Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {the tradeoff}

How badly do I want her to eat her soup?  Do I insist on trying to feed her, knowing she'll resist me with all her twenty-month-old might?  Or do I let her feed herself, knowing what kind of mess might ensue?
You can see which one I chose.  Is it "giving up" or "excellent parenting"?  You decide.
Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I800 approval

I'm refraining from adding exclamation points to the title of every post. But I'll do it here: we got I800 approval today!!! I read a few hours ago on one of my adoption forums that someone who sent her application the same day as we did got her approval today. So I sent a quick email to our immigration officer to inquire, not expecting to hear back within the hour that we are approved! (A reminder: U.S. immigration has approved us to adopt this specific child.) We're coming, baby!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {my firstborn}

I gave my little buddy a haircut today.  And his eyes, blue like the springtime sky, suddenly captivated me.  So handsome!  I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my firstborn son.

This is the kid I wrote about here, with his tender heart for adoption and eager anticipation for meeting his new brother.  He delights me daily with his clever mind, his creativity, and his child-like, yet somehow profound, understanding of spiritual things.  He wrote this an hour ago:
"Do you ever feel like God isn't protecting you?  If you do, your [sic] wrong.  If you don't, your [sic] right.  God is always with everybody at once.  I know it seems impossible, but nothing is impossible for God.  He is always with you."
Wow.  Did I mention he's six?

Last night, he patiently endured several middle-of-the-night vomiting episodes.  Little sister, with whom he shares a room, was sick.  Strip the bedding, scrub the carpet, requiring a bath sick.  My son just ducked his head under the covers and tried to sleep.  Later when he realized clean-up would take us a while, he pulled out his Curious George story collection and read contentedly in his top bunk. 

So I'm giving thanks today and doting a bit on my firstborn.  He's made it so easy to say yes to more kiddos.

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On Being the Dear Husband, Part 2

Part 2, guest post by Vince

I mentioned in Part 1 that Jerusha knew when it was time to adopt. Having heard nothing myself, I had to trust that she was hearing clearly. Somewhere I got the idea that when it comes to big decisions, God speaks to both spouses so they’ll be in agreement, and then it’s simply a matter of obeying. Not so much.

It makes sense. In speaking to just one person, he calls the other to exercise faith, trust, and love. I’ve often had the role of getting the direction, and my wife has faithfully followed my lead, even when she wasn’t entirely comfortable with the decision.

Now it was my turn to be the follower. Not so easy. I now have some idea how Joseph must have felt when the angel finally filled him in on the divine plan. “Oh, I see, immaculate conception. You know, it would have been nice to know about this before my fiancĂ©e got pregnant. And why am I the last to know about this? I am the man, after all—priest of the home and such—isn’t the idea that God speaks to me, and I pass this along to the wife and kids?” (By the way, I can’t find the “priest of the home” business in the Bible. Don’t tell my wife—I wouldn’t want her thinking she has direct access to God. I like to feel needed.)

But my wife was pregnant with the purpose of God, as they say. Changing metaphors, she had the locomotive started, and I realized very quickly that the train was leaving with or without me. A note to the DHs out there: Do not try to stop this train. This train will run over you. It is impervious to your well-reasoned arguments for delay. You might as well try stopping a woman in labor—because that is exactly what the adoptive mother-to-be is.

It’s nice on board the train. I’ve wished at times it would slow down a bit—why does every hurdle in the adoption process have to be jumped at the earliest possible moment? (Answer: So the documents obtained in the beginning of the process don’t expire before the end of the process. Who knew this was so complicated?) But I like the company, and I know the destination will make even the agonizing parts of the journey (and there have been a few) worthwhile.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On being the Dear Husband, Part 1

Remember when I said my husband "occasionally has a few things to say"?  I just had to get him in the blogging mood.  And now. . . a guest post by Vince. 

Some of the dear wives (DWs) may be wondering what it’s like to be the dear husband (DH) during the family’s first adoption journey. We DHs don’t always do well in communicating our feelings, perhaps in part because we hardly understand them ourselves much of the time. But my lovely wife thought it might be good for me to share some of my experiences, as it might shed some light on the inscrutable creature that is the first-time adoptive father-to-be.

I knew we were called to adopt. What threw me was the timing God had in mind, and his decision to share this with Jerusha and not me. Or, more accurately, this is what threw me first. 

I had resigned from my job and had just returned from my final business trip. Jerusha and I were having dinner at Panera Bread when she told me she thought we should start the adoption process. We’d been talking about adoption for months, and she had the look and sound of someone who’s heard from God, so without giving much thought to the implications of my answer, I agreed.

Then I compared the cost of adopting to my annual salary. And we realized we would need a vehicle for six. The plan had been to move into a bigger house soon, to make room for the adoptees-to-be; now our only discussion with a banker would be about a home equity loan. And making this enormously expensive commitment and prospect of further indebtedness even less appealing, I was very concerned that I wouldn’t like my new job.

There’s a line between worrying about one’s financial future and contemplating it for the purpose of wise planning. It’s not a fine line, really, but I’m sure I spend too much time on the wrong side of it. Sometimes I feel torn between competing claims of wisdom. We should get completely out of debt. I should start saving for retirement. We should have 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in savings in case I lose my job as the economic crisis worsens. We should be more generous. We should adopt a herd of kids. And we should believe God for a bigger house so all these kids won’t feel like sardines. 

As a child of the richest person in the universe, I have no reason to worry. But I have to make non-trivial decisions about what to do with a finite paycheck, and I feel doubtful sometimes about my ability to do this well. My wife doesn’t give much thought to the responsibility and pressures of being a husband and father, and I don’t want her to—she has responsibilities and pressures of her own. But I feel better knowing that she understands that I bring a different perspective and context to my thoughts about adoption.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

We got it!

LOA = China has officially approved us to adopt, specifically, Jiushu!  With so much approving going on, you'd think we'd be feeling pretty good about ourselves by this point.  I was told by our agency that we should travel in three months.  That means early June, if all goes well.  Next step, another application to immigration seeking. . . you guessed it. . . more approval.