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Thursday, December 20, 2012

¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Another year-- it is impossible to believe that it has flown by so quickly.  A year ago, I was busy setting goals, delving into all sorts of projects, and planning how I would spend my spare time.  Now, everything has been accomplished.  Inaugural Labor of Love 5K-- my first experience as a race director, CHECK.  My first marathon-- St. Jude in Memphis, CHECK.  12 races completed in 2012-- CHECK.  Projects of all sorts at school, CHECK.  Mastery of the basic use of my Granny's sewing machine-- several quilts and pillows made, CHECK.  A happy demeanor, CHECK.  A hopeful spirit, CHECK




 
Happily, I will bring the confidence, sensitivity to others, willingness to take a risk, and joyful attitude gained by these projects into 2013.  Yet, just as I am finding my equilibrium, I realize that a year from now, things will be so different-- it seems most likely that we will have received a referral by then and possibly have brought our little one home.  ¡Ojalá!  Sé que no hay ninguna guarantía.  This year, there is minimal decoration in the house-- a tiny tree with a gold bow at the top, two little elves that my mom bought us for Christmas last year, a small Honduran nativity beside the snow globe with the holy family that used to sit in my Granny's house, holiday cards taped to the kitchen door, and mistletoe hung over our small entryway.  For now, Christmas is simple, no toys or tiny clothes coming into the house, small family gatherings, and trip with Mike's side of the family to the Florida Keys to relax and quietly celebrate one another's good company.  Over the course of next year, things will change.... we will be like the little family in my Granny's snow globe, embarking upon a new journey, a new adventure together.  We will probably decorate 2 Christmas trees and stockings will be hung over the mantel that Mike made this year.  Toys will litter the living room, Petey cat will have to give up one of his beds, laundry will become a nightly task.  There will be a children's car seat permanently mounted in the back of my car ... and will I be running with a stroller?  It is a pretty picture.  For now, I sit in my classroom gazing at the picture of our little one-- a printout of a cartoon/clipart baby in a photo frame.  Pues, por no tener tu foto, tengo que improvisar, Angelito.  It will be a beautiful day when we are all united as one family, but one that I know that I can't imagine or anticipate.  Tengo que confesar que a veces, sueño con este día-- pero trato de no hacerlo.... no quiero permitir que me mente piense demasiado en estas cosas porque no quiero contaminar el momento actual con expectativas.  Sé que el momento será perfecto-- así como sea. Until then, Mike and I continue moving forward slowly, celebrating the promise of each day until we receive that surprise call.... Last we heard at the end of October, we were number 29..... various online communities suggest that the numbers have probably moved one spot since then.  Supposedly, there was a meeting last Friday, and most likely, more international assignments were made, but it will be two weeks before families have to confirm or reject the referral-- and into January before IHNFA meets again to revise the list due to the Christmas holidays.  It has been said that the starting numbers for waiting families are now over 100.  Also, I am reading that greater effort is being made to move more children through the abandonment process.  Some suggest that as many as 50 children are moving through courts now, so that they could become adoptable during the upcoming year.  ¿Tal vez tú estás con este grupo?  Still, elections are coming up in Honduras, and that could mean more delays.  What does it all mean?  So many factors to consider.... it makes my mind spin..... and so I let go.  We are expectant, but enjoying where we are at and the promise of where we are going.  Y para ti, estoy imaginándote (una cara en las sombras), leyendo todo nuestro cuento, entiendo nuestro cariño, imaginándonos jovenes y sabiendo los resultados de todo lo que nos ha pasado como una familia.  Sé que ésta es parte del plan de Dios, el sendero que Él quiere que tomemos.... nuestra reunión un milagro así como el milagro de Navidad que nos da esperanza... y entre todos los proyectos que estoy haciendo, estoy sujetándole besos y abrazos a cada pensamiento de ti.  Feliz Navidad, Ángel.  Besitos para tus mejillas; que te sientas nuestros abrazos como una cobija y nuestro amor como una buena almohada.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Redefining "waiting"

Waiting-- that is what they call this period-- the monthes and maybe years when everyone is on the edge of their seat with baited breath-- "what news is there? Have the numbers moved?  What do you know?"  Everyone asks and we ask too.  In an age where you don't have to be very patient (fast food, express checkout at the supermarket, google to answer your questions before you even have to think about the possibilities, etc), patience is a virtue we hardly cultivate in modern society.  Perhaps, we are evolving in this sense-- maybe humans have adapted to a life of instant gratification ... and yet Mike and I can not accept this adaptation.  That word "waiting" means forcing us to be patient even when we don't want to be (y debes saber..... te queremos conocer YA-- AHORITA).  It can have a negative connotation...it implies not getting what you want, at least not when you want it.  Words that might accompany waiting could be idle, frustrating, and delayed.

So, I have made a conscious decision to redefine "waiting."   "Waiting" does not mean wasting time.  "Waiting" does not mean putting life on hold and wallowing in a sense of powerlessness.  "Waiting" does not mean merely wishfully looking to tomorrow.  Aunque no puedo expresar el tanto que quiero verte y abrazarte.  On the contrary, "waiting" means really taking advantage of the time we have, living and relishing it, while maintaining both eyes on the future that is to come.  It is a chance to recharge, revisit other life goals, and focus being on the best people we can be so that when the time is right we can become the best parents possible.  This time of waiting is still time that we can and should use for good... it is still a gift until the gift of our child arrives.... and it is important for us to use it wisely with a joyful spirit.

Based on this redefinition of waiting, Mike and I have been busy with all kinds of projects-- one of the most exciting things we did recently was to take a two week trip to Japan.  We fell in love during our first adventure together with students in Europe, and something about such a removal of ourselves from everyday life revitalizes our relationship.  Travelling is a chance to really communicate, linger over long suppers, explore together, grow together, share a laugh and reminisce-- complete each others' sentences... so a trip to Japan was an incredible, romantic escape for the two of us.  We travelled with students for a week and then took advantage of our rail passes to go to Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, Nagoya, and Tokyo.  It was the adventure of a lifetime!  (Tu papá y yo somos gran aficionados del espiritú aventerero y sabemos que ser padres será otra aventura-- Así, te deseamos que aprecies el mundo.  Queremos enseñarte a aprovecharte de toda la magia y belleza que nos rodea...... y queremos fomentar tu imaginación y creatividad.  Para nosotros, es importante brindarte una visión abierta de las miles de posibilidad que existen para ti.... y queremos darte la confianza que necesitas para agarrar las posiblidades que te sirven). 

Japan was beautiful, amazing, enchanting, and inviting-- returning home has also been a whirlwind of activities.  Mike is still working on finishing the fireplace mantel and entertainment system.... little by little, it is getting done.  He also has been working more, since he has taken on more responsibilities at work as department chair.  One of my favorite activities that we have been sharing together is going to yoga class.  We have been downward-dog-ing, warrior 1 & 2-ing, chaturanga-ing, and (my favorite) shavasana-ing together a couple of times a week.  It is amazing how rejuvenating this little bit of quiet time is....

Also, I have taken on the job of co-race manager for the INAUGURAL Labor of Love 5K race and 1 mi fun run at Tower Grove Park on Labor Day to benefit the Micah Project in Honduras-- I love to run and I have dreamed about doing something positive for Central America for a while.  (Even before meeting these other two driven moms with a passion for Honduras, I had actually gone into Big River Running to see what it would take to do something like this).   When we decided to go forward with offering the race, I had NO comprehension of how much more than signing a race management company it would take.  Furthermore, it is my vision that this race really be something special-- not just a chance for a bunch of runners to show up and punch a time clock so that they can check off another 5k on their to-do list.  Rather, I envision this race as a really inclusive experience that involves families and runners, offers LOTS of fabulous prizes from very awesome sponsors for more than just the fastest participants, and most importantly CONNECTS participants with Honduras.  In my castle in the air conception of this run, participants would leave saying to themselves, "wow!  I really had fun.... and I really understand that Honduras is NOT so far away... the people there are incredible... my heart has been moved and it would be a joy to connect with them again."  We are all brothers and sisters; just political boundaries separate us.

My other BIG plan for the year while we are waiting is something that still TERRIFIES me when I think of it.... I have made it my goal to run 12 races in 2012 (so far I am on track).  For the grand finale-- I am going to run my first (and I profess it to be my last) FULL marathon in Memphis in Decemeber.  I love running because it is my chance to think and contemplate-- but 26.2 miles-- that is a LOT of thinking!  I ran my first half marathon with my most wonderful sister (an absolute angel in my life) in 2004.  We showed up-- novices-- and were completely freaked out by the people in spandex and funny gear jogging to warm up even before the run.  How many times did we ask each other before the start gun "what have we gotten ourselves into?" .... but Dad was a runner, so we just assumed we could do it.  Now, 8 years later, I have all that nerdy gear and even the spandex that I could not believe that any sane person would wear in public.  I wonder how many miles I have run to get me to this point-- in particular, I have been wondering if I have run to Honduras yet..... I did the math on the runs I have kept up with this year and I have only run 207 miles-- in a year, maybe I run 400.... times 8 years-- yes.... I think I have arrived-- I would like to think so.  A veces, cuando quiero motivarme, me pregunto ¿con que velocidad podría moverme si yo supiera que tú estuvieras detrás de la meta de la carrera?-- y ¡zuum!  ¡Tengo energía! One of the other exciting aspects of the race is that I am raising money for St. Jude's by running.  It is a charity that stirs my heart and I absolutely adore what the staff of St. Jude's can do for kids with cancer and their families.  It is something beautiful-- a living breathing testament to faith, hope, and love-- in the midst of a disease so ugly....I am so proud to be able to dedicate my longest run to such a noble cause.

So as you can see, summer has been a blessing... we are waiting, yes.... but by my definition of waiting....

Of course the sober reality is that I will be back in school soon.... life will be busier in a different way again.... think of me waking up early at 4:30 for marathon training and Mike taking charge of his science department

.... and yes.... everyone's question-- "do we have news?"-- well, we were confirmed at the end of June at number 38, but the IHNFA committee has met since then and I know for a fact that they made some assignments... I can't say how many were removed from the top of the list, but I know that the committee is meeting again this week.  Maybe more assignments?  We are patiently waiting, with faith that our number will reach the top of the list at the perfect moment to give us the exact child that we were meant to have.... and until then we are running, planning, yoga-ing, building, working, and dreaming of the day when we can complete our family.... y para ti, Angelito de mi corazon, no dudes que estés conmigo en todas las actividades....Te queremos muchísimo..... MUCHÍSIMO-- besos y abrazos para ti... cada mañana, cada noche, cada momento posible.......









Friday, April 6, 2012

42 and a Turtle Blanket

42.  When I told a friend that this is our number, she informed me that this is a good sign because according to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this is the number that is "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything."  Hmmmmmm.... maybe after we have our new addition for a while, the meaning of existence will be clarified for us.  42.  Arthur Dent said that he selected this number because it was a simple number, not too fancy-- but it is an exciting number for us.

42.  On St. Patrick's Day, I was visiting my sister and her growing family in Phoenix when I received the news in an email-- that we received a number.  If you are not adopting, you may not understand what a milestone this is or what it means to us.  When a woman is pregnant, she gets morning sickness, sees the ultrasound, and feels the baby kick.  These are all the signs that a baby is really on the way.  For us, the number is the sign.  Up until this point, our paperwork has been in Honduras on a desk waiting to be reviewed.  Everything was stalled for so long with no sign of progress.  On March 17, though, everything took a huge leap forward.  Now, when 41 Honduran children are placed ahead of us, we will receive a referral!  It is unbelievable.  Mike and I start to envision a day in the future where things will change and we will all be a family under one roof.

So, there are projects around the house-- getting the house ready for little feet and busy hands.  Mike is building a mantel for the fireplace and a cabinet to house DVDs for children's entertainment.  Meanwhile, I started working on a giant turtle quilt with Mama White.  Mientras trabajamos en la cobija enorme, hablamos de ti y nuestros planes para el futuro.  Toda tu familia ya te ama-- ya tengo una colección de regalos para ti aunque no sabemos ni tu nombre ni tu género ni tu tamaño.  Todo me ha parecido el plan perfecto de Dios, por eso no dudo que serás la adición perfecta para nuestra familia.  Today, we cut out the pieces of the giant quilt and tomorrow I will see about getting my Granny's sewing machine fixed up so I can stitch together this turtle project.  It is exciting to see it all come together a little at a time, much like the changes I foresee on the horizon for Mike and us.... and for now, there is progress.  I have already received word that our number has moved and I would guesstimate that we might be down to being number 37.... but we will see-- I have faith that all will unfold at the perfect time.   We can't count on things continuing to move at this speedy pace, but based on previous years' progress, one might speculate that we could be about a year away from a referral-- more or less... could that projection be any more ambiguous?



Bueno, mi amor-- tu mami y papi te están esperando-- estamos contando los días... no pasa ni un día sin pensar en ti.  Te estoy cargando en mi corazón, enviándote besos y abrazos todas las noches... y en mis sueños, ya te veo envuelto/a en una cobija suave-- tu cara en las sombras-- no puedo ver los rasgos pero puedo sentir tu calor.  Hueles a talco para bebés... y oigo tu suspiro tranquilo.... Pienso que tanto amor puede cruzar las millas entre tú y yo y encontrarte en Honduras. Ya estoy contigo, mi amor.  Nunca estás solo/a.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hace mucho tiempo.....

Hace mucho tiempo.....« it makes a long time » as they say in Spanish .... and yes it has been so long-- since the beginning of our journey, since first imagining what the journey would hold for us, since racing through the paperwork to bring home  Más 1 a little sooner, since turning in our dossier.  The last post has been forever ago, not because we have forgotten about our special little one, but because the waiting has been exhausting and things have interminably crept along and ultimately stalled.  It is hard to know what to tell people who are excited to see us complete our family.

Let me attempt to explain the rocky paths that we have traversed.  At the end of September, just after the translation of our dossier was finished in Honduras, the government agency that approves couples for adoptions and assigns children to waiting families was audited.  The first-lady of Honduras became involved in a thorough investigation of this agency, called IHNFA.  The director of the agency was suspended.  The union workers employed by the agency went on strike after not being paid for months.  Some alleged that there were irregularities in some adoptions.  I don't know how this could be possible when I consider the rigorous background checks and documentation that we needed to obtain in order to proceed with the process.  The papers never revealed specifics of these charges though.  In addition, the agency was apparently largely overstaffed.  Over 90% of the agency's budget was being utilized in salaries-- there were insufficient funds to take care of the kids that are supposed to be receiving care from IHNFA.  Things looked bleak and rather interminable from this side of the internet.  Every day meant a new search for news articles to connect me to Honduras-- La Prensa, El Heraldo, La Tribuna.  I scoured the web and devoured everything I could find, including the Honduras adoption group-- where I noticed that the posts seemed to trickle off as we all were afraid to post our fears, frustrations and overall impatience.  The unposted posts spoke for themselves. So for a while, there were overcast skies-- blackness, blankness, a cold blast of winter.

Even so..... Despite the rough patch, there has never been a loss of faith in what we felt at the beginning of this process.  This adoption is, without a doubt, the right thing for us-- and it is worth the bumps in the road, the layovers and delays, and the stress caused by seeing so many roadblocks. Siempre quiero que sepas-- eres una luz en nuestra vida.  Aunque el viaje ha sido difícil, vale la pena esperarte y no cambiaría nada. 

Blackness, blankness, a cold blast of winter, a sigh-- spring on the horizon.

Just this week, the adoption group and the newspapers are abuzz with news that suggests that things are about to move again.  They say-- A new director of IHNFA has been named.  A tentative meeting date to review dossiers (which means we could have a wait list number) and assign children has been set for February.  Maybe things will move slowly, but what could be more encouraging than a move forward!  So many wonderful people that I have met through this process could be blessed at this meeting and I continue to pray every day that all runs smoothly and that these special families might be brought together with their long awaited little ones soon.  I am hopeful. 

Regarding Mike and I, it is true that we are a long way from a referral, but.... PROGRESS.... that is a beautiful thought.

These last few months have been a test in patience more for me than Mike.  Mike is so calm.  I have been focusing on my running and yoga-- but not to take my mind off the adoption.  Rather, at the beginning of each yoga class or run, I set an intention-- and always, Más 1 is part of that intention.  Every physical activity receives my best effort and I send part of the positive energy gained right out to Honduras.  Since I can't take vitamins or eat organic foods to provide the "right" prenatal experience, I think that this least I can do.  Mike has been very supportive too-- In December, he encouraged me to work to achieve my personal best in a half marathon in Miami.  It may seem unrelated, but that race meant so much to me because conquering it symbolized to me that anything was possible.  Upon crossing the finish line, I realized that with God's help, unflagging patience, extreme endurance, and a flat determination not to give up, even those desires of our heart that seem unattainable are within our reach.  Eso significa que nunca perderé confianza en nuestro destino.  Seremos una familia.  Aunque no puedo contar los días porque no sé cuantos son, puedo notar el amor por ti duplicándose cada día, y no me preocupo.  Nuestro día llegará.