Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just when I thought it was safe to say "no more needles!"

I have scheduled our required TB tests for next Friday. (If you can believe how nutty I am, I actually googled TB test pictures to see if I could post a photo with this blog entry. In case you're curious, there were LOTS of pictures to choose from but they were way too gross for publication.)

The little glitches and delays have ended up pushing us back about a month so far, which really isn't all that bad. I still need to regroup and revisit all the things on the "checklist" to make sure that we are still making progress, though. I feel like we've been pretty stagnant lately and I am getting a bit irked by that but I'm guessing that, all told, we'll probably end up being about a month "behind schedule" when all is said and done, provided I get back on track with accomplishing a little something every day.

In other news, remember the "two weeks" it was going to take the Bahamas to get our apostilled marriage certificate back to us? Still not here. I haven't even calculated how long it has actually been because I really don't want to know. It has come to us not being able to even get a call back from the people in the Bahamas now, though. I won't start to get really and truly worried until or unless we are ready to submit our dossier and we still don't have it. Pray with us, won't you please, that it doesn't come to that? We'd certainly appreciate it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A bit of a rant for your Saturday...

Ok, so I know I've been rather silent lately. Silent and moping, I guess? I have been cranky and frustrated and tried very hard not to complain but now I guess I will just vent for a few minutes, if you don't mind.

Flashback to my last post where we were grabbing at the silver linings of one last needle poke - I had been given the thumbs up that our medical forms were going to be ready by week's end and we could make that final checkmark on our homestudy list and take one giant leap forward in our paperchase, remember? Not so fast, there, spunky! Well, week's end came and went and still no papers from the doctor. Then came this week. After faxing and calling the doctor's office several times we finally got "the call" that said everything was ready to pick up. Bill popped in and picked it up (without looking at it, bless his heart, he just believed them when they said they were done) and faxed it off to our Social Worker. That evening when I got home and went to add them to our file I noticed they were - how can I put this? - blank. I had completed our name and address and attached the labs for the doctor to complete his part and sign the forms, he looked at them, ordered more blood tests and sent us off for the needle, and apparently put the forms in the file without a second thought. So that's exactly the way they came back to me. Name and address filled out, the remainder totally blank.

So-o-o-o-o...Bill dropped them back off at the office and was assured by the apologetic receptionist that they'd be completed ASAP. Bill arranged for my Mom to pick them up for us yesterday afternoon. Mom went in, the first time, and learned they weren't ready - doc had an emergency or something - and she'd have to come back. Several hours later, Mom went in a second time. They sat her down in the waiting room and she waited. Twenty minutes later, she went back to the window to ask about the status and learned they STILL weren't ready. (I'm giving you the abridged version here, for simplicity sake, but suffice it to say Mom wasn't pleased.) They told her they couldn't complete the forms because they don't have HIV testing or Urine Drug Screens for us. Mom dialed me up on the cell phone at about this point and reminded them that, yes, they do, because I gave them to the office and they were in fact attached to the forms that Bill dropped off this morning. They found the HIV test results and the urine drug screen results, but they STILL couldn't complete the forms without a TB test. WHAT?!?!?!? Mom's question was perfect, "well did you TELL them this when they were here in the office?" Nope, didn't know they needed it until I looked at this form just now. (Two weeks after the first day I was in their office trying to arrange for the forms to be completed...but I'm not bitter.)

So, in the half-hearted attempt to make a long story short here, the fact is we are no closer to that checkmark than we were more than two weeks fact, we're further away. I am really frustrated, at myself and the doctor's office, and feeling rather petulant with the process right now. So now I am trying to schedule a TB test (because of course we can't get it done at the doctor's office, they don't do that there) and get these forms filled out once and for all.

I have had a goal in mind for when I hoped to have all the documents ready to submit to our agency for translation and submission of our dossier to Colombia. I don't know how realistic it is, but I guess we'll press on and pray that we can rest in the knowledge that God's got this all under control. I sometimes feel really selfish when I get so worked up over these minor catastrophes (that really aren't at all catastrophic), especially knowing there are others with much bigger (real, legitimate) problems. And I hate to sulk, but it sure can throw a dark cloud over my mood.

Speaking of dark clouds, isn't is amazing what those photo manipulation programs can do to a picture snapped off your cellphone? Take a look at the shot at the top of my post. I saw some cool clouds on the way home from work one day and decided to try to capture them on my camera phone. Bored a few days later, I started playing with the picture on my computer. I cropped and played with color saturation levels and auto-correct stuff (nothing fancy, because I was using a stock program that came with the computer and I have NO IDEA what I'm doing with this stuff anyway) and this is what resulted of my fiddling. The original shot? Totally different, yet exactly the same:

What do you suppose that says about perspective? One view is mundane and natural, yet beautiful. The other exaggerated and melodramatic, yet still beautiful. Two perspectives of the exact same situation. Maybe I should just change my perspective of all these things - away from the melodrama and back to the natural. I mean, our entire adoption journey has been based on walking by faith. The top of our blog proclaims it - "We walk by faith, not by sight," 2 Corinthians 5:7. And I'm suddenly reminded that Jeremy Camp has a great song, Walk by Faith, that opens with, "Would I believe You when You say/ Your hand will guide my every way" and the chorus promises, "Well I will walk by faith/ Even when I cannot see/ Well because this broken road/ Prepares Your will for me." AMEN! I love it when I can feel my perspective start to shift like this. Off to change the song on my blog's music player and begin to sift through a week's worth of mail and laundry that awaits me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I tell you I was THIS CLOSE... getting our completed medical history forms and medical letter from our doctor without another needle! THIS CLOSE, and no dice. The insurance physical was perfectly fine for the HIV testing and the urine drug screening and the testing for communicable diseases and such but unfortunately it didn't include a blood count, which was a necessary component according to the medical history form required by our Social Worker. So, even though we arrived this morning with lab results in tow, our doctor still had to draw more blood. Have I mentioned I hate needles? I do; and even though I have made every effort to remove the word "hate" from my vocabulary altogether, I can't think of any other way to describe my feeling toward needles that doesn't sound pretentious.

Bright side: Now that the unpleasantries have been accomplished, we will - God willing - be able to pick up the required medical forms and notarized medical letter later this week and get them submitted to our Social Worker. And that, my friends, will be the final check for the list of things to do for the homestudy. (Well, the final checkmark, that is, because there's still a pretty sizeable check, cash, or money order due when the actual homestudy itself is in final form. Not talking about that part right now, this is the bright side, remember??)

After that, it's on to the next big wait - the wait for USCIS to process our I600-A application. Meanwhile, we'll be focusing on checking marks on the dossier list. Baby steps, but we'll get there.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great quote

I just read a post by Heidi over at Streams of Mercy that contained one of those quotes from her former bible teacher. You know, the ones that just kind of smack you in the face and say "Good morning there, sunshine, I'm talking to you...Ya listening?" What do you think?

"Obedience precedes revelation. If you want God to show you more of Himself, you must follow the light you've been given so far."

Here's a neat read for you...

Have you ever heard of Max Lucado? I first learned of him by way of a devotional I saw someone reading at one time or another and then, thanks to Kyle and Katie, became better acquainted with his work for children in the Hermie and friends series of books and videos. I came across this reprint the other day and thought it was a neat read. So, I got permission to post it here for you to enjoy too! ~Jenn

God's Mission: Adoption
by Max Lucado

When we come to Christ, God not only forgives us, he also adopts us. Through a dramatic series of events, we go from condemned orphans with no hope to adopted children with no fear. Here is how it happens. You come before the judgment seat of God full of rebellion and mistakes. Because of his justice he cannot dismiss your sin, but because of his love he cannot dismiss you. So, in an act which stunned the heavens, he punished himself on the cross for your sins. God’s justice and love are equally honored. And you, God’s creation, are forgiven. But the story doesn’t end with God’s forgiveness.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15–16 NASB).

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4–5 NASB).

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but he does more. He gives you his name. It would be enough if God just set you free, but he does more. He takes you home. He takes you home to the Great House of God.

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone. I certainly don’t mean to offend any biological parents—I’m one myself. We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child. But in many cases our cribs were filled easily. We decided to have a child and a child came. In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision. I’ve heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption.

That’s why adoptive parents understand God’s passion to adopt us. They know what it means to feel an empty space inside. They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future. If anybody understands God’s ardor for his children, it’s someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us.

God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.

From The Great House of God by Max Lucado
W Publishing Group 1997
Used by permission