Bidding Farewell to 2008
I have to say that I am glad to bid farewell to 2008. It was a year with one big high -bringing Wyatt home, and lots of challenging lows.
Wyatt's adoption was so different from Julia's. With her adoption we saw God's direction and fingerprints all over the place reaching all the way into the first six months of having her home. Sometimes I wonder with Wyatt if we did the right thing because God was so much more subtle this time. However, that little shoulder shrug and irresistable grin always confirm that yes, Wyatt is home where he belongs. He is a happy little guy, and while we have some stealing (as far as we know, family members are his only victims, and I no longer frisk him when leaving places) and lying issues, they are not nearly as bad as we expected. He has spent his entire life fighting for everything he ever had, and until now he never could call anything his own. We have work to do, but we have an amazing kid on our hands. ...and for those subtle hints, I will share two - Wyatt's birthday falls on the 17th of the month, and Zachary's does as well. Some might call this a coincidence, but I don't think so. Wyatt's birthday is also six months after Julia's. Zachary and Savannah also have birthdays that are six months apart. When we started the adoption process, I often wondered if our next child would have a birthday six months after Julia's.
Our vacation was another "high" this year. Because we stayed in one place with the entire family, the kids loved having their cousins so close. They thought it was one of the best vacations ever.
Of course another high was meeting new friends as we journeyed to Wyatt. I really enjoy keeping up with Erin and Allie through our blogs.
While adopting Wyatt was the high of the year, it has been a difficult year on many other fronts. I started 2008 in much prayer for a family I don't even know whose little girl was hanging on tight to life (www.madelinelester.com). She is now holding tight to Jesus in his arms. Months later, as we prepared to leave for China, we were horrified by two devastating events... the earthquake that claimed 10s of thousands of Chinese lives and the horrible loss that the Chapman family faced when their youngest daughter was ripped from their lives. While we faced leaving our children for the longest we have ever left them, we were reminded of how very fragile life is. We wanted so badly to take them with us, and I missed them so much while we were in Beijing, I thought I was going to have to return home at the earliest possible time. However, the boredom of staying in Hefei changed that. They would have gone crazy there, and we would not have had as much freedom to get to know two families who are now very dear to us - the Miracles and the Millikens. I do still want to take the whole family back to China - perhaps for a heritage tour, but the other difficulty of 2008 has put that on hold for a looooong time.
2008 was also financially challenging. We faced extra and unexpected adoption expenses, and we had hoped for a grant to help cover those, but it never panned out. We then faced medical challenges beyond what we anticipated when Zachary was admitted to the hospital in late August with a staph infection. Our out of pocket expenses for that would not have been a big issue, but we were facing another surgery for Wyatt. We had prepared financially for Wyatt's surgery, but not for Zachary's. In addition to adoption and medical expenses, we were also forced to replace a vehicle and our refrigerator in 2008. My employer also changed the way they distribute our pay and as a result my paychecks are lower than they were last year -ugh!
Of course there was also the hurricane that brought an eight day power outage and much travel for Andy this fall while we were wrestling with making the right school choice for Wyatt.
It was also a difficult year on the extended family front - not a good year for marriage in our family. Fortunately, things are much better because of divorce for our extended family.
We ended the year with a two week Christmas break. I had one goal for the break -watch a movie from start to finish. I can't remember the last time I did that. I think it was when I took Savannah to see Nim's Island last summer. I have yet to meet that goal with two days left.
Wyatt saw the dentist and the eye doctor this week. He has told Andy that he doesn't like any doctor. Unfortunately, he has eight cavities that the dentist plans to fill in four appointments which all have to be in the morning. I am likely to miss more work in a school year where I have already missed the most days ever other than when I was on maternity leave. It is also an evaluation year for me -UGH! The good news is that the dentist was very impressed with Wyatt's cleft repair and with the condition of his teeth. He said Wyatt actually had fewer cavities than you would expect from a child coming from an orphanage.
I also tried this week to apply for Wyatt's social security card. What a mess that was! I waited in the social security office for three hours. The application was already completed, and I had on hand his Kentucky certificate of foriegn birth, his Kentucky adoption registration, and his Certificate of Citizenship. When I finally made it to the counter, they could not prove his birthdate with any of those documents because their "system" does not allow for it." His birthdate is on every one of those forms, and in some cases they will take a baptism record as proof of a birthdate. Yet, they cannot accept a government issued form for this. What did they want? His Chinese passport. Okay, let's think about this. Did you watch the Olympics? Do you really believe the gymnasts were 16? Hello, we won't take American government proof of his age, we must have it from the Chinese. (I know, I know they actually want to see the Visa issued by the US Embassy. I just can't resist a little sarcastic irritation). So, I came home and gathered all the above documents including his medical insurance card which they aslo had to see and mailed them along with his Chinese passport to the office. I also included a letter that I really fought the temptation to word quite sarcastically. I do realize they are just trying to do their job within the "system." So, we will see how this turns out.