Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
So I told you there was a story behind the picture of the girl in the yellow dress. I hope I can tell it just right.
For awhile now we have been praying about a second adoption. We had planned on adding a boy to our family this time, you know because it makes sense to even things out a bit. :)We were looking to adopt from China or possibly domestically. A few weeks ago an orphan-advocate friend emailed me a picture of a little African orphan-girl wearing a yellow dress. She half-joked (maybe not) that the girl "had my name written all over her" and that she would be the perfect addition to our family. It was quite honestly love at first sight as far as I was concerned. I showed the photo to John and confessed to him that more than anything in the world I wished I could be her mother!
I could think of nothing else for an entire week.
The email/photo didn't seem to have the same effect on John. In fact, every time I brought it up I felt that it must not be the right time, he must be busy, he must not be interested. But OH, how I loved her!!
So a week or so passed, and FINALLY he said, "Charissa, show me the picture of the little girl you told me about last week." I couldn't believe my ears!! He was actually interested in looking at her picture! He was actually interested in hearing more about her!
I wasted no time running over to the computer to show him the private RR link with her photo on it. I was SO excited.
One little problem. When I brought up the page, her picture was gone, and in its place it said in big letters: MY FOREVER FAMILY FOUND ME! All week I had been looking at her and just that fast she was gone.
A wave of disappointment came over me. I tried to be happy, really I did. She wasn't going to be an orphan anymore! I should be thrilled for her, right? How could I feel disappointed when this precious little girl would not be an orphan anymore. How selfish I was to feel sad that it was someone else and not me that would get to be the mother of the little girl in the yellow dress.
Then in my peripheral vision stood John Urban with a HUGE grin on his face, holding up a little gift bag, and he said, "Happy Birthday!" Inside the bag was the picture of the little girl in the yellow dress. :) And she was going to be mine after all.
HA! Can you believe that? He had been faking aloofness, acting uninterested, and all the while he was scheming, of all things.....an adoption! And I never had a clue!! I just want to say I sure do love that guy!!! How blessed I am to be married to a man who knows just how to make this woman's birthday dreams come true!
(Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. A surprise adoption may not make every spouse's dreams come true!)
Anyone who has been reading this blog long enough will surely remember this girl's aversion to touch, her inability to hold an object, her inability to even sit up by herself, hold eye contact. And don't forget my fears that she would never show emotion, love and affection, and that I possibly might not be able to love an adopted child with so many delays as much as "my own".
Not only do these pictures represent so many obstacles that have been overcome, look at what else they show. TRUE love. The most heartfelt affection. The sheer joy of being a "mommy".
Learned from none other than....ME.
(And I just want to point out now how cute I think the two little bald heads look together.)
Oh, my heart.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Check out these totally cute bags my little girls got in the mail a couple of days ago. They are the perfect size for toting coloring books and even have tiny little slots on the sides to hold crayons.
But the thing I love best about these little bags is they were hand-sewn by ROBERT, a big, tough, army DAD to raise money to adopt an orphan from an institution in Bulgaria. I don't know about you but the thought of that just makes me want to say "AWWWWW!"
Please go over to the Bedford's blog and buy one or two for your kids, and help bring their little boy home. (Remember the Bedfords are the ones who adopted Ava's little cribmate from Ukraine). Thank you Robert! My girls absolutely love these things!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
June 25, 1995, my newlywed husband walked in the door of our apartment holding a fluffy little golden furball with a pink bow tied around her neck. "Happy Birthday", he said. :)
Today, on my birthday again, John Urban and I held each other in the vet office and bawled our eyes out as we reminisced 14 years of memories: how she used to stick her head out the car every time we went for a ride, bring the ball to play fetch.....over and over..... and over.... and over again, and how she insisted on sleeping under the crib each time a new baby was born. (I am trying to forget all the times I threatened to send her to live in the country for digging holes in my yard or tracking mudprints on my clean floors. How I wish those words never came out of my mouth.)
We said very tearful good-byes and then we watched Bliss take her last breath.
Thank you for all the encouraging words and personal experiences. It helped me more than you will know. This morning when we woke up we knew beyond a doubt that today was the day. She labored pretty hard to breathe all night, her legs had become paralyzed......and her tail was no longer wagging. :( I'm guessing she had a stroke in the night.
She was a GOOD dog, I mean a really, really wonderful dog. We will never forget the friend she was to our family. We are at peace.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Bliss is 14. She just lays in the same spot all day until I think she must probably need to use the bathroom. I have to help her up. Sometimes she falls several times on her way out the door. Then she struggles back and lays down in her spot again. It seems like it is time.. Several people who have seen her recently have urged me: "It is time." Then again, her tail still wags when we pet her and when she sees her green tennis ball.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Honey, sit down. I have some news for you.
What is it?
Well, I don't know how to say this, so I'll just come
out with it. I went out to the mailbox today and . . .
. . well, we got an I-171H.
A what?!?! An I-171H? As in, we're going to have
It looks that way.
But how? We've been so careful! I put away all the
blank 1-600A forms.
Didn't you hide our homestudy update?
Of course I did. But don't forget, there was that one
night . . .
What night? (pauses) Ohhh, that night. But it was only
once. We were just messing around. I didn't print
clearly. I didn't even use black ink! (pauses
But it was kind of fun.
(giggles) It was, wasn't it? I'll never forget how
cute you looked getting your fingerprints.
So now we've got our I171H, eh? But that doesn't
always mean you'll adopt,does it? I mean, shouldn't
you see the agency or something, make sure
I already did.
I'm five documents along.
And they're all notarized, certified and
There was one small scare when the agency couldn't see
the notary's middle initial, but it showed up just
fine under the magnifying glass.
Thank God. And you, honey? Are you feeling okay?
I'm feeling fine. As long as I know you're happy about
Happy? I'm thrilled! It's always a shock at first when
something like this happens, but of course I'm happy.
Monday, June 22, 2009
So we are halfway through our foster parenting classes. Last week a couple talked about their two sons who had spent their whole life in foster care before they adopted them. They said that when they came into their care at ages 4 and 5, they had FIVE....TOTAL pictures of their entire childhood. Five pictures! I was heartbroken for them. What kind of foster homes must they have lived in to not at least take more than 5 pictures of them???
So this gave me an idea. Since we are going to be doing emergency foster care, we will most likely be the first placement for kids coming through. I got to thinking it would be really nice to have a scrapbook-type album to give as a gift to every child that enters our home and start it while they are here with us, hoping to encourage future foster families to fill the scrapbook up with photos and childhood memories.
So are there are any scrapbookers out there reading this that might be of help? What would be a very (I mean very) simple way to do this project? Inexpensive would be nice too. I wonder if there are scrapbooking companies that would donate albums to kids in foster care. OOOOh, that would be great.
While I'm on the subject of scrapbooking, here are a couple of things I've done taking advantage of all the pretty patterns of scrapbook paper. There are so many fun, cheap decorating projects that even the kids can help me with! The last picture is a display in the girls' room, "clipboards" made from plexiglass with pretty paper showing through from behind. I could have used actual clipboards but it was about 4 times cheaper this way!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
A couple of people asked me where the Adopt(Ed) t-shirts (seen on the Adopt-ed blog header) can be purchased. They are sold at our church with proceeds going towards adoption grants. I just learned that the shirts (and bracelets) can be purchased online too by clicking here. We bought these for every member of our family to support the ministry. They are great for spreading the joy of adoption, supporting a great ministry, and don't forget, keeping track of multiple children in public!
One more thing about foster care. I've briefly mentioned here and there that we used to be foster parents 10-13 years ago. What I haven't mentioned is how that experience continues to bless our lives even today. This is Kim and Teri, the first foster children we were blessed with. These two girls gave me my first glimpse into motherhood. There were some days I wondered what I had gotten myself into as a young 24 year old newlywed trying to parent two little girls ages 8 and 10! :) But the joys of fostering them definitely was worth the few challenges we ran into.