Friday, February 26, 2010

Support Beams

We had the good fortune to travel to the balmy island of Kaua’i (notice the apostrophe – I’m pretty much a local now) last week. We try to get to Hawai’i (again, notice apostrophe) every February to escape the gray doldrums of living in the Pacific Northwest in the winter. Mid-January, our Southern California blood starts demanding we get it some Vitamin D. We use our companion tickets for airfare and my in-laws graciously cover the accommodations. So, the trip really is almost free, if we refrain from eating out too much while we’re on the island. Almost free paradise is my kind of paradise. We were in Kaua’i when we got the news that we can go pick up our son at the end of March. The news felt surreal, dream-like. We weren’t expecting this news until at least mid-summer. I e-mailed a few friends about the news but mostly just walked around in a daze induced by tropical landscape and shock. Toward the end of our trip, I was finally able to blog about it somewhat articulately to announce the news to the world (see previous post).

On the island of Kaua’i, there is this gigantic, abandoned old hotel right on the coast. The Coco Palms was the oldest hotel on the island and the world’s most famous Polynesian resort in the 50’s and 60’s. Elvis himself stayed there and scenes from his famous movie “Blue Hawaii” were filmed there. When Hurricane Iniki struck in September of ’92, the hotel was badly damaged and was closed down indefinitely. Repairs were deemed too expensive. Today, the windows are broken, the roof is rotting, and the lagoons in the coconut groves are now swamps of algae and moss. Left to rot, the building is totally uninhabitable but for tours. What fascinates me most about the Coco Palms, is that all the support beams are still intact. The building is still standing. The exterior is falling apart, but the skeleton of the building, without maintenance, has held it up stalwartly for the past 18 years.

There’s a point coming, I promise. Bear with me….

We returned from vacation this week and have set in motion all the plans to travel to Africa and re-organize our lives to transition into a family of 5. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had a few meltdowns. I’m emotionally overwhelmed. I have also never felt so supported. My handy thesaurus gives these synonyms for “support”: hold up, bear up, prop up, keep up, brace, shore up, underpin, reinforce, buttress. This week, I’ve felt like the Coco Palms. My exterior is cracking and everything inside feels chaotic and unkempt. But, there are these incredible support beams holding me up, making sure I don’t collapse.

Support Beam #1: This week, one of my best friends went rogue on me and organized a fundraiser for our air travel to Africa. I say “rogue” because I would have said no if she asked me for permission. I have this character flaw of super-independence that prevents me from accepting help. Neely, being one of my best friends, knew this about me. So, she didn’t ask. She raised enough money to cover one whole plane ticket. People came out of the woodwork to purchase raffle tickets to support us.

Support Beam #2:

I literally can’t keep up with all the e-mails from people offering us air miles. People have also offered to paint, clean, make food…You people are incredible!

Support Beam #3: I can FEEL people’s prayers. In the midst of my little breakdowns, I have this amazing sense of peace, that everything is going to work out, that we are under the amazing umbrella of God’s grace. My breakdowns are just a normal part of the process…. I think. J

Support Beam #4: My friend, Daniele Ott, who is also a professional organizer, is going to help me get the house organized and ready for another kiddo. She came over last night, took a look at things, and reassured me that we could get everything done in 2 days. She’s going to hold my hand through the whole thing and whip my house into the most organized state it’s ever been in. You really should hire her. She’s a freaking genius. When she left, I felt a huge weight fall from my shoulders.

I am so humbled by these support beams that are shoring us up, keeping us stable and strong.

So, thank you everybody. Thank you so, so much.


  1. thankful that i get to be a support beam! I want to write more but every way I phrase it - it just comes out really cheesy. So, just know that I love ya...and your party of 5!!

  2. Hi-I stumbled across your blog through a few others, and one of them mentioned the country that you're adopting from. I don't want to ask for any information you're not comfortable with giving, but I would be SO excited if they were correct about which country. I volunteered there for a year at an orphanage, and I left my heart there. I have always felt that my child/children are there, and it's been hard knowing that in order to adopt, I would have to move there. Could you possibly drop me a quick line in regards to the country and even possibly the adoption agency doing the pilot program? I understand if that's not something you're able to do. Congratulations, and bless you,


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