Monday, November 23, 2015

Boy, this makes me uncomfortable

If you know me in real life, then you know I really do not care to be the center of attention. You also may know that watching myself on video is something I just don't do. My children's choir appeared on TV one year and I had to be part of an interview that was part of it. To this day I still have not watched it. I just can't. This is all to preface the extreme level of discomfort I have in the rest of this post. The only thing that is allowing me to push past my reticence is a need to bring my daughter home.

As you know, R. has a grant that is paying for her adoption. Since we were already able to get to China, it has allowed us to bring Y. home as well. God is good, and every time we have needed to come up with funds for the next set of expenses, money has been there. (Thank you to my dear friends. You know who you are.) Since we should be hearing that we have Travel Approval some time in early December, and plan on travelling in January, I need to be honest. There are still some expenses we have coming up that R.'s grant are not going to cover. People always seem to want real numbers. Well, when I add up the needed orphanage donations, visa/medical processing fees, passport fees, and travel fees, the number I reach is about $7000. It is not an insignificant chunk of change. We would also love to be able to take P. with us. We have found that having another child is extremely helpful for the new child, plus, if both girls are having a hard time, then we also have another set of hands to help with things such as luggage. Adding her to our trip would mean adding all of her airfare... US to China, three internal flights, and a flight home.

I will practice my slow and calm breathing now. We have managed three other adoptions and it has worked so far, I have to remember that.

The other thing that has been going on around here for the past year or so, and that I haven't mentioned, is that a film maker has been working on a film that involves us. (Cue more uncomfortableness on my part.) It feels a little weird, but I was also interested in showing that we are just a regular family. What we do is nothing all that special. Adoption is a feasible option.

So, with that very long prelude... here is the trailer our film maker friend made and gave us permission to use for fundraising purposes. To watch it, you'll need to type in the password: CURRY (Yes, case sensitive.)

If you feel led to donate some money (you cannot see my grimacing face as I type that), please contact me through the blog email (ordinarytimeblog (at) gmail (dot) com). We have worked out an avenue for receiving a tax deduction and I can give you the specific information. And do feel free to share this with others. (Grimacing again.)

Thanks for putting up with all of this. Here are the reasons I am putting you (and me) through this.



Friday, November 20, 2015

So really what you are telling me is that large families are not welcome here

Going to doctor's appointments is just a normal part of our week, and because of the various needs of various children, we see a lot of different doctors. I have it pretty much down to a science of where to park and what vehicle I need to park there. Some offices have a great parking situation and others not so much. Some involve low ceiling-ed parking garages that our little sedan barely seems to fit in and others have wide open parking lots. I've learned which car I need to drive to which appointment and J. and I plan ahead accordingly, constantly switching cars. As much as I like to drive the little sedan, it also means that it will be a day where we cannot all go together as a group since we don't fit. It's pretty much a first world problem and not one I spend thinking too much time about.

Well, until this morning.

H. and head out to her quarterly eye doctor appointment in the van. This office is in a suburb and has no parking garage. I have never thought twice about taking the van here and it has never been an issue in the past two years we have been going to this particular office. I do a quick trip around the parking lot to see if there are any open spaces because then I do not have to wait around for the valet guy to bring me the van. As usual, no open spaces, so we head to the free valet parking. So far, nothing about this visit has been unusual. We do this little dance every three months.

I pull up to the curb, turn off the van, hop out, and prepare to give the key to the valet guy, when suddenly, I feel as though I have fallen down the rabbit hole. "We can't park that," Mr. Valet Guy helpfully tells me.
"There's a spot right over there," I say, pointing to the valet area, thinking he didn't think he had an open spot.
"No, the van. We can't park it there," he tries to clarify.
"Um, it will fit. Trust me," I reply, thinking to myself of the hilarity involved when the short almost-50 mother-type can park the giant van better than the very large, macho-type valet guy.
"No. We aren't allowed to park that here. It is too long. You can't drive that here." The light dawns. It is not that he can't park the van, it's that he won't.

At this point, I will draw a veil over the next little bit of conversation where I strongly pointed out that a) if this is the vehicle I had available to drive, what exactly did he expect me to arrive in? b) I have been coming here for many years and this van has never been an issue (besides 'no vans' is not even on the sign) and c) the van most certainly will fit in just about every spot in the lot. I may or may not have raised by voice, and by the time the attention of everyone at the curb was caught, another valet guy hustled over, took my key, and said it would be fine.

But I'm still annoyed. So, NorthShore University Health System, let's really stop and think about what your valet guy was telling me. When there is no physical reason why I can't park my van (a too short parking garage, for instance), it makes me wonder why your representative tells me I can't drive my van. It's not as though I look at the multiple vehicles in my driveway and say, "Gee, I love driving 15-passenger vans. I'll leave the Mini Cooper or the Maserati at home and drive the fun car." No one chooses to drive a 15-passenger van for the fun of it. We who do, drive them because we have to. We either have too many children to fit in a more acceptable vehicle or it is because a family member has a mobility issue and the larger vans work well for a wheelchair. If we are to travel together, it must be in a big van. To say my van is unacceptable is to say my family (and its need for a larger vehicle) is unacceptable. Do you really want to go there? (And for the record, I could have easily parked my van in the open spots available in the valet area. They were exactly the size of parking spot I park in all the time.)

OK, vent over. Here is the good news from H.'s eye doctor appointment. First, she is stable enough that we now only need to back once a year from now on. Hooray! I'm always thankful for fewer doctor's appointments. Second, the astigmatism, which was significant, is now nearly gone from her eyes. This is pretty amazing. Third, oddly, her prescription has now moved from a near-sighted prescription (in the -2 range), to a far-sighted one (+2). The doctor agrees that this is more than a little odd, but not something to be alarmed about.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

It's that time of year again when I feel as though I have entered my own special version of The Monster at the End of the Book. I'm sure you know this book, it stars loveable, furry, old Grover and my children love it just as much as I did as a child. (Usually I don't go so much for licensed character "books", but this is an exception.)

In this version, though, Christmas is at the end of the book. It's not a bad thing in and of itself, but my problem is with the speed with which we speed towards it. So here I am, doing my lovable, furry, old Grover imitation and am pleading with you to please, please, please, do not turn another page.

If you do turn another page, please, please, please do it very, very slowly.

And then I look at my to-do list for the rest of the this week and realize, not only did you turn a page, you turned it quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I am a bit worried that you tore it right out of the book. We don't do that here. We should pause here for a while, for a long while, and I will fix it. First I have to find the packing tape...


Not only did you not let me fix the page you just tore, you also turned another page. You see, while I was looking for that packing tape, I realized that I had bought a new roll at the Dollar Store when we were filling our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Shoeboxes we still need to put together and deliver to the drop-off point. I need time to do this people! You really need to stop turning pages.

Because really, if this continues, how will I ever get by to-do list done before Thanksgiving, much less Christmas? How I ask you?

It doesn't help that on all the regular holiday craziness, we have follow-up vet appointments for the dog who didn't bother to look at the calendar before coming down with some crazy infection. Or that even though I had over an entire year to get ready for traveling to bring home two new children, I hadn't done a thing and am now scrambling to be ready to travel after the holidays. Or that D. has a tech week thrown in there with a weekend's worth of shows to go to. So please, won't you stop turning pages?


I can see that begging isn't helping since,



Why must we speed through this time of year?

Why can't we all just take our time and able through it and enjoy it all?

I don't know, either.

But, please? Let's take this packing tape I just found... can't we just tape the rest of this book shut for a while? Maybe when all of us are ready, we can cut the tape off. Otherwise, I'm afraid that when I wake up in the morning, it will be Christmas and I won't be ready. Or it will be time to fly to China and I won't be ready.

Pretty much, if you keep turning pages with such speed, I can't be responsible for the consequences.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


A rare moment when Gretel is not trying to pester Midnight and Midnight is not swiping a claw at Gretel's nose. I'm happy to report that Gretel continues to be on the mend and the anti-biotics seem to be working. Each day she is bouncier and bouncier.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How about some good news?

And it's really, really good news.

So, you remember Peter, right? Well, I am beyond excited to tell you he has a family working to bring him home! Even better, I know the family and think it is a fantastic match. I love God. But, as you should also know, adoption is expensive. Here is a great chance to help this family bring Peter home in a timely manner. Even a small amount will help.

If I have done it right, if you click on the image, it should take you to his You Caring site. But because I don't trust my computer abilities, use this link if it doesn't work.

That is one less child to find a permanent family, which is terrific. Really, really terrific. Yet there are so many more children waiting and waiting for someone to see their humanity through their list of diagnoses. Please don't forget little Gracie.

Isn't she a sweetheart? This little peanut is already 10 years old. She has cerebral palsy which affects her legs. You do all know that cerebral palsy is a static disease, right? That means what you see is what you get; it doesn't get worse. It also means that it can only get better with appropriate therapy and love. The kind of love only a family can give. She even has a $1500 grant that will go towards her adoption. Please, let's avoid the panic-filled, she's going to age out and she needs a family now push when she is 13. Let's help her find her family now.

Let's not stop at advocating for one child. The Baobei Foundation, that wonderful foundation which has been caring so beautifully for R. and who raised the money to make her adoption possible, has asked me to advocate for Timmy.

Timmy is 12 years old and has overcome some huge obstacles. Earlier this year, a tumor was discovered that was compromising his ability to walk and function. He was shunted and the tumor removed. Since then, he has regained his abilities, including being able to read and write, and subsequent tests have shown that the tumor was benign and no further growth has been found. There are so many people who know and care about this sweet boy, you should just go and read about him from them. First there is his Twenty Less description and from there you can go to China Special Treasures for more about him.

But wait, there's more. Currently Timmy has a combined $7000 grant towards his adoption. This could significantly help a family to bring him home. Please take a look at everything written about him and share... or maybe this little boy is your son. The clock is ticking, he has less than two years to find a family.


And, if you want to read about why we all need family, here's my latest article:  We Never Outgrow the Need for Family Please feel free to share (and share and share...).

Monday, November 16, 2015

The ongoing saga of Gretel the dog

It seems that Gretel's goal in life is to see how many times she can visit the emergency vet clinic. Evidently, the emergency surgery she needed as a puppy to put her back together was not enough, because this time, she decided to be sick enough to be admitted for the entire weekend. And it only gets crossed off her bucket list if it happens on a weekend, I might add.

I had mentioned last week that we were a little concerned about how Gretel was acting, and hoping that it was just a case of her having overdone it playing sled dog. Well, she didn't really improve that much over the next couple of days and by Friday afternoon, one of her favorite people walked in the house and she didn't get up and bark obnoxiously at her. This was very odd. And Gretel had stopped eating. Very, very odd. And then TM threw a crumb of food for her to catch. She missed it (not odd), but then left it lying there on the floor a mere inches from her mouth. We called a made a vet appointment for Monday.

Less than a half hour later after making the appointment, Gretel looked decidedly bad. She was drooling, lethargic, fairly unresponsive. Really not good. So not good that J. scooped her up and drove her immediately to the emergency vet. They agreed that she didn't look good, started an IV, and drew a lot of blood and other tests.

Now the good news is that there was nothing obviously wrong... no injuries, no masses, no questionable items lurking inside her intestines (she is a lab, you know, the goats of the dog world). Yet she was running an extremely high fever and was very anemic. The poor thing felt really, really miserable.

Over the course of the weekend, they started her on various antibiotics as well as anti-nausea medicines. By yesterday afternoon, she was looking a little better and by yesterday evening she was looking much better and started to eat and drink a bit. Definitely well enough for J. to go and bring her home.

She was soooo glad to be home. And we were so happy to see the happy lappy licky dog looking a bit more like her bouncy self. She continues to look as though she is improving, though we kept the vet appointment this morning where they took more blood to see if they can narrow down exactly what was wrong with her. In the meantime, she has four different medicines that are on four completely different dosage schedules. It is very complicated and I'm going to have to make an actual chart of what medicine to give at what time.

I'm hoping she is now really on the mend. It would have been more than we could imagine to lose two pets in one month. But I'm really done with vets for a while.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Motives and Unity

I have a pretty interesting news feed on Facebook. Interesting as in, it's enough to give a person whiplash when reading. Evidently I know people across a wide spectrum of society and often the opinion posted by one is followed by a second post of exactly the opposite opinion. The juxtaposition often makes me giggle and other members of my family have commented on exactly the same thing. To top it off, I like these people who are posting in my news feed, even though they are very different in their outlook on life.

Having a diverse group of friends and acquaintances also highlights something less than amusing. We Christians (and really this post is directed to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ) are not terribly good at differing opinions. We are so quick to assume less-than-positive motives to our family on the other side of the spectrum.

I understand the difficulties. I am pretty conservative in most of my views, both political and theological. (I hope that doesn't come as a terribly big surprise to anyone.) Because I live in a pretty liberal (both politically and theologically) area, I am used to being the lone conservative. I know how easy it is to feel as though the people to my left are just not taking Scripture seriously enough. I know how easy it is to assume their faith just isn't as important to them as it is to me. I know how easy it is to fall into the holier-than-thou trap. It's not pretty. I'm not proud of it, but it's true.

While this may be the case, I have also had the opposite experience. I have a master's degree from a pretty conservative seminary. A seminary which is even more conservative than I. I found it to be an extremely interesting lesson to suddenly find myself left of center. It was certainly not a place I ever expected to inhabit. And on that more left leaning side, I understood how easy it was to be just a little more intellectually superior than my fellow student. If they really thought about what they were saying, surely they would see the illogic of their position. Come on, critical thinking, people. Yes, it is just as ugly here on the other side.

I'm not proud of my not-so-humble reactions to those around me, and it is something I fight down all the time. I'm also pretty sure I'm not the only one. We humans are great at putting ourselves, our faith, our intellect up there at the top of the heap. We are not so good at being humble. We are really not good at the whole unity of the body-thing that Scripture asks of us.

To do this we have to take ourselves down a notch. We have to assume the best motives in our fellow believers.. whether we agree with them or not. And this, more than anything is what I've realized as I move between the different ends of the spectrum. I know these people. I know they care. I know they love Jesus. I know they are doing the best they can. We may be at different places, but it is not my job to force them onto my path. It is my job to love and support them. God can take care of the rest.

Now, does this mean we don't discuss important things? No. Does this mean we all have to agree? No. Of course it doesn't mean these things. It does mean that we assume the best from each other. It means that even if we think someone else is wrong about something that we still love and want the best for that person. It means we don't belittle them or treat them unkindly. It means we love them.

And the red cups I promised you yesterday? Well, isn't this a perfect example of what I'm talking about? In my extremely diverse Facebook feed, I saw no initial outrage over those silly red cups. (And really, trust me when I say that if a small faction was outraged, I probably would have seen something. My feed is just that crazy.) The first I saw was the outrage over the "outrage." So quick were people to assume that their fellow Christians (the intellectually bankrupt ones) were doing something stupid again, that it didn't take much to believe it. Immediately following was the outrage over the outrage over the "outrage." (You still with me?) It's hardly the outrageous love we are called to show to others. And if we can't even show that level of outrageous love to our fellow believers, then how in the world can we ever expect to show it to the world?

If you have a problem with someone, take it to them personally. Work it out. Discuss it. But assume the best motives. We are called to be different. We are called to be known by our love... to each other and to the world.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It