Caedmon and I are making the cross-country trek home to South Carolina today. (Pray for us!!!) My sister is driving up from Florida with her 3 boys, the youngest of whom I have yet to meet as he is only 2 months old. To say that I'm excited would be a slight understatement.
My agenda when I'm home:
take Caedmon swimming everyday
eat at Chick-fil-a at least twice
have good conversations with each of my family members
Yesterday we kicked off a new series called "Four Dumb Things Smart People Do". Great title for a series, huh?
Andy began by telling a story of something quite dumb that we did recently. When we were in San Francisco celebrating our anniversary two weeks ago, we went to a Giants game with a couple friends who were in town on our last night there. We loaded our car and checked out of the hotel before heading to the game, and then we rode over to the stadium with our friends. Unfortunately, we did not realize that the parking garage where our car was closed at 11 PM. So when we showed up at 11:05 after we got back from the game, we were rather dismayed to find that our car was locked up and all of our belongings were in it! To make a long story short, we ended up sleeping on the floor of our friend's hotel room until we were able to retrieve our car 7 hours later! Stupid stuff. In the words of Dave Ramsey, "I've done stupid with zeros on the end!"
fun times vs. not so much
Andy taught yesterday about the mistake many people make in sacrificing their family for their career. He began by saying that it is possible to win at work and at home, but when the two collide family must when or we end up losing at both.
In our society, we place such value on what we're able to produce. Often the first question we ask someone when we meet them is, "What do you do for a living?" Much of our identity is wrapped up in our career so to be successful at work seems like the path to being successful in life. It's easy to see the reward of spending an extra 30 minutes at work, and the results are much less tangible if you come home 30 minutes early.
But the reality is, the investment we make into our families carries far greater weight than the investment we make into our careers. We may not be able to define our "success" as clearly or as rapidly at home (it takes 20 years to raise a child), but our failure at home has a devastating impact on every area of our lives. If you can't get the job done at work, your company will replace you with someone else and never miss a beat. But if I fail to fulfill my God given role at home, I am the ONLY wife Andy will ever have and the ONLY mother Caedmon will ever have.
This is such a needed message in our society...especially here in the Silicon Valley. A mom with 4 adult daughters came up to us after the service with tears in her eyes saying, "My daughters need to hear this." You can listen to the message by clicking here.
We are getting to send a gift to our son through another family who is traveling to Ethiopia! The Dubois family is traveling to bring home their 8 month old son on June 2nd and have offered to take a care package for us! We are so excited for them and thankful for their willingness to help us out in this way. They will also take pictures of our son for us as he opens his care package! Can't wait to see those!!!
Here's a pic of what we're sending him:
Pictures of our family, an outfit, two trucks, a touch & feel book, and some Spiderman stickers picked out by Caedmon!
We received an email from our adoption agency this morning letting us know that our son (20 months old) has an upper respiratory track infection (URTI) and a soft tissue injury. I called to get more info and our family coordinator told us that she had already requested more info regarding the nature of the "soft tissue injury". That's all they told her and that could mean a wide range of things. Probably nothing too serious, but she told me she'd update me as soon as she heard anything.
Our family coordinator also mentioned that URTI's are unfortunately really common in the transition home where our child is living. The children are quite susceptible to that and to pneumonia.
The good news is that there is a full-time pediatrician that works with the children at the transition home and our son is being given the same antibiotics there that he would be receiving here. The thing he's not getting is time in his mommy's arms as I rock him and comfort him while he's sick.
While some people might be of the belief that it makes a kid "stronger" to not be coddled so much when they're sick, I think it has a tendency to make a child harder. They initially desire the comfort of an adults love, but when they learn that it's unavailable, they find ways to soothe themselves and eventually won't know how to receive that love when it's offered.
I know that the nannies at the transition home are wonderful and affectionate and they love the children. But the reality is, the kids are not getting one-on-one care and the nannies don't have the time to rock a sick child for hours on end.
So, I'd like to ask you to pray with me about something...I feel confident that our son is getting his physical needs met and that his body will heal (though I would love for you to pray for this too!). The thing I'd really like your prayer for is that God will protect his heart even when all of his emotional needs are not being met. I pray that God will keep his heart tender and that he will be ready and eager to soak in all the love that we want to give him. Pray that there would be a nanny to give him a little extra love and attention while he's sick.
I may never know if you stop right now to pray for him, but please know that I deeply appreciate it if you do. And I believe it makes a difference.
I found this poem and cried as I thought of our precious son's birth mother. I cannot imagine having to relinquish the rights to my child because I am unable to care for him. The courage and strength that took is astounding to me. She could have selfishly kept him to herself and watched him wither and likely die young from starvation or sickness. But instead, he will have the chance to thrive and blossom. She will not get to see it, but I pray she takes great comfort in knowing that her selfless act gave her son the chance to live.
Once there were two women,
Who barely knew each other.
One is in your heart forever,
The other you’ll call mother.
Two different lives,
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life,
And the second taught you how to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,
I've never done anything like this, but I'd like to ask you to consider donating something for the orphans in Ethiopia. These donations will go straight to the orphanages and transition home that our adoption agency works with. They will be benefiting the kiddos there and Andy & I will simply have the great privilege of delivering it! I am including a list of ideas below. If you'd like to participate, simply choose an item or two and ship it to the following address: (If you live here in San Jose, you can either drop it by or bring it with you to church!)
South Bay Church
attn: Ethiopia donations
2833 Junction Avenue Suite 207
San Jose, CA 95134
Then, leave a comment with the items that you are sending so that others will know what's already been covered. Thanks in advance for your participation!! This will be fun!
snacks (x at least 100)
deflatable balls w/ pump
underwear for boys & girls ages 10 and under
clothing for older kids (ages 3-10)
packs of gum
granola bars/prepackaged food (for street kids)
scrubs for the nannies (size 6 or 8)- there are about 70 nannies!
crocs for the nannies (size 6 or 8)
Just because one person donates something does not mean someone else cannot donate the same item. In fact, it's probably better to have large quantities of the same item then to have just a couple of all the different items.
No, we haven't found out our court date yet or when exactly we'll be traveling, but I have started getting ready for the trip. On Saturday I spent some time going through "Travel Tips" from other adoptive families who have made the trek to Ethiopia. You would not believe my packing list! It is literally FOUR (4) pages long! I want to be ready because we could very well only have about a weeks notice before we board the plane...at least that's how it happens for some families!
This packing list includes 23 different types of recommended meds!! It's the type of thing that you probably won't end up needing 80% of the meds you take, but you don't know what the 20% is that you will need and you certainly wouldn't want to need it and not have it. For example: a lice kit. Sure hoping I don't need that one, but if duty calls, I want to be prepared!
Found out something interesting...a couple of parents recommended using disposable gloves when changing your child's diaper. This would have NEVER crossed my mind. But it makes a lot of sense because many of the children may have parasites or some other type of sickness that could be passed to the caregiver. So disposable gloves won't likely be necessary long term (although, looking back, disposable gloves would have come in handy more than once with Caedmon!). But until our son gets a clean bill of health from his pediatrician, it's better safe than sorry.
Love this Bible. It's seriously the best children's Bible I've ever read. We got one for Caedmon a year or so ago and have worn ours out. The binding is coming lose and several pages have been ripped. Kinda unavoidable with a small child.
That's what makes what happened last Sunday all the more disturbing.
On Mother's Day South Bay had a baby dedication. We gave each child one of these Jesus Storybook Bible's as a gift. A great investment! Andy brought all of the Bibles over to our house the Thursday before to sign them and, you guessed it, Caedmon's Bible somehow got mixed in the stack.
Unfortunately we didn't realize that Caedmon's Bible was missing until the following week. So some poor family inherited Caedmon's Bible as their precious baby dedication gift. They probably think South Bay bought their gift at some second hand bookstore and tried to pretend like it was new!
If you are reading this post and realized that YOU inherited Caedmon's Bible, please let me know and we will gladly switch it out!
I love that our church feels like a big event every single Sunday. I love that if you miss a week you feel like you really missed out.
Well, unfortunately, Caedmon & I really missed out today. Caedmon woke up with fever this morning (after I had already done my hair & make up) so we couldn't make it to South Bay today. He's doing okay but his fever is up and down, so we're just laying low and drinking a little Motrin every 6 hours.
I, on the other hand, am pretty confident that I am dumber now after watching Bob the Builder, Handy Manny, SuperWhy, and Cars. Get well soon, Buddy!
On Mother's Day, Andy gave me the awesome privilege and opportunity to share a little of my heart with our church. I entitled the message, "Shaping a Warrior" and talked about the reality that if we, as parents, want to raise a warrior/warrior princess for the Kingdom of God, than we have to be warriors ourselves.
"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
In preparation for my talk, Andy, Archie, and I headed out to an Archery Range to take a lesson in the art of bow & arrows. Prior to this experience I had never actually shot a bow & arrow before. Shocking, I know. Check out this video that Archie made:
Sorry I've been MIA in the blogosphere the past week and a half! I taught at South Bay this past Sunday (Mother's Day) and all of my attention and free time last week was devoted to preparation for that. I'll share some thoughts on that tomorrow, but I have to get on to our huge announcement:
WE RECEIVED OUR REFERRAL!!!!
We received a phone call on Friday morning telling us that we have been matched with a child. It was the best Mother's Day gift anyone could have given me this year. My heart was racing as I spoke with our family coordinator about him. Looking at his picture for the first time with Andy & Caedmon was a very moving experience. I kept thinking, "That is my son! That is my son!" Right now he looks like a stranger...just another (beautiful) little kid in a photo. But that precious little face will soon become as familiar as Caedmon's and he'll be filling our home with laughter and joy.
He is a beautiful little boy about 20 months old. He's small for his age, but overall in really good health. We already have a picture of him framed in our living room and I so wish I was allowed to share it on my blog. However, we are required to protect his confidentiality and not share his name, photo, or health info until after we pass court.
The first words out of Caedmon's mouth when he looked at his brother's picture were: "Oh, he's brown!" Andy and I laughed out loud when he said that and I thought how funny that will be in future years that those were Caedmon's very insightful first words of his brother.
We have formally accepted the referral and we're now waiting for our court date. It looks like we'll be traveling to Ethiopia sometime between 4-6 weeks from now for court. (So mid-to-late June). That is great timing because Andy had already scheduled to have vacation time during that window. If all goes smoothly and on schedule, we'll be traveling back to Ethiopia somewhere between August and October to bring him home!!