Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Phone Dump

Here's the month of September as seen through Brett's phone:

Bear-hugging our Dossier and Fed-exing it off...

Riverside Park Fair on the Upper West Side...

Jude looking at some alligators and turtles at the fair. But I'm pretty sure Daddy was capturing the little Indian girl wearing the Emirates Airline hat.... :)

Friends at the laundromat...

Playground fun...

Watching cartoons with Daddy...

Getting some early play time in the Halloween costume...

The playground at dusk and enjoying the cooler temps...

Frozen yogurt. Jude was holding his spoon up and saying "cheeese" with momma, but only for half a second. It was too yummy Momma...

Trying to undress himself. It's difficult...

Swinging like a big boy...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Pieces

I think I've concluded that I have to fill in all the pieces to my daughter's story. Like I mentioned in the post before, I feel compelled to write down these thoughts during the wait. I'm afraid that once the waiting is over, the time with my sweet girl will be so glorious, the agony of the wait will be fleeting and lacking real description.
So for my daughter, for those following our story, and for those beginning their wait, here is what we do and feel during the unknowns.

What I write today I know I will retell to my daughter her whole life, just as God reminds me daily of how he adopted me. This is part of what she'll hear:

It's so simple really. But I thank God for the gym.

Earlier this year, when Jude turned 2 years old, I decided to take back a piece of my life and my body by joining a gym. With our tight budget, I joined a real working class gym that smells like years of stinky sweat, where the price is uber cheap, where Jude gets childcare for $2 an hour, where my skin color and my language are a minority, and where I often have to fight for 4 ft of space among a 100 other women. I love my gym for so many of the reasons I just related, but also because sweet girl it brings me closer to you and closer to God. It's on that gym floor, where I push my body so far that I'm sure I'll vomit Biggest Loser style in the middle of the workout, that the miles between us disappear.
And just when I think I'll reenact a scene from Biggest Loser, I do 12 more reps, and 12 more reps. And then the instructor yells into her microphone, "DON'T GIVE UP!" And in that moment when my body has been pushed to its limit, somehow my eyes fill with tears. When my body feels like it can't do anymore.
It's then that my body reaches the same exhaustion as my soul.
My body's exhaustion meets up with my heart's weariness and so much becomes clear. Things become clear and those instructor's words are reminiscent of words I try to push back all day long. From the depths of hell I seem to constantly hear, "GIVE UP!" And in those moments, you and I little girl are so very close. You're half way around the world, and hopefully sleeping, and for 45 minutes my soul cries out to you.
Then the instructor cranks up the speakers and yes, ironically, with the help of Lady GaGa, I plead with you and my heart to not give up.
I know it's crazy but I cling to the words of Jesus and to the lyrics of Lady GaGa. And you and I are fighting together:

" us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."  -Titus 2:12b-13

I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge with you
                                          -Lady GaGa

You don't know it yet, but we're on the edge of something glorious. I don't know the pain or the loss or the tragedy you've gone through, but we're on the edge of something miraculous little girl.

We will all keep fighting little girl because...

For God is so wise and so mighty.  Who has ever challenged him successfully?
"Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger.
He shakes the earth from it's place, and it's foundations tremble.
If he commands it, the sun won't rise and the stars won't shine.
He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea.
He made all the stars - the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles." 
-Job 9:4-11 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Orphanage Wait

Welp. I haven't done a post in a week because I've wanted so badly to do a post with exciting news.
But I feel as if it's an injustice to my daughter and her story if I don't include the struggles along with the celebrations in our fight to get her home.
Here's the low down.
We were registered with India's adoption authority on August 1st. We were one of only 100 families registered that night. Our agency registered 3 families.
Three weeks later, on August 21st, we were notified by our agency that we (along with the other 2 families) were officially successfully registered. We had been given an identification number and our names were visible on India's website.
The next step was (is) for our agency to log on to India's website each morning to see if while we were all sleeping any of us had been assigned to an orphanage.
The other 2 families (registered within minutes of us on August 1st) were assigned their orphanage match weeks ago.  Their Dossiers are now in orphanages, beginning the long wait for a referral of their child.

It seems there is no rhyme or reason as to how and when India's authorities assign an orphanage (even though the guidelines on their website say within 15 days.) Our caseworker reminded us last week that the entire process with India is "unpredictable." Each family's wait times have been different at each step.
So here we are. Our Dossier has been sitting in our agency's office since September 4th, just waiting for an orphanage match so it can sail the skies to land in our daughter's orphanage.

I told Brett the other night at dinner that I know with all my heart there are two reasons why we haven't been matched to an orphanage:

1. For our sanctification.    2. For God's glory.

So here we are trying not to drown, or burn up, or lose our minds, through the deep waters of sanctification. Wherein we can feel so tangibly how our faith is being tested and most importantly refined. For without this wait, with all the unknowns looming, we would not be complete. I thank God, and my daughter, for giving us this great gift of knowing God in ways we never would have before this unexplainable wait.

"...He will quiet you with his love..." -Zephaniah 3:17

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  -1 Corinthians 13:12

"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news, his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord." -Psalm 112: 6-7

It has been a strange, and comfortable, and uneasy, and stressful, and scary, and uncomfortable, and sleepless, and emotional spot to be in these last few weeks. A place where we beg not to be here in this wait, and all the while begging not to be moved from God's will.

So against all odds, and all temptations, and all doubts, and all lies, and all distortions of the truth, we're counting all of this JOY, and thanking God for being so gracious, patient, and tender with us as we traverse these days of waiting for an orphanage match,... and dreaming of the day when we can walk the hallway of U.S. Customs in JFK, with our sweet girl, no longer an orphan.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Potty Training Boot Camp

The weather forecast said 3 days of rain. So I considered that my sure fire sign that we were going to stay indoors and go big or go home with the Potty-Training-Thing.

I got the idea last week, when he got a package from Grammy Jill. Jude loves it when we get surprise boxes on our doorstep, and most always there's something special for him.

So the night before boot camp, I filled a box with all the things we'd need at camp and it was waiting outside our door for the next morning.
He got a special potty seat for the toilet, Buzz Lightyear and Spiderman underwear, a jar of M&M's, a new book, and 4 wrapped presents. (And after much thought I decided to do Pull-Ups for night time. This kiddoe has just recently undergone Supernanny-esk sleep training. I wasn't about to screw that up! Oh and we don't have a washer. ...I don't so much care to walk to the laundromat each day to wash soiled sheets and jammies. We'll do potty training at night later on down the road.)

What worked for us, were the presents that he received immediately after using the potty the first 4 times. Then the M&M's were significant motivation. He tried to sit on the potty several times to just squeeze a trickle out to get a piece of chocolate!
And the book Even Firefighters Go To The Potty was an incredible inspiration. It's a fantastic book, and I highly recommend using it to potty train. It has pictures of everyone Jude adores using the potty...Firefighters, Policemen, Train Engineer, Baseball Player, Construction Worker....everyone!

The only issue we came across, was that he has refused to use his little potty lid that perfectly fits his own tiny hinny. Very strange, but hopefully we'll get him accustomed to it soon.

Then we stayed in and played all day long! He had one accident in the morning and then used the potty the rest of the day.

One of his "presents" was a new puzzle...

And the other presents were choo-choo's and new replacement play-doh...

On day 2, he had one accident again in the morning and then used the potty the rest of the day.
And then we called him officially potty trained when he pooped 3 times on the potty, and we left the house for 2 hours with no accidents!

And for the record, I feel obligated to mention the single best parenting advice I received when Jude was a few days old:

"Don't take the credit and don't take the blame for what your child does and does not accomplish."

Therefore, I will not take the credit for Jude's very quick potty training success. Just in the same way, I will not blame you, if your child takes months to potty train.
...Just as I expect you not to blame me for my child not ever sleeping through the night. And I will not give you the credit for your child sleeping through the night at week one of life.

Good advice, huh?

Oh, and I have some super, super, cute pics of Jude in his undies during Boot Camp. But I feel at some point I have to draw the line on what I'll post of Jude's life on the world wide web. ...But I may be emailing the Grandparents some cute pics.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phone Dump

Here's Daddy's phone dump for the month of August:

Early morning time at Fedex...

Bagels after Fedexing...

Block party on our street...

Flying to Tulsa, and he was asleep before takeoff. Happy, happy, mama...

Swimming with the cousins...

Pizza after swimming...

I guess this is what happens when mama steps out of the car for 2 seconds...

Sushi with my family in Tulsa for my 30th Birthday...

Motorcycle helmets are fun...

8/11 lit up on the Williams building downtown Tulsa for my Birthday on 8/11...

Tulsa Drillers baseball...

Empire State Building at dusk...

In Missouri with Grandpa and cousin Whitman for hours of tractor time...

Little rascals at cousin Kayla's wedding...

Back home and climbing other people's stoops...

Our little produce market where Jude loves to run the perimeters...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mastering the Day Trip

(WARNING: lots and lots of pictures today!)

Before Jude was born (almost 3 years ago!), we were the masters of the Day Trip. New England taught us the beauty of the day trip. A gorgeous drive that takes 1-3 hours to get there..and the driving is just as much of the trip as the destination.

It's taken us awhile, but we're learning to take back one of our favorite past times.
So this morning we headed to Connecticut, for a scenic drive, and some big skies.

One of our destinations was the Railway Museum in Danbury, CT...

So FUN!!...

We were able to explore a restored 1910 mail car...

Do you see the little boy in the window?

And we got to explore a real caboose! The conductor's courters...

The conductors' ice box...

Then we stopped at huge dairy store to pick up some picnic food and visit a petting zoo...

And we knew we were back in New England when we smelled the hot apple cider donuts...

Then we cruised down Route 7 to Macedonia Brook State Park.

Where we got to explore a cold creek...

And we found a black frog!...

And then we headed back home...and considered ourselves masters of the day trip once again.