Look how long it's been since our little princess got her forever family:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Trails!

Well, this is it. The adoption is done, we've settled in to life with four kiddos, and I think it's time to officially move all this back over to my original blog (http://ephesiansonefive.blogspot.com. Click the title of this post to jump over there now... and be sure to bookmark me so you can come back for a visit! I have so enjoyed devoting all this time to Meg's adoption, dreaming of her before we knew her, and all the support the blog community has offered me.

Thank you, sincerely, to everyone who has commented. Honestly, I would check my e-mail for news from the agency, then the very next thing I would do is look for comments on the blog because they were always so encouraging and it was always so good to hear from folks who "knew" my struggles first hand. The only way you can possibly know what you have meant to me through our adoption is if you have walked it and lived it, and to all of you who have, I am SO SO SO grateful! You truly brought me through so many storms with your comments, your prayers, and your sharing of your own lives through your respective blogs.

I really hope that all of you will join me over at "Living the Dream"
. If not, I will miss hearing from all your fun and wise comments, as well as sharing that part of my life with my "virtual friends."

On one parting note regarding Meg, I feel that we have really turned a corner with her in the past few weeks in terms of her attachment. She is showing all the classic signs that she has accepted her new life and is embracing us as her family. She makes great eye contact, she turns to us when she is hurt or upset, she displays normal toddler emotions in appropriate ways (i.e. hardly ever hits or scratches), ventures out on her own into other rooms now, can let me get out of her sight for short bursts of time without falling apart, clings on to us when we hold her, buries her head in our chests when she is upset, goes to bed with no problem at all and wakes at a normal hour each morning. She is eating constantly. I can't wait to get back to Dr. Heil's office and see what she weighs now because the girl has food in her mouth 24x7. I know this is also typical PI behavior, but it's within normal range and not obsessive so I am not too overly concerned about it. I just try to give her healthy choices and let her eat several small meals throughout the day.

I wish the ladies at the orphanage could see her now. She has this goofy sense of humor. Just today she was sitting on the potty (her idea, not mine) and she kept crossing her eyes (I mean to the point where I thought they would disappear behind her nose) and laughing hysterically. She loves the dogs. She is the most limber person I've ever seen, she sits in her car seat and cracks her brothers up by putting her feet behind her head and smacking her legs.

We had so much fun today getting out all our fall clothes, the weather is turning cooler here. To steal a line from the Indigo Girls, "summer's beginning to give up the fight." It's this time of year that my thoughts always turn to Russia naturally because we made our first ever trip to Russia in September of 2000. So, with that, it seems a very fitting time and place to say farewell to this chapter of our life and move on to the next chapter, the full on adventure of parenting three boys and a beautiful little girl.

God bless you, and keep you safely in the palm of His ever loving hand! I will continue to pray for each and every one of you whose children are yet in the hands of their Father and longing for the love of a family.

Ephesians 1:5
"he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of His will."

Happy Trails! Ondrea Harrison
"Every child deserves to have someone who knows them. Someone who knows what
they like for dinner. Someone who knows that math is hard for them.
Every child deserves a mother. For some children, this can only be achieved through adoption!
Please continue to pray for orphans everywhere!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am in the process of blending my blogs, but while this is still Meg's blog alone, I want to write a bit of a parting post. A sort of summation of some things I want on the record for her.

I have been reading the book The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans this past week. It has stirred up some very deep and suppressed emotions in me for the birth mothers that gave life to three of my children. I can say first hand, as a bio mom myself, that I cannot imagine having to come to the realization that my child would have better chances at life without me than with me. I think sometimes birth moms get "villianized" by their choices, and certainly in this book about the abandoned girls in China, many people judge these birth mothers for their actions. But the first thing I want to point out is that all of these mothers chose life for their children. This wasn't a flippant act as abortion is readily available in both Russia and China. This was a selfless act on the part of these women to at least give this child a shot at life. And how thankful I am that these three precious women did. They will all (two Galina's and an Aziza) forever be in my prayers and thoughts for the gifts they have given me in my children. As Beth Moore says so perfectly, "There has never in the history of the world been an unwanted adopted child." No truer words were ever spoken, just ask any adoptive mom!

The first passage I came to in the book that stirred a chord with me was this, "Translated, one document says simply that this little girl was 'found forsaken'..." This quote, in referrence to the author's daughter sent a chill down my spine. In a way, all our children have been forsaken. But it's such an emotional word. It raises such difficult images in my mind. Probably from my Christian upbringing where forsaking Christ is such a huge sin, it carries, for me, connotations of gravely ill intent. However, I don't think that there is ill intent in many of the cases of orphans around the world. We simply can't imagine a life where the greatest majority of our effort and thoughts are based on survival, not on inward emotions or concerns. But certainly, this word, forsaken, does apply to all but the minority of children who are true orphans (meaning both parents are deceased.) However, by forsaking their children, these mothers gave their children to me and the most amazing fulfillment of God's grace and love came from that forsaking. This reenforces my belief that all life has a right to exist and that God can redeem even the most lowly of situations, even the forsaken!

The second thing I marked in this book was a bit less depressing, and much more about the fulfillment that only adoption can bring in so many cases. The paragraph reads this way, "When I hugged her, she felt full and warm - and necessary - in my arms, as if she were settling into a dent in my chest that I hadn't realized was so cavernous. Babies are made for this, I know, thanks to some evolutionary scheme that opens mysterious places in us into which only babies can fit." This reminded me of my daughter. There were so many times when this process got difficult (and believe me, my first two adoptions were a breeze compared to this one) when I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. Maybe I had exceeded my quotient on blessings and I should stop while I was ahead. Maybe I was asking too much to know the love of a daughter. But when I got off that plane with her in Nashville, I had the revelation that the cavernous place in my chest that had longed for a daughter was filled and that there was no question in my mind that my family was complete. The years of doggedly pursuing these children had culminated in this perfect moment, in the Nashville airport, surrounded by most of the people who really matter to me in my life. It was a moment that is equal in my heart to any moment I have ever experienced to date.

A more stark and disturbing part of this book is the time she devotes to the devastating reality of life in China (or Russia too, for that matter) where parents are forced to forsake thousands of untold children each year. The details are different in Russia and China, but the circumstances surrounding the reasons are not all that different. Families have more children than they can afford to feed. Couples have exceeded the limit of children they can sustain. Single women with no support network find themselves pregnant and alone in the world. It comes down to survival many, many times. Even sadder, often, are the single moms who try to care for their children, in a valiant effort of love, but fail miserably because they are incapable due to alchohol dependency, social circumstance, or economic hardship. Many times, it's these children, whose mother's make the easier choice to hold on to their child, who suffer the most. And these children, who spend the first months or years with their mother, who enter the orphanages older and with decreased chances at every finding a family. Karin says in her book, "Flying home from China with my arms full, I had a bittersweet feeling. Mixed with the waves of gratitude about our own good fortune was a kind of undercurrent, a faint cry in the distance. It had to do, I realized, not just with lingering questions about the babies' lost mothers and fathers, but also with the vague knowledge of the other lost children. Numbers to big to grasp circled around." I know this feeling. Not just understand or grasp this feeling, but in my bones, hurt with her kind of know. I have this bittersweet emotion for Russia. I long for the well-being of my dear friends there. I understand the struggle of the people. And I am also accutely aware that I profited for the state of their economy. Mrs. Evans says, "All it takes to bring the statistics to life is to look into the face of one small child. Then all the numbers come with faces - and they are not easy to look in the eye." What do I do with all that knowing? Where do I go with that when I put my head on the pillow at night? One of my favorite books, The Poisonwood Bible, has a character talking about being hungry. She says once you've known real, bone-deep hunger, you can never fully love again someone who hasn't experienced that hunger. I agree. There is a barrier that unwittingly fits itself forever between me and people who don't "know" the pain of orphans and the burden for them. You don't have to be an adoptive parent to "get it." You just have to "get it."

Finally, I would like to end by saying that I have a debt that is unpayable to Mary Margaret's birth mother. I can't imagine the life of this woman, a foreigner in St. Petersburg Russia, a minority immigrant in a country where racial predjudice is still spoken about openly and an accepted way of thinking in many cases. I can only hope that her life is not a statistic, but that Meg came to be by a difficult life situation, not a way of life that haunts this woman. However, I do wish I knew with certainty. I wish I could tell her how exceedingly beautiful her daughter is. I wish she could see her laugh, run, fight for herself, defend her brothers against others, and learn new words every single day. I wish she could know that the daughter she forsook, now sleeps in a pink princess room and wears dresses almost every day of her life. I wish she could see how brave she is, sitting next to the dog while he eats and petting him, throwing the ball for our 85 pound Golden like he is a Chihuaha. I wish I could ask her 1,000 questions about herself and link some of Meg's funny and quirky behaviors to a parent or grandparent. Will she have a talent for music or sports? Will she like dark haired boys or fair? These questions will likely go unanswered forever and continue to reveal themselves to us as little gifts and surprises every day for the rest of Meg's life. I wish I could let her birth mother know that the haunting thoughts she must have can be quieted because she is safe and loved and wanted! Meg has a future and a promise because of the selfless act of this woman and I wish I could let her know!

Mark 11:25
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Okay all you faithful few readers, I am asking for your input. Please come out of hiding and post your thoughts. Here's the topic... what should I do with my blog? I feel that more and more, my two blogs are melding and the separation between life with four kids and adoption are blurring. Meg's blog seems to become less and less about the journey to adopt her and more and more about life with her. But that leaves me with a tough choice to make when life with her overlaps life with my boys (which, obviously, is every day.) SO, here's the question... if there are tons of folks who feel like this blog is helpful from an adoption standpoint and would not want to weed through the funny stories about my parenting snafus and just general muckety muck to get to that, then by all means, I'll keep it separate. And I know that sometimes as an adoptive parent, I didn't tune in nearly as much to the "family" blogs as I did to the adoption only blogs. So, I totally understand if your vote is to keep it separate.

In other news, we are fostering another Golden this week. (Shhh, if you see my husband, don't tell him. He's out of town and doesn't know.) Anyway, I know, I know... as my neighbor put it, "Things were calm yesterday so I feel ready for the step of adding a foster dog to the mix." hahaha Anyway, I'm a sucker for anything homeless and when the rescue lady called and begged me, I couldn't turn her down. After all, we've had some very interesting fosters in the past (see my other blog for stories about our narcoleptic puppy... who happened to be named Meg.) Anyway, I digress, again. Our new foster is Luke. He's a total sweety. He is on the floor in Meg's room as we speak, sleeping by her bed. The door is open, as always, so he can come out whenever he wants, but he is just laying there next to her. So sweet! I'm telling you, Golden's can have annoying traits, not the least of which is all the shedding, but you'll never find a sweeter breed with children. They are positively maternal!

So, please don't forget to voice your opinions on the blog poll.

James 1:5
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Things I love....

I love that my daughter is so girly!

I love that she moves her dress out of the way of the door when she is getting into her cozy coupe.

I love that she is tough. She will fake drama cry with the best of them, but when she is really hurt, she recovers really quickly. Tonight she ran hard into the edge of a table at Bosco's. She knocked herself onto the floor, cheerios flying, and literally cried so hard she almost threw up, but she was over it in about three minutes and onto something else. She has her first shiner though.

I love that she knows what she wants. Sometimes it's the bain of my existance, but I do know in the long run that she will be more able to resist peer pressure and stand up to the things she knows aren't right for her.

I love that everywhere we go, people stare at her and comment on how beautiful she is.

I love that I love her so much and am so contented and completed by having her in my life.

I love that when I started to put these jeans on her today (albeit fluffy/girly jeans) she cried and did not want to put them on! :)

I love that she runs sqeauling for her daddy whenever she sees him. If he's been gone two seconds or two days, she runs to him when she sees him.

I love that she is mine and that she has been here two months and it already feels like she's been here her entire life.

I can't believe that two months ago, her little tummy had not seen the light of day, and now she wears a bikini and boats and swims. Two months ago, she had never seen beyond the eight foot walls of her orphanage, now she has been to Moscow, Atlanta, and Nashville along with a million other things she has experienced outside those walls.

I look at her and all the ways her world has changed in the past two months, how adored she is by her brothers and her extended family, not to mention her doting mother and father, and I just can't help but marvel at the miracle God has performed for her and for us. It's truly amazing to think about.

I talked alot about that red thread thing the Chinese believe. Last night I read the belief of the red thread is that when we are born, there is an invisible red thread tied around each of our ankles, linking us to our "destiny" in life. The thread may be wound around many people, through several countries and over many decades, but our lives are spent following that red thread to the other end, the other "ankle" it's tied around. I believe that all four of my children were connected to Brian and I by the red thread and now we all have a red thread trailing behind us, hanging from our ankles, everywhere we go, because God allowed us to find each other.

Someone asked me yesterday if having a daughter was everything I thought it would be. My answer? "I am complete. I have no regrets in this life from here forward. I know that my children are home. I am content! I know that my heart will always be with orphans. I know it's my life calling to continue to be connected to them. But I know beyond a doubt that I am done adopting and that all my children are home! I am happy and fulfilled! I am complete."

Above all and every thing, with every cell of my being I know that God has spared me from myself. He brought my children into my life to save me from an empty and baren existence. He rescued me and redeemed me through the beautiful lives of these four little souls. He gave me a purpose on the earth and a promise for the future. He has lavished me with His mercy, love, and kindness through the gifts of these precious ones. I am thankful for two months with my precious daughter. And I am thankful for the abundant blessing that is my family.

Isaiah 30:18
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compasion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On vacation from Bloggerland

Sorry folks, I have been on a little vacation from Bloggerland. Though it's hard to call it a "vacation" the way my nerves are all up in a knot. But still, I must admit I've been rendevousing in another place lately and it's severely cut into my blog time. I've been in Election World. Last week we made a stop off at the DNC. It was a very feel good place to visit. But this week we are at RNC and of course, you know, I have to say this feels alot more like home! So, sorry if you tuned in hoping for an adoption update and all you're getting is my take on how freakin' amazing the GOP ticket is this time... I mean, this is the dream team! But it's history in the making and I want to record it for my daughter. I mean, think of this, if McCain/Palin win this election, PALIN will be the incumbent presidential candidate in either four or eight years. A WOMAN on the top of the ticket, almost by default. That is something that I would love to see in my lifetime! This is your fair warning... it's getting ready to get seriously one sided in here and if you can't take the heat or don't care about my opinion... PLEASE stop reading now before your image of me plummets!
So, excuse me while I get all fired up here, but I just got booted off the TV and now all these psyched up emotions have to go somewhere.... here are the top five reasons I'm voting for McCain/Palin:
1) Most important, in my opinion, is that the next president will most likely appoint at least one (probably two) supreme court justices. If you ever were serious about being pro-life, this is your chance to really put your money where your mouth is. It's most likely my generation's last shot at righting the wrong of Roe v. Wade. Think about it, once these two justices are replaced, the court is fairly young (it's a lifetime appointment) and the scales will tip liberal or conservative with THIS presidency. There is no turning back from the coming appointments and this is our shot! Imagine a world where it's not a Constitutional RIGHT to kill an unborn baby, but rather a decision that each state can make for it's own residents. (And don't give me all the BS scenarios about days when abortion was illegal and women were forced into back allies. You could make that argument about every criminal in the history of time being forced to commit their crime in secrecy because their chosen evil was illegal. How 'bout we go ahead and legalize heroine so addicts don't have to hang in crack houses with dirty needles. K? K!) And also don't give me the one about there being some things worse than death. If you're going to use that standard to support abortion, I can pretty much guarantee you would have chosen death for three of my four children, after all, they were born into a struggling country, to parents who were less than ideal in the parenting field, and left in institutions that couldn't fulfill their most basic needs. Their chances at a "normal" life were VERY slim statistically and the chance that they would escape the cycle that put them there in the first place was even more grim... so by the "some things are worse than death" scenario, my kiddos wouldn't be here and that is pretty much saying God is limited in how far down He can redeem someone. Now that we're clear on my pro-life stance, let's move on before I get militant.
2) Fred Thompson nailed it when he summed up the Obama tax plan. Obama keeps saying he's not going to tax the average American, just the wealthy and businesses. As Thompson said, "Okay, this will only affect you if you happen to buy something from a business like gas, clothes or groceries." Come on people, Democrats are supposed to be the "enlightened ones" (you know you all say it behind our backs) but this is very simple economics! You can do the math... stay with me here!
3) McCain is an American hero. When's the last time we had one of those in the White House? Seriously, when did you ever, in our time, see a guy that you could just get fired up about how much he gave for our country? This guys spent YEARS in a POW camp and when he was coming back from being tortured by the Vietnamese, he would give the thumbs up to the other POWs as he passed their cells to encourage them on their way too. Talk about moral character... tested, proven! McCain speaks from conviction and there are plenty of things he's said that are less than popular with Republicans. This is why I loved him in 2000, why I loved him in the primaries and why I'm diverting adoption blog space to talk about him now. You may not agree with him, but you have to respect his moral character.
4) Obama scares me. I know that there are alot of people who don't want to answer or don't know how to answer the question about Obama sitting under a pastor like Jeremiah Wright for 20 years. I have yet to hear an intelligible argument for why he thought that was a good idea, unless he agrees with his radical views. Here you have a guy that believes the AIDS virus was created by the government to implant in the black population and he is fervently convicted that we brought 9/11 on ourselves and went so far as to damn our country. People want to say that maybe these are just a few and infrequent sermon series and that on an average Sunday, he was a "normal" pastor. Folks, you aren't that on fire about something and not be spewing it all the time. When you are passionately convicted about something, you LIVE it, you BREATHE it, and you better believe you're talking about it if you have a captive audience. A very very dear friend of mine pointed out to me that if Obama really embraced Wright's teachings, he would undoubtedly show signs of the same level of crazed thinking. However, I also really believe that when you are as smooth and polished as the past few Dem candidates we've seen, you rarely make a misstep. I leave you with Bill and Hill for prime examples, everything they do (down to the last tear and hand-hold) or say is calculated for dramatic affect. Obama is no less a politician than the HillBills and no less eloquent and driven, and I firmly believe anti-American thinking could be well smothered under the layers. At the very least, he's been exposed to dangerously radical thinking from someone he considers a mentor.
5) COME ON.... WHERE is the adoption community here? People, RISE UP! An International Adoptee in the White House? Do you really think we would need to spread around these e-mails asking people to call their Senators to support making the tax credit permanent if the first daughter was an international adoptee? Just as Sarah Palin promised that every family with a special needs child would have a friend in the White House, so will every International Adoptee!

And here's a bonus #6 reason to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket... because I'm one of those "small town" people who "bitterly cling to my guns and my religion"!

Okay, now, Meg Update.... breaking news! I'm NOT taking her back to MDO. I spent the last two days trying to undo the affects of the classroom environment and that was with me sitting with her. To the average eye, this would not probably even look like a problem. She hasn't been scratching or hitting or any of that, but she has been more sensitive and more clingy and she has been just generally sorting things out. I think it's spooked her. Today we were at the Y playing in Kids Gym with Connor and a well-meaning staffer picked her up to show her something and she just about totally lost it! So, I'm taking my mom's advice. I'm hiring a housekeeper, spending the time with Meg, and cob-webs be darned... hopefully the social worker will not bring her white gloves when she comes to do our post placement visit. :)

I'm reading a book right now called "The Lost Daughters of China." It's fascinating! And it has me thinking ALOT about Meg's birth mother, wherever she is in Russia or Uzbekistan. I am saving it for a separate post, but wanted to share the book title because it's a very thought-provoking look at the abandonment of children, especially in China, and the circumstances that surround it and how some parents are left with very little choice. I'll start to recommend it to all those well-meaning folks who judge my kids' birthmoms and say, "I could never abandon my child." We live such a life of unparalelled choices and freedoms and wealth that most of us really can't imagine situations where we would abandon a child, but that's because fortune smiled on us and bore us into the Land of the Free!

Deuteronomy 11:19
"Teach these things to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

I see you looking!

Where in the world are you?