Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye, Bye 2009

Just a few more hours. Hard to believe!!

We were painting this morning and Eli says, 'Dad, were there colors in 2001?"
Mark: Yeah, there were colors in 2001.
E: Were there colors in 2000?
Mark: Yeah.
E: Were there colors when you were a kid?
Mark: Yes, there have always been colors.
E: Well, then how come on TV it seems like it was real and there weren't any colors?

Too funny.

We are so thankful for 2009. We had a GREAT year. We are so looking forward to 2010. We are planning on another GREAT year!

Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking Point!!

Many of my fellow adoption friends might think that title implies I’ve reached my limit with this ‘referral wait’! But actually, it’s much more about all the posts I’ve stored up in my heart. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t posted them. Maybe I had not sorted out all the thoughts in my own mind? Maybe I was afraid of offending someone? That’s not my usual nature. I can say like it is. But in a blog forum you can’t really gauge anybody’s reaction unless they comment. It leaves you feeling a little vulnerable. But I’ve reached my breaking point. Too many thoughts. Too many emotions. In no particular order. So, here it goes. You may want to go grab that cup of Joe.

I grew up in the South. That’s no secret. I still live in the South. That’s not either. It has once been said that when you are from the South, you consider yourself as belonging to ‘a certain piece of the earth’. There is deep tradition. There are many things unique to the South. We eat grits. We wave at people we don’t know. We say ‘y’all’ and ‘fixin’ to’ as in I’m fixing to go outside and water the grass.’ Or I’m fixing to go to the movies. We teach our children to say ‘Yes, sir’ and “Yes, ma’am’ and get irritated if another adult says ‘You don’t have to call me Ma’am’ because we have implicitly told them that it is rude not to. Our children call their friend’s mothers “Miss Kim’, ‘Miss Holly’, and “Miss Christi’ even though all of those individuals are married. I love the south.

But there are also some things about the south that remain that aren’t so great. For instance, attitudes of people who like to believe they are forward thinking, even have the mind of Christ, and yet are stuck in Pre-Civil war, hand-me down attitudes that are ridiculously out of date and have very little to do with the Gospel.

My growing up years were full of decorum. I attended an Episcopal private school, played tennis, and had lots of friends who were the children of my parent’s high-school peers. I went to a public high school and cheered. I was also a card-carrying member of the Cotillion Club, Debutante Ball, and we were members of a private-no-blacks-allowed-as-members-Country Club. The MaĆ®tre’d with whom we spoke to by name every Sunday afternoon as he sat us down for lunch after church was also the father of a boy who I sat next to in homeroom for 4 years. I cheered for him on the football field. But never interacted with him socially. I never, ever thought of my family as racist – we never used derogatory terms, were kind to people of all races, and gave of our time and resources to local ministries that helped others ‘less fortunate’. But clearly there were many unwritten rules about the South I knew and loved.

I have to shift gears for another thought before I return to the Southern stuff. I’ll bring it back around – I promise.

Many people adopt because they have a heart for a specific country or they are called to fulfill the scripture ‘take care of widows and orphans’. I must admit for me it was a very selfish decision to adopt. We simply wanted a little girl. We have 2 boys. My pregnancies were ridiculously hard. And we wanted to adopt. We knew dark-skin. That was our heart because we think black skin is BEAUTIFUL. Not for any other sanctimonious reason. HOWEVER….after the Lord led us to Africa for our daughter(s), all of the above mentioned followed. I have found myself in love with the country of Ghana. I have found a passion for the world of adoption that I never knew I had. I have found myself realizing that I actually have a deep passion for things of this world that are unjust!! Through our adoption (before it has even happened!!!) the Lord has revealed things in me and about me that I never knew existed. That is just plain awesome. We started out a journey with a pretty selfish goal and have found ourselves amidst passions galore!

Back to the South. All that to say, we are not adopting to prove a point to anyone. We are not adopting to heighten awareness of adoption, Africa, or any other just cause. We simply want to add to our family the children that the Lord brings to us.

1 Starting Point, 2 Men, 2 Very Different Decisions…

I want to brag on my Daddy. He’s going to flip when he realizes I’m blogging about him specifically but he’ll love me anyway. My Daddy grew up in the South. Just like me. When I told him about our plans to adopt last Christmas, his words were very affirming. (After he looked at me and said, “Is Mark kidding?”) But I know my Daddy and I knew there were deep reservations there. Perhaps they are justified. We’ve had several great candid conversations in the past year about the adoption and the fact that we are going to be a ‘transracial’ family. I appreciate greatly his candor and honesty paired with compassion and love. He recently started reading ‘The Hole in Our Gospel’ and can’t put it down. I think it may be changing his entire worldview. In one book. This Christmas, he asked specifically if there was anything he could be reading to ready himself for our adoption. I was THRILLED!! And put together an ‘Adoption Packet’ for both sets of our parents.

This Christmas season we also had a close (Southern) friend say to us, among other things, that our adoption was ‘unjustifiably costly’. As in, you shouldn’t be doing it. Unjustifiable? A human life in need of a forever family? Huh? A Christian friend. A huge disappointment for us. Not because we need his approval but because we expected better. I could write an ENTIRE blog about this but will show some restraint here.

So, here’s the Good News: As I shared with my Daddy, the comments by this other man and his response was not ‘I told you so” or ‘You better think twice about this’. My Daddy said, ‘That’s gonna happen, but you can’t let it bother you.” I wanted to stand up and do a CHEER! I wanted to squeeze his neck! I was so thankful for his response.

2 men of the same southern culture. The same starting viewpoint. A very different choice to see the world through HIS eyes – not ours. Thank you, Jesus.

I could probably go on and on. The Lord has done so much already. I’d love to hear your comments (as opposed to wondering!!) If you gotten this far, thanks for reading. We are a work in progress but love the adventure He has us in!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Letter to Relatives

Dear Adoption Blog Friends,

I need your help! Awhile back, someone in our circle of blogs posted a letter that was written by an adoptive parent/couple to their relatives, parents, someone. I've tried to find it but can't seem to locate it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about or know where I can find it?? I thought maybe it was on Laurel or Kami's blogs but can't find them??? Anyone? Bueller?