The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I hesitate to write on this.

It's huge.


There's no one right way.

I'm barely going to touch the tip of the iceberg and it will all be very subjective.

But I've had several conversations about attachment recently. Some sprung upon me and others I've initiated. As, it's not something you can truly understand from a personal level until you are living it.

We are living it.

Attachment with an adopted child.

While we had three and a half years to read up on it - and likely could have read nearly every book written on it had we really paced ourselves, I will honestly admit that the motivation was strong at the start and at the end. It waned in the middle...and while I could blame the adoption game, the question of "will it ever happen", the frustration of the wait...I will truthfully say there was a small part of me who, while wanting to be book smart and savvy, also wanted to allow instinct to take over. My degree is (somewhat) in this area and I allowed knowledge gained over those years penetrate from somewhere back in the library of years past, permeate during the months between the referral and the pick-up.

For us, age played a huge role. Makeda was young. She was young at referral, when we met her prior to court, and she was still young, (mercifully) when she came home. (HOME. I am still in disbelief as I write those words...yes, even after two months together. Honest and complete disbelief, gratitude, and gratefulness.)

I digress.

Our referral age request was always based on two main things: the age of our biological children and the age at which attachment is most easily formed. Perhaps this is selfish. Perhaps we should have been more open to a wide spectrum of age, special needs, and other possibilities. But for us, for our family, this was right. And doing what's right for one's entire family is at the crux of it all, isn't it? This doesn't mean the journey (to and after completion of the adoption) will be easy..."right" is defined differently and specifically within the parameters of each family and each parent's threshold, isn't it?!

Instinct for us - for me - meant one thing which I had continually read in regards to the bonding and attachment process. Closeness. Touch. Contact. General habits and routines such as being the only ones to feed, change, and put her to bed were in the repetoir, of course.

For me, it was eye contact above all else. It was that first meeting when we weren't allowed to hold or even touch her physically. Intentionally and for long periods, we would lock eyes. Our gaze not straying from each other. I tried to read her and allowed her to do the same - inasmuch as a 7 month baby could. The following day, the same thing: eyes locked.

When she was brought to me in September, as much as I possibly could I allowed her to stare into my eyes again. I truly believe we formed a bond then.

Children know much. They glean and sense more than we could ever give them credit for, I believe. And I think in those first few moments at each meeting we were able to exchange some sort of foundational relationship and attachment.

I'm not saying this is true for everyone. I'm not saying this is what we should all do. Older children (toddlers included) are a whole other ballgame and while it is as important to take cues from them, research and reading is as important as ever.

I wonder some days, if I'm just oblivious and we have made zero headway or if it has simply gone more smoothly than we ever could have anticipated. After several conversations recently, both with friends and professionals, it would seem the latter is true.

Never give up or cease continuing to build that bond.

Never underestimate the foundational importance of eye contact.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh! The Party

Blessed by many.

The little people wore their Ethiopian best.

The Birthday Cake - another masterpiece by the most talented of cake makers! We are so thankful we've both moved within driving distance of each other over the past year. Such a gift.

Her first experience with cake, and sugar, and sweets since coming home.

And, while she doesn't have much of a sweet tooth...she definitely enjoyed her nibbles and playing with her cake.

It was a very long afternoon. The best kind. This house was full. Surrounded by friends, new and old - and even an orphanage roommate reunion, it was a true celebration.

She ended the day tired, content, beautifully peaceful, so...well...her.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today. 2011. A Babe - One. We Celebrate.

It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since I posted this.

Having no clue we'd be...well, here. Five. In Alberta. Celebrating. Praising. Rejoicing. Holding. Kissing. Loving. Giving great thanks.

In light of that post, moreover of that day, I can't help but say, "thank you God that we did".

Painfully at times, we felt staying the course was our only option. Painfully.

And to think of the gift we would have missed, had we veered. Taken another path. Eased the anguish and ceased the tears in the name of less raw emotion. Forgetting, ignoring that "The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." (Buechner)

We would have missed this all.

Because, though it seems in some ways that she's always been here - because you know, she is such a perfect fit for us - I know that not long ago we ached. And as I've said before, not unlike the pain of childbirth the memory of that pain will never be forgotten (how could is a part of the journey), it has faded to some of the rearmost parts of our memory. Intentionally sometimes. It has been forced there by pure grace, joy, one little ethiopian girl.

There have been many milestones we've missed in the still short life of our sweet, beautiful, comical, facial expression-filled, growly, cuddly, content, smiley baby girl. And that too, the acceptance and knowledge that adoption is not a journey whose specific path we necessarily chose, has been part of our experience.

Her kicking in the womb, her birth (!!!), her first cries and smiles and giggles and coos. The first time she placed her thumb in her mouth in need of self-soothing (oh! that thumb). The first time she rolled over (many friends saw this before us). Her first immunizations. Her first cough and cold and I wonder what other illnesses. We missed it all.

But not today.

Today we celebrate with the joy, a milestone together.

We celebrate a little girl turning one.

Though it's not just that, is it. We celebrate being family. Five. We delight in this day not only for it's importance but as one piece continuing to form the story of miracles. Togetherness. Joy. We celebrate the anguish and excruciating moments which led us to this moment of fruition, revelry, and absolute awe.

Happy Birthday Sweet Beautiful Merciful Makeda.

{Today we celebrate...tomorrow we party!}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fresh (Air) Perspective

Yesterday was not one of those days a person wishes to repeat, or even re-live in their mind. It just wasn't a stellar day in the history of this little family. Everyone went to bed a little (!) frazzled and out of sorts. Some of us woke up with frustration hang-over from the unfavourable ending to the previous day.

But we're normal. It will happen again. (Hopefully no time soon.)

We have great days. We have bad days. And in between these extremes lies the spectrum of life (with children).

Going to bed feeling undone and spent is one thing. Waking up feeling similar isn't okay with me.

And while it wasn't on the top of my to-do list, the sun was shining, the thermometer was reading a wee bit above zero and the paths were calling our names. (This may not seem warm, yet this morning's read was 31.5 degrees above that of Saturday morning!)

We bundled up.

One hopped on his bike.

One was nuzzled cozy in her stroller.

The other, a leash strapped around his furry neck.

And I...I took up the rear with camera in hand.

It was a "choose your own adventure" kind of morning. The paths around these parts are fantastic and have been cleared and plowed more than the sidewalks. One small four year old in the lead - his kamikaze style bike riding leaves this Mama wanting to loose her last meal at times - we've taken to looking away when he really gets his speed up. The rest of us followed.

This way and that, we followed the paths (and a few sidewalks) on our mini adventure.

And the mindset at the end of it was well worth the time spent together. Outside. In the fresh air. And sun.

I consciously took deep breaths as we walked along. Allowing the fresh, cool (not frigid!) air to reach deep down into the crevices of my lungs. And I'm sure it helped.

We get caught up sometimes, don't we? In the busyness of life. What we should be doing instead, sometimes, of what we want to be doing. We forget, in the throws of homework and soccer and play dates and appointments, that these moments...the walks, the adventure, the deep breathing...these phenomena keep us healthy and sane and patient and content.

My encouragement is to take, if only a few minutes, to stop. Whatever has to get done - put it aside if only briefly. Don't forget about the value of the outside, fresh air, deep breathing, talking together with your wee one(s). Slowing down. Push a kid, walk alongside one, go to the end of the street alone if it's dark and into the night and the day has slipped away, but do take those deep fresh breaths.

We can so easily slip into the drone of the day. We can fall into a sea of gray if we allow ourselves. When the moment presents itself - or you have worked to seek it out - jump...ah hem, walk.

Today has been much better.

We all have a much better perspective.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pull The Trigger

I've come to realize - perhaps it's an age thing, or a recent life experience, or observation of friends' crazy awesome decisions, or a simple glance over to our (new) family room at a wee girl, in our (new to us) house in our (new) city - but regardless of who we are or the path we've chosen, it's all so very finite.

Not unlike the thoughts here, I (try!!) daily, to seek fulfillment of passion(s). As more friends, family, acquaintances meet Makeda - especially those who hoped, prayed, cried, laughed, ached with us for years through the wait - I am reminded of the definable time we will spend here. Alive. Not to sound overly morbid but that's reality, right?

Making the decision to move, to uproot our children (even the one not yet home), to pack up to move to another we hadn't yet seen (oh yes, we bought it sight unseen), leaving the only place we had ever known as a married couple and family...that was difficult. Excruciating in some ways.

And for me, it took another one of those "we can't nearly miss it" trains of thought.

Because who wants to look back five years and wonder "what if". No thanks.

And who wants to do something without whole-hearted, full-on, make-your-heart-ache passion? Nope.

We were in a situation which we loved. We were comfortable. We were mostly content. The same passion, however, didn't exist as perhaps it did a year or two (or more) ago. Blame it on the adoption. Becoming aware of a situation about which we had only read but in which weren't personally implicated - that did it. Or perhaps, instead of being blameful, we should be grateful and thankful and full of joy. Feeling perhaps we weren't being a (small) part of the solution - weren't being used to our full capacity - it wasn't enough.

So, we pulled the trigger.

That was the hardest, most gut wrenching, near-sickening thing. Because it's a big deal. We weren't moving somewhere to be near family...a known place to us, the familiar. It was more the opposite. Leaving the familiar, to venture into the unknown.

Yet that's part of the adventure of passion, is it not? Taking the leap of faith and just going for it...knowing we could aways be (somewhat) comfortable where we were but wanting more.

And when it was all said and done, papers were signed, people were called, children were told, it felt good and right. And inevitably somewhat scary. Again though: our time is is finite. There was no do-over or rewind button. Had we not made the decision to move and stayed where we were comfortable it would have been fine.

And can I just say, God blesses us when we follow His lead.

Always and every time.

And we love it here (!!!!!!!!).

Difficult moments, sure. A tougher transition for a certain six year old, yes. Not all the same comforts of home, perhaps not. Different comforts - which likely, will soon mirror the old ones in familiarity. Yet, there is an inexplicable joy and ache for this (now quite personal) passion. We are grateful each day that we pulled the trigger.

Because now we don't have to wonder. We have the privilege of being a small part of the difference.

And now new bucket lists are beginning to form. Not so uprooting and life changing but passion-driven nonetheless.

Don't second guess. Analyze, weigh out your pros and cons. Think on it. And if it's right, if you know way down you'll regret passing it by - then simply pull.

The joy and peace and gratitude and anticipation and passion and heart and excitement which will follow and which you will exude will be evidence enough that in your "one chance" finite journey, you've just enhanced the ride.

Plus, nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OCC Reminder: It's Collection Week

Makeda would like to remind you that it's Operation Christmas Child's Shoe Box Collection Week. (Phew, that was a mouthful.)

Your box could be the light that shines through the darkness of a small child's year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Who says you can't clean your kid and cook a roast within the same hour? Make hay while the sun shines!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't "Nearly" Miss It

When we started our journey, we ate up any adoption resource we could find. We sought out organizations supporting, encouraging, embracing, founded on adoption. A couple captured our hearts, one of which is Show Hope. We soaked up interviews and gave to the cause. We found more passion through the words of Steven Curtis Chapman.

We dove into our adoption journey head first at the start of March 2008, on April 29 we had (endured?) our first homestudy interview and on May 21, 2008 SCC's youngest adopted daughter Maria, was killed at their family home.

I remember the day clearly. I remember wondering why. Why would all this happen - a little girl born with hypothetical special needs - a diagnosis which would later be debunked. A family (a family in the spotlight nonetheless!) all the way from the US, not planning to adopt but feeling the call, urge and desire, united with her.

And then tragedy.

Tragedy that makes you scream and cry and question everything you know.

And I know now, why. Maybe you do too. Or at least I am quite certain I do. I'd encourage you to read more on the story. Her story - the short life this little girl led which has left such a legacy, a narrative which has given hope to thousands of orphans.

The thing is this...before all the tragedy we watched an interview in which SCC was interviewed about their adoption experience and journeys - and how they thought they were done and three kids and their hearts weren't open to more. Life was comfortable...stable, there was no need to rock the boat. And then how their teen daughter encouraged them and shared with them about her missions trip to china and the children there with no parents...who needed just that.

And what SCC said next stuck with Ben and I - and will continue to do so likely for the rest of our lives. Because, though our situation was completely different, we were in many ways, in the same boat.

Time and again, we nearly gave up for the exhaustion of the whole thing. Over and over we questioned whether we could continue to willingly, consciously, daily, put ourselves through the trials of the wait.

"We nearly could have missed it" he said.

We. We could have nearly missed it.

They nearly missed the blessing that was their first adoption...and then their second...and then the third.

And they never would have known the joy of which their lives would have been void.

Neither would we.

And regardless of the opportunity which will present itself to you (and there will undoubtedly be a couple which seem big enough to be of dreamlike quality), jump.

Do it.

Don't look back. Be nervous or apprehensive and allow the knot in the pit of your stomach to are human after all. And, if the churning isn't there then perhaps the dream isn't "big" enough.

And while you wait, don't waste time. Because each day can only be lived once.

I recall an interview in the days soon after the Chapman's family tragedy and SCC was asked if he regretted any of their adoption decisions. Not that they regretted adopting their children but rather, had it been possible to avoid all the pain and the darkness through which they currently dwelled, would they have changed their minds - you know, the hindsight question. Had they not pursued a third and final adoption none of the excruciating pain could have seeped it's way into their lives.

Their reply was that they wouldn't have changed a thing because of the hope, the joy, the love Maria brought into their lives. Hope, joy and love which wouldn't have been awakened without her. She brought a dynamic - as we all do in our unique way - into their family, which they wouldn't have experienced in the same way, had she not been there. They would have missed the(ir) blessing.

And we get it now. More than ever. More than words can accurately portray...the blessing. Your blessing. It's there. Perhaps the path is winding. Possibly it's a spec in the distance...but you know it's there and upon it, you set your sights.

Don't ever been afraid to follow that bucket list because our time here is finite, short, and we get one shot. Press on. Don't waste it.

Don't let them sway, waver, or fall from that spec that is your blessing.

There's hope.

Even when situations seem bleak, and giants seem overwhelming. There's hope.

And the blessing that flows from that, well, it will change you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Her Best Interest

We survived our first PPR last week.

The Social Worker came, and what do you know: she didn't bite. Actually, had we been blessed by her presence during our initial homestudy a whopping three and a half years ago, that whole part of the process could have been a little less...ummmm...stressful.

I digress.

It all went off without a hitch and we didn't feel like we'd just been judged on our parenting skills by the time the interview was over.

I received the report a few days later and after editing a few small areas, I neared the end. I had spent the last several minutes reliving our interview without so much as a second thought until I found myself stuck at the last line...

"The finalization of this adoption was clearly in the child's best interests."

The ache. It returned simultaneously with the lump in my throat.

I still struggle with that line. I think I always will. After our afternoon of good-byes at the orphanage, a small part of me will always feel some conflict at the wonder of this.

Quantitatively. Objectively. Yes. This is in the child's best interest. When chatting with an agency representative who has been in this line of work (and passion) for several years while in Ethiopia, we were told that there are approximately 7000 'new' orphans each year. About 5000 of them are adopted (internationally).

The math's pretty easy on that one.

Your heart may have just broken a little...mine did.

The stark reality of what we are accustomed to reading is close to home now.

Many, most, if not all of the remaining 2000 will end up on the streets. Yes, there are alternatives for some of them...but not all. 2000. Each year. And the famine's not going to end any time soon. My apologies if that statement is not full of hope or faith. I have hope and faith. I'm also aware of the gravity of the situation as it currently stands and while I believe that with (much) time we will see change, Rome wasn't built in a day and disasters don't happen, nor are they healed overnight.

And so, wherever these 2000 is not in their best interest - objectively speaking.

They are however, surrounded by and living within their culture. They know (possibly) of some family tradition or at least tradition deeply rooted in their country. It's likely they have an aunt or uncle, cousin or friend-like-a-sibling with whom they can relate. Subjectively this could be in their best interest.

Yet, when I see Makeda's eyes light up when she is spoken to in Amharic (a huge blessing from our move here) or when I try to fumble my way through "Ameseginalehu", I have to truly wonder if this is in her best interest in every way, shape, and form. And, as I see the twinkle in her eyes sparkle just a wee bit brighter I am motivated to immerse our family in her culture. To try hard. To work better. To want more. For her.

The finalization of this adoption is in her best interest, but we are really going to have to work to make sure that it's in her best interest as she grows up. And, as she realizes the culture she left behind. And as she asks about her heritage. And as she notices that her skin is brown and her brothers' skin is not and when she asks why. When it comes to food, water, and shelter this adoption is in her best interest. Yet when it comes to tradition and the phenomena on which we cannot put a price tag, we will truly need to ache for her and seek for her and celebrate with her, all those things which make her...her.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pack It: The Shoebox

I have been meaning to post this for awhile. I was reminded this morning. The season is quick and short-lived but so impactful.

Pack Your Shoebox.

I love this.

Annually Samaritan's Purse ramps up the Operation Christmas Child production (staffing, lines, shipping, passion). Providing children with (much) less with some small amount of joy.

What a great, simple, fun way to teach your children well. What a Saturday morning full of impact. What a fantastic way to be the blessing that could stay with a child - likely wondering where his/her next meal may come from - through the entire year.

A simple sixty minutes of your time, lasting throughout three hundred and sixty five days.

Do it here...(if you don't have the time, do it online and chose whether you want to help a wee boy or girl or both, here)...

Be the blessing...

Love on the vulnerable, innocent, children - who deserve more.

Christmas is coming. It should come for everyone.

That's our responsibility, isn't it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What To Do With The Pumpkin...Simply

The pumpkin was purchased. The intention, as with all other households who purchase a pumpkin in October was to design and carve.

It never happened.

There she sat. (Apparently it's okay to personify the pumpkin.)

I have to say, cutting through the traditionally large orange squash is my's right up there with sticking sharp pokey things in my eyes. Why? Well, because chances are good I'm going to end up sticking a sharp pokey thing in my hand. It's just awkward, you know?

I digress.

More than my aversion to slicing large gourds, I can't stand seeing waste. So, Friday afternoon I took the plunge. Blood (sweat, and tears) free.

My third least favourite thing (next to cutting pumpkin and wasting anything) is piling a bunch of large, awkwardly sliced pieces into a pot (after having equally as awkwardly removed the thick skin), simmering for umpteen minutes (ah hem, some of us go a little savage with the heat and inevitably leave some sort of burnt mess), waiting for it all to cool, removing, blending, then cleaning all said items used to cook the beast.

This year, following the baby-food-making process familiar to us around here, I decided to give baking/roasting our pumpkin the old college try.

Fantastic and amazing, all rolled up into one orange chunked up pumpkin was the result.

Forty five minutes in a 400 degree oven on a pan with a teeny bit of water (only!) and the pumpkin's skin peeled right off. A potato masher in hand, I went to work. Minimal clean up (even less waste!) and I had myself a whack of pumpkin meat.

Don't think I didn't taste it.

Don't think it wasn't wonderful. There is nothing quite like a freshly roasted squash of any sort (and this, from a girl who is not a fan of squash as an overall rule).

While the seeds were roasting in the oven, I divided up the pumpkin meat...five, one cup (plus!) portions...enough for at least five loaves. Yum.

The next mountain to climb would be successfully finding and executing the creation of a delicious, healthy (!!!), easy to make loaf.

Say no more. In minutes I found this bad boy and with a little help from my 'whoa on the refined stuff' touch, it fit this family to a tee.

For anyone with the same aversion to the cancer-causing, blood-sugar-raising, wicked white stuff - what, too harsh? - feel free to use my tailored version below.

Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup flour (white/whole wheat)*
1 cup spelt flour
2 tbsp sugar**
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (+) pumpkin puree***
1/2 cup olive oil (go easy)
2 eggs
1 tsp each nutmeg/cinnamon/all spice

Blend dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients with spices. Fold wet ingredients into dry and continue to fold just until all is blended and moist. The key is not to over mix.

Pop in preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Voila. (Not only will you have one incredible loaf, your house will smell like Fall...and that in itself is worth the effort.)

A couple of keys...this recipe uses very moist ingredients so if the loaf is in the oven a couple extra minutes have no fear - it will still be good and moist! I will add flax or some other nutrition booster next time, now that I know how successfully manipulated this recipe really can be.

Now I'm off to see if there are any remaining pumpkins locally...because not only is this a cheaper-than-dirt way to help fill two (never full!) boys, but it's a fun way to satisfy the baker in some of us.

*I used spelt only for one of my loaves and it worked great! No dryness. No falling apart. Simply wonderful.

**I would hedge a bet that you could completely omit the sugar (seeing as I already cut it down from 1 full cup in the originally recipe and it still turned out fantastic). My loaves were taken to friends' places and I didn't want to shell shock them by drastically changing the recipe. I'll do this next time. Increase the spice content if it seems lacking...this will often make a huge difference without altering the (good!) nutritional value.

***I made this loaf with applesauce, thinking it would be of similar consistency (moisture) to pumpkin puree...and whaddya know, it is!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Makin' Them...Ah Hem - It...Work For Us

I take my hat off to families with five, six, seven, (etc) kids. Seriously. You're my heroes. Or just downright nuts. Though, I know there are a few tricks in the bag with that thought process. With two kids you hope and pray they play well together and when they do, you maximize that time to a) relax b) more likely blitz the house.

Three has been an interesting routine, rhythm, mould into which we continue to form this little family. On the one hand, having kids who are slightly "older"(and let the record show I am using that term very loosely - they are often more work that the babe), can be of benefit. However, there are mornings I wonder if I'm breaking the Guinness Book Of World Records for the number of times one Mama can say "get your shoes/jacket/lunch/backpack and get in the car!!!!!". (Oh what, it's like that at your place too?) It's taken time but we're finding our rhythm. The clock can show a number no greater than 8:13 before it's go time...we've learned that. We praise one another when we're in the car and it's 8:15. And state the common goal to improve the following morning if we see anything past that. Rome wasn't built in a day people.

But here's what I've found. Any offspring number greater than two (especially with a significant age gap) and you can really get the system to work for you.

Take last week. Two were eating breakfast and one was still sleeping (she's pretty great at that). The thought of a shower was fantastically enticing the phrase "don't fight" was verbalized and off I went for two (well, maybe four) minutes of bliss.

Three minutes into that, a knock came at the door and I sighed in dismay at the anticipation of a likely tattletaler. Wrong.

"Makeda's crying so we went in to make her smile."


And I took my time for another ten minutes after getting out...walked into her room, and there are two small children racing cars while the wee one kicks her legs in excitement at the notion that they are playing in her room. Keep in mind I think she's got them figured out more than they believe and she's likely thinkin' that it's all going just the way she'd planned. Well played Makeda, well played.

This morning is another prime example of how the system...this "larger family" multiple siblings thing can really play out to the advantage of the Mamas and Daddies...

{one load of laundry, several dishes, and one wee blog post later, she's started to voice her request to be removed from the current vantage point. fair has been 45 minutes}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sheepishly Empowered

The determination required to successfully complete any significant task can be chalked up to faith, stubbornness, perseverance, intense desire, passion, and the list goes on.

When we started out in March 2008, we knew some faith and perseverance would be required. Of course we had no idea how much. And if I had a dollar for every person who had told me that adoption isn't for the faint of heart well, you know, I'd be downright filthy rich.

And now that it's over and we can reflect, I feel like I could climb any mountain. And the dreams and desires I have for me - for us...our family...well, they're bigger. And if they're not bigger I most certainly do dream with more confidence. (I think they're bigger though.)

Just as when you complete any sort of course, achieve any sort of goal, or summit any sort of rigorous peak, there's some sort of adrenaline surge that reminds you of your mortality. It makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. For me, that was the motivation I needed to stay on our journey. There were days, oh the days and weeks when we nearly threw in the towel...if only I had a tally sheet. It would have been shameful. What a blessing we would have missed. What a gift our family would have lost. I know now that the day we met with our social worker to ask her to have our file put on hold (because we couldn't stomach the roller coaster any more and our emotional well being was in jeopardy)...this was likely the day (or perhaps the week) that we were matched with Makeda and the paper chase started in Ethiopia. And I am ever indebted to the "no, we can't do it" pit-of-our-stomach ache and therefore decision to call afterward and reverse our decision.

This rush, confidence, accomplishment, it gives way to more...a desire to be, do, want, seek more.

I feel this sense of empowerment and defeat of evil by good. Some days I feel that we've won. Of course, looking over at our child as she scootches her way across the floor attempting to get her brothers' cars, I know we've won. We've been blessed. We are blessed. We survived, we clung, we rose, and conquered the (often, for us) horrific journey that was our quest to her. And through that, by coming out on the other end sane, full of faith, and now wanting - knowing that for us there is - more...well, that is nothing short of empowering.

The road is rough. The path is most certainly never straight. But when we stay the course and realize that through our mortality we have but one shot - there's no do-over - the result is nothing short of breathtaking. Glorious.

We've come out on the other end of our journey and I sheepishly admit that I am "getting something" out of this. I am benefitting. I am empowered by the fact that, with help, we have navigated ourselves through the big, giant, disastrous, messy, exhilarating, journey referred to, as International Adoption.

And here, I just thought we were bringing an orphan home.

And here, I just thought we wouldn't be all that changed.

And here, I figured life would continue as always, though as five rather than four.

When we cross our finish line - no matter how many times it feels it's been pushed further ahead - we are empowered.

When we are empowered we pursue more dreams...we have to. We ache to.

When we faithfully follow Good, we are empowered to overcome Evil.

And that is so very powerful.

Wordless Wednesday