The Fingerprint Blessing

Thursday, April 26, 2007

One of the steps for adoption is fingerprinting @ the immigration office in Atlanta. We received an appointment when Scott was to be out of town, so we had to request another one through snail mail.... After about a week, we received our new appointment, and went yesterday. Our time was 1:00, so I picked Scott up at work and we drove down. We were there about 12:30 and got in line. When we got to the front, the officer very politely asked us to move to the side, and he would talk with us in a short while. We waited probably for about 15 minutes. We both stood there wondering what in the world could be happening. The officer finally came over to inform us that appointments for that day had been overbooked. They only take 20 per day, and they made quota around 10:00am. He had been sending people downtown all day to complain about this matter. He told us the best thing for us to do was to go downtown, make a complaint, wait for another appointment via snail mail, or MAYBE they might send us back where we were. I was floored.... All I could say was, "I don't really understand." He continued to try and explain but of course it was not registering. Here we were: Scott taking off work during the busiest time of the quarter, EllaKate needing a nap, and me about to have a major breakdown. We were actually walking away, when a very tall officer came to tell the other officer they were indeed accepting appointments again. I looked up @ the sky and said, "Thank You Jesus!!!" We walked in and were out in about 30 minutes. As we were walking out, with our precious little girl from China, all the people that had been sent downtown to complain were coming in... Needless to say, they probably wondered how in the world we made it in and they didn't. All I know is that I am so thankful to have the prints completed and now we wait for our most important document: I-797. When we have it, we can authenticate and send everything to Colorado and then to CHINA!!!As a believer, we know what a miracle it is that God created everyone on this earth with absolutely different fingerprints. I wonder if the people in immigration realize the miracle after miracle they witness everyday. Thank You Jesus for the grace You continually pour out on each of every day!!!

What Could Be Better Thank Being a Mom?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Being a Mom
Anna Quindlen

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief.

I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh Until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, and then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along; you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I temember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged?

Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons... What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.

It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were....

EK's 2nd Birthday

Friday, April 6, 2007

We enjoyed a great Saturday for EllaKate's 2nd birthday. We had a cookout and party @ Mama's. We grilled beef, chicken, and hotdogs plus all the fixings. After everyone ate, we took the kids out for an egg hunt. EllaKate's friend Madelyn came and they had so much fun looking for eggs. Lots of cousins were there as well. We had cake and opened presents after the hunt. The big kids had a fun day of four wheeling and golf cart riding. It was the perfect Spring day!!!

Spring Break

Sunday, April 1, 2007

You may be asking, "Where in the world have you all been?" Well, our family knows we have been in Hartwell for Spring Break. We headed up Sunday afternoon and only came home for First Friday and went right back. What a wonderful week!!! I will be writing about our week for the next few days. Our main focus for the week was working on our house. Jeff came up and helped put in our last part of counter tops. The kitchen looks great. We really enjoyed living in our house this past week and using the kitchen. The only luxury we were missing was a refrigerator, but our cooler did the trick!
Working on the Cabinets...
Having a picnic out on the big granite table...