Friday, December 5, 2008

Re: Puking and pouting

It's poor Annamarie who is doing the former, and me who is doing the latter. I took Annamarie to the pediatrician on Wednesday because a cough was making her asthma flare up, and also because she has had pneumonia the past two years. She did not have signs of pneumonia on Wednesday, so the doctor gave us a new prescription for an inhaler and on we went. On Thursday and Friday she went to school, claiming she felt much better, but not quite seeming herself.

Late this afternoon we were debating whether she was well enough for us to go to our Bible study home group, when she suddenly threw up all over my pillow, sheets, quilt, and the back of my shirt. We decided not to go to home group. She wanted to lie down in her own bed, so we cleaned her up and took her temperature, which was 104. She is sleeping now, but I suspect we will be returning to the doc tomorrow.

My pouting is directly related to the poor child's illness: We were supposed to have friends over for dinner tomorrow night and I correctly assumed they would prefer to reschedule due to the whole fever and throw up-thing. We had all been looking forward to the visit of these very dear friends we haven't seen in ages. We met Jim and Cassie eleven years ago when we were waiting for a birthmother to choose us to parent her baby. We had already been waiting for a long time and were likely to wait a lot longer, and we were beginning to consider international adoption.

Jim and Cassie joined our church just about then, along with their incredibly beautiful 5-year-old Bulgarian daughter. I remember the first time I saw them, and how adorable Mary Anna was in a little red coat, but I didn't get to know them right away. Lumped on top of my normal social phobias was a lot of depression about our infertility struggles and that did not make me very outgoing or friendly.

Every woman who has experienced the hell of primary infertility knows what I mean when I say that when you're longing for a child, every Mother's Day is akin to having red-hot pokers stabbed into your chest. Only worse. So in 1997 I was relieved to be spending that awful day not in church but in New York on a business trip. I came home to find a vase of freshly picked flowers and a card from Cassie, that she had brought to church and given to Ron. For me. I barely knew this woman, but she knew me. She knew from experience how badly I was hurting and she wrote on that card, "Because you are expecting, even if your wait is longer." I am crying as I type this, as I have every time I've remembered that card and those flowers for the past eleven years. It is the kind of gesture that I long to make to others, that I think of making, and am always too scared of reaching out, or I put it off until too late. Cassie actually gets up and does the thing that is going to touch someone's heart.

I have said before that I firmly believe God inserts certain people into our lives just when we need them, and just the flowers and card would have been enough to back that belief up for me. Of course God had a bigger plan in mind. One Wednesday night at church I had just had enough of waiting. I was extra emotional because a friend had died unexpectedly the day before, and I said to Cassie, "I want you to tell me about your Bulgarian adoption." She and Jim were well into the paperwork to adopt their second daughter. Cassie replied by saying that she hadn't wanted to push the idea of international adoption on us, but it just so happened that her attorney had just called and had a child he wanted to place as soon as possible.

We called the attorney the next morning. He told us in his Bulgarian accent that, "This is the best child in the orphanage. He is quiet child, but healthy." He sent us this by overnight mail:

And the rest is history. Holy cow this has gotten long, and I haven't even told you the part about dragging Cassie into the scrapbooking world, and her dragging me into the country music world, or a million other reasons I love and miss her and her sweet Godly husband and her gorgeous (17! and 13! year old) girls. And I especially didn't tell you about the time we went to lunch when Annamarie was four and sick and she threw up in Cassie's purse.


Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

First of all, I'm so sorry AM is so sick. I hope it is nothing too serious and that she is better soon. And that she stops with the puking.

Secondly, you made me cry. First thing in the morning. That is the sweetest story ever. And what a great friend you have. I hope your get together will be rescheduled quickly.

Jenna Marie Howard said...

I just wanted to stop by and tell you this entry was so heart wrenching. I am adopted and have three other adopted siblings and find such encouragement knowing you are an adoptive parent who obviously loves your child for numerous of reasons. My mom and dad also could not have children and I praise God for that because I love being their child. It is so great how God works and how he heals scars that run deep! a barren mother and and orphaned and abandoned child are perfect puzzle pieces that fits that loss in each other's life! I am sorry your precious child is sick but I'm sure she wanted her mommy there with her when she is sick. I bet that is a wonderful feeling and just pulls at your heart! I am the Director of Public Relations for a non-profit organization called World Orphans. We build family style church based orphan homes all over the world and our mission is simple E3 to reach each church…each child…each community. I would love for you to take a look at our website and let me know if you have any questions. ( I hope you will have a glorious blessed day!

Jenna M. Howard
-Director of Public Relations

Diane Duda said...

Yes, latin...that's it. :)
Leave it to me...