Friday, August 31, 2007

Bad Night, Good Day

As you can guess from my last post, Wednesday night was not my best. After lots of tears, tossing and turning, kids with bad dreams and an overall unrestful night, I woke to fullfill my promise to my kids that we'd go to Kings Dominion. This is the last week that they are open on weekdays so it was now or never. Everything in me did NOT want to go but we packed up anyway and headed out. I gave my kids a pep talk on my physical and emotional condition and they responded. We had a great day at the park! It wasn't too awful hot, there weren't a lot of people there (= no lines!) and my kids were cooperative and flexible. Everyone had to take turns getting to do what they wanted which meant that there were times that everyone had to just sit and wait for someone to get off a ride. It meant that Nathan had to on several occasions stay with the girls while I rode some of the big rides with Jacob. It meant that everyone had to be flexible with what order we did things and where they sat on the ride... You get the idea. There was potential for many a melt down (on their part and mine) but they were just awesome. I told all of them how proud I was of them and they all on their own came to me and thanked me for taking them. As hard as it is, there isn't much more I can do for Caleb than I'm already doing. But I have 4 other kids already here at home and I have to give them the attention they need. So, I continue to plug forward, still praying for my little peanut on the other side of the world and praying and being there for the 4 sitting in my house.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not today (again)

Not that I expected it but it hurts just the same. On a happy note, my friend Robyn got hers today - YEAH!!!! On a frustrating note, someone posted that they got theirs today on Day 19. Ok, I get that they were through review, but come on. They didn't even wait 3 weeks. We're on month 5 of our wait. Everything in me wants to scream that it just isn't fair. Cause it isn't. My little boy is STILL sitting in an orphanage thank you very much. And with October travel pretty much an impossibility (I'll explain more about that later when I'm calmer), it is looking like we won't travel now until November. Yep, November. I'm going to go cry - good thing there isn't any chocolate around or I'd be in trouble.

Trying REALLY Hard

I've seen some LOAs coming in to other people on RQ today but no word yet from our agency. I really don't think that we'll get anything this week but it is still hard to not get that little twinge of "maybe this time..." Maybe there was a miracle at the CCAA and they moved us out of the review room. Maybe. I don't have the guts to call my agency. I'm becoming a wimp.
So, here we are - Day 133 and trying to keep it together....


Yesterday I was waiting for Ken at our parking lot so that we could go to an Orioles game. Since Chick-fil-A sponsors the Orioles Kids Club, one of our corporate guys was throwing out the first pitch and then we got to hang out in a fully stocked corporate suite for the game. I was watching Chi picking up in the parking lot. At that moment I was overwhelmed by the number of people who bless our lives and make it possible for us to do what we do. My parents (yes Mom, I know you read this!) were home watching our kids, again. It is such a blessing to have my parents right down the street and not for the babysitting :) On Sunday afternoon, my boys decided to go home with them after lunch to just hang out. I never got to do that as a kid since my grandparents were all hundreds and thousands of miles away. And while we could do what we do with the number of kids we have on our own, it certainly would be much more difficult without their help. I am grateful that they are engaged in my kids' lives and want to spend time with them. That is such a gift not only to me but especially to my kids.
I am also grateful to our wonderful team members at the store. Chi is just one of the many who work hard and add so much to the personality of our team. We have team members from all over the world and it is such a joy to me to see such a variety of nationalities working together. It is a huge lesson for my kids as well - I think their Spanish and Mandarin are better than mine because they like to hang with the team members :) All this is to say that we could not be doing what we are doing without all these awesome people with us. I remember the days of doing it ourselves and it just isn't fun. I am thankful for each person that God has brought into our lives - it is what makes life full and rich!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Death of a Turtle

You know of my temptation to kill the turtle. While this poor hapless creature is not at fault for our forever wait, I just couldn't stand to stare at him SLOWLY creeping across the sand anymore, never making it to the destination. So, unfortunately, the turtle is no more. I know some of you will be disappointed since a number of you have lobbied for his life during some of my rants but he is now in turtle heaven (or for those of you who have been to China, sitting in some one's soup bowl). He has been replaced by a hopping frog which I hope will move at a much quicker speed than his predecessor. Being at the bottom of the page, I won't have to stare at him everytime I check our blog. And yes, I changed the format again. I think I need to go to China....

Tomorrow highly unlikely

I'm the least nauseous today than I've been on a Sunday in a long time. I guess it is because I'm guessing it highly unlikely that we'll get anything tomorrow. We weren't out of review on Wednesday so unless a miracle occurred on Thursday, we have at least another week to go. Of course next Monday is a holiday so my Monday Morning Sickness will be replaced by my Tuesday Morning Sickness. I'm hoping we'll get another update on Thursday again to let me know if the sickness is necessary or not.
Some people have told me that there must be a reason for this wait. While that is a possibility, I think that it is equally possible that it is just what it is. Sometimes stuff just happens. That is life in a sinful world. But whether God has this designed or not, He still expects us to honor Him in the process. He can use all things for His glory, whether great or not. I just have to be willing to let him. I'm going to keep praying about that one :) I know that my little boy and my family are being showered with prayer and we are grateful for that!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I got this and thought it was too good to keep to myself :) Thanks Jen for sending it!
A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience,
Raised a glass of water and asked
"How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.
It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.

If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued,

"And that's the way it is with stress management.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later,

As the burden becomes increasingly heavy,

We won't be able to carry on. "

"As with the glass of water,

You have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.

When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down.
< BR>
Don't carry it home.

You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now,
Let them down for a moment if you can."

So, my friend, Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now.

Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a w hile.

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon,
And some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet,
Just in case you have to eat them.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good
If you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be
Recalled by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,
It was probably worth it.

* It may be that y our sole purpose in life is simply be ki nd to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time,
Because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well.
Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way,
You're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you.
The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world,
But you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun t o only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

*A truly happy perso n is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Have a super day!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Psalm 121

My prayer for Caleb and the rest of my family....

I lift my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Word of the Day - "Soon"

This is evidently CCAA's new favorite word. It is becoming a running joke (cause you gotta laugh or you'll cry) with those of us long timers. We got another update today that our file is getting ready to leave the review room and head to the matching room "soon". Once we get to the matching room, we SHOULD have an LOA/RA within a week or two. With that said, we were also told a month ago that we'd have our LOA "soon". So, before you starting buying confetti and balloons for the big celebration, realize that we could still be looking at another month or so wait. They did admit that they are behind on April reviews (really? - none of us had noticed...) but hope to get through them all, yep, "soon". At least they admit that they are behind. Not that it gets Caleb home any sooner but it is a bit refreshing. Of course it would have been nice to know that a couple of months ago. It would have saved me many a day of psychotic worry and anticipation. On a happy note, a family who has been waiting 177 days finally got their LOA this week. I've never met them in person but was so happy for them I just about cried!
Please continue to pray for my friend Dawn. They are still not back in PGN (the review step on Guatemala's end) and are concerned with the stability of the entire Guatemalan program. Pray for their little boy Nicholas and that God will see fit to unite this family SOON!!!! (and that is God's definition of "soon", not China's!!!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The latest...

Our agency's liason has already checked into our case. We are not even into the matching room yet. That's right, we've now been in the review room for 4 months! They will be checking on our case (and a handful of others) weekly to see the progress. At this point the earliest we will be traveling is October. Anyone need boy summer clothes size 9 months? Guangzhou won't even be hot when we get there....

Kissing Cousins

Last weekend we were blessed to have a visit from Ken's brother Tom and his kids. Somehow I didn't get any pictures of the boys (maybe they were moving too fast on their dirt bikes!) but did get this shot of the girls in their matching outfits (of course us girls went shopping while the boys went to a baseball game!). Too cute!

Some thoughts from God....

While I was reading my Bible last night, these verses from Lamentations popped out at me.
Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, " The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

I know that some of you are reading this blog because you are where we are. I know that some of you have no idea what it is like to go through a wait for a child but you know what it is like to be overwhelmed be life's circumstances. Either way, I pray that these verses will minister to you as much as they have me. Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Thank you to all who have emailed their encouragement to us. I know some of you have said that you don't know what to say. Just knowing that others care and are lifting us up to the Lord is a comfort. Just think what a celebration we will all share when we finally get to bring Caleb home!

Monday, August 20, 2007

More information (well sort of...)

It's official ladies and gentlemen. We've been skipped yet again. Our agency emailed us after 5:30 today to let us and at least one other family know that they are once AGAIN going to have their liason look into our file. This is at least 5 times we have been skipped. I know I said I was angry before but now I'm really angry. We are supposed to hear something by Wednesday or Thursday. It better be Wednesday and the news better be that it is in the mail. I'm not sure what my response will be if it is something other than that, especially since we were told 3 weeks ago that everything was fine and that we'd get our LOA soon. A month isn't soon.

Not today

I know many of you are wondering but the answer is no. I have an email into my agency to see what and when the next step is. I'm just ticked off right now. But don't worry, I'll cycle through the "numb and can't think about this anymore" to the "I'm sad and I want my little boy" to the "I'm sick and want to throw up". I'm wondering exactly how long my body (and my family) can handle this growing psychosis....

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Ok, now that I've vented, I just read the response to my entry about the Smiths. I'm not sure everyone reads the comments left by others so I wanted to make sure that everyone has a good idea about who the Smiths are and to lift them up in your prayers as they are in China.

"Melissa- I am not sure if you know this or not but Katie's parents ARE NOT EATING in China. They can't afford it! They will be having breakfast at the hotel and then, I guess, praying for the rest of the day. It really puts their sacrifice into perspective! God bless them and their beautiful little girl!!! I can't wait to see those Gotcha pictures!!!!-Jen Ingersoll
August 18, 2007 11:46 PM "

I am inspired by their faithfulness. If they can do that, then I can wait however long it takes. What an incredible testament to their faith - I can't wait to see how God uses them on this trip!!!

Morning Sickness

I feel like I could throw up (sorry for the graphic beginning to my post). I have morning sickness. More specifically I'd call it Monday morning sickness. Every Sunday evening it begins. It is especially intense on the Sunday nights when another travel group from our agency gets to celebrate gotcha day on the other side of the world. So tonight, I'm feeling it pretty badly. I'm thrilled that families will be knitted together tonight but I can't help but think that these were people who were logged in after us. And we still don't even have an LOA. We don't know when we'll be able to hold Caleb. Not a clue. And that is what is so hard. We'd like to think that we'll still make it there in September but as the weeks pass, it becomes even harder to imagine. Each Monday is the question, will today be the day? Or will we be waiting yet another week. Supposedly nothing is wrong with our file. So why is nothing happening? Why do they keep skipping us and putting us at the bottom of the pile? When will they finally say, ok, this little boy has gone without his family long enough? When will I finally be able to answer the ever present question, "When are you going to China? Have you heard anything?"
I have a jammed packed day tomorrow and that makes me think that we won't get anything tomorrow. Is that God's way of keeping me so busy I don't have time to think about it? Well, not a chance about that. I get to sit in a waiting room for a drs appt (and you can figure out which one it is) with a bunch of pregnant women. I feel like the very overdue woman who wants her baby out NOW!!! Unfortunately I don't think Dr. Aron can help me with this one.
And yes, I know God's timing is best. I know He has it all planned out. I don't doubt any of that. But knowing all that doesn't change the emotions on this roller coaster ride.
Sorry to be a downer. It really does help me to vent here. I'd like to tell you that we hope to be next and that we should get our LOA tomorrow. Ken seems to think that tomorrow is the day. But I've learned the hard way that I just can't make that prediction anymore. Just because something should happen doesn't mean that it will. I will tell you that a gotcha day will not be celebrated more sweetly than when little Caleb is placed in our arms. Of that you can be sure. Now if we could just know when that would be....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Katie is coming home

I just wanted to update you on the Smith's. Even though they weren't able to raise all the money they needed through the auction and donation, they were able to raise enough that they are in China getting Katie!!! This is such a huge answer to prayer and I know that they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers to help bring Ms. Katie home. I don't think that they have a blog for travel but if they post a gotcha day photo, I'll add it so everyone can see this little cutie meet her forever family.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Sweet Gift

My mom gave me a very sweet gift yesterday. It is a devotional (Battlefields and Blessings) full of stories of faith and courage from the Civil War (yep, I was a history major). She thought it might help me through this time of waiting and wondering. So I open it to today, August 16. The title is "The Test of a Christian" and is a letter written by a Major Isaac White to his wife on the death of her father. The gist of the letter and the devotional thought was that adversity is the test of character. As Terry Tuley (the author of this devotional book) states, " We can profess to be strong in the Christian faith until adversity strikes. It is then that our faith is put to the test. How we react to the adversity and endure through it will bring out our true character." Ouch. I have to ask myself if I am reacting to adversity in a way that is bringing honor to God. What is this wait showing about my true character? I know for sure that it is showing me that I really do rely too much on my own strength and wisdom (always been one of my weaknesses - I'm a bit pig headed :) ). The verse included with today is one that is an encouragement to me and hopefully will be to anyone else who is enduring a "test of character".

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" Hebrews 12:1B

Retying those running shoes....

Day 120

Well here we are. Today is probably the last drop dead day for us to even think about being in China during Caleb's birthday and it would require a 2 week turnaround on a TA (which with our track record I wouldn't count on!). Turtle soup anyone?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I heard from so and so who heard from so and so...

Someone just posted on one of the groups that their agency told them that TAs were on the way. Sure hoping that some LOAs are mixed in and that a batch is on its way to our agency too. Of course it would be really nice if our LOA was in there!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not Sure What to Think

Obviously we didn't get an LOA today but I haven't seen a single one posted on any of the groups that I"m part of. That doesn't mean that some weren't sent but it does seem odd to me that nothing was posted today. I guess that gives us some hope that maybe something could still come this week. We hit 120 days on Thursday - you know, the max that our agency said we would wait. I had a very busy afternoon with starting school today, dr appt for Jacob and grocery shopping with the kids. I guess it was God's way of taking me away from the computer :) It has been a challenging day and to top it all off, I discovered once I was home that we had bought a pound of day old shrimp. Lovely aroma....Be grateful there is no smellavision!
Thanks for all the prayers. So many of you have been so faithful in your prayers even though I have never met you and you may never meet me this side of eternity. I am grateful for your faithfulness and count it as one of the blessings of this horrid wait (which is at Day 116 for those of you who follow these things.....).

Yep, It's a Monday

Trying not to think too much about it being a Monday but it isn't working very well. I am starting school with the kids today (under much protest!!) so that will keep me busy most of the day. I'm going to try to stay away from the computer until later this afternoon!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another test...

This is the building that Caleb now spends his days.  The 2 & 3 year old room is on the second floor.  Another adopting dad took this picture a couple of weeks ago. 

New Format

Do you like the new format? I was getting bored with the other one. Gotta change things every once in awhile :) And yes, I figured out how to email a post to my blog - could come in handy in China (when we ever get there!). I've had fun learning all this stuff as I go and I"m hoping that it will all work as it should when we are in China.

New Map

Check out the new visitor map at the bottom of the blog! It is fun to see where everyone is :) I love seeing Kelley out there in Guam :)!!! I'm a bit of a map freak so this is a fun addition. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another one comes home :)

Just back from a very long night at the airport, waiting for the Benton clan to return home with Mr. Alex. Despite the fact that their "on time" flight was 2 hours delayed due to weather, there were smiles and tears abounding. When it looked like we might have to come home without seeing them, my kids were beyond disappointed. But our small group of merry waiters (including 8 kids under 10!) entertained each other and everyone else waiting and the wait was well worth it. Mr. Alex is a cutie - quite overwhelmed by it all! It will be fun to get to know him as he settles into his new family and new home. We can't wait for the little boy madness to begin! Now lets pray that my kids see fit to sleep in tomorrow after going to bed after midnight!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Being in the middle of this uncertain wait, it is easy to become a bit obsessed with it all. I want to take a break to thank God for the blessings I already have here at home. I always wanted to be a mom and had a college professor tell me I was going to waste my life if I just taught school (can you imagine what she'd think if she found out I was staying at home, homeschooling my kids!?!). I can tell you it is no waste and I'm honored to have the privilege to be the mom to 5 great kids, 4 of whom are already here at home :)
Nathan is loyal, funny and becoming a neat young man (yes, Sarah is "picking her nose" - she thought it was hysterical and Nathan did too....)

Jacob loves life and is always keeping us wondering what he'll do next. He's a natural performer and enjoys being just a little different. He has a sweet servant spirit!Anna is our sweetheart. She is the "little mother" and loves her dance and drawing. She holds her own though - she isn't a push over!Sarah is our sweet and sassy girl. Very smart, very strong willed, she is lots of fun and wise beyond her years.Wow, what more could a mom want?! (besides having ALL her kids home!). I can't wait to see how Caleb's little personality fits into the tapestry of our family!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Not this week

Another M0nday here and gone. No LOA. Looks like it will be at least another week. Another family got theirs from another agency yesterday on day 146. I'm not sure I will remain sane if I have to wait another month. Please continue to pray for us. I"m beginning to hate Mondays....

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Calling all Prayer Warriors

I have a special bond with 2 ladies that I want to share with you. Both are adoptive moms and I want to share their stories so that you can join me in prayer for both of their families.
One of my best friends is Dawn. They are in process with their second adoption from Guatemala. Their first adoption was a tough one - they received their referral two weeks before we got Sarah's and brought Callum home a full year later. They never dreamed that it could be as bad this time around. Unfortunately, they have hit road block after road block. The newest snag is Guatemala missing part of their paperwork (again!) and the US Embassy adding yet another dna test to the process. Please pray for them - if they didn't have that sweet little boy waiting for them on the other side of all of this, they would have given up long ago. They have had Nicolas' referral since November with no idea when they will get to bring him home. My heart just aches for them!
The second family is the Windsors. They are one of the families that has been waiting with us, watching others get LOAs while we wonder what is going on. While our news on Friday was good, theirs wasn't. It seems that their dossier never made it to the sn room but was logged in as nsn and has sat with the 30,000 other nsn dossiers since April. They have no idea when they will get an LOA or how much longer they will have to wait. We are praying for a miracle - that God will see fit to expedite their file and let their little Nate come home!
Both of these ladies love the Lord and know that God has things planned out perfectly. They have both been through the adoption process before - they get it. But they are both aching to hold their little boys and are tired of the mistakes and missteps of others. Please lift them in your prayers and pray for the little boys who are waiting for their forever families!

Labor Pains

As some of you know, my biological kids came very quickly (my longest labor was 4.5 hours). While that sounds wonderful (and really, I wasn't longing for an endless labor), all the pains and transitions of labor get compressed into a couple of short hours. There is no gradual movement from one stage of labor to another. It just all seems to happen all at once! The intensity of the process is incredible!
I've come to figure out that adopting special needs (sn) is a lot like a quick labor. Compared to the labor of those who are waiting for nsn (non special needs) it is super quick. We won't be waiting 3 years to bring Caleb home (at least I hope not!). Yet all the emotions and experiences that come with an adoption get compressed into a short amount of time (relatively speaking). You still experience them all - just at break neck pace and often with little time to recover before the next labor pain hits you.
So, while I wait for my newest little guy, I pray for a quick labor :) and ask this one question - WHERE IS MY EPIDURAL!?!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Updated Info, sorta...

Our agency got the information back on our inquiry and there is nothing wrong with our file, they need no more information, it is being processed and we'll get our LOA soon. The good news is that everything is ok. We have no idea when "soon" is but God does and it is actually a relief to know that we aren't just sitting there with something missing. So, there is no change, just confirmation that we are waiting. (and waiting, and waiting.....)
Day 106 on the wait (but who's counting?!)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Math makes my head hurt...

Yes, I'm a right brained person. Which is why figuring out how the crib is going to fit into Jacob's room has not been fun. I think I finally go it figured out - it is going to require the boys switching dressers (at least for now) but I think we can make it work. This is the crib that has served all my other kids (and a couple of others!) and I really wanted to be able to use it. Jacob has been promised a hang out space in a walk in closet in the basement in return for sharing a room with a little brother 8 years younger than he is. So that will be another project to be done in the next couple of weeks. Still trying to figure out how we're going to fit the pool table he wants in that space ..... Anybody ever seen a closet pool table ?
Maybe it is the pictures, maybe the news that our case is being looked into - I don't know. I just have this feeling like this is really going to be happening soon. How soon I don't know but God's given me a renewed sense that my boy will be coming home - and not a moment too soon. We gotta get some meat on those bones and get him out of the pink ruffled shirt!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Just when you think you've hit the bottom, you find that God really is there waiting for you, to bounce you back up to the top! An angel (another adopting mom) has taken pictures of Caleb!!! He is back at the orphanage!! We know where he is!!! They had to wake him up to take the pictures so he is none too happy. They said he has quite a scream :)