My little Valentine

I work at a high school and have the privilege of sharing time with about 20 seniors as they help in the guidance office each day.  This year’s office aides are extra special to me.  They ask me about Beaux and how the adoption is going.  And they wonder if they will be in town when we get to bring him home, or if they will be away at college.  I hope the idea of adopting has been planted in their minds.  I hope sometime down the road they will consider adopting and think back to their senior year when crazy Ms. Davis talked all the time about her adorable little boy who was in Haiti waiting to come home to her.  One of my sweet girls, Kristen, painted this canvas and gave it to me this morning… on Valentine’s Day.  I absolutely love it and I gotta tell you, I AM quite smitten with my little Beaux.  He truly has stolen my heart.
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Catching Up

I haven’t blogged in quite a while so I’m going to catch up right now all in one post…BAM.

We started off December with happy thoughts of wedding dresses and flower girls after the news that our daughter, Amie, was engaged to be married.  YES…so excited for her.

Then, I started feeling a little anxious as the end of 2012 drew closer.  Last year was an amazing year.  So much happened in our lives, so much growth, and I just didn’t want it to end.   Previous years (and years) seemed to be filled with too much struggle and unpleasant life experiences and for once I felt whole, confident, happy, and excited…all at the same time.  I just didn’t want it to end.  But ya know what?  It hasn’t.  God is good and the New Year came and everything is still moving forward.  Yay!

Our Christmas was probably the best holiday season I can ever remember.  We made a decision as a family (all 9 of us) that we didn’t want to exchange gifts with each other.  Our kids really embraced the idea of giving to others instead of ourselves.  So, on Christmas morning, during the time when we would normally be opening presents, we each got online and gave to others through World Vision

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Joey and I were able to give directly to the little boy in Swaziland that we have sponsored for the last 5 years.  Everyone else chose to give chickens or goats or even a fish pond to families on the other side of the world…real life sustaining gifts.  It was awesome day and filled us with joy. 

After I got over my ridiculous fear of starting a new year, instead of making resolutions I decided to start fresh with “My One Word” for the year:

Grace

“It’s our response of exotic love and unusual grace to all people that sets us apart and makes us holy” 

(isn’t that great? I wish I could remember where I found that.) 

So, I’m collecting little quotes and phrases and verses pertaining to Grace.  I’ll post them occasionally. 


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My little grandson, Judah, turned 1 year old on Jan 4th.  What a blessing he is to our family…and just the cutest little guy in all of Tennessee, don’t you think?

But my BIGGER news is that we got to visit Beaux in Haiti again.  It was a quick trip but oh, what a good visit we had.  Man, I love that little guy.  We arrived in Port Au Prince on Friday the 18th and went straight to the orphanage.  We spent about 3 hours there, then left (with Beaux) to go to the guest house.  We did not leave again until Monday morning when it was time to go home.  We played, and colored, and took walks and were served delicious Haitian food.  A really great time was had by all.  Another couple (who only live about 4 hours away from us) was at the guest house along with us and our boys played together. And we ate together.  And we talked and learned about their growing family.  And it was all quite special.  On the way to the airport we stopped and did a little business in the courts.  I still don’t understand what we did, but I say any court we can go to about to our adoption is okay by me and as soon as I figure out what we did I’ll let you know.

Joey had decided we could go visit Beaux every 4 months (because of his OCD tendencies we had to have that discussion and that’s what he came up with…he’s got to be on a schedule!).  But after this visit with our little guy Joey thinks he wants to go back in 2 months. 🙂 That man has become soft in his old age.  And he loves that little guy so much too.  It just breaks his heart to be away from him for so long.  So it looks like we’ll be going back during the first week in April. 

Did I mention how much we love that little guy?  🙂

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Tree Up

We finally got our Christmas tree put up and decorated yesterday.  Usually, this is a tradition that we enjoy the day after Thanksgiving every year.  Usually, I want so badly to get that tree down from the attic and put it up as soon as I hear Jingle Bells playing in Hob Lob the day after Labor Day.  Usually, Joey has to put his foot down and demand that we enjoy Thanksgiving completely before moving on to the next event of the season.  But this year everything seems to be a little different.  I’m different.

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I got this ornament yesterday at a crafts fair – it’s the outline of Haiti with a heart in the center.  I loved the tag that was on the ornament as much as the ornament itself, so I hung them both on the tree.  This pretty much sums up what I’m feeling lately.  I’m here…but my heart is in Haiti.  I feel like I’m missing a part of myself.  And I am.  Even though Beaux hasn’t officially been declared my son, I know in my heart that he is.  And I miss him.  And I wish he was here with us.

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I have a friend I met online who is adopting an adorable little girl from the same orphanage we are.  They are at the very end of this “forever” process of adoption and will be leaving as soon as they get their visa appointment to go pick her up and bring her home in time for Christmas.  I’m so grateful she will be taking a little Christmas gift to Beaux for us.   It’s just a small little car and a card with a picture of us.  I managed to put together a couple of sentences in Creole.  Hopefully his nanny will be able to read it to him.  The card says:

Dearest Berlino,

You are precious.  We love you.

Mama Blanch & Papa Blanch

We love you, Beaux!  IMG_3361

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How Our Adult Children Reacted to Our Adoption Choice

Last April, as we sat in our family room and told our adult children that we were adopting a little boy, their reactions were as varied as their personalities:

Our oldest child is Amie.  She’s 28 years old and has a beautiful nine-year old daughter, Lillie.  When we told Amie, she calmly thought about it and pondered how this would change the family.  She needs time to process things and decide what the impact will be.  But once she decided it would be awesome to have a new little brother she was all in!  And I mean ALL IN!  (She thinks she’s adopting Beaux too.)

Adam is our middle child and the only boy.  He’s 25 years old and married to Nikki.  When we first told them about adopting Nikki was immediately excited, and I so appreciated that.  Adam was quiet.  He asked why we would want to bring another child into our family when we finally have an empty nest (it’s a legitimate question).  Adam doesn’t like change.  He likes things to stay predictable and comfortable.  I thought he needed time to contemplate how this might affect him. I thought he might need to process issues related to family order…at the age of 25 will it still be upsetting to not be the only boy child?…(yeah, I really did think about that).  It’s not that he has been against us adopting…he’s just been quiet.  Then, last Sunday, as the whole family was gathered watching the football game in our family room, Adam asked us what “would happen to Beaux if we were killed in an accident.   Did we have a plan in case something happened?  He and Nikki had talked about it and would like to be Beaux’s guardians if anything ever happens to us.”  (Then Amie and Christian & Cedric chimed in that they want Beaux if anything ever happens to us and a little sibling fight ensued).  Yes, we have a plan,  just like we did when he and his sisters were little.  But, oh how that touched my heart.  Adam is quiet…but he’s always thinking and preparing.  I see his heart growing.  And right about the time we are able to bring Beaux home Adam will be ready to welcome him with his whole heart.

Christian is was our baby.  She’s 23, married to Cedric and has the most adorable 10 month old son, Judah.  Before we told Christian and Cedric we were going to adopt I pretty much knew what their reaction would be…YES…THAT’S AWESOME…I WANT A LITTLE BROTHER…CAN WE GO GET HIM RIGHT NOW!  Christian has always seemed to be able to see the good through the uncomfortable.  She didn’t have any reservations about not being the baby anymore or about us adopting a child of another race.  I love that about her.

Last Thursday I forwarded my girls the email I had gotten saying WE MADE IT into IBESR by the deadline and now had a number.  Both girls responded with “So Beaux is really ours?”   Yes, Beaux is ours.  He’s joining a big family.  When he comes home to us he will instantly have a mommy and daddy, 2 sisters, 1 brother, a sister-in-law, 1  brother-in-law (possibly 2 by then), a niece and a nephew.  Just typing that out helps me to understand how overwhelming this is going to be for him.  He’s joining a family that can’t wait to teach him how to wake board, and ride on four wheelers, and watch football, and swim, and play with the chickens and the dogs, and work in the garden, and play basketball, and do crafts, and sing and play the guitar.  He’s joining a family that can’t wait to share life with him.

My Election Thoughts

I must admit, I was a briefly depressed after the election.  Yes, I identify more with the Republicans and it didn’t go the way I had voted.  I don’t have an explanation for that other than our country is changing.  I work with a lot of democrats (teachers) and they really do believe that we are better off than we were 4 years ago.  We clearly see things differently.   But I’ve been thinking about where I stand politically and, quite frankly, have been feeling like I’m missing something.  I came across this blog post yesterday and it articulates what I’ve been wrestling with for the last few months so much better than I ever could, please read it.  Somehow, we as Christians have to stop putting politics above what God has commanded us to do:
LOVE your neighbor…
Even if they voted for the other guy.
Even if they can’t find a job and they are forced into receiving government assistance.
Even if they choose not to find a job and live on government assistance.
Even if they have a different view about homosexuality or if they have AIDS or they’ve had an abortion.
Even if they don’t believe in God. 
 
We are to take care of the hurting, the poor, the widows, the orphans, the neglected, the outcasts.
 
Respect and compassion…that’s what changes the world.
 
I’m actually quite hopeful, now.  I am allowing God to change me.  And somehow the things that I used to find myself getting all stressed out about because “I know I’m right and you’re wrong and I’m going to make sure you know it”, those things don’t seem quite as important anymore.  It feels good to let that angry-ness go. 
 
I don’t know what is in store for America over the next 4 years.  But I know that God works all things to the good of those that love Him.  And I will put my trust in Him…not in the politicians of either party.