Monday, May 28, 2007


Check out the latest posts over at Danielle's blog. She's a little quiet but, otherwise, the consummate house guest and travel partner. I tried to get her to show me how she does those eyebrows but she remained quiet on that one as well. I suppose you can't give all of your secrets away. Cheers to Danielle! We miss you!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

....then Thanking

First of all...thank you. Thank you to all of you that kept us in your thoughts, that lit candles (at the church, in your hearts, and the designer, scented ones), that gave us words of encouragement, that prayed for us, hoped for us, that crossed your fingers (and toes), beat drums, chanted, and sent us good vibes and mojo. I truly think that all of these positive vibrations made a difference. And a big thank you to the people that believed in us....especially that small group of people, total strangers, that sat around a table and made the decision that Floyd and I were “the best” parents for her. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

(I can only hope you weren't imagining somebody's painfully tedious acceptance speech as you read this last bit...sorry)

So here’s the story...

Two weeks ago our agency’s waiting child list was scheduled to come out. Floyd and I had known this was coming for quite some time. We had talked about it quite a bit and we had “decided” (the quotation marks loosen the meaning a bit – you know?) that now was not a good time for us to seriously review the list. We had watched several lists come and go, but we had never been in the right place to consider the children or their special needs, mostly because of how the fire back home had completely disrupted our lives and had put question marks over many things. We weren’t sure of exactly when our house would be restored or when we might be moving home. Thankfully, we were able to resolve these things in the week or so following our “decision” and preceding the publishing of the list but, because of company and travel, we just never came back to it.

So, despite this “decision”, my face was pressed to the computer monitor the moment the waiting child list was posted. The list was posted at approximately 9:10am MST so it was probably about 4:11pm Ireland time when I saw her face. Her beautiful, precious, face, with the sparkling eyes and the skin that looked like it was lit from within. My heart began to race a little. I quickly read her translated file. “...she is introverted, reasonable, and quiet.” Reasonable? Oh I think so.

I had to leave immediately to go collect Floyd at work. I was tormented as I drove. We had made a “decision” and I wanted to honor that....but her eyes! I don’t want to make Floyd the heavy by not sticking to our “decision”...but she’s reasonable!

Floyd gets in the car and I’m still struggling. I keep my mouth shut but I’m a pretty emotional person and keeping something like this inside is just not part of my constitution. So I go with my gut....and I tell him what I’ve done. I don’t go into great detail...I just want him to know that I’ve fallen in love with a little girl and that I’m really torn up inside because of the “decision” that we made, and, and, and....And you know what? He’s fine with it. He understands and he says, “Great. I want to see her too.”

Which is unusual. Not because Floyd isn’t understanding or good or patient or anything like that. But Floyd is an engineer. Floyd questions things that many people wouldn’t consider questioning. Floyd considers most things...a lot. But he didn’t question this, which is unusual.

So we get home, make ourselves comfortable on the ratty, purple couch, we squish together, put the laptop on our laps....and we meet our daughter.

I gave no introduction, preferring to let her do all the talking. We stared, flipped through the few pictures, read through the brief file...there’s really not much to go on, you know? The whole meeting took about one minute. My heart was racing but I remained reserved. I already had my moment with her, so this moment was between them. Well I’m still not sure what she said to him, but it must’ve been brilliant. There were no questions, no discussion, no “what about...?. Amazing. It was as if we both knew that we would forever define our life by that moment...our life before that moment...and our life after. All he said was, “Let’s go get ‘er.”

So we did.

We learned the next day that there was more than one family that wanted to adopt her, therefore, each family was required to prepare a petition for her. The petition is intended to describe how this child has touched your hearts, how you are equipped to address her special need and why you are the best family for her. That is the only guidance you’re provided. It seems like a good process because it’s not a “first come, first served” situation, which would just be a crass free-for-all. Rather, it’s dependent upon an evaluation of which potential parents are best fit to care for that particular child and their special need. It’s mighty tough on the potential parents because you really have to put your hearts on the line for this child, knowing that you might not be selected, but when it’s done right, it’s really the best thing for the child.

To say that I took this effort seriously is a wee bit of an understatement. It was absolutely unbelievable to me that anybody else could have felt the way we did about her and yet I knew that, if we goofed up this petition, they could decide to select somebody else to adopt her. And that was just not acceptable to me. I felt, with all of my soul and all of my body, that this child was “our child” and it was impossible to remain reserved at this stage. I fought...hard. I wrote with every emotion pouring out of my fingertips. My previous post attests to what that writing experience was like. What those five days were like. Very intense and revealing. Floyd gave too. We gave everything we had and then some.

We wrote the bulk of the petition on Mother’s Day and, as I said in our cover letter, I prayed that it was just the first of a lifetime of Mother’s Days with this little girl in our life.

The petitions were due on Wednesday at 5pm MST. We submitted our 10-page novella on Tuesday morning because we wanted the review committee to have the opportunity to read every word of it. Every. Word. Because every word was from the depths of our being and the thought of somebody skimming these words made me want to wretch. Literally. Every word was chosen for her and every word should be honored as such. We just had to trust that they understood that and that they felt the same.

By Tuesday afternoon I had submitted an amendment to the petition because I realized there were a couple of items that we had not addressed in the first, and which may have been important to them. With our amendment they would either think 1) we weren’t together enough to get it right the first time, or 2) that we just wanted to be as thorough as possible and that we would always regret not sending in this last bit of information with the possibility that THIS was the information they really wanted to see. You know? There were no second chances here. This. Was. It.

Wednesday, 5PM MST is midnight in Ireland. Wednesday night we were restless. Actually, going out of our minds is probably a more apt description. We decided to play Scrabble to occupy ourselves. Scrabble with a twist. Every word played had to be used in a sentence about her. I found myself using words just because I wanted to use it in a sentence about her. Well here’s the picture of the Scrabble board...and us...for posterity’s sake. You’ll notice the words “praying”, "love", "wish", and even a part of her Chinese name (Floyd graciously didn't challenge that one)...not worth many Scrabble points, but totally worth it.

We had a very fitful rest that night. I hesitate to call it rest and it certainly wasn’t sleep. We both dreamt...dream after dream after dream...good news, bad news, wanting, crying, desperate.

We both opened our eyes at 7am. We were reluctant to get out of bed because we knew our fate would unfold as soon as we did, and, as desperately as we tried to be optimistic, we were terrified. Paralyzingly so (my heart stops beating at the remembering of how frightened we were). We talked a bit about how each of us was feeling, the dreams we had had through the night...then we resolutely got out of that bed. We had to remind ourselves that life would go on...that we would survive bad news just like we had survived everything else that we had been dealt. You have to. You just have to.

We sat together, holding each other, in front of the computer. We went to our e-mail and the words immediately popped out....”Very Exciting News for the M.. Family”...that’s all we needed to read. My screams of joy were primal. My tears, even right now, are from a place that is so deep. So instinctual.

The review committee chose us (us?!), out of 25 potential adoptive parents, as the best parents for her.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you....for our daughter.

We realize that we have a long way to go before we are granted the privilege of adopting this beautiful little girl. In this internet-world, we will refer to her as Thor, and in another post we’ll write a little more about her, where she comes from, her special need, etc. We’re still sensitive about photographs of her on the internet so it may be a while before we post those. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that her cuteness has the power to make old men weep. Her cuteness is mighty, it is omnipotent, it will consume you, and it will most likely prevent you from concentrating on other things. She’s just the cutest little God of Thunder you’ll ever see. Be warned.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Have you ever wanted something so bad that your whole body aches with the wanting? So bad that you feel compelled to lie on your back in the middle of a wet meadow and pray to the heavens for it? So bad that you’re washing the dishes and you just have to bend down and sob?

You ever felt that way?

And you feel like it’s in your control. There’s so much that you can do to make this one thing happen. And yet...there’s nothing.

Somebody told me recently that it was “in God’s hands now”. What if I don’t want it to be in God’s hands. Who’s this God and how did it get into his hands? Besides, that implies, once again, that we have nothing to do with it. Yet we have everything to do with it.

At least we think we do.

I certainly hope we do.

We have given everything we can. We have written down our hearts and we have double-checked the spelling and grammar. We have talked up the good stuff and we were honest about the bad stuff. I bled all over those pages. Trying with everything inside of me to splay our insides out.

Isn’t it funny to think that our words, just words, could be the keepers of our future. Who will read these words? What can we do to compel them to read them? I mean to REALLY read them. Nothing. But I try humor, honesty, appropriately placed exclamation points. Can I make them cry? Goodness no...they’ve read this all before. They’ve seen a million of us and they’ll see a million more. What can I write to make them see us as different? To make them see us as “the ones”, “the best”. The power and the futility of words.

Sometimes I think that if I can’t make this thing happen, this one thing, that I will never write again. I know this isn’t true, but it brings into question the worth of it. This writing. If you can’t persuade people with it, or bring to you "that thing that you’ve wanted more than anything in your whole entire life"...then why do it?

Drama, I know. But that’s what this desire thing has done to me. It’s driven me to drama. Overacted, bad drama.

And, man, you think this is bad. Just you wait. If I have to write about how we didn’t get “that thing that you’ve wanted more than anything in your whole entire life”, it’s gonna get mighty dramatic around here.

So, please pray with me (to whomever or whatever) that we get “that thing that you’ve wanted more than anything in your whole entire life”. If for no other reason than to spare the world another bad, drama blog.

I’m feeling very very protective of “that thing”. I’m afraid to put it out there. Maybe I’m feeling like I need to keep it close to my chest. Mine. My heart, my desire, my everything. Or maybe I’m feeling like I don’t want to lose “that thing that you’ve wanted more than anything in your entire life” in front of all of you. I don’t know what it is, but I’m scared to put it out there. My intentions are real. Let’s get that clear. My intentions are very real and I have put them out there...just not here. I’m not sure what this is. I think this is a main dish of “rambling” with a side of “cry for help”. Dig in.

The clock ticks. It’s time for me to go back and make some more changes to the words that control our future. Another tweak here, an exclamation point there. Maybe if we soften this phrase? Is this word to haughty? Oh fer fecks sake...

Thankfully, the deadline is approaching and I won’t have anymore opportunities to make changes. Is that when it’s in God’s hands? I don’t know about that, but that’s certainly when it’s in a bunch of strangers’ hands. Skimming, analyzing, looking for key words (should I have bolded key phrases?). Will they get my humor? Jaysus...nobody gets my humor! What was I thinking? But they will see the exclamation points (!). Yes...maybe that’s the secret weapon. The exclamation point. The cheerleader of my soul.

And maybe the next time I write I’ll get to tell you all about “that thing that you’ve wanted more than anything in your entire life”. I really really really really....hope so.

So if you’ve made it this far, and if your name is God, or even if your name isn’t God, light a candle for us. Then these words will have done some good. Thanks. (!)

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