Monday, November 29, 2010

Good News

     This afternoon we received an email from our social worker. She mailed off our home study today! Woo-hoo! She said she expects to have it back sometime next week and will get the copies to us! Whew, its been a long time coming just to get to this point!
      Over the weekend I was thinking about November being National Adoption Month. There are 147 million orphans world wide, 4.8 million in Ethiopia, where we're planning to adopt from, and the list could go on, country by country, including the U.S..
     Anyway, a while ago I wrote about the path to adoption and how long its been on my heart, at least as an adult. I think God planted the seed way before the experience at the Jamaican Christian Boys Home though. When I was five years old, my favorite childhood movie came out, The Rescuers, by Disney. I think it still remains one of my all time favorites. Maybe you've seen it, the little orphan girl, Penny, alone in the orphanage, talking to Rufus, the cat, longing to be adopted, to have a family pick her. Penny is kidnapped by Madame Medusa and the story goes on to tell how mice from The Rescue Aid Society go to find her and help her escape. In the end, she is chosen to be adopted by a family.
     Then in my teen years, I was introduced to another orphan in the Anne of Green Gable's books. I loved them. I read the whole set, more than once and watched the movies. Anne is still one of my favorite characters.
     I can't help but reflect on these stories and the impact they had on me as I grew up. I look forward to the stories of my own kids and the impact their lives will have. So, bring on the next part of this process!

Monday, November 22, 2010


     We have a lot on our minds tonight. For almost a year now, we've been working on and hoping to adopt two children from Ethiopia, siblings. On our home study, we've asked for the age range of 0-4 years old. Today, we were informed that siblings within that age range rarely come up for adoption and that if we choose to stick with that age range, we'll be waiting for a long time. The agency advised us to expand our age range up to 6 years of age.
     There are a lot of reasons why we wanted younger children, some of the main ones being that we think the transition would be easier on them. But I suppose I have more selfish reasons as well, I want as many memories as possible. I want to hear the first word, see the first step, all of those milestones and discoveries. I want to give them a name.
     In just over a year, I'll reach an age when they bump up the age of children available to us for adoption. Do we go for just one child, in the hopes of getting a referral faster or do we hold out for two? What if we're still waiting when I reach that "cut off age"? Am I watching my dream of having a toddler, a baby, slip away? I feel so disappointed tonight. A big part of me is saying, "Its not fair!" Then I remember my dad always saying, "Who ever said life was fair?"
     What do we do? Do we stick with the plan & trust that God has two little lives waiting for the right moment when everything comes together? Or is he changing the plan? Does he have two other children, a little bit older in mind for being part of our family? Can I let go of the dreams I had of all the little moments and memories and look for and accept different but equally important moments and memories with 4-6 year olds?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Its really foggy out this morning. The impending holidays are in the air. Next week, Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas will be here. I've been looking forward to these occasions for a while now. I've even been anticipating snow. Not sure what it is this year but I'm ready.
     I'm ready to hear Christmas music on the radio, those songs that trace back to some of my earliest memories. I'm ready to pull out the decorations and "spruce" up the house! :) I'm looking forward to getting special gifts for the people I love.
     Thanksgiving and Christmas bring back such good memories. The decorations I'll pull out soon and put around the house, many of those were Gran's. All of those memories, they take me back to a different time in life. A time when I didn't know so much stress. A time when things seemed simpler. Gran always made Christmas goodies and she had her decorations. We would all pile into her little house, 11 of us with one bathroom which only had a tub, no shower. Six granddaughters would crowd their sleeping bags in on the living room floor and anticipate Santa filling the personalized stockings that Gran had made for each of us. There was always lots of fun and we would come up with little skits and sing song. Then there was church on Sunday, all of us piling into one pew and Gran's dinner after with everyone cramming into the dining room.
     Those memories seem like a long time ago. The late, Rich Mullins had a song titled, "Growing Young," and part of it went like this,
                                "I've gone so far from my home
                                  I've seen the world and I have known
                                  So many secrets
                                  I wish now I did not know
                                 'Cause they have crept into my heart
                                 They have left it cold and dark
                                 And bleeding,
                                 Bleeding and falling apart"

The song is talking about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11—31, but it seems like it applies to life in general. "I've seen the world and I have known, so many secrets, I wish now I did not know." Even when you're doing everything right, so to speak, life is still full of situations that can creep into our hearts and leave them cold, dark and bleeding. I guess its safe to say that the sometimes harsh reality of life has taken me so far from those days of girlish giggles, adventures and imaginings of a more innocent time. Maybe it is that fact that has me longing for Christmas this year. A longing to return to the kind of peace and joy that was always present at Christmas at Gran's house when I was growing up. Maybe it is also a longing for the promise that the first Christmas set into motion. A longing for that day when all will be made new, when there will be no more stress or suffering or any of those things we wish we didn't know. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more  death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:1- 4) 
     I think Christmas is a season of hope and I am ready for Christmas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


     Tonight I'm going to load the software program, Dreamweaver, onto my computer. I need to learn how to create a web page. I'm a graphic designer and illustrator, I should know how to make websites! They were just adding this to the program when I graduated so I didn't take any of those classes and now I need to teach myself. Uughh. I'm not good at technical stuff.
     I actually bought my copy of Dreamweaver in 2004! I guess its better late than never to use it, if its even compatible now. So you may ask, why start now? Well, as I said, I'm a graphic designer and I need to promote myself better. I need to get my portfolio online. I'd like to build up my freelance possibilities. I also enjoy photography, maybe I could sell some of my pictures. Finally, if I learn web design, then that's another asset as a designer!
     Wish me luck, I'll probably need it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Long Wait

     I think it was the summer of 1994 when I went on my first mission trip to Jamaica with the Herko Family Mission. During that trip, we spent some time at the Jamaican Christian Boys Home. The boys there were orphaned or abandoned and they were hungry for someone to love them. It was on that trip when I first knew that one day, I wanted to adopt.
     16 years. So far, I've been waiting 16 years on that dream. As a single adult, I didn't feel like adopting was the right option for me. So I waited. I waited and waited and waited and finally, three years ago, I married my husband. At 35, with a new husband and step-son, I knew we needed to give it a little time before we jumped into the idea of more kids. So I waited some more.
     In December of 2009, we picked an international adoption agency to work with and a country to adopt from. Ethiopia. We sent in our application and were accepted and started the process. Almost 11 months later, we're still waiting. We're almost done with our homestudy. We need a document and a check. Then we will wait some more, for the State of Illinois to approve us. Once we're approved by Illinois, we can start on all the international paperwork. When we complete all of that and are approved, then we'll be put on "the waiting list" for a referral.
      The waiting list seems so far away, unreachable. How long will it take? How will we afford it? Sometimes I wonder if this is a dream that will ever come true. I know God's heart is for the orphan though, so I'm trusting Him. I know that some day, I'll meet two sweet lives and it will be so worth the long wait!

Monday, November 8, 2010


     My husband, JC, and I are going through the adoption process in hopes of adopting two sweet lives from Ethiopia. As part of this process, we needed to update the smoke detectors in our home. We did so earlier this year. We went to the home improvement store, studied our options and chose two different units.
     Not long after their installation, we discovered just how sensitive our new smoke detectors are. For those of you who haven't been to our home, we have a rather small kitchen. Apparently, it doesn't take long for the heat and any cooking vapors to make their way from the kitchen to the location of the detectors. Our most recent encounter with this problem was when I was frying onion rings for dinner. Cooking the onion rings required a dutch oven full of rather hot oil. I'd only managed to cook a few batches of the rings when the smoke detectors decided they'd smelled enough!
     Let me remind you, that we purchased and installed two different types of smoke detectors. The first one to protest my cooking, was the unit with the ear piercing beep. When this unit goes off, I'm sure the whole block can hear it! JC grabbed a chair, reached up and pushed the stop button. Ah, peace! It was a short lived peace, not a minute later, the other smoke detector started going off!
     Now, this detector, has a lower toned beep that is not as painfully obnoxious as the first detector. However, along with its beep, it says in a somewhat digitized, monotone voice, "Fire! Fire! Fire!" over and over again. This sent JC scrambling for the hallway, which is obstructed by the baby gate we use to keep the dogs out of that part of the house. Once he managed to get past the gate, find something to climb on and quite that alarm, the first alarm decided to go off again. Back and forth we went between smoke detectors for the duration of cooking the onion rings. I was so glad to finish cooking those rings!
     Isn't that like life! There are so many activities, so many situations, so many noises demanding our attention. We have so many things in life that are speaking into our ear, "Fire! Fire! Fire!" demanding a response. It's easy to let those things distract us and sometimes frustrate, discourage and defeat us. With the smoke detector, sometimes we have to stop and take the batteries out until the air clears and we can hear ourselves think again. I'm enjoying one of those times in life at the moment also. The house is quiet, there's nothing going on, no noise, I'm here by myself and I'm reminded of the verse from Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."" That's the voice I want to hear!  

Friday, November 5, 2010


There are some experiences, some sights, some moments in life that are hard to forget. I had one of those this past summer at the Farmer's Market.
It was our first trip to the market and actually the only one of the summer. JC and I wandered through the rows of vendors and the crowds of people. It was a hot morning with the potential for rain. We made our way through the maze of produce stands, down the first row, rounding the corner and halfway up the second row. That's when I saw him. He was sitting on a short, wooden stool, among all the vendors, no canopy overhead for shelter or shade.
I'm not sure how many people really saw him. He was the sort of person we're tempted to look away from. He was the sort of man we tend to make assumptions about. He was the sort of person we want not to see but can't forget after a single glance. He was tall and thin. His skin was an unhealthy pale and he had long, white hair, falling past his shoulders. His face was gaunt and his eyes were intense. Carefully arranged on the ground in front of him, were various toys. A child's rake, the Fisher Price Chatty Phone and a few other items. I saw him but was careful not to make eye contact. I made assumptions, determining in my mind, what sort of man he must be. We didn't stop to talk to him or see what he had to offer. We kept walking.
Just as he had faded from the corner of my eye, not even a full booth away, I heard the music start and knew it was coming from him. With his toys, he created music and with his raspy, scarred voice, he sang. He sang a song I'd known for a long time, I song I didn't expect to hear. These are the words he sang:
          "All creatures of our God and King,
            lift up your voices, let us sing:
            Alleluia, alleluia!
            Thou burning sun with golden beams,
            thou silver moon that gently gleams,
            O praise him, O praise him,
            Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

            Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
             ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
             O praise him, Alleluia!
             Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
             ye lights of evening, find a voice, 
             O praise him, O praise him,
             Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!"

As we walked on, the words followed me through the market, even when I could no longer hear the voice singing them. The image of the singer was etched in my mind. I saw him sitting there, alone, in a crowd but isolated. Isolated by people like me. I thought I saw a man who had lived a hard life and perhaps made choices that had been unkind to him. Maybe that was true, maybe he was what I thought, but he was also more than that. What I didn't see was a man in the presence of the King, one willing to lift up his voice and sing praises to his Creator in a crowd where no one acknowledged him, let alone joined him. What I failed most to see was a man created by God himself, the same God who  not only created me but gave everything for me.
The next morning at church, the first song we sang was "All Creatures of Our God and King." It had been a long time since we'd sung that hymn and we haven't sung it since. The significance wasn't wasted on me. It was a reminder for me. "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?" Malachi 2:10. Several months later, I still think of it, the song, the man.
           "Let all things their Creator bless,
            and worship him in humbleness,
            O praise him, Alleluia!
            Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
            and praise the Spirit, Three in One:
            O praise him, O praise him,
            Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!"

When I think of the man at the Farmer's Market and the whole experience. I'm reminded of a newer song, one by Brandon Heath.
           "Give me your eyes for just one second
             Give me your eyes so I can see
             Everything that I keep missing
             Give me your love for humanity
             Give me your arms for the broken hearted
             Ones that are far beyond my reach.
             Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
             Give me your eyes so I can see."

God, help me to see people the way you do, as your valued creation! God, forgive me when I fail. Forgive me for passing by without seeing. Lord, give me your eyes so I can see.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out of Ink

Somewhere along the road, I set down my pen and put away my paints and brushes. That's not the way it should be. I've been feeling half alive, half lost, half of myself. After a forest fire, out of the ashes, grows new life. Out of ink will come new ideas, new creativity. Its time to pick up the pen and brush again.

Here I go!