Saturday, April 27, 2013

12 Years, Fingerprints, Tacos, and a Tsunami

We had a terribly romantic anniversary. 

One of the many milestones in completing an international adoption is getting an I600a approval.  The I600a is an “Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.”  We sent this application in a month ago, and like everything else, we want it to be approved as quickly as possible, so that we can move onto the next step.  Part of the approval hinges on the FBI clearing our fingerprints, which they already did once as a part of our home study (in addition to the state clearing them as a part of our dossier), but this one requires the the applicants to submit their fingerprints through an appointment at a special biometrics center. ( Ron Swanson would be fuming right about now)

Two weeks ago we got our appointment notification and it made me smile because it was only two weeks away (a lot of people wait longer) and it was scheduled for our anniversary.IMGP7815-001

With the help of my brother Bryce, who was babysitting Carina and Ollie, who were *mostly* recovered from a nasty stomach virus that has invaded our home this week, I met Chad at our appointment.  Chad had been sick two days previous to this,  but was feeling well enough to drag himself to work and on our anniversary date.  I managed to do my hair and makeup only by giving up on Carina taking a nap after three tries, and I bought a new outfit during my one time out of the house that week when I took Gabe to his soccer and then ran off to Target real quick and then ran back.  I didn’t even try it on until the next day at home.

(Oh wait, I did leave the house one other time in order to go to a church training meeting, so I guess I can’t complain)

Anyway, Chad said he was still feeling good after our appointment, so we continued our date at Paco’s Tacos, which we have been wanting to try for awhile.  Both of us love good tacos more than just about anything else.  I have to put in a few words about the food, because….well, we love tacos:  The chips were superb.  Very fresh, crisp, and plenty of salt.  I usually have to salt my tortilla chips at restaurants so this was big for me.  The salsa was also great.  I spooned some out onto my plate before Chad touched it because I did not want to take a chance of him double-dipping and possibly infecting the whole lot, and I ended up running out of salsa before chips.  This was two baskets of chips in and the waiter ended up bringing  us a third basket of chips and more salsa, so it was all good.  You have to love a waiter that keeps up with your chip consumption.

  I ordered a shrimp taco and a fish taco and both were good, but not really comparable to my favorite seafood tacos at Cabo Fish Taco.  Chad ordered their signature “Paco Taco” and their smoked turkey club taco and both were DELICIOUS (he let me try them before he touched them, because we always try each others food and if you don’t share a Paco Taco with your wife on your anniversary, you shouldn’t be married).  Their sides were also tasty, and I really liked my charro beans. 


After lunch, Chad went home to relieve Bryce and to do some more work, and I went to pick up the two older boys from school.


After we put the kids to bed, we had a little movie date with “The Impossible.”  It might not be a cutsie-romantic movie….. and Chad and I didn’t even do so much as hold hands because I was afraid of his germs (No touching!)…..and I spent a good deal of the movie doing my ugly cry and peeping through the hands  I had thrown over my face…but it really was a great way for me to end our anniversary (reminded of our precious my family is).

Better than the way Chad ended it, which was on in our bathroom.

In sickness and in health does not mean we need to share salsa.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


On Thursday my mom came over for dinner.  When we were done eating, I motioned for her to come to the back slider and I pointed out at my blooming wisteria.  She gave a happy gasp and I smiled at her reaction.  I was happy to share. We grabbed Carina and walked out to admire the billows of lavender blossoms hanging down from the white arbor, just as I dreamt of years ago when I planted it.  My mom picked Carina up to smell the sweet flowers and they laughed.  Carina talked and talked and pulled the petals off, letting them rain down onto the green spring grass.


My  mom has been fading more quickly this past year.  Moments like this are scarcer.  With Carina close up to my mom’s bright eyes, I thought about the struggles that her brain goes through every day.  It constantly fires off information that doesn’t always reach its destination.  As tiring as that must be, how much more exhausting is it to then try to look beyond yourself and make connections with the words and actions and even facial expressions of others? 

My mom is strong.  So strong, as I am reminded over and over again, even as her mind becomes weaker.  While I watched her in that perfect moment with my daughter, I knew.  Knew that YES, being a mother is so hard and I make so many mistakes, but YES, it is the most important thing I can do on this earth.  Knew that this woman had influenced me for good more than any person in my life even with all her past and present imperfections – imperfections that might have hindered her efforts but made her results all the more profound.  She had done it as a partner with my father and my Heavenly Father. 

There is so much sorrow in this story, but that sorrow makes the beauty all the more profound.

It takes some faith to see that beauty.


Earlier that day, I stuffed two gallon sized bags full of dresses, shoes, toothbrushes, and pictures.  I mailed them off to a woman who is on her way to the DR Congo.  She will deliver them to two sisters there.  These two little girls are 23 months old and 3 1/2 years old and we are in the process of adopting them. 


We began this process, in earnest, in February, and we still have a lot of waiting and paperwork ahead of us.  Probably 9-12 months of it.  We are far from being certain that these girls will become a part of our family – our case still needs to go through court in Congo and there is a real possibility that we could “lose” this referral. 

Whether they become our daughters or not, we have unleashed our hearts to them.  They are in our minds and prayers every day and every night.

The process is hard, and I know that welcoming them into our home will be even harder for all of us.  For us to teach a child (not a baby) who doesn’t speak our language, in a world that is brand new to them.  For my kids to get used to two new sisters who won’t get the family humor right off and who won’t understand the family rules.  And for them?  Trusting a face that looks so different than any they have ever known.  Stepping into an already-made family.  Bearing unspeakable grief for their loss of everything.  Everything.

There is a lot of fear in my heart.  As much as I want to start to mother these girls NOW, I am grateful for the time I have been given.

I am trying to use that time to replace fear with faith. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Break 2013, through the lens of my camera phone



Carowinds on opening day.  We got season passes for Christmas, so this will be the first of many trips.


The North Carolina Zoo on Monday – all 10 Charlotte cousins. It was super crowded and we spent the whole day pushing strollers and frantically looking around to make sure we had all the kids.


Tuesday – Colin’s 10th birthday.  He planned out a sports party over on the lawn by our volleyball courts and playground.  We played soccer, baseball, tennis, volleyball, and kickball and ate pizza.  Instead of cake, he wanted cookies with whipped cream.  As a bonus, we let him stay up until 9:00, playing on the computer.


Wednesday, fishing at Copperhead Island with Grandpa.


Thursday and Friday –not much! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Day

Easter  morning, before going downstairs


I feel pretty lame that I edited hundreds of beautifully-lit Easter pictures of other people’s children with bunnies and flowers…..

..and then all I get of my own kids is a hastily taken photo on the floor of our computer room, as we rushed out the door to church!


They are still cute though!  And this pictures is better than nothing, I guess.