our adventure…life, adoption, and a little bit of everything else
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Posts from — June 2010

4+2=a family of 6

We were officially offered a referral for a sibling set of 2 sisters….who are roughly 5 and 7. We may never know exactly how old they are, isn’t that crazy. Some person sitting behind a desk somewhere will issue them a birthday when we adopt them. Crazy huh? We accepted the referral after consulting with our pediatrician, who donated her time by the way! Our pediatrician did not even charge to review the very limited history that we were given. However, some doctors charge quite a bit for this. Currently, the girls have only been tested for HIV/Aids, Hepatitis, one other. Those initial tests were negative, and now we are awaiting the second round of tests. The next round will be much more in depth. We will hopefully have those results in 4-6 weeks. If the measurements are correct that we received, they are extremely tiny for their ages! We were originally told they were 4 and 5, but the oldest has some permanent teeth…which is why we think they are a little older. We can’t post their pictures yet, due to privacy policies. They are darling though, take our word for it. We can’t even reveal their given names yet, but they start with an A and a B…so that is how I will refer to them. If we could agree on what American names we will give them, I could refer to them using those………..but we haven’t agreed yet. Ha!! We will keep their given names as middle names. We do know that it will be a while before we can bring them home. The court system in Ethiopia closes in August and September and they do not hear any new cases. So our paperwork will not be submitted until the courts reopen the first of Oct. That means we will probably not travel for the first time until Dec. or Jan. We have to travel twice, however. So best case scenario is that we might bring them home in the spring. Whatever the case, God’s timing is always right.

I came across this again the other day. I had read it quite a while back, but loved reading it again.


It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Obviously not! No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.”

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.”

And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You’re gonna love it there.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

I just love that story! Don’t we all feel like that at times? But this is the season of life that I am in, and will be for quite some time. We get tired, run down, feel like we aren’t appreciated, and on and on….but what we are doing IS important. In fact, one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Whether your children are 2 weeks or teenagers, our calling is the same. To love our children unconditionally, point them to the cross, train their hearts, and ultimately turn them over to the only one that can guide their steps through life, Jesus. Knowing that He loves them far more than we can even comprehend, that my friends is true LOVE!

We have had a crazy summer thus far. What happened to summers being carefree and relaxing? Ummmm, not around here. We have had camp, VBS, company, swim practice, play dates, gymnastics, and the list goes on. Ali attended swim camp at UT in Austin a couple of weeks ago. She LOVED it and said she could have stayed another week…..until I told her how much it cost. Ha! But she had a great time and was highly motivated by all of the wonderful coaches. They were busy from sun up to sun down pretty much. I’m sure it will be on her must do list again next summer. Next week Clark is attending a soccer day camp. Can’t imagine being out in this heat for 3 hours a day, but it does start at 8am which will help. He will love it. Though he doesn’t think he needs it…because according to him….he already KNOWS how to play soccer…DUH!!! Ha! Ali also had one of her best friends here last week. She moved up to the Dallas area last year, so they were glad to get to spend some time together.

While Ali was at camp, my mom came for a few days. It was fun to have her here…even though we live only 2 1/2 hours away, we don’t get to see each other enough! She had some time with Clark, which he of course loved.

June 25, 2010   1 Comment