Santa Claus…

Have you heard the phrase “Don’t treat God like Santa Claus”?  It’s usually said when people only go to prayer when they need/want something.  I tend to use that phrase to mean: He will only be here once a year & give me one present…bringing the kids home; and let’s be honest “bringing the kids home” is a present that would cover the next 20 Christmases (kind of like the year I got Clyde the Wonderhorse).

I had a bit of a breakdown on Friday:

Next weekend we will get to meet the director of the orphanage where our kids are at!! We have a list of questions to ask her & also asked if she could bring some pictures of the kids with her.  Right now we have one picture of each child & we are desperate for more.  On Friday I got an email from our caseworker that said, “if we can get updated pictures for our dossier that maybe we could trade the director for pictures of the kids”.  The only problem is that we do not have updated pictures for our dossier.  Our family pictures are scheduled for two weeks after the director’s visit and I have been searching for furniture for the kid’s rooms & have had no luck so their rooms are still blank.  That email brought me to tears.

I felt alone (Tyler is out of town & we can only communicate once a day due to his location).  I felt like I am unfit to be a mother because I can’t even furnish my kid’s rooms & I have no family pictures.  I felt like a failure.  I was full or worry & doubt, which translates to me up at 2am unable to sleep.  So I talked to the only one who is always with me…

Dear God,

You are so good & so faithful.  Please help me find peace during this time.  I am leaning on you fully to bring the children home.  You have prepared a place in our hearts for them, please help me prepare a place in our home for them.  I hate to ask anything of you because you have already given us so much more than we deserve but please help me with our home.

Amen.

I prayed this at 2:15am.

At 2:23am dressers were posted on Craigslist.

The two dressers on the left are for the girl’s room. I found the dresser on the right a few days before & she’s headed for the living room for extra storage & to get the TV out of the reach of small hands.

On April 19th at 2:15pm beds were posted on Craigslist.

Antique iron beds, over 100yrs old, with the original castors on, head & footboards for the girl’s rooms. They are going to take some work restoring but will be worth it.  Also don’t worry about the boys we already had some amazing friends donate beds for them!

At 2:45am lockers were posted on Craigslist.

Lockers, we needed 3 & I had only been able to find pairs of 2 and all were out of our price range. 

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:5-7a, NIV).

 Husband has a job is what we wanted.  Husband’s job is supportive of our adoption, surrounds him with people of integrity that care about him…desire of my heart.

A child is what we wanted.  A family waiting for us in Colombia…desire of my heart.

Agency to help us adopt children is what we wanted.  Agency that is supportive, thoughtful, & has amazing employees that are so patient with emotional parents …desire of my heart.

The dressers & beds were what we wanted.  Beautiful detailed dressers, antique beds, & lockers…desires of my heart.

♦♦♦♦♦

Our friend’s daughter, who they adopted from Haiti, asked Jesus to come into her heart & she is going to be baptized.  This is what matters, this is the desire of my heart for my children’s lives.

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

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Home study…

Some great news…our home study is complete!  This brings us one step closer to being able to bring the kids home.

The home study was a little unnerving, not the actual home study, but definitely the weeks leading up to it.  You get in your head that a stranger is going to come into your home, critique you, and decide if you are worthy or not to have children.  When you are a person who has faced infertility this is extremely daunting (or at least it was for me) because you see this person as the last life line to having a family.

You clean your house.  You say a prayer over your dogs that they will be on their best behavior that day, get along with their siblings & not steal food from the case worker’s plate.  You remind your husband that this is not the time to tell the story of the time he roller-bladed behind a truck & he reminds you that whistling is not a talent that everyone needs/wants to hear.  Then you say a prayer over yourselves because at the end of the day it is all in God’s hands.

Needless to say the ordeal was painless, our case worker was delightful, asked great questions that we answered honestly, & gave us some great insight to think about before the kids come.  Pretty sure Tyler told his rollerblading story & I might have whistled while setting up lunch because it is our “home” study & in our home we have to be able to be ourselves.

All that being said…I want my kids to be themselves at home. Right now, even though we don’t “know” the kids (all we have is one picture & notes saved from a phone call back in February about them), I am trying to work on their rooms.  I am trying to find a balance between:

Perfection

& Reality

I want to add special details & family mementos, but allow them room to grow into the rooms & make them their own.  They will have to learn to share, but I want them to have a space that is their own.  Please be praying for thoughtfulness, creativity & consideration while we prepare spaces for them.  Please pray for competitiveness & jealousy to stay away.

“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.” ~Dorothy Parker

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Bingo…

A great weekend of celebrating.  First a friend’s birthday; here is the semi-homemade present:

Container Garden with corkscrew grass & peppermint, perfect for the kitchen. I added shells for her love of the beach.

Sweet homemade garden marker with a vintage spoon & scrapbook paper, sealed with this product for waterproofing.

 Also finished a baby shower present:

Sweet Baby Gap spring/summer dresses

Embellished with hand-stitched flowers

Fabric-flower frame with children’s book art

Fabric frame was made from scraps of dusty rose fabric & lace remnants

Baby button bouquet made in a vintage salt shaker

Then off to a wedding shower for a childhood friend.  It was wonderful, filled with Latin American culture & Spanish speakers; great practice for when the kids come home!  And I am proud to say that I understood most of what was being said (thank you Spanish class & online courses)!!  Forgot to take a picture of the shower present, I gave her a monogrammed apron with her new last name’s initial, and other kitchen accouterments.  But here are some lovely details from the party:

Me’me enjoying herself in a tiara 🙂

My mom got to practice her Spanish speaking tools too; proud to say they came back to her pretty quickly!

Some of the fun details

A great game of Bingo (also great Spanish vocab lesson)

El Ginególogo…the gynecologist…gave us all a good chuckle 🙂

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Smells like…

When I started dating my husband he drove this car:

He liked to go fast & I’m pretty sure he liked to impress the ladies 🙂

 When we got married he traded in his fancy fast car and we bought a Tacoma (for him) & a Matrix (for me)

This is on our honeymoon, I like to say that when he sold the Eclipse he traded up: a truck, a car & a wife.

The little red car has definitely been part of the family.  She has taken us to Colorado, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, Florida & all across the DFW metroplex.  We named her Rita (after Rita Hayworth, the redhead).  But as our life is changing it was time for a new vehicle, allow me to introduce you to the new car:

Her name is Ottobus, Otto for short.  We are looking forward to lots of adventures with Otto, camping trips, drives to far off lands (Pennsylvania & Georgia), and trying to keep her clean with five kids in tow.  Our first night out with her & we went around the neighborhood & filled her up with some friends just to try her out.

She works!

Don’t worry about the little red car we found her a new home.  One of the students in our life group class (aka. Sunday School Class) just turned 16 & her parents were looking for a car…God’s perfect timing!  I think they are going to get along great.  Rita was renamed Pumba, but I think it fits her perfectly…him perfectly.

The look of pure joy! 🙂

 At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Oh No(ah)…

Sometimes I feel like Noah.  Here is a guy commanded by God to build an ark in a world that had never seen rain.  We are a couple commanded to prepare for children into a household that has never had kids.

He built the ark in front of his friends, family & neighbors, he could not keep his work a secret; although when should God’s work ever be a secret?  We are preparing in front of our friends, family & neighbors: painting, learning Spanish, getting furniture, a deep freeze, collecting clothing sizes 2T-7 and kid-proofing everything!!  I wonder if Noah ever thought, “Maybe I heard wrong & God said I am going to send a spud & I should have been preparing with butter, bacon bits & chives?”

We have been in seven weeks of silence from Colombia.  The last information we got about the kids was that they would be staying in foster care until we were closer to having our paperwork completed.  Now don’t get me wrong this was good news it meant that the kids would get to stay in a family setting and their lives would not be disrupted but it also meant a very limited information about how they are doing.

But then we got a drop of rain…

Our adoption agency called and they were on a Skype date with the orphanage’s director when she said the director surprised her with this:

“I heard a loud commotion come into the room and suddenly I saw kid’s heads bobbing in and out of the screen.  They are your kids at the orphanage!  The oldest proudly stated his name and then proceeded to stick his tongue out at the camera and watch himself in the screen.  Big Sister lined everyone up with authority and kept them in line, all the while keeping her white bow perfectly in place.  The two middle brothers laughed and harassed their big sister by jumping in and out of the picture keeping her hands busy.  And baby girl slept in the director’s lap the whole time.”

They are LOUD, not shy, enthusiastic, brothers & sisters, and excited!!!

We are preparing for rain, in fact we are picking up our 12-passenger maroon ark tomorrow afternoon, but we know what comes at the end of a storm…

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Polish Coffee Cake…

My beautiful sister-in-law is having a baby girl this summer & tonight I am getting together with some fabulously creative women to plan a shower for her.  To help keep us all on track/to push the theme that I want, I made a Polish Coffee Cake.  This coffee cake is my favorite baked treat of all times.  My Me’me (mom’s mom) got the recipe from a lady named Mabel in Okinawa in 1964 when both of their husbands were serving in the Air Force.  I never met Mabel but I will ever be indebted to her for this amazing dish!

Here’s the team

A little background entertainment, great dancing & singing

Mix together 1/2 Cup of nuts (I used walnuts), 1/2 Cup cherries (about 10oz), 1/2 Cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon

Yummy, set this aside til the end (have a little taste if you must: you must)

Cream together 1 stick of butter, 1 Cup granulated sugar & 2 eggs

Mix together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp salt

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugar, butter & eggs and mix it up

When mixture is thoroughly incorporated add in 2 Cups of sour cream (16oz)

Poor in half of the mixture into a bundt pan

Sprinkle half of the cherry mixture on top of the batter

Pour on the other half of the batter

Sprinkle on the other half of the cherry mixture

Use a table knife and swirl it through the cherry mixture to create a marbling effect

Gorgeous & ready to go into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes

Toothpick comes out clean & she is ready to cool off for 10 min in the bundt pan

There you have it, sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want to but she totally doesn’t need it 🙂

Hoping someday my daughters will pass this onto their friends & family.

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Recipe: Polish Coffee Cake (Me’me by way of Mabel Craft-Okinawa 1964)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together & set aside:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cherries
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together:

  • 1 stick of softened margarine or butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs

Mix together:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together creamed ingredients and dry ingredients.  When thoroughly combined mix in 2 cups of sour cream (16oz).

Grease bundt pan, pour half the batter into the pan, and sprinkle half of the mixture over the batter.  Pour remainder of batter into pan and sprinkle mixture on top.  Use a table knife and swirl like a marble cake.  Bake at 350  degrees for 40 minutes.  When done, let it cool for about 10 minutes.  Loosen around the edges with a table knife and carefully remove and let cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Empty bedrooms…

After a delightful get-away to exotic Lubbock, where we experienced: tumbleweeds, jackrabbits, and a haboob (apparently not a real one but still exciting), we came back to adoption reality:

  • more paperwork
  • corrections on paperwork we thought was complete
  • limited information on the kids
  • losing our passports.  This one put us in a panic because losing these documents could literally add months to the adoption process.  Luckily after a sleepless night of worry and prayer the passports were found & now we check on them daily!
  • very empty bedrooms with no kids to fill them

By Saturday night fatigue and frustration had taken over my head.  Sometimes bringing the kids home feels like a dream and so far away; I feel lonely and compare my circumstances to others who seem to have it “easy”.

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Matthew 20:18-19

My God keeps His promises.  I am trying not to worry.  I am trying “to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).

Instead of grieving over two empty bedrooms we filled them with tables, chairs and spring decorations.  I baked a ham and made this cake.  We then invited 25 of our friends and family over to celebrate Easter.

In our search for contentment we found joy!

Some of the guys watching the rain, luckily we still had a stellar Easter-egg hunt inside

The ladies discussing how many times we have watched “The 10 Commandments” on TV

Ladies were also discussing how dreamy Charlton Heston was:)

At the dinnermesa,

Beth