Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Blast from the past edition:Everything is better with a great hat.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tennesh Tuesday

As promised: a little respite.

Goofy Gabey and girls.

Two year old treasure: the bike graveyard, way out back.....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where's the Map?

** warning**
I process things by talking and typing...
it's how I do it, 'thinking out loud, so to speak/type'
and so I have to post and then I'll try to stop whining.
But I will put up a kid pic tomorrow instead, I promise, you've done your time.**

So.
Here we are.
We've been over the what's and why's, below.
We are stuck, my daughter is stuck in a bureaucratic mill.

And so now, while Coffeedoc still tries to figure out how to turn this around, if remotely possible, we have to move forward.
And I want to know: where's the map?

I know, I know.
There IS NO map.
I am to move forward in faith.
Next step, pitch black.
Next step, go.
Well....I'm trying.
I really am.

I'd just dearly love to do this with tremendous grace and ease and show that it's not so hard, it can be done with a minimum of effort and a smidgeon of faith.

But you know, I am not graceful, never have been.
I am a clumsy mess, most of the time.
And apparently, especially now.

And, even for those with faith, this sort of thing is a challenge.
And I DO believe God knows what the perfect timing is, and I do really want His choice....but I'd sure really like it to jive up with mine, when push comes to shove.
So, yeah, I'd like to holler out: "I want a map, please."

How do we move forward?
This is uncharted water, in many ways.
What do I do with this grief and this worry and fear?
Do I just set it aside and pray over it and look at it as I pass by in the normal hectic rush of my days?
Do I just set it aside and ignore it, hoping it will go away if I don't give it any attention?
Do I ogle it and lose myself inside it, my very own "precious" as I morph into Gollum?
Do we blithely throw ourselves back into the hum of our busy lives here, and just kind of not think about it all, lose ourselves in the busy?
Can I?
No.
I don't know what to do with all this.
I want a map.

What do I do with the very real fact that I have a daughter, there, not here...
in every way she is mine: legally, sacredly, morally, committedly (I know it's not a real word, but I don't care), ethically, our responsibility, and growing in our hearts to what degree she can at this point.
What do we tell the world? "Yeah, we have a daughter, she's in a foster home, in Ethiopia."
{Not that the world is so important here; I find this not sitting well within my own chest either}
According to the Ethiopian government, she is our responsibility.
Our child.
According to the US govt, that may be true but we can't get her.
What do we do with that?
How long? What if it's for so very, very long?
Do we set her up with a Nanny in a separate home?
Do we move there and ditch the business and life we've built here?
What's realistic?
Do we move over there temporarily, also ditching the business and school and doctors and life here that we have built and also need and others who need us?
Do we split the family up to move there for awhile?
Live separately?
How do we honor our ties to her and care for her from here, when our hands are tied in so many ways?

sigh.

I don't know what to do with all this, this grief and worry and wonder.
I DO so so want a map.
But I know, in faith, that I don't get one.

So, I will do the only thing I know how: I will hurt through this and I will do the next thing.
I will do the next load of laundry.
I will make the next meal.
I will referee the next fuss.
I will pick up that set of shoes off the floor.
I will hug my sweaty toddler, Gabey, when he wakes up from his nap.
And I will think about her, aching, every single step of the way.
And I will offer it all up, in faith, and hope, and a little bit of kvetching in my prayers.

And I will remember God's answer to one who was truly really hurt {Yeah, Job} when He said "Did you hang the moon, the sun, the heavens?" (That's my paraphrase, you get the idea...I say the same thing in essence to my kids:'I know what you want, leave me alone I know what I"m doing and you don't have a clue').

Yesterday, I read this, it helped a bit, it's from a French Carthusian, named Dom Augustin Guillerand, O. Cart.

In all that we do, and at every moment, God has ordained an exact balance between what we have to do and the necessary strength to do it; and this we call grace. Our part is to bring ourselves into line with grace.
God uses all the horrors of this world for an infinitely perfect end, and always with an infinite calm. It is part of his plan that we should feel the blows and experience the wounds of life: but more than anything else he wants us to dominate them by virtues of faith, hope and charity, and so live on his level. It is these latter which will raise us up to him, and then we shall share in his calm, and in the highest part of our being.

So I will do the next thing, again and ongoing: pray for the virtues of faith, hope and charity, and so hope to find the calm in the ache.
And try hard to stop searching for that map and just keep taking the next step.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Full Stop: No Go Pt 2

Well, here we are.
And here we will be.

Despite Coffeedoc's superhuman effort for the past 48 hours {and still he keeps turning things over in his head, stewing, examining, looking for a way}, we now know: we don't go.

We are full of those fruitless useless "what if's": "if only the embassy doc interpreted the protocol more specifically" "if only the embassy doc had her classified properly" "if we had only had a court date a few weeks earlier" "if they didn't have such a lag when our papers hit" etc etc etc.
Recrimination and fretting is ridiculous selfish sad bitter taste.
Those "ifs" are pure torture and pure pity party, but almost impossible to stem {and I'd by lying if I said they didn't flit through our heads}.

Make no mistake, while our pity party has been thrown for us to be sure, it is ever more so iced with the deep worry over our Marta, what this means for her, to her, how she is understanding and dealing with it all and how it might pan out. And that worry is deep and true. She is a child, caught in a bureaucratic machine.
And I can find myself frozen in the fears of that.

But. Here is where we are, on the objective surface of things:
New proposed Embassy date: July 8 (my big brother's bday).
New proposed travel date: July 4

New prayer bleg, even more serious: please please pray for a clear culture (our CDC friend pointed out that cultures in kids are always dicey, easily contaminated, unpredictable..frequent false positives....which would lead to disaster for our girl).
That's it. Just a clear culture, no growth, heck, sterile even!

My unspeakable thanks and gratitude for the support and prayers and emails.
They mean the world and help so much. Thank you.
And I do trust in God's will, even when I cannot fathom it and it's hard to walk through...
I choose to trust it {even when my controlling reflex is to rail at it and cause a scene in Barnes and Noble}.

And, in the meantime, we try to stand back up and catch back our breath from the hollowed out cavity in our chest that is scraped clean and raw but is somehow so much heavier.
And we pray through the hurt and sorrow of it all, pray through the hard.

Because even though, even that, is so hard and our words are gone....
what else do we have to do, or hang on to, but that?

Friday, April 24, 2009

No Go

One last, last ditch effort to explore.
Otherwise it's July, at the earliest.
Govt' protocols are complex, and you can get caught by them when they are left to individual interpretation.
International adoption is not for the faint of heart.

Ours hurt.
We are devastated.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Packing in Prayer

Yup. Packing. Praying.Not done yet.

{You might think so....but NO,
still missing three more suitcases
and three more backpacks.
And quite a bit more prayer for good news to go.}

Tomorrow.....?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Limbo

Axum Cathedral Fresco, Madonna and Child

Just in: Marta had her Embassy doctor visit who was in touch with the Gladney pediatrician, {who gave her an all clear}, and has the documentation of Marta's series of meds, finished, {and then some}. But the doc wants, and did, a short saliva test, and will know enough by Friday to say "come on" or "not yet." We are booked to leave Saturday, before dawn....but even so....

We wait.
Two days.

We keep acting like we are going, and try to step through the next two days in faith and hope.
We pray, hard, for God's will, and only that, because I obviously am nonfunctional, left to my own devices.

And I beg, shamelessly, for my daughter, for me, for us, for your prayers if you have any mind to do so.
I thank you for the ones you've sent forth and for the support I've received (I am humbled and unspeakably grateful for that), but still...
I beg, I bleg, because even though much of this is about ME, it's hard on me, it's making me cry....It is ever so much more so, about HER, my daughter.....who was at the doctor, who waits to come home.
I beg for your prayers.

Two days....I'm hoping, not sure why it makes me cry, but still, it does.
And all, ALL I can do, is pray.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother;
to thee do I come, before thee I stand,sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen

Almost Wordless Wednesday

This one is for our far flung family.
It's the prom pics!This is Booboo and his sweet date; a lovely girl in every way.
They sure 'clean up good!'
And below is a happy pic of happy son and happy parents, so we need it officially "on the record!"I know, I know..... prom pics. But, indulge me....Besides, you knew they were coming...it's the only way for much of my family to see them. (Not everyone is on facebook...)
And besides, you youngsters...someday this will be you, the mom w/ the pics of her kids....
The best part of prom is that it was seemingly a great success (big shindig at our house, faboo food by another mom, amazing cook!), and it's done!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hubub

Well, this pretty much sums it up, right above.
That is what it is looking like in my house of late, and I am guessing it will for the rest of this week. And that is if we get GOOD news on Wednesday!
If we get bad news....well, I'm not sure anyone wants to see a picture of me sitting on the floor crying and holding my heart. I'll try to spare you that, at least.

But, we had the insane prom-o-rama this past weekend.
It was wonderful but the days of crazy prep?
Hubub.
Commotion.

Yesterday every one of us simply crashed into still prone states of migraine and/or sheer exhausted sleep deprivation, with an icing on top of too much sugar (amazing food by Mrs. DelG, one of the moms). Because when you have twenty teens in the house for an "up all night" party, you provide sugary and salty things. And when you are chaperoning twenty teens all night, you eat sugary and salty things. So...you can imagine the crash the next day. I'll let you do that.

Now. It's Monday.
And maybe, maybe we are flying halfway across the world in five days, half of us.
And it's another whole round of it.
Hubub.
Commotion.
Packing, soothing, stopping, starting, finding, copying, typing, sorting, zipping, folding, washing, cooking, hugging, listening, stopping, referring, directing, sighing, smiling.
Hubub.
From us all.

The kids sense it, I swear they are like dogs that way. (As soon as I move the duffels downstairs the dog will switch into anxiety too, I promise.)
And so, um, there is just a touch more work to do....
And the girls who are traveling know it, and are starting to move into overdrive: "Will we need this? Did you get that? Have you seen my shoes? Will I need this? What will I do for this?" and so on.
And the little boys and one big one who are not traveling are starting to move into underdrive: "I'm so tired. I have homework (the teen)" and more concerning to this mom's heart, "How long will you be gone? Will you call? Who is staying with us? Where will you be? When are you coming back? What if I have bad dreams?"

And I worry that they will have bad dreams.
And I worry that they will miss me.
And I worry that they will fall ill.
And I worry that they will fuss and fight.
And I worry that they won't miss me.
And I worry that my Gabey will not want me when I get home
(I KNOW better, it's primal I can't help it).

I worry about changing long standing doc appointments for next week, and know that I'll be thrilled to do so, but cannot yet. Everything I say is with a caveat, "We might be gone." "If we go, we will need to do this..." "I might not be able to..." and so on.

This week, these three days to be exact, is a balancing act. One foot on one side of a cliff, one foot on the other, don't look down, just look ahead and keep the balls juggling as you wiggle for balance.

So I am balancing, even as I am moving into final packing overdrive too, and pretending we are flying out on Saturday. Trying to slow down enough for the small boys {and the teen too}, for us all to get our fill of each other for a week or so, if you can do such a thing. But you know, there is really no balance, not really.

But there is one thing, inescapably, and I think it's best to accept it and move through it:
Hubub.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mercy Me


It's Divine Mercy Sunday!
And this is one of those days where we are reminded, formally so we really get it, of the most important things in life.
Possibly, THE most important thing:
Mercy.
Which means love.
For everyone, everyone deserves it: mercy and love.
We just forget that.
And today, we not only try to remember, but the church all around the world celebrates it and rejoices in it and shouts to us: "Don't forget this! Trust in it: mercy and love."

"Doubting Thomas" by Caravaggio

And we all know by now that I have trust issues, it seems.
That's where the worry and fretting and control freak comes from.
But today we are told, again, and again: "Trust. It's all about the mercy and love. Trust."
Ahhhhhh. Relief for the asking, or, the trusting.
Now, that is worth a celebration to me!

And since I can't say it well, I will send you to Deacon who says it so much better. Really, go read, it only takes a minute and you'll be glad you did, he connects the dots with our current world so well:

"God’s mercy says to us, very simply,
“You are loved -- no matter what. Because everybody is somebody.”

And that is what we celebrate, officially, today.
Ah, mercy, mercy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

At the Gate

And we wait.
Last year, waiting for our plane to be fixed on our way to Addis.

Do we stay or do we go??

On the one hand, we have been given the good news of TENTATIVE travel dates!
IF we get the go-ahead, we fly out April 25th.

Hoorah!
BUT, and this is a big but, we won't know for sure until April 22.

And, on the other hand, there is a chance we will be asked to wait, possibly for a good while and I can't even really type it out because it stresses me and I am in denial for the moment and I am happy here in my hopeful spot.
So.
Don't ask about the 'what if's' right now. Just tear a page from my current book of hope and say a prayer for us to have lift off.

We are in something of a travel gate/limbo.
And that's ok with us, because HEY we live for this kind of excitement!
Um, ok, maybe not so much.
It's yet another step forward on that dimly lit path of faith, for me, aka "Miss Control Freak."

But I am hopeful.
I am even maybe a little bit more than hopeful, I am, shhhh, anticipating.

I keep telling myself, on the one hand, that I should hold back and brace myself for not going.
But somehow, even for a cynical control freak like me, that just seems like such a downer and well....I am too selfish to rob even myself of the joy. I'm not going whole hog, there is a tiny little twinge of "but maybe not" every time I think of getting on that plane, early that Saturday morning.

But a bigger part of me can't help it, and I feel like maybe, just maybe, it's really gonna happen and we can go. We got good news from the agency last week that signals that it is very possible we might be able to go get our girl. On April 25th. I stood in Target and cried, making a minor spectacle of myself when I got the email. And Belay himself, kind of like the "Great Oz" of Gladney adoptions in Ethiopia, he himself said to give us the dates.

So I'm running with it.
I'm hoping like mad.
I'm praying even more so.

And I'm packing like a dervish.
Because prepping a babysitter, the teen and the small ones to stay and the others to go across the world is like coordinating troop movements, realigning the planets, or some other crazy humongous game show task....it takes some doing folks!

And we have made an important decision, much discussed and debated: we are taking all the girls to go and welcome our new daughter into the family!
Yes, this pic is old, but goofy fun.

It will be an all girl trip (except for dear Coffeedad, of course!).
We are very excited about it and think it will be a lifelong neat and good thing, even if it has it's own particular ups and downs. And the little girls are excited about it too, really. Or, they will be once they get over the three shots they need and then eat the ice cream promised to make it all easier. One scoop per shot. Yeah, that's not a bad deal....score!

So that's the update. We knew we'd be in a little limbo after court.
That's why I have been silent on this. I debated putting this up.
But I've decided that I'd rather have the prayers that might be thrown our way to go, instead of pacing in worry alone. And because I know from experience how awesome this blog community is, I'm also thanking you for those very prayers, deeply, in advance.

So, we wait to the 22nd for firm news.
Go.
Or no go.
We hope.
We pray.
We beg for prayers in blogland: I believe it's called a "bleg."
I'm blegging.
Again.

And we're waiting at the gate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day Four

Day Four.
That is a label that has come to have new meaning.

We just went on a road trip for a long weekend to visit my eldest, so we could all be together for Easter and also get to participate in the entire Easter Triduum liturgy at one of the most glorious ones in the country.
We really enjoy doing this and the Vigil Mass gives me chills and makes me cry and makes our hearts soar.
It's stunning.
It's a great way to spend Easter, mindful, rich, and so nice to be all together.

But it's a busy weekend. Some folks have half-jokingly called the Triduum (the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday liturgies, culminating in Easter Sunday) the Catholic Olympics or Decathlon. Because, yeah, its a spiritual and physical workout.

And there is that day....Coffeedoc has pointed it out over the past few trips.
But it's the Dday. Day Four.
It's the day that any trip, for us at least, is a bear.
That shiny excitement of a trip has worn off.
That out of sorts, out of your element, out of your comfort zone has crept in.
And for us, Day Four is the day of cranky tired family travel.
No matter whether we are at the beach or in Addis Ababa, visiting family or touring museums...it's the day: Day Four.

And the reason for me to post this is twofold: one, to be honest enough to show the gritty parts of family life. And two, to hope that others have been there done that and are recovered enough to laugh about it and remind me today.
We will be too.....but it's gonna take at least a day or two of re-entry settling back in and regrouping, remembering that it is all good, most of the time, not all crabby more of the time (by which I mean, yesterday).

On another note, this makes me rethink Coffeedoc's other point.
Lately, he has been mildly pushing, erk, presenting, the idea of a bigger car.
"We'll never fit all everyone into the car and we can't go anywhere as a family," he says.
"Don't be ridiculous," I say, "we can just squeeze in, we'll be fine. We'll put the jump seat back in the car. We'll tow our bags. It'll work. I'm never driving a bigger car! I don't want a bigger car!"
Well, so we did.
We put the jump seat back in the cargo space.
We squooshed Little Man back there and squeezed everyone else into every last available inch.
And it worked...by which I mean, we arrived at our destinations together and in one piece.
But.....by Day Four, yesterday, it was a very very long drive home.
Nine and half hours.
Like in a clown car.

Between the squeeze and the infamous Day Four (granted aggravated by not nearly enough sleep for all due to late vigil Mass and too much sugar) it was a pretty grouchy day.
For all of us.
It is the sort of trip that someday, we will tell stories about, small ones...be able to tease a bit, remind each other of the scary diner and crazy-bad five year old's jokes.
But really, considering that next year (or, this summer) we will have one more teen in the car?
We have to either add a seat or take two cars, or......
I am rethinking Coffeedoc's car ideas.
And once again, I am reminded, "Never, never, say never."
Day Four.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday!

Rubens, "The Resurrection of Christ"
Hallelujah, He is Risen!
He is risen, indeed! Hallelujah!
It's Easter Sunday!!

This is it.
This is the reason I get out of bed in the morning, ultimately.
If it wasn't for this, I'm not sure I could, so many days.
It would just be too too hard.
But this, this makes it all worth it, more than worth it....
this makes it glorious.
Every day.
I don't even have the words....

Happy Happy Easter.
Go hop for joy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday, Lamentations

Painting by Mantengna, c 1490

Holy Saturday.
We wait.
It is finished.
It is so silent, so sad.
It is a somber quiet day.
I think of his Mom.
And I ache for her.

Painting by Franz von Stuck, 1891


And today is an achy day, all around.
It hurts.
It should.
It is too quiet, too somber.
And yet, of course, not.
And we wait, happily for us, in joyful knowledge and hope, for tomorrow.
But still, today, we wait.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Detail of painting, Tissot
Good Friday.
High Holy Day.
The Passion of Christ.
Via Dolorosa.
Crucifixion.
Utter sorrow.
Fasting.
Veneration of the Cross.
Empty tabernacles.
Hungry, tired, hard, sad.
Really, horror.

Nikolaï Gay (1831-1894)
Unfathomable.
An unspeakable, truly, tough day.
Good, yes, but the hardest most unspeakable kind of good.
A mystery of good.

Painting by Tissot, "What Christ saw from the Cross"

But yes, glorious good; if unseen as such then, and sometimes now.
We wait.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday

Painting by Tissot
Holy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday.
Last Supper.
Washing Feet.
Beginning of the Passion.
Tenebrae.
A hard somber night, leading into a hard day.
Jangled, disjointed, stripping the altar, moving the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle.
Empty.
I always feel like crying at this service, "Don't take him!" my heart foolishly calls.
And then it is silent.
And we file out, in the sad silent dark from the now empty church.
He is gone.
It's Holy Thursday.....so it begins.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Just because they have so much fun with each other.
Just because it's so much fun to watch them have so much fun together!
The little brothers, they make us all smile and grin.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tennish Tuesday

Yup, it's a quiet little Tuesday here.
We are waiting.
Waiting to hear if we can travel, and when.Trying hard to be patient, and full of hope....
as we are full of prayer for it all.

And really, this week in particular, I guess it's okay.
It's Holy Week.
And waiting is just right in that sense.
But it's hard to wait, even so...for all of us!

So, for today, it is just a Tennish Tuesday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Waking up today....Updated

this was rolling through my head.



Not exactly the Basilica where Buddybug is this morning...But still, apropos of the day I suppose.
Today is one of the longest Masses of the year, and it's one of the hard ones. Sure it seems like it's all the rejoicing like in the video above...but no we also have to read the long reading of when it all turns and Christ is taken to Pilate, and in the liturgy we respond, "Crucify him!" again and again.
I HATE that.
It makes me cringe.
It hurts and makes me wince.
I often want to stand silent, thinking, "No. I won't. I can't say that."
But of course, I do, darn near every day in my selfish thoughtless words and snapping temper.
So, sure I could stand there and be silent today.....but oh, what a hypocrite.
And since I'm already that already too.....I will quietly, achingly whisper, "Crucify him" and try not to cry.

For more, ever so much better stuff on Palm Sunday, go here and here and, always, go here. anytime!

** Note: Palm Sunday Mass with toddlers means you don't actually hear all the readings because you are juggling small boys who are playing swords with the palms that are given out. Long Mass, somber readings (Mark 14:1-15: 47), (Psalm 22), crowded pews, and toys, erk, palms...equals chaotic Mass!**

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The BackStory

So. Now we have passed court!
Our feet are still floating a bit...ok, a lot.
We have a new daughter, we knew it long ago, but it's nice to be really official.
The words, "Our new daughter, Marta" still feel new on our tongues.
It's been a long road to her, we are still on it, but still...

So, now that we have passed, now some of the questions have begun flying.
We knew they would.
We had many of the same questions, ourselves, last summer - when we started this whole process.
So, I figure we should address, at least a few of them, here.
So, here's the back story, complete with the zingers:
See that pic up right above?
That is our Marta, last May. Yeah, the one in the ray of light (nice, huh?) .
When we were in Addis Ababa, last May to pick up Gabey, we went to Kebebetsehay.
Kebebetsehay is the government orphanage where Gabriel Tariku first was placed.
And there were, and are, many kids there.
And it is kind of a heartbreaking place.
They all are, the orphanages, of course.

Anyhow, the visits to the orphanage are kind of devastating...as is the trip on the whole. I posted some about it here, it's hard to describe it well. And what happens is that you come home with your heart kind of shredded up. Frayed around the edges. Ok, kind of with a hole torn in it that won't ever be mended up nice and smooth and invisible, ever again.

And on one level you go and come home and are OH so grateful for the little things that you took for granted: convenient clean bathrooms, pounding hot water, ice in drinks, understanding anyone you might happen to speak to, salad, being able to read signs, clear(ish) air, the sheer convenience of getting around and daily life here in the States.

And that, that gratitude for the ease and comfort in daily life, inevitably fades. You slip back into the usual routine that was there before you made the trip. It's our natural way, you know it. But what we found was that one thing didn't just go back to size and form. Our hearts. Our hearts, mine and Coffeedoc's, were reshaped. Tugged and torn and pulled into new versions, akin to old colanders in a weird way. Poked full of holes, dented, bumped up. Each hole was the place of a kid we met in Addis, stuck in our hearts. Or someone we saw in the city, seared into our brains and now heart and prayers.

We kind of tried to gloss over that part, because it was too raw, and hard to talk about really. I mean, what is there to say? How? But we would mention it, in that old married shorthand kind of way. And we'd nod to each other. Or look at each other. And we'd pray. Or we'd find each other looking at the pictures, again. And again. Especially that one up there. And this one, just below.
And finally, we emailed Joanna (the in-country rep, we had made friends...). And we asked about a number of the kids we met, just so we could put them very precisely in our prayers. And she kindly wrote us back about most of them. Good info to have, happily, most of them matched already. Others we put into our prayers, precisely. We knew their names, most of them, so we could ask about them. We had been praying to their patron saints (determined by their names) if we could. And one of them, she needed to get more info on, as she was still at the gov't orphanage and it might take a little time. We said ok, thanks so much and waited. Because I wasn't really thinking about anything other than knowing more and praying, although Coffeedoc was... I had already been stewing about the older girls left there, but I didn't yet know that he had one, her, in mind for more, for bringing home.

Then she emailed back, she confirmed her name: Marta. (Spelled, in Ethiopia, as "Martha", pronounced, and to be spelled here, as "Marta.") And that she was ten to twelve, an orphan, no family, a few other things, and she was available for adoption. And I sent the email on to Coffeedoc, who was working. And he called me. And he said, "Do you know what day it is?" And I gulped and said, "Yes." "It's St. Martha's feast day," he said, voice cracked just a bit. "I know," I said. And I knew. Ow.

For us, think what you like, that is a brick dropped on our Catholic heads. {To recap and explain that, we had been praying to St. Martha, for prayers for her; and we got her info on St. Martha's feast day? Coincidence? Not in my world....} But we hung up, enough had been said. For now. Later, Coffeedoc called back. I knew he would. He said, "I think we need to go get her." "I know," I said. But I'm still needing to think and pray...this is big, so big, I told him. And he said, "I know." And then he let me think pray talk stew pray study research pray talk wonder and pray. He waited. He waited for me to move past my fear and imagination and worry. He never wavered. He doesn't. That would be me, at that point in the game (ok, other points too...). I fret. I stew. I wallow in fear. Yup. That's me. And adopting an older child is more complicated, many more layers and complexities. I talked a little bit about it all in my post announcing our start back in process, here. But it only alluded to how big this was, this decision that was as surprise to us both. Finally it came down to were we willing? And, so, yes.
But then, and now again of course, come the questions, the opinions (Because everyone's got an opinion, and not all, not nearly all, are positive), the zingers:
Why her? Why this child? Why not another one? Did you guys pick her? Did the agency refer her? Was she picked for you? What are you thinking? Are you crazy? How did you know she was your daughter? How do you know? Are you scared? Are you excited? Why her?

And I don't have the perfect answer to that, certainly not any satisfactory answer to anyone who asks. Some ask with "nerve" (oh, the nerve of them, right? sigh), and some with genuine interest. And they have asked. And are. And will. I did too. But here's what I've got, now:

No, the agency didn't refer her to us, she was in a government orphanage, not the agency one.
Yes, we believe she was picked for us, but not by the agency, but instead, God (Even tho so many will scoff at this, there you have it. And yes, we know that sounds prideful...we get that. Maybe it is, maybe we just have the big heads....but try living it, it sure won't feel it.).
We probably are thinking too much, all this time; now we are very anxious to start living it, and yes, we are probably a bit crazy. {But that's old news.}
We know she is our daughter because she is (why yes, we are Zen Catholics, didn't you know? :)).
We also know she is our daughter because the courts say she is, because our faith says she is, because we have jumped through hoops for her, whittled stacks of paper for her, fought for her, prayed for her, loved her, dreamt of her, forged her into our hearts and selves, even before we truly KNOW her in person.
Yes, we are scared (ok, me)!
Yes, we are excited!
And lastly, finally, why not her?

Why her? Because this is our daughter, Marta.
You know, I tend to pray for bricks on my head.
I really need to remember to start wearing a helmet.