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Adoption Update: Physicals, Home Studies, and Fundraising

22 November 2017

Hey, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve shared a simple update. (I can always tell, ’cause I start to get more questions IRL. Ha.)

Physicals (aka Blood-Letting)

We all had to have physicals. Man Cub’s was easy and he aced it. All 41 pounds of him.

A week later, Husband and I went back for physicals and all the blood, disease, and urine tests.

And I passed out.

I knew I probably would (’cause I always do), but I was hopeful I could hold it together.

Dr. Paul knew I was a risk (to myself), so he laid the table all the way down. Husband held my legs up. I didn’t look. I took deep, calming breaths. Dr. Paul slid the needle into my vein and asked distracting questions like a pro, and then cotton-swabbed my elbow and I felt great!

And then he stuck me with the T.B. test. And that kind of hurt, but I was still conscious and feeling like a freaking rockstar.

And then I sat up. Which was the wrong thing to do.

I think I only actually lost consciousness for a fraction of a second, but they laid me back down. And got water. And held my legs.

And then I was okay.

I sat in the chair so Husband could have his turn, but then Man Cub was interested in what was happening (since it freaked me out so much). I curled up in the corner and pulled my furry hood over my head, but I could still hear them talking about needles and blood and then I wasn’t okay.

Different exam room. Different table. More water. Ugh.

In the end we’re totally fine. Low Vitamin D and Husband has a few too many lipids, but nothing drastic. We’re good.

Home Study Meetings

You read about how we messed up the first one. Fortunately the last two were at our house, so at least we couldn’t be late.  Read more…

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Leaving Room

20 November 2017

There is so much uncertainty.

Which is ironic because just a few months ago I was reeling with the uncertainty of our general future — two or three roads were open before us and we didn’t know which way to go. When we finally decided international adoption was the right path there was an invigorating and energizing certainty.

For a minute.

Now, the idea of having only three uncertain futures before us seems like a cakewalk.

Which only serves to illustrate a lesson I should know by know: God will lead you down the right path, in His time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easier than standing at the fork waiting for instruction. In fact, it will almost certainly be harder.

Finances are a huge uncertainty. Where will the money come from? When will it come? What if it doesn’t come? What is the plan for finding it? What are plans B, C, and D for finding it? How do we know that Plan A is better than Plan B? What’s the contingency plan for when we don’t find it?

Timing is a massive uncertainty. Agency websites like to say 12 to 18 months. Some say 18 to 24 months. Some happen faster. Some take much longer. It depends on the country. It depends on the governments. It depends on the weather. It depends on the family. It depends on the medical conditions we can accept.

Let’s talk about medical conditions. There’s a five-page list (in two columns) of possible medical conditions. But things can also be misdiagnosed — for better or worse. Conditions can be missed completely. Developmental conditions could be long-term or short-term, depending on the child, the orphanage, the family …

Even the paperwork is really just a well-organized pile of uncertainty. We have all the right forms, but that doesn’t guarantee our home study will be approved. We can send all the right paperwork to China, but that doesn’t mean they’ll accept our application. We can submit all the right pages to the adoption program, but we have no idea if and/or when we might match a child available for adoption.

And, of course, the easy answer to is to keep our faith in God and his leading and his provision, and not worry about it, but the system kind of makes you worry about it. There’s no getting away from it.

We’ve filled out so many forms and signed so many pages acknowledging that we understand there are all of these inherent uncertainties and promising not to hold anyone else responsible for them. We’ve had so many conversations that seem to center around the phrase, “you just never know.”

And the invoices keep coming.

But the hope that anchors my soul in a perfect storm of uncertainty is something that came out of me one night — unplanned and unexpectedly — during a conversation about some of it.

I’m still not sure where it came from. It was not a premeditated concept; it actually caught me kind of off-guard. The reader may determine the level of divine inspiration that best suits him/her.

Husband and I were discussing some of the uncertainties, and as the questions piled up, with no answers rushing to their aid, I gave up altogether and more or less sighed, “I’m leaving room for God to do a miracle.”

And honestly, all the questions retreated to their strongholds.

Because the only way this is happening is if God does a miracle — a series of them, probably. He led us into this storm, so of course he will see us through it. I’m sure he will use people and natural processes for some, because he is gracious and humble like that. And for others, he will totally confound our logic and wisdom, because he is gracious and awesome like that.

And I’m looking forward to all of it.

Which means I have to leave room for it.

Because he can’t calm the sea if there is no storm.

I’m not looking forward to the storm. I hate the storm. I hate the uncertainty. But — while I still have a long way to go — I’ve survived enough storms, so far, to know that it’s worth it in the end just to be there when he gives the command, “Peace, be still.

The First Home Study: A Comedy

9 November 2017

Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. We agreed to meet halfway, at a cafe in St. Charles.

It’s 35 minutes from our house, compensating for autumn rain and straggling road construction, we’d plan to leave at 9:00. Because that way we’d actually leave around 9:10, and arrive a few minutes early.

Man Cub had a sleepover at Nana’s house the night before, so he could spend the morning with her and the kitties.

I didn’t set an alarm, because on the laziest mornings I can hardly stay in bed past 7:30. I just can’t get comfortable past 7:30 a.m. for some reason.

And with only two people in our bed, we were sure to sleep like the dead. We’d probably wake up even earlier – either in sudden alarm at the absence of a four-year-old or from an abundance of good sleep.

And we did.

At 7:00, Timothy rolled over and asked if it was hailing. We listened to the morning rain and talked about the boy we were missing. A faint, gray glow was beginning to poke through the window blinds to stripe the floor.

At 8:00, I checked the time on my phone. I didn’t even know I’d fallen asleep. I counted minutes. If I got up now I could shower … but really … I hadn’t showered until noon the day before. And my pillow was so comfy. I wasn’t even 24 hours from my last shampoo. I’d be fine. I just wanted to stretch in the sheets and listen to the drizzle on the window.

And then my phone emitted a very gentle ping. 

“Who is texting you?”

I rolled over to squint at my phone. Had I been asleep again? Or just listening? I couldn’t really tell.

OHMYGAWDITS9:30ITS9:30GETUPGETUPITS9:30HOWDIDTHISHAPPEN?!HOWISIT9:30?!

We erupted out of the bed. Flew past each other into bathrooms and closets and clothes. Grabbed phones and accordion folders and bags and were out the door in about 7 minutes, trying to find emails and GPS apps and addresses and phone numbers. Texting and emailing and apologizing and praying. Not the first impression I wanted to make.

The social worker texted back and said our being 10 minutes late wasn’t a problem, and where she was sitting in the cafe … but I didn’t get it because my phone was the GPS.

So when we got there, we walked in and scanned the tables. A middle-aged woman was sitting near the door, alone, with a tablet and keyboard on the table in front of her. She looked up and met my eye, so I walked over and smiled, “Are you Meredith?”

“Um …” She looked back and forth between Husband and I, as though she were deciding, “No. Sorry.”

Awkward.

We walked around to the other side of the room and found her, and the rest of the morning was fine. We drank coffee, and counted the number of times a barista brought the wrong food order to our table, and talked about … everything.

And we scheduled the other two appointments: one for Monday evening and one for the following Sunday afternoon.

So the paperchase has a soft finish line and the pressure is on.

Movie Night Fundraiser: Save the Date

It’s time to par-tay! Save the evening of Saturday, December 9 for us, if you’re local. We’re going to borrow the cafe at Watershed Church for a movie, some fun treats, and some super cool raffle prizes.

(And if you’re local and you want to help out, let me know. Love to have some extra hands to help set up/clean up. And I’m talking to some people/small business owners about sponsoring raffle gifts.)