This post is long overdue- and I have been writing it in my brain for a while now (mostly during my 3 am pregnancy insomnia stints). But, for those interested, here's where I (and we, The Anglins) are at currently:
I am 37 weeks pregnant with Liv. So far, I am feeling pretty darn pregnant- definitely wobbling, receiving some you're-about-to-pop looks from people, and sleeping at night is mostly a wasted effort. :) But- she seems to be growing perfectly and quite content where she is at- so I am betting (and hoping, really) she'll stay put for a couple more weeks. Her due date is March 1.
Some of my sweet friends here in Lubbock hosted a baby shower for me a couple of weeks ago and it was wonderful. They were so thoughtful with all the details and I was reminded of how much love this little baby has already received- looking at all those faces I saw their prayers for her sheer existence and life and health- and it was such a perfect moment. I am so incredibly grateful for the community of friends and family we have.
After the shower my mom and sister came over and basically put together a baby room for me, while I sat, exhausted, in the corner of the room :). I love how it turned out, though- and will hopefully make a separate post about it soon- there are lots of special things in there! Here are a few iPhone photos:
At the beginning of January, our "baby" turned 4 years old. It is still crazy to think that he is 4. I can't express to you how much I've loved watching his personality develop. Knox is soft-hearted and imaginative. He loves his friends but can also get very involved playing by himself with his legos or cars. I'm always surprised by the questions he asks me- you can tell the wheels are always turning in his brain. This year was the first year he's actually cared about his birthday party- for months, he told me he wanted a "Golden Hot Wheel Birthday Party". So, we went with the car theme and even got a yellow (a.k.a. "golden") Hot Wheel for his cake. It was so great- and again, a huge reminder of the community we have that we are so thankful for.
We have been asked many times throughout this pregnancy if we are still planning to adopt- or rather, what is going on with our adoption. Yes- we are most definitely still planning to adopt! Adoption has always been in our plan regardless of whether or not we'd have trouble having biological children. Right now, we are essentially toward the end of a very long waiting list of families who are waiting to be matched with a child. Referrals (what agencies call being matched) from Ethiopia have slowed significantly in the past two years. We have technically been waiting for 19 months now. When we initially began our adoption, the wait time was 18-24 months to referral. Our agency officially changed that to 36-48 months last month.
Why the slow down? Why such a long wait? It's hard to say. We know that there has been a lot of "reform" in Ethiopian adoption the past couple of years- both by the Ethiopian government and the U.S. government. Most of these changes have been in an effort to make for certain that a child is adoptable- not a product of lies, misunderstanding or "baby stealing", etc. This, of course, is a good thing- but has essentially made the process a lot longer, with more paperwork and research to be done. For example, most orphans in Ethiopia actually have living relatives who are simply unable to meet their most basic needs (food/shelter/clothing), and therefore take them to the orphanage. In the process of getting adopted, it is required that they have interviews with every living birth relative to confirm that they cannot or do not want to adopt the child. This is a good thing- our agency, America World, was actually already doing these interviews and also facilitates in-country adoptions for free in Ethiopia in an effort to keep families together. But the process of finding every living birth relative in a third-world country is quite a long one. There are few people with cell phones, permanent addresses, cars- and then there is the rainy season, when constant rain causes life and roads and commerce to shut down for a couple of months- and then there are issues with language/culture/understanding of the adoption process…it is just complicated.
Even still, we can see clearly that God is working out his plan in our lives. And for now, we will continue to wait and move up the list. We are so thankful that we will get to welcome another baby in the meantime...before we meet our adopted child that we have already felt "pregnant" with for quite a while.
A while back, a friend posted a picture on Instagram of the journals she has kept for her kids- little notes and stories and letters to them- and I knew that was what I'd been needing to do for this baby. So, I ordered 3 journals from May Designs, one for each of our children (which admittedly felt a little crazy since I haven't yet met 2 of them). We don't have a name yet for the baby we are adopting (nor do we even know if he/she will truly be a baby), deciding what to put on the cover (where the name goes) was a bit ambiguous. But I eventually went with "A". We know for sure that he or she will be an Anglin- and that felt important and worth documenting in this way. So, I've been writing to my kids- even the two that I have yet to meet- and it has been so good for me. There are so many things- different for each child- that I want to say to them as Shawn and I find ourselves in a place of transition again.
Speaking of transition- we are making a BIG one with our resale clothing store, Culture Clothing. We opened up on Broadway and Ave. Q almost 3 years ago, and a few months ago had the opportunity to move locations to Tech Terrace, where we originally wanted to be. So, we inquired and just like the first time we set up shop- watched God work it all out. Really. We are SUPER pumped about this move (I mean, it is right next to J&B Coffee Shop, which will go well with my coffee addiction), though the timing has been a bit stressful (hello- I'm 37 weeks pregnant!). We got the keys to the new location last week, and are literally in count-down mode until I have a baby and we need to open up shop in the new space. Like I said- the best part of this has been watching God work stuff out. We have learned that being in a business like this one is a constant state of finding solutions from the big issues to the small…and that every solution is a victory! You can track our progress of the new store at our Facebook page or Instagram!
Lissa Anglin Photography is also going strong and I'm still booking weddings and photoshoots for 2015. This is typically a slower time of year for me, but I am geared up for a great year. I will be taking maternity leave thru March and April (still doing a few portrait shoots during that time), but one of the beautiful things about my job is that I'm still able to take care of my clients via email and have meetings, even when I'm not technically back to shooting. I've been really enjoying working on my 2014 couples's wedding albums. So, if you or someone you know is getting married, graduating, having a baby, or just wanting some family portraits, please contact me! (You can use the contact page in the menu above.)
Hopefully the next update I post will have a completed store and the face of a tiny new baby! Shawn mentioned the other day that we are currently "pregnant" with many things right now- and I'd agree. One thing I'm sure of- is it is a blessed place to be. :)