Thursday, December 10, 2009

Re-imagining "The Night Before Christmas"

The following poem was posted on one the web-boards where I am a member. It made me cry as I think of my girls during this season. Perhaps it will help you understand a little better where I am coming from. And, perhaps, someone out there needs this nudge to help them over the edge in making a decision to adopt.

Twas the Night before Christmas--for the parentless............

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
there are parentless children, with no toys in hand

No stockings to be hung by the chimney with care
no hopes for a family soon to be there

Their beds are not snug--but cold and quite bare
there are no goodnight kisses--no one to care

While we in our homes, laughing in delight
all settle down for a Merry Christmas Eve night

When in some one's heart--there arises a clatter
there are children in need--who's lives really DO matter!

Away to the computer please go in a flash
to see the sweet face with whom YOU could be matched!

While a child you see--their beautiful face all aglow
could this be MY child--could I already know??

When in the dreams of the orphan--what always appears
is a family to love them, to care and hold dear

As you stare at that child--your heart beats real quick--
for you know in your heart that sweet face will stick

More dreams sweet children have--to call parents by name-
come mama! come daddy! come family to claim!

To the ends of the earth--your heart seems to call
now child--I'm coming--I wish for you ALL!

So on a plane to your child--over rooftops you flew
to hold this dear soul--a wish did come true

And then in a twinkling-I saw through the door
this child of my heart-that was waiting no more

As I got my camera and was turning around-
into my arms did he come with a bound!

He was dressed in many layers from his head to his foot
and into my heart his life was just put

there was no round face--no plump little belly
just sad little eyes, and legs shaking like jelly

In a swirl of a pen, and a stamp and a seal
my world became brighter--like I could suddenly feel!

We spoke not a word--they weren't needed at all
and I knew in this moment where I got this call

God layed his hands on my heart--and to the occasion I rose
and He could do it for you--this question He'll pose.....

It won't be a shout--no not even a whistle
it won't be real clear--but faint like a whisper

Can you make room in your heart--if you try with your might?
And make a difference for one--help them see the light?

I can see you exclaim as you hold your child tight--
Thank you Lord for this gift--you got it EXACTLY right!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas

Just got the Christmas tree decorated. Had a friend help which was really nice. We are having our clinic Christmas party here next weekend (while I am on call, thank goodness for good mid-levels). I am enjoying planning Christmas stuff. I keep seeing things as my girls might see them. I can't wait to have them here helping decorate the house and the tree.
It looks like they might be here sooner than I thought. I got second medicals on the older one last week and should get them on the younger one in the next week or so. Once I have approved those and my dossier is translated everything will be submitted to court for a date. That court date could be in January or February. That means I could travel in March or April. Nothing is certain by any means, but I am starting to fret over the timing and such. Please pray that I would trust God that His timing is perfect.
In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this Christmas season. Above is a photo I took of my tree this evening. I have been playing with using the tripod and the self-timer so I can get crisper photos.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fun with Google Earth


I created this image in Google Earth and then edited it in Picasa to crop out the Google Earth verbiage and add my own. It is sort of amazing to see just how far these girls are going to have to travel to get to Montana. As the crow flies, it is more than 8000 miles. Talk about some disorientation. I made several maps including this one. I thought it would be good to show them where we all are geographically. It was sort of fun to make the images of the US and Europe and part of Africa (since it is so big). I am sure there is a better way of doing this and if you know it, please tell me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fingerprints approved

It doesn't look like much, but this is a VERY important piece of paper. It says that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS formerly INS) has approved my fingerprints. The actual language is below.
I have faxed this to the adoption agency and now I wait. I found out today that the second medicals have been done; they are just having trouble transmitting them from Ethiopia to North Carolina so the agency can send them to me. Once I have those, I will pass them on to a pediatrician-friend to review (figured I needed an unbiased bare of eyes). Once I approve those, everything will be submitted for a court date. I could have a court date sometime in January. AAAACK!!! Am I really ready for that? I guess I will have to be. :-) I just pray that God will work things out so that I don't have to work much while taking time off to help the girls adjust. Well, as I have said before I will keep you posted as things progress.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dossier Sent

This is my dossier. It is a collection of documents required by the Ethiopian government for me to adopt from their country. It includes a home study, photos of me and my family, statements from my bank, employer, and local sheriff. I am also required to submit 3 years of tax statements, 3 letters of reference, a letter requesting adoption and a couple of other pieces of paper from my agency. The first two pages had to be authenticated by the State of Montana. Now the whole thing has been sent to a courier (The Assistant Stork) in Washington DC so that it can all be authenticated by the US Secretary of State's office and the Ethiopian embassy.
I am nearing the end of the paperwork portion of the adoption. On Friday I go to get by fingerprints taken as soon as I am cleared by USCIS (immigration) to adopt, I send another piece of paper to my agency and then I sit and wait. My adoption agency will send everything to Ethiopia where it will all get translated and submitted to court. I am also waiting to get the second (more detailed) medical reports. A court date won't be issued until after all of my paperwork is accepted, I accept the second medicals, and all of the paperwork done on the Ethiopian side is submitted. Sort of nerve-wracking to have all of this out of my hands. But Someone much stronger and wiser is taking care of it all for me. I am trusting that God will take care of everything so that the timing all works out perfectly. I will continue to keep you posted as to my progress.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet Buttercup

I finally got my new truck this past Wednesday. This evening with some help from my dad and stepmom, I came up with a name. It is so luxurious that I thought it would have to be called "The Princess Mobile." Then I realized its name had to be Buttercup. You need to watch The Princess Bride if you don't know the significance of the name Buttercup.

Here's Buttercup in the garage. Thanks to the back-up camera, I can tell when I am in far enough and still have enough room to get around the front.

Interior from the driver's side.

Photo of the FABULOUS navigation system/radio/bluetooth.
Wouldn't be my truck without this sticker. It is a little smaller than the old one.
Front grill. Very intimidating.
Once I have a couple of Ethiopian princesses and a prissy standard poodle in the back seat, this will really be a PRINCESS-mobile.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adoption Fundraiser

I have a new way to raise funds for my adoption. I have all the fees for the adoption agency raised and paid in, however, I still need to raise money for travel expenses. Just click on Just Love Coffee and order some great fair trade coffee. About $5 of every bag of coffee will come to me. I also get a portion of all other purchases (T-shirts, coffee scoops, etc.). To those of you who have already donated to my adoption: THANK YOU!!!! I am completely humbled by the generosity of my family, friends, and people I hardly know. Hopefully it will only be about 6 more months before my girls come home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reunion Weekend

I spent this last weekend in Santa Barbara for my 10-year college reunion at Westmont College. Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

My hotel room at the Montecito Inn.

The prayer chapel on Westmont's campus.

Birds of Paradise are everywhere on campus.
East Beach on Saturday morning.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Totaled

Well, Babe the Blue Ox is totaled. I am turning over the title, etc. on Tuesday night before I leave for California. I am going to miss that truck. The first I ever bought for myself and paid off early. Now I am in the process of finding a new truck. Yes, I am going to get a newer version of what I had. I am looking at 2009 and 2010 F150 SuperCrews. The fun part is that now I can get all the bells and whistles that I couldn't afford as a resident. State Farm is paying me more than I ever thought they would for my truck and I am thankful to God for that. It makes buying a new truck much easier. I actually will have something for a down payment.
I am still quite grateful to be alive. I have driven over that bridge a few times since the accident and I still shudder slightly. It is sort of weird to see a pile of glass and know that it once was my front passenger window. I am much more cautious now. I hope it will last for awhile. I was definitely getting too reckless. Well, I am off to bed. Have a great week!

P.S. Once I have my new truck I will post pictures and I will probably need help coming up with a name so stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wear your seat belt!

I am grateful to be alive today. This morning I was driving to Billings to work for the residency. I hit a patch of black ice and lost control of my truck. According to a snowplow driver who saw some of it, my truck did something like a 360 and then went off the right side of the road. It then went down on the passenger side and then set back up again. I was wearing my seat belt, and because of that, I can write this post this evening. I know God had His hand on me as well. There are so many other things that could have gone wrong or been worse. I have a few bruises and a small bump on my head, but I was able to climb out of my truck and take some pictures. So if you ever think you don't need your seat belt take a look at these pictures.

This is the driver's side. Doesn't look too bad.

Front passenger window is out.

Both passenger-side tires are totally destroyed. The inside doesn't look too bad.
As I said, I am grateful to be alive. God definitely had His hand on me. Since I am okay, I am hoping that my truck won't be totaled. I am not ready to give up on Babe the Blue Ox yet. It is the first car I have ever bought on my own, and it is completely paid off. But all of that is just stuff. And as I am reminded frequently, people are more important than stuff and if I have to get a new truck I will deal with that. So be safe out there and wear your seat belt no matter where you are going or how short your trip will be.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photos from North Carolina

I just got back from the Christian Medical/Dental Association national meeting near Asheville, North Carolina. It was a really good conference. I learned a ton and met a bunch of new people and renewed friendships with others. I also skipped a couple of the lectures so I could go see some of the sites and take some pictures. Unfortunately the day I did that it was raining pretty hard, but I think some turned out okay.

Here is a view out over the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Biltmore Estate.
Pretty flowers at the Ridgecrest Conference Center.

A stream and pond outside my hotel at the conference center.

The Biltmore Estate. Home of the Vanderbilts and supposedly the biggest house in America. It was incredibly opulent inside. The only room I would have liked was the library complete with winding stairs and TONS of books.

I could only take pictures of the exterior so here are a couple of details of the exterior.

Two lions like this guarded the front door.Just below the house was this wonderful loggia.

Here are a few of the flowers in the garden. It was full on raining at this point so the color is a little washed out
So there they are. I have lots more, but these are the best. I am now glad to be home, but not sure I am ready to go to work tomorrow morning.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Progress

I am currently in North Carolina for the Christian Medical/Dental Association National meeting. The cool thing about this (other than the fabulous meeting and all the cool people I have met, but more on that later) is that my adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, has their headquarters just about a half hour away (just south of Asheville). This afternoon I skipped one lecture section to go see the CWA headquarters and meet with my document case manager. It was really nice to see where all the work is done to make so many adoptions happen. It was also nice to put a face and voice with someone I have only met over email and webinars. I had mailed my dossier paperwork a week or so ago and Michael (the document case manager) told me today that it was approved and gave me the last piece of paperwork that I need to finish the dossier. Now I get to start the authentication process and then get my dossier down to Ethiopia. I also have to go through USCIS (immigration) clearance, but that shouldn't take long. Once I get all of that done and the rest of the money raised, my dossier will go to Ethiopia and then I will wait for a court date. It is pretty exciting. I was going to take pictures today of their offices, but I didn't get a chance to. If it isn't raining too hard, I will go back and get a picture and add it to this post. Tomorrow, I am also hoping to go see the Biltmore Estate and get some cool pictures there. I think it could look cool even if it is raining. So more pictures to come.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Contentment

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Life has been a little busy lately. I have delivered a few more babies, my step-mom turned 50, and I finished my dossier for my adoption. I have also discovered that I am in a really good place in my life. I am contented. I spent some time at my dad's house and spent a little time in the new house a friend just moved into and for the first time in my life, I didn't wish I lived somewhere different. I am content with my house, my life and my job. I have family and friends that love me, a wonderful church and before too long (6-12 months at this point) I will have two beautiful children. What more could one person want? I don't really have anything else to say so I will share a few pictures from my trip to California for my step-mom's birthday party.

Here is a photo of the gorgeous cake my dad ordered. It has several of her favorite things on it.


A comfy spot with a view to enjoy the party.

One gratuitous picture of my dog (who desperately needs a haircut).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Video

I received a DVD in the mail today that had about 10 minutes of video of my girls. It was so cool to see them smiling, giggling, acting shy and doing normal things kids do. But best of all they sang. The little one (who, after watching her, I think is more like 4yrs old) sang for about 3 minutes straight. Something caught her attention while she was singing and she just lit up with the most BEAUTIFUL smile and kept right on singing. The older one was much more shy and I think she still feels that she needs to be "mom" to her little sister. I hope I am able to help her understand very early in our relationship that she can be a kid and I will take care of all the mothering that needs to be done.
One thing I am learning in this process is just how much God loves each of us. The Bible talks about us being adopted as heirs to the kingdom when we believe in Christ. The work I am putting into making these girls my heirs is nothing to what Christ did for me in making me an heir to His eternal kingdom. I hear this talked about a lot on the adoption webboards and stuff, but it is starting to come home for me. If I am willing to lay down my life for two little girls I have never met, how much more does it mean that Christ laid down His life for me who He knows intimately (sin nature and all)? If you can explain that, you are better than I am. All I can do is sit in complete wonder that God saved me and now has called me to be a parent and representative of the Kingdom to these little girls. And by the way, if you are wondering why I do this at all, there is your answer: I am answering the calling God has put on my life at this time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Crow Fair Pics

Last Sunday I was invited to spend the day with a family I know that was camping at Crow Fair. I have never gotten to experience it that way. I have seen the dancing and watched the parades and eaten fry-bread. But hanging out at the camp was a fabulous way to experience the "Tee-Pee Capitol of the World." Here are some pictures I took while I was there.





This is Miss Crow Nation, the daughter of a friend of a friend.












I thought this woman was incredibly beautiful. I call this "calm in the chaos." She stands so straight and tall in the midst of everyone else running around.












A full pageant of color. This doesn't even begin to show what the full grand entry looks like.







This is a view of the tee-pees across from us as we watched the parade on Sunday morning.




There were tons of adorable small children in the grand entry and parade. There were even a few I delivered (no pictures of those though since it would be a HIPAA violation). I loved this mother-child pair.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It Hit Me

So during worship tonight at church it hit me that I really am going to be a mom. I have been working on this adoption thing for a few months (thinking about it for years), but tonight something hit me. Maybe it just suddenly felt more real. I have a hard time pulling up people's faces in my mind, but not these girls. Their features seem to be burned in my memory. I can't wait to see them grow, take them to the mountains, take them sledding, do things as a family. The fact that God is calling me to raise these two girls and influence their lives is almost more than I can bear. Thank God I don't have to. I remind myself that God never calls us to anything He isn't going to give us the strength to do. All of these thoughts hit me during the singing portion of the service and I just dissolved into tears (I know, I cry at almost anything and everything). I am tearing up again just thinking about it.
There really isn't any other news here, just thought I would share my thoughts with you. That is what a blog is for isn't it? Tomorrow I am headed out to Crow Fair. I am hoping to get some good pictures so I will post those when I have a chance. Hope the rest of your weekend is as blessed as mine has been so far.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Official!

I just signed the paperwork officially accepting the referral of two girls from Ethiopia. The paperwork says they are 3 and 5, but I am betting they are more likely 5 and 7. They are beautiful and in need of love, food and more love. Unfortunately, I can't post their pictures here until they are legally mine (after I have passed court in Ethiopia). Right now I have lots more paperwork to do and a bit more money to raise. I was able to raise more than $400 at my garage/bake sale last weekend. That was really amazing. Every quarter put in the pot made me smile.
This is an experience that is stretching my faith more than anything ever has, and I don't think I am anywhere close to the hard part yet. The whole process so far has moved faster than I ever thought it would. In early April, I didn't think I would even be able to apply to adopt until September or October (due to a limitation on the number of single moms allowed to adopt from Ethiopia). Here it is August and I have had the social worker come down for my home study and I have done a lot of the paperwork and I have pictures of my kids (that is really weird to say) on my mirror in the bathroom and on the wall by my computer at work. I figure God wants to make sure that I understand that He is doing this, NOT me. He is even raising the money faster than I thought. I am down to needing only about $4-5000 (out of $16,000) for the next step. I can't believe all the support I have been given. Well, I can because God is behind it. I can't wait to see what a blessing my girls will be in the lives of everyone who has helped them get here. Well, it is late and have lots to do tomorrow. I will keep everyone posted. If you would like to see pictures, send me your email address.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BAKE SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am having a bake sale tomorrow. I am hoping to raise some money for my adoption that way. It has also given me an outlet for my need to cook. I have had more fun today making things. I don't think my oven has worked this hard in a really long time. In the picture are kringla (Norwegian "figure of 8" cakes/cookies), raspberry pie, strawberry pie, almond cake, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and a rosemary-tomato-mozzarella tart. While I was taking these pictures there was also a raspberry-nectarine crisp in the oven. I can't tell you how good the house smells.


This is the tomato tart. Someone really needs to figure out how to transmit smells through computers. This is the single best smelling thing I have cooked. The combination of the rosemary, garlic, tomatoes and melting mozzarella almost caused me to keep this for myself rather than take it to the sale. Then I remembered that I can make another one. :-) I have never made it before and got the recipe from the internet on a really great site. Here is the link through Tasty Kitchen. Check out the site. I also found recipes for raspberry-honey-lavender freezer jam that also tastes AMAZING and a really easy raspberry pie. Are you figuring out my favorite fruit yet?
Well, now that I have gotten all of you hungry, I am going to go to bed now. Oh and by the way, I had my home study today and I think it went well. I am now going to formally accept the referral of the two little girls. Their pictures are all over the house already. I think they are supposed to come live here. Unfortunately, I can't post any pictures until they are legally mine. But if you want to see them, email me and I can send you the pictures I have.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Dog-a great distraction

I need to keep my mind off adoption ruminations for a little while so I thought I would post some pictures of the best furry friend a girl could have. She follows me around the house and tries to chew on my butter spreaders, but I love her anyway. I picked her up in March of 2008 about a month after my grandmother, Dorothy, passed away. My brother went with me to pick her up. The breeder was calling her Jade, but after we got in the truck he informed me that the dog's name was Dot, and "her AKC name can be Dorothy Elizabeth" (Elizabeth is part of my maternal grandmother's name as well). And so it stuck. She is Dot and she has even grown a couple of spots of gray to go with her name. Anyway, here are a few pictures to entertain you and keep my mind off thinking about small children in Ethiopia.

Here she is the day I got her. She was small and scared and had REALLY long fur.














Here she is a few months older and has had a haircut.















She has gotten quite fast and loves racing around the yard now that I have a fence and grass.




So this is pretty much what she looks like right now. Running around the yard with her tongue hanging out, stopping periodically to nip at the grass.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this diversion as much as I have. Now I am going to bed so I can get up early and start reading. Got a lot to get done before my home study is done on 8/7.

Friday, July 24, 2009

God's Timing

God's timing is definitely different from mine. And He may have very different ideas as to how my adoption should progress. I received this email earlier today:
I wanted to let you know that we have just had a pair of sisters come available for adoption, and I wanted to see if you would be interested in considering them? I see that you prefer just one child, but are open to two. If you truly wish to adopt just one child, that is definitely no problem—please just let me know. Otherwise, if you would like to take a look at this information for these sisters, you could consider them and then let me know. The paperwork says their ages are 3 and 5 or 6, but I think they could be older—maybe 4 or 5, and 7 years old.

I am really not sure what to think. I know I can't think about much until I see more information. I did email the gal and say that I would definitely prayerfully consider the girls. As I told others on another web board, I had just started thinking that I really only wanted one and really wanted one that was younger. Now I am rethinking that. God is really funny. Just when I think I have things figured out, He goes and does something like this. I am not sure I am the right parent for these girls, but I am hoping He shows me clearly one way or another. This would definitely push my timeline a little closer and faster than I thought. That might make life a little tougher at our clinic, but I know that God has that figured out for me too. And to top it off, I had a message from the social worker this afternoon that they want to set up a time to do my homestudy. This is starting to feel really real now.

I don't know what else to say. Please feel free to share your thoughts and prayers. I welcome them all.

One other thing this may do is cause me to need to do a lot more fundraising. I was hoping to be able to do this without it, but if God is going to move things faster He is going to need to raise some money for me. I know some are called to contribute to adoptions. If that is you, here is a link to Christian World Foundation where you can donate directly to my adoption (Donation Form). If that isn't you, please don't feel obligated. Just send your prayers my way and I will be thrilled.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

PhotoWalk Submissions

Here are two pictures I took on the 18th as part of the Worldwide PhotoWalk. I can submit two for the competition and I think these are the two. You can see the rest of the pictures I took through the link in the previous post. Curious to see what anyone thinks. Thanks to my dad for helping me with editing.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 Worldwide PhotoWalk

2009_07_18 PhotoWalk
I participated in the Worldwide PhotoWalk today. I can submit two of the pictures that I took to the local competition and then the best one from the Billings group will be forwarded on to the international competition. The problem I have is that I am not sure which ones I should submit. I have linked to my Picasa Web album (just click on the picture of the geraniums) and I am hoping that my readers might help me decide which to submit. Just leave a comment regarding your two favorite pictures and I will see what the consensus is. FYI, I have not editted any of these pictures. This is how they came out of the camera. I am curious to see what you all think. Thanks in advance for your input.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Does Love Make You Do?

I have a T-shirt that asks that question on the back. Someone at work wondered if there was an interesting answer to the question. My answer is: Adoption. The shirt is in support of the Ethiopia:Hope projects started by my church. I used to say that I would adopt if I was 40, established and still single. After my church rolled out their decision to start pouring into the country of Ethiopia and explained the HUGE number of orphans there (4 million and growing), I decided that I didn't really need to wait. I am still single, God has provided me with a great home and a good-paying job. What more could I want? The answer God gave me is a child or two from Ethiopia. I am in the process of applying and hope to have everything done in the next month or so. If you really want to know what all is involved, let me know and I will add more information later. Suffice it to say for now that there is a lot of paperwork and even more reading and education. I don't know yet whether I will adopt a boy or a girl or how old the child will be. I also don't know when it will all happen.
Check out Christian World Adoption for information on my adoption agency and be sure to watch their video that asks the same question. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mountain Escape

After a couple of long weeks (did 4 deliveries and helped with a c-section all in the space of 10 days) I took a day off and ran away to the mountains. Visited some of my favorite places on earth. Here are a few photos.

Looking down the valley from Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway.

At Vista Point there was a big contingent of Germans on Harleys. Had to take this picture for my sister.
My dog, Dot, enjoying some time out of the truck. This is just before the Montana-Wyoming border where we went for a walk and got really wet in melted snow.


The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

A bald eagle, presumably feeding its young, near the road in Yellowstone.


I could upload all sorts of other pictures, but this is plenty for now. I don't have pictures of the fabulous dinner I had last night at Chico Hot Springs; nor can pictures convey the relaxation of just getting away, even if it is for only 36 hours.