The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Where I've Been

So sorry about the long delay from my last post, but I think you'll find this post worth the wait. The weather did improve (although I have even worse pics than those I've posted), but it snowed again over the weekend. Anyway, the reason I've been remiss in my duties is that I went to Boise this weekend. It was a big surprise for a lot of people, so I couldn't "leak" it on my blog. I left on Wednesday and finally made it home this afternoon.

Back in the fall when we moved away, I felt a draw back for our old church's women's retreat. I kinda thought I was just "homesick" so I didn't even mention it to Aaron. When the feeling was still there several months later, I asked A what he thought about it. He said I should go, so I started planning with my friend Tami. Planning soon turned to scheming as we decided to keep it a secret from everyone else! She even signed me up under an alias! :)

I arrived in Boise Wednesday night at midnight and Tami and I spent the day together Thursday. Then, Friday morning we packed the van, gathered two other gals, and headed to Challis (for non-Idahoans, Boise is in SW Idaho and Challis is in eastern Idaho--a 4-hour drive, mostly through the mountains and very beautiful). We had a great time chatting in the car and I began to realize just how isolated I'd become up here in the Wisconsin wilderness. When we stopped (at the only restaurant on the way) for lunch, it was so funny to watch the surprise on different ladies' faces who had also stopped there! I got laughs and screams and lots of great big hugs. It was great!

The theme of the weekend was "Transformed by the Journey" and a good deal of it really hit home. I was so eager to spend every waking moment with these women while I could, that I didn't do a lot of journalling or processing while there. Monday afternoon I scrawled it all out in the airport and on the plane, prompting a man near me to ask whether I was a famous novelist that he should have recognized! I told him it was nothing that exciting, just a journal. I almost told hime "It's nothing that public..." but I suppose to my multudinous (three) readers, it's about to become very public!

Anyhow, the first night, the speaker (JoNell) talked about the baggage we take on our journey. Obviously, this is not a new and unheard of concept. But, that doesn't necessarily make it less important or less meaningful. Baggage weighs us down and we "live out of it." There are lots of things that we may carry around on our journeys. Regret, reproach, rejection, rebellion, unforgiveness, disappointment, fear. For me, disappointment is the big one. I can get very disappointed with God and I've written about it before. Interestingly, JoNell mentioned that disappointment leads to mediocrity because we stop expecting anything better. Being dissatisfied with mediocrity is a huge part of our journey and one of the main reasons we are were we are now (read about it here). Anyhow, though I'd dealt with a measure of the disappointment already on the journey, it's something that always finds a new object so I keep carrying it around with me.

There are only "pockets" of disappointment with God in my life, but I want them out nonetheless. I was telling my friends that I'm so blessed with my husband and kids. They are shockingly wonderful to me! Aaron far exceeds my expectations of what a husband should be. No, dears, he's not perfect, but he is sooooooo far beyond what I expected my husband to be. And my kiddinkidinks. Girls, they are not perfect, but they so far exceed my expectations. I never thought I would enjoy my kids so much. I really had pretty low expectations about how much I would like them. Sad, huh? But, these blessings (and so many others in my life) have got to be from God. He is so good! So, instead of disappointing me, God has gone far, far beyond what I expected in these areas.

So, where am I being disappointed? I want him to speak more personally to me. I hear others stories and I crave that God would do something special for me that I would see clearly that He did it just for me. Or, that He would "answer me out loud"--prophetically or something. Or by directing me "miraculously" to just the right verse for that moment. I want Him to penetrate my heart with His words and His love.

I found myself explaning to my friends that God's blessings feel "external" to me. Tami asked me what I meant by that and I began to explain to her that whenever I go home, my mom is constantly offering me things in her house if I compliment them (I've come home with shoes, blankets, pillows, all kinds of things I said I liked and she gave to me) and also offers to buy anything I pick up off a shelf at a store. This has been the way that she has shown her love all my life. When I was young, I didn't get it, though, and it left me feeling empty. It seemed like a substitute for the "real love" I felt like I was missing.

Tami asked what it was that I felt like I was missing from my mom. It was her approval. I always felt like I was a disappointment (there's that word again!) to my mom. She always told us we could be whatever we wanted, but then she also told us that we were wasting our intelligence if we suggested a career that required less schooling than a doctor or lawyer or such. As a mom now, I understand more of this, but I think I was surprised to enjoy my kids because I never felt like my mom enjoyed us.

So, there it is; there's the root of my feelings of disappointment in God, the reason I discounted His gifts, and the root of my desire for God to speak deeply to my heart. I feel like I've made monumental leaps in understanding of all of that this weekend! And, the really cool thing about it all is that Saturday night I spoke with my old pastor's wife who has been a spiritual mother to me when I needed it and she was praying with me to help me find the root. We were also praying about another situation and she spoke words of genuine approval over me--her own approval and God's--and that was before I realized the root and had come to all this newfound understanding. Amazing. God is so good!

There were some other really wonderful things about the weekend too. Maybe I'll tell you more about them someday.

Then, Monday morning, Tarah (front and center below) hosted a wonderful brunch with the adoption brigade. It was so fun to see my Boise pals again and I'm so glad I got to go. Yay!


Becky said...

It was so great to see you at the brunch. I hope this trip will refresh you and give you renewed strength as you adjust to life in Narnia. (oops....I mean Wisconsin)

You could always move back you know. : )

Melodie said...

I'm so glad you got this opportunity Rachel. Times like these are so needed, especially when you don't have a lot of friends who live nearby. I pray you will also continue to understand God more and more through the experience!

Tanya said...

Oh Rachel! I am so glad you that you had a renewal time and insights from God. You are a blessing to many people, I am glad that you are "filled back up." Tanya

Tarah said...

It was fun having you here. The pictures of the group that Chandler took turned out kinda funny! A large group of women should never look down to have pictures. We all have double chins!!!

Zandy said...


It was fun to see you! Hopefully next time it will be with the whole fam!


My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued