This week I had to learn to tie a toga, and cut our guinea pig, Mohawk’s, toenails. This seemed appropriate, as we forge ahead with paperwork, continuously stepping into the great unknown. I’d never tied a toga before, but I figured it out. Benji had a Greek and Roman Feast at school and he looked quite stately.
I never cut Mohawk’s toenails before, as evidenced by their gnarly appearance.
I was less successful in my clipping endeavors, and had to call a neighbor for help.
We finished a second big round of paperwork this week, and we’ll soon be contacted by a caseworker for our homestudy, the next benchmark on our road to our little girl. We’ve never done a homestudy before, never adopted a child before, but we’ll figure it out. We’ll probably call on neighbors for help. And family, and friends, and our church. And God for sure. Lots of praying going on around here. And toga-tying. And toenail-cutting. Life’s an adventure, and there are lots of stories to be told.
We printed out some of the adoption paperwork last night and Clay and I began tackling it today. I knew it took courage and a calling and lots of love to adopt.
I didn’t realize the need for lots of sticky tabs and white out.
I am not a good form-filler-outer. I write too fast (hmmm, could be linked to my talking genes) and don’t always look first to see if a) it needs a notary or b) I’m writing in the right box or c) which birth date goes with which child. Thankfully, I found the white out, and some colorful paper clips to boot. The pages are now bristling with sticky tabs, places Clay needs to sign or read or we need to figure out together. It feels good to be doing something, anything that brings us closer to this child.
This Sunday we ran into a friend whose family is adopting internationally, and when we asked him if there was any news about their child, he just shrugged and said, “Oh, you know, it’s hurry up and wait.” I can’t seem to get those words out of my head. Here’s why:
My early girl tomatoes don’t even have flowers on them yet! The plant is growing, true. They’ve at least doubled in size, and the branches are stretching outside the cage, but no tomatoes. I thought they would be “early” bloomers, so come on girl, grow me some ‘maters! I was in such a hurry to get them planted, once I finally decided to make the commitment and give it a try. I didn’t want to waste any of the growing season, so I rushed to the nursery with my friend. I bought liquid seaweed, and I fertilized. I water at the hint of dry soil. I do everything I can do, and now I wait. If a watched pot never boils, what happens to a watched plant?
My jalapenos are more exciting.
Can you see it? Right in front of the finger?
Benji and I oo’d and ah’d over these babies they way you might ooo and ahhh over tiny fingers and toes. Such a cute little pepper.
But I’m not just hurrying and waiting with the plants. I’ve been working diligently on a middle grade novel, sending it to readers, revising, blocking hours on my calendar so I could get it in tip-top shape. I sent a query to an agent yesterday, and got an automatic email reply that she’s out of the office until the end of April. In my dreams, she emails me from her vacation and says to send her the novel because she wants to read it while she’s on the beach sipping on a frozen margarita. Does a watched inbox ever get emails?
And on the adoption front, we’re entering the hurry-up phase. As of last night, we’ve decided to pursue Honduras. There have been many open doors in that direction. Many “coincidences,” people crossing our path with connections to Honduras. An author friend is house-sitting there for a year, we met a couple living in Honduras and working in orphanages who is in Dallas for a couple weeks, and every day or so when we mention Honduras, someone knows someone or has a connection that provides another open door. So we step through the doors, until they start closing.
I am thankful for the “hurry up and wait.” It helps me prepare for the inevitable. I know the next few weeks and months we’ll be busy filling out paperwork and making doctor’s appointments and preparing for a home study. Clay and I are type A, we’ll get the work done. We met with a wonderful woman this week who can help us navigate these waters. Weeks from now, when we’re frazzled or tuckered out, we’ll wait a while. We can expect to wait months before we’re matched with a child. I can see us now, out on the back porch, on the other side of the next few busy weeks. We’ll have a salt shaker in hand, and on a plate, a big, juicy, sliced up tomato. Good things come to those who wait.
“But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25
“Do not look at the faces in the illustrated papers. Look at the faces in the street.” –G.K. Chesteron
This was the quote we chose as the banner for our “trip around the world” site, which we called “Faces in the Street.” It says everything we wanted to say about why we traveled for nine and a half months. We wanted to meet those faces on the other side of the globe. We wanted to hear their stories. We wanted them to become real. This blog is about the stories right here at home, because we all have stories to tell. The “Stories in the Street.” There are stories in homes, grocery store aisles, and cafeterias. I want to hear them. I want to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” (Henry David Thoreau) This is where I’ll share my stories. I hope you’ll share yours, too.
I came across a Jacques Cousteau quote that says exactly what I want to say about life, my writing, and this blog. “When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”
We all lead extraordinary lives. The extraordinary can be found in the most ordinary things. A leaf with fuzzy balls on the back. The first hint of a tomato. Coming home with my arms full of groceries to find an elaborate dart game taking place in my living room. I’m talking take-the-picture-off-the-wall-and-mount-a-target elaborate. Of course extraordinary can be found in the big moments of our lives, too. Our trip around the world. A first book contract. The adoption of a child.
I begin this blog on the cusp of big adventures, and small ones. I’ll be sending a middle grade manuscript to agents in the coming weeks. Our family recently decided to adopt a baby. And I just planted my first tomato plant. Ever. If it is successful, it will be the first time I’ve ever grown something I can eat.
I write this blog because I want to share my adventures, big and small, with others. I want to encourage others to share their stories with me. I’m a lover of stories, big and small. If you’ve found your way to this page, maybe you are, too.
Check back for updates on manuscripts, babies, and, hopefully, tomatoes.
I love sharing stories like Rebeka’s in Her Own Two Feet. That’s what this blog is all about. My stories. Other people’s stories. Writing stories for children. Once upon a time I told the story of our family traveling around the world for nine and a half months. You can find those here at Faces in the Street.