The master said good-night to some very exhausted first-day-of-school kids. The last door at the end of the hall is K's. The master: Good-night, son. K: Good-night, Dad. Hey, Dad? Could I please keep my sideburns? The master: K, you know your mother is going to throw a fit about those. I don't think there is a chance she is going to let you keep them. K: (crestfallen) I know, but I found out the chicks dig sideburns.
Wondering exactly how did he "find out" this information? And planning on a trip to the barber TOMORROW!
We've been texting, mailing and messaging photos,since the day we brought him home. We've even talked on the phone...and Monday, God willing, we will see her again. And she will hold Levi. And meet the other children. And I'm nervous. I find myself wondering if she will approve of him--of how we are taking care of him. And then I tell myself, how stupid that is. Because I know that he is where she wanted him to be and far over and above that fact: Levi is where HE wanted him to be. He was meant to be here in our family. But then I notice that his nails need a trim, and I think, "Oooh, I gotta get the clippers, can't let D see him with unkept nails..." And then there are The Children. Their cute little mugs staring up from the pages of our Dear Birthmother Book might very well have been the deciding factor in her choice. But Monday she will meet the real show--coming to her live, loud, and in person--and probably in her lap. And I wonder what they might say..or ask. Should we coach them with a list of do's and dont's? Or will that make our meeting all the more stilted and forced? Will they meet her and automatically and effortlessly invite her into our circle as they do with church friends, neighbors, the Wallmart Check-Out Lady? Oh, I hope so. And why is it so easy for children to do that? The last time we talked on the phone, I said, "I love you." It just popped out. I always say that to my family. But I didn't know; I didn't realize she would feel like family. I was surprised to hear myself say it, but I instantly realized it was true. I do love her. And if that sounds a little...off...to you, well, I can relate. I remember our very first homestudy interview for Marina's adoption. The social worker asked, "How did I anticipate feeling about the birth family and the birth mother in particular?" At first blush, I thought that was a stupid question. Ummm...duh, we are here for a Russian adoption. What birth family? The child will be in an orphanage, without family, abandoned. But of course I knew that wasn't a good, open-minded, adoption savvy response. So I distinctly remember telling her that I didn't anticipate any strong negative emotions (and having positive ones never crossed my mind) toward the child's biological relatives--perhaps, in their situation of extreme poverty, leaving the child in the orphanage was in every one's best interest. However, I indicated that I might feel differently if I knew my child had suffered at their hands. When she prompted, "Such as..?" I gave her a long list: "abuse, neglect, alcoholism, drug addiction..." My babies by adoption have endured all of these evils and then some. And yet, I am not angry at their birthmothers. Sometimes I am angry--but it is at the darkness at work in the world. For them I feel only sadness, regret, pity, hope and yes, love. And D? When I told her I loved her, she choked on a sob. What kind of a life does one live that hearing that sentiment overwhelms you? I cannot imagine.
I have become increasingly concerned over the last few years with the direction of our nation. I don't want to be an alarmist, but at times I grow fearful; what kind of country will my children inherit? Will it still be "land of the free, and the home of the brave?" Ironically, it was Abby who reminded me that, for all her faults, she is still the land flowing with milk and honey. Two weeks ago the master brought home some used office water bottles and put them on the front porch. He's pack-rattish that way. Well, they sat out there until I got tired of looking like an episode of "Samford and Sons." I asked him to find a useful purpose for them, or put them in the dumpster. He brought one of them in and told the kids it would be our bank for Disney. Whatever we collected in the bank would be our spending cash for our trip. Well, we had some industrious workers after that announcement. They were under beds, digging in sofa cushions, cleaning out sock drawers and scavenging the laundry room shelves. After they had a good layer of coins in the bottom of the jug, Abby made a sign that read, "Disney World Fund" and put it in a prominent spot in the front hall (hoping to catch Papa and Mr. Kenny with full pockets and in generous moods). Fast forward two days. Abby and I are huffing and puffing up the hallway, toting out a table for the daycare kids to use in their lemonade stand. We were trying to raise the final amount needed to dig a well in India. When all of a sudden Abby stops and says, "Momma. It just doesn't seem right that we have a Disney World Fund and there are children in India who don't have safe water to drink." Thank you, Lord for these sweet children, who so often put things in perspective. Thank you, that you have chosen for me to be born and live in this nation of abundant wealth. Help me to remember when much is given, much is expected and to be always mindful that this is not my Homeland. I look forward to the day when all of Your children drink from the river that flows by Your throne.
So, yesterday after I posted, we saw a billboard for touring the Tabasco plant on Avery Island. The master has always wanted to do that--he has a deep and abiding love for the pepper sauce. We made a spur of the moment decision to go. It was a pretty cool (or should I say, 'hot'?) tour, but it put us hours behind our gator farm schedule. THEN we hit a horrendous grid-lock in Grosse Tet, which road sign Ian unfortunately read as 'gross tit' and he and Ian pro eded to laugh about half-way to Baton Rouge. That's normally not a long drive, but yesterday, it took almost two hours. The gator farm website said they closed at 6:00, and we knew we were going to miss it. The master just about blew a gasket. Did you know he could do that? Doesn't happen very often, but it DOES happen. The hillarity of the back seats died down. It was one of those rare moments when children instinctively know to maintain silence for self preservation. Long story short, we made the last tour of the day--turned out they didn't follow the specified times--it's a Cajun thing. Wish we would have known that before the apoplexy. When we got to the hotel, they didn't have the suite we had reserved. They had rented the second bedroom and wanted us to pay the same amount for the one bedroom and living room. I don't think so. After much wrangling with the night desk clerk, we were finally settled into the handicap room. There were only two double beds, but additional floor space, so we were back to putting pallets on the floor. We are driving by grace to Lake Charles. The master has his leg off and we are all griping about the smell. Hoping we do not miss the party.
Wow! Thought I'd never get the chance to post! Summer is very busy for us, but I'm free from the center for today. We are on our way to Hammond, LA for a surprise visit to the gator farm featured on the History channel's "Swamp People." The kids and the master are huge fans. We've been watching the first season on Netflix. They have no idea where we're headed. Then tomorrow, we have my nephew's birthday party in Lake Charles. And anyone who says the world is overpopulated has never driven between Alexandria and Lafayette. Except for the four lanes of traffic, there are no indications of civilization.
It is passed time for our monthly update to our agency, so I made myself sit down at the computer tonight. Thought to might appreciate a little Levi news, too.
Levi James will be six weeks old on Friday. He is taking four ounces of formula at a feeding with three and a half to four hours between feedings. At night, we generally have two bottles, but every few nights he will only wake once (yay!). He can hold his head steady when picking it up off of our shoulders and for brief moments on his belly. He is going to be another laid-back, happy infant—we seem to be blessed with that kind. This is an especially admirable quality considering the other children just about go into hysterics if he cries for more than two seconds, “MAMA….Levi is crying! He is crying, Mama!!” (Do they think I can’t hear?) If he were a fussy baby, I would have to have them all sedated. He is enraptured with his paci and dozens of them litter the house and car. We haven’t had a binkie baby since K, so we must re-train ourselves to NEVER leave home without it. Both his regular pediatrician and specialist say that he is perfect, and we couldn’t agree more. He is probably knocking on nine pounds now—that is my mom-to-seven/daycare director’s estimate—but we will get an official weight at his two month appointment........ We are so relieved and thankful. We all love him like crazy.