I think the best part for me was getting to see Jen and have lunch with her afterward. She had just found out that her son's paperwork was being processed for emigration permission, so it was fun to celebrate this news with her. She should be getting her travel call any day!!! I also got to meet another adoptive mom-to-be who got a referral in December and I am hoping to get together with her very soon. The support of others along this road is so helpful.
2) It is that time again. Has it really been a year already? Yes, we have to update our home study. We have a doctor's appointments on Feb. 2nd, we have requested our driving records from Florida, and we have put in the form to get the background clearance from the state of Maryland. If you remember from the last home study, this was the form that took 9 or 10 weeks, when the one from Florida only took 1 week. It held up the entire process. Hopefully, that won't be the case this time. Other than these items, everything else is pretty simple: some forms to sign, employment letters, and tax and financial information to compile. Unfortunately, they recently doubled the fee from $250 to $500 for an update :-(
3) We got another update on Joshua. The reason we received another one so soon is because he was hospitalized from Dec. 29th - Jan 4th for bronchitis. We didn't find this out until this past Friday, 10 days after he was released from the hospital. According to the update he is doing fine now and is at home with his foster family. I cannot tell you how hard it is to find out your son has been in the hospital. I wish I could have been there to hold him. But the reality is that he doesn't know me. I am not the one who can give him comfort right now. And so I thank God for his foster mother. Please keep him in your prayers as these type of respiratory illnesses are very common in preemies.
4) We finally got new pictures of Joshua!!! You will not believe how cute he is. I will post the pictures as soon as I get the originals so that I can scan them in (they emailed us a PDF with the pictures scanned in).
5) This past Saturday I had my 1st adoption shower!!! This is most likely the 1st of 3 showers. I will also have one with my friends here in Maryland and one with my family in Florida. It felt so surreal. The morning of I was so excited; I kept thinking and even asked John a couple of times, "Is this really happening? Am I really going to an adoption shower. For me? With baby presents?" The shower was held by the ladies from my Apples of Gold Bible study (the one I took part in last fall). It was a bath and book-time shower (though I also got a couple of really cute outfits!).
What I really loved was that it was very Christ-centered. We opened with prayer and delicious food and then afterward everyone shared a favorite bed or bathtime memory or ritual that they did with their kids or from their own childhoods. Then we had a game where we had to pick out safety pins from a bowl of rice with our eyes closed - much more difficult than it sounds. I really appreciated the fact that Kelly (who planned the game) made a great effort to choose a game that was appropriate to adoption (she even gave a short message about how she chose this particular game because it represents us finding our son in spite of all the difficulty and read Romans 8:14-16). And the best part was that whoever won got a prize for me, so either way I couldn't lose. After the game I opened presents and then we had a short devotional.
Lastly, we had a time of prayer for Joshua. Joanna (who organized the shower) made me 31 little prayer cards, one for each day of the month, done on scrapbook paper and then laminated. They are on a ring so that I can hang them up on a hook to have them nearby to pray for Joshua while I am caring for him. One one side of each card is a prayer and on the other the corresponding Scripture. I can't wait to make this gift for other friends. During the prayer time she passed out two of the cards to everyone and we spent time praying them over Joshua and us. It was such a perfect way to end the shower.
And now for a few pics. I didn't include the group shot since I didn't ask if anybody minded if I posted it.
Look at these train bookends - so cute!
Can you believe I actually have all this baby stuff in my house!!!