I have learned to hold all things loosely, so God will not have to pry them out of my hands. --Corrie ten Boom

How Much Longer?

I Knew I Loved You...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Challenge

Okay, Angie over at "Bring The Rain" wrote a post & issued a Thanksgiving Challenge. I follow her blog & know most of you do as well. This post I could so identify with~

So, I am taking the challenge.

No. I don't feel like I mean it. I don't feel it to be the truth in my heart today...but, yes. I will take the challenge.

"I am thankful for my journey to parenthood & all that has come with it in the past & that will come with it in the future."

Whew. That feels like a big ol' lie. However, this is a challenge, right. A challenge is not suppose to be easy. Ugh.

Hop over to Angie's blog, read the post (& maybe her brother in laws post that she refers to as well) & then decide if you want to take the challenge too.

What Are You Thankful For?

I wanted to take the time to do a "What I Am Thankful For" post, however I don't know that I have the amount of time to devote to it this morning that I would need to do it right. However, I will give it a quick try.

I am thankful for God, my husband (Thomas~you are one in a million. Every day I am thankful for you & our marriage. The blessings that you bring to our life & to me are endless.) I am thankful for my health & the health of all of my friends & family. I am thankful for my family & friends & the joy that they add to my world. I am very thankful for Thomas's job. I am thankful for our home, food on our table, clothes on our backs & the safety that we feel & are provided living here in our great country. I am thankful that I don't have a lot of time today to do this post as that means I have fun things filling my holiday. I am thankful for babies that are born healthy! (Congratulations Kristin!) I am thankful for the men & women who are not with their families today who are far away in another place serving in the armed forces. I am thankful for all of my relatives that have passed away who have left me with memories of holidays past that fill my heart & mind with warm thoughts of Thanksgiving Holidays that were filled with traditions & memories that I will forever treasure. I am thankful for the sights & sounds of the holiday season & that we live in a place where families are able to celebrate & worship how & if they choose. I am thankful for a new church family. I am thankful for new neighbors & friends in our new town who have welcomed us into their lives & even their homes today for a wonderful holiday on a day when we would usually be with our family & can not be. (THANK YOU BRIAN, CHRISTINA & FAMILY!) I am thankful for many things...too many to list~mostly, I am just thankful for my life. No, it is not perfect. Like everyone, I have had my share of difficult times & no doubt will have more of those. There are things that I certainly wish were different, but over all, I can not complain. I am blessed to have more blessings than I can count & more things to be thankful for than I have time to write about.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope that you too have more blessings than you could ever list. I wish you all joy, health & happiness today & always! For all of you traveling, be safe! Enjoy your day, your friends & your family. And of course, enjoy the eats!

Speaking of eats...off to do some cooking for the dinner today!


(Oh & BTW, I am thankful for my new GPS! I wrote about that in my last post a little. It was a b-day gift to me from Thomas. For those of you wondering~No. I did not throw it out the window yesterday. Actually quite the opposite! I LOVE THAT THING! I don't know how I ever lived without it. It is a life changing piece of equipment. If you think you would never use it~think again! I will never be without one again. I will write about it more later. However, I would say to you~if you are thinking of getting one & are checking them out during the holiday sales, go for it! You won't be sorry. The ease of use is unbelievable. Believe me, if I can do it you can too! I could go on & on~but, I can't right now. In a day or so I will elaborate on my experience with it yesterday. It was amazing. )

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Birthday, Thanksgiving, New Friends & a New Blessing

The birthday first~"Who's?", you ask. It was mine! Happy birthday to me, November 25th! 36 years young yesterday! Thomas had to work yesterday, so on Sunday after church he took me to PF Changs. Yum! Then we hit the mall & Ikea. We spent the day together just walking & talking. It was nice. We of course went to Starbucks for an afternoon coffee too. He even joined me in Bath & Body Works for a ridiculous amount of time patiently tolerating my need to stand there & smell every candle that they have. Scrumptious! I woke yesterday to find a card & a gift bag on our kitchen counter. It was a lovely card from Thomas with some special words & a really cool coffee mug with the city sky line & "Chicago" on it. He is taking me into the city via the Metra to see Chicago all decked out for the holidays. Lights & music will be in abundance! Fun! Can't wait. Last year we did the Plaza in Kansas City for my b-day. (Think I posted pics of that.) We did the carriage ride around the Plaza with our Starbucks coffee & a blanket. The lights & sounds of the holiday in K.C. were beautiful, I can only imagine what it will be like in Chicago! My Mom of course called me bright & early with a serenade of "Happy Birthday" (Yes, she really sings to me-every year!) & some beautiful sentiments too! I got several birthday cards which I appreciated very much. In the afternoon I went over to my friend's & neighbors house, Christina. They had a card for me & had baked me cookies. THANKS GUYS! Thomas also got me a GPS. He has wanted to get me one for a while now & I have been resistent. I am a little hesitant as I am not great with the electronics stuff, but he assures me that it is very simple to use & that I will have no problems. It is a Garmin...we will see. I am going to try it out later today when I am running errands.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope that you all have wonderful holiday. We all have so much to be thankful for, don't we? (Hopefully between today & tomorrow I will find the time to do a "What I Am Thankful For" post. I think that kind of reflection is good to do now & then...)We won't be able to get back home to our friends & family for the holiday, but have fortunately made some good friends here who have been kind enough to include us in their holiday plans. We will be spending Thursday afternoon with our neighbor's. We will be feasting on a fabulous meal & enjoying their company & getting to know each other better. We are looking forward to it & appreciate the invite so much!

We have a calendar full of holiday events. There is so much to do around here. Just every day or so, there is a list of things going on that you can go to. Every Village has a website & list their calendar. It is nice to have options. We have not been use to that.

& for the new blessing~My dear friend Kristin won't have to think very hard for what she is most thankful for this year. Yesterday afternoon (ON MY BIRTHDAY!) Kristin gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Ashlyn Mae! 7.10 oz, 21 inches long @ 2:35PM~This is their first baby. All is well. CONGRATULATIONS Matthew, Kristin & Ashlynn! We are SO happy for you all!

Better shower & get to my errands. I am making my most requested Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad for the dinner tomorrow. Plus, think I will make some Pumpkin Bread & maybe a loaf of homemade bread as well. Oh the carbs of the holiday season! Happy eating everyone! (Wish me luck with my new GPS & maybe offer prayers for me to please have patience...& that it won't be thrown out my window by the days end!)


Friday, November 21, 2008

No Evidence Of Progress?

At times nothing seems to be happening. So it must be for the bird that sits on her nest. Things are apparently at a standstill. But the bird sits quietly, knowing that in the stillness something vital is going on, and in the proper time it will be shown. It takes faith and patience for the bird, and such faith and patience never seem to waver, day after day, night after night, as she bides the appointed time.
Restless and doubtful we wonder why we have nothing to show for our efforts, no visible evidence of progress. Let us remember the perfect egg--unchanged in its appearance from the day it is laid. But while the bird waits faithfully, doing the only thing she is required to do throughout those silent weeks, important things are taking place.
--Elisabeth Elliott
I wait for the Lord. My soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning. --(Ps 130:5, 6 RSV)

Well, these two pics pretty much say it all really. Sixteen months have past since our Dossier was logged in at the CCAA in China & we are still waiting. Are we closer? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Are we half way there? No. Are we even a third of the way there? Not likely. How much longer? Great question. The only ones that might have the answer to that question; the CCAA, they aren't talking. Us? We are just going to go about our life in a way that this whole China plan-it is going on the back burner. Yes, we are still hopeful & prayerful that the day will come when we will finally receive our referral & be blessed to see our sweet Mia's face for the first time. However, we are not living our life as if the dream is such a sure reality for us. We are making plans, moving forward & living our lives in such a way so that if China never comes to be for us, if we never get to bring our Mia home~then, we can still say we lived in spite of the fact that we were "in waiting" all of these years. The limbo, the constant state of uncertainty, the living as if you are waiting for the day so that you can really go on living is over for us. Life has resumed & I am better for it. China, Mia & all that comes with it will always be on my mind, but tucked away safely so that I can still function & be happy with my life & not constantly be plagued with the "ifs" & "when" every day, all day long. So, yes~yesterday marked sixteen months since our log in date, but so what? It really means very little & frankly I have wanted to be a mother as long as I can remember. All that yesterday was the anniversary of was that sixteen months ago yesterday some employee in China stamped a date on a pile of papers & put it in a huge stack with thousands of other hopeful families "lives" spelled out in black & white & displayed in photos. The date at one time meant so much to us & hopefully will again someday as with that date stamped on that paper came so much hope of a dream that we knew would soon be realized & now...well, you all know that reality is now so far from a reality & is a distant dream that we can only hope & pray for.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

15 Things I Am Not Afraid To Admit:

Okay, Alicia, a buddy of mine tagged me. She did this on her blog & then tagged me, so now I am suppose to do it. This should be interesting...here it goes. (I don't know that I can get to 15, but I will give it a go.)

1. I love reality television.
2. I went to college, with a major of Physical Therapy, switched to Education & then quit to marry my husband of the last 16 years! Absolutely no regrets!
3. I love to shop at The Goodwill, garage sales & second time around shops.
4. We have been moved into our new place for a month now & we have yet to get all of the boxes unpacked & aren't the least bit organized at all yet!
5. Even though I have been dragging myself to the gym daily, I still can not say that I like it!
6. I am scared to death that parenthood may never find us.
7. The beach makes me cry. Every time that we first arrive & I look out into the ocean the tears begin to roll like the rolling waves. Yes, every time. It never gets old for me. Every time I lay eyes on the ocean it is like seeing it for the first time for me.
8. I drove a Chevy Chevette Hatchback when I was 16.
9. I am 6'1 & wear a size 10 shoe. Yep, really.
10. I still today miss "Emma Kate" so much I ache.
11. I am somewhat of a control freak & tend to be a perfectionist. I like to be organized & am generally a planner. I will write something down on a list just to cross it off! I am working on letting these traits go a little.
12. I use to also be a clean freak~this too is passing the older & wiser I get.
13. I have to balance my checkbook every month & it has to be to the penny. If it is off, I have to find it.
14. I usually screen my calls~okay, most always. We have caller id, what can I say?
15. Thomas & I enjoy playing Scrabble. Exciting, huh? We have even been known to hang out at a local coffee shop (we love coffee!) & play a game. Thomas always wins!

Hey, I did it. Let's see~I tag:

Brandi "The Silver's Scoop"
Sara "Wish I May, Wish I Might"
Tamara "Climbing The Great Wall"
Jess C.
Linda H.


Email is fixed!

Apparently our email address is up & working. I have waited almost a week before telling everyone this. I sent out a note saying that it was fixed once before only within hours to find that it wasn't working again. This time, I waited & it appears that the fix is permanent. I am still checking my gmail account as well & am using it for some things, but I have changed my blog to be associated with our email account with Comcast that we use with our Outlook Express program. That address is thomasandjennifer@comcast.net

Friday, November 7, 2008

Difficult Decisions

Some decisions are not came to lightly, are they? So many things to think about. It is so difficult to think that something that you have prayed & hoped about for so long may not come to be in the end. To contemplate letting go of a dream~something that you feel you are meant to do.

Thomas & I are at a crossroads as. We are up for renewal of our I-171H. (paper work for our China adoption) It expires 12/22. We are really under the gun time wise. We just moved to Illinois, so we couldn't start the process until we arrived here as we needed to re-do our home study in our new state. Yesterday, we began the process of calling agencies to very quickly get things rolling. We were shocked to find out that in Illinois the average price for a home study update is between $2000.00-$3150. 00!!! We couldn't believe it. Apparently Illinois has some sort of in-state International facilitator who oversees the entire process. So, even after our in-state agency does our home study update, it apparently as we understand it then has to go to this person. In Missouri we paid $800.00 for our update & thought that price was unreasonable. Things are so relative, aren't they. That made me think of when we first were beginning the paper chase & they told us "about nine months". It seemed like forever then~oh, what we would give to hear that now. Kind of like how we would love to be able to pay $800.00 to update our home study!

With having a LID of 07/20/07 we know that we have years & years in this line ahead of us. Realistically, there is no way around that. (The agency that we spoke to out of Chicago yesterday was more than clear that with an LID of 07/20/07 we in fact do have MANY years ahead of us in this line.) Even if there is speed up, we still have years~how many years is the unknown.

We have a few things in the works that may come to be & may not. As most of you know we have a couple of Domestic situations brewing. Nothing may ever come of them & something may~they are however possibilities that remain tucked away in the backs of our minds. We are also strongly considering a few rounds of InVitro towards the end of next year or in early 2010. We never did InVitro. We opted to take our money (no Infertility insurance coverage) & pay for the "sure thing". We thought we were paying our money for the route that would grow our family. Again, things are so relative.

We are also very interested in researching some info. on Taiwan & Korea. Our agency doesn't offer these countries, so we would have to choose a different agency & of course decide whether to stay in the China line as well or get out.

We spoke with our agency yesterday & corresponded via email several times. Yesterday I spoke with one large agency out of Chicago that has a China program-I spoke with their Director of the China program. She offered a lot of insight for us.

She told us that if we were her clients that she would tell us to let the I-171H lapse/expire & just leave the home study be for now. You see, when she quoted us $3150.00 for the home study update she explained that included the post placement visits & several other things. I told her that we didn't want that package. I explained to her that we wanted the bare minimum just to be able to stay in the China line. She was confused as she went on to say, "Who is going to do your post placements?" . She was very aware of the uncertainty of the China program & was very understanding about our feelings. I explained to her that we wanted to stay in the line, but that at this time weren't sure if this was going to come to be in the end. I explained that at this time we couldn't say whether if that were to happen that it would be a decision made by the CCAA for us or if it would be a choice that Thomas & I would make, but that either way we needed some time. Unfortunately, time is what we do not have with an expiration date on our I-171H of 12/22. We knew that we had to make a choice soon or the choice would be made for us as there would be no time to get the renewal completed prior to the expiration date.

The agency out of Chicago continued to explain why just letting it lapse was a reasonable choice for us. I questioned her about how the CCAA would react, what about the fact that we would then become a Hague case & what it would mean for our place in this line. She said that it means nothing. She said that yes, we would become a Hague case, but so is everyone else who has gotten in line since April 08. She said that wouldn't have much effect on anything. She said that it is a little more work, but nothing that can't be accomplished. She pointed out that people are still sending Dossiers daily & that they are all Hague cases as of April 08. She pointed out that it must be going just fine as the program is still continuing & that although slow, the line just keeps getting longer. She said that we would just have to do ten hours of online parenting/attachment/bonding courses from an accredited source, (We already spoke to someone who had to do this & they did it online through an agency that offered them. The cost was $100.00.) & that you have to get a background check from every state that you have ever lived in, instead of just the one from which you currently live. There are some concerns about our agency. (Which BTW, they don't have an office in the state where we live, thus the reason we have to use a private agency for our update.) The concern in regards to our agency is that they have not received Hague approved status. They have been assured that they will be granted this in Jan. 09. I checked. They are not on the approved list, but they also are not on the denied list either. As far as our place in line, she explained that will not change. She said that the CCAA does not keep in contact with the UCSIS (Is that the right agency?!?!? You know who I mean, right?). She said that we would just stay right in line right we we are today. She said that our I-171H would just be expired & that is it. She explained that if & when the line begins to move-she recommended when it appeared that we might be about a year out to then go ahead & update the I-171H & our home study (if it has not been done by then) & then we would be set. She said that many, many families are taking this route & it appears that it will work out fine.

Our agency strongly discourages us from doing this. We asked them what their bases was for their feelings & all they could say was that the Hague is just so new that they feared the unknown & just felt that we should stay current. Well, as far as we are concerned this whole process is nothing but risk & the unknown. So, for us~that is just more of the same. To be honest, yesterday I was ready to pull the plug completely & honestly had planned to today. I had said that I was tired & just spent. I feel that the this whole process has reached a level of what is almost cruelty to potentially adoptive parents & their families & quite frankly I think some government entity needs to stop it. I am not going to debate about the children & what is best for them & who are we doing this for & why are we doing it & that China never promised us anything.... I have heard that on other sites a million times. Thomas & I are not out to "save a child", we want to grow our family~period. So, prior to speaking to the Chicago agency that is where we were headed~to stop this for ourselves. We were going to pull our Dossier & just sit with things for a while. We were going to wait out the brewing Domestic possibilities, get this move under control, continue to research InVitro, Research Korea & Taiwan & other agencies & quite frankly~we were going to just breathe while we took some times to see where things are headed for the China program. We felt that we refused to be forced to hurry & do something that we weren't sure was right for us simply due to some piece of paper that was expiring. For us, it just didn't feel right. We were ready to put some of the control back in our hands.

Will becoming a Hague case have some kind of long term ramifications that no one knows about right now? Maybe. But, this is a better alternative for us than completely pulling our Dossier. Our Dossier can stay there, we can remain in the line, we can keep our LID & all the while still be thinking about what is best for us. We don't have to be rushed or forced to do something simply on the basis of the expiration of our I-171H. (Not too even mention the financial ramifications of having to do a renewal or an update three or four & maybe more times!) In our eyes the whole process is an unknown right now & is a huge risk. Am I encouraging anyone else to make this choice or saying that anyone else should take this route? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I am only telling our story & sharing our thoughts. We would love to hear from all of you & welcome your thoughts & opinions & what you have heard. We have made our decision. This is what we are doing. It is what is right for us.

We will have to update our home study for Illinois if & when a Domestic situation arises. That's fine. We welcome that time & will be glad to do it if & when the time comes.

Thank you all so much for your friendship & support. Nothing has changed for us except that effective 12/22 we will be a Hague case. That's it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Confused, What did Arkansas just do?

I of course like most of you this morning have been watching the election recap. There has been so much focus on the Presidential campaign, that not a lot of us have been very aware of some of the social issues on the ballot. I do not live in Arkansas, but was just in shock as one of the states ballot issues was announced on CNN. Apparently, they had an issue on the ballot that would ban singles from adopting. What?!?!? Apparently, according to CNN their intent was to prevent homosexuals or couples in same sex relationships from adopting. Their idea of a good solution to what they deemed as a problem was to put this issue to a vote. It passed. They do not recognize same sex marriage, so they have succeeded in their attempt to prevent homosexuals or same sex couples from adopting. I think the bigger focus here is that they have now stopped anyone that is not married from adopting. No single woman or man will be allowed to adopt in this state as a result of this law. This seems appalling to me. To be honest, I really don't have much more to say as I am somewhat speechless. I know that China recently chose to not any longer allow singles to apply, but this just happened in the United States. Don't they know how many singles irregardless of their sexual preference adopt & not only do they adopt; they often adopt older children & children with special needs. I really don't think I should go on right now about this as I think I need to digest this for a while~I am just really shocked right now.

Temporary Email Addy

We just recently got new EMail service. Well, I should say that is what we were suppose to be getting. Eight days later, we have Internet service, phone service & cable service~but, still no EMail service. Finally, a brilliant friend (Thank you Sara L.) suggested to me that I open a GMail account. After eight days of fighting with that crazy other EMail account, I followed her advice (Why I hadn't thought to do that, who knows?!?!?). However, when setting it up I used my last name right in the address. I was reminded that I probably shouldn't plaster that on my blog. I suppose they are right. Basically, I just wanted to let you all know that if you would like my email address, just leave a comment here & I will EMail it to you privately. Eventually, we hope to have the other one up & running properly. When that happens we will let you all know & will then be using thomasandjennifer@comcast.net Until then, we will just use the GMail account. Feel free to leave me messages here or like I said, just request from here & I will shoot you a private EMail with our temporary GMail address. EMail sent to tomandjen@cableone.net will never be received by us. It will just go out there to cyber space somewhere never to be viewed again! :o)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

To cut or not to cut...

Okay, I had been debating back & forth for a while. Cut it or don't cut it? Everyone had their opinion about what I should do, but as with most things these days I found myself indecisive. I found this day spa/salon called "Elle" about seven minutes from our house. When I got there the stylist that I had been referred to had the very cut that I had been contemplating. The stylist had hers a little more edgy-more stacked in the back & little longer in the front than in the back. We modified the cut a little to fit what I was wanting. To me, when I walked in & saw her hair I figured that was the Universe telling me to go for it. So, I did it. I am very happy with my decision. It no longer takes me thirty minutes to dry my hair & I no longer can each & everyday have it pulled up either in a pony tail or piled up in a knot on top of my head. Thank goodness!