Friday, February 18, 2011

'Cause It's Tradition

A Year in Pictures 2010

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Wait



We knew instantly that our daughter was in India. We left the consultation with the fertility specialist, a meeting that should have devastated any young couple wishing for a child. God met us in that moment and gave us the gift of hope. There are few things in my life that I’ve been more certain of, but as we left through the waiting room littered with weary-faced couples, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that our child was waiting for us halfway around the world.

For those of you who have not been through the adoption process, let me just tell you, the wait to bring a child into your home can be excruciating. It seems as though the average person spends a great deal of their day waiting on this or that. But what if that waiting is the wait for a child? What if days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months into years? The phrases, “God’s timing is perfect” and “God knows what He’s doing” are so easy to say, yet so hard to live.

Our 2 ½ year journey to our daughter would forever change my relationship with God. When you wait for something so special, so life changing, you learn to lean on God in ways that you might not have before. One of my favorite Bible verses has always been, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) The closeness that I felt while walking with God through the adoption process is nearly indescribable. He continued to meet us where we were in every situation. Fear of the unknown was met with peace. Crisis was met with reassurance and pain was met with comfort. I’m thankful for the wait. It reminded me that God not only promises to go before us, but He also longs to walk beside.

Let me just tell you, God’s timing IS perfect and He does knows exactly what He’s doing. Faith, hope and love have taken on a new life for me. I tend to see those words differently now. Faith looks like walking in stride with the Father, no matter how difficult the situation. Hope looks like the realization that God has something planned for us that is so much greater than what we could have planned for ourselves. Love, our love for God and His for us, looks like a little girl with jet black hair that we held for the first time in an orphanage in India.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Heritage Camp?


This summer, we packed up and headed to Tulsa, OK for Dillon International's annual India Heritage Camp. It wasn't a first for us...Dustin and I have been attending since we started the process to adopt Mia. In fact, one of the reasons we chose Dillon as our adoption agency was because they offered a heritage camp. Being cared for before, during and after our adoption sounded like a pretty good thing. Who wouldn't want the option to participate in that, right?

First of all, let me mention that, like most mothers, what I can give Mia are these things: unconditional love, refuge from the storms of life, lessons and guidance. But let me tell you what I CAN'T give her. Heritage. No matter how many Indian songs and movies we watch and listen to, no matter how many Indian meals I make/ruin, no matter how many Bollywood dance parties we have in our living room, I can't give her heritage. You know, the deep rooted, experience of her heritage. As parents we want to give our children everything, and it saddens me to think that I will never be able to fully give her that.

BUT...

What I can do is this; help her create her own experiences. A great place to start is Heritage Camp. I never knew how much we would need it...she would need it...I would need it. At first we attended for all of the reason I told other people to attend; "it's good for the kids to see other families that look like us" and "they have so much fun learning about India." Those reasons are still true, but it goes much deeper now. No, Mia will never have the experience of rich, deep-rooted heritage, but she will be surrounded, year after year, by children who are experiencing all the things that she is. She may not have the experience of long-held traditions, but we are making our own...along side other adoptive families.

To all of you adoptive families out there, may I make a few suggestions?

Do all you can to be a minority in a sea of faces that look just like your child's. Try your best, on a regular basis, to be the minority. Your child experiences that day in and day out. That's one of the things that we discussed at camp this year. There are many ways to do this. One of the ways, is by attending church services in which the congregation is predominately of your child's race. You can also attend festivals and cultural celebrations in your area. Ask around in the community. More than likely, opportunities will present themselves for you and you family to engage in your child's culture.

Try to bring good people into your life that share your child's heritage. Do you have friends that are of you child's race? If the answer is no, please try your best to change that.

Get out of your comfort zone. Your child has to all the time.

There's one more thing you can do.

Attend a Heritage Camp. Find a way to attend. There are ways to lower the cost: work it into a family vacation, stay with friends in the area or volunteer at camp. Trust me, you will walk away with a deeper understanding of your child in every aspect. Enough said.

Here are a few highlights from this year's camp!




Monday, August 16, 2010

The Gift


Three years ago tonight, Emy entered the world...small in size, but mighty in spirit! She tried with all of her strength, all 1 lb. 8 oz. of her, to stay in this world. Thanks to the prayers of our friends, family, church family and the talent and grace of the nurses and doctors, we are now able to share our lives with one more precious little gift. The Lord has brought her so far, I just can't wait to see what He has in store for her life!

Here's just a small glimpse of her amazing story...Happy Birthday Emy!!!

video



Monday, July 26, 2010

If You've Tasted Such Good Things...

On Thursday, I leave for Zambia, Africa. I want to keep this post simple. I do want to say a few things though.


I'm gonna miss this girl...

and this girl...
...like crazy. Oh, and their daddy also!

I've posted this video before, but I'm going to post it again. I can't stop watching it for some reason. I've typed out some of the text below...just 'cause.

I know I've neglected my blog lately, but I'm going to post as much as possible while in Zambia. I want you to see and "meet" some of the amazing people, especially the children, that will be coming into my life shortly. I hope you check in from time to time to see how our team is doing...and maybe say a little prayer. Say a prayer for our team, that our impact will be great and that we will be greatly impacted. Please pray that we open our hearts and see those around us the way God truly sees them. Please pray for those of us who are leaving small children behind...I'm afraid it will be a true test for us.




Disclaimer...I don't know anything about the organization listed at the end of this video.

Jackie Pullinger

Selected text from Go!! Jackie Pullinger

“The principle of the gospel is this…the gospel always brings life to the receiver and death to the giver. If the gospel brought death to Jesus Christ, why would we think that in preaching the gospel it would be any less for us? He says, if anybody would be my disciple he must take up his cross and follow me. If it killed Him to give life to us and He invites us then to do the same, why would we expect that it would be any less?”

“The poor people all over the earth who have never heard of Jesus, they are the poorest people. They are desperate for food, they’re desperate for blankets, they’re desperate for medicine, they’re desperate for water. The most number of people worldwide who’ve never heard about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ are desperately poor…and they are not going to come here to hear the gospel. We have to go there. So why haven’t people gone? It has something to do with guarding our life, and living a normal life so other people can go. But I say...No! Why don’t you all go, if you’ve tasted such good things? Go to the ends of the earth because those poor aren’t gonna watch Jesus on TV -- they haven’t got electricity. They’re not going to hear about Him unless we go. So would you? I’m here with a plea for you…if you’ve known the love of God…if you’ve tasted of His sweetness at all…there’s no other way to serve him except giving up your life…and this is voluntary. This is not a sentence of death…at all -- we’re not sentenced to death. We are just privileged to answer His call.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Forever Mine, Forever More: An Adoption Lullaby

Happy Gotcha Day Mia!


Forever Mine, Forever More: An Adoption Lullaby

by Angie Tucker


Before you came home,
I spoke words to you in the air,
And the wind swept them up,
As if light as a prayer.

Over steep mountains,
Across oceans blue,
It traveled to bring
My message to you.

As the warm wind tumbled
Through tall summer trees,
The leaves clapped & applauded
As if to agree.

For the wind told the trees
Part of my message to you,
“You are loved, you are loved,”
So simple, so true.

You are loved, you are loved.

When the wind traveled
Across the wide open sea,
It whispered part of
The message from me.

As crested waves crashed
Like kisses on the shore,
They revealed what they were told,
“You’re adored, you’re adored.”

You’re adored, you’re adored.

The evening starts burst
With glimmering delight
When they caught word
Of the message in flight.

Well, the moon came around
To see what was the matter,
The stars sparkled as they whispered
“Forever, forever.”

Forever, forever.

When through a tiny window
You peeked,
The wind swirled around
And tickled your cheek.

As you drifted to sleep,
The wind whispered in your ear,
Words sweet as a wish,
As true as a prayer.

And now that I’m holding you,
So close and tight,
I’ll whisper my message,
The wind delivered that night.

Listen close - you can hear it,
As you’ve heard it before.
“You are loved, you are adored,
Forever mine, forever more.”

“You are loved, you are adored,
Forever mine, forever more.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Books and Blogs

Four years ago this week, we met Mia for the first time. As I sift through my memory of those anxious and wonderful days, I'm reminded of how special our trip was. Just one of the many spectacular things about our trip was a chance meeting on the plane from Kolkata to London. We chatted with Maura Hurley Basu who was traveling with her husband and two young children. She was gracious and kind and we truly enjoyed the conversation. Originally from New York, Maura now works at a school (Shikshamitra: Friends of Learning) for children living in the slum community. She offered to send me a book she wrote. The book is called To the Local Bazaar, and is written in English and Bengali. The book is about a young girl and her mother going to the bazaar, and is illustrated by Karuna Chitrakar, a local folk artist. This method of art is more than 1,000 years old and has been handed down to Chitrakar from generation to generation. This type of art is called the 'pata' style and is traditionally painted on a scroll. If any of you adoptive moms would be interested in purchasing a book, I would be more than happy to put you in contact with Maura.


2010 Asian Festival!!!



I recently "met" another blog mom named Kari Gibson. She has two bio kids and a baby girl from Ethiopia. She had the amazing 'Simply Love' idea to help adoptive parents raise money for their adoptions. I'm sure some of you have seen the t-shirts. If not, here's a sample:

Front...

Back...



Goodness, I love these shirts! Above you will see the male shirt...by the way, you can pick your country. She has a large list of countries, and if you don't see the country you are adopting from you can name the shirt! If you are interested in raising money for your adoption, you can contact Kari at karigib@gmail.com.

Anyway, Kari (her crazy-fun blog is My Crazy Adoption) asked to feature our story as her May family profile. If you think you have a grasp on our story...skip our article and check out the rest of her blog. If you are not familiar with our story and you'd like it in a nutshell (he, he, I'm picturing Mike Myers in Austin Powers right now) just click here. By the way, Kari's biological daughter, Hannah, was born at 26 weeks, weighing only 1 lb. 5 oz. Oh, we have so, so much in common!

Well, Mia's Gotcha Day is tomorrow. I have a special post planned for tomorrow!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tiny Dancer & The Ambassador





Our family was featured in an article for Adoption Today Magazine!





Last month I had the opportunity to be a part of a special weekend. To raise money for the LUKA International Foundation and their work in Zambia, the LUKA board hosted Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States of America. She spoke at our Zambia auction and helped make the evening spectacular. One of the items up for bid was a huge painting by artist Jerrod Smith. It was amazing and the pic I post doesn't even come close to doing it justice!

Anyway, that's the best I could do with my iPhone. I didn't win the bid and have finally stopped shedding tears about it! :o) By the way, Debbi M., if you are reading this, I may need to come over and visit my painting soon! ;o) With all joking aside, it was truly an amazing weekend. Oh, and come to find out, Jerrod Smith (the artist) is my aunt Debi's cousin! Crazy!

I was able to attend a dinner that Friday night and the Ambassador spoke about the Zambian way of life and the needs of the people. It was beyond fascinating. The need is so great...from the lack of education, the AIDS epidemic to the orphan crisis. What an amazing and Godly woman she is. At the auction on Saturday, she said this...

"If you invest in a child, you change a community, you change a nation & I believe you change the world."

and this may be one of my favorite quotes of all time...

"If we only invest in our biological children, someday they will come across the children whom we didn't invest in and either way...we lose our investment."

Wow.

She said so many great things...I had to start writing stuff down!

Thanks Debbi & the LUKA International Foundation for letting me join in on such a moving weekend!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter Moments





Big Sis...


Just between sisters...




Along came a spider...



Thursday, March 18, 2010

So Africa It Is...



Hello Blog. It's been awhile. There's been a lot going on lately. Let me fill you in. I could simplify...but where's the fun in that?!

So the story begins with the stopping of our second adoption last fall. It was painful, I mean really painful. The hopes, the planning, the dreaming...was all gone. It sounds strange, but the only thing that may be close to it is a miscarriage. The loss of a child - before you've even met. I was in mourning for a while, and I still mourn from time to time -- but, as in all situations that you can't control, we must move forward and have faith that God's timing is perfect and that He has a plan. Although I cannot see...I can trust...and although I cannot have my desires, I can hold to my faith.

And my faith has brought me here...

I am a great believer in the thought that there are no coincidences with God - always have been, always will be. For several years now, I have felt a strong urge to promote adoption and help the most vulnerable of our society...the orphans. I did an adoption blog for Mia's adoption & an orphan awareness video, I made a few orphanage connections in India, but just wasn't sure what to do. I DID know that I should take the energy I would have directed towards our adoption and focus it on something else. For more direction, I decided to schedule a meeting with my pastor. When we met with him, I shared my desires and asked for his direction on where to go next. Jon, our amazing pastor (we love that man so much!) said that just 2 days before I asked to meet with him, he had asked the council to pray that someone would come forward to help promote a child sponsorship program in Zambia (our church is partnering with the country of Zambia for the next decade). I went to Pastor Jon thinking about how to start an orphan care ministry in our church and ended up being asked to help lay the groundwork for a child sponsorship program. I am beyond thrilled! I'll be working with a great group of people to aid the children of Zambia.




During that meeting, an opportunity came up for me to go with a team to Zambia this summer. We will be going to install water wells and help build a training facility. I will also be focusing on learning more about the children that will be sponsored and will be trying to gain a more complete understanding of their needs. Zambia Fact: The country of Zambia has approx. 1.4 million orphans - the second highest number of any country in the world. 57% of Zambian orphans have been orphaned by AIDS. Our sponsorship program will focus on the most vulnerable at this particular school...the children who have lost one or both parents...the orphaned. Being able to visit the school and get to know the kids will be such a blessing...I wish I could go tomorrow! Hopefully this will be just the first school of many more to come! The Luka Foundation is doing wonderful things...I'm so excited to be part of it!

Seeing what I saw in India broke my heart for children in need. How much more will my heart break by visiting Zambia? What will life look like when I return? I'm trusting God, the One who gave me this desire in the first place, to take what I experience, to take my heart that's been broken for the children I'll meet and be able to use it for their benefit and for His glory.

I'm still working out the details on HOW to get to Zambia. I've joined a little late in the game...the other team members have had quite a bit more time to raise the funds to go. I'm praying that all will work out if it's meant to.

This video was brought to my attention by Joy...a great gal with a heart for children in need -- we've both decided that we would be the best of friends if we lived close! Joy will be going to Uganda in November. Thanks for making me aware of this video, Joy...I'm passing it on.



So now is the scary part...moving from IDEATION to ACTION. I told God of my desires. He listened. He guided. So Africa it is.


If you feel led to contribute to my trip, you can find more info on how to do that here.
The photographs above are by a talented photographer named Michael Mistretta.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Princesses, The Princess & the Frog & A Little Princess

We had a great Christmas & New Year's. Here are some pics from the last few weeks:

Emy loves Mia...
and Mia loves Emy...
My sweet girls.

The drift of snow outside the girls' playroom window...
More sweetness...
Here are the girls right before we left to see The Princess and the Frog...tutus and all! I've been wondering when Disney would get around to creating a dark skinned princess. Well, they finally did it & the movie was pretty good. According to Mia, the best part of the movie was the lightning bug...according to Emy, the best part of the movie was the popcorn!



The girls and their grampa in the princess tent!
Christmas Day

I just watched this again with my girls and I wanted to share one of the songs from the movie. This is a remake of the Shirley Temple movie. If for some reason you don't know the story, it's about a girl who leaves India to go to a girls school because her father is being sent off to war (her mother has passed). While there, they get word that her father has died in battle and she is forced to work at the school and serve the other girls. She escapes the harshness of her new reality by telling the other girls stories of India. The remake is a great movie and I nearly cry every time I watch it. If you have kids and haven't seen the movie yet, go rent it! Here's the movie's original trailer and here's a song from the movie:


Friday, January 1, 2010

"One Day" for Day One

We had a great Christmas...I have tons of pics that I'll post later. I'm away from my computer and it just takes too long to post my pics from the computer I have access to now. Happy New Year Everyone! Until I post my pics, here's "One Day" by Matisyahu...perfect for "day one" of this new year!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

When Santa Comes to Town...

We had the opportunity to go to a party last week...and Santa was the surprise guest! We were so thankful to be able to attend! We parents brought a gift from home for each child. Santa gathered up the gifts that were hidden in a secret location and then popped in through the front door with a specific gift for each child. He did magic tricks, read them a book and told them the true story of Christmas. It was such a special afternoon (plus we got to avoid the mall Santa thing)! Thanks, Star! Here are a few pics from the event:






Mia helping Santa with his bubble trick.
No crying so far...
We may just make it...

Awww...such a pleasant finish (compared to last year's experience).
She asked Santa for make-up. Yah. :I And so it begins....


Well, Merry Christmas everyone! This is a song from Natalie Grant called "I Believe". The quality is not great, but it's a wonderful song. It's powerful, even though she's only accompanied by a piano in this version.



I watched this for the first time in it's entirety with Dustin and the girls this year. A Charlie Brown Christmas...can't beat this part...



May your prayers touch the Heavens and the Heavens touch your heart.

Merry Christmas,

Dustin, Angie, Mia & Emy