Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ever just want to scream?

Sometimes I just don't get it.

Today we got an update from our case worker. Totally appreciate the update, but frustrated with the news. There are several things that still need to be completed before our case can be submitted to the court so we can have a court date. Great-aunt needs to file for custody for Li'l B in order to be able to relinquish her to be placed for adoption. This is a process that she will complete through the local court in the area where she is from. There are other documents that she must obtain from government offices in her area (documents required for relinquishment cases and a document verifying the death of the children’s mother), and she has been informed of what is needed and how to obtain the documents. My immediate reaction is, "ARE YOU KIDDING?" None of this has been done yet? Why??? She was brought to the Gladney foster care last AUGUST, and now great-aunt is being instructed on how to get the required documents. What about the past 8 months???

And here I was just thinking we were waiting on a call from Natalie for our court date. Ha! Well, at least now I don't have to get a tad excited every time the phone rings for a while.

So discouraged (you know the kind, where you feel like someone just punched you HARD in the gut), but I know I won't stay in this place long. It sucks to be here, and I have been able to trust God in the past, so need to throw this on his back and trust in him again.

Glad God is NEVER surprised.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anna Maria Island, Florida

So we did the long trek to Florida, and we are pleased to say we drove straight through, all 21 hours of it. There is just a little bit of pleasure to know we accomplished that challenge and survived and didn't have to plunk down more cash for a hotel each way. Would definitely do it that way again. Unbelievably, on the way home, all the kids went to sleep around 11:30pm, and WE HAD TO WAKE THEM UP 10 HOURS LATER, at 9:30am for breakfast. Lucky kids!!! What adult can sleep like that?

This is how many shells Kume could get in about 5 minutes. Yeah, we have a huge bucket of them at home now. Any suggestions on what to do with them???

So, CJ contemplated getting a tan, you know, trying to be all teenager-ish. He lost interest in about 10 minutes, and acted like the boy we know.

Day 1 -- Casperson Beach, near Venice Beach. A fanastic place to body surf, and the best place around to search for shark teeth. It was really wavy this particular day, and we all got thrown around quite a bit, with scratches and blood all over our still-white legs.

Kume scanning the sand for shark teeth. We collected about 50 of the little buggers.

This was the view from our deck. We were sooooo spoiled. I think we set the bar too high, no one will ever want to go to a place not directly on the gulf like this. It was great for all of us, the kids could go back and forth from condo to the beach or pool, and we didn't have to lug anything down to the beach except our iced tea and magazines. Rough life!

First Easter ever for the twins, so we had to decorate eggs.

We had one rather cold day, so we hunted around for a decent nature hike. On our hike, Action found this sea-life "thing" that squirted out ink when he touched it (don't worry --- with his shoe). We explored and ran into some other interesting wild life, and then watched some dolfins put on a show for us in the bay, so this colder weather day was still spectacular.

Okay, so we didn't bring toys for the older boys, as they are more into sports equipment than anything else. Surprisingly, they built stuff with these blocks almost as much as Jambo did.

This was the most "work" that Farmboy had to do this week. Oh, I guess he did wipe down the counter about 942 times.

Anna Maria Island is fantastic. Would love to venture there again.

But, hey, I am heading to Texas next week for hopefully more warm weather. There is an orphan/adoption summit there April 29-May 1. Anyone else gonna be there? Natalie from Gladney is going. Think I can corner her into giving me my court date?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

stalls and obstacles along the way

Many in the adoption community know that there are now new TB requirements in place set up by the CDC for all internationally adopted kids, and the US embassy in Ethiopia needs to comply. For most kids, this will only add a minimal wait, if any. We're talking something like adding on a couple days to a couple of weeks. For HIV+ kids, however, the embassy is requiring that all kids undergo extensive testing for TB, even if they initially test negative for TB. And they are estimating results to be in within 2-3 months. Another part of the bummer is that none of the testing can take place until after a successful court date. Sooooo, that means we wait at least another 2-3 months after a successful court date before we can travel, but we are told to plan on it realistically adding on 4 months to the wait.

There is a chance there could be some better news in the future. There is a great advocacy agency, projecthopeful.org, that is committed to help with this in any way they can. But in the mean time, I guess we just try to stay at peace with how this is all unfolding, since I haven't found a Bible verse yet that says something like -- give thanks in all circumstances, unless you hear frustrating news from your embassy. I am still looking for, rejoice always, unless you feel like you are getting the shaft, then you have permission to get really grumpy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

one year as this family

On April 14, 2008, we held our newest children in our arms for the first time. What a year it has been. At this point last year we were kinda thinking this was it. Our family was complete. Ha! We keep learning it never works to try to figure this life out. God is far too unpredictable.

In many ways, this year went much better than expected. The twins began adjusting well from the start, with a few bumps along the way. The siblings are all just that -- siblings.

We are truly blessed.

But in other ways, this year was incredibly difficult. I was expecting "difficult", I read up on the adjusting, talked with many other families. But knowing what it would possibly be like, and actually experiencing it are worlds apart. We have had our fill of laughter, tears, joy, silliness, exhaustion, teasing, joking, impatience, frustration, peacefulness, anticipation and fear. Times of simply basking in the goodness of God's blessings poured out on us, along with moments of holding on to our faith through slipping fingernails. I have noticed that when I am in the middle of the massive stuff, I don't really analyze how tough or not it is. But as I reflect on this past year today, it is pretty amazing to see what God has brought us through, and how he uses those difficult moments to continue to prune, refine, purify us. Well, his plan is to make us more like his son. Yeah, in my case that definitely takes a lot of work, so I am sure the refining will continue.

We will see what next year holds. No, I am not going to predict anything (ok, except I do hope to be holding another little one sometime this year), but I am going to keep trusting our trustworthy God every step.

Hey, and April 14, 2009, just happens to be the 20th anniversary of when Farmboy and I first met. See, you really can meet your future spouse at a toga party. God is so cool!