Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Year in Review

I've been thinking a lot over these past several days about the last 12 months and everything that has transpired over this last year.  It is July, and not New Year's Day,  but I can't help but to reflect back and think about what the next 12 months may hold. 

Let's review, shall we?

July 2008:  Brandon and I decide, after 8 years of thinking, praying, "waiting until we had the money", and basically stalling, to begin the process of adopting from another country.  We decide to put our application in with an agency, and let God take care of the financial part.  

2 weeks later:  After 2 years of trying, we discover that we are pregnant.  We have to put our adoption application on hold (per the agency's policy), but decide that we want to adopt at some point after the baby is born anyway.

August 2008:  Brandon decides to start online classes for his master's degree, which requires (more or less) reading a book a week and writing a paper a week.

September 2008:  Hurricane Ike strikes the Houston area, a giant tree crashes into our home, totalling our house for all intents and purposes, and renders our family homeless during repairs and rebuilding.  My gracious aunt and uncle open their home to us until we can move back into ours.

October 2008:  Pull teeth with my insurance company and mortgage company to get funds to repair our house.  (Did I mention that over $130,000 worth of damage was done to our house?)

November 2008:  We find out we are adding a daughter to our brood of merry men.  Continue to daily wrestle with insurance adjusters, mortgage company, and uber-slow contractor to get repairs started.

January 2009:  Pull my hair out, and wonder if we will free-load off of my extended family forever.  Threaten my contractor with castration if he doesn't get us into our house before the baby is born.  Crazy-emotional-pregnant woman irrational-ness peaks.  Contractor avoids me at all costs and contractor's wife gives me a plate of frozen monkey bread leftover from Christmas.  Because that's almost just as good as not being homeless.  Brandon goes to California for 2 weeks for school and I pick out new bedroom furniture with my mother from a place called "Diamond Bedrooms". 

February 14, 2009:  Moving day!  8 months pregnant!  We finally move back into our house.  I admire the new floors, new carpet, freshly painted walls, new furniture, and remodeled kitchen and contemplate for a moment if it was worth all the hassle.  It wasn't.  Brandon starts the daunting task of tiling our new giant shower.  Preparations at church were fully underway to move into the new building that we had been building for several years, move-in date is mid March.

Mid March:  Brandon and the rest of the staff and church leaders kick off services in our new church building, attendance explodes overnight.  Brandon is working tirelessly at the office and coming home to a crazy pregnant wife with unpacking projects and shower tiling to do.  Not quite sure how he survived that month.

March 26, 2009:  Happy birthday to me!  And my mom!  And Harper Sloan, born perfect and healthy this morning.

April-June 2009:  Days are spent going back and forth to school, swim practice, and play groups.  We marvel at the sweet new baby, her sleep habits, and her champion vomiting, and talk about how easy it was to add another child to the mix.

July 2009:  We contact our adoption agency and re-activate our application.  After much discussion, we decide to pursue China's Child of Promise program.  This is a program that places children with minor, correctible medical issues (ex. cleft palates, scoliosis, and others) with adoptive families.  The wait time for a child is generally a fraction of what it is for China's general program, and we will be able to specify that we want to adopt a girl.  (Many countries, including Ethiopia, whose program we had applied to last summer, will not let you request a girl if you already have a daughter.)

A lot has happened over the last year, and our family is excited to be where we are right now.  We are still trying to figure out how we are going to pay for this adoption, but God has always taken care of our family, and we know that he will continue to do so.  We don't know if our "future daughter" has been born yet, but we pray that God is caring for her.  We trust that ultimately we will have exactly the family that we are supposed to have.  I never would have guessed that a year ago, when we first applied for adoption, what all would happen over a few short months.

I looked over the "process" and guidelines for paperwork, etc today from our adoption agency, and my brain just about exploded.  Needless to say, it is a very long and intimidating process, with ample room for "operator error"  (ie:  it will not be difficult for me to screw this up).  Fortunately, it seems that several people from both our adoption agency and home study service are there to help keep my brain from exploding onto my computer.  Grey matter is very hard to clean out of a keyboard.

I wonder if next July, I will sit at my computer and marvel over events that will occur over the next 12 months.  I wonder if this next year will be easier than the last, or calmer, or busier.  I wonder how far along we will be in our adoption process, and what my children will be like then.  But God knows.  He's not worried about the complicated adoption process, or losing sleep wondering how our little family will juggle a kindergardener, an Aidan, a baby, a master's degree, a church, an adoption, and 2 jobs all at once.

So I am not worried either about all of these things.

But I am a little worried about how my kiddos will do on a road trip to Kansas next week.  That's really intimidating.


Jana said...

We are so excited for you! We will be praying for your family as you go through the adoption process. We can't wait to meet her!!!

The Driskells said...

Great post! Reflecting is so much fun and always makes me marvel at God's timing and plan! Good luck with everything in the next 12 months!

Anonymous said...

They say that one out of every four people on earth is Chinese. I guess your children will prove that is indeed true.

Anonymous said...

Mandy! What a great post! I actually have tears in my eyes! I am so excited for you and your new daughter. A dear friend of mine shared her journey in adoption from China with me 3 years ago and it is an unbelievable experience. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for the Forsythes! (And I am thrilled there will be another family of 6 in my circle of friends!) :) Sheila

Anonymous said...

BTW - have you seen this website?
It's full of amazing stories of amazing families. Click on Our Families to see them. If you click on Our Families and scroll down to Mia Grace, under We're Home Websites, you'll find my friend whom I mentioned before. Enjoy! But beware - you can spend you whole day reading these stories! :) Sheila

Dana Dill said...

What a busy year! We will be praying for you and your family. What an awesome thing to adopt! Good luck and know that God will take care of everything.

BrooksFamily said...

Love the recap....makes me want to sit down and do the same! Two weeks ago I was marveling at the fact that Josh was just getting home from Iraq a year ago (July 12th). I have no idea how I survived that!!

Super excited about all the adoption updates....being an adopted kid is super special and something I treasure! Hope I can do the same one day :)

Much love little family....hope to catch up with you soon (but that would require me to have a car to drive down there, ugh! I hate car shopping!) Soon Josh will join the club of "Mini Van, Mega Fun" and he is super excited (probably more than he should be, haha!