Headed home

Headed home

We are currently taxiing to the runway- the last few moments with feet on the ground in India - and I am overcome with gratitude.

Grateful that God would lead us to such a beautifully long, painful, exhilarating, undeserved calling!

When I think of the weight of the privilege that is ours, I am reduced to tears!

I'm sitting next to my two girls: one birthed in my body, and the other in my heart, and I'm bursting with emotion. So very grateful for my life. My family. My amazingly great, faithful, loving God!

Significance

Significance

So the "Joe Biden of India" was integral in our much-delayed journey back to New Delhi.

I'm not sure that's the most appropriate description but little-did-we-Americans-know that the man who took us under his wing would be a man of great importance in the national parliament of India.

We must've looked like lost puppies. We sort of were.

By the end of night, this senior politician was pushing our luggage -- at the same time when his handlers were pushing his luggage. Incredible.

In hindsight (and after some Wikipedia snooping this morning): we are humbled by his generosity.

That's who helped us navigate our much-delayed and out-of-control journey --- but let me set the stage for how we connected with this sweet man.

A Not-normal Night Before

I wore compression socks.

I could have done worse things, but I feel like this confession is therapeutic. I mean: Who wears compression socks? Willingly.

Rather, who in their right mind puts THESE socks on?

Did a traveling clown troupe misplace their order of socks? Ronald McDonald cringes at the sight of these.

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You know what made me wear them?

Love.

We're smack-dab right in the middle of some not-normal things because of love.

It's not normal to spend 4 years chasing the endless documents and paperwork.

It's not normal to take your kids through the contested areas of the Middle East -- on your way to India.

It's not normal that I rehearse what our first minutes will be like when meeting her. And that rehearsal is every. dang. night. Before I can stop tossing and actually asleep.

It's not normal to risk so much for a guarantee of so much unknown.

It's not normal to put your kids through days of travel, countless airports, and maddening flight schedules. Not to mention that they have to change so much whether they like it or not.

It's not normal to eat this many weird and unknown in-flight meals while flying in India. (I shouldn't complain -- I can't remember this many airline meals back in the states).

It's not normal to have tightened feelings in your stomach over and over because of details we can't even plumb the depths on.

None. Of. This. Is. Normal.

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But I've never felt so alive.

Love does that. It wakes you up.

Like the most pungent smelling salt; a shock of love can awaken us out of any slumber that we so easily drift into.

I don't know how else to describe this but: this isn't normal but this is the most awake  I've ever been.

I've never loved Michelle more than right this very moment. It's like a tsunami of emotion and tears when I catch a glance of her. Doing normal things -- feels so not normal. And it's great.

I've never loved my kids more than when I see them get so thrilled at the thought of a sister in their midst. They don't see this as dividing our affection 3 ways --- they look at it like multiplication. And I can't even stay on my feet when I think about how big and bold they are with their love.

I've never loved Jesus in this same way. I depend on him so deeply these days. So. Deeply. I have wept in private. I've wept openly (like I am right now on a plane to Mangalore filled with my fellow humans eating that aforementioned Indian airplane food.). And the tears run because of the ways I've found new love for the King that came like a meager servant. Just in my surrender to His plan, I have had to let him fill me with his very real and very surreal love.

Only Jesus could have brought me here.

Only Him.

For only her.

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But I needed to be awake. And do not-normal things.

There is no other way. Awake. Alive. Full.

I literally don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Beyond all of my rehearsals -- I have no idea what we're in for. I'm not naïve. It's just 100% foreign.

But I know that we're showing up. Awake. Here. Loved. Loving.

I know that the Holy Spirit is here too. Awake & Here.

I'll do more not-normal things in the next few days, weeks, years.

Things weirder than compression socks.

But I will have been awakened with breaths of fresh love.

I want you to be awake like this. To take a belly-full of air that is uncontainable in its not-normalness.

So much of life, we spend hyperventilating into a paper bag. Breathing in your same stale air. It helps for the immediate but you can't go on like that.

But it starts with one breath. One breath in, requires you to give up one breath out.

Every inhale starts with an exhale.

More than 4 years ago, we started this journey with a measly exhale/inhale. Our hearts beat weak.

Fast forward to today, those hearts now skip beats even when we imagine the worst-case scenarios.

It's a love I could never make. Never invent. Never fabricate. Never claim.

Your awakening is certainly different than mine. I celebrate that diversity more than you could know.

But. If you feel lulled to sleep -- I'm asking you to take your first breath (exhale/inhale) and move toward this kind of life altering love.

You might start it for yourself, but it will most certainly end with selflessness.

I'm in your corner. I legit know that this Is not-normal for you. And it's probably only gonna be one small change at first. But we say this all the time and need to repeat it to realize it:

Do for one what you would want to do for many.

Love wakes you up to do something not-normal like that.

Tomorrow, we start our new not-normal. We get her. 

Cocooning

Cocooning

Bags. Are. Packed.

This is totally not our style - not that we don't like being prepared, it's just that we tend to be last minute packers. To the best of our ability, we're prepared to leave this week for India.

It's sorta surreal. We look forward to updating everyone via posts either on our website or on Facebook. I kinda love how technology is pulling our world closer.

However, upon our return to the states, we wanted to share a letter from the heart about what you can expect from our nascent family of 5. 

About a girl

About a girl

Nothing flowery here - just a few thoughts from this mother's heart:

This has always been about a little girl...Actually, it's been about a BIG God who very lovingly and intentionally moved our hearts toward a little girl. This story has been and always will be about Him. And I believe that her story - our story - when seen and told, will demonstrate His story, so clearly and beautifully!

Let me take a moment to tell you about OUR GIRL.

Preparing

Preparing

So this post will be a little different than all of the rest.

I would like to write a public note directly to Michelle -- it’s framed in a way that I think communicates our recent news and provides context for how we got there.

I know. It’s sort of revealing. It won’t be gushy or overly-intimate.

But if you’re not interested in the fuzzy stuff, here’s the brief: we’re preparing to meet and get Hope in early February.

The rest goes a little like this:

Expecting

Expecting

"Expectations" are funny things. 

In one way, we want to live as expectant people -- waiting in hopeful anticipation. 

That's a good thing. 

But on the flip side, we want to hold loosely to our expectations, because, they are just that. An expectation.

They're sometimes unrealistic, unreasonable, or even unfair to others...and often unmet!

For the past few weeks we have been waiting expectantly for THE call -- the one where our family coordinator tells us that we've passed courtand should begin preparing to travel.

Decorating

Decorating

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, be sure to check out the Hope ornament...

Our Christmas tree tradition is ... unique.

For as long as we've had kids, we've aimed to maximize the length of the Christmas holiday season by installing a real tree on each Black Friday. We aren't much for shopping the deals on Black Friday - but we are pretty serious about getting the season going by setting up our home's Christmas tree.

Miscarrying

Miscarrying

I remember sitting in a special waiting room.

It was different than all of the other ones at the obstetrician’s office. I think it even said something like “Special Care” on the door.

At the same time it was like any other doctor’s office waiting room. A few vinyl chairs. One rolling chair for the doctor. Mass produced pastel-colored-abstract artwork. Some printouts hastily taped to the door about when to vaccinate your newborn baby.

Waiting or Weighting

Waiting or Weighting

Hold music when calling Comcast.

Thank you for calling Tony’s Pizza, just a moment please.

Count-down clocks.

Roped off lines at the DMV.

Any and all Disney World rides.

Schuylkill expressway.

Train platforms (particularly outdoor ones in bad weather).

The red light at a completely empty intersection.

When the doctor looks at your recent test and says: “hmm”…. and you wait. For his next words. Time. Drips.

Waiting.

Celebrating

Celebrating

Oh, just our APPROVAL FROM INDIA TO PROCEED WITH OUR ADOPTION.

And, to mark the occasion, we're re-opening our Hope shirt fundraiser. More on that below.

Last Monday we received our official approval from US Customs and Immigration and today we received word of our CARA (India’s Central Adoption Resource…) approval. 

These were the TWO BIG things we’ve been awaiting for the past few months.

So what's next?