Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A "Thank You" to my Grandma

This morning my Grandma Borth passed away at the age of ninety four. I have not seen her in quite a while. Over the years, life has seemed to fill up, and I have not been great at keeping in touch. She was a stickler for "Thank You's." And I am awful at them. I am pretty sure I owe her quite a few. So, I thought I would write this "Thank you" to my grandma.

Dear Grandma,

I want to say "Thank You!" Thank you for being a woman who was not afraid to live life. You have always been larger than life to me. When I think of you, I think of stories that come with bragging rights because, Grandma, you lived a life worth telling.

Thank you for memories that define a bit of my childhood. I remember the smell of your house and eating zucchini bread covered in butter at your table in front of the window. I remember you telling me that the man praying over his bread, that appears in just about every house in America, was one of your neighbors. I remember the sign in your bathroom that says you will charge more for unused bath water. I remember your hands, red and raw from working so hard, doing dishes or cleaning.

Grandma, you often would remark how you had to take care of "old" people; they needed your help. You were around eighty yourself, but would never consider yourself old.

I have this memory of you telling me how you installed a toilet in your basement. You had rented a dumpster, cleared out your basement, and installed the thing yourself - a toilet. Even as I write it, it seems unreal. You were probably in your seventies at the time, and I could not imagine doing it at any age myself. You said you were tired of guests having to wait to use the bathroom, but, I suspect, maybe you were tired of waiting for guests to get out of the bathroom.

You passed away this morning. No one was expecting it, it seems. Apparently you had just gotten up to use the washroom. After lying back down, someone came to check on you, and you had passed away, just like that. And it seems like you, Grandma, to do things the practical way, without much fuss and taking care of things that needed doing before you went on.

Grandma, you always spoke your mind. You were a hard worker and a blessing to many who knew you.

So, thank you, Grandma, for the memories you have left in my life. You have touched many lives and will be missed.

Your Grandaughter

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Friday Update

A Friday update....

Somehow life has taken over my hours, in a good way. I have been busier than I could imagine being the past two weeks.
Anya and Karis have decided to join swim team. I had told them we were waiting a year before doing any extras, but we have been here almost a year, and it is an insanely good "deal" for a sport, so I have caved. However, during try outs, they were placed in different classes, which meant a week of two hours of swim team practice, four days a week, squeeze in horseback riding, finishing up our homeschool co-op and Bible Study, and my moments of rest were far between.

Add in there, we have started the homestudy phase of the adoption. A homestudy consists of first papers upon papers. Nathan and I each had to answer twenty one pages of information on ourselves and our families. It is incredibly personal, the result was over thirty pages of answers each that covered both of our lives and histories. This along with fingerprints and background checks and pictures of our house and family make up this gigantic file that the social worker reviews. The social worker then meets with the us over four meetings, one as a couple, one with me, one with Nathan and one to see our home. The meetings cover anywhere from two to four weeks and then we wait as they write the report. I had my second meeting with our caseworker yesterday, so we are half way there. It was my individual meeting and I left thinking, this woman knows more about me than just about anyone in the world. What an incredibly invasive process, although I kept thinking in actual birth, the checkups and doctors appointments get quite invasive in other ways. And it is all worth it, for these children. Our last two homestudies are next week.

This week after a crazy last I thought would calm down, swim team had a week off before actual practice started, the co-op was done and kids were fighting colds, so I stayed home from the nursing home visit our Bible Study was doing with the littlest ones. But things kept busy. There was a parent meeting for swim team and a book club I am starting with some other ladies, and I had to finish the book and clean my house somewhat since they were coming over, and there is a race I am training for this weekend, a half- marathon in Oklahoma City. The race is a memorial for the Oklahoma City Bombing that happened eighteen years ago. And it seems appropriate to be run after what happened in Boston less than two weeks ago. I am excited to be running with friends, and to be racing after years of not being able to.

We are also getting ready to be featured on a blog as the family of the week. It is this incredibly great idea. Give1save1 is a blog that features five parts of the world, domestic, Caribbean, Africa, Europe and China. They feature a different family each week and ask you to give a dollar. Just a dollar, but if a few thousand people decided I can give a dollar, it makes a HUGE difference. If a few thousand people said, each week I am going to give $5, one to each family, each week, that is $20 a month, a few thousand people giving $20 a month, can make a difference in adoption. It is a brilliant idea, and we are excited to be part of it. I will be writing more about it in the next week, but the week of May 6th is the week we are being featured for Europe, so we need a family video. And we are working on a family video.

Nathan is in his final week of teaching before finals start next week. Then he is teaching May term. And if you have not heard he is making a film this summer, "Killing Poe." So most of his free time is spent story boarding and fundraising. Here is a link if anyone has missed it.

Life has been full, but oh so good. I cannot tell you how much I have to be thankful for, I feel so blessed, especially on the days I am tired because those are the days I know I spent my time, not wasted it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Answering some "why's"

There are two questions we have been asked most frequently since we started this adoption journey. The first is more of a statement, that I take as a question,
"Well, there are so many kids in need right here and it is much more affordable, so if we decide to adopt, we will probably do it through the foster system."
I get this statement, because I have said it to many people before. I never in a million years thought we would adopt from overseas, if anything because of the cost of adopting from another country. And because I know, there are kids right here that need homes. I cannot explain then why Hamilton, why this little boy. But what I can say, is if you have ever had a moment when God is working, and you have to obey, then that is what this is.
Over and over, I have heard God say in His quiet voice,
 "This is my child! He is MINE, he is precious, and I love him, and I am doing this." "This has nothing to do with you, I am going to do this, but I want you to do this with me." "Get on your knees and trust me, because this ONE is mine."
It is not about me.
It is not about my family.
This is about a little boy, that God loves, that this world could so easily forget because he is one of so many. It brings tears to my eyes, every time I think of how great His love is.
God cares for this little boy, He cares for all these kids waiting for homes, waiting for families, He is close to the brokenhearted. And He loves Hamilton.
It has been the reason I have not worried, when the money kind of stalls, because every time we have needed it, God has provided above and beyond.
This is His thing, not mine.

The other question,
"What are his special needs? Really? And you are okay with that? That maybe you will have to care for him for the rest of his life?"
Again, I totally get this question, and five years ago maybe I would have said no way. I have already committed my life to raising these blessings God has given me, and even made this crazy decision to homeschool them, but when they move out, I will finally have freedom!
But then I realized that my life is not any greater than this little boys, then any of these little children that did not choose a disability for life. I realize that I could have given birth to a child with any special need, and I would have never said, no, I do not want them, I may not want the disability or the difficulty but I would always want them. My life is not greater than his.
And this world is short, there is so much to look forward to beyond this life, this time here, now, it will be like a moment in my time of times, so if Hamilton needs a mom and dad to take care of him for the rest of his life, then it is what we do. I am sure it will be hard, but keeping my eyes set on eternity makes it doable, I think.

So, for everyone with those questions that is my "why" My why him, and why a child with special needs. I do not live in a dream world that this will be some amazing thing, but I do believe that this is a God thing and that this boy is His, that God has a plan for Hamilton, and if we can be part of that we are going to do it.