Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011!

It's been a beautiful, calm year...filled with waiting and hoping and watching and growing and learning. It's hard to believe that it's over already, but we are looking forward to what 2012 will bring too. Regardless of the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, we know that God is faithful, and we can't wait to see what He will teach us in the days ahead!

Our December numbers were #31 for a girl and #22 for a boy. This year we have moved 53 spots on the girl's list and 40 spots on the boy's list. Last week we came so close to getting a referral: the family directly behind us on the waitlist saw their little girl's face for the first time. They turned in their dossier two days after we did, and we had exactly the same age parameters. So why did they get the referral instead of us, you ask? Well, there are a couple of answers to that question. First, their new daughter is somewhere between the age of 4 & 5...they don't know an exact birthdate. We can't actually go all the way up to our highest possible age of 59 months yet, since Yikealo is only 5 and a half, and there must be at least 10 months of age between him and his new sibling. Our agency didn't want to take a chance that this little girl might be too close to Y's age, and therefore the next family was called. However, I personally believe this far simpler and yet more profound answer: she wasn't "ours." She is not who God has planned for us, and she needed someone else. We are confident that God knows His plans for all of us, and we rest in that knowledge. His timing will be matter how long that takes.

To our future child: we love you, we miss you, and we can't wait until the day when we can finally see your face. Until then, we will continue to pray that God will hold you in the palm of His mighty, loving hand. Maybe 2012 will be the year...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Sister, My Friend

"One's sister is part of one's essential self, an eternal presence of one's heart, soul and memory." Susan Cabill
One of the greatest blessings of our second adoption journey has been sharing the experience with one of my very favorite people in the world: my little sister. I cannot begin to catalog the number of hours that we have spent on the phone over the last two years - comparing notes, asking questions, excitedly talking about which family just got their referral on our agency's waitlist. It has definitely strengthened what was already a powerful bond forged through our childhood.

Erica was born when I was 18 months old, and apparently, I wasn't too keen on the new intruder at first! I'm told that I attempted to bite her nose off at one point, although I do not remember any such behavior at all. From my earliest memories though, Erica was always there - someone to play with, share a room with, and most importantly to boss around! She put up with a lot from me, and we have some old recordings to prove it. We shared our clothes and our toys, read books out loud together for hours on end, and made up lots of silly games. We've had many of the same interests and hobbies for as far back as I can remember, and there is a very goofy side to our personalities that you probably won't see unless you happen to be around us when we're together.

Erica lived with David and me for a year and a half while she was in college, and I loved having her close. We live 3 hours away from my family, and it was so special to have one of them near for a time. I have loved watching her mature into a Godly wife and mother over the last 12 years, and it is amazing to be sharing with her the beauty and the pain of being an adoptive mother. It has been incredibly affirming to see God speak to her in much the same way that He has spoken to me, and I have watched in awe at the way that she has changed and grown spiritually during her adoption journey of the last two years. It is such a blessing to be able to ask her questions about the adoption process and to know that she'll have the answers, to have the shared experience of visiting Ethiopia, and to talk to her about what I'm feeling in regards to Y's birthmom and to KNOW that she understands perfectly.

Today, I want to wish her a very happy 35th Birthday! Erica, I can't begin to tell you what an encouragement you are. You are one of God's greatest gifts in my life, and I can't wait to see how He leads your life through this next year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

All About Me (as told by Mr. Y)

We've been making a book about Yikealo as part of his Language Arts class. One day he was supposed to tell me all about himself. This is what he said:
  • I like being with my Mom and Dad.
  • I like to wear costumes.
  • I like to chase the kitties.
  • I like to play with toys.
  • My name is Yikealo, and it means "God is able."
  • I do not like being sick.
  • My favorite food is macaroni & cheese and pizza.
  • My favorite colors are blue, lava color, and fire color. 
  • I like getting surprises.
  • I am five years old.
Then he was supposed to draw a picture of his family. Here we are, in all of our glory.
 (Why do I look like some sort of horrific alien centipede anyway?)

When asked to say one sentence about the other members in his family, he responded,  "My Dad likes to sleep a lot and play a lot with me. My Mom is always excited about how good her little boy is being." Hmmm...he was certainly accurate about his Daddy, but not so much about his Mama!

On another day, I prompted him with sentence starters, and this is how he answered:
  • If I had 3 wishes I would wish for a brother or sister, I would wish for more time to play with Dad and Mom, and I would wish to go to Disney World with my family.
  • The most fun I ever had was getting wet at "Neraggrer Falls!"
  • My favorite meal is spaghetti and Gogurts. (Not sure why his favorite foods aren't part of his favorite meal, but hey, I guess you're allowed to change your mind when you're 5!)
  • One thing I do well is learning to read.
  • One thing I want to get better at is counting.
  • It makes me angry when Quinn hits me.  (Suz, he DID have to think long and hard about this one!)
  • Something I would like to see is a lion that can talk and spit fire. (?!)
  • The happiest day of my life is when Dad doesn't have to go to work. (Awwww!)
On another day, we were supposed to read the old days-of-the-week poem and discuss how it related to Yikealo.
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day,
Is blythe and bonny and good and gay.

Of course, we do not know the day of the week on which Yikealo was born, so we just had a fun discussion about which of the attributes fit him the best.

Y: "I think that Wednesday might be right because I was sad when I was a little boy and didn't have a dad. Then, after you adopted me, I was sad when Daddy had to go to work."
Me: "Are you sad now?"
Y: "No."
Me: "So which other day might be a good choice?"
Y: "Thursday, because I had to travel all the way around the earth to get here!"
Me: "You're right...that is a good one. Any others?"
Y: "Well, you said that I'm giving, and I like to share sometimes, so maybe Friday?"
Me: "I do think that Friday would be an excellent choice for you, because you are one of the most loving people that I know, and you do share very well most of the time."

I love learning more about how my little guy sees himself, and I love that so much of his identity is wrapped up in having a family.