Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Adoption Adventure!

I'm hoping this blog will be a good place to keep people updated about our adoption process. I think everyone who ever reads this at this point knows we are in the early stages of adopting a child from Thailand. We have, I should mention, been in the early stages for about a year. Here's the long story (cuz I don't know how to tell short ones.) You can skip to the bottom for some answers to Frequently Asked Questions if you want. :)

After thinking and talking about adopting since before Mikaela was born, in April 2006 we sent in our initial application to Holt International because we both felt like it was finally time. We then had to gather some documents and Lowell & I each had to answer 17 pages worth of questions about everything ranging from our childhood, our marriage, our parents and their marriages, to our parenting, our neighborhood, our mental health and our wills. I, of course, wanted to be thorough and have the option of editing, so I chose to use the computer version and type my answers. Lowell didn't have the need to edit or be as verbose (I mean, detailed!), so he was just going to hand write his. Well, fast forward to July when our computer crashed and imagine who was distressed over losing half of their hard work that for some unimaginable reason they had never bothered to back up properly!

Even though we had attended a couple of classes back in May that got me really motivated to get going on this, I was discouraged and couldn't seem to start over. I realized in October that I was scared. Beginning around the end of 2005 and continuing until a few months ago God had me on a really painful journey. He was allowing a bunch of junk that had accumulated in my heart to all come to the surface at once. It was overwhelming. I struggled with depression and discouragement and it took months for God to remove the lies and replace them with the truth one layer at a time. All the while, I knew the process was worth it and I was extremely grateful for it, but it was hard. So in the middle of that I was not ready to send off 17 pages of personal information to strangers so they could evaluate me. Nor was I ready for a social worker to come inspect my home and interrogate me as to my stability and readiness for adopting and the challenges that come with it.

But thankfully, things are different now. In many ways, I think like a different person now than I did a year ago. And I'm finally ready for the inspections and interrogations. Sure, I'll panic when we actually have an appointment for the interviews. But I'm not scared anymore. So, back a few months ago I printed out the 17 pages of questions (learning from my wise hubby) and decided my answers didn't have to be perfect (or typed) and I got it done! HALLELUJAH!

Frequently Asked Questions and Frequently Given Answers:

Why Thailand? We didn't feel led to pursue a domestic adoption and since Lowell's sister and her family live in Thailand and we have visited them and their church, we feel like we have a connection to the country. So to us it makes sense and feels right. And why not?
Where are you in the process? Our initial paperwork has been submitted and we are waiting for the next stage of gathering even more documents and scheduling the interviews and home visit.

Do you know if you'll adopt a boy or girl? No. Thai rules say since we have a boy and girl already we can't specify a preference. In Thailand, the wait to adopt a boy is shorter than a girl because there are more boys to be placed.

How old will the child be? Because Thailand is very cautious about making sure international adoption is the last option for the children, rarely is a child younger than 14 months when the placement occurs. We however are feeling drawn to adopting a child around 2 years old so we will probably request that age. (Yes, we just might be crazy. Or maybe Thai kids don't have terrible 2's.)

How long will it all take? Holt says it could be 6-8 months after we complete our home study and dossier (lots of paperwork) that we are matched with a child. But it varies and could be faster. Then it's another wait of 7-8 months until travelling and taking "placement" of the child. So, we're hoping we will go pick up our child sometime next summer.

Thanks for caring, everyone. I'll be updating this whenever anything happens or whenever I feel like sharing... which, I imagine, you can expect will be fairly often. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Munchkins

Mikaela has a new haircut for those of you who haven't seen her lately. This pic is from Easter.

Tonight as we were getting PJ's on Toby was looking at a little plastic coin he had gotten at church today. All of a sudden he had a thought, gasped and said "Maybe I can take this penny to the airport and give it to them and then I can go on an airplane!"

Later as we were talking about weddings and such he said, "Mommy, someday when I'm a daddy and I go to a wedding I want to marry you."

Talk about sweet as honey... :)

Mikaela has a tummy ache and thinks if she sits up for a while (instead of lying in bed) she will feel better. What she really wants isn't to sit on my lap in front of the computer, but to sit with Daddy and watch TV, but she's with me anyway and wants to type some letters.

Mikaela es una Buen a amiga.

She just wrote that... She's in a really neat Kinder class where the instruction is 90% Spanish. Here's a picture of her and some of her amigas at the CSUF Farm.

But now she's going back to bed and I'm going to go watch TV with Daddy. :) Goodnight Y'all!

Friday, April 20, 2007

What's in a Name?

I'm not sure I like the name of my blog yet. And I figure I can change it as often as I want to. :) Here's my problem. "La Miel de Melissa" is nice and pretty, but I'm not so sure that it accurately reflects me. :) I mean, it sounds sophisticated and proper and dressed up when I'm a goofy t-shirt and jeans and tennies girl with a big mouth who is about as sophisticated as a watermelon. (Please don't ask me why I said that. I have no idea--it's just the first thing that popped into my head and it made me laugh so I thought it might make you laugh too. But I do love watermelon and it's definitely not sophisticated. Too juicy and sticky. Once on the farm in Bakersfield my dad and siblings and I picked a bunch of watermelons and ate so many we all felt awful. But it was so good...) Yep. I'm as sophisticated as a watermelon.

So back to the name... Any ideas? Mel and Miel and sticky sweet thoughts... I dunno. There's got to be some great catchy name somebody can think of. What about Mamma Mel's Miel: Sweet, sticky thoughts from someone who thinks way too much...

Let me know if you have any other ideas. I'll buy the winner a watermelon. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007


So I've been reading several blogs today written by women I've never met and I tell you, it has given me a case of "Blogitis" all over again. In case you don't know, "Blogitis" is a serious condition where the afflicted finds herself (or himself, I suppose) thinking, well, as if other people were listening... as if she were talking to someone and they were listening, which is sort of what I'm doing right now-- except that I'm typing and imagining that you, whoever you may be, are reading what I'm writing. The thing is that if you just talk to yourself, you're crazy. But if you blog then you're a cool techy hip blogger... with "Blogitis." It seems that people with jobs that don't require constant thinking are the most susceptible and will find themselves blogging in their head while doing laundry and the dishes. If only you could read all the things I've written that I haven't really written... :) (Yes, I'm going a bit crazy after all. It's the Blogitis, I tell you!) So why do I have this blog anyway? I'm wondering this because I think it will help me figure out how often I should be posting new entries and what they should include and all. So if you know, please clue me in. Cuz as far as I can tell, I shouldn't be doing this. It feels sort of hypocritical b/c I don't read a lot of other people's blogs b/c I don't have that much time. So why do I think anyone will read mine? Is this supposed to be a reciprocal thing? And do I really have time to write in this thing? And do I have anything worthwhile to say? And should I let my blog be listed on the blog list so anybody in the whole world can stumble across it and read it? Well, the good thing is (a favorite saying in my house) that I don't think it matters. I think I'm doing this for the fun of it. Because I like to write and think and talk and if I had time every single day to sit down with all of you and just chat I would! (That's what I miss most about dorm life... and having roomies who liked to ponder the depths of life at 2am) And this is the closest I can get, though since I don't know if anyone will read this or not it feels a little less intimate. :) Oh well. It seems like I'm hooked anyway. "Blogitis" is chronic, you know. It may go into remission from time to time, but it always comes back eventually. And hopefully, when it does, someone will be out there reading what I write so I won't just be crazy thinking and typing to myself. :) But if I am, that's ok too. At least I'll be having fun!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

La Miel de Melissa

While I reserve the right to change it again (because I can,) you may have noticed I changed the name of my blog. Here's why.

As you see above, "Melissa" means "honeybee" in Greek. I've always liked my name but never really thought its meaning had much significance. But lately I have been thinking about what it means to be a honeybee. Here's some of what I've found/figured out:

Honey (Miel) is amazing stuff. It never spoils. It is produced by bees sipping nectar from flowers and then partially digesting it (yeah, I know--gross) and then storing it in honeycombs. What happens next is amazing. Honeybees fan their wings across the unsealed honeycomb creating a strong draft that evaporates some of the water in the honey. This is what keeps the honey from spoiling. It then has the perfect pH levels and sugar/water ratio to prevent bacteria from being able to grow in it. That's why honey was at times used as an antibiotic. If you put it on a wound, it will keep bacteria from growing. It also has lots of good stuff in it that plain sugar doesn't have (antioxidants and good bacteria and stuff like that.) And it's yummy!

In case you didn't know, I'm a talker by nature (and nurture. Thanks, Mom.) and I've realized that the words I say (and the things I do, and the blogs I create) are the honey I produce. Like bees, I have to work hard to refine and concentrate my words. You have no idea how much I delete because it's watering down what I'm trying to say. And like honey, the flavor of what comes out of my heart will be determined by what I am feeding my heart. Am I feasting on God's Word and being filled with His Spirit or am I indulging in the pleasures and entertainment of the world's buffet to satisfy my flesh? The more I choose the latter, the more my honey will become like Mad Honey--poisonous.

Now about the mysterious bee shortage our country is facing... Until a few days ago I didn't think there was any connection, but maybe there is. I wonder how many other Christians are called to be honeybees? I think we all--to whatever extent God give us words--are called to share our faith and our lives and our Jesus with the starving world around us. But far too often, we are missing. I am missing. I go to Mikaela's school and talk with other moms, but how often do I truly offer Jesus to them? I hope that they see Him in me. I pray that they do and that when they discover that they are actually hungry and not being satisfied with anything else that they will know I have the sweetest honey in the world to share with them. But how much more should I be offering instead of waiting for them to ask? I'm not sure, but as the school year is rapidly passing I hope I am not left at the end wondering if I missed my chance. Will you pray for me that God will give me the courage to share what He's given me? May we all be so filled up with Jesus that when people taste who we are, they taste Him.