Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dear Respite Care


Dear Respite Care,

How to even begin this letter? Can I say thank you to something that is a concept made real by a little baby and the life that it represents. Tears well up as there are so many emotions all trying to get on this page but will I do it justice?

res·pite
ˈrespət,rēˈspīt/
noun
noun: respite
1.

a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.




Oh Respite Care you think that we are giving respite to our now new and dear friends (thought they might not know how dear they are to us), but in all actuality it is my heart that is getting respite care. It is my heart that screams I get to be a mom today... Thursday - Sunday. We get to be a family of 3, we get to feed, bath, change diapers, play, go to the grocery store, we get to do it all. We get to experience respite from the journey to parenthood. We get to have a little taste of how it will be, and boy let me tell you. We LOVE it. Going to the store to get baby food and walking around with little one strapped to me. Holding unto her like it is all a spell that will be broken. I glow. I truly do. I, Liza, a current barren one get to hold a precious little one. A little one that I didn't birth, nor that is related to me. A little one that knows me as the one that picks her up and smiles to her, feeds her and clothes her on certain days of the week. A little one so innocent that was removed from her family. A little one that is worth every single one of these emotions. 




Dear Respite Care, you do not know but tonight you allow us to tuck little one in bed. To walk around proud like a peacock. We didn't do anything but say yes to a friend of a friend and are now heart deep in sticky gooey love for this respite care.... But Respite Care, you are supposed to be taking away from the difficult or unpleasant situation, what we have seen in the love of Mr. & Mrs. Foster Parents and siblings, this family you get to be a part of is hands down amazing. How they love, nurture, sacrificially give and love again. It is an art, one that Daniel and I want to learn. How can so much healing happen in my heart from caring for a little one whose situation is to not be with her Momma? I am the one getting respite care. Respite from the pain of death, respite from grief that sometimes swallows me up. And so tonight as my hubby makes baby cakes chuckle, as I strut my walk wanting to scream isn't this baby the most precious living being in the world. I get to hold her for today. I get to be her caregiver... I crumble because out of her loss I get to be a respite care provider. 





And so dear Respite Care, thank you for giving me this opportunity to love. Thank you for allowing us to meet such amazing people. Thank you for showing us how Daniel & I will work together and parent together, even if it is just for tonight, tomorrow, for as long as we can. Thank you.





Sincerely,
~Me~

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Art of an Invite

We are 3 days shy of 1yr and 7 months of many potential babies and too many "no's" to count them. We have at times held our breath for hours waiting for the phone call letting us know that we would become parents but received an email instead. We have rejoiced with many friends who have announced their pregnancy's and have been ecstatic at our friends who have been chosen to be parents!!! We... oh wait, I have shed many tears at times and have laughed much more than those tears that I have shed. And so, we continue to wait, to live to the fullest to continue to plan for our future and live in the present. Lunch meals still need to be made, client reports need to be printed, laundry needs to be washed and most of all, relationships continue to grow.

This blog post has been on my mind for months and finally I am sitting down to type it. I grew up in Mexico where we spend a lot of time around a meal, we thoroughly enjoy the food and we thoroughly enjoy the company. My mom was never one to show off her pearls or her diamonds. She always wanted people to be comfortable and didn't want them to wish they had riches by a simple broach she would wear... She taught us to be rich in friendships and humble in our belongings. She also "strongly" dislikes social media and prefers to keep her life in private so here I am spilling all her secrets:)... (jk. Mammi)

Daniel and I are building our first house and we don't really share pictures... The death of my sister and the category of "things- house included" doesn't trump her life. I remember when she past how people to me were so interested in their "material" things that they paid more attention on posting on ig than on reaching out to me. I wanted nothing to do with that and the callousness that that made me feel. We recently lost our dear Aunt Holly and friends have had some huge losses as well. I usually keep my posts to those that mean something to me. I want to respect those who are grieving and stand by them. The world continues while their world has been shattered to never be the same again. 

Here is where my title comes in: The Art of an Invite: 

Invite:
verb (used with object), invited, inviting.
1. to request the presence or participation of in a kindly, courteous, or complimentary way, especially to request to come or go to some place, gathering, entertainment, etc., or to do something: 

You see, by me posting on ig, or on this blog or even by opening myself up I have to accept that love, loss and common sense (not really) will come hand in hand. Life is full of pain, but life is full of joy. I am 100% grateful for the life that God has allowed me to live. I am so grateful for my husband. We get so caught up that we have to have the perfect house to be able to invite people but to me that is not the case. It doesn't matter what house you have, in the end it matters if you open it up to friends, new and old. I know that the American way is to say, "Come on over any time." But to me that has never been an invite. An invite says, "I desire to know you more and to be in your presence, please allow me to know you more and vica versa". An invite says, "My life is messy, and I am a work in progress, an art piece still being refined, will you still love me as I am?". An invite says, "Join me and those whom I love in this journey we call life".

For those of you who didn't know this of me, an invitation to me is one of the greatest forms of love. That means you want me/us to know you more. What an honor. My sister's house was a two bedroom apartment FULL of love, FULL of adventure, FULL of beauty. We giggled, we snuggled, we cried, we even fought, we cooked, we feasted, we had picnics in the living room, we did life. That is the type of invite I want. A full life rich in friends. 

I close this post encouraging you to practice inviting those who are in your life (or those who you want in there). Send a text, send a paper invite, email someone. If you're not getting invited, who cares, YOU invite. We all need each other, we all have our weird quirks and humor but if we never reach out we'll never know how rich our lives can be. I am looking forward to our move in date, I am looking forward to the sleepovers which we'll have, to the hundreds of guests which we'll have. I am looking forward to allowing our dear ones in to know us more. I am looking forward to the many memories we will create with you all. I leave you with.... hold your breath... yes, some pictures of the house and with the prayer from our dear friend Don that was prayed over our house.

PRAYER FOR YOUR NEW HOME  God bless your new home.  May it be a church where you meet God on a daily basis, a school where you learn about Him and each other, a hospital where you find healing and wholeness, service station where you minister to the needs of each other, and a garden where you enjoy the beauty of His holiness.  Amen















Friday, March 6, 2015

In memory of my Daddi





In Memory of my Daddi

On the 6th of March my dear Daddi went to be with Jesus. I spoke at his funeral and wanted to share it on here what I shared then. I love you Daddi forever.
 
--
I am the youngest of Dad's 5 children. For months I have been thinking of what I had learned from Dad and was wondering why people wait to share what they learned from someone once the person died. Now my Dad is no longer here and I wasn't fast enough to send him this letter.

Dear Daddi,

For months I have been thinking about what I want to tell you. I want you to know that I think of you daily and how much I love you. I wanted you to know that I am who I am because of the influence that you had in my life. I wanted you to know that you and Mom molded me into me. I have ten points that I want you to know of how you impacted my life:

1) You love me very much you won. I remember since a wee-little girl how that was a staple at our house. I now practice it with Daniel and with our nieces and nephews. I love very much is close to my tongue and the word "Hate" is hardly ever heard coming out of my lips. I will always remember calling you and hearing the "I love you very much I win" come out of you.

2) Watch out for the underdog. While going to PCS you would walk me to school whenever you were allowed. I never understood why you and mom would walk me even though it was only 1 block away. I now realize it was our special time together. When I was little we would skip. Every single day that was our thing to do. As I got older so did you and then one day the skipping stopped. Then my hand went into the cranny of your elbow and we walked like that talking or not saying a word. Every day you would tell me, "Look out for the underdog". Daddi, that has made such an impact on me. I didn't experience bullying (thanks to Thelma) and I never was a bullyier due to what you taught me.

3) Keep your chin up. You taught me to be proud of who I am. You taught me that even when trials come to stand strong, be planted stay firm and kind. Keep my chin up even when my emotions want to get the best of me. This I am still learning how to do :).

4) You taught me how to drive. Ohhh how I can't wait to share this with my kids one day. How you would let us sit on your lap since we were little. You would fall asleep at the wheel while pushing the gas. I always wondered if you truly did fall asleep but to this day I was certain you did. I was so scared of bridges and of taking a corner so I would desperately cry out to you to help me. You never not even once didn't help me on those turns.

5) You let us be adventurous. Who in their right mind would let their two teenage daughters ride on top of the truck cabin laying down on their backs? You trusted us that we would not be foolish and jump off or hurt ourselves. Thank you. When Thelma and I took your yellow truck and raced drive through the mud puddles you quietly mentioned it to us. We knew better to do that again.

6) You taught me how to tell stories. Well, almost, every night when we were little you would tuck us in bed. First Ruth, then JD and then Thelma and I :). Oh so happy you would scratch our backs, then pinch them then in a sweeping motion wipe what you had previously done… which meant one thing… You had to scratch our backs again seeing that you had erased your work. You would do it again and tell a story usually about a mouse.

7) You taught me to love nature. You would take us out to the fields and let us ride in the back of the truck, find a good spot to get fresh carrots and potatoes, rub them on our jeans and take a bite. You got mad and Thelma and I for getting "worms" for our fishing trip with forks… You told us, "worms are the friendliest animals ever" as you popped one into your mouth. Thelma and I were so grossed out but started grabbing them with our fingers.

8) You were kind to my friends. I feel that every weekend one or two or three of my friends was over. You always made them feel welcome, always were genuinely concerned with them and their families. You always were willing to bring hay and animals in to our school functions and would always allow us to take our friends out to the farm. How I remember the time you were teaching my classmates how to milk a cow. My friend Amy was too too grossed out to milk a cow… so your response - aim it at her and douse her with fresh milk. Oh I will never forget that!

9) You encouraged my imagination. When we were little and I mean little you would let us help you get into your Santa costume. Cotton beard, pillow belly, and presents in your bag. Then we would run into our bedroom and wait for Santa to come in… Oh my goodness we were so excited to see Santa.

10) You taught me that you really can give a puppy away. Again with Amy she had just lost her dog. I told you her story and asked you if we could bring one of our puppies for her. You said of course. So when we came back from the farm we loaded him in. I didn't realize that I should have checked with her parents first so when her mom said no. I was so scared to tell you. I cried and you kindly asked me what was wrong. I told you that Amy couldn't keep the puppy and felt that you would be mad. You hugged me, said we would just take him back and that it was ok.

Daddi, you taught me to respect others. To say yes sir and yes mam. You would snuggle me when I was scared even as an adult. I loved how you loved my husband so much. I loved it how one of the last times we rode in the car together you buckled your seat belt into the drivers side. Daniel slid in looked at you and said, "I love you John." You just smiled big and laughed. Daniel reached over and buckled his seatbelt in yours. 

I was always your baby. From now on I will write these letters of things you taught me or stories I remember, like bird hunting with my ten cats running behind us. Showing Thelma how to aim, telling me to stand behind you and having the bb ricochet off the beam and hit me on the head…. I have my memories and the part of me that is you to pass on to my kids. Even if there isn't a how to Daddi Liza book I think you did a pretty darn good job at it. I love you. Daddi now and forever thank you God for the Dad you gave me.

Missing you here.

Liza Paola

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2 months in.

We are two months in the new year and I am so shocked at how fast time goes by. Do you remember when you were young and you couldn't wait for Friday? Now I see Friday come and Friday go and wonder what else I'm missing out on. I have learned though life ins't about missing things, but truly about taking the time. Taking the time to spend with Daniel even if it is just sitting down together and working on our taxes. So many times I am in this mood of go.go.go. when all he needs is for me to just sit and be. My sister Thelma loved to just be. She disliked me being on my phone and wanted my attention to be present with her. Every time I listen to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" I think of her. From living out of state and wishing I could be with her and and now living with out I wish I could just stop and cuddle with her. Talk or not talk, just lay there holding hands. Man, how I miss her. 

So, instead of letting my tears get the best of me I decided to let you all know of something that Daniel and I are continuing to do. As I was born and raised in Mexico the dollar has always been more powerful than the peso. I remember when it was 3 to 1 and then the devaluation of the peso happened changing it to 10 to 1. So many Mexicans lost a lot of money and life definitely was different. Instead of having to pay 3000 pesos for  a bag of chips it went down to 3 pesos! The reason behind me sharing this is because last fall when we were fundraising I had the clever idea to  see how much the adoption was going to cost in pesos. Total sum from today's exchange: MXN $430,428.15. Yes, you read that right over $430 thousand pesos!!!! My heart sank when I realized how much money that was and how many lives could be impacted. I wanted to cry thinking that by us adopting we would be able to love 1 child while that $430k could be used to love others… It's sobering to put dollars into another currency and to realize the impact that our money can make in another country.

I called my mom and told her the amount and first thing she said was, "There must be something wrong. The agency must be stealing from you." I went on and explained that no, they weren't that those were the expenses for an adoption through an agency here and that I was just sharing with her because it had shocked me so much. I came home and talked to Daniel and told him how my heart was so heavy at the realization of the cost in pesos. So here is where the really cool part is about all of this. How a simple question could start a snowball of thoughts and ideas. Since we had reached our goal we stopped fundraising and any money that was still coming through our Amazon affiliate account was going to be saved for our next adoption we decided to change gears and that any money coming from our Amazon affiliate account will be donated directly to Esperanza Viva. It is the local orphanage from my home town in Puebla, Mexico. My family became involved with EV when we would take car loads of vegetables from the farm for the kids. Then my older sister started a program called, "Aver School" to teach kids photography, video and editing to teach them a vocation. They have changed the lives of so many people and I have seen first hand how they have flourished into providing homes, school, even vocations in a loving, Godly environment.

If you don't think that you have money, or if you don't think that you would be able to adopt I encourage you to get plugged in with an orphanage or a program in your city that works with foster kids. Psalm 82:3 says: Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Perhaps you feel weak a lot of the time, you can channel your weakness into loving those who are weaker than you. "Defend the underdog" is what my Dad told me. So here we are excited that soon we will be parents and excited that we can continue fundraising for other children. And I tried to figure out how to explain how the Amazon affiliate account works I decided to copy the words directly from my dear friend, Lindsey from www.managingtheeverday.com

"The Amazon affiliate program is a tool that many bloggers, schools and other groups use to raise funds and generate revenue. 
It works like this:
  1. Click on their link (HERE). It will take you to the main Amazon.com website.
  2. Shop as usual. Everything – website, prices, selection, service – is the same.
  3. Buy something.
  4. Liza & Daniel will receive a small commission for referring you to Amazon.com. All funds will go towards their adoption costs" (THIS WILL NOW GO TO ESPERANZA VIVA.
And so I close this very lengthy post. Thank you for doing life with us!!!

XO, 
Liza

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....



Everywhere you go... We have our tree up, went to my in-laws annual Draft Horse Outing and my Mommi is in town visiting!!! The air outside is crisp, our crib is currently in our dining room and here we are still waiting.

Once again the peace that we have had throughout this adoption has been great and continues to be great. We know that one day we will be parents... We don't know if there is something going on with either of us and that is why we haven't been able to keep a pregnancy, but we definitely know that through adoption we will be parents :). And so... for those of you wondering if there are any updates.... Other than the HUGE news that we reached our goal and are waiting for the call, there isn't another update. Sometimes I want to make up a huge juicy update to share but alas there is none... Daniel and I continue to live life... We wake up, make our bed, go to work, home, church, family, do laundry, cook, laugh and live the fullest we can. Sometimes there are tears (from me), and sometimes not having a baby of our own while friends and acquaintances are pregnant and have babies and kids makes my heart have a twinge of sadness. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned, but thru it all we are greatful. Greatful that I have my husband next to me at night. I miss my sister so terribly most days that I hold on to Daniel and treasure what we have even more. Sometimes or most of the time happyness and tears and reality are all a jumble of life... We have hope. Hope in God, thankfulness for the life we have. Tears for those we have lost, Abue, Daddi, Thelma, Babies, and memories that we cling to.

So during this Christmas season enjoy it to the max, serve others, open your "imperfect" perfect home to new friends. Above all love and have faith, don't loose hope.

We love you and hope you have a beautiful Christmas holiday!!!

~ Daniel & Liza

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Long Stretch

 Daniel - March 2014

As of the 25th of June we have officially been on the "Waiting List". Waiting… and waiting… and waiting… The waiting hasn't been bad, it hasn't been unbearable or hard. The emotions have stayed at bay and we are taking it one day at a time. When our awesome case-worker, Karen, emailed/called with the news that we were approved I asked her, "So this means that any day we could become parents?!" she answered, "Yes, but you should have a 1-2 year long wait in mind." My response was, "But technically we really could be parents any day!" :). So here we are waiting and praying, working and fundraising, getting to know each other more and waiting some more.

We've been asked why an adoption is so expensive as well as what happens if we don't have the last payment ready when we get the baby. We are on the last stretch of the fundraiser and the final amount will be due at the legal placement of the baby. I do think that when one is pregnant you have the expenses of your doctor (in an adoption there are doctor's appointments and physicals which are not included in the cost along with fingerprinting and other costs). I thought I would share you what goes into an adoptions cost.

Cost: $29,000 not including legal fees for the adoption

This sum covers the following:
  • The creation of your online account, the case file, the collection of references, background clearances, and the first meeting with BCS (Bethany Christian Services) staff
  • Orientation and training services
  • The home study that is required for adoption including the creation of required documents, interviews, home visit(s), and gathering/assessing collateral information, and service planning
  • Work done on your behalf to have your profile seen by expectant parents and includes your web profile, outreach activities, and various support services during the waiting period
  • The pregnancy counseling provided to the expectant parents and includes work locating, engaging and involving the expectant father in the process, history compilation, meetings with you, hospital planning, negotiating adoption plans and agreements, counseling at the hospital, grief counseling
  • All expectant parent expenses allowed by state laws (medical, living expenses, etc.)
  • Petitioning for adoption and other required documentation, placement of the child, grief counseling post placement, and file maintenance
  • Also the required post placement visits, reports and support.
When you go through that it starts to make sense and see that the agency doesn't just stand around and do nothing, they are the liaison's between our future baby and us. One time I asked Karen how many potential parents placed their babies for adoption, her response was only 20% followed through with placing their baby. That means that out of 100 expectant mothers only 20 would want to see our book and the books of other families. I sometimes call this the "eharmony" of babies. Though the 20% might mean that it could take longer it made me happy to know that many more expectant moms kept the babies. I know age, income level, education, lifestyle, health are only a certain facet of such a huge decision but I can only imagine that they need the support of many loved ones to bring a baby into this world. 

And so our wait continues... We receive emails from the agency asking to show our book to expectant parents. We say "yay or nay" and wait once again. I have heard it said that adoption is not for the weak hearted, but I say it is for everyone who has a heart :) (and is approved through a home study). Some people might think that once we are chosen that is it. The truth is it isn't. By law the birth mom has 48 hours to change her mind. I have heard those hours are the longest hours... Hypothetically we could be chosen for a baby due in October. We would be ecstatic, our hearts would be filled with anticipation, we would want to get the room ready and have a baby shower and then once baby would be born we could come home empty handed. That is a terrifying thought. One that I am aware of but know that there could be another scenario, one where we get called out of the blue for a baby that has already been born and whose mom/dad have waived all parental rights... Ahhhhh... Either way we are in it together.

So our story continues, highs and lows, like everyone else. We continue to pray and believe that our perfect baby is growing and that we will grow to be his/her perfect parents. I know perfection is not achievable, but I view that with God, He will place the "perfect" baby into our arms. So Baby Boo we love you already and we are mastering the art of waiting while on this last long stretch.

~ Liza



Thursday, June 19, 2014

What is a Mudder?

I have been wanting to write for a while, but how can I make the transition from my last post to our adoption? It seemed too casual, too impersonal, too heartbreaking to go from writing about my darling Thelmi to continue with my words on paper. So hear I am wanting to make a tribute to my Mother, or Mami as I call her.

Last week I watched my friends kids while she went to an appointment. Her 5 year old daughter, Lucy, missed her terribly and in the sweetest voice said, "I just want my mudder". Accent or no accent it made a lump come to my throat. I am sure my darling neices want, desire, need their "mudder" too. My brother in law is loving and caring and he will love them through their loss, and I pray for strength for him as he leads them through this next season.

My Mami lost her mom (Abue), her husband (Daddi), and her dauther (Thelma) in a span of 18 months. Through all the loss and heartache she still reached and reaches out to me to make sure that I am doing good. She sends me encouraging emails and videos to keep me reaching for my dreams. She nurtures our relationship, she prunes hurtful things that have happened and fertilizes with love what has been so deeply hurt. 

She is one to work hard, to stand up for us, to love through her cooking and acts of service. What is a "mudder"? She is one who chases nightmares away, who plays with our dolls and us, teaches us to roller skate - pillow strapped on to the behind, teaches us to speak 2 languages and encourages to go for 5 more, she sews and creates beautiful things, she practices perfection in her knitting even if that means taking the sweater out completely 3 times before she finishes it, she doesn't like cats but always takes care and nurses the stray kittens that I brought home, she is a friend to my friends, though strict she knows how to talk directly to the heart. My Mami, my mother, my friend I love you and appreciate all that you gave of yourself to see your family continue to live. Despite death, despite heartache you love, you never let depression get in the way from giving me a hug or loving me, you didn't even allow it in to your life. You show me what "live faith" looks like, you pray with me and still to this day help chase my nightmares away. 


I love you and am so looking forward to being a Mami to our little one(s) like you have been to me. Thank you for all you do and all your love. Te amo Mami.

Tu gatita,
Liza Paola