sister told him that we are friends and he will see me again. He followed me around the rest of the time. He completely stole my heart and I am so glad that you are my friend and neighbor!!

So sweet to hear. I think I just hang on every word of every update that traveling parents are so generous with. It's almost like pre-bonding or something.

So, with every word, I become more attached to our little guy. Today's phone call confirmed that in a big way. We received word today that our little boy broke his arm. Seriously, that news hit me like nobody's business. I felt like somebody punched me in the gut & put a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit all at the same time. I know the staff over there will take very good care of him, but they are not his mommy. I am now, and I am grieving that I cannot scoop him up in my arms & love on him the way mommies do when life is hard.

Please pray that all of our paperwork is in order quickly so that I can get over there sooner vs. later...we are so hoping to be able to attend the embassy date the first week in May.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Snapshot: Easter

We've had some fun times decorating eggs....

Hunting for eggs....

Look out for that hair!!! Crazy, wild mess!

Ahhh, there it's a bit more under control...sweet girl...

This is outside of our church this morning. There was an awesome video clip played before the sermon that was excellent, but one part in particular spoke to this momma's heart:

With His life, we have an example;
With His death, we become the example.

Dear Lord Jesus ~ Thank you that you saw something worth saving in us, and not just worth saving, but worth using. Let each of the precious treasures of this family be an example of Your life & love in this world, & let it begin with me. ~Amen

Ni Hao Y'all