Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Peaches & Cinnamon

The continuation of the "Things Sam Says":

Over the past several weeks, we have danced delicately around our unanimous family decision to add to our family through adoption. We were conscious to not talk too much or too little about "it" in the beginning. We didn't want to talk so much that we built up Sam's excitement and let him down, knowing this would be a very long process. We didn't want to talk too little, knowing he would have questions and that he would be hearing us talk with others about it. So far, it is all feeling okay. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.... just read Goldilocks today.

Sam and I were recently at Borders looking at this book and that. With my copy of the newest book club choice and Sam's copy of the new Charlotte's Web Easy Reader, we ventured into the travel section. I casually snagged a copy of a travel guide for Central America, and feeling on a roll, inquired about Children's Literature on the topic of adoption. (I Love You Like Crazy Cakes) With our bundle of books and a couple of well placed chocolates from the checkout line, we headed home to crack open our new lit. I love new books. And, I really love days like the one this became. We had braved the cold and wind to traverse the mean and unforgiving parking lot, and felt totally justified in curling up on the couch under a shared blanket to laze away the afternoon with our new reads. It was a dream.

Well, it came to the moment when I was thumbing through the Guatemala section of the travel guide. Sam, always curious, asked what I was looking at. I showed him the pictures and maps of where his sister might be born. He immediately wanted to find a picture of a little girl. We had previously talked about the idea that a little sister born in another country will have a different color skin than he does. His response was instant and pure.... he simply informed us that, "everyone has different color skin, that makes us special." More love, love, love. So, feeling comfortable with his lovely view on the world, it was fun to search the pages with him. We also read Crazy Cakes, and I was left, again, with the feeling like Sam is just taking this all in stride. It is a great help to me.

So, this leads me to Peaches and Cinnamon.

Much later on the same day of books and cuddles, Sam asked if we could talk about the 'baby" again. I remember having this very laptop in my lap and tossing it to the side as he crawled up next to me. I asked what he wanted to talk about. Among many topics, he asked me what color he was, and what color would she be?? Without really thinking too much about it, I said he was sort of a peachy color. He checked out his hands and arms and agreed that that was about right. I said that I thought she would probably be more like a cinnamony shade of pretty. He giggled. A lot. He said he liked cinnamon. It was such a tiny moment in time. I remember just feeling goofy and teasing, "Peaches and cinnamon, mmmmmmm, I am going to have such tasty kids, I will just have to eat you up!" It is so small to write this, because it felt so much more. It was two seconds, but it was this feeling of complete normalcy in talking about our growing family. Well, anyway, he loves that Keith and I will have Peaches and Cinnamon for kids, and he loves when I pretend to gobble him up. When we were painting days later, he included a fourth member of our family and was careful to ask which paint to use to show Cinnamon. True love.

I have to add, in a moment of curiosity, I Googled "Peaches and Cinnamon"... I found some fantastically delicious recipes for cobblers, pies, and crumbles... Mmmmm. I can taste the stories to come. Yes, Laura, I know those recipes qualify as baking!

Much love.

Telling Sam

One of the most common questions Keith and I are asked is whether or not Sam "knows". He knows. Not only does he know, he may quite possibly believe that this was all his idea.

One night at dinner, Sam was in a particularly chatty mood. Any of you who have spent more than 15 minutes with Samuel know that this is very common. He just has a lot to say. I don't know where he gets it??? There wasn't anything to suggest that this one night would be "the" night that we would bridge the topic of our plan to adopt, but out of nowhere, there it was. Opportunity. Out of his own mouth, "When I am in Kindergarten, I will be a Big Brother. Yup. When I am in Kindergarten, I am going to have a little sister."

I have to fess up here and say that Sam had said this before. He had said it often in the months leading up to this, and it has sent chills through me each time. I believed him. I still do. I love that he says this, because it has always come from his own heart. No prompting, no promises from us, just his true blue belief that this is the way things will be. My Papa has often told me that children have a direct line with GOD. He says that they can hear Him more clearly than adults. Lucky for us, we have a direct line to Sam, and we hear him loud and clear.

So, on hearing the invitation, we jumped in. I will never be able to remember the first words that lead to our conversation, but I can clearly remember the pit in my stomache and the lump in my throat. I was nervous. Nervous!? Yes, I guess that was one of the stronget emotions. Strange to think about it now.

Anyway, we talked to him. We talked about how he grew in my belly. We talked about how families can be made in all sorts of wild and wonderful ways. We talked about reasons that a baby born in one Mommy's belly might become a part of another family. It was hard to get some of the words out in a way that would make sense to a four year old, in a way that would not talk down to him or lessen the importance of it all, but to be always sensitive to how the ideas would be interpreted. It all felt very big. We talked. And talked. He listened, and then it was quiet. I was sure we had him totally confused, but I now know that he was just putting it all together in his own way.

In the end, he looked at us and said, in the most casual of ways, "We could be a family to a baby who needs us."

Tears. Love, love, love!

He then promptly launched into the list of all lists we would need to get ready to bring a child home. Whoa. He was thorough! Keith and I had so much we were bursting to say, so many more things to tell him and to ask... but we just listened. He listed, and we listened. It was a truly sweet and special moment, and there were more to come.

I felt our family grow.

More to come on the "things Sam says".
Much love.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yes, it's true!

The word is out. Keith, Sam and I have decided to add to our family through adoption. Keith and I have talked about this for months (maybe years). When we knew that we were truly ready, we talked to Sam. In an effort to keep this sweet and to the point, I will only say that the decision was unanimous. Yay! Phew! Yay!

So, in thinking of all of you and the obvious questions and wonderings you would have in regard to this exciting and wonderful (we think!) decision, I have decided to try my hand at this blog idea. I have to be honest in sharing that I have no idea what I am doing, but why should that stop me!?!

If this (blog) becomes more than a one shot deal, I would love to share the story of the night we sat around the dinner table and first talked with Sam about adoption and what that might mean for our family. I can at least tell you this, it was a conversation we will not soon forget, and it brings JOY to my heart whenever I think about it.

Well, I thought I would use this first post to bring you up to speed on where we have been and where we are.

When we made the decision to pursue adoption, I set right out to learn everything there was to learn. I made calls, surfed every website I came across, talked to anyone I knew who was remotely connected to the adoption world. I was immediately fascinated (and a little obsessed) with everything I learned, and the more I learned, the more questions I had. What is the process? Who are the children? What is the timeframe? I quickly discovered that I knew very little about International Adoption, and I wanted to inhale it all in one breath. I couldn't. Thank goodness. Keith soon reminded me that this was a marathon, and not a sprint. Now that I have slowed myself, taking it one tenth of a mile at a time, I am also reminded to take a look around. We may be facing a long road, but I believe there will be plenty of moments to stop and absorb.

Oh gosh, I promised Mom if I did this that I would not write a novel... and here I am well onto the first chapter!

Let me share the details we are most often asked about:

After hooking up with an agency near home, we began to collect a small mountain of paperwork. I have been reassured that this is only the beginning of paperwork to come. Lucky for us, my schedule makes tracking down legal documents more manageable. Right before the first document was notarized (thank you, Padre), we began to share our news with our dear family and friends. What can we say? You have always been supportive and loving in our lives, and have shown us only the same again. We are so blessed.

What else? Let's see. We attended adoption education classes. The classes were great. I think that had a lot to do with our fabulous teacher, and the truly lovely people we were lucky enough to attend with. We have also started our "Home Study". We have a case worker assigned to our family. Sue. She has been to the house once already. We felt very comfortable with her. She will come back again next week. She sort of has the control over when the next steps can happen. Once she has written her report on our family (only slighlty nerve wracking), we will be able to move forward into what is the heart and soul of the adoption. Once we are there, I will explain in more detail.

For now, we are planning to adopt a girl from Guatemala. I say "planning to" because we know that things can change. We imagine that she will be younger than a year old, but again, can't say for sure. We only know that, one day,we will be bringing our daughter home and she will be so loved. Is it possible to love someone you have not even met yet?

We are happy, we are nervous, and we continue to feel truly blessed.
If posting this information is helpful and/or interesting to you, I will do my best to keep it up to date as things occur.

Oh, and about the name of this blog.... I will post the story that lead to that soon. For me, it was yet another way that Sam reassured me that he is going to be a wonderful big brother.

Thank you each for your support now, and for that which I know we will need down the road.
Much love.