Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Story of Referral

On my adoption yahoo group, one of the members asked for those of us who had received our referral to tell how we got the call. I thought I would share my story here.

For those who know little of the international adoption process, your referral is when you are placed with a child. You receive their name and picture and whatever other history the orphanage can provide. This process in the program I am in takes about twelve months. You wait and wait for this call knowing it will change your life forever.

When we had been waiting about ten months for the referral of an infant or toddler, I fell in love with a face. Older and special needs children are not automatically referred. They are placed on an agency's website as a Waiting Child. They must be requested by a family and then approved by the agency for referral. It was a face on this list that stole my heart. Don't ask me why, who knows? For weeks, I kept going back to the site to check and see if he had been referred to a family.

About six weeks later with a nagging feeling that would not leave me, I broached the subject with my husband. "What about requesting this little boy, he is five? They will probably say no. We will have to get re approved from Homeland Security for a child his age. They will probably say no. I feel like I need to ask. They will probably say no."

We discussed all the challenges an older child might face versus an infant or toddler. We discussed how we thought it would affect our current children. But in the end, my husband was willing to let me take a shot. "But Sheila, they will probably say no. Do not get your hopes up." Then he looked at me as I assured him I would be fine. "You already have your heart set on this child. You shouldn't do that, you are going to get hurt. They will probably say no."

I wrote the letter of my life. I used every ounce of writing skill that I had at my disposal. I gave them my husband's number to give the decision. They called. He used every ounce of his debating skills. They wouldn't change their minds. He was out of birth order for our family, they had a policy, the answer was no.

To say the least, I was heartbroken. For my husband to say he warned me made no difference. I just knew in my heart I was this child's mother and he was my son. I knew God has a plan. I wondered if my sorrow was to be used for a purpose. I offered up my aching heart because I didn't know what else to do. I promised to pray for this nameless boy for the rest of my life.

A few days later the phone rang. It was our agency on the caller ID. I knew we were on the top of the list for an infant or toddler by this point. In my dreams this day came with shouts and cheers and excitement beyond description. But there in my kitchen I stood staring at the phone. "No, not today, please not today. I know in time I will want another child, but not today." I was not finished mourning the child of my heart, I could not be happy yet.

When I finally answered the phone with a heavy heart, the director said they had decided to make an exception for us pending further discussion with our social worker. It was my call. It was the call that changed my life. It was the call of my dreams with excitement beyond description.

God did have a plan. He always does. They will probably say no. But in the end, they can't say no if His answer is yes. He will find a way. He always does. In two weeks time, I will meet His yes. I will meet my son, no longer just the child of my heart. He will be the child in my embrace.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just an Update from My Life

The snow sits on our deck in feet, not inches. The temperature with wind chill is forecast to be thirty below zero tonight. I sit by a warm fire enjoying the beauty of the white world through my windows.

The tree still sits in the living room, but the lights and decorations have all been put away. I began the new year attempting a resolution I made many years ago: In my twenties, I was fairly athletic. I taught aerobics, ran, was a cheer leading coach. I pretty much took off my entire third decade. I vowed to pick it up again in my fourth. With forty looming only six months away, we joined a gym and I have been taking classes. I am taking it slowly and have discovered muscles I did not know existed. The aches of getting old have been replaced by the aches of engaging my body in the attempt to feel better at some point.

The Pope gave a speech on World Day of Peace which included a request to take care of the environment. Like with John Paul II who forced me to rethink my belief in the justification of the Death Penalty, I am forced to be uncomfortable in my conviction that the entire Environmental Movement is a sham. I still believe that much of the International and Political Environmental Movement has an agenda to subjugate human beings, but that does not alleviate my responsibility to try and reorder my life. And so, I am recycling. For those who know me personally, you can picture me holding my nose as I do so.

I am also trying to not waste as much food. I have been turning left overs that usually spend a week in the fridge and then end up in the garbage into some creative soups. Vegetables and fruits in danger of going bad are being fed to our new guinea pigs.

One giant step for Sheila, one small step for mankind, or at least that is how it feels.

I begin to make the preparations to bring home our newest family member. Simon Boki Gramling was legally adopted by us through a representative in the Ethiopian Courts on December 21. My tentative travel dates are the week between January 30 and February 7.

My oldest son will be my travel partner. I am gathering our donations for the orphans, finding rooms and flights, meeting with a wonderful new friend who is a native of Ethiopia to get my bearings for a stay in the Capital City and learn a few Amharic words. Though I am beginning to get into the nesting mode that comes with all new children, my heart is filled with a great peace. I am not anxious, just excited and profoundly grateful that we will soon be meeting our new six year old.

The warm glow of the fire in contrast with the cold beauty of the outside world reflects my feelings of contentment in this first month of the new year. I am trying not to stay in one place, but to move forward. To grow and not just grow older.

I feel blessed in my heart, challenged in my convictions and sore in my muscles. Not a bad way to feel.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

One Word Resolution

I was challenged by a friend and fellow blogger at www.DandelionDayz.com to sum up my goals for 2010 in one word. I do so here and pass the challenge on to you in my comment section or on your own blog, facebook, twitter, etc. I would love to read what you have to say.

I have chosen Kindness:

Entry Word: kindness
Function: noun
1. an act of kind assistance
2 the capacity for feeling for anotherʼs unhappiness or misfortune

Kindness is a noun, which means it is a person, place or thing.

In 2010,

I want the place, Kindness, to be my home, my car, where ever I am.

I want the person, Kindness, to be myself and my children.

I want the thing, Kindness, to be a living breathing thing that permeates my life and makes me feel for the unhappiness and misfortune of those around me and to assist them in any way that I can.

The place Kindness can not be filled with so much fighting over so much junk. I must make it a place of more simplicity. A place where people and not things are the main focus.

The person Kindness can not be so self consumed, so worried about me and mine. I must make us more other oriented.

If where we live and who we are know Kindness, then we can bring the Thing out into the world and share it.

If 2010 brings forth a person, place and thing of more Kindness, it shall indeed be a New and Happy Year.