30 November 2014

Recipe Week!

I have been so dang serious all the time on this blog for a lot of months ugh. In Real Life, I'm not a super serious person (in fact, a considerable percentage of my speech is made of cartoon references, which was also true before I had kids).

So, I decided to do a week of my favorite recipes! I won't take pictures because (as I've said earlier) I just don't take pictures of my food. In my opinion, making food look really yummy on camera is a gift not many people have, and I don't want to add to the internet's many, many kind-of-sickening pictures of food that is probably not sickening at all. Maybe I'll add stock photos of things, like sugar snap peas!

Thanks, Google!

If you want to try out some new recipes, follow along! Some will be quick, some will be simple, and some will not even have cumin! You should still try the cuminless ones, even though cumin is what makes the sun shine warm on your face and arms in the summer, the bright green leaves clapping in the wind... sorry, I was transported by my love. of cumin.

Stay tuned!

11 November 2014

Big Adoption Update (part 3)

So, what's the next step in our adoption? I don't know. I feel fairly clearly that we are supposed to wait and not pursue adopting for a time. I have no idea how long that time will be - could be a month, could be five years.

Truth be told, we have spent over $13,000 so far. A chunk of that went to Helene's adoption agency, a chunk went to the government for documents, and a chunk went to Sweet P's agency. The agency fees are standard for where we were in the process. We may be able to adopt with Sweet P's agency, but we may not be able to; they have encouraged their waiting families to seek adoptions elsewhere. A majority of that $13,000 would not help us bring home a child now; we'd need to raise at least $20,000 to adopt internationally at this point. Probably more like $25,000. God can make money flow to his purposes, but that's a lot of money.

We are going to a DFPS info meeting on fostering-to-adopt at the beginning of December, and maybe that will provide some clear direction, but honestly, I'm pretty heartsore right now. I'm not likely to jump at the chance of starting another adoption process very soon, even just for my emotional well-being.

What I really want to do is put the money we've made from garage sales and bake sales and our personal fundraising and make it into a kind of grant for the family who chooses to adopt Sweet P. To be frank, without God moving on a family's heart, she is unlikely to be adopted, since she's 8 or 9 years old and has a serious medical special need. But Stephen and I are still trying to weigh what would be responsible to those who have worked hard to help us adopt and our desires for Sweet P to come home to her family.

Would you consider praying that Sweet P's parents would find her quickly? Her orphanage is excellent, but children deserve good schooling and adequate care and parents.

Also, please don't think we've given up on adopting. I will never give up. God has absolutely called us to adopt. And I don't think we heard wrong when we started the process 3 years ago; I just don't have all the spiritual facts right now. I'm not closing down our Lifesong account because I'm certain we'll use the money that's in there when we adopt. But I love Sweet P, and I want her to feel the love of a mother and a father. She's 9 years old, and she hasn't.

10 November 2014

Big Adoption Update (part 2)

I've listened to (and sung, sobbing) this song a LOT in the past year. I never thought, three years ago, that our adoption road would be like this, and it has shaken me to the core several times. I have never wrestled with God's goodness so deeply as I have in the past two years, and particularly in the past year. 

Sometimes God is good to other people through you, and you suffer for it. It sounds dramatic, but loving the orphan is painful. Orphans are near to God's heart, and I think are a particularly tender spot for him (judging my his words). But I digress. I want to speak of God's faithfulness to me.

I sang that song up there out of a desire to be satisfied in God - to make myself satisfied. When we found out we were pregnant with Judah, I did NOT understand why God would allow make us become pregnant when we were still adopting. We also found out while I was still actively grieving the DRC shutting down. Just a couple weeks after we found out, I got the news that the agency we were using to adopt Helene was pulling out of the DRC completely, and that we would have no way to adopt her, donate to her orphanage, or even check up on her welfare. Which was devastating.

I was at war within myself, because I knew this little person was wonderful and precious and I did NOT want to lose him, but it felt like he was sabotaging our adoption, like he was forcing us to choose one child (him) over another (baby A). So I was resentful and ashamed at my resentment. And just really perplexed at how this could be God's good plan for our lives.

That brings us all the way until we got Sweet P's referral. When I felt the Spirit's whispers turn into solid confirmation that we shouldn't adopt her (regardless of our own feelings), I started to hold Judah and cuddle him as I cried out my grief. [Don't mistake me, he's been held and cuddled plenty before that. He's a little sweetie.]

In one of those rare, rare quiet times where both kids are asleep (and not sleeping on me) on Saturday night, I was delving into the whole "oil running down Aaron's beard" business of Psalm 133 (bc what), which led me to Psalm 23 as the most familiar place to me in the Bible that also talks about anointing with oil (bc again, what).

Y'all Psalm 23 is like Lucy's cordial (you heard me, Narnians); it refreshes perfectly. Really, every part had a blessing in it, but what I'm specifically referring to at present is this:

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD

And it washed over me: God gave Judah to me because he loves me and he knew I would be miserable without Judah and without Sweet P. I'm sure the world needed Judah to be born and all, but the timing was just for me. Ezra can be remarkably kind, and he is loving, but he almost never lets me cuddle him or hold him at all. God knew I needed Judah. His goodness and unfailing love pursued the me of right now when he made my ovaries be crazy in November 2013.  I didn't need to will myself to be satisfied with God. His love isn't feeble or inert; he knows what salve my  heart needs, and he orchestrates life to provide it.

Again I say, surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for what the future holds. I suspect something with part 3 in the title.

09 November 2014


If you follow my blog (you must be a curious sort of person, first off), you might remember this post and this post about a little girl we were waiting to get the referral of. [I do not have the energy to fix that preposition. If you're offended, stew in it, not my problem.]

Just a few days after my hopeless post (it was Friday October 14th), we got her referral: several documents with info on her history, medical information, some personality traits, and two photos. I decided to call her Sweet P, because she is clearly sweet and precious. Stephen and I were unable to talk about it much because he was teaching that Sunday and was very busy preparing.

I spent the whole weekend and the first few days of the next week pretty sure we were going to adopt her. I wasn't elated like a lot of people talk about being when they get "the call," mostly because the decision to parent a person is a really big responsibility, and my legs always feel a little shaky under the weight of being someone's mom. But I was... glowy about it. I suppose I fell in love? I learned to want to know her and to have her smile at me. To cuddle her and be silly. To feed her and pray over her at night. I thought about how on earth we would handle doing the school thing for the first time, and how she would handle the boys, and how srsly how would Ezra handle her (smothering her with attention was my bet).

But as the week went on, as I thought about all of these things, I became more and more uneasy about her life with us. If God sets the lonely in families, would bringing her into our family change that? She has friends where she is, and caregivers to whom she's attached. A family is more than that, better, but not just any family.

Her file said she's shy and doesn't make friends easily. We don't have kids her age; our church doesn't have girls her age either. So school (and sports; she likes soccer) would be her only hope of making friends. But we're leaving for San Antonio in just a couple of years; she would have to start all over, and in MIDDLE SCHOOL.

No one deserves that.

So I cried. A lot. Because it's hard to acknowledge that a child you love is better off with other parents. And my selfish heart wants to claim her and keep her. But God gives us the Spirit so we can be moved to treat others with the unselfish love he has for us.

So I emailed our agency worker (because I couldn't bring myself to call her and sob to someone who hardly knows me) and told her we were choosing not to adopt her.

And I grieved.

[. . .to be continued tomorrow.]