Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions, Part 2

And this is the part that scares me, because I still have no idea where we're heading.  

As most of our friends and family know, and unless God has some BIG surprises in store, we are finished having biological children.  After our trials during the first weeks of Sadie's life, Scott and I listened to the advice of my Ob/Gyn and made the difficult decision not to have more biological children.  We knew then that we weren't finished, but we filed those thoughts away in the backs of our minds.

We made it through even more trials this past summer, as we made the decision, with Sadie's cardiologist, to surgically close the big hole in Sadie's little heart sooner than later.  Once the stress levels lowered and we were feeling comfortable, that nagging feeling started.  The thoughts we had put off for all our good and justifiable reasons were surfacing.  Family... adoption...

Allow me to go off on a tangent.  At the end of 2010, we moved into a home with an extra thousand square feet, an extra bedroom, and a fantastic yard.  We saw God working throughout the home selling/buying processes, and I heard Him ask "So, what will you do with these blessings?"  Sure, in our last home, we were a bit cramped, with all the baby gear, but that's all gone now, and we could easily fit two twin beds in Ayden's old room.  My grandparents raised a family in a 900 sq. ft. home, and we had almost double that in our last home.  And now an extra 1,000 sq. ft.  So our new home is a blessing.  And we had to decide how we were going to use that blessing to glorify God.

We decided on the Foster/Adopt program through our local Department of Social Services.  Scott and I went to an Orientation, and have spent several weeks filling out applications (114 questions, answered in essay form), getting references, drawing house layouts, fire escape plans, and we'll be fingerprinted next week.  We looked at each other while answering some of the longer questions and asked "Seriously, there are people who go through ALL this just for a stipend?"  It's very, VERY detailed.  And then we'll have an intense month of classes that will take up EVERY Saturday morning and afternoon and most Tuesday evenings.

And, while we're filling out this paperwork, and knowing that we're doing what we're called to do, commanded to do, God speaks to my heart through two little boys being adopted from Eastern Europe by a friend of mine.  I've been following her blog for several months, praying for her adoption, thinking "How great for their family, but not mine. We're doing the whole foster/adoption thing."

And my heart is divided.  Not in the sense that I'm not sure which direction is right, but in the sense that I believe we have a child in our area, and another child on the other side of the world.  I feel totally crazy (seriously, 5 kids?!?!), but totally at peace.  And, as if knowing we wanted to have two more mouths to feed wasn't enough to put my mother into cardiac arrest, I want to adopt a special needs girl from Eastern Europe.  Cue heart attack, mental breakdown, sleepless nights for my mother.

I've been getting emails for several months from different adoption advocates worldwide, and I've been praying for the children and their future families.  There were photos and descriptions of sweet children that broke my heart, but not until Thursday did I receive a photo and description that not only broke my heart, but gave me such a strong sense of desire that I was truly overcome by my emotions.  I spent hours praying and crying, asking God to please not let Scott think I've lost my mind.  To please not let him think this was just a wrench in his plans to retire early and hit the trail for 6 months out of each year.

I waited until Friday morning before I told him (he really would think I was nuts if I woke him up at 1:30 a.m. to tell him I wanted to bring a special needs child home from Eastern Europe), and as I expected, he wasn't moved by her photo.  "She's cute, but we can't handle special needs, we can't afford an international adoption, TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?!"

So many husbands are totally opposed to the idea of adoption in general, and I really am fortunate that Scott wants to add to our family through adoption.  My resolution is to continue working on getting our child here, while praying for God's plan for growing our family through an international adoption.  I'll be praying for the sweet girl who has no name attached to her description, whose adoptive family was unable to complete the adoption.  I so badly want to go right now and rescue her from a terrible fate in a mental institution (she'll turn 6 in the spring, which is the typical age for transfer), but I know that I can't.  I don't even know if she's intended for our family, but I know that I can't erase her sweet face from my mind.  I'm just praying.  For her, for us, for us to realize God's plan.  And in the meantime, I'm thanking God that my husband has heard His call to adopt.

Happy New Year, friends.

Resolutions, Part 1

I've always believed New Years' resolutions were pointless, for many reasons.  Typically, we set ourselves up to fail.  Resolutions are either too abstract or too rigid.  Here's my favorite resolution for the abstract crowd:  "I want to lose weight."  Wishful thinking, at best.  My dad has a crude saying, but it's true: "Wish in one hand, crap in the other, and see which one gets full first." Without any plan at all, we'll spin our wheels, try this and that with no consistency, and never see results.

And for the rigid crowd, are you really going to expect perfection from yourself every day for the next 365 or 366 days?  You resolve to start something you have never done, or have never done with any consistency, and the first time you slip, you give up.  Don't worry, I'm preaching to the choir here.  I WILL read my Bible for an hour every day, I will not EVER eat dessert again.

We can't do it!  By either of those two extremes, we set ourselves up to fail.  Well, not this year friends.  I haven't made resolutions in the past, and I don't intend for my first year to be a flop!  Scott and I have been talking about our goals for the coming year for several months, and some of them are going to change throughout the year.  Some of them are not such a big deal, nothing life-changing, just our plan for the year.  Others, I'm terrified to announce, because we don't know completely where we're headed, and if my mother reads this post, she'll freak out.  Freak. Out. 

Here's the easy stuff, things I love to plan for.  I make terrible "resolutions", I guess, because it's more of a to-do list.

Touch up paint in E's room - January
Finish painting A's room - January
Build wall/install door for S's room - February
Paint S's room - February
Sandblast/paint S's bed - February
Add flower beds to the front yard - March/April
Add furniture/plants to kids' deck - April/May
Paint our bedroom - June
(More to come on home plans, but we thought half a year was plenty, for starters.)

Fairystone/Mines - March
Wild Oak Trail - April/May (depending on weather, 3-day backpacking trip)

Mt. Rogers/AT Hike - early June (depending on the rhododendron blooms)
Dragon's Tooth - July
Cold Mountain/Mt. Pleasant Loops - August
Rock Castle Gorge - September
SB6K Peaks - Clingman's Dome and Mt. Collins
Print Photos from each hike to hang in office