Monday, August 25, 2008

Divine Encounters can be roots that lead you back and help you grow forward

Our divine connection in Guatemala- remembering the roots that began to grow the day we all met: same path, different journey to get there.

We met (then baby) Maria and her parents on our visit to meet Christina for the first time in Guatemala. They were bringing their new daughter home the next day, and we were just preparing to end our visit with Christina - heading home to wait until we were told we could come back and bring her home with us forever.

Christina was just 6 months old, Maria older by a month or so, was also born in 2000. They were happy bouncy babies and they had entered our lives at the same time, in the same hotel..... Little did we know God was about to connect our lives and establish roots that the girls would have as a part of their foundation forever.

After brief well wishes to each other in the hotel hallway earlier that day, we decided to bring the new family we had met a celebration gift. We hesitantly knocked on their door, bringing with us a baby outfit and high hopes of meeting another family with understanding hearts and the happy ending that we too so desperately wanted for our family.

We sat and talked with them for hours in their hotel room as we watched them hold and get to know their new daughter. There was an instant liking and connection between all of us and a bond was formed right then. New roots were beginning to grow.

Perfect strangers with newly exposed hearts, meeting on the same path from different journeys of life to begin our families. In that hotel room, in the late hours of the night, we shared in each other's joy and pain and realization that this was finally really happening. We were finally becoming parents....them on the day we met, and Gus and I soon to join them, about one month later, as new parents of these beautiful "Guatemalan Princesses."

Since that day in the summer of 2001, we have purposed to stay close through emails, letters, Christmas cards, special occasion care packages, and even occasional phone calls as the girls have discovered phones. We decided long ago that it was important to us that the girls know each other and so after many failed attempts to meet for a visit, we finally found a date and time that worked and we all got together again.

That visit was amazing...if it wasn't for how big our girls had gotten, it would have been like no time had passed at all. We re-lived that first night over and over, and then shared story after story-the weaving together that had been occurring within each family since we first became a family. The girls were shy at first but it didn't take long for them to connect. They were thrilled when people asked if they were sisters and they took great pride in telling people they were both born in Guatemala.

Including that first visit, we have met with them 3 times, once in Baltimore to visit the aquarium, once to tour DC and now to just let them play and have fun together at Maria's house. Somehow it is shocking that we could all reconnect so quickly and easily when we have only been together 4 times in the last 7 years, but each time we get together we seem to pick right back up from where we left off, sharing some of the same favorite stories, adding in the new ones and creating even more memories with each visit.

Because it was somehow very important to all of us that we keep the girls connected, both families have made it a priority to to ensure that it happens. It has been worth all of the planning and navigating around life's ups and downs to make sure we stay connected. For us as parents it really allows us to celebrate our beautiful Guatemalan Princesses in a way that we cannot with anyone else. We talk about that day we met in Guatemala. We recall the struggles to get them home and the process of growing as a family. We are amazed at the similarities and appreciate their differences as we watch them grow up so quickly before our eyes. For them, they not only have a friend to grow with over the years, but someone who looks like them and shares the same birthplace and a similar story. They notice the similarities and delight in them. And we realize that as they grow older, their stories and their roots will l matter more and more and that is something they will always be able to share with each other.

These girls share a common start in their forever families as well as common heritage, and we pray they will always be friends and always remember together.

As of this visit they are officially "cousin Friends" and that is a wonderful thing!
As for us parents, we know we will never be the same people we were before that summer when our daughters entered our worlds and our families became forever connected through them.

I thank God for for different journeys that cross on the same paths, for the establishment of foundations and the creation of the roots we grow from...
our heritage, our forever families, our divine encounters that will last a lifetime and keep us connected to some of the roots we never want to forget...

** These photos are from our most recent visit. This last one is my husband and I with the two girls.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Starting down the same path, a new way, a different journey

Well, it has been over a year since my heart lead me to start this BLOG, and over a year since I have posted. Strange how that often happens in my life. I still beat myself up about it some, but I am finally acknowledging a pattern...God lays something on my heart and when I finally recognize that it is His voice calling me to action, I take a step of obedience. Then I look around and realize I am not equipped, ready or even sure how to move forward. And so things lie dormant.

I used to think they were dead, ignored, forgotten, or that I had yet another premature beginning. Now I know better in my heart and I have to keep reminding my head that this is me, how I function and grow and fully receive from God (for now at least). And so that is how God introduces me to things that are new ideas, bigger than I can handle, or a shift in my world. I get tastes of what is to come or what can be. I catch the vision, I obey the best way I know how in the moment, then I say, "What now?" Can I do this?" "Where is this taking me?" As I begin to try and figure it all out (HA!) God takes me back and patiently deals with all the walls I put up, the questions I have, the places, for one reason or another, I am not believing Him.

He is patient, and loving and knows me so well. I am on a journey with Him. I agreed to journey with Him years ago, and over and over I tell Him to ignore my doubts, fears, balking and fussing and continue to show me His plan for my life and help me to be more like Him. And so daily He meets me. Weakness after weakness, mistake after mistake, He waits for me to seek his face and to understand who He is, because in that knowing, I change; I grow. He is changing me daily by loving me and showing me who He is in my life. Sometimes I know I am slowing down the process...getting in the way. That makes me sad, sometimes mad, and always hopefully. I can only pray that this will occur less and less and that I will turn to Him more and more to see the reflection of who He created me to be and begin to believe Him immediately at His word.

In this area of my life...of this journey of being Pregnant in My Heart, I need Him more than ever. Daily I discover more about love and trust and getting to know the people God has surrounded me with- my family. Having a child biologically is its own journey, and no less difficult. However, I can say I felt a little more prepared for what that journey might look like and feel like. I can also say that coming into this journey of adoption trying to apply all those things, well, it just doesn't work very well. And so here I am again, having to seek the face of my Father who first created the idea of adoption. I am learning and growing into what MY FAMILY looks like, feels like, rejoices and grieves like...not knowing a thing except I belong on this journey, and with these people. And, knowing that I am not alone on this journey, and that it is taking me places far beyond what I can hope or imagine, I hang on tight.

So, now, 7 years after our journey first began, we are starting down the same path of adoption once again, going a new way this time and a new journey is beginning. This time there are three of us. We are in this together as a team and a family who knows it is time for our family to grow again. Oh how I wish I had been journaling the process we each had to reach this same place. I hope I will one day take the time to reflect on it here. And I hope that anyone reading this will realize the impact it can have on your life when you record the process God takes you through on your adoption journey and so many other journeys. His hand prints were all over it... how we each individually realized that it was time and that we were ready, and excited, even though still nervous, about what it might mean and how it would change the family we have now grown into being.

I am honored to be here writing, not because I know anything amazing or that I have something special to share, but because I have come to realize that one of the greatest things i can do on this earth is walk out the journeys God lays before me and allow Him to pour out through me as He is growing me and teaching me.

Nobody will have the same journey. I think knowing that is vital. However, like a puzzle, we have pieces and scenes in our lives that others will need for their lives. There are pieces and parts that others have for me that I need. I have pieces I have already worked through and someone out there is just about to begin, someone who can use some encouragement not to give up. And rest assured, when the time is right, when I am ready, or you are ready, our paths will cross. You will turn over a pieces of the puzzle I have couldn't see right in front of me, or I will have a piece of your puzzle, or in each other's partially completed scenes we will catch the vision for what part of our own puzzle will look like. It is awesome how it works, how our lives were not meant to be lived out alone. Why we should never try to figure it all out by ourselves, because that my friends is not how we were ever created to exist or to journey or to discover. We need God, and we also need each other because God created us that way.

So don't be afraid if my story is different from yours, if I hear from God differently or if I place a different value on things than you do. Embrace what you can grow from and take it all to God. He will help you sort out your own puzzle- figure out your own journey and show you the plans He has for you and your family.

What path have you started on? Does it seem to be the same path you have been on before, or something totally new? Regardless, be prepared. The way will be new and the journey will be different. It is going to be amazing, and hard and worth it! Let go of your expectations and get ready for the ride! -Lisa

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Look At Me, I'm Pregnant In My Heart!!!

I once heard this great quote, "There are moments in life when you love someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real." That is what it feels like when you are waiting for your child to come home...You love them when they are still just a dream, when you your tummy hasn't changed a bit, but you really want to scream- LOOK AT ME, I'M PREGNANT IN MY HEART!!

This is a journey of discovery and enlightenment, a time in life to share with the world what it means to be pregnant in your heart...what it means to be a mom (or dad) in waiting...what it means to have a dream planted deep within in you, to love it, nourish it and wait for it...then to watch it unfold in your life, changing you forever in the process. And when you are forever changed, you want to change others...their ideas, their perspectives, their questions, even their dreams. And you will, because it is impossible to be changed without changing those whose lives you touch.

I don't know whose lives I will have the chance to impact, or who my daughter will touch in her life journey. I don't know who will read my story, hear my cries and share my laughter along the way...who will discover the dream that was planted in my heart, or who will catch their own dream in the process, but I do know this: I was created by a heavenly father who has a plan and a purpose for me, for my husband, and for my daughter. I can only see part of the plan; I only sense part of the purpose, but from the moment I discovered I was "pregnant in my heart," I knew that part of my journey would involve this joyful, painful, miraculous journey through adoption we began over 7 years ago. I think I know the moment of conception, but that is a story of its own.

This site is just the beginning, of dreams, hopes, knowledge, questions, resources, connections....
Yes, there is always more, because this is just the start, the day that you discover, I am pregnant in my heart.