June 17, 2011

Sweet Words

While we were in Georgia, one of Joe's clients sent him a copy of an amazing email. It was an email that the client had sent to his own business partners.

I have pasted below the content of the client's email to Joe, followed by the client's email to his own business partners. I have removed all identifying information.

These emails brought to tears to both Joe's and my eyes. I have never met this client with the big and thoughtful heart, but I hope I am blessed with the opportunity one day.


I believe in the providence of God – that he is the author of my life.

So I have faith that meeting you was part of this plan, and trust that what is happening right now is part of his bigger plan which is ultimately for my good.

As I was thinking about it this morning I had another thought which I shared with [my partners] - I also wanted to share it with you…

[Joe's Client] 

Dear [Partners],

We like to joke that we pay for lawyers' boats and luxury cars with the legal fees we pay – you’ve personally paid a large sum to [Joe's firm] to defend [your] right to benefit justly from [your] life’s labor.

However, your lawyer Joe does not buy boats and Ferraris with his income – he drives to Georgia to pick up a newborn baby that would have a horrible life but now will grow up in a loving family and have a bright future with the opportunity to reach her full potential.

So I would like to think that you’ve only spent $___ in defending yourself and have spent $___ to ensure a new life for a little girl that you’ve never met and probably never will.

[Joe's Client]

Lucia is Baptized

Just nine days after we arrived home with Lucia, she was baptized.

Our pastor, Monsignor Kevin Holmes, performed the baptism at St. Patrick Catholic Church (part of the same parish of our church, Holy Redeemer).

We were honored when our friends, Jill and Dave, accepted our invitation to be Lucia's Godparents. Jill and Dave also have a large family (eight children) and are adoptive parents themselves. Not only will they make excellent Godparents for Lucia, but they are good and kind to us—inviting our tired family over for a cozy get-together at their home after the Baptism.

One more milestone for little Lucia, now baptized into the Catholic Church. God bless Lucia Rose!
William gets ready to serve Mass and the Baptism. 
I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...
Lucia and her proud mama. 
Joe & Elizabeth with newly-baptized Lucia.
Lucia is wearing Papa Del's (grandfather's) baptismal gown, worn also by all her siblings.
Posing with Monsignor Holmes and Lucia's Godparents and their children.
Our friend Angela (Godmother of Marguerite) snuggles with Lucia.

Dairy Cows and Wedding Bells

Less than twenty-four hours after introducing Lucia to the land of cows and cheese, we attended a friend's wedding reception. Little Lucia rolled with it all and pretty much snoozed the night away. As for the rest of us, we stumbled around like sleep-deprived zombies, but we wouldn't have missed Jen's wedding reception for anything.

The beautiful bride and her handsome groom.
John, father of the bride, takes Kathleen—sporting a balloon hat—for a spin on the dance floor.
Elizabeth with the beautiful baby girls.
Claudia, the beautiful mother of the bride gets to know Lucia.
John, father of the bride, dances with Miss Marguerite. 
Claudia cuts the rug with Therese.
What a happy, exhausting night!

Home Sweet Home

Apparently, I have a whole lot more time to blog on the road than I do at home. We've been home four whole days, and it's been nothing but a whirlwind of activity, getting back into the normal rhythm of life. And that normal is the new-and-improved normal, as our lives are altered forever by the addition of our beautiful Lucia. Just eleven days old today, it's hard to know what we did without her.

Lucia is settling in well, and so are we. Miss Marguerite is full of tremendous love and affection. We have to diligently guard against her smothering Lucia as she envelopes her in enthusiastic hugs and kisses.

Tonight, around 10:00 pm, ten days will have passed since T signed the papers surrendering her rights to parent Lucia. At that point, T will no longer be able to change her mind, and we will rest in the knowledge that Little Lucia will be with us forever. Bliss. Meanwhile, we remember T in our prayers every night. She gave us two of the greatest gifts we'll ever receive. And she gave two lucky little girls the great gift of life.

Sweet Wisconsin slumber for our newest cheesehead. 
Looking a little like Marguerite here? 
Lucia and Marguerite in their dueling high chairs.

Thursday on the River along the Tennessee Border

We spent Thursday fighting the extreme heat by seeking out the recommended local swimming hole on the Ocohee River. Joe and I took turns on the river bank with our little Peanut Lucia while we alternated with helping the other kids in the water. The water was shallow and virtually still, but the rocks were slippery underfoot, so Marguerite and Therese required some careful attention. Most of the time, I stayed out of the water, shading and fanning Lucia—and sprinkling bottled water on her. It was one seriously hot day. Eventually, I made my way down to the water while Joe held Lucia. It was good just to get wet.

Anna Marie in the north Georgia mountains. 
Cooling ourselves in the river. 
Okay, I would normally never post a photo of myself in a swimming suit—blech!
But look at our peanut Lucia! I thought this was such a great photo of her, I couldn't resist including it.
(Marguerite simply would not look at the camera. She was having far too much fun taking over Lucia's stroller.)

In the Mountains of Northern Georgia

While we waited for our interstate adoption paperwork to clear, we enjoyed our new family of nine in a huge log house in the northern Georgia mountains. What a find. The owner, bless her heart, gave us an amazing deal, because we were new adoptive parents! It was the perfect place to finally spread out a bit and just get to know sweet Lucia better.

June 16, 2011


We made quite a day for ourselves in Atlanta, touring the Atlanta Aquarium, and meeting our friends at Mary Mac's Tea Room.

Oohhhh, ahhhhh...
Kathleen and Lucia take a breather.
Elizabeth and Marguerite enjoy fish overhead.
Three amigos, enjoying sea life.
Awesome sights. We were counting heads like crazy though in the crowd! 
So many hands-on exhibits!
Getting caricatures drawn!

This is just two families. Don't you love it?
We loved hanging out with our friend, Courtney, and family. And I recommend Mary Mac's tea room to all northerners who find themselves in Atlanta. Southern food at its finest.

One More Touring Day in Macon

Had to visit the HUGE Bass Pro Shop.
Elizabeth and Lucia (and kids in background) at Ocmulgee National Monument.
The six oldest kids at Ocmulgee National Monument.
Elizabeth and Marguerite have fun at a Macon park. 
Kathleen, Therese and Andrew at a Macon Park. It was "only" 103 degrees. Ouch. 
Anna Marie and sweet pea Lucia, just three days old.

Touring Macon Some More

With Lucia in our arms, the touring of Macon continued...

We visited Macon's Museum of Arts & Sciences...
Andrew got up-close-and-personal with a polar bear.
Kathleen played archaeologist.
Little archeologists digging for treasure.

June 15, 2011

Touring Macon

We had time to kill while waiting for the placement of Lucia. So we spent a little time exploring Macon.

Touring a historic cemetery in Macon.
Kathleen and Therese, gargoyling it.
Miss Marguerite 
William and Joe check out the cemetery's historical data.
Hey, Mom! These things don't grow in Wisconsin!
Andrew and Therese.

Kathleen, Marguerite and Elizabeth braving the sweltering heat at the cemetery.

Beautiful cemetery. Very hot!