Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Movie Review!! August 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:55 PM

I watched Martian Child yesterday while Isaac was napping. I have been wanting to see this movie for a long time. I remember seeing maybe one preview when it came out then I never heard of it again, but I ran across it at the video store. It has John Cusack, Joan Cusack (she of the tragic scoliosis brace in Sixteen Candles) and Amanda Peet in it. I have to say it was really good, and it is rated PG!!! That was maybe the most surprising part–no profanity or “love” scenes so if you have kids that are old enough to watch a movie with you, you don’t have to worry about any of that. I also liked it because I think adults and kids would both enjoy it. The movie is about a widower (John Cusack) who decides to adopt a child. Dennis is a foster child who lives in a group home and has never really had a family…..oh, and he thinks he’s from Mars. Which works well because John Cusack’s character is a science fiction writer. Aside from the obvious adoption themes it is also about being different and whether or not you should conform just to fit in or just be yourself and maybe be a weirdo……which let’s face it, we all have at least a little weirdo in us! I give it 2 thumbs up for making me cry, but not being yucky-sweet and for making me laugh, but for still portraying what I think it must be like to adopt an older child. So watch it already!!

There is another movie I have heard about online that I watched the trailer for today that looks very interesting. It is a documentary type movie that follows 2 families that have been touched by international adoption. One is a family whose adopted daughter from Korea is now 32 and one family just beginning their journey over to China for their daughter. It doesn’t seem to pull any punches and from the preview it is pretty clear that the 32 year old adoptee has major issues with this aspect of her life. One review that I read that I liked said something like, “Not for the faint of heart, but then again, neither is trans-racial or international adoption”. I agree. Here is the link if you want to check it out: http://www.adoptedthemovie.com/adopted-trailer/

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Hooray for September!! August 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:03 PM

Summer is almost over (even though it will still be hot!) and our schedules are about to change up. Now that I am a mom, I am getting into that “back to school” feeling. This year, Isaac will be going to Mother’s Day Out at a new place. It is a church very close to our house–as a matter of fact, if our neighborhood had sidewalks, I would just walk him there. He will go 2 days/week this year and I think he is really going to enjoy it. Right now he is really into going to the church nursery and he isn’t having any separation problems so I think the transition will be smooth. Fall also means it is time for new small groups at church. I always love when the small groups switch up and the new directory comes out. There is so much to choose from! I always have about 10 groups I want to be a part of–rocking babies in the NICU, knitting on Mondays, a couple’s group……..but let’s be real, there is never enough time. I will be leading an International Adoption Support group with my good friend, Lynn. She and her husband Scott have 3 boys and are adopting a baby girl from Russia!! I am so glad that I’ve gotten to know them and that we are going through this together. We really hope that this group will serve to support couples during and after the adoptions, but also to encourage other believers in our church that adoption is near to God’s heart and is not just a last resort for infertile couples. There are so many references in the Bible about our responsibility as Christians to care for the orphans, the fatherless, widows, anyone who is hurting or in need. So we really want to be there for couples who are curious and may have questions. It will also be nice to get a big group of international children together for playgroups. Speaking for myself, I know we would love for our new son to have a group of children that includes other kids that are Chinese or Guatemalan or any other color or nationality. That kind of diversity is something I desire for Isaac to be comfortable with early on, but also for our other son who will not have the luxury of being in the majority wherever he goes. Because let’s face it, I love where we live, but there are not a lot of colorful faces everywhere I turn!!

This fall, in addition to teaching water aerobics I will teach a stroller workout class. We hold this class in the fall and spring due to the weather and it is an INTENSE workout. I am interested to see how Isaac will respond to being in the stroller for an hour at a time. Something tells me I will have to pack lots of snacks. If he had it his way, he would be right there with us pushing his baby stroller, but I think that could be considered a safety issue. Also I don’t think he would enjoy the squats and lunges!

 

Holiday Adoption Fundraiser August 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 5:15 PM

We are so grateful to have been chosen to take part in a great holiday adoption fundraiser. As most of you know, we are going to be adopting a “little brother” for Isaac from China. We are working with a wonderful woman (who has adopted 2 children from Asia herself) and selling beautiful hand-painted Chinese Christmas ornaments, along with other items including jewelry, purses, and home decor. Please visit the website at http://www.holidayadoptionfundraiser.blogspot.com/ (click on all the links under “Time to Go Shopping” on the right side of the page) to see all of the ornaments and other items you can purchase! Every penny of the profits will go toward the $25,000 it will cost to bring this little guy home. The ornaments come packaged in a beautiful red silk box and make great gifts for teachers, co-workers, or neighbors…..you know, all those people that you don’t think about until the last minute!! To place an order, please e-mail me directly at emwood77@gmail.com. If you are local to Birmingham, I will hand-deliver your order to you. Thank you so much for checking out our blog—feel free to check in often to follow our journey to adopt!!
 

The Waiting is the Hardest Part August 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:22 PM

I’m talking, of course, about the adoption. There are a few things I’ve learned very early on in this process.

1. We have control over very little.
2. It is all about hurry up and wait.

So far there have been so many tasks to do, interviews to complete, forms to fill out. It is nice in a way to wake up every morning and have something that needs to be done. It feels like progress is being made and that you are bringing yourself that much closer to meeting your child. But then comes the waiting. You get everything turned in and then it is out of your hands and you are at the mercy of what seems like half the government employees in the U.S. and in China. Sometimes you can wait for months to get clearance from background checks, DHR, or Immigration. Our first real period of waiting is coming up, and we don’t know how long it will be. I am even lagging behind on my required reading mostly because I like having something on my to-do list.

And of course there is the completely human desire to be totally in control of everything. I learned quickly with this adoption that I can only control one thing and that is how quickly I can get my stuff done. We are totally trusting in God and knowing that even with delays and months of waiting, he is perfectly orchestrating this adoption so that in the end, we don’t just get a child. We get THE child that he had in mind for us long before we even filled out the first form. I have to remind myself of this multiple times a day and it is a great lesson for me in all parts of my life. When I start to feel anxious or impatient, I just remind myself that this is in God’s hands and I’m leaving it there. No questions asked. You may be surprised how comforting that is to have a mantra like that: “I’m leaving it there.” But it brings me peace. And I know that once I see this boy’s face I will be so thankful for every delay that led me straight to him.

 

Protected: My Son, The Party Animal August 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:37 PM

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Protected: This Kid Kills Me (Subtitled: I Need a Vacation) August 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:50 PM

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Still Working……. August 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:55 PM

Well, even though we finished up our initial paperwork for the adoption, we are still scrambling around completing little chores here and there. What we are working on this week includes getting physicals, working on some required reading, and going to the Health Department for HIV tests. We have to get a lot of bloodwork done for our physicals and insurance does not cover it because it isn’t medically necessary. Since the HIV test would have run us $85 each, we decided to opt for the free test at the health department. We must save money anywhere we can at this point!! The required reading is interesting and covers all sorts of topics including medical issues our child may face, things to take with you when you travel to China, attachment disorders, and then just basics about China including their history, government, economy, etc. The reading on attachment is really sad but it is good that we are educating ourselves on it now. Most babies understand in the beginning of their lives that if they have a need and cry about it, someone (usually Mom) will come meet their need and they will be gratified. After this happens hundreds and thousands of times the baby knows there is this person there who will always meet their needs. A baby in an orphanage has a need, cries, and it doesn’t get met. Or if it does it is not in a timely manner and it is not by the same person every time. This teaches them not to trust and not to even express emotions regarding their needs and they never know if or when their needs will be met. It is an awful thought, but something that we will have to deal with in one way or another. It will be very important when we come home that Jason and I (and probably mostly me) make a point to meet all of the child’s needs on our own. No handing off to Grandma or aunts or friends. They MUST understand that we are the ones who will always care for them from now on so they can form that bond with us. Our social worker encouraged us to bring Isaac when we travel so that the new child will be able to see us caring for Isaac and will be more likely to understand our roles as their parents. Also it is easier for the child to bond with another child than with adults initially. It is so easy to think about that day we will get to meet our new son and it is tempting to think he will reach his arms out to us and be full of joy to have a family, but this is not how that scenario always plays out (although the younger they are, the better). These children have never seen Americans (some have never seen men). So we don’t look right, we don’t sound right, and they have been ripped away from everything they’ve ever known. They go from spending so much time without stimulation and now here we will be, in their face all day. It is traumatic to them and they grieve terribly. So it will be a very happy and sad day all at the same time.

Okay, that is getting too sad!! Has everyone been watching the Olympics? This is the first time I have really had more than a passing interest in them. The opening ceremonies were awesome. We feel so lucky to be able to learn anything about China and to see it on TV. I love the gymnastics and diving and the swimming has been exciting too. I watched the floor exercises for the Chinese men’s gymnastics teams last night and it was AMAZING!! Other good TV recently was when Steven Curtis Chapman and his family were on Larry King the other night. If you don’t know, he is a Christian music singer and he and his family are huge advocates for adoption. The are really trying to mobilize the body of Christ to care for the fatherless. They have 3 older children and 3 younger (adopted from China). In May, their youngest daughter was killed in an accident at their home–sadly one of his older sons accidentally ran over her in their driveway. They went on to discuss their unwavering faith during this horrendous time. They really inspired me, especially their older children who are so loving and supportive of each other. The tragedy has been tremendous, but they are still giving God all of the glory. Shame on Larry King for messing up their daughter’s name (Maria Sue) TWICE during the broadcast!!! He kept calling her “Little Mary Sue”.

Our second interview with our social worker is tomorrow. We don’t really know what to expect, but we are glad that the process is moving right along!