Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Guth Monster

Guthrie left his foster momma's arms...

...and was warmly embraced in the arms of his new forever mom...

This post is dedicated to the little piece of my heart that will forever belong to my first foster dog, Guthrie (or Guth monster). For those of you that have never shared your life with animals, I am truly sorry. It is your loss. They are such a blessing to us (me, Wes, the human race) and I am grateful for each day I have with them. Guthrie taught me so many lessons and it was an honor to be his foster momma. Tears streamed down my face today as we drove away without him and it will be hard to look at the green chair without him in it, or walk past his empty crate. In fact, as we ate dinner tonite, it was a little too quiet and our family was not complete. But I know he will be loved. And I know it is my calling to save another boxer from the gas chamber. That is why I rescue!

This is the letter I wrote to Guthrie, followed by a poem about rescuing abused animals...

To Guthrie, My First Foster Dog


You came to us scared, abandoned, and abused. BRBR received information that you were located in a high-kill shelter in Gastonia, NC. Your “brother” (the dog you came in with) was not as fortunate as you were. They killed him in a gas chamber. My heart aches when I think of how scared you were when they took him away and how scared he must have been when he gasped for his last few breaths of life. When a BRBR representative came to get you, the shelter told us that you were too aggressive and that they would not surrender you to BRBR. The fast-talking representative was able to convince them to hand you over. They put you on the end of a choke pole and drug you out the back door to her car. She took one look and you and knew the truth… you were an innocent animal that was abused at the hands of cruel humans and you were terrified. That day was the beginning of your new life.

In order for you to have a healthy new life, you needed to see a vet. You were immediately taken to a local vet that evaluated you. They were appalled by your physical appearance: scrawny, malnourished, and grossly emaciated. You weighed a mere 56 pounds. That is pitiful for a large boxer boy like you. They also ran some blood work and discovered you had hookworms, whip worms, and heart worms. Every blood sucking parasite imaginable was crawling through your body…ewwww! They immediately treated you with panacur to help get rid of your intestinal worms, but the vet said you were far too thin to begin your heart worm treatment. You then traveled to the next stop in your new life- you made it to your foster home.

We picked you up the first weekend in April on the side of route 29. You jumped out of the transport car looking so thin and scared. I wanted to cry for you. You coat was dry and dull, your eyes were scared and sad, your body thin and scarred, but your heart…it was so sweet. You did not hold us responsible for whatever abuse you experienced before you met us. You were exactly what Boxers are supposed to be – gentle and kind. We thanked the transport volunteers, loaded you up, and headed home.

Your foster dad and I were scared to introduce you to others right away. We decided to keep you in a crate in the basement for a little while. That meant that I would have to get up and hour early to walk you and feed you separately from the others. This was truly a sacrifice for me as I am NOT a morning person. I learned so much from you on those early morning walks. You ran to the door, stood calmly while I placed your leash on you, and away we went. You discovered a favorite spot to poo…our neighbor’s yard (even though we had 4 acres to choose from). You watched the deer run through the fields and you touched noses with the cows down the road from us. I had so much fun watching you discover your new, safe life. It was torture to get out of bed early, but in the end I was the one who was blessed. Those walks were peaceful and they were the perfect start of to each day.

Now, not everything with you was peaches n’ cream! The first day you were with us you escaped your crate. I still cannot figure out how you did it. One night, you ate the steaks that Wes had cooked for our dinner. You just took them right off the table. Another time, you pushed my entire bowl of cereal off of the counter. Oh, let’s not forget about the time you ate seven bagels! You like food!

As the months went by you became more and more comfortable with your foster brother and sisters. You started sleeping on the couch with them, sleeping in the bedroom with them, sharing treats with them, and going on walks with them. As you became more integrated into our normal routine, my heart became more attached to you. I fretted the day you went to be neutered, fearful that your heart would not handle the anesthesia. I worried each time we took you for your heart worm treatments. And I hurt with you as you cried from the pain of the treatment. I love you just as I love Lily, Carmen and Jackson. That is why I am writing this for you on the eve of transporting you to your new family. I feel like I am betraying your trust. But you must understand that I cannot help other Boxers like you until you go to meet your Forever Family. And you must also understand that they promise to love you and care for you just as much, if not more than, we do. They will keep you healthy and happy and you will be loved. Guthrie, I promise.

Your foster momma (and daddy)

We are Rescue
Until you have held a tiny puppy in your arms as it kissed your face with slobbery puppy breath … and felt the love, Until you have held an injured or severely ill dog in your arms … and felt their pain
Until you have looked into the eyes of a tired aging senior dog … and felt their wisdom, And until you have seen and understood the look in your dogs eyes that tell you their time on earth with you is over .... and you humanely let them go,
You will never understand the life of a rescuer.
We find beauty in the most incomprehensible places and the otherwise homely faces. It is our gift to see beyond the dirt, terror, sadness and defeat and find the true soul that lies within.
We are Rescue
Author Unknown

Guthrie's last nite with his foster family. His favorite place was the green chair.

Guthrie snoozin' in the car on the way to Wytheville to meet his forever family...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Unfortunately, they did not choose you..."

Those were the words in the email we received from the agency today. Those are VERY hard words to read. The couple reviewing our book chose another family. I know we will be picked one day, but sometimes this whole process feels so distant and surreal. It is so easy to be discouraged and have those feelings of : "Is our book good enough?" "What is wrong with us?" "What pictures should I take out or add to our profile?" WHY didn't they pick US?"

When we started this process, very few of our close friends had children. Since then, many of my dear friends have become pregnant. Right now, they are all thrilled at the opportunity to see their babies ultrasound and find out if they are having girls or boys and what not. As each of them shares their story with me, I am thrilled for their joy and happiness, but I must confess that I get a little jealous. I want to know so badly if we will get the opportunity to be a mom and dad to a precious girl or boy! Heck, I just want to know if/when this little tyke will get here!

So, we wait... and wait...and wait...and wait................................

Friday, June 20, 2008

A not-too-exciting update

Today I received an email from the agency stating that the birth father is now having second thoughts about adoption and that is why the birth mom has decided to hold off on revealing the family she has picked. She has narrowed her choice to two families (we do not know if we are one of them because she has not shared this info with the agency). We are little bummed, of course, but started to feel a little better when we read the next line of the email. The agency director said they had SEVERAL birth mothers that they would show our book to in coming WEEKS (not months, mind you). So you better believe that Wes and I will be checking our email in Italy... a lot! In the mean time, please keep us in your prayers, that the right baby will find his or her way to our family in a timely manner :) Thanks!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hike to Lewis Spring Falls

Wes and Lily led the way down a fairly rocky path... Carmen struggled on some of the rocks, so I would not recommend this entrance for someone with small children.
We passed an area lined for 50 yards on both sides with these beautiful flowers!
The Falls!
Most of our family (we are minus the boys here) in front of the falls! (Don't worry, I held Carmen tight so she did not fall off the ledge.)
Carmen was really dragging on the way home. Here she is bringing up the rear.

Overall, this was a beautiful hike to the fourth largest falls in the Shenandoah National Park. I would recommend this hike. It took us about 4 hours to go 3.2 miles (like I said, Carmen was REALLY dragging on the way home)! We reached the car about 20 minutes before a huge storm opened up on us. All our new hiking gear worked great, we were all blister free... except Carmen who rubbed her paws raw in five spots...poor girl!

Friday, June 13, 2008

5 Years!

Five years ago this weekend I remember standing quietly, anxiously, nervously by the door to the sanctuary at Mt. Olive Brethren Church. All of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and wedding participants had made there way to the front of the church and everyone was waiting for the "don-don-da-doooon" to sound on the organ, signifying my appearance for the first time. Those few moments seemed to last forever. After being surrounded for so many days by so many visitors and friends and family, this was the first time I seemed to be alone on my wedding weekend. It was at this moment that it finally dawned me that I was about to get married...forever. I am an interesting person in that I love a schedule, continuity, normalcy in my life and once I decide something it is not easy for me to be convinced otherwise (just ask Wes!) But I can also be indecisive and VERY apprehensive of risk. Somehow, this risky business of marriage seemed so comfortable to me. While I was nervous of all the eyes that would stare at me as I walked down the aisle, I was ever so confident in the life-changing decision I had made. When the doors opened and I saw Wes' eyes, everyone else's eyes looking at me no longer mattered. I only wanted to be with Wes.

This anniversary is monumental for us in that this may be our last anniversary as JUST Wes and Diana. Hopefully we will be a family of three next year on our anniversary and I will be searching for babysitter so Wes and I can enjoy a romantic evening together (oh my, life will really be different, huh?) I am looking forward to watching Wes be a daddy to our "Baby KK," as the family has started to call our child. It is beautiful to watch him with children as they are naturally drawn to him: babies stare at him, young children want to play with him, teenagers love to talk to him. So while this may be our last anniversary childless, this may also be the last time Wes is not a Daddy on Father's Day. But I am certain, and it would be hard to change my mind on this one, that Wes will be a great daddy to Baby KK. (BTW, I received an email from the agency and the birth mother is still reviewing our profile). Stick with us folks... we may be in for the long haul!

Back to the anniversary celebration... As a way to spend time together on our anniversary, Wes and I are planning a hike to Lewis Falls on the Skyline Drive. We are going to take the girls, Carmen and Lily, with us. It will be fun to enjoy God's artwork together and each other's company. It will also be an opportunity to test out our new hiking gear we purchased for our trip to Italy later this month. Stay tuned for fun pics of this excursion.

I want the world to know this weekend that I love Wes! It is a blessing to be married to someone who loves the same things I do: horses, dogs, hiking, riding, running and saving animals. While we are so different in many ways, these things we share together keep our relationship alive and healthy. I pray that God will continue to draw our hearts together and allow our love to blossom into a beautiful flower. Hopefully, we are only beginning to bud after five years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No News...

Well, still no news on the adoption front. Our agency assured us they would call when this birthmom decided on a particular profile and let us know if we are in or out. I am going to call on Friday if we still have not heard. So, for now, we keep waiting. It is really hard not to be too antsy...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is this for real????

The journey through adoption is a winding road with speed bumps that force one to slow down, but around the next corner it is time to put the peddle to the metal and go 100 miles per hour. This week was one of those weeks for us. We experienced the adrenaline rush, the stomach butterflies along with the anxiety of the wait and the bumps that forced us to slooooow doooown and seek God's direction for our family.

Last Friday, as I was collecting books from my students and doing all of the last minute details that need attending to, I heard the tell-tale “dink” from my computer which indicates that I have a new message in my inbox. This time when I glanced down at the computer the email read “Potential Birth Mom”…this was NOT what I expected. (I was expecting another boring email about SOL scores, or text book returns, or something along those lines.) My heart stopped. Maybe because this is the first email from the agency, maybe because this was REAL! I told the kid, poor soul standing by my desk trying to get my attention, to go sit down because I needed a moment to think. Quickly I sent Wes and email titled “Are you as excited as I am?!” He replied, “About what?” Obviously, he had not heard from the agency. I wanted to speak with him so badly, but I had kids in class and could not use my cell phone. Eventually, I could not stand it any longer and I asked another teacher to cover my class so I could go call Wes.

We discussed the email which highlighted the birthparents profile. There were a few things that we felt we needed to discuss with professionals before we made a final decision. We called everyone looking for answers to confirm what our hearts already knew. We knew we wanted the birthparents to review our profile, but the fact-oriented Diana was looking for some hardcore stats or for God to write me a message in the sky to confirm our decision. Finally, I received the clear message that I was so desperately praying for the last three days. Our child’s future pediatrician agreed to meet with us “off the record” as an adoptive mother herself and her words brought peace and comfort to my heart. She said, “NOTHING in this profile would stop me from continuing with an adoption plan. It is such a blessing to have all of this information.” Those were such sweet words for my soul. I felt that God heard my plea for discernment and clarity and answered it so quickly. As the Tuesday evening passed, Wes and I continued to discuss the situation and our decision.

This morning Wes called the agency and said that we would love to be shown. Now we approach another speed bump…more waiting…will they like us? Will they pick us? Our social worker said they will pick adoptive parents within the week. So now we wait. Our first real taste of what the adoption wait is like. I still have faith that if this is the child for us, it will happen. If not, our baby is still out there and waiting for us too. Maybe this is too much to share or maybe you want to know more, but I wanted to give a realistic picture of domestic adoption. The stories are all different and this is a part of our adoption story. I don’t want to share every detail because that is our child’s adoption story to tell…