My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

M is for Moses

              From my porch I was watching the pink peak thru the big dark oak trees as the sun threatened to leave me behind while it slid behind the golf course. And I just couldn't help but think about the idea of being left behind, forgotten, alone. And I was hoping my baby didn't feel that way tonight as he lay in a crib alone. I ache for him. I know that God aches for me more intensely and that is almost unfathomable.  As the pink turned to gray and the darkness crept in tonight I felt so incredibly lonely... For my sweet baby Moses. My beautiful boy. I wonder if I have ever waited with such longing for anything? I think I have not. He has always been my desire. I believe there are desires that God gives us and then there are surprises that He gives us (that we never knew we wanted/needed).  My first son was a blessed surprise. My second son has been my deep desire. I have longed for him, even knowing his name long ago. Moses. Drawn up out of the water. Moses who was adopted into another race and family. My Moses. My Max. My two sons of whom I am so pleased and proud.  Thank you God for them. But just one tiny favor? Could they both live here now? Could we be a family? Please? I've waited a lifetime it seems. I'm weary of waiting. I'm ready to be blessed by the presence of our son. I know you promised this to us and we have waited.  

That was a journal entry from a few weeks ago when I was feeling hopeless.  It's been months and months and months of no news.  And now (some) of the wait is over.  We can tell you Baby M is now officially Moses.  

              In the last couple months, every time I sit down to try and write a post, I end up deleting it and walking away from the computer.  It's not that I don't want to keep everyone in the's that we've been in total limbo, and I was so unsure of everything, and it all has been making me just so sad.  We have been anticipating a trip in August to the DRC to meet our son...which is what keeps me going most days.  Knowing I will get to hold him soon.  And then it will be another 6 gut wrenching months of waiting...if not more.  And that is why I can't bring myself to write it down.  But in the last few days we have gotten some exciting news.  We have passed court in the DRC and MOSES  is now officially our son. 

                Now begins the U.S. investigation which can take 3-6 months. But according to the courts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Moses, belongs to the Schmids. He's now one of us.  We now pay for his foster care and we will soon get updates with pictures all the time! On July 2nd our little boy will be put on a bus and make a 12 hour journey to his new home in Kinshasa. (the capital of the DRC). This is the place we will travel to in just over 7 weeks to squeeze him for the very first time.  
                I have been giving myself little tasks now that most of our paperwork has been completed.  Max and I made a photo album with pictures of us and the dogs and our house and their that Moses will be able to see what home looks like.  We've been working on a little care package with clothes, lotion, a few small toys, toothbrush, etc.  I literally can't wait to put it in the mail.  It's like I have been holding my breath for a over a year and now I can just exhale because he's ours.  I can tell you his name, I can show you his picture, I can be his mommy.  It's not ideal yet, and we're not totally free of the anxiety (The DRC still isn't issuing exit letters, but we hope that will be resolved by March at least, or sooner for all the other families that have been in limbo for over a year) but we have HOPE now and something to HOLD onto.  
                Tonight I was putting Max to bed and he was just about asleep when the phone rang.  Normally I would never answer a phone call when he is drifting off, but this is the call we have been waiting for.  When she told me "He's yours!" I was filled with so much emotion,  I got up and paced like a mad woman around Max's room while I asked her every question I could think of.  I went downstairs to tell Tony and we both had to get Max back in bed.  Max was confused because I was crying and Tony was telling him Moses was ours.  When Tony left the room Max asked me if we could "go get him now?" I told him that we still had to wait and he started, hard.  So I laid there holding my sensitive three year old son as his little body convulsed with sobs.  (He may have just been really tired and confused by our emotions, but to me, it was a little boy grieving for his brother).  This was solidified as we lay there and I watched him stare at the ceiling. I asked him what he was thinking about, and he took some time and finally said, "I'm thinking of how we can go and get Moses."  He said, "What are you thinking about Mommy?" I said I am thinking about how I love you so much, and I love Moses so much...and I can't wait to go get him either."  He said "When we get him, I will wear my Buzz Lightyear shirt, will that make you happy mommy?"  "Yes buddy, that will make me very happy."  Then he laid his favorite bear right by my head and said,  "Here's my bear, mommy, he will make you happy because he has a big smile on his face."  And rolled over and fell asleep.  Oh. My. Goodness.  What a moment.  Oh. My. Goodness. I have two children.  Lots of emotions tonight.  Lots of excitement in the Schmid house.  I will now have regular updates as we will start getting more pictures, but for now I can finally show you the pictures we have been poring over since January.  The only connection we have had to our son.  Here you go, prepare yourself, because his eyes pretty much look into your soul.  Our baby Moses!



photos we got a few months after the first set:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Saying Goodbye

                      I have been putting off writing this blog post.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want it to be real.  I don’t want him to be gone.  But once again, God re-affirms that it is never about what I want.  Life isn’t what we want it to be…most of the time.  But life is what it is.  Life is a breath in, and a breath out, and then, life is gone.  But his soul lives on and his imprint is left on hearts.  And although life is not what we want it to be…most of the time….most of the time life is still a beautiful thing, and we were reminded of this during Dave’s memorial service.  We were reminded of this as we watched our sister Allison say goodbye to her husband and break the news to her girls with grace and strength.  
                     Days after Dave passed, I had a dream.  I tend to have vivid dreams amidst important events.  I believe this is when God speaks to my heart.  I was in Dave and Allison’s house and Dave had come back but he made it clear he only had 10 minutes to talk.  I ran to find Allison.  It was Dave as we best remember him; strong, healthy, reassuring.  Allison said “things are really heavy around here since you’ve been gone, we are all just so sad.” Dave just looked at her and said “Things will get better, just take it one day at a time and do the best you can.”  Then one of the girls was yelling and Allison said “I have to go!” Dave said, “It will be ok.”  And then he was gone.  I woke up immediately feeling like I got to say goodbye, like I got to see him one more time.  The last time we saw him we had no idea we would never see him on earth again.  I squeezed his hand as I left his hospital room and said “We love you, keep fighting buddy.”  Thinking he would, and thinking he would win.  And although Dave lost his battle to cancer, he won the everyday battle to not let cancer take away his will to live.  Even at the end, he was still trying to live.  He wasn’t afraid to die, this we know, but he wasn’t ready to leave his family.  He never let on how much pain he was in.  And so I have a feeling he would not want us to be in pain now.  He would want us to celebrate his life and continue with ours…but how will his wife and his children do this?  One day at a time.  Do the best you can.  And if that means you want to cry all day at any point, you can.  If that means you laugh all day and enjoy yourself, you can.    There is no rulebook for grief.  There is no right and wrong.  Life is what it is.  And Dave’s life…was….beautiful.  

As another one of my inspirations Maya Angelou put it:

"Maybe the hardest part is if you teach, you have to live your teaching"

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

"You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive."

“I've learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life'.”

These quotes comfort me as I know that Dave did all these things.  He made people feel good (ask Allison or his girls) He made a life, not just a living (ask any of his students) He was always so positive (ask his nurses or doctors).  So thank you Dave, for the impact you made on so many lives, I can only hope that when it's my time...I will have that many people say that many great things about me.