Friday, February 27, 2009

We now have a TEENAGER in the house!!!

HaPPy BirThday LAUREN!!!

We have been so blessed to parent this young lady. Even though she has had some "teenager" moments and struggles, I would have to say, parenting a teenager has been rewarding in so many ways!!

Maybe we aren't far enough into the teenage years to have experience much yet but so far, Lauren has been an amazing child. She is respectful and kind to others. She would never cause any harm to anyone.

One of my favorite past times is to spend time in conversation with Lauren. Many times we have been alone together in the car or shopping at the mall. During these long talks, I always have intentions of encouraging her in her faith and her day to day just surviving life experiences. What I have discovered in her is that God has gifted her with great wisdom, even at her young age. So, not only am I teaching her things along the way but I have a lot to learn from her as well.
Lauren is very mature in her faith and sometimes I need to turn to her for encouragement. Her faith is unwavering and her motivation to work hard and succeed is admirable. Among other things, she has taught me a little about humility, grace and modesty.

Lauren is not only gifted with much wisdom, she is also a gifted musician. At the beginning the school year, she started out as 5th chair violin (or something like that) for the Jr High Orchestra. After their first concert, she came home and stated, "I am going to unseat the first chair!" She worked hard and the next concert, she was first chair!!

She also works hard on her school work and maintains straight As - that is even with being in an accelerated Math class!! I know I'm bragging here but this is her birthday and she deserves some recognition for her accomplishments. She indeed has has accomplished much in her 13 years of life!

Lauren loves excursions, such as weekend trips with her youth group. If there is a trip option available, Lauren will convince us she needs to go. This is the adventure side of her. Even this weekend, for example, after we planned birthday events for her throughout the weekend, she was trying to figure out how she could still go to a weekend camp with the youth group.

What does the future hold for Lauren?? She has dreams of moving to New Zealand to live and go Sky Diving. Yes! She does have a daring side to her too. If she sets her mind to it, like she has for her other accomplishments, she will some day Sky Dive in New Zealand, no doubt.

Her eagerness to do it all probably is the most challenging part of parenting her. Steve and I can barely keep up with her ambitions. All I know is that God has some big plans for her in her life.

Need to update our information

I received a call from our Social Worker yesterday morning. Since we may not receive a referral until May, some of our paper work will expire. When we started the process, never did we imagine that we would reach a point where we would have to paper chase again!!

Our home study needs to be updated because it will expire in May. We also have to redo our fingerprinting, which will expire in September. We should be travelling before September, but just to be on the safe side, we need to plan ahead.

This adoption journey has taken much longer than we expected. There are several reasons why the process has lengthened, one being that in Ethiopia, they are taking more measures to making the process more ethical. For this, I am thankful for.

We are handling the wait relatively well. Knowing that God is in control and not us or anyone else, brings comfort. All three of my labors were physically hard. This time, I'm not experiencing the physical labor but the emotional labor. Either way, the pain and struggles are much worth it in the end. I am happy to redo paper work, just another step in the process to bringing our child home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Enchanted" Evening

Pictures from the "Daughter's Heart" event:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Charity Water

See how one family is making a difference in Ethiopia:
(first pause the music at the bottom of my blog)

The Budde Family Well / charity: water / Ethiopia from charity: water on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day

We had a very sweet Valentine's Day. In the morning, as we were making plans to head out of town for a day of shopping (which we haven't done as a whole family for years!!), Steve presented each of us girls a Valentine card. In each card, he expressed the qualities he most admired about each of us. We were all very touched by his thoughtful expressions. It always feels good to be appreciated as a mother and wife but what touched me the most were his loving words to each of his daughters. He is such a good father to them. The type of relationship he builds with them will no doubt impact how they select their future husbands.

After getting on the road, we made a quick stop at a coffee shop to treat ourselves to a yummy coffee for the trip. Picking up a coffee and heading out of town with my family, is one of my favorite things, so I was in heaven!!

The "Daughter's Heart" Celebration is this Saturday, so we bought the girls new dresses for the occasion. Steve was such a good sport and had lots of patience while us girls browsed through the stores. On our way home from our shopping trip, we had dinner with Steve's sister.

The entire day was a treat and so perfect! I love my sweetheart!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Still waiting

Our agency gave out a batch of referrals last week and according to our specialist, they had several toddler age children. Unfortunately our son was not one of those.

So, we continue to wait. Steve and I talked last night about how we feel our life is on hold. We didn't schedule a winter vacation because of the what ifs and now we can't even talk about a summer vacation, because most likely that is when our son will come home at the rate things are going.

School was called off today due to icy conditions. This has been a long winter for our family and looking back, we wish we would have scheduled a winter vacation. But I'm trying to look on the bright side of things. That is, if we wait until next winter to take a warm weather vacation, our son will be with us.

Even though I have low moments, I'm really trying to be optimistic during the wait. God has brought our family through quite the change since we started this journey. Although this journey has not been easy, the challenges have allowed us time to grow. And for that, I can be thankful. We are even more ready to receive our son into our lives.

Our specialist also informed us that the time between referral and travel went from 12 weeks to 16 weeks, which means if we get a referral soon, we will not travel until June.

There is a reason for God's timing and His timing is perfect. We can't even begin to imagine the big picture of things unseen happening around us. God is intentional - He knows what He is doing.
Tabagon Fun! This past weekend we watched our friend's two girls. The 5 girls had a blast sledding yesteray afternoon. Can you see Avery?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Come pick me up!"

Over Christmas break Lauren attended a ski camp out of town for 2 nights. 10 inches of snow fell the morning they were suppose to leave to come home. The night before, I confirmed her ride home with a trusting parent.

The day I expected her home, Lauren called that morning and the first words that came out of her mouth were, "come and get me! So and so's dad is not coming now because of the weather and I don't want to be stuck here!" She had great anxiety and desperation in the tone of her voice.

As her mother and one looking forward to her returning home, my heartstrings pulled hard that morning. My first instinct was to get in the car and go get her. But it would be too much of a risk with the current weather conditions.

After consulting with other concerned parents, we began making plans for our kids to stay one more night. I spoke to Lauren on her cell phone several times throughout the day with updates on the weather and lodging preparations.

I offered her as much reassurance and encouragement I could throughout the morning. During our last conversation together, her cell phone went dead but she was ready to settle in and accept the fact that she will not make it home. But being 'cut off' from one another, I could no longer give her comfort or reassurance.

Then, early that afternoon, I got a call from another parent who just received word that the team decided to drive home after all. They had just enough seat belts between all the cars. This caused most parents to become even more anxious, those who had teenagers driving and those, like me who has a child riding with teenage drivers. Not that I don't trust teenagers - it's just that they don't have as much experience driving in this type of weather.

Well, after much concern, our team arrived home safe.

I keep thinking about Lauren's words of panic that one snowy morning: "Come and get me!" When I received her phone call, I hung up and cried. Sadness overwhelmed me. I can't forget my feelings from that day.

In the past few months, each time I think about our son, I am almost always on the verge of tears. I think about how hard it is to wait, not knowing his condition, not being able to communicate with him and I don't even know his face.

I think about the transition time when he will not have anyone to call daddy or mommy. This is the time he will spend in an institution with several other children who are also waiting for their forever family.

Our agency has a list of children waiting for families. Most of these children have medical concerns or are older, making it harder to find them a family. For one, there is a sweet 5 year old boy living in our agency's orphanage in Addis Ababa. He has been living there for 3 years. He has autism. During his 3 years at the care center, he has watched more than 700 kids leave with their forever families. I often think about this child and wonder how many anxious moments he has had waiting for his family. I think about how he doesn't have anyone to call family and he doesn't have anyone to call at all to come pick him up.

Friends of ours adopted a toddler boy from China. A few months after being home with him, he asked his father why it took him so long to pick him up.

After we receive the referral of our son, it will be 3 more months before we travel. This wait for a referral has been hard and now I'm starting to understand why adoptive parents say that the wait time between referral and travel is even harder. Once we know our son is waiting for us, I hate to see him wait much longer.