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Friday, March 23, 2012

Soak it in

I rushed to the airport amidst tears and kissing hands and promises of skyping at bedtime. It is no small thing to leave two beloved (and heartbroken) girls at home to adopt little Levi. We talked about sacrifice in love, and how we all make sacrifices for the greater good of others in our lives and how this is a lesson we can hold onto when we feel sad and miss each other over the next 2 weeks. "But I just don't want you to go," are the wails that still ring in my ears. The ten-ager cried all day long yesterday, from what I'm told. Oh it wrings this mama's heart inside out. And did I really exhort her to consider the greater good? I did, but I also held her tight and whispered in her ear that nothing can separate us, really. Mama and I watched Oscar winning movies on the flight over the North Pole! Who knew that I would be relishing 14 hours on an airplane? After the mad packing mania of the night before, it was a wonderful respite. Except for the super creepy dude sitting behind us that kept offering inappropriate suggestions when I made my way to the restroom...like "need help finding the toilet seat?" Ummm. That is not a good pick-up line. It's just gross. And you really should think about getting rid of that mullet. We were driven to our hotel by a very brave soul on a very packed interstate with very nice cars. When I stepped out of the van and into the warmish Beijing night, I smelled China. I listened to all of the voices speaking in a musical different language, the birth language of my daughteres. I looked into what appeared to me to be hundreds of Chinese faces, the faces of my daughers. This is what I want to savor, to bask in, to relish--this being here in the culture that gave birth to the little girls and little boy that I love. I made a promise to myself that we would all come back, the 5 of us, on this journey so that they could know the feeling that I take for granted every day; that feeling of being one of many. I'm the outsider here in China, but their little faces and skin and bodies that God gave them would feel familiar at home here. So, at 5:18am Beijing time I am off for my morning yoga on my cute fold-up yoga mat with my favorite playlist on my wonderful i-phone that I do not take for granted. And then the breakfast buffet! And then a day of touring with my sweet Mama--Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, and more are on the list for today. The plan is to soak it all in! Bathe in the beauty! Savor!

Soak it in

I rushed to the airport amidst tears and kissing hands and promises of skyping at bedtime. It is no small thing to leave two beloved (and heartbroken) girls at home to adopt little Levi. We talked about sacrifice in love, and how we all make sacrifices for the greater good of others in our lives and how this is a lesson we can hold onto when we feel sad and miss each other over the next 2 weeks. "But I just don't want you to go," are the wails that still ring in my ears. The ten-ager cried all day long yesterday, from what I'm told. Oh it wrings this mama's heart inside out. And did I really exhort her to consider the greater good? I did, but I also held her tight and whispered in her ear that nothing can separate us, really. Mama and I watched Oscar winning movies on the flight over the North Pole! Who knew that I would be relishing 14 hours on an airplane? After the mad packing mania of the night before, it was a wonderful respite. Except for the super creepy dude sitting behind us that kept offering inappropriate suggestions when I made my way to the restroom...like "need help finding the toilet seat?" Ummm. That is not a good pick-up line. It's just gross. And you really should think about getting rid of that mullet. We were driven to our hotel by a very brave soul on a very packed interstate with very nice cars. When I stepped out of the van and into the warmish Beijing night, I smelled China. I listened to all of the voices speaking in a musical different language, the birth language of my daughteres. I looked into what appeared to me to be hundreds of Chinese faces, the faces of my daughers. This is what I want to savor, to bask in, to relish--this being here in the culture that gave birth to the little girls and little boy that I love. I made a promise to myself that we would all come back, the 5 of us, on this journey so that they could know the feeling that I take for granted every day; that feeling of being one of many. I'm the outsider here in China, but their little faces and skin and bodies that God gave them would feel familiar at home here. So, at 5:18am Beijing time I am off for my morning yoga on my cute fold-up yoga mat with my favorite playlist on my wonderful i-phone that I do not take for granted. And then the breakfast buffet! And then a day of touring with my sweet Mama--Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, and more are on the list for today. The plan is to soak it all in! Bathe in the beauty! Savor!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dreaming

I spent the weekend on the sidelines of a soccer field in beautiful 70 degree Maryland spring weather.  I watched a lithe 13 year old athletic girl sprint, kick, laugh, play, enjoy life.  I chatted with other adoptive mothers about the lives of our children and how differently they could have turned out.  Our three pairs of eyes filled with tears as we talked about the month one spent in Columbia to bring home her 11 year old son.  He has been with his forever family for 9 months and is a straight-A student (just learned English 9 months ago--woah!).  And we commiserated together as another shared her adopted from Russia daughter's painful growth plate injury and how it kept her away from soccer in the fall and how she is feeling so much better now.

I sat in the sunshine and remembered the adoption travel conference call that I listened to earlier this week.  Our amazing adoption agency's founder, Josh with CCAI, reminded us that without action these waiting children (like our Levi) would live out their lives in an orphanage, with no treatment, no education, no real hope.  His cleft palate would likely remain untreated and he would be the equivalent of an "untouchable" in China.

So that's why I weep sometimes at my kids' birthday party celebrations.  It's the idea of what could have been and what isn't, not because of us but because God moved something in our hearts and gave us children in a way we would never have imagined.

Adoption is a gracious gift that extends in both directions...into their lives and hearts and into ours.  But I submit that the greatest blessing is this mama's life, sitting on a comfy couch surrounded by two beautiful black-haired, brown-eyed Asian beauties; and dreaming of the rambunctious, rowdy Asian boy that is coming our way.  xxxooo


Monday, March 12, 2012

Here we go...

The 10 day count down is on.  This blog is, let me lovingly warn you, going to be neglected until we get to China.  I am going off the grid to prepare for the trip.  No time for reflection--I just have to get 'er done.

Here's what I'm doing:  going to Target, taking care of a sick kiddo, preparing and freezing meals for the family, packing, back to Target, Bible study with my best girls, soccer tournament over the weekend, probably Target again, showing my mother-in-law the ropes, carpooling, finalizing packing, getting kids to birthday parties, homeschooling, taking it all in, loving every minute.  Must admit that I do have dreams of a pedicure somewhere about next Monday-ish.

So, y'all come back and read because in just a little while there are going to be some a-maz-ing stories to share.

It lights me up to think that Geng Hui Levi Melton somewhere across the world from us has absolutely no idea that we are getting ready to hold him close, love him dearly, treasure him forever.  Miss you baby boy.  Mommy's coming soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

T-minus 2 weeks

So, a different style of blogging today to fit our current lifestyle:  lists!

Wonderful mother-in-law being dropped off by even more wonderful sister-in-law on St. Patrick's Day; this means that the home-schooled children stay in school while mom is away.  And that the husband can go to work.  And that life stays somewhat normal.  So grateful for my family-by-grace-that-I-married-into.

Airfare purchased; agenda in-China being finalized.  I have a generous and gracious Mama and Daddy who 1) travel with me, Mama; and 2) give the gift of travel, Daddy.  Grateful for my parents-who-love-God-and-share-His-goodness-with me.

Packing started; well, if a big huge pile in the middle of the nursery counts and yes it's a run on sentence because that's exactly how packing feels to me.  

Village enlisted; soccer carpools offered (and accepted, thank you Karlyn and Jean-Anne).  And a "just  tell me what you need me to do" Dana coming to our house on Monday.   Looking for a ride to the airport on 3/22, pick me up at 9:30?  I wish I were kidding, but I'm not.  

Gifts received; I am so not good at receiving.  Why do I feel guilty when people are really, really nice?  I am learning how to say thank you and just trust that you the giver know how much I mean it.  

Easter dresses for the big girls purchased.  I'm making surprise bags for them for each day that I will be gone.  For me or for them?  Both really!!

I-pad 3 for the trip???  Yeah, that's what he said.  Not happening.  Darn!

In the midst of my frantic, frenzied mind, I breathe and remember that it's not about the stuff or the lists or the to-do's.  It's about the baby.  

It's 11:49am in China right now.  I bet you are getting ready to have lunch, Geng Hui to be named Levi.  Eat up, son!  You will need your strength!  Mimi and I have big plans for you...I've got a backpack with your name all over it.  




Friday, March 2, 2012

So this is fasting


I visited with a dear friend last week, when I invited myself to her house for dinner-- and I adore that we have "that" kind of friendship.  We talked about Lent, and I questioned her, “Did you give up anything this year?” “Sweets,” was her short reply.  Uggh, I thought.  Out loud I guiltily lamented, “I didn’t.”  I’m not sure why I even started the conversation because I am not big on ritual for the sake of ritual.  I’m big on ritual if it gets you somewhere closer to Christ, which it does for many.  Anyway, here’s what my wise and precious friend Ginger said.  “You are so fasting.  You’re fasting from your baby.” 

And here we are, at this sweet spot in international adoption…the place between knowing and being known.  I want to live in this moment, to savor it, take it all in; and I want to get our little boy home as quickly as I can.

I wake every night, usually around 4:30am.  My mind races to Levi, what he might be doing at this time.  I picture his face and try really hard to trust that he is being cared for and loved and fed the way that I think he should be (did I tell you he has rickets?).  Do I really believe that our God is big enough to care for a son on the other side of the world? 

I long to race to an airplane and be by his side, and I can’t stand the thought of leaving my daughters and beloved husband to bring him home.  I feel torn.  

Wes King wrote a beautiful song that spoke to me in the early years of infertility, oh so long ago.  I was a young bride and dreamed of being a young mother.  Ha!  I laugh at my youthful dreams: young meant 23; now it means 41.  But, I digress.  The song beautifully says, “We thought you’d be here by now, your mother and I…I never knew that I could miss someone I never met, miss someone I haven’t met yet.’’


How can we miss someone we haven’t met yet?  I don’t really know how, but I know that we do.  Our family of four-about-to-be-five misses him.  We long to wrap our arms around him.  We can’t wait to make him laugh and read to him and hear his first words to us.
 
And I know that this is truly Lent.  It’s the absence and the promise, the knowledge that somewhere deep inside God misses us.  That in the living and dying and living again of Christ, God is with us.  It’s about relationship and being connected to our Creator and knowing that this God who is so much beyond our comprehension draws near to us in Jesus.  So however Lent makes itself known to us this season, may we know that in this time when Jesus set his face to the cross and drew near to suffering that God was and is reaching out to us. He longs for you.  He can’t wait to be with you.  He misses you.