Friday, February 10, 2012

~~Little Sheep.. Can You Hear Me Now? ~~

You are just not gonna believe this post. But I feel compelled
to write it, especially when I know several mutual friends are
anxiously awaiting for this information. But here it is...
wait for it.... (as little hoot says)...wait for it....
(as bigger hoot says)......

Yes.. you saw it and now I'm telling you..
Hell Just Froze Over!!
And no, Carrie and Lee did not bring the snow and ice back
from Kiev.

It has frozen over because I am actually having a difficult time finding the correct words to all the emotions I have felt today and the beautiful
reunion I witnessed a while ago. And believe me.. as you already can personally and readily testify to be true. This chick just never runs out
of words.. especially while writing. My blogs have always been a healthy outlet to get my unspoken words/emotions out. And often is the case, when I return to reread my post at a later date, I honestly have no memory of writing my words down. Not sure where they come, they just usually come out
freely and in a fashionable order. The masses have always said I write waayyy better than I talk. The lesson is to speak less and write more I do believe.

Please bare with me on this entry as I try to find meaning to convey what I witnessed and shared in tonight. I feel it important not to wait and linger to find the "correct" meaning.. for the exceptional imagery could get lost if I wait.

This adoption journey has had so much meaning in my life as I have been able to share it with my dear friend. What I am realizing tonight as my emotions wander.. everything Carrie has experienced and lived has lead up to tonight. It all has come to together tonight.

There is a beautiful Bible Parable in which I am probably the last person to be telling it. I'm afraid I won't do it justice. But the imagery is beautiful and its message is both simple and yet very complex. The story explains that Jesus is a shepherd and we as followers are his flock. He is the leader and keeps tabs on us, caring for us, and leading us out of danger if need be. Our job as sheep is to be just that.. Sheep. We are to watch for him and follow his direction. Modern day shepherds use dogs to watch over and maneuver the flock. But Jesus is the only thing needed for us sheep. And the story goes that the sheep will always recognize Jesus as the shepherd. No matter where or how.. We sheep will recognize his voice we may never have heard or recognize his face we have never seen. But instinctually, we will KNOW him. Just as he knows the number of every hair on our head as he has counted them..and believe you me..with all the plucking I do of my own gray hairs is an ever changing process.. Okay, so I recognize that I have just mashed two Biblical concepts together.. but you get the gist?

So the day went incredibly slow and yet incredibly fast. It was a weird day with so much emotion and anticipation. When Carrie shared with a few of us close friends her nudge that she felt God was leading her into an international adoption, she confided that she wasn't sure how she felt at first. She questioned whether her initial response was a direct result of the love and emotions she felt with her son, Nathan. And the thought crossed her mind she might just be wanting to help Reese's Rainbow for personal elevated reasons. She really had difficulty deciphering Why she felt compelled to even think about adopting another child. And then, while she was praying and helping others, she discovered that the little girl that captured her heart had a best friend. This really set the emotions in overdrive. Here she was questioning one, but then with the knowledge of a best friend, she just couldn't separate the two. It was then that she really asked our group of moms to step up our prayers for her so she could dicipher the reason Why she felt so compelled. And of course she raised her own strong questions and prayers to God seeking his will. Then, she went to Lee and told him of her conviction. They pondered and prayed together and spent much time investigating their desires with what they also both felt compelled to do.

Once they felt strong in their faith that they fully believed that they had been called to act, they started the long process of adoption. And they included their three children to see how they felt. Now this to me is where it can get murky. Because around my home my 2 little hoots can love a meal I just fixed and tell me it's their favorite. Only to serve it again a month later to boos, tears and dislike. So to think that 3 kids like the idea and are fully on board to bring 2 more girls into the brood is no little thing. And if it had been my kids and I went down this path, I shudder to think mine would say.. oops.. wait a minute.. we changed our mind, just send them back... So this adoption thing is a MAJOR and completely non reversible thing. And the fact that they are 2 special needs girls just ups the ante.

Two hoots and I went shopping after school to purchase gifts for all the kids. We oo'd and ahh'd over many different things. But we all came to the agreement that with much change comes much needed time for snuggles and comfort. We recognized (ok.. so that was really me =D ) that each child is gonna need to restablish themselves in the new world...nope make that new home order. So we found out favorites and lovingly selected soft and warm blankies or pillows. Our hootin' family does much bonding while camping out in the living room on pillows (or piddoes as we call them) and favorite and tons of blankets are flopped down with favorite movies to watch... so .... We get home and linger and discuss which blanket and stuffed animal should go to each girl. I LOVED hearing the thoughts/feelings and reasoning my children placed on the importance to each special girl and their personalities.

After a flight delay, I set out for the airport to meet the family flying home. And I got a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Carrie's mom who I haven't seen in years. It also allowed me to meet a special SIL and see her dad, brother and other friends anxiously waiting their arrival. The poor 3 kids left in the States had not seen their parents in almost 2 months. An afternoon for my hoots can seem like a miserable week sometimes. And I vividly recall how slow time moved when I was young. So I couldn't help but ponder and speculate how they might be feeling with their parents arrival. And honestly, the idea of jealousy in having to been so far removed from their parent's presence for so long only to have 2 new daughters arrive in their arms crossed my mind.

These are the precious three who were patiently yet anxiously waiting for their family to return. And they were so incredibly well behaved. Another
thought among many that crossed my mind while driving home tonight.. dang!! Carrie & Lee make some absolutely beautiful babies. I can't begin to describe how much JOY I felt while talking with them while we waited. And I love that they share so much in common with my little hoots. So we waited and waited for the grand entrance. We saw them upstairs and headed for the elevators for them to some down to baggage claim. I wish that the picture I took would actually show just what really was going on. All three kids were facing the elevator and were literally bouncing on their heels in complete joy and anticipation.

When Carrie and Lee stepped off that elevator it was as if time stood still. The kids ran into their parents arms. Hannah & Naomi waited patiently for all the folks to move around. Then each child went up and greeted their new siblings. Every child had the biggest SEG on their faces and hugged. After a moment, Hannah and Naomi were released from their bonds and were able to meet extended family members.

I am unusually happy to report that I did not get many pictures tonight. This is very unlike me, as I worked for photographers for almost a decade (and as you can testify.. thankfully I WASN'T the one shooting the images). However, my mind still works in photo ops and composition. NO, what happened to me tonight was that I was IN THE MOMENT.. and I was able to just wrap myself in everything that was going on as if I were a sponge. Luckily, there was a very abled lady there who had an incredibly awesome camera who was capturing this moment in time.

As the kids and family interacted the most incredible feeling of Wonder came over me. The original Eubanks 3 so openly, lovingly and warmly embraced their new sisters. And what really did it was the strength and searching that especially Hannah made to physically connect with her siblings. Naomi was being held and would reach out and touch us if we were near. Hannah being the ring tail tooter as I imagine her to become was deliberately seeking her siblings. And when she was near them, they would grab her and hold her up against them tightly. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. These girls who already have limited speech are now thousands of miles away from anything they have ever known. The language and folks are all new. And lets face it, Carrie and Lee have only had them in their physical custody for 4 days. And you could see the peace that both girls had and they KNEW that this is where they BELONGED. There wasn't a doubt on their faces. It was acceptance.

I met Carrie my second semester at the University. She became my roommate after my roommate had been a thief and hers ridiculously difficult to get along with. We set out to make living arrangement rules first. We learned to live with each other first. By the end of the week we had become best friends...inseperable and as close as sisters. We would stay up till almost dawn talking about anyting and everything. And I vividly recalled a conversation during one of those wee morning marathons about how we dreamed of staying close throughout our lives and hoping that our children would know each other. We are quite opposite in many ways and complement each other. And as often strong friendships can prevail, ours hit a major bump years ago. Lucklily, we were able to repair the damage and move forward. And tonight the tears flowed as we hugged and kissed in love and amazement and complete JOY. My words were choked but I remember telling her that this has been my very best investment. How can it ever get better than this?

The Carrie I met 25 yrs ago had dreamed of moving away from her hometown. She wanted to experience something different. She is very intelligent, driven and very competitive. Once she setted her mind on something, well then.. that was it. She had a career and then married later in life to a wonderful and caring man. And they found themselves moving away from their hometown and starting a family. It was wonderful that we had our first kids the same Summer. They had Nathan and then discovered that he had that extra special gene. And she dug in and loved him so much he couldn't do anything BUT thrive in her care. Then came precious Sarah. Then the opportunity came to work abroad in Dubai so they packed up their 3 very young children and moved to a Muslim country and learned another way to live. It was very very hot and sometimes isolating. But they thrived. Then they moved back to their homestate on a FARM. Really? A FARM? Carebear on a FARM? Miss city girl?

I'm rattling but I do have a point. The Carebear I knew so long ago has achieved and accomplished those professional goals and travelled that she dreamed of so long ago. The Carrie I know today is not driven by perfection & dominance anymore. She has mellowed and her family reflects that inner beauty and cpeace well. This journey to the Ulkraine where the temperature didn't get above zero on many many days is a huge contrast to the extreme blistering heat of the Middle East. She chose her husband and partner well as they make a great team. For her children she seeks them to achieve what they are capable of achieving on their own abilities. She's calm and patient and allows that calm to flow throughout. And her children and family reflect this. Most of all, she has become a woman of faith. One who has completely (on most days) surrendered to the possibilities of being used as a vessel for God.

The beauty that I witnessed today is the Woman of God and loving and patient Mom that Carrie has become. Anytime God sets the fire to us in the form of metal for refinement is a tough and sometimes painful process. The ability to surrender your metal in that flame is a hard surrender. And I wish that would surrender more and argue and resist bending less. It is a lesson I can learn from watching Carrie.

Matthew Broderick has recently revived his Ferris Bueller role for a series of commercials for a car company. The movie almost 30 yrs ago was groundbreaking in which he stepped in front of the camera and spoke to the audience. He asks the question that everyone can relate to about skipping out from personal responsibilities and just take the day off to Seize the Moment... to have the Perfect Day...

That is Exactly how I feel right at this moment. Have you ever had a day that you can say was just about as close to perfection as you can get on this earth? Where all the stars & planets line up perfectly or so it seems? It's so fantastic that you can almost taste something extraordinary?
Well, that is exactly what I experienced tonight. After all the kids had hugged and embraced. One of the Original Eubank kids went up to a new sibling and said "I have been waiting for you for so long" and they hugged so tightly and laughed. And I witnessed this acceptance from all the children. What literally blew me away was the complete peace and something Extra that Naomi & esp. Hannah had . Words are hard to describe it. But it honestly looked like the peace and acknowledgment to the finality of completely accepting and relishing the most certain thing they ever wished for. And in this moment I swear it was as if I heard Jesus' precious voice saying.. " This is where your journeys have all been leading up to".."All the pieces are finally in place". Or maybe this sheep saw His face in the shear magnitude on the faces of all the siblings and parents. One thing is certain. This was something way bigger than outward appearances. And I am in complete awe and gratitude to have been a participant & witness. We are all so very blessed. And all is very well for one short, brief moment in time. And I am so grateful.

Congratulations Eubank Family...
Ty Pennington's (from Extreme Home Makeover) voice is in my head at the moment.. and I just want to yell (with an imaginary megaphone)

"Move that Bus"
but that would not make any sense at all..
so this will have to do..
"Move that Mountain"....

And on a sidenote: The adoption process for the Eubanks took less than a yr. Which is surprisingly a short amount of time when compared with the average adoption these days. So people who are yearning for a child can always check with Reece's Rainbow to help place these children. And they also allow adoptions to single women with often times grant money to help with costs.

1 comment:

CareBear said...

I'm in a puddle of tears!

Whitney has posted her pictures on FB at The Archibald Project under Eubanks Homecoming. Have your tissues ready!

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