Meeting Keza

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A little Birdie

The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. -Eric Berne

This morning I was sitting on the couch checking my email when Gideon stumbled out of his bedroom. He rubbed his sleepy eyes and said softly, "Mommy, a little birdie came in my bed with me when I was sleeping." I mumbled something about how nice that was, but it wasn't until a few moments later, when he sat down beside me, that it caught my eye: a white feather stuck to his nightshirt! I said, "Oh my goodness! A birdie DID sleep with you! Where did this feather come from?" He looked as surprised as I did and grinned from ear to ear at the feather. "Mommy, that birdie slept on my fingers!"
I told my husband and it really creeped him out. I, however, have gotten so much joy and entertainment out of our little mystery. Who knows, maybe God did send a little birdie to sleep with my sweet boy last night. Anything is possible...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Toes in Water, Hair in Wind

I said in my heart, ‘I am sick of four walls and a ceiling. I have need of the sky. I have business with grass.’ Richard Hovey

I had to get out. It’s barely above freezing, but I needed my inhale to be full of moving, open air. I am watching my boys. Maddox is trying to hoist his chubby leg up a little higher on a tree. Gideon is stomping madly in the snow, rubber boots glistening and gleeful. My world seems so much smaller when I am closed in on every side. Cries are louder, offenses seem bigger, I start fumbling around my kitchen trying to find something, anything sweet. My life becomes one big blur of laundry, dishes, and diapers. Soon I am unhappy. Dissatisfied. My vision has become as small as the palm of my hand. Then I open my door. I drive down the road or sit out on my deck as I am now. I remember, as the sun washes over me, that life is big, its grand, its an adventure. Sometimes I wish I didn’t need my walls and my ceiling. I wish I could shrug them off, like a withered cocoon. I wish I always felt as part of the world, instead of part of my home.

This adoption has been harder than I thought. I’m a free spirit. I’m pretty easy going. But lately I feel like I am treading water. There’s no movement. No air. My vision has gotten smaller and smaller. I get focused on my expectations, my desires, my plan and walls close in. Everything in my life seems to revolve around this referral.

All my life I have craved adventure. I have sought it out. I married an adventurous man who had open hands to let me live my life out that way. I love being free. I love dipping my toes in waves and letting my hair tangle in wind. I love the sound of jet engines revving. I have always wanted even motherhood to be something spontaneous and wild. It dawned on me today, as I was scrubbing the counter, that adventure is staring me square in the face. Adoption is adventure. It’s wild and crazy and expensive and tumultuous. It’s definitely not for the person who needs everything in a straight line. The ridiculous ups and downs, the mysterious, invisible referral, the entire process- This is what I’ve wanted all my life! To live in the moment, to 'instead of seeing a rug pulled out beneath me, to dance on a shifting carpet'. I’ve wanted suspense and drama and big stories with bigger endings. I’ve wanted this.
And now its here. Drama in my life! Bring it on.

Day 14

Ever feel like you are being strung along?

End of two weeks. No referral.

We have been in this program 18 months. How long will this go on?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 11

No referral.

'Thank God its Friday' is a phrase hundreds, maybe thousands, of people will say to themselves today. I, on the other hand, abhor Fridays. It means I have two guaranteed days of silence looming before me.

The good news is I have a busy weekend that will serve as a great distraction. Monday is day 14, end of two weeks. Will it come? Will I hold that referral picture in hand as promised? Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 10

My youngest son is two years old. One of his toys is a square, wooden box with cut-out shapes in every side. The object of the game is to fit the correct cut-out in it's corresponding hole. This is an endless source of frustration for him, as he cannot seem to wrap his mind around the concept. He'll have the square in hand and with all passion, he will relentlessly try to shove it into the circle hole. Soon his shoulders will sag, tears will spring from his blue eyes and he will quit, defeated. As his mother, I can see the question and answer very plainly. I try to gently direct his hand, but he will refuse to be helped.

Yesterday is a day I'd rather not re-live. From the moment my eyes fluttered awake until I crawled wearily back into bed everything was off. I felt as Maddox, peg in hand, trying fit every problem in my life in it's correct place. And as my son, my small mind can't quite wrap around the answers I seek in my life. I barely can understand what shape I am holding let alone in which slot it will fill. My shoulders sagged. Tears sprung from my blue eyes, and in my heart I quit, defeated.

This morning I think about this day that is spreading out before me. I think about the dilemmas in my life, the obstacles I have felt were impossible to overcome. I look out the window. I think of God, my father, who pulled each one of the trees up from the soil, who carries the wind through them with His breath, who pinched the mountain peaks that I see standing in the distance like clay in his hand, who made the world, who calls me- a small speck of humanity, by name, who knows every shape in my heart, who knows it's place.

Today I am not going to push my Father's help away. I am going to trust Him and wait for him to direct my hand. Its exhausting to fight for control that isn't really available to me.

There was no referral brightening my in-box. And I have no answers for many other things in my life, but this morning- I really don't give a rip. I'm going to be fine. Jubilee's going to be fine. My life is going to be fine. I am daughter of the shape keeper.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 9


This sucks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 8

Psalm 31:14-15a
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand...

No referral.

Last night my mom spoke at an evening service at church. It's always a little shocking to see her up there, microphone in hand, speaking to the masses. Several years ago I wouldn't have believed it. God has transformed her. I was sitting in my seat trying to capture the moment, trying to tether it, pull it down into a locked box in my heart. This is my mother, my heritage, bringing people to tears with her words. This is God working in her, speaking through her. She is my mama. I couldn't help but think of my little Jubilee. What pictures will I leave her? What will she tether and keep from my life lived out? I hope she sees me as a daughter loved deeply by God. A daughter that knows her father and trusts His every move.

I'm going to trust God today with my baby. He will protect her, love her, care for her. He will make a way for her and hold her securely. 'cause He's like that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 7

Today marks one week since I received word from Rwanda that I would be referred a child within two weeks. Last week was painfully long.

No word today. I have to continually give this to God because every morning I am fighting feelings of frustration and even dread. I almost don't WANT to check my email for fear of it being empty again. We've had a lot of setbacks and I have this nagging fear that two weeks will come and go without a word.

Here's the good news: God gave me the adoption gene. He started this work. He'll finish it. End of story.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Last night I watched my foster sister take her last breath of air and leave this world.

Three days ago Mary was taken to the ER after having 16 seizures. The doctors discovered that a fierce infection had entered her bloodstream, making recovery unlikely. Yesterday I received the call that any loved ones should make their way to the hospital immediately: Mary was expected to live through only a few more hours.

On the hour long drive into the hospital I thanked God for the chance to say goodbye to Mary. To tell her that I love her and I’m sorry for the things I did wrong. To hold her hand and walk with her to the end of this life. Losing a loved one is always tragic and hard, yet for Mary, leaving this life and entering the next holds something extra-precious. You see, Mary was a beautiful girl trapped in a broken body and a broken mind. She lived out her 29 years mentally and physically handicapped. She never got to experience many things we take for granted: walking, running, dancing, talking, being heard, being understood, understanding, independence.

Mary died slowly. For hours she would take a breath only every minute, and then every two minutes. Still, it seemed so peaceful. The longer time passed the less she struggled. There was a peace in the room in the final hours. When she opened her eyes there was no fear. I remember looking into them and thinking that she had never looked at me with such intention, like she was more present than ever, like she was accepting our comfort, being washed in love.

My favorite memory of Mary is her sitting in her wheelchair in the summer shade at moms house. How many times I watched her, long black hair glossed with sun, quiet face lifted toward the sky. If I ever had wondered if Mary spoke with God, I knew in those moments that she did. She knew His love. Of that I am certain.

Today when I woke I felt sadness and loneliness wash over me. I wondered about Mary. I tried to see her in my mind. I wish there was a window with which to peek through and watch. In the midst of this heartache and guilt and sadness, through the sorrow and longing there is joy. Yesterday Mary was an orphan. She was a stranger to most of humanity. She was misunderstood. She was invisible to most, even myself at times. She was trapped and helpless and bound. Today Mary has legs to stand on. She has met the one person who has always loved her perfectly and as she was. She has been embraced by the God who fashioned and formed her. She can speak, she can sing, she can dance, she can bend and unbend, she can think clearly, she can be Mary unrestrained. She is more free and whole than I can ever imagine.

Oh, Mary. We love you. We miss you. We can't wait to meet the new you.

In 2006 - This was my very first published poem:
For Mary

you are beautiful somewhere
and you know it's close
on the tip and trapped
like a word
that won't push
from the tongue
drawn nigh and left to fill
the beacon mouth with silent
arcane thoughts
which you roll, like poppy seeds
in the loll of your mind
set them to germinate
in numinous folds the soul
of someone lovely
who is green
who is growing a garden

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 5

People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have. - Richard Carlson

I don't have a referral.

But I do have a little girl who has already been chosen for me by orphanage nuns, by Rwanda, and by the God of the universe. I do have a big, wonderful supportive family and friends that love me and love this unknown, unseen, unheard child. I do have two little boys that have opened their hearts to their someday baby sister. Just last week after seeing no toys in the nursery, they dragged their best toys up two flights of stairs to Jubilee's room so 'baby fishter had fun stuff to play with.' I do have a husband who was willing and able to 1)Adopt 2)Adopt Mixed-Race 3)Adopt internationally - on the other side of the planet. How many husbands would really do that? I don't think many. I do have a husband that works so incredibly hard so that I can spend my time as a stay-at-home mom, capturing every possible moment I can with my children. I do have a warm home to welcome her into, money to support her, strong arms to carry her with and hope in the ultimate adoptive father, her true father, which I will spend my life demonstrating before her. I do have everything I really need in my life. I am blessed beyond compare. I have nothing to complain about today.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 4

Well, I can't say I'm not disappointed. Empty in-box and now we are onto the weekend so we won't hear anything for at least two long days.

I don't do well with suspense. I was the kid that unwrapped the presents and wrapped them back up. This is really hard for me.


O.K. God. Make a way. My hope is in you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 3

No news. I checked my email at 6 AM. 6:30 AM. 7 AM and now, at 8:30 AM. I think I better accept the fact that it's not coming today. It's 6:30 PM Rwanda time and most likely, the office is empty.

I feel frustrated but am determined to have a good attitude about this. A friend sent me an email yesterday about her own life and one line she said stuck out to me: "Here's the real scoop- God is either in control or He's not." It's true. And since I believe that He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do, I have to accept that He is in control. He has a plan for Jubilee and all along He's had the time mapped out and chosen when we would see our precious baby girl. Today I'm going to cling to that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 2

The countdown has begun. Yesterday I was told I could expect a referral within two weeks. Because of the time difference with AK, when I wake the business day in Rwanda has just ended. So every morning I will check my email and post an update.

Day 2- No news. But a lot of very sweet words of encouragement from other adoptive families. You guys are great. I'm feeling so blessed to be surrounded with many people rooting us on.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. -Derek Loux

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Open Fire

I am standing at the starting line waiting for the gun to shoot. I have actively prepared 1 1/2 years for this moment. I have done the drills, put in months of hard work and determination. I was destined to run this race my whole life. I am standing, toes punching the line, muscles tense, mind and heart focused. Every nerve in my body is buzzing, waiting for the gun to open fire.

I have never in my life felt so much like this. Ever. Not my wedding. Not when I went into labor with my first. Or my second. I had more control over those events, but this referral: this invisible, looming, intangible referral- oh for words.

This morning two AWAA families received referrals from Rwanda. I naturally broke into sweat and began punching my send-receive button every 45 seconds. I am with this group. I have to be. Not long after, I received an email from our Power of Attorney. She said that my referral was ready, has been ready, and that it was up to the ministry when to send it. It could be tomorrow. It could be up to two weeks, but to be watching.

I am beside myself. I am happy. I’m thrilled. I’m disappointed. I’m impatient. I’m delighted for others. I’m jealous. On the outside I am changing diapers, running errands, playing with the kids. But inches deeper, under the surface of my tasks and routine, I am a woman gone mad. If my heart could stuff in another emotion it would surely burst.

Amidst the entourage of emotion, I feel peace. I feel gratitude. My little baby girl is so close to coming home. She is so close to being unveiled. I will see her face. Her fingers. Her hair. Her eyes. In a few days, I will know who she is. My joy abounds.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parking Lots

I have recently been blessed with many new friends that I have never known and may never meet in person. These strangers have become such a sweet part of my life. We have a common bond, or maybe it's better said- an uncommon bond: Rwanda Adoption. We are at all different stages on the process, we live across the United States and even the throughout the world beyond. We have become our own little culture of parents that wait, hope and believe together as we walk through this crazy adoption adventure.

One such friend is named Allie Brannon. Allie and I share a lot of similarities. We are stay-at-home moms, have two boys and are waiting for baby girls. A few days ago I got an unexpected gift from her in the mail. It was such a sweet surprise.
A hammered metal charm to add to the necklace Wayne gave me for Valentines Day. Etched on the face is the name of my someday daughter, Jubilee. It was uncanny how perfect the timing was. I was having quite the internal war, faltering badly in my trust of God about His timing and very mysterious ways. I was reminded, looking at the necklace in my palm, that God loves me, He's concerned, and He knows my baby's name. Sitting in the Post Office parking lot, tears were brimming my eyes as I threaded the pendant on the chain. Gideon echoed my sentiments from the backseat, "Mommy, now your necklace really pretty!" It's beautiful.
I feel so blessed to have people that have never known me love me and be so kind. Allie's gesture made me think about the kind of person I want to be. Tender and thoughtful in my concern for other people. I want to reach people where they are: in stress, in sadness, in good times, in bad, in the post office parking lots of their lives.


I had the most beautiful dream. I was in Rwanda. I met my baby. She was sitting up, looking around the room when I first saw her. Little brown arms, little brown fingers. Her shirt was light purple and I remember my first thought was how beautiful her skin was, her lips and cheeks pink hued and luminescent. In my dream I didn't know if it was because I was totally biased already or if she really was so beautiful, but I was shocked at how completely breathtaking she was. We stood a long time cheek to cheek, trying to get the feel of each other. She was heavy in my arms. I didn't want to put her down. Ever.

I woke. The darkness in my room instantly became darker. It was a dream. It wasn't her soft skin pressing my face, it was my old, lumpy pillow. Sighing, I pushed the covers back, padded quietly down the hall and went to find my computer. Maybe today would be the day. Maybe that sweet little face would be waiting in my in-box. So, as I have done every morning for the last 5 months, I tentatively opened my account and scanned the sender list. special. Botox Add. Facebook Comment. Nothing. Empty. Oh, to have words to describe this feeling.

I don't know what the future holds or when the last chapter of this journey will open and unfold. My little girl may be nothing like the girl in my dreams, I know that. She may be crying when I first meet her. Maybe her skin won't glow or her lips look like candy hearts. But I love her, whoever she is. I don't understand why this all is taking so very long. But I am going to wait. And I am going to trust that God will complete the work He started.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Greatest Escape

This Saturday morning I wake early while everyone still sleeps, pull my clothes on in darkness and drive through the falling snow. I need a few hours to be just me. Not mother. Not wife. The love I have for my sons is indescribable. They are everything to me. What I have to give I want to give, but it still wears me. There is constant need, constant expectation. And as a wife, even one loved by her husband, there is still so much expectation. There is so much holding back and effort that goes into loving and not hurting. With your family you bite your tongue, you work to perform your tasks well, you cater to their needs, you mend, you soothe, you entertain, you give, you lead, you direct, you provide, you protect.

I just want to be Hanna. I just want to be daughter of the only person in the Universe who doesn‘t have a list of expectations and needs from me. I don’t know where I am heading but I turn my music as loud as it goes (because there are no children complaining about the song choice or the volume) and I listen:

Don’t need a thing.
My good shepherd brings me all
you are all that I need

You let me catch my breath
Even in the valley of death
You are all that I need

All I need to be complete
is your love
Your blood, it covers me

Goodness and mercy are following me
You’re all that I need
You make a home for me where pastures are green as far as I see
You’re all that I need

I end up at a coffee shop 30 miles away where I sit with my mug of strong coffee and write this. I look at the people that surround me, wonder if they have Him, the greatest escape, to run to in weariness. I am so thankful that no matter what my titles are here on earth, no matter what I give or take or do or say, no matter how my days are spent, I am first a daughter loved by God. He’s all I need.

I swallow the last drink of coffee, step outside and breath deep the scent of trees and snow. It’s time to return, a governess to her country.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


for your body,
the body
of my daughter’s
mother, praise for

hands pressed against
the stretched canvas
of skin, praise any song
clung to your lips,

the echo of your voice
wrapped round the deep
seed of your body,
which she dimly heard

through the salty swell,
a small stone tumbled smooth,
tonal waves turning her
in the tide of your breath.

praise for the blood
of your body and beat of blood
and the crimson
vein of nourishment,

for your DNA, the code
I will spend my life observing
in the twist of curl,
in the well of her eyes, praise

for beginnings,
the life she will unfold and wear,
your eyes looking forward,
your hand falling at her side.