Thursday, March 20, 2014

Departing thoughts...

Tomorrow morning we begin our journey to Hong Kong to pick up our son. We had a phone conference with our social worker yesterday to discuss travel and other details. We discussed possible grief reactions. There will be grief. Daniel Bennett describes adoption as a "God-glorifying tragedy" and I can't say it any better. Ezekiel will grieve the loss of the foster family, culture, and language that he has known and he will always grieve the loss of a birth family. The foster parents will grieve the baby they have loved the last 18 months. There will be grief in our home as well. However, it will all be made right in the end.

We haven't really shared much of our emotional process about the adoption (other than expressing frustration about the wait and bureaucratic details) to outsiders. We have faced opposition from the first time we mentioned considering a Down syndrome adoption. We had a ready defense and we used it frequently. We focused much on the "why not" because we really wanted people to grasp that Ezekiel is a person and worthy of life and love. It was not about the sacrifices to be made and it still isn't.

That said, I (Amanda) think my grieving process has begun. I am thinking of everything in terms of "lasts" even though I know they won't really be lasts. Last quiet bath while four kids play independently. Last time to listen to a book or sermon while I fold laundry. Last night of independence after the children are in bed. Last night of potential sleep. Last day to be together as a family of six. Last time laundry will be folded and put away in the same day (oh who am I kidding, that rarely happens now). Last.....without a special needs baby/child/adult. The encouraging thing is that the same things are still true that were true when we began this process. This life is still temporary, all life is still valuable, children with Down syndrome are still discarded and marginalized. We still have enough resources, faith and love to make this child or own. So I will let myself grieve these perceived "lasts" and remember that's it's not about me - it never was. We are nearing the end of this process but it marks the beginning of our new life as a family of 7 and new grace to provide and love Ezekiel as God loves us.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Only 4 More Days!

Ezekiel's Room
We received our High Court Order last Tuesday and I spent the day booking flights and hotel. We leave Friday, March 21st to fly to Hong Kong to pick up Ezekiel. Coincidently Friday is also World Down Syndrome Day. We are pretty excited as we make last minute preparations. It's amazing how something you have anticipated for months can sneak up on you. 

Ellie and Daddy building Z's crib

Here is a sweet video released in honor of World Down Syndrome Day. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Nearing the end, which is really the beginning.

Ezekiel 16 months
Hopefully we are only a few weeks away from meeting our son. We are hoping to receive our High Court Order (HCO) in the next 1-3 weeks. We can travel as soon as one to two weeks after HCO. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Safari! The animals (and a few people)

Steven and our safari car

Having fun watching zebras 

Lioness and cubs

Beautiful sunrise over the mountains

Maasai Giraffe 

An old buffalo 

And a new buffalo 

My favorite safari animal 

We got to watch them pretty closely 

This Maasai woman asked our driver whether the elephants were far enough away
from the road that it would be safe for her to pass

Rhinos at the rhino sanctuary 

Sunrise through the safari car

Vi helping Steven spot 


Tired and chilly 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Safari! (Ngerende Island Lodge)

Christina said that I couldn't visit Kenya without going on safari. This was probably the part of my trip I was least interested in. I have never had a burning desire to go on safari but I thought I'd be a sport. I am SO glad Christina insisted that we have this adventure. I was blown away by the lodge we stayed at, by the employees who served us, by the people who live near the Mara, by the beautiful landscape, the animals and such an overwhelming appreciation for the Creator. Everything was perfect and I was not ready to leave after our short, two-night stay.

Animals on the rocky road on our way to Maasai Mara 

Ngerende Island Lodge staff lined up to welcome us 

Maasai warriors greeted us

They made us participate and it's true what they say: white men (and women) can't jump. 

We were welcomed with fresh mango juice 

Across the beds, it says Home Sweet Home 

Our tub (that our personal butler filled nightly) overlooking the Mara River complete with hippos

Violet watching the hippos

We were surprised with a "bush breakfast" after our morning game drive complete with a toilet

Chef James ready to prepare our breakfast of choice 

Vi loved the swimming (yes, those are hippos in the background) 

Vi posing in her bathrobe 

Andrew, the artist, and the picture he painted for our house 

The fire made by our butler for our comfort after the "chilly" afternoon game drives

The Maasai warrior who guarded our "tent" while we slept 

Relaxing in the beauty - I didn't want to leave 

Wine, juice and potato chips... why not?

Last week I was sunbathing and this week I am buried in snow :)

I love the colors, clouds, the Mara River and the hippos in the background 

Butternut bisque 

The bush breakfast 

More swimming and hippos