Thursday, May 11, 2017

INDIA - Dossier time!

Hello all!  Much needed update follows!
     We are adopting this little girl we told you about earlier!  Her name is Abha, and I'll just tell you right now, she's adorable.  I hesitated posting more details because for a while it was back and forth.  Do we have her or don't we?  Can we pursue or not?  We prayed and prayed for wisdom and calm and that Abha find a safe family, as things were uncertain and thankfully God answered our prayers AND allowed that we be the family for Abha which was just icing on the cake.  I firmly believe that God is guiding Abha to a family and also guiding our story, we feel privileged that it could be us entrusted with Abha.  So far so good!  We are two approvals into the 6-step gauntlet.
     We were matched with her on March 20 after much uncertainty.  There was a system error that appeared that we could not continue with her referral, but then the region said they were under the impression we were matched, so that was good news! Then a few weeks later the central authority said no, because of the previous mistake another family had reserved her.  Then a few weeks later after our agency appealed on our behalf, the central agency granted us the reservation and matched us with her.  Phew!  Talk about a roller coaster!  So we continued on with the immigration paperwork, and one of the papers appeared unacceptable.  After about a week, and a discussion with the supervisor, it was decided that the paper was acceptable.  NOW we are ready to obtain the necessary documents to fill out the DS-260 to obtain a visa for Abha to eventually travel to the US!  In the meantime, our acceptance dossier (see following pics) is traveling through India being approved (the next two approval steps) and will hopefully end with our NOC (no objection certificate) then it's the two court processes.  Little by little, we inch through!  Also we are going to be getting more info from the orphanage about her likes and dislikes and details about her day.  Hopefully in a little while we'll be able to send her gifts and pictures.  Once we pass court, I can share pictures.  Until then, I want to show you what an international dossier looks like, in case you ever wondered. I'll give you a hint.  It looks like a mountain of papers.


Yipes!  Imagine the postage!  It'll give you nightmares!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Goodbye Smartphone Day 1,047

I have a cellphone.  It makes phone calls and it sends texts and it takes better pictures than my digital camera I had in college.  I am content.  Guess what.  Maybe you read the title.  I still have not returned to a smartphone.


I posted about this decision all the way back in 2014.  I posted a 7 day follow up... um... 7 days later.  I am still so happy about my decision.  The more that time goes by, and especially on the days that I am particularly productive and not glued to my facebook feed, I am so grateful that I don't have something convincing me to look at it every 15 minutes.  (Besides my kids.  I want them to convince me to look at them every 15 minutes.)  Ok I'll be honest.  There are days that I spend too much time on facebook cuz I check email and then hover over and get caught.  OK and let's be honest some more.  I'm pretty productive in general because of I'm from strong Mohler stock.  Nothing to do with a cellphone.

Sigh, alright, YES it would be nice to get that up-to-date traffic information that warns me of delays on my Q2wk trips to Cleveland.  Aaaaaand every time someone tells me about a really neat app on their phone I just know I'm getting further and further and further behind in the "loop".  Aaaand there are those times that someone asks about my kids and then we both sit in that awkward space that now happens after the question "do you have pictures?"  I then must decide whether I want to show them my pixelly pictures and then have to deal with the embarrassment of whipping out my dumbphone or figure out how to get out of showing them pictures at all.  The struggle is real.  Aaaaand if you've ever texted a few emojis and you thought it might elicit an lol or a larger response and you didn't get it, it's cuz I can't receive emojis.  Or memes.  Too bad, cuz memes are funny and can really communicate in their own unique way.  I get little rectangles and "Unable to play message"-s.  It's a drag.

And it would be remiss of me not to mention those two times that I was at a women's bible study and the "take-home" was the fact that it's helpful to have an app that bings on your phone and sends you a bible verse to read every morning and handily reminds you to pray.  That happened twice.  It was awkward for me.  I'm not knockin' that app.  Not at all.  It sounds amazing.  The majority of the ladies got out their phones amidst spiritual oohs and aahs and immediately downloaded the app and there I sat.  Staring at the wall wondering how I was going to remember to pray.  I hope I can rely my internal will!  My memory is fickle and untrustworthy at best.

But that precisely brings me to my next thoughts.  Many times I feel like a cartoon character who has just been dropped in a crazy new world as an outsider looking in.  I'm also watching our culture in general more and more dependent on technology as a whole.  Me included!  I do own a computer and a Garmin and use it frequently.  But I'm also watching more and more people glued to their phones.  Even after those strikingly convincing YouTube videos circulated!  Those almost ridiculous looking scenes of people at restaurants and instead of talking are looking at their phones are now normalized.  But major discussion on that "issue" was a few years ago so basically from the dark ages now.  More so now than ever I have a deep sense that I'm still doing what I know in my heart is the most right for me.  And because of this I'm proud to practice patience and wait for the answer that could be found instantly on Wikipedia.  And I'm happy to wait in traffic because my Garmin hasn't been updated for 6 months and doesn't know that there's construction on this road.  And I'm glad to use several mental breaks a day as I wait in the parent-pickup at my kids' school or sit in a waiting room or wait for a friend at a restaurant.  I like sitting in my thoughts and I feel grateful that I still know how to do it.

Some smartphoners:

Me:

Ok that was kinda mean.  So's this: I do get a small sense of glee every time my friends and family wait for their phone to respond to something they are trying to do.  Even making a call.  So sad.  I want to type in a number and it comes up the instant - the instant - I push my keys.  So don't tell me my little LG doesn't have some elements of convenience.

Some people:

Me:

And guess what.  My phone is YEARS old.  YEARS.  So many years that I'm not even sure how many years old it is.  YEARS.  Count 'em.  That's a plural.  MULTIPLE for those less familiar with the English language.

Some people:

And my phone is durable too.  There's one visible scuff mark out of the dozens of times I've dropped it.  I look at some people's spider-webbed smartphone screens with morbid curiosity as to how it even functions.

Here's what it would look like if I knew more than two other people with dumb phones.  There used to be more.  They're dropping like flies.  The higher the iPhone numbers go, the less people I know who don't have them.
We'd probably have conversations like this.  I'm talking to you, Linda and Brooke.  Look at what you're missing out on.  All the fun we could have.

And then there's this.  When I dropped my smartphone and all the data accoutrements, our bill dwindled to a fraction and it hasn't risen very much since.

Some people:

I'm all like:

Desiree, I have to mention this since we were just talking about it.  Especially my husband who has a flip-phone can certainly speak to this one.
Some people:

I feel bad for my kids, kinda.  Cuz now that I'm sold on my decision, it's going to take some drastic action to convince me otherwise.  My children are going to grow up and I wonder if it'll be like it is now.  If it is, here's how it might look:

While at the Miller house:
My poor kids.

So there's the skinny.  1,047 regretless days without my smartphone.  I love it so much.  Thanks for letting me share my experience and making it through all the way to the end of this crazy post.

And now for the funniest meme ever!!!:

(Unable to play meme)

Stinks, huh?  Oh well.  Still #worthit.

SaveSave

Monday, February 13, 2017

INDIA - exciting news!

We found a little girl that we really think we should pursue adopting.  They are updating her medical exam and getting some of our questions answered but we really feel like this could be our next child. :)  Exciting!  I'll give details as soon as I'm allowed.

In other not near so exciting news but that does involve pictures, something's happening in a mini makeshift recording studio in our basement.



I'm really excited about it!  I'm trying to put together songs from all across my family as a fundraising effort for this adoption.  I'm hoping to be done with it by spring.  It's gonna be great y'all.  Just you wait!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

INDIA exciting developments!

  We have come to a very exciting part of our India adoption journey!  Our agency has been looking twice a week on the Indian child listing to see if any children match our profile.  We have had several calls already about possible children.  Some have been very young and some have been older (which we understood to be risky).  We were under the impression that we had to adopt in birth order and since Logan is 4 we would have to adopt a child younger than that.  Now it sounds like we could potentially try to send a referral through the Indian gauntlet of an older child.  They told us that they have declined matches before due to birth order, but that it's not an impossibility.  We are inquiring about a few children as it is.  We are in a very exciting but a very high-pressure-feeling discernment time.  Lots of prayer would be appreciated!
My sister Annie came and painted a Mandala on our wall (see above). :)  She painted a Hindi word in the middle.  Annie suggested some Sanskrit words, but we wanted to do Hindi so that our potential new addition could easily recognize it if they decide to learn Hindi later in life.  She painted the word "family" in the middle.  The lotus blossoms represent growth and new life.  I thought it was very appropriate.  She did a marvelous job and we love it.  It reminds us every day about the journey we are on.

Gianna update: her neurofeedback is going well and we are noticing some new cognitive processing.  She can now answer the question "what are you thinking about?" and "what did I just say?"  Her auditory processing is getting much quicker.  There's still a noticeable lag, but it's not as severe.  She will be sitting there watching a video with her brothers, and when there's a joke the boys will bust up and then a second and a half later Gianna will start to laugh.  Hey, it's an improvement!  Before, she would have looked at them, maybe fake-laughed cuz they were laughing and wonder what they were laughing at.  She had such trouble processing things that had just happened so many things were very confusing to her.  Also, she has much better memory in general.  She can actually remember things that happened at school and tell me about her day.  Part of that is she is becoming more aware of her surroundings and has less anxiety.  She can move through her day awake and participating.  Most days. :)
Therapy is still hard for her, but it will be for a very long time.  The therapist says she sees a noticeable difference in her eye contact with me.  She says it's clearer and more genuine.  That's very encouraging, and hopefully means true attachment is in our future.
Gianna is officially in size 7 clothes!  And very soon she'll be in size 8!  All of a sudden she really started growing and she gained 5 pounds and about half an inch in height in just the last few months! Hopefully that means other development will follow - particularly moving out of some of the toddler behaviors. :)
Gianna is really becoming a delightful family girl and joining in with our family more and more.  She's learning and growing every day and we are so proud of her.
Gianna just seems so much more relaxed and happy these days

She was a flower for her school play and I made her a little rose skirt.  She was so proud to be in the play.

Here she is waiting for her turn to dance.  She was the cutest little flower you've ever seen in your whole life.  She just was.  It's true.

Gianna you are the coolest thing, even with leaves on your teeth.