Random Rumblings

So WHEN is our house going to sell? We keep having these “really good signs” from people who come look through it. They will call for more information, get our hopes up then we don’t hear from them. Or, like the people on Saturday, go through it talking about where they will put their furniture, tell our Realtor they’ll think about it over the weekend and then not call us! (Okay, so it’s only just after the holiday weekend, but still!) Oh how I long to sell the house. It is ironic though, because if Zach wouldn’t have gotten the job that offers us a house, I would NEVER want to sell my house. It’s so beautiful and perfect. Which is why I will never understand why others don’t fall head over heels with it like I do every time I walk in!

I made it. I am now without an appendix AND a gall bladder. Had my gall bladder removed last Wednesday. Apparently the whole procedure only took 11 minutes. Ever the competitor, I asked if that was the record breaker. Much to my dismay, the record stands at 9 minutes. When I follow up with the surgeon on Thursday I will ask why he slacked off on us. I did everything right, the blame lies with him and those slow hands. Alas, he did a wonderful job and though I am still quite sore, I am on the mend. I don’t feel very well today but that could be due to: a) lack of sleep, b) onset of a cold, c) abdomen sensitivity or d) I AM AT WORK. All signs point to (e) all of the above with d) being one of the MAIN reasons.

On a lighter note, went to Chicago this weekend. Though it was a bit rough and in hindsight it might have been better had I just went up Sunday, it was an altogether good time. I’m reminded of all of my blessings after an especially great conversation with my sister-in-law, Kait that lasted until the wee hours of the Monday morn.

Also went to a Cubbies game yesterday. Though the Cubs lost and I got uncomfortable, I saw my aforementioned friend, Derek. It was quite random but it made my soul feel good so we’ll count it as a win according to Tesi.

Went to the Chicago Klipsch’s church on Sunday. It was an awesome sermon and I’m blessed for having heard it. At one point the guy leading worship said he encounters God everyday in the form of his 9-mth-old son. He said it’s awesome to look at his son and just see the unconditional love staring back. He said he thinks that God sometimes says to him, “See, that’s how I love you.” I love the image of God looking at me the way my kids look at me. Their unconditional love is truly a refreshing and rewarding experience.

My goal for this week is to be consciously less negative about the things in my life that are a constant source of my pain (whether physical, emotional, spiritual or what have you). Obviously I’m starting now…at the end of this blog, or rather, after the first two paragraphs of this blog! I’ve always been the kind to try to see God in the every day. The beautiful sun, the much needed hug, etc. But I’ve been riddled with such pessimism lately I haven’t liked looking myself in the mirror. So today is a new day. And as my husband would say, nothing can kill your soul unless you let it. So I say “On guard!” to you who try to steal my soul, I am no longer laying down without a fight.

Oh, and bring on news of adoption! Yeehaw baby doggies!

Amazing Grace

It’s a really hard position to be in, that of adoption. As the days and weeks creep by I realize that we are moving ever so close to seeing our kids. Though we are still in the very early stages of adoption, the power of my prayers affect me in ways I wasn’t altogether expecting. Every night I pray with the kids the prayer my family said at night together. “Now I lay me…” at the end we always ad lib a little bit. I remember when we were younger praying for our neighbors’ dog, Toby, who had died a couple days before. Toby was in our prayers for quite a few months as well. So I always get excited to see who/what Trysten has on his mind when it comes to bedtime prayers. They can truly range anywhere from “My new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle,” to “People who are cold outside.”

We talk a lot about the adoption in our house. I don’t want the whole thing to blindside anyone and the fact of the matter is, we’re all really excited. But it still surprised me two nights ago when Trysten said, “God, please watch over my brother in Ethiopia, tell him I love him.” I had to hug him so he couldn’t see me cry. I too have found myself praying for that. Since we will probably be adopting at least one child of toddler/preschool age, there is a very good chance he/she is already born. So praying for him/her is not an altogether premature prayer.

But as I was praying last night the magnitude of it all hit me. When I pray for God to watch over my newest children, I’m actually, in essence, praying for something horrific to happen to him/her. Though I also pray for his/her biological family, I have no idea if that means I am praying for them to ascend into heaven when they die or if I’m praying for them to make the impossibly devastating decision to give their child up for a better life. I have no qualms about saying the best-case scenario for our little ones is that they grow up with both of their parents. Happy and healthy, loved and cared for. Unfortunately it’s just not possible sometimes and I will be forever grateful for the sacrifice his/her family is making. A sacrifice I know I’m not strong enough to make. I will forever love and be entwined with people half a world away for blessing my life while simultaneously destroying at least part of theirs. I will forever mourn for them, the devastating scenario that played out in order for us to be a family.

It reminds me of when a friend of mine had his little girl in the PICU at UIHC. The little girl was not doing well and needed a heart transplant. I was pregnant with Trysten at the time and never handled seeing kids in that situation very well anyway, let alone when I was all hormonal. My friend said something that shocked and affected me to my core, “I don’t know how I got here…my prayers have turned into begging for a new heart for my little girl. What that means is I’m actually begging for another 15-month-old child to lose their life so they can give my girl hers.” His little girl ended up dying a few months later. Though I hope I’m never in his exact position, I find myself recognizing his impassioned pleas. To me, mine resemble asking God to save and protect my children too.

In all reality, my children whether they grew in my belly or heart, are His children. So asking Him to watch over my future kids is really about watching over their transition from earthly parents. I truly hope they will grow to realize we are all the kids of a much larger force than our own parents. That though my kids might have different biological parents, we all originated from the same Creator who knit us in the womb the same way. The beauty of this adoption is that my kids will be able to witness firsthand that though they have differences, their very essence stems from the same place. And that is a truly beautiful thing.

This Sunday at church a friend of ours sang, “Amazing Grace.” He’s a blues singer and holds a special place in my heart. When he was singing the words, I was deeply affected by what he was saying. We’ve all heard those words a million times. For the most part I find the old hymns, unless taken on by new arrangements, don’t call to my spirituality the way newer ones do. But this old song hit me on Sunday. Perhaps it was just the place I’m in with regards to everything. But man is His grace good? The fact that I am with a man who feels the same passion to expand our family this way is amazing. To have the kids that I do who not only accept that we are going to be adding to our family in a unique way, but are excited about it and pray for it, it doesn’t get any better. So perhaps instead of praying just for my children who may or may not have been born thousands of miles away, I can just pray for His grace. Because His grace is such a beautiful, powerful thing.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see…

T’was Grace that taught
My heart to fear
And Grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far
And Grace will bring us home.

Unofficially Accepted

So we are unofficially accepted! Basically what that means is, pending any repulsive criminal past (which doesn’t exist for me and by all intents and purposes SHOULDN’T exist for my betrothed) we are well on our way to bringing home our newest Klipschs. Woohoo!

The letter couldn’t have come at a better time. It was a REALLY rough week at work and seeing that all our hard work at being good people might mean we’re on our way to expanding our family blessed my soul to the innermost spot. I really can’t tell you what it did for me without it sounding at least somewhat Shakespearian. So take my word for it that it saved a part of me from being lost to the depths forever.

On a lighter note, we have obviously been talking about what kind of child/ren we would be open to accepting. As far as we can tell we literally go down a checklist and check things that we would accept in a child (i.e. parasites, scabies, etc) and not accept (whatever that might be). I’d be lying if I didn’t feel even partially bad about that. We are looking at possibly asking for siblings/twins (I just realized I mentioned that rather major revelation in an ambiguous spot so I apologize…on the other side of that, I’ll get to see who really reads this thing!) so from here on out I’ll refer to the children we’re bringing home. ANYWAY, what I started out saying is that with regard to my biological children, I would/ would have accepted absolutely anything they came with. So a part of me feels guilty about NOT checking any spots. I realize it’s about what we can handle and what we wouldn’t want to expose our present children to, but still…doesn’t every child deserve to be loved and can’t even the children with the largest health issues enrich a parent’s life to the utmost? This is all really premature for me to be thinking about, but it still weighs on my mind and my heart.

I don’t know what it says about me but I’m already having problems sleeping. I often wake up and realize I’ve been dreaming of things to do with the adoption. I am one sad cookie. I think I’ve always been good at both looking forward to the future and embracing the present. For instance, I look forward to when Dailah can tell me her stories as her big brother does now but I love that right now she smiles without limits and cries only when she’s tired or hungry. I guess a big part of me wonders what our next kids will be like. It’s easier when you’re pregnant. This is your conception date and this is your due date. You can find out the sex if you so desire. You know they will come out weighing anywhere from (hopefully) 6lbs to 12lbs thus will more than likely fit into the 0-3 month outfits for at least a few days.

It’s not like that with adoption. I have the day we officially sent in the application (5/11) but there is absolutely nothing else I can fill in. We can’t be so specific to say we want a 5mth old and a 3 yr old. Perhaps we could, but then we might be waiting a loooooooooong time for our children. So it’s just an interesting dynamic, one I’m obviously not accustomed to or, judging by how I’ve been acting, prepared to handle.

Anyway, enough rambling. I just want to give our children an idea what I was thinking at this stage. So next step is to get a date for our PAC (pre-adoption classes). Right now that’s looking at Mid July, August or September. They will invite us to one of those when they get all of our paperwork back from the various areas we’ve lived. Though I’m hoping for July, I’m preparing for September.

So thanks for checking in. Hope everyone has a splendid weekend.

Books!

While waiting to hear if our application is approved, I’ve been doing some reading. For those who know me, know this is not in itself an extraordinary event. However, the rate in which I’ve been going through books is absolutely astounding! On the forum I frequent one mom wrote a list of books that are recommended reading for adoptive parents. Here is the list:

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla
My Father’s Daughter
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Black Baby, White Hands
The Language of Blood (presently reading)
Outsiders Within
Beyond Good Intentions
Weaving a Family: Untangling Race (on hold at the library)
Love in the Driest Season
Toddler Adoption: The Weavers Craft
Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parents Guide to Raising Multiracial Children (on hold at the library)

These books range from memoirs to PhD material. The bold ones are ones already read (keep in mind I just got the list in late April and each one contains at least 200 pages). To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Another funny bit that happened because of the adoption; Trysten had his preschool physical last Friday. Our doctor was talking about when Trysten was going to go to kindergarten, etc. As Trysten sat putting puzzles together, the doc and I were just watching in amazement how he was doing. I’m not just saying this; my kid is a genius!

Trysten has really taken a liking to reading. He’s constantly wanting to be read to and constantly wanting to spell words. He does recognize a few fairly common words already, and can write his name with ease. So it came as no surprise to me when he saw the physical forms for the adoption and said, “Look mom, it says Ethiopia!” Doctor Miller had just been saying it’s quite remarkable that a kid his age is recognizing words and I tried downplaying it (being the obvious humble person I am) by saying, “Well yes, he does, but they are common words.” He then said, “Since when is ‘Ethiopia’ a common word?” In my moment of motherly pride, I didn’t want to admit that we had MANY coffee table books about Ethiopia sprawled throughout our house.

Either way, I’m so proud to have both my kids! And even more excited to bring more in whom, I’m sure, will be equally as genius, loving, hilarious, beautiful and bright!

Application Sent!

I just put the application in the mail! Though that doesn’t seem like a huge step, it took just about 4 weeks to complete with all the paperwork, notary, etc. I had it all copied in case something happens to it and we have to do it all over again! Anyway, I hope to have the application approved by mid-week next week. Then we can start on the homestudy and classwork. Will update everyone when it’s approved. Have a great weekend and Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day

I realize I wasn’t going to write anything more until we turned in our application, but then I started thinking about moms and had to write something as I realized I did an ode to dads previously but not moms. That’s crazy!

I find myself these days talking a lot like my mom. Trysten was following me out the door today and he started singing, “Let’s go tally ho, I say let’s go tally ho.” As most people know, I tend to make up songs, words, etc. It’s a fun game I do and I’ve been impressed with my son’s ability as well. But when I heard him sing that song I remember singing when I was young, I was struck by how much like my mom I am. I definitely still see differences between us. But I’ve heard we look alike, we sound alike, we laugh alike, and we sneeze alike. We’re both outgoing people and no one is ever surprised if we enter a room as a stranger and leave with four new friends. We have lots of love to give to both young and old and we both have little patience when technological items aren’t working with us. We laugh and cry at the drop of a hat. It’s pretty amazing, really, how alike we are.

But even if we weren’t so much alike, I think there will always be a part of me who would at least try to be. She is the most amazing mom EVER. My childhood memories of her are so wonderful. In those memories she’s always laughing, always singing, always smiling. She was a working mom but made sure to make us dinner every night (including most weekends). Zach is forever impressed with that fact, as my siblings and I were involved with four sports (at least) throughout our lives. She made us a priority and I will always love her for that. She (with my dad) nurtured us into the amazing people (if I do say so myself) we are today. We are an extremely tight knit family because of her leadership in our family. I’m finding it hard to express just how wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, caring and loving she is in just one little blog. Suffice it to say I truly hope I can be half the mom she is to my kids.

Then there’s my other mom, Ms. Terre Klipsch. Tkladynred or “ruby” as some might call her. To her I will forever be grateful for not only giving birth to the most amazing husband in the world, but also for being there for me in a way not seen in most mother-in-laws. Anyone who has ever had a meaningful conversation with one of the “original” Klipschs knows they are bright, hilarious, confident, loving, and did I say hilarious? There is literally not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder how Frank and Terre were able to create these four amazing humans I get to call my brothers and sisters. In Zach I see Terre’s humor, love of animals, intelligence, beautiful eyes (though to be fair, Frank helped in that one too) and a heart that will go out to anyone and everyone. She too has had a hand in raising me to be a better woman, wife, mother and pet owner. She is absolutely amazing and I thank God that He provided me with a husband that came with the whole wonderful family.

I’d be remiss not to mention my sister (in-law), Leslie. What an amazing woman. She has blessed me with two nephews now. Oliver and Elihu are beautiful beyond belief. Her patience, love, beauty and kindness are something I both admire and aspire to be. Through the five years we’ve been sisters, I’ve watched her go from a beautiful, strong single woman, to a beautiful strong married woman to an even more beautiful, even stronger mom. With her mom, grandma and aunts as guidance, she grew up knowing what it felt like to have an amazing connection with women and I will be forever grateful to them for teaching her how to love unconditionally.

And then there are the mothers I constantly seek guidance from. Other moms who had huge parts in creating this Tesi that lives and breathes today: Grandma Matthias, Grandma Dawson, Kathy Dawson, Barb Matthias, Glenda Klass, Diane Matthias, Susan Matthias, Anne Lohmeier and Debbie Taylor. Happy Mother’s Day to you all, I love you and thank you for providing me with this life I have done nothing to deserve.

No Words

Well, we finally have all three referrences sent and filed away. Our referrences were asked to send them straight to the adoption agency and I asked for a copy for us (not only for our records and baby book, but also to send to the agency in case they misplaced the originals!). I must say we have the most amazing friends in the world. I have read two of them so far and have cried while reading both of them. It’s such an honor to have friends like those! I can’t believe our blessings!

So this means we are just waiting for our physicals to get done! Dailah’s and mine are tomorrow but I’m also hoping Zachary can squeeze his in too. Trysten needs his full preschool one so that is scheduled for Friday. After that, we just have to take a family picture and then send it along! My goal is to have the application mailed by Monday. I’m just too excited!

On Saturday we met with my sister-in-law, Leslie’s aunt, Joan. Joan adopted from Ethiopia about four years ago. Stephen is such a beautiful boy! He was adopted around the age of 2 and is now six. It was awesome to hear Joan’s experience and see Stephen and Trysten playing. Gave a glimpse of a potential near future for us! I can’t get over how wonderful all of Leslie’s family is. We took a break from adoption talk and Joan, being the gracious host she is says, “Leslie told me you like pie Tesi, would you like a piece.” And proceeded to cut into a freshly baked pie that tasted a bit like heaven with crust. So with that said, I’m looking forward to meeting more and more people who have adopted before us, especially if they are as nice as Joan (and wouldn’t hurt if they were good bakers too!)

A lot going on in our lives anyway! Tomorrow is Zach’s last day at the Scouts. He’s really going to miss working with the people there. He starts at camp on Thursday already! Our house at camp is under construction. Jerry, our contractor, is a true blessing in himself. Can’t get over our good fortune having him work on it! Then found out this morning the reason for my abdomen pain is because my gall bladder is not working! This means surgery for me on the 23rd. On top of that, selling our house! WOW….what a transitional time for us!

Zach had to work last night so I was with the kiddos by myself. I truly can’t remember the last time I went to bed and didn’t reflect on my life and want to pinch myself. I have the most amazing husband in the entire world. He is so loving, kind, hilarious, beautiful beyond belief and such a fantastic daddy. Then my two kids. Where do I begin? Thinking about the future…picturing us adding to our family. Whatever our new child/ren bring us, I know we will be blessed to have them. This adoption is not about giving a child a loving home in which he/she deserves (though I certainly hope that is one result). It’s about expanding our blessings too. God is good!

Anyway, thanks for checking in. Hopefully next post will be the announcement that we have sent in our application and are awaiting homestudy dates! Love to all.