Friday, May 17, 2013

In the beginning . . . the first few months!

Well - Anneliese turned 5. Cue animal party!! (because that's what we do.)

And Halloween . . . Yellow Duck, check - Hula Girls, check
(I don't think he's trying to kill them. Yet.)

And . . . First Dentist Visit. His teeth are shining with the stars!! 
(Oh, the accent!! Breaks my heart.)

Aaaaaand this is now my life:
Godfrey - "Mama. Is potatoes like Friday or Tuesday?"

"Mama. Is government in da trees or in da houses or in da clouds?" 
(question #18ish of 37!!! on the 8 minute drive to the Callahan's house.) 

oh my word. ALL. DAY. LONG. 

Life as 5

Now begins the process of catching up on the last 20 months. Because mama don't scrapbook. And this is as good as it's going to get for my kids. Hopefully I'll be bombarding you with snapshots of our life as 5 over the last year-ish. (In my head this sounds do-able. But lots of things sound do-able in my head, so let's not hold our breath.) But for today, here's a quick picture of where our family is now. This sweet story from our recent trip to D.C. sums it all up:

So, we decide to walk to the monuments with our dear friends the Crawfords on Tuesday night. (Don't ever walk to the monuments with 3 kids. Just don't.) It doesn't help that it's a balmy 26 degrees with gale force winds. Things start out OK. We make it to the Washington Monument - which is under construction, so . . . lame. Kate's throwing gang signs. You know - the normal stuff. (what?!!)

And then we start the REAL walk. Under normal circumstances, the walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial is about 3/4 of a mile. That night? With those kids? In that weather? It was about 17 miles. For real. Anneliese is getting teary because it's sooooo faaaar. And she's soooo coooold. (Anneliese is not one for extreme's. Of any kind. Let's keep it 72 and semi-cloudy folks.) Deacon comes dangerously close to face planting in the reflecting pool. EIGHT TIMES. And Kate? Who knows - she's WAY to old to walk with us. Because she's NINE.

We finally make it to the Lincoln Memorial. Almost. All we have to do is cross the street. That's IT!! (Blake has already laid down the law about not crossing the street until the light tells us to, so we're all waiting to cross.) But Anneliese starts asking questions. "Sooo, is this where he lived?" "No - it's just a statue because he was a really important President." And I see the tears. And at THAT moment, Ben Crawford sees a break in the traffic and starts running across. Without the light signal. Oh man. Do we stay? Do we go? Well, Kate goes. Because she's NINE, people! BUT, she trips. And lands right on her hands in the middle of the street - and now there's traffic. Because the LIGHT!!! It didn't tell us to go!! And she's crying, and Blake's mad (you know, the light.) - so I scoop her up and run. And now Anneliese is putting it all together and she is NOT happy. Because it's just a statue. That's it. Just a really big statue. And she is NOT impressed. And Deacon? Sweet oblivious boy. Well, he saw an American flag. So he stopped. Right there. On the edge of the street. With oncoming cars. And Pledged Allegiance to it. And as if on cue, my sweet Anneliese starts SOBBING. And in between the tears and the heaves -"You mean we walked all the way here . . . for THIS?!" God Bless America.

And welcome to the crazy.

Pretending like we love it. 


So that's what it's like to have (a) a boy, (b) 3 kids, (c) 1 1/2 years of adoption under your belt. This mess is not easy.

I remember going to a get-together for families who had adopted from Uganda shortly after we finished our home study. There were 2 families there who had just returned home from Uganda with their girls and they had this shell-shocked, glazed over look in their eyes and I just did. not. get. it. They had exactly what we were longing for - their kids at home - why weren't they just beaming?!

Oh, I so get it now. Because nobody tells you how hard this is going to be before you come home. Or maybe they do and it just flies right over your head because all you care about is getting over there. Either way - whew! So if YOU know anyone who recently come home with a new addition and you see the crazy in their eyes - send them my way. We can chat. :)

awwww . . . back when they all got along. that was a great 3 days. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

part 2. grace upon grace.

The first picture we saw of Godfrey.
(also know as the moment kate claimed him.)


The amount of paperwork required to adopt deserves its own post. And if you are going through the adoption process now, and you've just submitted your first round of paperwork, and you're thinking to yourself, "that was kind of a pain, but I really don't get what the big deal is." Heh. You will. And if you haven't developed a personal relationship with a notary yet, you may want to start working on that now.

Waiting. (also deserving of it's own post.) LOTS and lots of waiting.

While we were still waiting for approval from Good Shepherd's Fold to adopt, Gene and Loren (remember them?!) made a trip there to see how our church might be able to partner with them in the future. Obviously they were given orders to take as many pictures of the 1-3 year old boys as possible (because clearly this was all about us, right?!), and of course we stalked each and every picture wondering if "our" boy was in there somewhere.

Kate poured over the pictures and immediately announced that one particular boy was going to be her baby brother. We tried to tell her, "um, Kate, we don't get to pick. and he actually looks a little too old - so let's not get our hopes up." Have you ever tried to tell Kate anything? Forget it. She was sold. So for the next 5 months we tried to figure out how it was all going to go down once she realized that Godfrey was not, in fact, going to be her baby brother.

I think you see where this is going.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Godfrey, Godfrey, Godfrey. We don't get to pick. We don't get to pick. We don't get to pick.

We get the referral. aaaaaand, it's Godfrey. Kate's response? "I told you." I guess you did. And God's grace in showing us His hand in this adoption just slaps us in the face again. So I email our contact at Good Shepherd's Fold and share this story with them and this is what I get back:

Hi Blake and Angela, it has blessed our hearts to get your email and just see God's hand on our decision concerning your referral. I must share with you that we had actually picked initially another child for your family but the Lord very clearly moved our team from that child to Godfrey. He is so good and true to the fact that we make plans but He directs our steps.

Well Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Because we are crap. And God is so not. The story of Godfrey - Part 1.

(yes, i know this picture is kind of weird. i like it. leave me alone.)

This is as close to a scrapbook as my kids will ever get, so I realized that I really needed to write out the story of Godfrey before I forget all the details - which will happen about 5 seconds after he walks in the door. Because seriously? There is no easing in to a 4 1/2 year old boy.

So I think this all started with Kate. In Kindergarten. Who came home from school and said, "I think you should have a baby boy. A brown one." (and don't even go all p.c. on me. she was 5 and she knew her colors.) My response, "mama doesn't make them brown. aaaand we're pretty much done with babies." We blew it off, but the seed was planted and she wasn't backing down. Funny thing how the Holy Spirit can use a 5 year old girl to prepare you for something you never would have seen coming.

Fast forward about a yearish. Our church was going through the book of James. And there it was. James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

And it just sort of hit me like a truck. That pit-of-your-stomach, knock-your-breath-out realization that, crap - We totally have to do this. And not in a works-based, lose your salvation if you don't sort of way - but a you have totally been called to do this, so just try and stop it kind of way. So go. Do it.

Or, in our case, shuffle slowly towards something that might look like adoption in a few years. Talking about it in that well-meaning, "oh, we're really thinking about it" way, and just kind of pray that it fades away.

Well about 2 seconds after we mention it, along come Gene and Loren (yeah, I'm calling you out) - who met every one of our excuses with, "really?", "hmmmm", or "why?" - followed by dead silence and questioning glances. And suddenly all of our excuses were embarrassingly lame and shallow. Because WE are lame and shallow. But God is not.

(There are an abundance of ways to care for orphans, and that may not mean adoption for you. But it may. And if you have ever felt that tug to adopt - I'm sending Gene and Loren over.)

So August 1st 2010 we jumped in. With both feet. And submitted our application with Good Shepherd's Fold Orphanage in Uganda.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beach Trip 2011

God's timing is pretty great. And kind of funny all at the same time. When we didn't get a court date before the Ugandan courts took their summer break, we were told that it would be early December at the soonest for us to get into court. So, we decided that if we couldn't be in Africa, we'd take the next best thing (ok, really not even close. but cheap and do-able.) - Myrtle Beach!

A week before we left for the beach we got the call. Court date. Uganda. August 26th. So we packed. For the beach for a week. For Africa for a month. For a 4 year old boy we hadn't met yet. And we went to the beach for the last time as a family of 4. And it was perfect.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just last week . . .

I realized just how much I take for granted when the 9 year old boys were praising God for being alive in Sunday School.

I got to serve rice to about 150ish Ugandans (and a few Americans). Bowls full of rice. Plates full of rice. And I was just stop #2 on the buffet line.

I got to watch my husband make a name for himself with his African dance. (Video to come . . .)

I got to take a 4 year old boy to the mall and the grocery store for (I think) the first time.

I waited over 2 hours for that same little boy to be seen by the doctor. Even though we were the only ones in the waiting room. And, again, realize how much I take for granted.

I prayed more desparately than I ever have for about 5 minutes, and watched God answer that prayer immediately.

I ironed more than I have ever ironed in my entire life.

I met a young man from Rwanda whose parents were killed in the genocide, and who is flying to America on Tuesday. I would love to see his face when he gets there.

I met a precious left-handed 80something year old man who reminded me of my Grandaddy Bill and had a smile that looked familiar, too. I am humbled by his graciousness, and can never thank him enough for the gift he is giving our family.

I experienced Ugandan High Court for the first time. For about 30 minutes. And was told to come back in a week.

I finally got a good nights sleep.

I chased some monkeys.

I narrowly avoided death by motor vehicle approximately 63 times.

I fell in love with a country I'd never even thought about just 13 months ago.

I had the best pizza of my life. In Uganda. Go figure.