Small steps...Taiwan journey

Small steps...Taiwan journey


This is the story of our lives, especially concerning adopting 3 siblings from Taiwan.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


March 25, 2012

hiking in St. George

We’ve had a great few weeks and a marathon of visits and fun with friends and relatives-Seattle, Las Vegas, St. George, Provo.   A few days of adoption paperwork and more days of sunshine.  Amanda (on far left with her 5 siblings and Sam and Emma) came home from her mission in New Zealand this week, so we got to see all kinds of cousins and hear her homecoming…so wonderful.   Sweet kind support from Tom's brother and sister in law.  

Just yesterday, we received news by email that the judge wants the birth mom to be present in court so she can confirm she is okay with the kids being internationally adopted.   The social worker in Taiwan thinks that the date we can pick them up will move from April sometime to the end of May, so we’ve had 24 hours of deep breathing and freak outs.  I literally had to breathe slowly in and out because my chest was feeling like it would burst.  From all the information we’ve gotten, the birth mom’s rights were terminated at least 1 ½ years ago; she hasn’t had custody for at least 3 years, so we were baffled why she would be sought out.  The irony is that I VERY much want to meet her or have some kind of contact, pictures, or information about her because I know that the kids would someday want to know all of that about her.  But I was confused as to what her role in court would be; can she say she doesn’t want them adopted internationally and it all stalls or what? 

I called our agency worker in Taiwan this morning and talked through some of these points.  She and the social work department were equally surprised that the judge ordered this—and the bottom line is that LEGAL trumps all.  Whatever is required legally is what must happen and what we will live by.  The judge can ask that she be notified once or twice or three times…whatever….and however long it takes, oh well, that’s how long it takes.
We had a few moments of “What do we do now?”  Do we fly out as planned tomorrow or change everything?  This very thing was why the agency asks that families wait til they are notified to travel (10 days in advance)…because everything can change and they have no control over what could happen.  We knew that when we chose to buy tickets but Tom and I feel fairly calm...or at least we became calm over a period of 12 hours.  My bottom line question has been to look at the big picture…over a lifetime.  Is there a significant difference between 1 month in Taiwan or 2 months in Taiwan over a lifetime of living?  Nope…This can be an amazing learning experience  for the kids (and the parents).  We are lucky to have enough flexibility with schooling and other activities that if we must stay there for the process, we can.  Of course, much of this depends on the English school we are planning to volunteer at…that is what makes it an affordable option to be there since we’re volunteering in exchange for room and board.   I feel pretty sure that it will work out.  And I guess if it doesn’t, we’ll figure out the alternative next step. 

Sam and Sam in St. George

Monday, March 26, 2012

last minute details at home

February 27, 2012
Ugh…too many things to think about and plan and on top of that little issues that become big with the kids.  Sam and obsession with seeing a $750 lego set on craigslist, Emma barely interested in studying for biology test.  Those things alone aren’t a huge deal, but on top of a house turned upside down with having moved furniture, plans for the Taiwan trip with no real timeline, medical needs and plans, etc.  I know it can all get done; we’ve made significant progress on the house and readying the rooms for the little guys.  I’m shopping around for a few dressers.  The last few years of a bookshelf for Sam’s clothes has taught me that that does not work.

Since it's been close to a record snow year in Alaska, we're excited to see that "great yellow orb in the sky" as Tom calls it.  

Tickets have been bought.  Tom leaves on Monday and the kids and I leave Mar 12 to Seattle, then to Utah.  Some details are still to be determined, and we have a huge list of questions in to our agency re: travel details.
 Since the kids are going and we will only have 10-14 days advance notice of when to be there, we are going early.  ***This was a tough choice, but living in the Great White North means it’s costly to leave the state, and when you do leave, you make the most of it.  It means that there are no solid dates for picking up the little ones, and in reality, no guarantees.  Still court rulings and unknowns.

A huge bright spot:  I researched for awhile possibilities for volunteering in Taiwan.   I really did NOT want this to be a big vacation—more like a chance to learn a culture, share our time and energy in some useful purposeful way with others.   I guess I didn’t expect to find much in the way of need since it’s not a third world country, but I found some great options.  On a blog, there was a description of an English school outside Taipei that offers room and board in exchange for volunteering at their school.   Classes are offered after their regular school day.   That is my background… when I worked  in Maryland 15 yrs ago teaching English writing classes to ESL students at a community college.  I emailed the school and it looks like it will all work out perfectly.  They are excited to have an Alaskan family…the woman asked us to bring pictures etc.  She said when she thinks of Alaska, she thinks of husky dogs.  So, one more list to make…what would be fun to share with 7-12 yr old kids in English about Alaska?  Whoo hoo!!!

February 19, 2012
Next week is the adoption court hearing and then a first ruling and a final ruling after that.  Our agency caseworker thinks it will be April that we can pick them up.  All along, we felt that we wanted the kids to go with us-that perhaps the little ones will bond more easily with kids.  It would also be wonderful for them to experience the culture—see where their Taiwanese siblings came from.  I just think they’re old enough to get SO MUCH out of a trip like this, and because we home school, they can go with no problem.

I always knew this would be life changing, but the other night I was making my lists and I was struck—this is HUGE!  There is nothing more important than this time—making our home a place where three new children can be happy.   Anything else pales in comparison to me:  prioritizing home preparations for these kids.  It just so happens that it’s a little more involved for me because of my weakness in the area of cleaning/organizing.  But it’s okay; I am making headway—mentally, physically—recognizing practical things and big picture things.  I hope I can do what matters most.

February 14, 2012
Feeling a bit of stress and hoping to hold it together.  We got an email yesterday saying that a court hearing will be held next week, Feb 21.  Unfortunately, there was no other information in the email, so we’re not sure what that date means…how soon we will end up going to Taiwan, etc.  Tom is just itching to go.   So, he wants to leave in two weeks and I am freaking out a little bit.  There are MANY things to do to prepare, especially if this is the last weeks before we return with 3 new people in our family:  beds, space in rooms, pare down.  That’s just the physical…not to mention what to bring, documents, pre stuff for emma and sam (teeth, eyes), notes/gifts for people in Taiwan, where to stay etc, a cleanup of home.   It is a bit overwhelming but we are making headway in all recognizing the need for such change (ie less meat, more plant based diet, less or no milk). 

It also stresses me considerably to think of traveling indefinitely.  We really struggle (at least I do) to have peaceful interface when we travel; there are many unknowns and somehow we haven’t mastered that communication and understanding.  I do not want to go into picking up the kids feeling stressed and frustrated, but I can’t see how to avoid it.  Am I any further along in my growth or understanding? 

my inspiration

January 2, 2012

I am trying to start a new year off well and it sure is hard to stay focused even for one day.  Sometimes I wonder, will I ever be patient enough to happily handle the changes that come my way, and of course, I know that that is a silly statement.  We can always be more patient, more kind, more loving.  There will always be opportunities for more growth, for the challenges that bring us to God and change us.

I read this blog of a Christian mother of six (wwwdotaholyexperiencedotcom) and wonder how I am so out of touch, so disconnected from what matters.  I always want to change and grow, and that is continually a focus of my attention, but her blog feels different, less about me and more about God, less about more and better and more about humility and grace.  It is a focus we seem to lose sometimes, not seeing the love and grace of a Heavenly Father who wants us not only to become as He is, but to truly rely on Him in our daily and hourly challenge, to really feel His power.  How to do it?  How to really rely, really change and grow, really become?

I thought in a more real way about the little ones in Taiwan yesterday and felt happy and excited and mournful for the time they have lost waiting for a home, and just the loss of a childhood.  Well, I guess that is not necessarily true.   Their childhood has not been lost, but it is lost to me; I cannot show them pictures and tell them stories of their growing up.  They cannot capture those memories.  I hope they will be able to heal from whatever losses they have incurred and I hope we will be able to love them fully, without reservation.  It is always on my mind, what we want life to be likehow children can thrive and grow and learn and love.  I have read so much in the holy experience blog, much about slowing down, really living in the present, not rushing children, giving them my present love and attention.  What will it look like?  A better routine and rhythm.  How will I do it?

Yes, I am all over the map.  I realized that with the internet, one can read and read and read and get so full of information that it just nearly explodes.  It is too much too handle.  So, I just had the thought that the solution is when I get an idea or thought as a result of what I have read, that is MY inspiration, my guidance from God, my next step.  Take it, act on it and make it my own and then see what comes next.  

Christmas season

December 5, 2011

Yesterday we went to Tom’s performance of the Messiah and Emma’s piano recital.  It was a great day; the Messiah was powerful as always.  Sam, of course, got tired (it’s 90 mins long) but literally within 5 minutes of being back in the car after it was over, I turned on my Christmas cd with a few Messiah songs and he and Emma just belted them out!!  Success, I guess.  It is so moving to participate in standing for the Hallelujah chorus, to hear the beauty of the orchestra, the power of the words.  I am so glad we have this opportunity to participate in Anchorage…to see it and make it part of our family’s life, a real blessing

Then to Emma’s recital.  This semester has been ups and downs with piano, mostly downs.  She likes sweet nurturing personalities for teachers, but I have felt we can stick this out for the semester (or year hopefully).  So she’s gone back and forth with setting piano goals, and when it is a goal, she does amazingly well at keeping her commitment.  For the recital, she was assigned a piece to memorize and began plodding through it.  She would practice right when she got home from seminary to get it over with.  It was a beautiful piece and to hear her play it at 7 in the morning is hard to describe.  It’s still pitch black outside, no one is really stirring at our house yet-Sam and Tom are still in bed, so the sounds of the piano waft throughout the house.  It was a special thing to hear. 

I’ve been trying to do an advent calendar where I put a slip of paper of something we’ll do in a stocking daily.  For the amount of work Christmas is to orchestrate (even when we try to simplify) it’s no wonder kids love it.  If I did a daily thing in all the other months (complete with gifts here and there, crafts, service, and all the preparation and planning that goes with that), life would be pretty fun.  But it seems like on the other hand, it would build up expectations that life should be like that-where someone is always paving the way with fun carrots and making things constantly festive.  Is that good or bad?  Does it create high expectations that I should be trying to implement other times of the year or can we call it good?  

We have yet to hear from the county magistrate in Taiwan.  Even our agency case worker is getting a little anxious and is evaluating who to talk to and what to say.  I try not to think about it too much, but we pray for them-the children and the decision makers. 

October 28, 2011  Friday

Still no word from the county magistrate in Taiwan.  I feel fine about things and more than anything, I am hopeful that we can find a place to live that will help our family thrive.  We are so unsure about buying, but renting a larger house will up the costs considerably.  We have been spoiled with this house, rent and neighborhood.  It has been wonderful.

Fiddler on the Roof

October 28, 2011  Friday

Tuesday night we (the kids and I) saw Fiddler on the Roof downtown.  It was an awesome experience and opened so many topics.  That play is literally filled with deep discussion from covenants to treatment of Jews to parenting to communication with God.  As a child, I remember loving it, but when I watched it on TV as an adult I was amazed at how much is in it…I think that was when I bought my Jewish Atlas to learn more about the history of the Jews because I hadn’t remembered  the actual context of their lives and the situation they were in.  Anyway, the kids were attentive throughout-it was close to 3 hours long; it was beautifully done, the dance and singing numbers, great acting, especially Tevye.  

On the way home, we were talking about reasons that Tevye was troubled by his daughters’ choice of suitors and eventually husbands.  In the first case, they didn’t consult the matchmaker and chose each other for themselves, without his choice or approval.  He eventually agreed to their choice with  some pain and challenge from wife and community.  The second daughter chose a revolutionary (but still a Jew) completely independent of her father’s involvement.  She didn’t really even ask for his approval; she said we’re doing this regardless (I think)and she was leaving home to be with him without being married in a jewish ceremony.  The third chose a Russian non-Jewish boy and that was grounds for disowning, which Tevye did.  I think in the play we see a father progressively letting go of his traditions and recognizing his daughters’ love and happiness from their choices—as though this is right and acceptable and obvious.  When he disowns the third daughter, I’m sure most of the audience cannot relate in the least—it seems cold and uncaring and completely unbelievable in today’s world.  But in her case, she is marrying out of the covenant; the scriptures are filled with God’s efforts and desire for his children to be of the same faith and be able to make covenants together. 

I explained all of this on the way home and it was a real revelation to Sam.  He immediately verbally committed to only marry a girl he could marry in the temple.  I don’t remember all of the language—he  had some caveats—  But he felt something and desired to commit.  It was powerful and what was amazing was that it grew out of his recognition of truth, not out of my committing him.  He chose it independently because it was right.

Still no word from the county magistrate in Taiwan.  I feel fine about things and more than anything, I am hopeful that we can find a place to live that will help our family thrive.  We are so unsure about buying, but renting a larger house will up the costs considerably.  We have been spoiled with this house, rent and neighborhood.  It has been a wonderful place. 

heading into fall

October 17, 2011

The elephant in the room:  adoption.  It is coming along.  We heard a few weeks ago that only our name was passed along from the social welfare department to the county magistrate, who is the person who has actual custody on paper.  We were told 2 more weeks and then decision, and then on to a judge.  That two weeks has passed with nothing, although they did request our passport photos this past Friday, so I looked frantically for one that was missing.  I finally found it this morning, only with the help of Heavenly Father.  Meanwhile, Tom has been stressing a lot.  

September 16, 2011

The past few days we went to Victory Bible Camp north of Palmer for an IDEA retreat.  It was Tara’s brainchild, and it went over fabulously.  One of the speakers, a homeschooling dad, was so inspiring and had such a great message…just a reiteration of everything I sometimes already know but forget.  I wanted to record some thoughts before they go away entirely. 

One talk was titled Mentoring Genius, and it was all about helping our children in their pursuit of what they love and thrive at doing and learning.  It was so funny because I say I believe this stuff, but when it comes right down to it, it’s hard to live day in and day out.  As an example, we sort of eased into school a bit and Sam was chafing here and there.  One day, I laid down with him and read a few chapters of the Adventures of Odysseus.  He just LOVES that stuff; I stopped after 2 or 3 chapters and said we needed to get going on other things, and I really felt it…we need to move on to chores and math and so forth.  He said to me, “Mom, why do you want to do that other stuff now?  I want to learn about this; isn’t that what you want?”  And I thought to myself, of course that’s what I want.  What’s my deal?  So we sat back down and read for awhile longer.  There are so many areas I see this with him.  He’s been into building an air force base complete with towers and landing space (out of cardboard boxes and paper).  He thinks about it…how such and such should look.  So sometimes for whatever reason, my temptation is to say, get with the program in something else.  This isn’t valuable enough to spend your time on.  But it’s hands on, he’s mapping out things that he’s learned about from shows on military, discussions of planes  or whatever.  Maybe it’s not super high tech and detailed, but it’s where he is on the developmental scale, and he is CHOOSING to do it because he wants to.  So LEAVE IT ALONE and let him thrive.

I talked a lot re: adoption with a few ladies at the retreat.  Good times…the Taiwan agency had said they thought we’d hear this week, but  our case worker thinks that they were being overly ambitious, that it will probably be next week.  Fine with me…I feel like A LOT of things will need to kick in once we know for sure…where to live, major overhaul of our stuff, getting clothing and stuff for the kids and just those three things are enough to occupy me for quite awhile.

August 31, 2011

What are some of our successes in the past few days?
Exercise, meals, reading for the Challenger outing    I’ve made lots of headway on little chores and organizing stuff here and there.  It’s not EVERYTHING, but something and I just feel like I need to give myself a little credit.
Yesterday I listened to a great forum talk about learning and how narrative and experiental are the absolute best, but we mostly try to just skip straight to semantic (think memorizing).  It makes me relook at everything; why do I get so caught up in the checklist and thinking that information transfer is all there is.  I watch Sam and think of things he’s pursued lately…he planted flowers completely by himself and loved it-watered and cared for them completely.  He has been doing little build it projects with Ryan and Rachel.  He has enjoyed the Challenger stuff because it has real components to it.  Even beyond that, he loves hearing stories and books…narrative learning in all its glory.

I also had a great conversation with Tara the other day about schedules and such.  I asked how she does it…raising 5 kids, homeschooling etc, that I just feel like I should be having a better routine.  She basically said she didn’t have that either and what she does works for her family.  Some days they read in bed, others they jump up and head out.  They do chores and study etc  but it’s not all perfectly organized and planned.  So I am praying and thinking and reading about how to find rhythms that suit who we are, what needs to be taught and still always be growing and improving.  At least for today, that feels fine to me.  (We had gone with Tara and kids to Point Woronzof and saw a huge pod of beluga whales on a very gorgeous sunny day….great choice to head outside)

How do I want my birthday month to look?  How do I want to be?  A loving, generous, happy, patient person who is curious, interested, always learning, has faith and trust.  How can I become that person more?  Daily pondering and prayer, continuing to record and complete my tasks (but not necessarily obsessively-I tend to try to avoid the hard stuff)

It seems like us getting the sibling group is a foregone conclusion even though no one has said so; just their language indicates it’s going to happen.  We’ve been relatively busy-running around a bit-the last few days so I need to sit down and figure out the next few steps.

Do I ask for what I seek?  Do I trust Heavenly Father to answer my prayers?  Do I believe that what’s required of me (ie getting up at 5:30 for seminary?) will be just fine…it can be done and change my life positively.  It can all work together for my good, right?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

summer's end

August 27, 2011
In preparation for a lesson, I just reread past journal entries from July when I was stressing about adoption and whether we were asking the right questions, getting the right answers.  At one point, it seemed that I was more like a child, needing to write 100 times “I believe God is in charge.”  I remember reading blogs of Christian adoptive parents and listening to songs that reflected faith.  The scripture I came across at that point was Psalms 26:1-3:   Judge me , O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.  Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.  For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. 
That verse captured many different emotions:  the feeling that my heart is/was right before God; that if He needs to try me, I will be worthy; that I trust in his ultimate plan to be brought to pass…or if I don’t trust yet, that I want to trust and believe.  It is powerful to be taught by Heavenly Father… and the Spirit can carry that message home in deep ways that help us know and remember the lessons He teaches us. 
It seems like us getting the sibling group is a foregone conclusion even though no one has said so; just their language (at the agency) indicates it’s going to happen.  We’ve been relatively busy-running around a bit-the last few days so I need to sit down and figure out the next few steps of the process now that the home study is done.                             
Do I ask for what I seek?  Do I trust Heavenly Father to answer my prayers?  Do I believe that what’s required of me (ie getting up at 5:30 for seminary?) will be just fine…it can be done and change my life positively.  It can all work together for my good, right?

August 21, 2011
So, thinking of how things are going.  I had thought so much of slowing the pace and having a better rhythm.  Anyway, it was a result of going to Fairbanks, visiting the Waldorf store (that emphasizes the whole child-working with hands, simpler lifestyle etc), and evaluating where we are with our kids and what I would do differently based on who they are becoming as a result of what we’ve done so far.  I came home, read and checked out books, thought and tried to change some things and after 2 weeks, all of a sudden, I wondered if there’d been any change at all.  It was like, over time, I had almost forgotten where I was trying to head.  Or the busyness of daily living took me off track significantly.  I can only think that daily reading/reminding and evaluation is the way to keep this very slow brain thinking about the issues that matter to me.  
I feel relatively unconcerned about the little threesome at the moment.  I have felt I should be praying for those who work with this decision and I am doing that/we are doing that.  I feel that it will happen; I hope I’m not wrong on it.  It will be completely and totally life changing on so many levels.  Peace during church, mealtime, clean up, bed time, busyness, and so on.  Do I overestimate my ability to handle this?  Will I rise to the occasion?

August 19, 2011

Anyway, our home study was resubmitted today, so it has to be approved, translated and sent to Taiwan where it’s supposed to take about a month for the agency there to choose who they would believe to be a good placement.

August 14, 2011

Trying to remain patient with this adoption process, but it can be challenging.  I know that a supervisor at the agency had a lot of feedback for our social worker re: the homestudy.  She then passed that feedback on to me, and it took me a few hours to relax after that.  Why am I not able to trust that things will work if they are to workit will be okay, right? 

August 8, 2011 Monday
What a trip we’ve had.  We went to Fairbanks for the State Cup soccer tournament for Emma’s team, left Wednesday morning and returned last night.  The team, our family,  and the other chaperones stayed in the University of Alaska-Fairbanks dorms, and it was perfectly nice accommodations.  The girls played three games, one Th, Fri and Sat.  They lost the first two, maybe 5-0 or so (Cook Inlet and Fairbanks Eclipse).  The third game was against Rush, who we’ve played at least 4 times this season and lost every time, usually by wide margins.  But this time, our girls kept them scoreless…it was a tied 0-0 game which was like a win for us.  Seriously, everyone was so happy and excited; it was a real blessing to have the tournament end that way for us, to see them shine and really play the way they’re capable of playing.  They controlled the second half of the game and it was a pleasure to watch!

While in Fairbanks, I went to the Enchanted Toys store, a Waldorf oriented store, and it really set my mind to evaluating our home and what I want it to be like.  It’s a good time to look at that since the kids, at 10 and 14, are old enough for me to ask myself what we’ve done well or not so well.  We’ve been okay at:
Music     appreciation, some nature, some scripture,     exposure to other cultures (which I think led to acceptance and inclusion of others), less tv, cooking, decent read aloud, okay at family work…and maybe other stuff that I can’t think of.
Some areas that we could improve:
Handwork and simplifying, creative projects, fhe, Sunday observance, evening rituals, routines and rhythms.
I’ve been reading various blogs and thinking and wondering about the changes I can make personally.  I am happy to have the chance to reevaluate our lives and parenting and hope that this theme can continue in my mind and heart and bear fruit in observable ways.   I guess that store made me feel that I have neglected creative pursuits that I would love and enjoy (and thus my kids also) because I’m so busy thinking about school and life…but not getting anywhere with those either.  Thinking that x, y, and z matter in the “school” learning when I know that there are many ways to skin a cat…wanting to keep up with the Jones, but not actually doing it, just wasting my time thinking about it.  So, the solution?  Resolves for myself and my life-what do we need to do differently?  How can I live more fully and love life?  That is the second part of where my thoughts have gone…worry about my future.  I feel like I am often fairly non functional as a person…perhaps a bit depressed and lazy.  I can’t bring new kids into that and I’m certainly not doing Emma and Sam any favors either.   I guess I need to tackle a bit at a time every day (a bit of clearing out, working, playing, creating, cleaning).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

the core

July 31,2011

Let’s see…thinking about how I want home to be and how to accomplish that.  A refuge, a place of learning and love, where we can become who Heavenly Father wants us to become, a place of happiness.  What can I do to accomplish that better?  How much are we really doing with our time?  It seems like it passes so quickly without us accomplishing much.  I look at what we could’ve or should’ve read or studied; how can we do differently and establish routines that serve the needs of everyone?

So I haven’t really reported since a week ago and I really am amazed at how things have progressed.  Tom has been researching on his own; I have done more to complete the home study—the 21 page Parenting Resource Plan—which took a long time.  It involved a lot of looking up resources, people, places and talking about how I would respond to various scenarios and what I understood about what kids have gone through before they get to an adoptive family.  Tom is there, I think.  He seems calm and unworried.  I wouldn’t have believed it could happen so quickly or easily.  He still needs to do taxes and then the home study can be written completely.  

July 23, 2012

Adoption-Tom and I went on a walk together Thursday night and discussed some thoughts.  Then Friday morning he stayed home for a few hours and we talked some more.  I had told our caseworker we would try to decide by Wednesday, which we did not do, so I felt I at least had to connect with her by the end of the week.  Basically, I have felt fine about it allI do not know if that is simply the idea that I can love anyone and it is all good, that I do not need a big dramatic answer.  But Tom ultimately told me to tell her that yes, we were interested and would complete our home study with the goal of adopting these siblings.  I know he is not completely sure, and I completely agree that he needs that reassurance that this is the right course to take.  Just putting our hat in the ring does not mean we are guaranteed to have it work out for us.  Even when I called the caseworker to tell her, I was not excited, simply because we are not there yet in terms of feeling completely confident and sure.  I hope it will unfold as it should.  And even as I write that, I feel so silly.  Of course it will unfold as it should.  It is Heavenly Father at the helm; it is His work.  Sometimes I feel like a little child who needs to write 25 times, I believe God is in charge; He will guide our path.  I guess it is the test of my faith.  I say I believe here and there, but when it comes to my corewhen it comes to this life changing event that we feel unsure about-in terms of the specificsI question and wonder and doubt.  But in my core, I do know that Heavenly Father guides.  I guess I wonder if we, in our imperfectness, will see or will ask the right questions or recognize his guidance.  Will we know what He wants to tell us?  And it seems to be complicated to get on the same page with another human being, to both feel that we are in the same place.  I feel like I have trusted and asked in faith for Heavenly Father to do what only He can do in softening hearts and seeing clearly.   
So another thought I have been having, is where are we, where have we been, who are we today as a result of how our time has been used, especially the kidswhat has come of our past ten years?  And when I think of parenting a new batch, what can or should I change?  What is not working, what needs tweaking?  Is it me more than anything that needs the tweaking?

July 21, 2011

Time for some more downloading.  The agency caseworker informed me earlier this week that the social services agency in Taiwan would wait for our home study to be done if we expressed a desire to adopt these kids.  She feels strongly that the kids should be placed with a family that already has kids and seems to want to advocate for us if that is what we want.  That was a surprise and now I am wondering if that peace and unconcern about letting go of those kids is because we do not have to let goit may still work out.  I do not know;  I pray, I ponder and do not feel sure about any of it.  And regardless, it is not just me that has to feel sure; it has to be Tom too. 

July 16, 2011   

 It continuesthis lack of distress regarding these little ones, and it makes me feel that there is more down the pike for us.  It seems like they are, but I do not know the end from the beginning. 
Other than that, I finished the 10 hours of training.  We still have to do the financial form and taxes.  I think that is about it.  Supposedly, with our family photo and brief information, the case worker can give that information to the orphanages she works with and everyone can be on the lookout for siblings of the description we seek.

July 15, 2011

So I wonder how it really works.  This morning we went to a doctor about some health concerns with one of the children in the sibling group.  It was eye opening; Tom was going dip netting immediately after the appointment, so we couldn’t talk much, but it was decidedly sobering. 

 I decided to pray and hope for insight into what is right because all along, I have said that I could let go of these 
little kids if they were not right for us.  I sat on the couch and read and thought and asked for help.  Time passed, and just before we went to leave for Jewel Lake, I checked my email and found an email from our agency caseworker in which she said that there was a couple interested in adopting the kids and their home study was done.  She left it open for me to fill out a little questionnaire to show interest although she was not sure if the Taiwan agency would take it.  I knew I could not say we were interested because at that moment we were more unsure than ever.  So, I decided I would wait til Monday since Tom is gone and I could not reach him.  Although I am a little sad, I am not completely distraught.  It seems amazing that 6 weeks ago, all of this began and on the very same day we had the dr appointment and were going to make the decision, that we hear of another couple who has stepped up. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

the beginning

So, I am new to the blogging thing, but I decided I wanted a record of this experience so I had to go retroactive.  Right now (March 2012) we're headed to Taiwan in just over a week, but I wanted the story from the beginning.  It was so informative and inspiring to read others' experiences.  

July 12 2011

This is the detailed step by step of adoption.  Yesterday I spoke with our case worker finally and was able to ask lots of questions.  My two main ones were re: us already having 2 kids in the home which she said should work fine because if we adopted 3 there would be 5 total.  Seems a little randomwhether we would have 5 total or 6 total, but I respect that she has been doing this for a long time and probably knows what she is about.

The second question was about how many young siblings she has placed, or was it just siblings generally?  She said that in 10 years, she has placed 2 or 3 sets of siblings although she is seeing more now.  We have always talked about adopting siblings because we have 2 bio kids and I would want an adoptive child to not be outnumbered.  I don’t want to do paperwork and all that over and over.  We wanted a larger family; why not find siblings and keep them together?

So the social worker came last night and stayed for almost 3 hours.  She basically asks questions and types as we answer so that it appears she is writing the home study as we go along.  I think Tom was a bit overwhelmed by how much one must put out therehow you were raised, disciplined, present relationships with siblings. 
When we said our family prayer last night, I asked Heavenly Father for an eternal perspective on these decisions and I immediately felt peace and an overwhelming feeling of ‘it is okay’I tried to communicate all of those feelings to Tom.  It feels big and concerning, but I realized with these few episodes of praying and immediately seeing changes of heart that Heavenly Father can literally overnight help us see more clearly-his will, his perspective, a grander more glorious vision of this process and its end results.  We can do and feel whatever He helps us to feel and that can carry us through.

July 8, 2011

So I have been researching and praying re: adoption and health questions.  It all started with the two sibling groups, and I’ve had my eye on the 3 young siblings from the original email in June.  Lots of general adoption reading, sibling reading, international reading, health concerns reading.  I want to do what’s right…what Heavenly Father wants for us.  And I’ve been praying…praying for me to see clearly, to be able to let go of these little guys if that’s right, to be able to discuss openly and able to pinpoint where we are.

July 3,2011
Just about a month ago, I opened the adoption agency family finders email which had information on their new Taiwan program and listed 2 sets of young siblings.  We had started with this agency when we first moved to AK a few years ago, but the process was stalled for various reasons.  I forwarded it to Tom and all of a sudden, he was interested…very interested.  Interested enough to say, “go and get it done in 2 weeks” interested.  So this month I have been tracking down information, restarting this process, making phone calls, gathering documents, getting physicals and in all ways researching what to do.  He’s on board!  Maybe a month or two ago, I had asked Heavenly Father, Is this really going to happen or should I just let go of it?  Is it time to move on?   Maybe this isn’t what’s right for us, and if so, I can deal with that.  If I know, I can just move on.  And shortly thereafter, this is what happened. 

At present, I have most of the documents for a home study done.  Since I’ve done it all before, it’s been relatively easy.  When I started in the fall of ’08, I was definitely overwhelmed trying to find a new doctor, get an appointment, just tracking stuff down.  But this time, it’s been easy (so far).  I’m not na├»ve enough to think that it will remain easy, but I am grateful that it has been thus far. 
Once a home study is done, we are on better ground to state interest in particular children, so I am trying to be patient to see what the landscape looks like at that point.

I joined a few yahoo groups and have read millions of blogs and stuff and that has been inspiring.  Right now, I am just trying to look at the big picture—who will be available, what our chances are.  I don’t want it to sound like some kind of lottery…what will happen will be in Heavenly Father’s hands.  I need to remember that and trust in it.  I just received more information about additional waiting children, and the new 2 sets of siblings that were listed are older than the previous 2 sets that were in the agency’s original information.