Monday, July 31, 2006

Nearing the finish line

A long time ago, when I lived in Arizona (and was much thinner), I ran a marathon -- just one, but I did it. This wait has reminded me of that experience in many ways. When I started the marathon, I was confident, in control, excited -- maybe even running a bit too fast. I settled into a comfortable stride as I began passing the mile markers. But gradually my pace slowed, and by mile 20 or 21, I found myself nearly alone and wondering if I could really do it. A man who had started a conversation with me early in the run (and who had completed 6 or 7 marathons previously) dropped out. A friend who was riding her bicycle along with me had sprinted ahead for awhile. I was walking more and more. But as I approached the end of the course, I got a burst of energy. My friend on the bike rejoined me, and my race buddy ran a few hundred of the last yards with me. I was determined to be running as I turned the corner to see the finish line, and I was -- only to discover that the race organizers were getting ready to take down the race clock. I summoned the energy to scream, "NOOOOO!." Startled, they left it up until I finished (I think the official results had me fourth to last).

Lance and I started this child adoption marathon feeling strong and confident. I actually thought that the home study and paperwork was the worst part. I even told some folks, "well, I've done all I can do. Now we just have to wait."

Just wait. Yep, that's all!

The good news is that we've rounded that last corner, and the people in charge are NOT taking down the finish line! We have the goal in sight, and we know we'll make it there SOON.

Friday and today, families whose dossiers were logged in a few weeks before ours are receiving calls from their agencies telling them they have been matched with a child. They'll now start their sprint toward the finish line. And we are right behind them, picking up the pace as we turn the corner. I feel very confident that our referral will be in the next batch, which I would expect to be out by the end of August.

That's only four or five weeks!

The CCAA has not yet updated its website to say how far the current matches go, but the agencies are telling their clients that the last day matched is July 13. We are logged in July 25.
Today is going to be an exciting day on our July Yahoo! group, as happy families start posting photos of their precious children. You can see many of the referrals also posted on our group's public website. Click on the referrals link to see what's there. So far we have listed a few expedited referrals (special needs children, or children referred to folks of Chinese ancestry), but later today you should start seeing some new little ones (some only 7 or 8 months old!)

So we have rounded the corner, we see the finish line, and we know the race clock will not be taken down before we cross it. In less than 30 days, we should be admiring our own little one's precious face -- and sharing it with all of you.

I expect to be updating more frequently as we near this exciting milestone, so please check back often!

Excitedly yours,


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A new year in China

On July 25, 2005, the China Center of Adoption Affairs logged in our dossier. At the time, we expected to receive a photo and information on our daughter in six or seven months. but one year later we are still waiting. We don't think it'll be much longer, though, so stay tuned for updates.

On July 15, we attended a picnic with other families who will be traveling to China with us. It was about the hottest day ever in Illinois, but we had a good time getting to know each other a little better. I think it's going to be a really fun group. We're already supportive of each other through an e-mail chain and agency gatherings, and we will be getting together for many years to come as we watch our daughters grow. Check out the photos in the photo section (and, by the way, I am now allowed 12 photos instead of just six, so I was able to post three pictures from the picnic). (EDITED: But, of course, in the blog format I can post the photos all right here).

We're still expecting our referral in about a month, but that could change. Please check back often for news! I'll update in the next few days, once the next batch of referrals is mailed. Maybe we'll have some even better news then; you never know what will happen!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quiltin' time

When Lance and I visited Brentwood last week, I
took some more fabric to my mother, who is
making our daughter‘s One Hundred Good Wishes
. On Saturday afternoon, we decided to take a
look at what we had. Mom already had pieced
together some of the 10-by-10 blocks, so we put
those out on the table to admire. Then we matched
some of the other fabrics and got to work. I cut the
pieces to the proper size, and Mom sewed together
more blocks. Sister Kay was our chief ironer,
fetcher and entertainer. We added the new blocks
to the others and stepped back to view the

It’s beautiful! The picture shows most of the blocks laid out, but they are not yet in any particular order, so this isn’t the quilt’s final appearance. But it gives us an idea of the diversity of the pieces and how they somehow all fit together to make a beautiful keepsake.

Our original plan was to use a snowball pattern, which would have had us cut all the pieces to the same size and shape. But just as our friends and family members are each unique and beautiful in their own way, so were the materials donated for the quilt. We realized that we couldn’t just cut them all down to fit a pattern -- some needed a little bit larger space, or a different shape or size. So we found something else that seems to be working.

The pattern we’re using calls for three pieces of fabric in each block, but few of the blocks fit the pattern exactly. Some blocks have pieces of different sizes than in the pattern (good thing I‘m good at math!). Some blocks will be composed of two fabrics instead of three, and a few will be only one fabric (like nephew Brett’s Mickey Mouse shirt, for example, or my friend’s large pocket with a Velcro flap that she donated so Rachel would have a place to put her treasures). With others we just had to get creative, like sewing Cousin Brenda’s blue jeans pocket on a square of my mother’s colorful fabric. I love every one of them.

Kay kept trying to make it tidy, to have all the blocks symmetrical or laid out in certain color families. I told her to give up on that! When I look at the pieces, I don’t see a hodge-podge of designs, I see the love and good wishes of our family and friends. I started telling Kay the story behind each individual piece, who donated it and why that person is special to us. You all have poured out so much love on a child you haven’t even met -- you have no idea how wonderful that makes us feel. And just think of how SHE will feel years from now when she looks at the quilt and reads your wishes in her scrapbook. It makes me ache even more to bring that baby home and wrap her in all that love.

We’re going to use some of the fabrics again on the border, so if your contribution ended up being just a small piece, you’re likely to see it again in another spot. If you can’t find you fabric in the photo, don’t worry: Some fabrics are not yet in blocks because we’re waiting to match them with others or trying to decide how best to use them. My own donation is not yet in a block, nor is Lance’s.

If you haven’t donated your fabric yet, it’s time to send it to me or to my mother. Please do it soon -- we don’t want to leave anyone out.

Besides, “Seventy-five Good Wishes Quilt” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Waiting for the Lord

My dear friend Debi, who is pastor of the Cheney (Wash.) United Church of Christ, went to China last month on a sort of mission trip. While there, she sent e-mail reports to her congregation (and me!) about all the things she and her daughter were seeing and doing. One letter included this paragraph:

"I spent my time watching all the cute Chinese children, and saw an 8-month and 20-day-old little girl named JingJing. I thought of Susan waiting for a baby, and thought that it will be worth the wait."

On Friday, the director of our adoption agency's China program updated waiting parents, saying, in part:

"For many of us who wait and try and find answers and rationales for wait times, we busy ourselves with perusing the internet via chat rooms, e-lists and websites. Much of the process is out of control, and so we fill up the days to learn as much as possible and, as a result, feel as if we have some sort of understanding. The process of adoption can make Type A personalities out of control, and yet we have to acknowledge our lack of control. We learn patience, grudgingly."

Don't you think she could have just sent me a private e-mail? She even went on to repeat the Serenity Prayer, for goodness' sake.

Then this morning in church, our pastor preached a sermon whose title I've borrowed for this update. The scripture was from Psalm 130: "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope."

Rev. Babler talked about how in our anxiousness to "get things done," we find it difficult to "wait upon the Lord." He pointed out that Ron Santo keeps commenting, as Cubs batters take their position at home plate, that they look like they're too anxious; they're leaning into the ball instead of waiting for the pitch. They're trying too hard to overcome their reputation of being "lovable losers."

Yesterday, the Cubs had a one-point lead in the ninth inning, with two outs and two strikes, only to have the White Sox's A. J. Pierzynski hit one out of the park -- and score three runs to win the game. So if Dr. Phil were here to ask, "how's that working for ya?" the Cubs would have to respond, "not so good."

Rev. Babler said, "Faith means trust. Trust means waiting -- waiting on a good and merciful Lord."


"God is here. God is ahead. God is at work."

OK, OK. I don't have to be hit over the head any more. I trust the process. I am serene. I am waiting for the Lord to work this precious miracle in our lives.

And, yes, I know it will be well worth the wait

I am so grateful for all of you whose souls are waiting with ours.

Serenely yours,

P.S. -- Families from our adoption agency are in China now and have received their little blessings! You can see a report from one Mom here.