This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quilt #3 and Quilt #4

Grandmothers and roses are much the same. Each are God's masterpieces with different names.

-- Author Unknown

Well, thanks to two very talented, dedicated and patient grandmas, both of our little girls now have their very own hand-made quilts.  The design is the same as the first two quilts, but the boarders are a little more feminine for our girls.  Making a quilt like these is such a big undertaking.  From tracking down all the squares that were necessary, to cutting and trimming and sorting it all out, to stitching and ironing, to tying and binding... there's nothing easy about it.  We are both fortunate to have talented and crafty mothers.  But we're really lucky to have them because of the great deal of love they have poured into our lives for the past 30 years, and the great deal of love they are already pouring into their grandparenting.  

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Present for Abraão Lucas

Abraão Lucas' present is a beautiful handmade wooden airplane from Chicory Wood Products in Wisconsin. We are hoping that as he plays with this beautifully crafted toy, we will have conversations about the long plane ride ahead, what it will be like, and what that trip home means for him and for us as a family. Together we go home and together we remain--no matter what.

So, we've now found special, symbolic gifts for all of our children. We have clothes in their closets and toothbrushes ready to go next to the sink. And we have hearts so full of love for these sweet children that we are about to burst--with joy or impatience. Our agency thinks we should have a court date in a week or two, and then travel in another week or so after that. Middle of October, maybe. Of course, we've learned to hold manmade timelines VERY loosely, but we are hopeful that we are really only weeks away from finally meeting our children for the first time and beginning a very different kind of life from that moment forward.

Present for Brayan

We've spent a considerable amount of time planning special, meaningful gifts for each of our children.  We wanted to be sure that we gave them something during our first days together that would be a tangible reminder of who we are as a family.  We are hoping this brave but super-cuddly lion stays with Brayan for years to come, and reminds him as he hugs its fuzzy little neck that it's OK to feel scared or lonely sometimes... and that Mom and Dad will always be there to comfort him and give him the courage he needs to keep on growing--no matter what.  

Here's the sweet lion posing with some USCIS approval envelopes!

Paperwork Progress

Someday, my life will be dedicated to children and not to paperwork.  It's looking like that day will be very soon... but it hasn't come yet.  We waited for a notarized original Visa Letter to arrive from Brazil.  It came in record time and we immediately realized why the Brazilian consulate would not accept the copy we initially brought them.  Just look at it!  It has an original signature with a "Notary" arrow pointing to it, a printed notary declaration with signature, a very official looking sticker with two different stamps on it, and a raised seal initialed for authenticity.  This is one seriously official letter.  If this is what they were expecting at the consulate, it's obvious why a copy wouldn't suffice. 

We're also ecstatic to be in possession of four USCIS "Provisional Approvals."  One for each child.  We're not quite sure why a second set arrived today, but we're still very glad to have them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being Present, Savoring, Investing

A few weeks ago, I had a great talk witha friend about "being here now."  It sure is funny how, no matter where we are, we always dream of being somewhere new... or somewhere old.  What if I had chosen this or that?  What if X hadn't happened?  What if I had accomplished Y?  If only I felt happier or safer or braver.  If only my prayers had been answered.  All of this worry takes our eyes off of the beauty of the present moment, and I think that no matter how frustrating, scary, stressful or unexpected now is, it has got to have some beauty built into it.  Even if it's something little (although, I think the beauty is always bigger than we think it will be).  It's probably always best to "be here now."

It's not as easy as it sounds, this being here now, but I'm working on it.  I've decided that after this long wait to be united with my children is over, I am going to eliminate grumbling and complaining from my vocabulary and do my best to be 100% present, invest 100%, and savor every moment to the fullest.  I know I'll be in a tailspin of new-ness and probably overwhelmed with the responsibility and day-to-day stuff of parenting 4 children, but I'm determined to focus on filling up their hearts with all the love and encouragement and confidence and self-esteem and skills and Jesus that they need to be whole people in this broken and unpredictable world.  We don't have any time to waste.

So, maybe my house will get messy.  And maybe we'll be late getting to places.  And maybe my children will show up in public with clothes that don't match sometimes.  But, those dear hearts of those will matter more than anything else to us.  We will laugh and take pictures and listen to one another.  We will cling so tightly to each other that there will be no room for gloom to sneak its way in--even on the sad and difficult days.  We will notice and talk and play and sing and tickle and watch them grow.  And at the end of every full day we will crash into bed and thank the Lord for the blessings we fight for every day.

This is our task.  To be present in every moment.  To savor every moment.  To invest in every moment.  Times 4.  And in the meantime, I'm practicing on my darling husband.  He's such a gift.  I hope he knows it.

Provisional Approval!

Celebrate!  We received "Provisional Approval" for our children's visas from USCIS today!  1...2...3...4! 4 visas ready and waiting to be printed as soon as the adoption is finalized. 

Here's what I think we have left:
  • Provisional Approval should have been sent to the US Consulate in Rio also.
  • Rio makes up a document called "Article 5" by the US and known as the "Acordo" by the Brazilians.
  • Lino makes us a court appointment.
  • Away we go to Brazil to meet our children!
Look how short that list is!  I can hardly believe all we've been through is down to 4 bullet points.  I'm not even willing to guess how long all of this will take, but I know we're closer than ever to being parents to four children hand-chosen to be our family by the same hands that created the universe! 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Surprise Blessings

You know, the longer we wait to meet our children, the more blessings God seems to pour into our lives.  Last night I went out to a birthday dinner with a group of ladies and ended up sitting next to a dear soul whom I had met shortly after we decided to adopt (over 3 years ago).  At that time she was waiting to adopt her daughter from China and we connected because of our mutual desire to become parents to far away children who needed our love.  Her daughter has been home with her for over a year and a half now and is a beautiful girl with a beautiful mother and a beautiful story!  Accross from me at the same table sat another woman touched by adoption AND by Brazil.  She worked teaching English in Northern Brazil for a year and spoke so lovingly about her three daughters, two of whom she had adopted.  And as if that weren't enough, right accross the table was another woman who spent time living all around South and Central America, and also has a heart for adoption.  She is a native English Speaker, raising a bilingual daughter with her Argentine husband.

Before I left to go downtown for this dinner, I was really feeling down in the dumps... at the bottom of a doozy of a loop on the emotional rollercoaster on which I seem to be living these days.  I called my dear husband and told him that I just wanted to stay home with the covers pulled over my head.  But that dear husband of mine encouraged me to go, knowing that it would lift me up.  And it did.  I caught myself thinking, "If we'd already left for Brazil, I would have missed meeting these amazing women."

It's impossible to know what else we need to learn, understand, experience, hear or become before we finally meet our children (and oh, how we long to meet them!), but every time a gem like this one pops up, it reminds me that I really can't know what the future will hold... what blessings or what surprises.  I just know that the big reveal will be well worth the wait, and I imagine it will erase most of it too.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Dear Maynara, Abraão Lucas, Luana, and Brayan,

I can hardly think about anything else but you lately, my loves! As it is now only a matter of weeks until we will be able to fly down and meet you, I find myself anticipating the union of our family more and more each day. It’s funny to think back almost six months to March when we first found out about you, and to think about all the many things that had to work to make us a family. Even when it was tough for us to wait for an answer from the judge, and even when I feared that the judge might say “no,” I tried to stay focused on you all, my loves, and tried trust in the knowledge that God would make sure we would be brought together as a family if He had planned it. And, boy, am I so happy that He did!

Even as I’m writing this letter to you, you probably don’t know anything about us yet, although we were told that you have been talking about families and are excited about the possibility of a family. I know when the time is right, Lino will come talk with you and he will be able to finally give you the gifts we prepared a few weeks ago for you: the photo books, the little stuffed elephants, and the shirts. (Can those silly little gifts really show you how much we love you!?) I daydream about that moment sometimes, wondering what each of you will think when you open the book for the first time to see the photos of us, your Mom and Dad. Or the pictures of your house here in Connecticut. Or the snapshots of Oscar, who I’m sure will be so happy to have you to play with when you get home!

But don’t worry, I’m trying not to romanticize that moment too much in my mind! In reality, I know you might be scared, too. I'm sure I would be a little scared if I were in your shoes! But I want you to know that it’s OK to be scared and excited at the same time. There are a lot of exciting things and a lot of new and unknown things just around the corner for all of us. The bottom line is that we’re going to be a family, and we’ll get through it all, fun times and tough times, together--no matter what.

A few nights ago I was looking at your photos as I lay in bed before falling asleep. Your Mom came in to bed after me and asked what I was doing. I told her “I’m just looking at the photos of our beautiful children.” She smiled and answered, “won’t it be nice to be able to peek in on them sleeping in their own beds once we're all home.”

Yes. Yes, it really will be.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More Perfect Provision

It's a big day in Perfect Provisionland. Not only are we the proud new owners of a beautiful 2000 Chrysler Town & Country (thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Fullton),

we also are in possession of our children's birth certificates and official referral documents.

Not to mention a decree from CEJA officially granting us permission to adopt our four children.

This is really happening!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hearts a-pounding

We sure weren't expecting this!

But right after dinner, I found these beautiful photographs waiting for me in my inbox. Honestly, I've never seen more beautiful children. They've grown so much since 5 months ago when we first saw their pictures.

We're told that their "social mother said they are very curious and anxious about something to happen," but they haven't been told about their parents yet. The time must be just right so that we know we won't impose a stressful wait on them. That is a burden we must bear for them as their parents.

Soon, darlings, we're coming soon.