Monday, February 27, 2012

Exhale :)

I suppose it's time for another's been so, so, long and I've missed this place.  A lot.  I forgot (in just a week or so!) how much I loved sitting here.  Exhaling.  Clickity-clacking on this little keyboard.  I'm back.  And thoroughly enjoying myself.

The past week has been a busy one.  And there's that word again.  It's not one of my favorites.  Busy.  Instead of busy, I'll say 'productive'.  Little projects that have been put on hold since bringing our little boy home are finally getting done.  And as usual, they're taking much longer than we think they should.  Sweet Uncle Ben - he gave up his only day off to help Jake install a door.  Should it have taken all day?  Nope.  But that's the way things go around here.  The guy that built our house was....err....uhh...well let's just say he liked to cut corners.  And now we're paying for it :)  Do your future homeowners a favor, and don't cut corners :)

Anyhow - here's one of those fun 'little projects'.

Carter had his re-adoption on Friday.  It's really just a formality, and will allow us to have a Wisconsin birth certificate (well...actually birth facts...but good enough).

It was over as soon as it started, she signed the paper, and we were on our way.  I couldn't help but be a little emotional.  Why?!  I have no stinkin' idea.  Maybe because it brought back all those emotions from that tiny court room in Ukraine.  Maybe because I thought of Yulia standing at my side, translating the judge's questions in her reassuring tone.  Maybe because I thought of all those ladies in the court room crying when they saw photos of our boy.  Maybe because I miss Ukraine very, very much.

Or, maybe because I was sitting there with my two favorite guys by my side.  And when that happens, I feel like we're unstoppable.  Takin' on the world together.

Either way, Carter is our boy - not because of that slip of paper.  Not because a judge in Ukraine said so.  But because God said so.  And when He says something, we best listen.  This boy is ours - 110%.


Carter has been busy doing lots of this.

He's been battling an ear infection, and we finally took the antibiotic plunge.  So we've been chillaxin' at home as much as we can.  And of course, he'll watch Baby Signing Time for hours if we'd let him.  So this is where he can be found - perched on our little footrest, or strapped in his highchair in front of the computer.

And we've been giving extra hugs & loves.  Because it's what we love to do :)


Last night we had a really special time with a really special family.  It was so nice to spend time with these people away from church - just relaxing - laughing - snuggling (Carter, not each other!) - eating - and just being.  When you're in ministry with people - you feel like you get to fellowship with them during those times of ministry.  But really, there's nothing like just hanging out together.

Carter made a few new buddies with Makayla & Jill, and he even gave Andy & Bob a few snuggles.  It's pretty sweet to see him cuddle up to those people that we love so much.


This morning, I anxiously snuck onto the computer.  Because I knew there would be good things happening.  This family met their boy.  And he's perfect.  Better than perfect.  He's everything they ever dreamed, and more.  The transition from caregiver to mommy & daddy was seamless.  Go check it out, and leave some love.

Or - just go and see for yourself how big & real & good & amazing & faithful our God is.


And how are we doing?  Well, good.  We're still adjusting to being parents...but we really love every minute of it.  Jake said the other day that being a daddy feels so natural.  I knew it would.  And as we're just settling into parenthood, new things are a-brewin' in the Gibson home.  No babies or adoptions on the horizon...but new things, nonetheless.

I don't know what the Lord has for us.  I don't know our next step.  But I know that HE knows.  And that's good enough for me.

And the three of us - we'll take it on, together.

Takin' on the world.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Whatever we go, whatever we do - we're in it together.  And I love that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Don't Get It.

Today, some things are weighing so heavy on my heart.  And I'm asking the Lord for clarity.  I know there are some things I just don't understand.  Won't understand.  Can't understand.   

But sometimes, when it hurts, I want so badly to understand.  To get it.  To see a glimpse of why & how things happen.  

But right now, I just don't get it.  I don't see it.  I don't understand it.

And that's all I'll say about that.  


If this boy could talk, he would say...well - a lot of things, I'm sure.  Because he's just wanting so badly to speak.  He chatters all day long, telling his mama lengthy stories.  But if he could speak - really speak, he'd say that having a family is pretty great.  He'd tell you that a mama and a dada are so fun, and they really come in handy when you want something.  He'd probably tell you that you don't have to be perfect to me a mommy or a daddy, because his mama & dada have already made their fair share of mistakes.  

He'd tell you that it's not perfection that he needs.  Just a helping hand, a good heavy dose of love, and a willingness to learn him.  He just needs someone who is willing to take a chance.  Take a step.  He just needs someone to say 'yes' to him.  Someone to say that they believe he has a future.  A hope.

So glad we said yes.  So glad we took a step.  Praising God that he changed our hearts.  That he opened our eyes.  That he called us out.

Is adoption for everyone?  Should everyone do it?  No, I don't think so.  But CAN anyone do this?  Yes.  Yes, yes, yes.  We are nothing special.  Just two kids who took a step.  If we can do this, anyone - ANYONE - can do this.

How many Carter's are out there?  Just waiting for someone to take a chance on them?  Just hoping someone will say yes to them?  Breaks my heart to think about it.

Maybe someone is waiting for you.  Yes, you.  You - DINK (double income no kids...that was us, so I can use the term!).  Yes, you.  And how about you, with all those young kids at home?  Maybe you.  Or how about you, mama whose kids are almost grown?  What about you?  Or even you...yes, YOU!  I know you may be a grandma already - but God might be calling you!  Have you asked the Lord?  Maybe you should.

And when the Lord says go - you should go.  Don't be worrisome about the expensive ransom.  Don't fret about what your friends and family will think.  Because we serve a big, big God.  And I may only be 27....but I'm old enough to have learned that in most cases, it doesn't stinkin' matter what anyone thinks.

When God says go, you go.  Make sure you're listening.

To think we would have missed this gift.....unimaginable.


So at the end of the day, when I'm feeling overwhelmed - frustrated - hurt - confused....I can step back and look at the big picture.  Not 'just' that a child is saved.  Not 'just' that God cares enough to stoop down, to speak to ME.  It's more than that.  There's more.  So much more.

Your voice it thunders - The ground is shaking
The mighty mountains now are trembling
Creation sees you - It starts composing
The fields and trees they start rejoicing

And now, it's rising from the ground
Hear us crying out - Hear us crying out!

Holy - Holy - Holy - Holy - Lord!
The earth is yours!

Sounds like a pretty mighty - incredible - huge - amazing - strong - all powerful God that we serve.  And maybe I don't need to understand.  Maybe I don't need to 'get it'.

Maybe I can just step back.  And maybe I can let our big, mighty God take care of it.

That would probably be best anyways, right?  Right.

Thanks for the chat, friend.  I feel so much better.

One Thing I Know For Sure: "And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!  Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" - Job 26:14

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Don't You Dare.

The weather here has been nice.  For February in Wisconsin, it's been VERY nice.  So we've been doing our fair share of walking.  Playing on the sidewalk.  Wagoning.  Whatever we can to get some of this rare-February fresh air.  Sometimes, Carter will bring me his shoes and wave bye-bye.  Translation: Let's go, mama.  I want to get out there and take on the world!  And I can't do it in this house.  Now.  Let's go. Please.  

Yesterday was Carter's 3 month anniversary.  He has been in our home for 3 months, and we can't believe the strides he has made.  It's really incredible.  We estimate that he knows about 20 signs - and uses most of them correctly.  He is also learning that signing something will get him results.  Want to watch 'Baby Signing Time'?  Well, then go to mama and sign 'baby'.  Want my diaper changed?  Go to mama and sign 'diaper'.  Walking through Lowe's and want to take a bath?  Well, then sign 'bath' to mama & dada every 2 minutes.  Okay, that one didn't work so well :)

He loves to read, and brings me 'Llama, Llama Red Pajama' about 12 times a day.  His second favorite is 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom'.  Yesterday I was doing dishes and just couldn't stop to read, so I handed the book back to him.  He sat down, turned the pages, and said "Da da, baaba, da, pup, ta, dada!".   Of course, I couldn't resist.  I turned off the water.  Dried my hands, and got down on the floor, right there in the kitchen.  Carter crawled into my lap, and we read together.  Enjoying the moment.  It lasted for about 4 minutes, and he was off.  But the moment was enjoyed, nonetheless.

I find myself often saying 'oh...I can't wait until he can talk!' or 'won't it be great when he uses the potty?'. No-no, mama.  Don't you dare.  Those things will come.  Eventually.  And when they do, you'll undoubtedly wish for simpler times.  Times of quiet diaper changes, and a mouth that isn't in constant motion.  Don't you dare rush him.  Things like growth take time.  Lots of time.  And growth can't be rushed.  Shouldn't be rushed.  It should be enjoyed - every stage, every step, enjoyed.  Not rushed.  Never rushed.

Don't you dare, mama.

Let little boy do his thing for as long as he wants.  Because someday, little boy won't be so little.  Someday.....

So, we're busy enjoying life today.  Trying not to wish for the 'next step' to be here today.  Trying to make the most out of this step.  Enjoying the simplicities.  The complexities.  The in-betweenities.  All of it needs to be enjoyed.

Don't you dare rush it.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  It's nap time.  That's something I can most definitely enjoy :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The day of love.  Hallmark holiday, some may say.  Yea, I get that.  But today, I'm soaking up the love. The love of this little boy, who is never going to spend another day without love.  

The love of my sweet, sweet husband - who brought me a frothy raspberry white chocolate treat today. 
The never-ending, unconditional, no-matter-what love of my Savior.  

Really, truly, how great is the Father's love?  Happy Valentines Day, friend.  Soak up the Father's love today.  Nothing compares.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: Love to be lavished upon by my Father...even though I fall so, so short.  That's His love.  Nothing like it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wanna Go To China?!

I do.  I've always wanted to go to China.  Hasn't everyone 'always wanted to go to China'?  I suppose so.

No, we're not adopting from China.  But some dear friends ARE - and they're leaving soon.  You can read posts that I've written about this family HERE and HERE.

So, I'm packing my bloggy bag and heading there with them.  The sights - the sounds - the smells - I can just feel China blood running through my veins.  Wanna come?

Head on over to Ben & Juli's blog and follow their journey to their son, Caleb Aaron.  They're leaving on February 22nd and would so appreciate your blog love & support.  When we were in Ukraine - some days I survived just by reading your comments and emails.  They need to hear from you.

Soon, this guy will be in his mommy's arms - right where he belongs!
China's process is so very different from Ukraine's - and I've already learned so much.  One VERY different aspect of a Chinese adoption is Gotcha Day.  In Ukraine, we visited with Carter twice a day for weeks before we could bring him back to the apartment.  In China - Caleb will be brought to their hotel after a few days in country.  That's it.  He's theirs, and fully their responsibility.  Having done 'Gotcha Day' so differently, this is daunting to me.  Please pray for them - that Caleb would feel comfortable with them immediately - that they would know how to best love him in those first days - and that the Lord would supernaturally bind them together, in ways they will never be able to comprehend.

Our God is good like that, you know?

So, tag along on this journey of a lifetime.  Because really, when will a trip to China come along again?  Once in a lifetime, baby!

One Thing I Know For Sure:  Holy Cow.  Caleb is coming home.  HOME!

Friday, February 10, 2012

10 on 10

1.  Our day started with the usual bedroom sabotage.  This time, he went for the wipes.  Good OT I guess :)  He also spent time carrying his shoes around in pairs, and putting them in random places around the house.  I'm guessing he sees another man in our home do the same thing :)  

2. This is what it looks like outside our window today.  Total yuckness.  I read a blog today of someone who lives in a happy, normal climate and her photos of their outside time did NOT look like this.  Not at all.

3.  I caved today.  I stopped at Starbucks and thoroughly enjoyed my Caramel Macchiato.  And the design on the cup made it that much more special :)

4. Little boy enjoyed looking at my RealSimple magazine.  I haven't finished it yet, but I have a feeling he'll get to it before I do.  I wonder if he read the section about 'organization tips' - and how an organized house requires effort from every single person that lives there.  Yes, even the little ones.

5.  Well, apparently he did read the section about swiffering floors.  This kid can swiffer like nobody's business.  He takes it to each room and waves that thing around like Cinderella's fairy godmother.  Bippity-boppity-BOO - the room is now clean.

6. Moses.  Oh, Moses.  How you annoy me when you dig your nose in the garbage.  How you get on my last nerve when you must itch each ear with vigor right as Carter is drifting off to sleep.  Seriously, you drive me nuts most days.  But during nap time, when I see you chillin' on the couch watching 'House Hunters'...I somehow forget all the ridiculous things that you did all morning.  And I love you again.

7. Usually after about 2 or 3 hours of sleep, I can hear Carter fiddling around in his crib.  And this is the reaction I get, just about every day.  These moments make mommy hood extra special :)

8. Carter likes his mirror.  A lot.  And he likes the other kid, too.  Apparently, it really, really needs some windex.

9. Dada came home a little early, and he plays with Carter in a way that Mama just can't do.  Believe me, I try during the day.  But Mama just doesn't cut it when it comes to rough-housing.  This boy loves his Dada.  Just ask him - he'll sign 'Dada' for you.  He'll 'call' Dada on the play phone.  He walks to the window to wave bye-bye all morning long - because that's what we do when Dada leaves.  Buds.

10. I have started playing old school episodes of Sesame Street - I found them on YouTube...and Carter loves them!  This is his usual Sesame Street position.  And I think it's adorable.

And a freebie.  Because I just can't get enough.

That was our day - in 10 photos!


Okay, I've got to say that up to this point, it has been torture for me to chit-chat about my day when I have SO many more exciting things to share.  More on this tomorrow.  But for now, I have something very, very special to share.

Let me start by saying this.  When you're in a foreign place - physically, spiritually, emotionally - the Lord always sends something to make you feel at home.  Sometimes you don't see it, because you're busy being scared.  Sometimes you miss it because you're so focused on what you don't have.

Thank God we didn't miss it.

The first day in Ukraine - literally in the shuttle bus at the airport, these people immediately reached out to us.  "Where ya'll from?!"  - I can hear it now.  Jake and I looked at each other, like "Seriously?!  Here - in Kiev?!'ve gotta be kidding me.".  With that, Jake & I breathed a huge sign of relief.

And it was the beginning of something special.

Bryan & Alecia had adopted from Ukraine before.  They held our hands and guided us when we didn't know where to go.  In those first days when I was so, so very homesick - Bryan & Alecia called to see if we wanted to hang out.  They were missing their kids back home, and we were missing.....well, everything.

Being in the trenches together creates this bond that is indescribable.  We didn't spend more than 2 or 3 afternoons/evenings together.  But God knit our hearts together so much so, that I can say I really, truly miss this family.

Well - Jake and I have been home from Ukraine, WITH Carter for almost 3 months.  Incredible, I know.

But all this time that we've been settling in to our new normal, Bryan & Alecia have been waiting.

Yes - in Ukraine.  Waiting for everything to be final.  Waiting for everything to be official.

Waiting for their 2 new kids to be able to come home.

Today, yes - TODAY - Aliyah and Aaron will be home.  They will get off that big airplane and step onto American soil for the first time.  There will be tears.  There will be hugs.  There will be "nice to meet you's" and "we've been praying for you's".  And these two kids will be home.  For good.  For ever.


Wow.  I've got chills just thinking about the rejoicing that will be going on in Oklahoma in just about a half hour.  I can't say that I didn't try to calculate on MapQuest last night how long it might take for me to drive to Oklahoma.  Only about 13 hours.  Today, Jake said 'do you think we could still get tickets out of Appleton and get to Oklahoma on time?!'.  Oh how I would love to be there.  How I would love to wrap my arms around this mama & papa who have battled to get their kids home for over 4 months.

Home.  Family.  Forever & ever & ever.  Beautiful!


Like I said - more, LOTS more tomorrow.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  The Father of the Fatherless loves to set the lonely in families.  Living proof in Oklahoma tonight....

Monday, February 06, 2012

He Looks Like His Mama.

This realization pierced my heart the other night as we were finally going through all that Ukrainian paperwork, trying to make sense of it all.  And there it was - between the Decree of Abandonment and his Certificate of U.S. Citizenship.

His mama's face.  I saw it on her passport photo.  And I realized - he looks just like his mama.

She is beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.

Okay - maybe I'm biased.  Maybe.

As I walked out to the living room to snatch a hug from our brand-new 3 year old, I saw her.  I saw her all over his face.  His soulful eyes.  His pouty lips.  His arched brows.  It's all her.

We know that Carter's parents visited him regularly for quite some time.  The visits stopped when they adopted a healthy Ukrainian child...and I can't help but wonder if Carter missed her.  I don't limit Carter's capacity to understand things like this, despite the fact that he has Down syndrome.  He knows that he was loved during those three months that he was taken home after he was born.  He felt his mama's touch as she nursed him for those three months - and I know it was a gentle, loving touch.  I know, because I see that same gentle, loving touch in him.  He is kind and tender - those are traits not learned in an orphanage.

Do you know what that tells me?

He remembers.  He remembers love.  He remembers his mama's face, maybe.

Without a doubt, there are some things that he remembers.

In some ways, this breaks my heart.  When going through all that paperwork, the 'Decree of Abandonment' stuck out to me.  Decree of Abandonment.  Just the words sound so cold and icy.  I can't help but think that it would be easier if he forgot his messy past.  If he forgot that he was abandoned by a mama and papa who cared for him for 3 months - maybe life would be easier.  If he forgot that he spent 3+ years in an orphanage, receiving no love and minimal care - maybe life would be better.

I don't know.  I guess we'll never know.  But what a gift to be able to tell our son that his birth parents had great love for him.  That despite 'abandoning' him, they tried so hard to make it work.  They tried so hard to fight against their society and their culture.  They tried so hard to keep him.

And they really, truly, absolutely loved him.

He was 'meant' to be theirs, and they tried so, so hard to make it work.  For that, we are forever grateful.

One Thing I Know For Sure: What a gift...

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