Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas!! A blog-tastic holiday card!


Initially I was going to write a Christmas letter and include it in our Christmas cards.  And then I realized, I write about our lives regularly in our blog so to sum it all up in one succinct letter seemed silly. Instead, we thought it would be easier to have everyone visit our blog for our Christmas card post.  And here it is!!

Last year at this time we were preparing for Justin’s graduation with his Masters in English Education and it was also Jack’s first Christmas!  This last year has been an amazing time for Justin in his first year of teaching.  After graduating, he took the spring semester to cover two different long term substitute positions at local high schools.  For the fall he was offered a position in Norfolk teaching eighth grade reading.  While it has been a challenge, he knows he is right where he’s supposed to be. 

As for me, I am still working with the same company in the same office but have put my advanced degree on hold for now.  I miss my boys so much while I am at work that anything else that tugs at my heart just cannot seem to compete for my time right now.  

Having Jack in our family has made for an awesome year.  Watching him grow and change and learn everyday is such a treat.  He brings such joy to our lives and we cannot imagine life without him.  He is truly a boy’s boy and loves to throw the ball, play outside, and run his cars and trucks around the house.  He is also very kindhearted and is tender with his baby dolls and stuffed animals.  What would bedtime be without the slew of animals and blankies in the crib?  Jack has the amazing privilege of being cared for by his papa (Amanda’s dad) and his Ho-Ho (Justin’s dad) while mom and dad are at work.  We have been blessed by support from our families and it puts us at ease knowing Jack is in great hands with family!

As you all know by now, we are on the waiting list for our adoption process and hope that 2013 will be the year we bring home our baby boy from Uganda!  The waiting has been very difficult and with the uncertainty in the country it seems our timeline continues to get pushed back every few months.  The wait time when we started was 6-8 months after immigration approval but now it is up to 12-15 months.  As we received immigration approval in April, 2012, we hope and pray we will receive a referral in the spring which would most likely have us traveling in the summer.  We encourage you to follow our blog (click the “Join This Site” link in the panel on the right) to receive a notification when we make any updates or post blog entries.

I cannot talk about our adoption without speaking to how we have been blessed in the support raising.  We have had so many of you give your time and talents to help us raise funds and we are getting closer and closer to our goal to raise half of our total needed funds for this process which equates to approximately $15,000!  We see this as further affirmation that we are following God’s calling to adopt a little boy from Uganda and cannot thank you enough for supporting us!  You are amazing!!

Barring any unforeseen circumstances (like we somehow miraculously get a referral in the next two weeks) this will be the last blog post of the year.  We are very much looking forward to spending some quality time together as a family and not thinking about work or anything we “have” to do.
Much love this holiday season! 

Blessings to you and yours,
Justin, Amanda, and Jack

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Moving up the list...#18

I just realized I didn't post when we got our monthly update!  How could I not have?  I know it was the same week of Justin's surgery so I'm sure I was just distracted.  So here it is!  As you can see in the title, we have moved up one on the list.  Even though it's only one spot and it seems that we're creeping so slowly up the list, this one move seems like a huge jump!  November's news was very disheartening when we didn't move at all and I think I would have been very down about not moving again.

Things are still moving very slowly in the country as Uganda continues to revisit and reorganize their adoption program and policies.  We are very thankful to be with an adoption organization that is integral in that process in the country!  It continues to reaffirm that we chose the right agency for us.  However, we also know that there are so many people out there using different organizations and we are thankful for them too! The most important part of this process is finding families for children.  And the reality is, as I've stated before, the priority is to keep those kids in the country with family or someone in their village that can adequately care for them.  That is priority of our agency, other agencies we know of, and this policy revision happening in Uganda.  However, we know that is not a possibility with many of these children and that's where we come in...when other options have been exhausted.

That being said, we trust that God already knows who our little boy is and when he will join our family.  We're just hoping that's sooner than later!!  It is very likely that 2013 is our year (given the timelines, late summer/early fall) which is less than a year now!!  So for now we live in the now...which is #18.  Here's to moving up the list!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Many places all at once

As I sit here at the hospital waiting for Justin to get out of surgery, I feel the need to be in many places all at once. I know my dad is home with Jack and they are doing well. And I know my place is here with my husband, but I want to be both places at once.  Which also brings me to the fact that there is always a piece of me that feels like I should be in Uganda.  We are so blessed beyond belief here and yet I know he is there with much less.  Not just less stuff, but less love.  I am sure the workers at his babies home take good care of him and do everything they can to love him but it cannot compare with what we are ready and willing to show/share with him.   I'm sure this coming year when we are in Uganda we will feel pulled to be home with Jack even though we will be where we need to be with James. I know my friends with kids in middle/high school feel this same many places at once deal so I'm guessing it only gets worse.  How do you prioritize your family members and their events/activities?

I love that the Psalm that tells me that God is everywhere is the same one that says he knit me in my mothers womb.  I love that the same God that is with James right now when we cannot be already knows who our son will be and when he will be with us.  And that he will be here with Jack when we have to leave to go get James.  The thought of leaving Jack for 2 weeks is so heart wrenching but we are so thankful for amazing support that will be here with Jack and an amazing God that is there with James as we wait.

Psalm 139For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, 
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, 
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thankful for the many blessings

It seems like these days I only post when I am upset or frustrated about something or we get a waiting list update.  I think that's mainly because whatever sparks my passion to write is what I write about and maybe I've been too negatively driven lately. Sorry about that!

I am feeling so blessed having had all day Saturday with my little man. My husband had the joy of going to see his favorite college basketball team play on Saturday and because it is 3 hours away, I got to sit and play and snuggle with my little boy all day.  Not that I don't usually get to, but this was special mom and Jack time.

Today I was blessed to have a job and get to go to work.  I think I take this for granted so much.  I may not love every minute of every day of my job but as a whole, I do challenging and fulfilling work that I know matters to our nation.  This was Jack's first day not going to childcare and my dad did not disappoint!  Dad and Jack went to the beach on a naval base near the airport.  They sat on the water watching the boats and ships and planes come and go.  They had lunch and then Jack got a long and restful nap.  Again, feeling so blessed.

A friend of mine posted a picture today about postpartum marks.  It said "for every woman unhappy with her postpartum marks is another who wishes she had them."  Oh how true this is.  Along this journey of adoption I have found families who have chosen adoption because they were unable to have biological children and other families who already have bio kids.  While I long for my baby James to be with us, I have the blessing of having had the experience of giving birth to a biological child.  I can't imagine what that longing is like for the thousands of women and families who have that desire and for whatever reason do not have that option.  So often I am disgusted by my postpartum marks and wish they were gone.  But I fail to remind myself that without those marks, I have no Jack...no 10 lb 1oz 23 inch long red headed baby boy who is now a vibrant, hilarious toddler.  I think the same thing of friends I have with special needs children.  While they were all devastated when hearing a diagnosis, not one of them that I know would trade their children for the world!

It's so difficult to see our blessings when we're so close to the situation.  And I think that sometimes that's why my posts can be negative...I get so focused on what is happening at that moment that I fail to see the fact that I have the most amazing husband, a beautiful little boy, the hopes of another little boy joining our family soon, wonderfully supportive and helpful extended family, very good jobs, a home, all the food we could ever eat, need I go on?  And while none of us is promised tomorrow, I need to enjoy these blessings right now, right here, today.  Thankful for the day.