Dec 14, 2011

Women Wednesday: The Great Debate

The Hero and I had a really hard talk two years ago when we brought home The Angel and The Dinosaur. I'm sure lots of other couples have had the same one.
"To stay at home with the kids or go back to work?"
There is a part of my femininity that may be missing, because this wasn't a difficult question for me to answer. I practically ran back to the office. I had been practicing law almost five years when the kids came home, and I was good at it. Law school wasn't cheap and I amassed more student loan debt than The Hero's mortgage on his first house. There was no way we could afford for me to stay home. Spending three weeks away from the office also revealed another horrible character flaw: I am a work-aholic. I love it.
This may be why making and keeping new girlfriends has always proved challenging for me. It's hard for me to admit that I like being at the office. That my brain lights up and ignites best when legal theories and paperwork abound. And also I think many women I meet would only judge this career choice as a character flaw. They might believe that because I work outside the home, that I am not a good mom. And let's face it, I don't need any help beating myself up about my faults.
I also have much guilt over this new personality development. I often lament my failures as a mother, sometimes on an hourly basis. Maybe we all do. Most days as I pull away from daycare, I groan that I couldn't give my kids a better mother. One who hadn't spent most of her twenties vying for grades and racking up debt. But in my spirit I know that staying at home with The Dinosaur would leave us both unfulfilled and unchallenged. He needs WAY more social interaction that one mama can give him. The boy is busy and the more kids around, the more he loves it.
And you know what?
That's ok.
It actually feels good to say that out loud (or in print).
I may never stay at home.
But that doesn't mean I don't adore my mama friends who stay at home. Most of the time I want to constantly immulate them.
And that doesn't mean they don't love me, even trekking it to the office every day. Even when I don't return their phone calls for a few days.
Some times ladies, I think the debate about whether or not we are good enough, or doing a good enough job in motherhood and life in general, doesn't happen between us women,
It happens within ourselves.
Here's to learning to embrace the creatures God created us to be, with the love that He shows us, no matter where He calls us to spend most of our days.

Dec 13, 2011

I was going through old pictures a few days ago,
getting ready to put together a collage for The Angel and The Dinosaur.
It's their second Christmas with us.
I never believed time gets spent this fast.
As we were looking at birthdays and holidays
and pics of funny faces,
this one appeared,
out of place in my digital file of pictures.
It is from a Christmas past.
Three to be exact.
This face wasn't yet my daughter.
She was still an orphan.
And she was watching a friend leave for her new home.
With her new family.

The Angel looked at the picture.

She smiled and just said

"I remember that day."

"That was the day my last friend left Africa."

Tonight as I tuck my daughter into bed,

there are millions just like her all over the world.

Maybe some even in our neighborhood,

who are standing at the gate,




for their turn.

Their chance to have a home.

What are we going to do about it?

Dec 9, 2011

Christmas Carols

I love Christmas music.
It starts playing Thanksgiving Day and I am the annoying person who leaves it on until sometime
after the New Year.
The kids and I sing them every morning on the way to school.
But this year,
I can't sing this one without choking up.
Can you?

Our precious Thai bab(ies) we are missing you this Christmas.
But The Maker of stars is guiding our paths together.
And we are headed straight to you.
So that He will receive all the glory.

Dec 6, 2011

Last Christmas

For the last couple of years, I've kept a list of awesome gift ideas that give back.

I tried really hard to coordinate another list this year.

But I can't.

It's not really a time constraint, but more of like a heart constraint.

Between The Hero and I, I think we've bought five gifts this year.

We've bought the kids a couple of things, but they don't really care about toys.

And clothes are really boring.

As I think about our kid(dos) across the globe in Thailand,

I doubt he/she/they are thinking about toys, or snow (i know they aren't thinking that)

or how many different candies they will eat on Christmas.

I'm sure that my child(ren) are thinking about whether this year will be the year

they will get a family, a safe place to call their own.

And it devastates me that for Christmas 2011, they won't.

Our home study isn't completed.

Our dossier isn't yet submitted.

Our referral hasn't been given.

And so we wait.

For another Christmas.

Another shopping season that no one will remember next year,

let alone next month.

I saw a woman post today on facebook about this girl.
Her name is Shannon.

Shannon is 13.

She'll be 14 in two months.

She is a waiting child from China.

And Shannon has a Christmas wish:

A family.

You see, this is Shannon's last chance.

Her last Christmas wish for her heart's desire.

Someone to call her their own.

In China, once she turns 14, she will never have the opportunity to be adopted.
Her two best friends were adopted not long ago and living in America.

Shannon begs for them to find her a home.

And she only has two more months.

So while we are all making our lists and checking the Internet for great deals,

Shannon is on her knees, begging that her Mommy and Daddy come soon.

Tonight, I'm on my knees for Shannon too.

My shopping list would be to find her a family.

It's her last Christmas.

Please repost this and share her story.

If you know anyone who is home study ready and even better if their LOA is logged into China,

please direct them to Kelly at

My friend Lindsay posted an amazing post with links to

gifts that give back and you can check that out here.

Christmas is Two Days Early This Year

On November 29th, 2009, my sister and her husband relocated to Phoenix

for a new adventure in their life.

On November 30th, 2009,

The Hero and I began a new adventure of our own:


Laura had barely pulled in her new driveway when I called

to tell her about our referral.

It was the oddest moment of elation and devastation of my life.

While I couldn't wait to get the kids, Laura and I both wondered

how my kids would ever bond with someone who lived a 1000 miles away.

The next time I saw her, I was getting off the airplane in OKC

with two kids.

Jetlag, exhaustion, and acclimating to our life at home

would have been unbearable if she and Brian hadn't been there our first week.

They did the laundry, the grocery shopping, the rocking for nap-time,

while I tried to pull my head out of the whirlwind of the last two weeks.

Coming face to face with motherhood and abject poverty for the first time

took a toll on my heart and my brain.

At the end of that first week, The Angel knew she had a mother.

And an aunt.

Whom she adored.

Aunt LaLa was all she wanted for her first birthday home.

Our first Christmas was amazing.
There were lots of smiles.

LOTS of laughs.
(I think he looks like the seamstress from The Incredibles :)

Too many gifts that neither of the kids remember a year later.
And while every one was amazing and made their first Christmas perfect,
it was definitely noted that there were two presents missing.
We skyped the entire Christmas morning, letting LaLa and Papa Chu
watch each gift being opened,
each toy being played with and
watching The Dinosaur terrorize us all with his dump truck.
At the end of the day, Laura sent me a message,
telling me that 2010 would be last Christmas my kids were small
that she wouldn't be sitting in my living room.
I told her I was going to hold her to that,
but wouldn't tell the kids.
So as we made our lists this year for what they wanted to unwrap,
The Angel again requested her favorite thing:
and maybe, just maybe if he was good,
she'd let Papa Chu come along.

So for Christmas 2011,
I waited for as long as I could to tell the kids.
About two minutes after I knew.

So while they won't care about presents.
And some fat man squeezing in our fireplace doesn' t mean anything.
Santa and his entire magical entourage could carry
Laura and Brian's bags from the airport,
and The Angel and The Dinosaur wouldn't notice.
There will be popcorn,
and probably costumes

there will be giggles,
playing ball in the house
and breaking all of Mommy's rules.

There will be late nights,
pillow fights,
sleeping in late
and cereal for dinner.

The Angel is beside herself.
She is so excited that she has turned her
paper-chain, Advent calendar from school into a
"Countdown to Aunt Laura coming".
But I haven't told her they will be here on the 23rd.
I want to see the look on her face:

Christmas comes two days early this year.

Dec 5, 2011

You Think She Wants A Sibling?

Last Wednesday was our home study.

We had been talking about it with The Angel and The Dinosaur for weeks.

Because those of you who have adopted before know that

once a social worker steps foot in your house,

your children know one thing:

You cannot kill them.

We seriously could entertain the entire House and Senate at our dinner table

and The Angel and The Dinosaur would behave normally.

But the level of heathen behavior at the Andrews' household is

paramount when we have a post-placement visit.

We encouraged The Angel and The Dinosaur to mind their manners,

don't scream at one another and generally attempt to act as if we

are trying to teach them to be upright, outstanding citizens.

(Our last two post placement visits,

The Hero and I were convinced The Dinosaur might sprout horns and

The Angel had a megaphone inserted into her lungs.)

Sure enough, the door bell rings on Wednesday and the kids fling the door open.

Completely forgetting "Stranger Danger."

But things started to go badly when The Dinosaur brought down his piggy bank.

Remember, it wasn't two months ago he swallowed copper?

He dumped his entire savings on the floor, and began swimming through them.

And immediately became bored.

As The Dinosaur did cartwheels off our furniture,

The Angel quietly sat on the floor between our social worker

and The Hero and I.

And only interrupted to ask me to take a picture of her new creation.

She's good.

Real good.

And she's ready for a sibling.

Dec 4, 2011


It poured here on Saturday.
Biblical rains started immediately as we entered Target.
It didn't stop by the time we checked out, even though we drug ourselves through
the entire store to try and beat the drench.
The Hero offered to get the car while the kids and I waited.
When we all were secured after The Hero's valiant gesture,
true to form, The Dinosaur had a question
"Why Daddy get the car?"
Mommy: "Because daddy is a gentleman. And that is what gentlemen do."
Dinosaur: "Why is Daddy a gentleman?"
Mommy: "Because Grandma raised him right."
A minute later.
Dinosaur: "Mommy, can Grandma make me a gentleman too?"
The Hero and I wondered if The Dinosaur was already doubting our parenting skills and just wanted to skip right over to Grandma's house.