Thursday, July 26, 2012


mark 5:36
"but Jesus over heard them and said to Jairus, "Don't be afriaid. Just have faith."

Jairus daughter was already dead when Jesus spoke these words to him.
again we turn to Jesus, to be our comfort, to tell us to not be afraid.
we turn to him to tell us - so gently - to have faith
we turn to HIm and believe Him.

we are needing paper work to be completed by our social worker to submit to the court for a court date to finalize the adoption. the date we are praying for is September 28 - 3 months from the date on a notice we have from Social Welfare.
we are in a place of pleading again, with Jesus, who holds our lives in His hands.

We remember - 

He is a God who shows us miracles,
whom we have seen, not just heard of.
He gives us His good gifts
and over flows His blessings on us.

we speak from experience.
all this we have in the physical form in our baby girl.
she is a miracle
through her and the process of bringing her home we have seen God
She is our amazingly good gift
she is our blessing

So when fear overwhelms us, we look at her and remember, and see, and feel Gods goodness to us.

Do not be afraid, just have faith.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

blog about adoption

I needed a place to record my thoughts. So I chose this platform. This blog. It has always been intended to be about our journey into the world of adoption.  Parenting our soon to be officially adopted daughter, the road we have traveled to get to this place. This space also gets filled with what life is like living in our adopted daughters country of birth, and all the chaos and joys that go along with that.

So if I actually did as I set out to do, I wouldn’t go 6 weeks between posts, in fact I would try to post at least once a week! The three things mentioned about could fill space everyday in my blogging world, but time…

What this blog has never been is a documentation of the work we do here in Zambia, apart from parenting and adoption. But sometimes that gets spilled out into this blog because sometimes those things are interconnected – like in my last post when I wrote about not coming back to Zambia. But, we do have an email update that gives the details of the work going on here. So I would love to put out there, for all 4 of you who actually read this blog, that if you want more details about our family’s hands on work, and our faith journey in what He is calling us to (which is ever growing and morphing) go to our website and subscribe to our email list, or email/FB message me directly and I will add you.
This email we send out is much more informative to Love’s Door and All Nations work that is going on here in Zambia and how we are personally involved. So I apologize if this has been your only source of information and you craved more, [I know our life is extremely exciting and not at all mundane – insert sarcastic laugh].
       Well, sometimes the parts we tell you may seem glamorous... but 95% of the time (a part from the precious times of prayer and worship) we run errands, and buy supplies, call mechanics and electricians, pay the taxes, write receipts, count money, avoid crazy drivers, buy airtime, get vehicles licensed, pay workers, sort out problems, sit in meetings, write emails – and blogs. All extremely missionary things to do. But not really exciting to talk about. 

But if you want to hear the sometimes exciting stuff the other 5% – like seeing one boy who we have all [our entire team] poured into for over two years now, begin to really desire to learn English and more about Jesus – then that is the exciting 5% we talk about in that mass email. But won’t be shared here, on this blog where I usually spill my frustrations and joys about becoming a mother, and living in a foreign place with said adorable daughter, and my ruggedly hansom husband.

So now that that is clarified. Remember not to take this blog as the end all for our life. But do take it as a platform for me to process my feelings and revelations in this syrupy sweet life I am really blessed to live. Seriously.

That is my declaration to blog more. Because it helps me. I enjoy it and maybe someone in cyber world who isn’t intimately close enough to me to be on our emailing list, might stumble upon it and think, “Wow, God’s heart really is for the orphan. But obviously not without struggle.” – And when that person sees honestly and real-ness. They might also see more of God’s heart for themselves as an adopted son or daughter, and for the physically orphaned in the world. Or they might decide that I am crazy for doing what we are doing!  – the jury is still out on that one anyway, so I am not too worried if they think that. Sometimes I might just agree with them!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Standing Still... still standing

have we been standing still?

I look at this beautiful baby, this precious daughter of mine and it feels like everything else has come to a stop.
I read blogs - my new hobby -  
i see belly's growing with babies inside 
seasons are changing as summer has come to the Midwest
people getting married
people moving to the country, people moving to the city
family reunions
pool parties
celebrating American holidays

we do have a baby growing - just not in my belly. but it feels surreal with our family and close friends not around to witness it!
the seasons barely change here - we feel like it is groundhogs day -living in perpetual summer!
we have grieved missed wedding
and life changes
and family reunions 
and pool parties.
we end up celebrating nothing because we aren't in America - which means the 4th of July is just a another work day, and Zambian holidays just are not our own.
but our baby... she is changing!
this is her as a two month old! 
(thank you Meagan for this sweet pic)

and here she is as a 13 month old

we have been here, in Africa, 13 months without going back to the U.S. we never imagined it would have been this way. but it has. the longest either of us have ever been out of the country straight.
it has been an amazing 13 months, in so many ways. our life has changed dramatically, as well as our thinking. at times we have felt like we were going to drown; and a week later  like we could fly! our relationship has been at its worst and at its mountain top best. our fears very real, and other times we walk in complete faith.
it is amazing how we have experienced this roller coaster of emotions in just a short 13 months.

through much prayer and lots of processing and wisdom from others, we have decided that we are going to be moving in a different direction. for the next season in our life we will not be returning to Zambia.
We won't actually leave here, realistically, until November. so that will mean we will have been here 18 months without going home. 
if you want to hear our thought process i wrote an email i would love to send to you if you haven't already gotten it.
but until that time we will keep pouring into what God has put in front of us here. more and more lately that is mostly our beautiful daughter (at least for me). 

we are here due to the adoption process being prolonged. 

a new development:

pray please this week, the magistrate, who will be finalizing our adoption, requested to meet Tizri's Grandmother to make sure she understands what adoption means... 

 we believe God has given us this ground, so we are resting in Him in faith. hoping it happens tomorrow, that is if the relatives can get here to meet us and the judge. we will also speak to our social worker tomorrow about specific time frame of when we can complete the adoption here in Zambia. we know the latest it will be is 
Sept. 28. as long as everything goes ok with her grandmother this week.
we are praying sooner...

as we watch your lives via Facebook, Instagram, emails and blogs, we are excited to join in them again, in a more present way. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week 8, 7 year marriage anniversary!

We are now walking into our 8th week of being parents. Little sparrow is doing amazingly well. But we are still taking things one day at a time. Not expecting more than she can give. But she is saying a few words, pulling herself up to stand, interacting constantly. She is the joy of our lives. Right now we are in Lusaka being spoiled by the Blakeney family, and hopeing to file our intent to adopt with the commissioner here. Praying we can see her early this week and work out a time frame for a final court date. Thank you for following our journey. This is a blog from the blogger I really appreciated her perspective and the deep seeded need to be loves and accepted inside all of us. Enjoy!! An Adoptee’s Perspective on Relationships Relationships are difficult for anyone, but they can be especially challenging for adoptees. One of the most important relationships in a person’s life is that which we have with our parents. It shapes our views on love and attachment, and it helps lay the groundwork for relationships we have with others in the future. Adoption is not possible without the loss of an adoptee’s birth parents. That loss can occur due to a variety of reasons, but it is the most traumatic loss that a child can experience. For me, the loss of my birth parents taught me from a very early age that people who love me will leave me. It also taught me that a parent’s love isn’t necessarily unconditional. That loss of my birth parents made me feel like I wasn’t lovable because my birth parents—the two people in my life who were always supposed to love me—didn’t love me enough to keep me. I believe all adoptees subconsciously feel like a part of them doesn’t belong in their adoptive family. We like to believe that blood doesn’t equal family, but when you don’t have that type of connection to someone, you can’t help but to feel like something is missing in your life, no matter how wonderful your adoptive family may be. As an adoptee, you live your life constantly searching for a place to belong. That feeling of acceptance—be it from your teachers, your peers, or your significant others—is essential, as it makes you feel like you are okay and you are worthy of being liked or loved. As a child, I often would become overly attached to teachers. I was the child who was devastated on the last day of kindergarten because I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my kindergarten teacher. I was probably the epitome of a teacher’s pet throughout my elementary school years. I would work hard to get good grades and would even bring my teachers gifts (drawings, etc.) because I craved the attention and acceptance from them. I never fit in that well with my peers, but looking back, I can honestly say that I believe most of my teachers liked and respected me, and those were the relationships that really mattered to me at the time. That “perfectionist child” mentality of constantly wanting to please others and working hard in school so my parents would be proud of me lasted until I reached my junior year of high school. That was the year I started dating my first boyfriend. I always felt awkward and unattractive, so for someone to see me as beautiful was a wonderful feeling. I had a great relationship with my adoptive family, but this relationship was different. I think I really blossomed as a person while in that relationship because I no longer felt invisible and I felt like I truly mattered to someone outside of my family. When that relationship ended, it was probably one of the most devastating periods of my life, because I went from feeling like I was somebody to feeling like I was nobody. I became really depressed and pushed everyone away—even my family. I hate to admit it, but I truly became a person who was really rotten and unlovable. Nothing in my life mattered anymore—I didn’t matter anymore. During that period of time, I dragged my family through hell and back and did a lot of things I was not proud of. Looking back, because I had stopped caring about everything, I think I was subconsciously testing my parents to see if they would still love me if I wasn’t that daughter who used to make them proud. With a lot of love and support from my parents, I was eventually able to pull through that dark period in my life. And, I can truly say that NOTHING I can do will ever make my parents love me any less. It took me a long time to realize that, but my relationship with them is even better now, due in part to the struggles we faced together. When I gave birth to my oldest son, it was a life-changing experience. It was so amazing being able to hold him in my arms and finally look into the face of someone who looked just like me. At that moment, I remember silently making a promise to myself and to that little guy that I would be everything for him that my birth mom couldn’t be for me. I have made many mistakes throughout the past nine-and-a-half years and am constantly learning how to be a better mom for my sons. They are everything to me, and I cannot imagine my life without them. In writing this entry, I want to let adoptive/foster/kinship parents know that the best thing you can do for your child is to be there for him or her. Adoption issues will more than likely manifest themselves during the teenaged-years. Remember that while most teenagers go through a phase of not being particularly pleasant to be around—some of their behaviors and issues may stem from being adopted. Start talking with your kids about the good, the bad, and the ugly (age-appropriate, of course) when they are young. Tell your child every day that they are loved—especially on the days when they are not particularly loveable. Do what you can to show them that you are willing to weather any storm with them. And, try not to take their words and actions to heart. Take extra good care of yourself during this period of time, because it most likely will not be easy, and it may take a while for you to see that light at the end of the tunnel. My parents stuck with me through it all and they never let me forget how much they loved me. I am the person I am today due in large part to my parents’ love and their absolute refusal to give up on me no matter how hard I pushed them away.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

family age

Family Age

Today Tizri Sparrow is 2 weeks old: Family age that is.

The book Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child (totally recommended) refers to the concept of family age.

How the child revs up and clams herself down, is all dependent on the length of time she have been in our home, with us as parents. So Tizri has been with us 2 weeks, that means her emotions (crying, fussing, how she expects her needs to be met) might be on par with an actually 2-week-old biologically born baby. In ways this has been very true! As soon as she feels hungry, she whines and cries until the food is literally in her mouth. We are trying to teach her to watch us prepare it, so she knows that that means soon the food will be in her tummy. A biological 1 year old will know that when mommy gets the cereal box out or the baby food jar, it is a matter of time before they get fed. This curbs (I am sure not always) the unsure feeling of wondering IF they will get their hunger need met.

This knowledge has been so comforting to me in the past few days, just remembering she is trying to figure us out, her new world out, and all the changes out! Not only does family age apply to food, revving up / calming down, but it also has to do with learning appropriate behavior, whom to trust and rely on, as well as many other things. These things will take time, extra care and compassion for her to learn.

I am sure that all the adopted parents out there can give us advice on this stuff (which we welcome!!) and how their own child adapted.

Our baby has been teething (2 upper front teeth), been spitting up a lot more than she did a week ago, has been fighting bronchitis, anemia, stomach worms (and maybe other infection?) and head fungus, not to mention the constipations trading off with diarrhea! We have all had our good days and bad.

She is crawling (mostly the army crawl, not using her knees much) all over the place. She is saying new sounds everyday. Today she started crying/waking up after she has been asleep on us and we try to put her down. She is stretching boundaries and figuring out what she likes from us, from others (this one is a bit harder, more confusing for her I think) what she likes in terms of food, being held and rocked, how much she sleeps and when. She has had no routine until the last few days, some days she sleeps a lot others only a little.

Her birthday was Saturday, or what we will celebrate as her birthday. So our baby is one.
She mimics everything we do. Peek-a-boo is her favorite. She will blow kisses, dance with her arms, mock sneeze, make a really funny scrunched up face while sniffing in and out really loudly. She loves it when Jeremiah dances her around. She now let the dogs lick her, and will grab their fur. (The dogs just like the chance to lick all the splattered food off of her!) She is so stinking determined! She gets her mind set on something and it is very hard to distract her! She loves plastic bags (we are always taking them away!) and the tops to her bottles.

We marvel at how she has changed in just over 2 weeks. She interacts so much and is learning to come to us. She laughs and plays and teases all the time. We are so blessed to call this baby ours!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New foods
Lots of poos
Doctor’s visits
Pee and poo samples (multiple times, because the lab lost the first one!)
Meeting new friends
Playing with new toys
Responding to her own name (still working on that one)
Learning who mama and dada are (also still a work in progress)

Tizri has had so many changes in the last week!

We have been trying to be extremely aware of her feelings and emotions. She now tells us through whining when something is wrong. We know if she is whinny that she needs a diaper change or is hungry or tired. Besides these times she is very happy. We are teaching her to play close to us, and playing lots of back and forth games to encourage eye contact, mimicking and over all dependence on us. She is coming along, as are we.

There are days I get so discouraged, wondering if she will ever know me, or look to me for ultimate comfort and love. A very wise woman just wrote me (she has also adopted, her daughter is now a young adult) and said;

I think of it as a progression.  Children have to be dependent before they can be independent and independent before they can be interdependent.”

For adopted children this is not a natural thing like it is with biological kids. Tizri has been in an orphanage, under stimulated for the last 10 months. The orphanage did the best job they possibly could! And to them we are so grateful, they saved her life and gave us the opportunity to find her.

She has had 5 major transitions that each included a new primary caregiver. Not to mention that in the orphanage alone she has 11 different mama’s caring for her at any given time (in the above number the orphanage is only one of those 5). While they were all nice, caring, and did the best they could, this has essentially taught her that people will leave her. She has come to expect change and transition.

So because of this, and many other changes and traumas she has experienced in her short life, we are trying to teach her we are her primary care givers. So we haven’t let others hold her, feed her, change her, or bathe her. Basically we are with her 24/7. This is a bit exhausting, but it is worth it for her to see us and her mom and dad, who she can trust, rely on and go to when she has needs.

She turns one year old on Saturday. And I think of all the hours a biological child has had to cuddle connect laugh play and grow with their biological parents by the time they turn one year.  She has missed out on those thousands of hours. So we are so happy we get to be intentional about her knowing us, now. We can’t get those months back but we can work to win her over now.

We still have no clue on the time frame of when the adoption will be complete and we can travel home. Please pray that the paper work the is not really moving right now, would be able to get to the right people and that they would move things along quickly. (Although that would be a miracle, but we believe God works miracles!)

Adoption is beautiful, and lots of work, and so rewarding. She is the picture of perfection to us! We are so content in the little one God has allowed us to raise. We are privileged to get to love her and call her our own.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

day 3

poop, lots of it
baby laughter, lots of it
sleep, not much of it
contented feelings, overwhelmingly many
Showers, what shower?

we took her to the "high cost clinic" at the hospital yesterday (the name cracks us up, opposite ideas about marketing from where we come from!) it cost her $15 dollars to be seen (actual cost not a co-pay). she has bronchitis, a scalp fungus, stomach worms... and that is all before we had a chance to get them her urine and poo sample. (by the way, anyone have any idea how to get a urine sample from an infant in diapers?!)
so now she is on lots of drugs. she is so very happy. we have taken her out 2 times now. (that is 2 times more than the last 10 months combined,  she has only been in her little room at the orphanage) so it seems a bit overwhelming for her. but she is a trooper. we are mostly staying in and spending lots of time playing, cuddling and eating. and of course cleaning. (how quickly everything becomes a mess!)

we say her name a lot so she will begin to recognize it more. we are giving her opportunities to need us. she doesn't know English, doesn't crawl, or yet respond to her name. but we cant wait to write all those mile stones. we have seen her today need us to help her fall asleep. instead of just laying down (if we are playing on the bed) she whines until one of us holds her, and then immediately falls asleep on our chest. she struggles to breath while laying down and coughs a lot. hoping the medicine will help that quickly.

we are in heaven. so ready for this, these changes feel so normal, and for that we are so grateful. we are also grateful we got to spend so many months getting to know her before now. Jeremiah was just reminding me of when we first met her, and in the first few times we visited her, how she didn't want to look at him. (I'm sure something to do with him being male) but now, oh man, he is already the favorite! (OK i am sure he would disagree) but she loves him, and is always looking for him if i am holding her. sigh, it make me melt. all these moments we are treasuring.
she is a perfect gift, and we are so blessed.

tha hardest part has honestly been feeling so far away from our family and friends. this is something we want so badly to share. i am glad we have concentrated time to bond with her. to be the only ones to hold and feed and change her. but on our hearts, it is hard. we miss those closest to us, people who have been through this journey with us from across the ocean. we miss them (you) so much more now, than we ever imagined. looking forward to that day we step off the plane.

a blessing we didn't know how much we would need is our friends jonathan and sofia morgan being here with a team. God has given us a real gift in them. they are like family to us. they went with us to pick up Tizri and bring her home. they made us meals on their day off so we wouldn't have to worry about cooking this next week. they are spending 5 days of the week in the village so we are cherishing our days we have together in town. we are already grieving the day we have to say by. but we will enjoy them while they are with us.