Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Wished For You

Some of you already know that Adam and I don't (gasp) "do presents" for our birthdays, anniversary, or Christmas.  I think we did early on..but made a very conscious decision a few years ago to cut back because we all "had enough."  But we've kept one Christmas tradition--stockings.  So, in Adam's hunt for trinkets to put in my Christmas stocking, he came home with this:

(Don't be fooled--you can't "click to look inside")

Some of my favorite lines:

  •   "A long time ago," said Mama to Barley, "a wish started growing in my heart.  At first, it was a quiet wish that nobody knew.  Then it became an outloud wish that grew and grew and grew."
  • "Sometimes, Barley," said Mama, "A mama will grow a baby in her belly, and for all kinds of reasons, she'll decide she cannot be the very best mama she wants to be.  The mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish--a wish for a family who would love her little one with total and adoring love."

As you can imagine, this is the part where I just broke down and had a pretty good ugly cry.

"Some families look alike, and others don't.  All families are different.  What makes a family is their love for each other."  ...Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our Favorite Things

Whenever I say the words "favorite things" I instantly get all Julie Andrews and start singing this:

(Though, just as a side note, I did play the role of Brigitta in my high school production of The Sound of Music.  I think I sang maybe three lines and then had to twirl...that was it.  Impressive, huh?)

But, I digress.  As Adam and I were trying to plan for Valentine's Day (a day that I refer to as VD, which is often very misunderstood..snicker), it occurred to me that we are very ritualistic in the places that we go for special events, the things we wear, and the things we eat.  So I thought I'd share them with you, so that you can then frequently enjoy them obsessively, like we do.

1.  Oliver Winery in Bloomington.  This is hands down one of our all-time favorite places.  We went there for our first "real" date back in 2005 (whoa...that long ago?...hmmm).  I had never tasted wine been wine tasting, and I was trying SO HARD to impress Adam and act like I knew what I was doing.  We shared a bottle of blackberry wine (my now favorite, probably because of this day) on the hill behind the winery.  Even though it was the middle of November, it was warm enough for light jackets and sweatshirts.  We go there every October for our dating anniversary.  This just happens to be the place where Adam proposed. 
(Right after Adam proposed...You'll notice I've cropped the Purdue logo off the hoodie I'm wearing.  Another post for another day...)

2.  Kokoro in Lafayette.  We try to go to Kokoro for at least one birthday, our anniversary, or Valentine's Day each year.  The sushi rolls are huge.  It's expensive.  It's quite a drive for us just for dinner.  The chances are good that you or someone else is going to get yelled at by Crazy Tony.  The service can be lousy and take forever.  One time we sat there for 5 hours.  One time Crazy Tony thought we were from Germany (loooong story).  They don't take reservations.  And you never know when they're going to be closed for long periods of time.  But it's worth it.  I promise. 

3.  Ugly Bootie Slippers:  Ours are from Brookstone.  They are ugly, I will give you that.  But they are oh, so gloriously warm. 

4.  Huevos Rancheros:  We just had these for dinner the other night, so they are fresh in my mind.  We have a recipe somewhere, but who needs recipes, really?  You fry a tortilla (you can use flour or corn--we like the smaller corn tortillas), and then you spread refried beans on top of it.  Put a fried egg on top of that.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Heat in the oven until the cheese melts.  Voila!  You can put onions or salsa or guacamole or whatever you want on top of it.  YUM!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Like Heaven

Someone asked me why our blog is titled "Just Like Heaven," so I thought I would explain a little bit...

Our favorite radio station does a thing every year called "A to Z" where they go through every song in their musical catalog and play it in alphabetical order.  They do this every winter and it's a really fun way to break up the winter monotony for a few weeks.  And, if you catch them accidentally playing a song out of alphabetical order, there are prizes!  So, one afternoon, a few winters ago, we were doing the dishes and heard this song come on.  And it was beautiful.  It stopped us both, hands full of suds.  And, we decided that it would be the first (and only) song we danced to at our wedding.  (dreamy sigh)

Sound familiar?  It's the more wedding-appropriate version of this song that I lovelovelove:

But here's the thing that was even better than being able to work a cover version of The Cure (double dreamy sigh) into my wedding, was that it was performed by these people:

The SmallTown Heros...led by our good friend Brian Greene and accompanied by Dallas and Bethany Johnson.

You're just like a dream...just like heaven.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Loaves of Love....Wanna Help?

Well, you've heard me mention our partnership with the good people at the Fletcher's Lake United Methodist Church and their Loaves of Love program.  This is a very grassroots group, who want to help groups to raise money for missions and mission trips.  We have been so fortunate to have their support and prayers as we step out in our mission of the adoption of the first Miller baby.  (As a quick momma side note, I refer to our future child all the time as our "baby."  Realistically speaking, our first child will not come to us while he or she is still a baby.  But, as I'm sure you all know, he or she will always be a baby to us.  But the logistics behind that are another post for another day.)

So, the good people with Loaves of Love basically make every kind of delicious and yummy flavor of bread that you could ever imagine.  And, if they don't already make it, they're willing to try to make whatever flavor you so desire.  I mean, seriously, how is that for customer service?  You know how one of those big burger chains says that you can "have it your way"?  Well, with Loaves of Love, you really can "have it however the heck you want it because they are willing to try their darndest to make you happy." 

After a slight shipping snafu last week, our first shipment of Loaves of Love bread arrived on Wednesday.  Dave Sommers, the pastor of the Fletcher's Lake United Methodist Church, was kind enough to send us a varied assortment of bread to try and share with our friends--that would be you!

Here's Dave making some Loaves of Love!

Can't you just smell the love?

Oh yeah, you can also send some bread to those you know and love in the military.  These two are a couple of hometown brothas...for real, they're brothers from my hometown. 

The new kitchen for Loaves of Love

We are so excited to share our bread with our friends and co-workers...and strangers, if it comes to that!  Our freezer is currently PACKED with small Loaves of Love that we want to share with our friends and blog followers! 

So, here's our idea.  We want to share our Loaves of Love and get the word out about this awesome program and our adoption. 

We need some people who are willing to:

1.  sample a small loaf of the bread (we'll mail it to you free of charge)
2.  take some pictures of themselves doing it (or sharing it with your friends, family, co-workers, people at church, boss, arch-nemesis, whatev)
3.  share your pictures with us (and let us post them on our blog)
4.  Fill out our little shorty interview form about your bread, your relationship to us, and some short stuff about adoption

I promise...it's a small price to pay for this bread!

We already have some takers.  I lovelovelove when we suggest things to our friends and they say, "Yup, I'm in.  Whatever you need to bring your baby home."  Uhmm...wow, Becky Wachs.  All in.  That's what it's all about. 

So, anyone willing to join Becky and Adam Wachs, Noah and Carissa Solomon, Paul and Marnie Smith, and the good folks at St. Mary's in helping us out?  Come on, I double dog dare ya. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lacey's Dollhouse

This post is going to seem like it's mostly about Cabbage Patch Dolls, but I promise...I'm getting somewhere.

The Christmas that I turned 3 was pretty disappointing.  I distinctly remember telling Santa at the mall that I wanted a set of Webbles for Christmas.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it was the mystery of them wobbling, but not falling down.  Who knows!  But instead I got a Cabbage Patch doll.  He was a preemie named Rory Cedric (remember how they always had weird names), and he fit perfectly in my little 3-year-old arms.  Truth be told, Rory pretty much went everywhere with me until I was twelve about ten.  I will always remember spending the night with my sweet Grandma Ruth and making her say good night to Rory.  (giggle)

And then I had another Cabbage Patch Doll named Annabelle, with her yellow yarn pigtails.  I got another one from my grandma, but I forget her name.  One year for Christmas (birthday? for fun? who remembers?) I got another Cabbage Patch Doll that had a bottle that was velcroed around her neck in this little holder thingy.  I don't remember her name either.  Bottom line:  I was a connoisseur of the Cabbage Patch dolls.

So, here's the part that I had forgotten until after we made the decision to adopt.  I used to play "orphanage" with my dolls.  Yup.  For real.  I used to pretend that my dolls were orphans and that I had to take care of them and be their "mommy" because they didn't have a mommy.  Just to let you know, it makes me cry to type that. 

So remember how I said that God will plant the seed for something in your heart waaaaayyyy before you even have any idea what's happening?  This is what I'm taking about.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's This Bread and Coffee Thing All About?

After talking with a good friend earlier in the week, she said, "If you wait until you can afford to have kids, you'll never have them." 

I get it...kids are expensive.  But, seriously, the cost of adoption makes me want to puke. There, I said it.  Have you ever priced a round-trip flight to Uganda or Ethiopia.  Do it.  I dare ya.  But keep a bucket near you.  (For those of you who know about my love for a certain website that offers discounted flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars...I already checked.  They don't work in those countries...dang it.)

Why is adoption so expensive?  In order to do it efficiently (ha!) and ethically, there are a lot of checks and balances that need to happen to make sure that children aren't being trafficked or "scouted" for adoption.  We're okay with the extra financial cost in order to ensure that the children who are being adopted are really truly orphans. 

This is where friends and family (or people who just love coffee, yummy bread, and orphans) come in. 

For our wedding in August, we asked guests to donate to our adoption in lieu of wedding gifts.  We were able to raise about 20% of our overall goal just by the sheer generosity of the 80 people who attended our wedding!  A BIG THANK YOU goes out to all of them!

We have recently partnered with Loaves of Love, a program created by the good folks at the Fletcher's Lake United Methodist Church.  They originally started making and selling bread to raise money for missions and mission trips.  They have a gajillion different kinds of bread, and I can guarantee that it was made with a pretty big heaping of love from some hometown people.  They are allowing us to take orders and sell their bread AND giving us some of the profit to use toward our adoption.  Amazing, right? 

For those of you who, for some silly reason, are not interested in eating delicious bread made by good people, you can also purchase coffee on our blog.  JustLove Coffee is a group that was started by two adopting parents who were frustrated because there was a serious lack of good fundraising opportunities.  So, for every order of coffee, we get a percentage of the proceeds to go toward our adoption.  And, if you click on the link, you get to see an awesome picture of when our friends threw lavender at us after we said our wedding vows.  It's pretty great. 

So, let's just say that you don't like coffee or delicious bread made by good people, there is also a PayPal link on our blog for those of you who just love helping orphans. 

Follow our blog!  Comment!  We could not do this without you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Your Adoption Questions

We have had a lot of questions about our adoption.  We're hoping to be able to use our blog to answer many of the questions that have come up.  If you have questions about adoption or our adoption process, feel free to comment on the blog or e-mail at LaceyJ007@yahoo.com.

Q:  Why are you adopting?
A:  The simple answer to this is "because it's right for our family."  The longer answer can be found in the first post of this blog.

Q:  Where are you adopting from?
A:  While we're certainly up in the air with this one, we are feeling led to an African country.  Our initial plan was to adopt from Ethiopia, but Ethiopia changed its rules regarding international adoption in March.  We are currently investigating the adoption process in Uganda.

Q:  Why aren't you adopting from the United States?  Kids here need help too!
A:   While we COULD NOT AGREE MORE we are choosing to adopt internationally for a variety of reasons.  Did you know that there are between 143 and 210 MILLION orphans in the world?  Are we really going to spend time arguing about the where? 

Q:  You must be rich.  How can you afford adoption?  Isn't it expensive?
A:  We are so not rich that it's not even funny.  And, yes, the adoption process is expensive (the majority of the cost involves travel).  We are going into this with complete faith that the money that we need will come.  God wouldn't have called us to do it if He didn't have a plan. 

Q:  Aren't you worried that you'll get a kid who's "messed up"?
A:  Not really.  We are realistic about the challenges of adopting, both for us and for our child(ren).  However, we feel slightly more equipped for parenting, given our backgrounds in psychology and social work.  And the reality is, that with Adam and I as the parents, our kid has a pretty good chance of being justalittlebit "messed up."

Q:  We've thought about adopting, but want kids of "our own."
A:  Every family is different.  And this kid (or kids) will be as much "our own" as any kid or kids we choose to have biologically.

Q:  I'm sorry that you can't have kids.
A:  While we certainly honor and respect those who have adopted after a struggle with infertility, that is not our situation at the moment.

Q:  You keep saying child(ren) or kid and kids.  Are you adopting more than one child?
A:  Our plan at the moment is for the adoption of one child.  However, if you know anything about Adam and I and how our life tends to flow, we often revert to Plan B.  We were open to the idea of adopting more than one child if we feel like that's what God wants for our family.

We are certainly open to education and dialogue about adoption.  Share your questions and experiences with us here!

Saying Yes

Anyone who knows me well is not surprised that Adam and I are adopting our first child.  When I first told my friend Sid about the adoption, her response was, "Oh, yeah.  I guess I always just assumed you would adopt."  I dunno...maybe it's the social worker in me that makes it easier for people to assume that this would be my path.  But, here's the deal...our decision to adopt kind of took me by surprise.

I can remember, several years ago, Adam and I having the conversation about having kids and me being more than slightly freaked out that I didn't have that "maternal instinct."  Adam wasn't too worried about it and was just like, "You know, it'll come."  But it was more than that.  It wasn't that I didn't have the maternal instinct.  I'm good with kids.  I like kids.  Kids love me.  Kids are kind of what I do for my job.

But I had absolutely no desire to have a baby.  I remember telling Adam, "I want to be a mom.  And if someone just dropped a baby off at our house, I'd be ready to be a mom.  But I don't feel the pull to be pregnant or to have a baby."  It was confusing.  People would laugh at me when I would try to talk it over with them.  Because, seriously, how can you be a mom if you don't have a baby?!  People would just be like, "Suck it up," thinking I was solely afraid of having the baby, ifyaknowwhatImean.  But it was so much more than that. 

So I prayed about it.  A lot.  I spent the entire fall of 2010 praying about our family.  Once a week, I have about a two-hour commute to work and back.  I would pray and cry the entire way to and from work.  And, one day, it just felt like God very clearly said, "You're just gonna have to go get some of your kids."  Uh...what, God?  Excuse me?  I'm not sure I HEARD you correctly.  Say what?  Because, here's the deal...God could pretty much lead me to do anything.  Travel halfway around the world to find children who belong to us...who belong to our family...who are destined to be Millers...okay, sure.  But I was pretty sure that Adam was not going to respond quuuuiiite the same way that I did.  So I prayed some more.  And God's message to me did not change. 

Then, right before Thanksgiving, we went out to dinner at a restaurant that serves hot wings and margaritas.  This place, funnily enough, is actually where Adam and I have all of our major "family meetings."  Something about hot wings (or is it the margaritas?) that helps us think better.  My husband is a logical man.  So I was fully expecting our conversation to go something like this:

Me:  Honey, I feel like God is telling us to adopt.
Adam:  No.  That's expensive.  I want biological kids only.  That seems like a lot of work. 

So, yeah, I basically expected our conversation to end with him listing every possible reason for why we shouldn't adopt.  Instead, our conversation went like this:

Me:  Honey, I feel like God is telling us to adopt.
Adam:  (deep breath)  Well, it's not something that I've ever thought about.  But I'm glad that you brought it up, because I think it's the right choice for us. 

If God wants you to do something, he'll plant that seed in your heart (usually before you even have any idea what's going on).  He'll confirm his will with you repeatedly (even if it's scary or confusing or hard).  He'll verify it through other people (even before they've had time to make an Excel spreadsheet about it)!