We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Seriously??? (Long... just emptying my heart)

To tell my story, I have to go back one day.... to yesterday.  Yesterday on facebook, I put on my profile

Charity Roach is... "wondering when we will get the referral for our little girl... if anyone on Facebook knows, please clue me in" (Monday)

If someone would have said "tomorrow" I would  have laughed.  Loudly.  Hysterically.  Probably for a really long time.  We have been waiting on this adoption for FOREVER, it would not happen tomorrow (today).

Fast forward to today.  My profile comment was:

Charity Roach....is thinking that it sure feels like a Monday!!! Bad start to my work day.... it feels like I just sat down and the day is half over! (Tuesday - today)

It only got better from there.  I logged into my work computer at about 7:40 today.  At 7:49 I got an e-mail from global quality.  A complaint.  The e-mail simply said "Charity, please take care of this complaint".  Sure, no problem... I had nothing else to do today.  Nothing else planned.  And ok, it's my job... I'll take care of it.  I read the details.  It was a complaint from a batch that was manufactured TEN years ago.  Seriously TEN YEARS AGO???  In 2000!  Cameron was barely born.  He wasn't eating solid food... and I'm getting a complaint about this?  I won't go into the details, but let's just say that it won't be an easy complaint investigation.  The people who worked on the batch are no longer at the company.  The management is, so they have some information, but the process techs - they have moved on.  I had to get the batch book out of warehouse storage to even start the investigation.  We don't send them to long term storage for usually five years.  After five years we figure we won't need to access them.  Wrong.  This batch from 10 years ago is going to impact our metrics TODAY!  I get bothered by complaints that are for batches that happened on something other than my watch... and seriously... ten years ago???  Oh well, the nature of the business, I guess.  So, I dropped everything that I had planned for today and started a complaint investigation.  I actually enjoy these investigations but don't like the time pressure you are under to resolve them.  I always find them a bit fascinating... kinda sick, I know, but I guess that's why I'm in Quality.  Many of my colleagues would agree that it takes a very "special" person to love my job... and I do love it.

So, I spent the day investigating.  I managed to make it to ONE meeting that I had previously scheduled for today.  It was scheduled for 1/2 hour.  I was back at my office 2 hours later... nice.  The meeting was for 1:30... back at my desk at  3:30.  Complaint days are never good days... thankfully we don't  have many!

Before I left for my meeting I had sent some e-mails to individuals regarding the complaint, hoping they could provide me with some additional information.  I had requested that some materials be returned to us from the formulation site to help facilite the investigation  - I was hoping I would have gotten some answers and confirmations that materials would be returned.  So, I hop on my e-mail real quick... no responses but there was an interesting e-mail there.....and this is where my day gets worse:

To:  Charity Roach.... From:  Jane Doe (not her real name :)  Re:  Referral

Had I sent the agency an e-mail lately asking some silly question about a referral and they were responding.????  I couldn't remember.  Maybe they read my Facebook profile comment yesterday and they COULD actually tell me when I was getting a referral.  I didn't remember adding them as a "friend" on facebook though.  How about I just OPEN it (heart pounding at about 200 beats per minute).

It was a referral.  A real referral.  I read a little - and then my heart sank.  It was a referral for a child we could not accept.  My breath was taken away, then given back to me quickly as my heart sank.  The little girl has probable special needs.  This is the second time this  has happened to us.  We are NOT expecting a perfect child, but due to my physical limitations due to my vision, it is not feasable for us to accept the referral of a special needs child.  I contacted the agency and asked them why we were getting this... this is actually the second time this has happened to us, and it really is not fair.  You can't imagine  how my heart skipped a beat and did a backflip when I saw the subject of the message.... WAS THIS REALLY IT?  OUR REFERRAL????    No, it was not!  We had requested a non-special needs child.  However, as part of our homestudy, we were asked to include in it that we would accept a child with minor medical needs on a case by case basis just in case there was a situation in which there was a condition that the US embassy thought would be considered "special needs" but could be cleared up with minimal effort.  The agency promised me they would clarify this with the staff in Ethiopia.  From what I understand it is standard in all of the home studies that my agency provides, so she was not sure why the confusion.  She was clear in her e-mail that she understood that we requested non special needs but since the child was presented, she had to present her to us. 

It is heartbreaking to say "no" to a child.  How do you look into the face (even if it is just a picture) and say NO?  It is very hard, but we had to do it.  Call me self-centered, call me selfish, call me whatever you want, but as a family, Tim and I have decided that this is not something that we can manage.  It would not be fair to our other children, and it wouldn't be fair to the child who would need extra attention and medical care that I would have a difficult time providing while not being able to drive.  If something happened to one of our children, we would deal with it... but to go into something knowingly taking on more than you can handle is wrong.  So we had to say no.  It's the same reason Tim and I have decided not to have a biological child... because that is not what is best for our family (and because I desperately want to adopt).  When I had Cameron I lost 50% of what remaining vision I had, the year after his birth.  I was told that while it can't be proven, the stress of pregnancy likely contributed to my vision loss.  I can't aford to take that risk again.  I have about 10 Degrees of vision left - take away 50% of that and I have 5 degrees left.  A biological child is not worth the extra burden it would put on my family, and it is not worth the years I would take from myself of enjoying the sight of my children.  God can take it away... but I can't choose to.  I would love another biological child... don't get me wrong, but there are many other children in the world to love.

So, for a day that started out bad, it went to worse.  I cried - not really crying, but the "eyes filling up with tears" sort of thing.  Just silent hurt.  Adoption is not easy... it is full of emotion.  I'm telling you, from my perspective, a pregnancy was MUCH easier....all 41 weeks and three days worth of it.  All 22 hours of hard labor of it... All 2 1/2 hours of pushing... all winding up in a c-section... add on top of that the pain of recovery.  Much easier than an adoption.  People don't adopt to avoid the pain of pregnancy.  Not this mom anyway.  It's a calling.  It's a desire so strong in your heart it almost hurts - well, not almost, it DOES hurt.  It's how this family is meant to add to our family.

So, today I pray that tomorrow will be better.  Today I pray that we did the right thing.  Today I pray that the baby girl offered to us will find a perfect home.  Today I thank God for the right to adopt, and thank God for the seed he planted in my heart so long ago.  The seed that brought me Anna.  The pain of the process is worth the child I will someday call daughter.  And today I pray that the next time I see the words "referral" it will be for our daughter - who we can accept.

In Christ,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Swirling thoughts

It's starting to feel like summer here in SC!  I have been so looking forward to this time, and it's finally here.  The family and I have been out working in the yard, cycling, walking the bike trail - lots of outdoor things.  The kids are still playing soccer and are enjoying that!

So, we have passed the four month mark in terms of the wait for the referral of our little girl.  It's beginning to get pretty difficult just waiting.  Many things are changing in the adoption world, and while all those things are going on, we sit here waiting... wondering... when will our Sara Joy come home?  Sometimes I think I am so stupid for having done her room.  There are days when I think she will never come home.  There are days when I think "why spend any more money, why put any more emotional investment into it, why not just QUIT?  It has been THREE YEARS for goodness sake... give it up already".  Those days pass though.  Unfortunately they creep back in every once in awhile.

When I look in Sara's room, it makes my heart warm.  I think of the little girl who I will be so thankful for being able to bring home, to her room.  She will be worth the wait.  It's a daily struggle though.  Tim and I could have had three biological children in the time we have spent trying to adopt one.  We could have switched up our path forward and adopt a child domestically and have a child in our home by now.  God has my feet firmly planted though - in Ethiopia - even while my mind wanders.  Unless Ethiopia leaves us (the country closes) we will not be leaving Ethiopia.  My Sara Joy is there!  So, we continue the wait....and wait... and wait.  I can't wait until our wait is over (and then on to Nate and the wait will start all over again.... :)

While we wait, Tim and I have been thinking about some changes for our life.  We are throwing around the idea again of selling the house and building on a larger lot - more in the country.  It would be closer to work, and no further from the kids' school.  Tim is going to crunch the numbers and see what we might want to do.  We are looking at a 6 acre lot, which will be very nice.  I've been looking at house plans to see what we might want to build.  Just something we are throwing around. 

Tim is thinking about getting his Masters Degree.  It would be a great opportunity for him.  He would have to travel a bit in order to do it, but I think it would be worth it for him.  So, while we are thinking about that, we have also considered getting a second car.  That way, we could buy a used one, put the miles on it, and keep some miles off of the Expedition.  I think we are going to go look at one today.  One of my colleagues has a car for sale and I think it would be a great deal and perfect for us.  We'll see after Tim goes to take a look at it though.  Even if Tim doesn't do the Master's program - which I think he will - it will still be good for us to have a second car, just to drive back and forth to work when we don't need all the space of the Expedition.  It will save us on gas as well.  Even though I can't drive, it's good to have two cars at the house.

We have been visiting churches around the area the past few weeks.  We don't have an issue with our church, but we also are looking for different opportunities to serve for myself and Tim.  We are headed back to a church this weekend and I think it may be the church that our family lands in.  The kids like it so far and Tim and I like it as well.  I think it will provide service opportunities for myself and Tim - and that is really what we are looking for.  The people have been very friendly.  It's different than the church we have been attending, but different isn't always bad.  We'll see where we land.  The most important thing is that they preach the truth of the gospel.. and so far, that's all we've heard :)

Tim has the kids at soccer this morning (and it's raining... sorry Tim!!!).  We were hoping to work out in the yard, so maybe the rain will stop!  We had a great family evening last night.  We decided at the last minute to pick up a quick dinner and then take the kids to see "How to tame your dragon".  It was a real cute movie - and both of the kids liked it.  We had a good time together.  Unfortunately Cameron had a sore throat all evening, and again this morning... I'm hoping he is not getting strep throat... we'll have to wait and see.

In Christ,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pearl and Shadow

I promised a friend of mine a picture of Pearl and the kittens.  Mocha was not being very cooperative.  Shadow on the other hand has gotten very comfortable with Pearl and her things.  Shadow drinks out of Pearl's water bowl.  When it's dinner time for Pearl, Shadow runs up to the bowl and takes a few pieces out for herself to play with.  Pearl promptly eats them and goes back to the bowl, but does not chase Shadow away.  Today I was home from work, not feeling very well, and I looked over and Shadow had taken up residence on Pearl's mat. 

I almost took her off, because truly, this is Pearl's space.  Pearl is a working dog and has to have a place to call her own, to be near me, but be comfortable.  Pearl sleeps on this mat every night.  So, I almost took Shadow off, but then I noticed that Pearl didn't really seem to mind her being there.  In fact, maybe she wanted her there. 

The funny part was that Shadow took Pearl's favorite place.  Pearl's favorite place is in the corner by the dresser.  Well, that is where Shadow decided to make her place.  Here are some pictures of my little ones together.

Aren't they the sweetest little things?  Ok, so they are not snuggling...not quite yet, but they are sharing space. 

I'll get some pictures of Mocha, but right now she is napping under the bed - not the best photo opportunity :)

In Christ,

Monday, April 5, 2010

When is a family complete?

Easter Sunday has come and gone and I managed to go the weekend without a post…. Not too surprising since we were busy most of the weekend. We had a GREAT time hanging out with the kids and enjoying the nice South Carolina weather! Today is supposed to be 87 degrees! Wonderful for this time of year!!! The flowers are sure enjoying the warm weather… although so are the weeds :)

This weekend Tim and I had quite a long discussion…well, it was not all one, long, consecutive discussion, but bits and pieces over the weekend. We were talking about kids. I know that Sara will not be our last child. Nathaniel will come next. Where he will come from, I’m not sure, but he will come to us, Lord willing. We will do what we can to get him to us. Where do you stop though? Personally, I could go on and on forever, but when do you determine the right time to stop? Is it based on finances? Personal comfort? The ideal sized family? I personally don’t buy any of those. Tim brought up some good points… things that I need to think about – like when do we give our time to the children we already have? When do you take into consideration our age and how old we will be when the child grows up and is out of the home?

To me, finances are clear – God gives us our money and it is His. All of it. We have to choose wisely when we use it. We don’t need all the things that we have. I think a lot of it is for personal pleasure or comfort. If we cut back, we could bring more children into our home.

God gives us our time as well. This is where it becomes a little more difficult for me. Many times you can work harder or longer and make more money. You can never make more time though. We all have the same, limited amount in every single day. So, I have to make time for work, time for church, time to sleep, time for the kids’ homework, time for making dinner, time for bathing the kids, time for soccer practice, time for grocery shopping, time for getting ready in the morning, time for taking care of the yard, time for feeding the dog, time for …. And the list goes on and on. It’s all God’s time. Are we using it right? Will another child fit into the appropriate “time slot”? That is a sad comment, but it is a true one.

The discussion with Tim brought me to tears this weekend – not because he is more set on the plans for our family, but because he is right. We can not help them all. But that thought makes me sick to my stomach. We have so much and some have so little. We will have another child. We will bring our Sara home. We will bring our Nathaniel home. That will probably be it though. Is that enough for God to say “you did what I asked”? I don’t know. My heart’s desire is for children. Maybe God has these plans for us (adding Sara and Nate to our family) and then bigger plans – to uproot Tim and I from our comfort zone in later years and go where the children are, instead of bringing the children to us. Maybe that is what God will have us do. All I know is that my heart didn’t break this weekend for no reason – it broke because God made it break. God planted a seed and we will wait to see how it grows.

How did you determine that your family was complete? I’d love to hear the comments. Even if you are in the beginning stages of planning your family, or are in the middle of making your family – I’m sure (like me) that everyone has a “plan”. My plan has changed over time, but I always had one. I’d also love to hear how if you had a plan, how it changed with time, like mine.

Short Updates:

Anna – Wonderful! Praise God! She is up to 24 green tickets in a row. Thank you for your prayers!

Adoption – we are about 3 months and 3 weeks into our wait for a referral. We are hoping we will have to wait less than the anticipated wait time of about 9 months. We desperately want to know our daughter!

The kittens – excellent!!! What a wonderful addition to our home. They are so sweet and snuggly!  We absolutely LOVE them!

In Christ,