Saturday, May 28, 2011

 Our Attachment Plan When The Boy's Get Home (there are 3 sections so keep reading after this one to read all of it)!

This might seem like a long and crazy post...I actually have somewhat dreaded writing it...but, we so want our friends and family to be totally aware of our plans with our boys when they arrive home. Oh, having them home...we can't wait! :) So, here we go! A lot of this post has came from friends “plans”, books, etc. we have read and required video's, etc. we have watched (one friend...I borrowed a lot of her writing...she just does a GREAT job!).

Attachment and bonding are often used interchangeably; however, they are two very different processes. Bonding is that phase of falling in love with your child and your child with you. Darren and I were very excited and overjoyed to meet our boys. I think I felt instantaneous love for Dagim upon meeting him. With Gadisa I certainly was excited, but I think I was a bit more overwhelmed when I met him. He is older, he had thoughts about what was going on (unlike Dagim), and I couldn't understand him and ask how he felt...(It is natural and normal for adopting families to not feel immediate love, and it in no way indicates that there are problems ahead. Sometimes love has to grow. Adoption, while beautiful, is unnatural, and by that I simply mean that adoption is not how God originally intended for families to grow. Adoption did not exist until after sin entered the world.)

While I feel love for is still growing and has grown more with our time apart. We found out quickly that Gadisa had his own friends, the Transition Home had became his home, and he wasn't as “into us” as we thought he would be. He was so very excited to meet us, (he cried days before wondering when we would arrive). He was excited to see us every day, and was very sad when we left...I don't know if it was a feeling of abandonment or what...but, it was sad each and every day. But, one on one for hours was just not natural for him. He had his own things to do at almost 9 and his own routine and, that's what I mean by him not being “into us” like I thought. That made those days a lot harder. I tried, we all tried but, felt like we were outsiders. But, then we would see the tears when we were leaving and knew that even though he didn't seem that “into us”...he did like us there while he was “doing his thing”. So, interesting.

I have realized after coming home and now that we are love has grown immensely for this young man, (I'm so glad we had to come home, because of this). I miss him, I want him here with us. It's incredible what walking away and leaving him did to my made it long and crave for him. Praise God. I can picture him here. I can see and feel and remember in the crevice of my heart each special moment now. Sometimes in the middle of frustration and craziness you just can't see all of the little things. I can see him stroke my arm, I can feel it! I can see and feel him touch my freckles, him studying me. I can see him look into my eyes so deep. I can see the tears well up when he knew it was time for his dad to leave and then each day we all left. I can see his smile from down the road. I can feel his tight hugs. I long for him now. Praise God for absence making the heart grow fonder.

While our love is growing for Gadisa, he does not feel that same love toward us yet, we are strangers to him, we have yet to bond. The bonding process is typically relatively short with a younger child. It usually begins to occur within a few weeks. With Dagim, I felt like he was attaching and bonding with me while I was there...I was amazed. For Gadisa, it was much easier for him to “just walk away”, “do his own thing”, and “not listen” (I will give the language barrier as a reason for that one). Bonding is about sharing love, relationship, and commitment. We have done very little so far (in the grand scheme of his life) to foster bonding with him. Even after our days with them in Ethiopia, we are still essentially strangers to them. Much of bonding involves physical touch. This is why it sometimes (not all of the time - not every case) appears easier and faster for adopting families to bond with infants rather than older children. Infants require a lot of physical touch, and it is instinctual and natural for most parents to touch and nurture an infant - even for those adults who are not inclined to a lot of physical touching in how they parent. I believe that bonding, especially after a child is adopted, must be initiated by the parents. A child that comes from a hard place will not usually, naturally interact with his or her new family through physical touch. It is a process that must be taught and prayerfully will eventually be mirrored and reciprocated in our boys.

Attachment is bigger and more complicated and
usually takes much longer than bonding (think months not weeks and sometimes even years). Simply stated attachment is a process of trust. I believe that the research for attachment is extensive, on-going and changing, and because every child is so different it is very important to continually and constantly be researching, learning, and growing as parents while giving our children over to God. Some research indicates that the attachment process begins in the womb as the baby receives nourishment from the mother. I am not educated enough to say whether or not this is factual. However, I have heard some very convincing theories that babies in utero who experience trauma or stress will have a brain that develops differently from a baby who did not experience such things. From these studies it truly does seem to indicate that the attachment process is not only very real, but happens very early in a child's life. Regardless of that, I do believe that enough data has been collected to prove that during a child's first 18 months of life, he or she has learned whether or not their caregivers can be trusted to meet their needs. When a child's needs are met continually in the first 18 months of life, the attachment process begins in a healthy normal manner. However, when needs are repeatedly unmet- for example a baby cries out for food and no food is given, the attachment process is disrupted. Although, it is unlikely that a child would remember this occurrence, the affects of this could have lifelong implications if tools to heal this wounded child's heart are not implemented. Children who are in orphanages may discover that sometimes their needs are met and sometimes they are not, so they learn to trust no one. Sadly many of these children have had to find ways to gratify and sooth themselves - even at very young ages.

As Gadisa and Dagim's parents we feel that it is absolutely vital to commit to fostering both bonding and attachment between ourselves and them and among our family as a whole. We understand through various research that the first few weeks and months that they are home with us are absolutely critical to the future healing that we desire to take place in their hearts. We are ready to invest our time and our energy into doing everything we can to transition them into our home - into our family. Now that I have set the groundwork for why we feel this is so necessary I will share how we plan to do it and exactly what our attachment plan looks like. Hopefully in sharing all of this, it will make our plan a little more understandable and less crazy sounding! If you ever have questions...please ask. I hope I can answer them.

The issues surrounding attachment, bonding, and cocooning can be sensitive and controversial. Just so you know...this is our decision and not necessarily how everyone adopting will “do things”...after research, training, prayer and searching the Scriptures this is our plan. It could change...but, for now...we at least have a goal. If you are a family that is not involved in adoption, please understand the carefulness that went into all of this and know that yes it will most likely look very, very differently from how you do things with your birth children. I also want to clearly state that because we are doing things special with the boys does not make them more special than Corbin & Lauren. We seek to meet our children at the place that they individually are. And is that not how God deals with His children? Please read this with grace, and understanding. We are only putting this into writing so everyone is on the same page and no one's feeling are hurt when the boy's come home :)!

The reason I am writing this is because I have been asked by many what our plan is. A lot of what I found was the hard truth of problems that
can (does not always) happen when a child is adopted into a family who did not establish an attachment plan. Much of the information and our plan that I will share is not original to us. I am not an expert. I have never lived through this with an adopted child, but I have been adopted. I will not pretend to know it all about any of this. We gathered information from a few blogs, books, seminars, our social worker, adopting friends, etc.

Gadisa and Dagim have came from a hard place. They have had a very difficult first 20 months and 9 years of life - no matter how you look at it. With saying that...I pray you will treat them normal and like our other 2 kiddos...they are all 4 ours...we are their mom & dad, period. Anyway...According to Dr. Karyn Purvis
any child that is eligible for adoption or foster care comes from a hard place. Yes, even that newborn infant adopted the day of his or her birth, comes from a hard place. A child coming from a hard place may have experienced some or many of the following (our boys experienced many...and there may be some we do not know they experienced):

In-utero stress (drug or alcohol related, a stressful environment, a traumatic experience that the birth mother went through - even stress while deciding whether or not she should place her child for adoption, etc.)
Traumatic Birth
Separation from birth mother *
Foster Care
Orphanage Care *
Separation from primary caregiver *
Shifting between foster family and birth family
Move to a new country *
Move to a new institution *
Unresolved medical issues
Neglect *
Adoption *

Parenting a child who has been adopted is not the same as parenting a birth child. Adoption is a means to bring a child into a home and make him or her a son or a daughter and become a source of healing for that child. Every foster and adopted child needs to to be given the tools to heal. Obviously every child is different, and depending on the child and the family, this can be a very difficult process. However, it is
not an impossible process or a process without hope. We feel that it is a process that we must prepare and plan for, so that we are equipped to pass on the tools that Gadisa and Dagim will need to heal from their traumatic experiences. I also strongly believe, that when families are adequately trained and are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to help their new children heal, that people will start noticing this and stop feeling so fearful about foster care and adoption. Then maybe we will start seeing our churches explode with children who are being loved and nurtured in church families because of the beautiful ministry of foster care and adoption.

Gadisa and Dagim were in an orphanage for a few months and now have been in AWAA's Transition Home (TH) since September. The TH is wonderful. It is clean (yes small and very simple when compared to American standard's) and the children are nurtured, cared for, and I even dare say loved by the wonderful nannies. Yes, the nannies are overworked, yes there are about 5-7 babies per nanny, but for being an institution in a developing country, They are getting phenomenal care. Both have bonded with their nannies. When we swoop in for our gotcha day we will be introducing trauma once again into our boy's lives. They will grieve the loss of this special place and precious people who met their needs for the past 9 months of their lives. They will be handling some very major transitions from new foods, clothes (think snow gear this next winter!), smells, a room that does not have as many sleep mates, people, language, experiences (think car seat!), environment, climate etc. All of these transitions will happen very rapidly, and they will all cause them more pain, more confusion, more healing that will need to take place. As their parents, we want to be sensitive to all that will be taking place in their hearts, all of the pain that they will be enduring. We want to be equipped and ready to help them begin the healing process. We feel this is our role as their parents. It is our obligation with each of the children God chooses to bless us with. Because of this we are taking a rather intense approach, and we plan to cocoon them for a few weeks (once home we can adjust just how many weeks as we see how they are doing). I will share our specific plan in a minute.
 Cont. from Above:

Here is an analogy that I read on adoption. This gives just a taste of the pain and trauma that adopted (and foster) children face during their transition. I know this is extreme, but at the same time, it really softened my heart and opened my eyes to the truth of the hurt and insecurities that undoubtedly will be in Gadisa and Dagim's hearts.

Imagine for a moment…
You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancée. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understands you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.
The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the world…the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.
The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face.
But IT'S NOT HIM! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved?
You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back,...even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay. But you know that nothing is okay.
Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him?
Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened...that your sweetheart is gone.
You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact.
Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it.
More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door. You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you?

You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are ecstatic with joy. You are confused. And worried.
The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you.
You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up, which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy.
The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy. The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to "get along." You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.
Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hugs you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your cheek. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair.
Finally, someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before.
He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except for the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black.
You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to sleep.
People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. He pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one other, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness.
Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.
Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.--Written by Cynthia Hockman-Chupp

This can leave one feeling hopeless, but I just want to reiterate that we are not without hope. Yes, we want to understand and be prepared for the hurt, the pain, the trauma that our brown-eyed boy's have encountered and will endure, BUT THERE IS HOPE. We are trusting God that by investing in Gadisa and Dagim's lives and diving into the middle of their hurt immediately is going to produce long-term positive outcomes in the healing of their heart. We are not promised an easy, pain-free road. If we were looking for that, we never would have pursued adoption - we probably never would have had any children! Not every day will be beautiful and calm. This could be a messy, long process, but so was our adoption in Christ. Nothing about that was easy.

Our family is not capable of doing this on our own. We cannot walk this in a vacuum. We need help, we need to know we are being supported, even if you think our plans are way too excessive and crazy. Even if everything I wrote here seems like jarble and nonsense, but if you love us then please respect us and support us and get involved! This is a vital time in our life when our family must be surrounded by
only those people who are willing to walk this long, hard road with us. We need encouragement, love, and we need prayers. We need lots and lots of prayer. This is where our church, our families, our friends - those specifically that do not feel the call of adoption on their lives at this time - can step up and take a huge part in carrying out James 1:27. Although, Gadisa and Dagim are no longer orphans, Their hearts are still orphaned, and they need the love, prayers, and support of many people. They need for their church and school (co-op) families to understand where they have come from, and that they may not act the same as children in our church or co-op who have grown up in permanent birth families. We are praying that our investment up front will pay off in the end, and that God will bless Gadisa and Dagim and our family and heal the broken heart of our beautiful boy's. We are praying that God draws Gadisa and Dagim's hearts to Himself and one day they experience full healing in accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. We pray that ultimately, no matter the outcome, that God is honored with our story, and that He receives all of the glory, all of the praise, and all of the fame. For it is ONLY He that deserves any of it.

I read the following in one of the many books we have dove into:

America is so rich compared to Ethiopia.  And yet in some ways Ethiopian mothers may know more about what babies need than we Americans do.  We in America focus so much on getting babies independent.  If an American mom carried a baby as much as Ethiopian moms do, people would probably tell her she was spoiling her child.  The pressure on American babies is always to grow up faster.
When groups of American mothers get chatting, talk can sometimes sound like a competition.  The faster a baby sleeps all night, loses the binky, gets rid of the bottle, walks alone, soothes himself to sleep, the more competent a mother is seen, (personally...I see a lot of it as selfishness...and wanting "me", the baby needs to do it for "me"'s what "I" want, “I” have a life besides this baby).  The push is always towards independence and maturity.  I think this push is sad--it robs babies of the chance to simply be babies.  But especially it is sad for newly adopted infants and toddlers, because it is exactly the opposite of what a newly arrived adopted child really needs to become well attached.  It is a wise parent who resists the pressure, and simply allows the baby to be a baby.
Here are six simple things you can do every day to help your new child become well attached.
1.  CARRY your child on your hip or in a baby carrier as much as possible each day.
2.  ROCK your child several times a day, very close and cuddly.  A child newly home may resist at first.  You may have to rock facing outward for a few days.  But gradually work towards a face-to-face intimate cuddle.  And a bottle or two a day during rocking time is great, even for toddlers.
3.  FEED him at mealtime.  Even preschoolers can get little morsels from your hand every now and then during a meal.  In fact, in Ethiopia, feeding each other choice bites is something Ethiopian adults do quite often.
4.  SLEEP or nap with your child if you feel comfortable doing so.  Some parents bring a child into their bed.  Others lay a big mattress on the floor of the child's room and lie with the child to get him to sleep, then sneak off to their own bed once the child is asleep.
5.  PLAY on the floor with him.  Play this-little-piggie or peekaboo.  Roll a ball back and forth.  Play chase.  make dolls talk to each other.  Look at story books together.  Build block towers and laugh together when your baby knocks them down.
6.  LAUGH and be silly with your child every day!  Laughter has tremendous healing power.  Tickle him, dance with him, be goofy and have fun!
Cont. From Above:

So here is the plan (much information for us has came from online courses we have been required to take, from adopting older children books, and adoption books in general, along with suggestions from who we are adopting through and other adoption families). What we plan to do is not reasonable for every adopting family. Again, please understand that this is our plan. It is not necessarily the best plan, but we do feel it is the best plan for our family. We are dedicated to taking extreme measures during the first critical weeks of introducing the boys into our family. Our plan is subject to change as we get to know the boy's on a deeper level and as we feel out how our family is melding together. But we have a starting point, a plan to start with, as we come home exhausted with 2 brand new son's.

1.  We will be cocooning for the first few weeks.  We will not be welcoming any visitors into our home at this time - family or otherwise - and we will not be going out much at all. An exception will be made for doctor appointments as these are very important for the boy's to attend. We won't be inviting people to come over to see the boy's (although we will be posting photos, etc. for you).  Even meals being dropped off will have to be a quick thing at the door...we will be so appreciative though as we will be exhausted and dealing with time changes and major adjustments!
*Why you might ask? Why so drastic? The answer: I have witnessed my boy's having “MANY” care givers: Nannies, the “guys” from AWAA that adore them, and many families who have loved on our boys for many, many months and brought them gifts and love. They will run to anyone and let them love them. If we do not have this time to bond...they will never truly understand that WE are their parents and family. They no longer have a sense of family after being left in an orphanage (and we have no idea if they ever experienced true family when with their birth family). They don't know who will care for them or love them next and we have to totally turn that around and let them know that we are it!

2.  Darren will resume going to work as soon as he needs to, but will try to stay home at least the first few days. After Darren has gone back to work and I am home with the children, I will be very conscientious to not take phone calls during the day. We will do everything we can to make our home quiet and calm and structured with little stimulation - such as TV, loud noises, excessive toys, etc. We have learned that structure and routine bring comfort to children from hard places (Actually I really believe all children benefit from this!). All of my attention will be devoted to the children during the day. We will start some schooling with Gadisa as soon as possible, understanding it may look and be different during this time. Gadisa will be assigned chores and responsibilities the same as Corbin and Lauren...the key is to help him feel immediately like one of the family.

3.  We won't be going out much, especially to events with a lot of people, noise and stimuli, for possibly a few weeks or months if needed.  This means birthday parties, church, the mall and other functions, (it's gonna be so hard...but, it's needed).  It doesn't mean indoors all the time, but we have to pick and choose our outings carefully.  Again, predictability and comfort are important here.  We will ease back into the craziness soon enough. I explained it to Lauren like this: Going somewhere with a lot of familiar people to us (such as church) could really be overwhelming for them. I told her to picture her being with new parents in Africa, not being able to speak their language and being taken to where all of their friends were. Then all of those friends coming up and getting in her face and kissing and hugging her. They know who she is from hearing all about her and seeing photos...but, she has no idea who they are and cannot understand what they are saying or doing. That would be scary and overwhelming.

4.  We will need to be the only people holding Dagim for the first few months.  This might be the hardest one, as it's typically the most natural way to bring family and friends into the life of your child.  However, this is also one of the most critical aspects of bonding and attachment and it's important not to confuse that process.  We want him to understand our role in his life and how it is different than anybody else that he encounters. Think about that our boys have had many care givers, they have felt abandoned and they don't know who is taking care of them and will they be there tomorrow.  They seek attention from whoever will give it to them and as of now will go to anyone who will show them affection. Because of this we want them to attach to us as their caregivers,We cannot do it without the grace of God. We have never heard of a family that has cocooned and followed an attachment plan and regretted doing it, but we have heard of several who have regretted
not doing it.
These first critical weeks are a gift, and they cannot be relived. This is how we are choosing to open our gift. as their parents...and they have to know that "we are it". So, bear with us because they will have a lifetime of loving you.  We don't know how long this process will take...we may have to extend these times if we feel like we need more time for the bonding process.

5. "D" will be taking a, "don't freak out" :). This is the norm in Ethiopia...well actually nursing for a looong time is...but, at the orphanages this is the norm. This will continue for awhile to have that bonding time.  Why? Malnutrition for one.  He needs the nutrients.  2nd, it's a GREAT time for us to bond with him. 
We will be the only ones who give him a bottle. We will keep him on our lap and be focusing on eye contact and physical touch. We will be the only one's who spoon feed him, and change his diaper. I learned that infants typically get about 4 hours a day of eye contact over the course of 12 feedings (From
Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child). Dagim has missed a lot of this in having his bottle propped for many, many of his feedings. This is a gift that we can give to him.

6.  Another tidbit: They might be sleeping with us, or in the same room...who knows (it depends on what they need).  Our kids do that now...a lot less than they use to, (they seem to venture in...or dad is traveling and they want to slumber party, or they just want to camp out).  We will play it by ear.  I'm excited to bond and snuggle with our kids.  They have gotten very use to having many in a room sleeping...we cannot expect them to be “alone” in a bedroom.
You know...we are one of the very few countries who have huge homes and many bedrooms.  I saw that in Norway...all of these wealthy families still have small apartments and little bitty bedrooms (or they all sleep in the living room together).  If you think back to bible times...I'm sure they didn't have 5 bedroom tents, lol...and for sure my grandparents didn't.  And they still managed to have multiple children without all the privacy, and had long, long marriages and were happy!  Imagine that!  If we were raised anywhere else in the world...there's a chance we would be sharing a small one room hut with our's all good, it all works!!!

7. We will be doing “time in's” instead of Time Out's. Sending our children out of our site when they are in trouble can cause a feeling of abandonment. They will stay in site and still be disciplined. Our bio kids understand that discipline will look different from what they have had. But, each child is unique and in this case their circumstance are very different.

8. We will have to work with the boys slowly and with a lot of patience and slow to react techniques on teaching them the in's and out's of our culture and our home. There will be things they have never seen. Ex: A gas stove, electric outlets, and other potentially dangerous things. Another: Walking away from or out into traffic or up to strangers. In Ethiopia...everyone walks an roams. It will be a new thing here to understand that going out into the street or walking up to strangers is not okay or safe. We will have many things to work on in a new environment. You know...things they might have did in a village in East Africa will not be the same in a civilized city. I will have my eyes open for anything being possible with a boy who was raised very differently for 9 + years.

9. The boys will not spend the night away from us for the first year that they are home. 
10. Dagim will never be left in our church nursery or co-op nursery. This is simply because of the similarities it has to the rooms he has lived in day in and day out, and his inability to differentiate between the two at his age. He will sit with us when we attend either. Gadisa we will play by ear. We are wanting him to meet friends and hang out at church and co-op. We just need to make sure that we can communicate and he understands that we are not far away and that we are not “leaving” him. We never want him to feel abandonment like he did when he was left at an orphanage.

11. We know that this summer Gadisa will not attend camp, and possibly not Bible school if not directly with our 2 oldest. We know that camp would look very familiar to his Thome with bunk beds and sparse conditions and being away from his mom & dad. We would not want to bring back any memories of being abandoned or left at the orphanage or Thome.

For some of you, these steps seem natural and understandable.  For others, it feels like you are being shut out from someone you have been supporting, praying for and looking forward to meeting.  Please trust us in this process and know that all of you are very important parts of our family and our friends that love us and love our children. You are a huge part of our, please support us with understanding and prayer :)

Please pray for us.  This will all be new, beautiful, wonderful, but also inconvenient, awkward, difficult, and stressful too.  We have to remember however that it would be silly to bring them home and not work on the important parts of making us a family.  I know we would reap so many bad things later if we just "didn't do it".  I'd rather it be a bit tough now then really, really tough later on down the line.  It's so important to establish this new family now...We cannot do it without the grace of God. We have never heard of a family that has cocooned and followed an attachment plan and regretted doing it, but we have heard of several who have regretted
not doing it.

These first critical weeks are a gift, and they cannot be relived. This is how we are choosing to open our gift. And let me tell you...I am going to LOVE having a baby who is attached at the hip to me! Some have asked in a “You now are gonna have your hands full with a 2 year old” tone, “Are you ready to not have any space and have a baby on your hip?” Oh, I SO am! I have missed one of my sweet child's 1st 9 years and the other's 1st 2 years! I am so excited to have this closeness with both of them!!!

We got the call that we now have an Embassy Date! Our date is June 7!  We will be flying out on the 3rd and coming home the 11th!

Praise God...the boys are coming home!!!   

Monday, May 2, 2011

We Passed COURT!!

Today is a GLORIOUS DAY!!  We passed Court!!!  Gadisa Jacob & Dagim Oliver Henderson are officially our Boys!! In our hearts...they always have been...but, now it is official on paper!!

Now on to Embassy!!!

Let me tell you...the wait has been long, and there have been many dark days...I am thankful for the women who went on this journey with me.  It was quite the ride!!!  Jackie Mullis and Heather Jurrens...we made it through.  Jen Hatmaker...still praying for you sister and many more!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Blow to My Heart...

Today so far we have received no "maybe next week" email or no phone call.  But, as I was "waiting" messages came up on my phone from our Yahoo Group.  One of them was a story of a miracle.  You see normal court dates are now up to June with being given, (we were told that when we get ours it won't be that far out...just a week), so anyone in the waiting for a court date stage should plan on June for their date to travel over for court. Well, one family just found out that they got a surprise, miracle court date for April 28.  They will be leaving in the next day or so to travel over.  Everyone was responding to their news with, "what a miracle". I am happy for them, kinda' (it's so hard these days to be happy at all), it for sure is not their fault that we are were we are...and they should celebrate! 

You see...they had been praying to get their date before their child's 3rd birthday on April 29...but, they had ruled that out since dates were already at the end of May.  We prayed like this for our 1st court date that we could be their for G's birthday...we made it 2 weeks before.  So, they of course were so excited that God answered this prayer.

But, where the blow to my heart comes in.  I also have been praying for that date.  I was praying that on my Birthday and the day that we were accepted to adopt by AWAA last year, that we would have our "whatever #" court date. April 28 or before Lord please. And this would put us write at D's birthday, June 3 for Embassy...if no problems.  Please let it all happen so I can be there for his birthday Lord.  After all we were told that this would "be the week".  So, I guess God gave them the miracle and here we are?!?  We and a handful of friends sit idle and were hoping for next week court dates.  2 of us were told if our paperwork was there and the judge knew that she would immediately give us a date...she hasn't.  And 1 family also has been waiting since October for a court date.  Once her paperwork was cleared up the 1st of March she should have been receiving a date before this one given today and before a few others.  Yet, they "don't know" in her case.

The system is flawed, many of us wonder if anyone REALLY is advocating for us.  And if this is meant to be.  Maybe it's not?  Is there a problem and they are not telling us?  I know many will say, "Don't think that way."  You are not in my shoes!  As one friend sent a private message and said after a year from when they traveled for their 1st trip, with the Russia program a couple of years ago, they lost their child.  A fight for a year and lost them.  Then you have "Ms. I hate blacks" (see my fbook post from last Sunday)...who said, "Maybe this won't happen."  What if it doesn't?

I was asked last night to explain how this feels.  It was a nice conversation.  This friend was trying to feel with me.  I told her it's like a death every day.  It's like mourning for a child who I will never hold again.  It sucks!

I know many will say, "One day you won't even remember this pain."  This is not child birth! We already gave birth in October! And as I don't remember the pain from child birth...THIS will be a pain forever remembered.  It is a scar forever there. It has been the most unbelievably most horrible pain after day.  I have been adopted and lost my birth parents, I also lost both of my adoptive parents.  I had a psychotic abusive adoptive dad...he never told me he loved me, he never was there for me.  A total stranger. I had a mother who then chose another psychotic man over her daughter and grandchildren and walked out on all of us (she had also did this many times throughout my life...but, this was the last time I allowed it)...none of that feels anything like this.  I have healed and dealt with all of those things and knew through it all that I had the ULTIMATE Father...My Lord.  But, I can see that when He looses a child to the world, who never comes home to has got to just about break Him all over again. It's breaking me daily to not have my children home.

So, could we find out today that we have a court date?  I doubt it.  It is past the "normal" waiting time.  I have emailed and called twice.  She was on the phone the 1st time and now in a meeting.  Let's go to a meeting and not let us waiting know what's going on. Let's ruin each of our days as we sit and wait and are unable to do a darn thing because it consumes us!!!  Wouldn't it consume you?  It is so true what my adoptive friend said as she's waiting also, "I've learned that hope deferred really does make the heart sick, and I believe it makes God's heart sick too."  My heart aches and is consuming me...hope deferred tears your heart up so much that you can't function.

Yes, I'm giving this again to the Lord and praying for our Miracle. To think that 2 little boys that are so far away could come into your heart and cause this.  I love them and long for heart breaks for their hearts.

Now it's time again after almost 90 days of this to pull myself together, clean up the sobbing face, and put on a happy face and get some things accomplished.

***Just got the email..."not today"...hopefully next week.  Whatever...

Monday, April 18, 2011

What I'm thinking about today...

I am thinking about just how thankful I am for adoptive mommy friends.  I need the ones who are right there where I am.  I need their encouragement, their words, their cries and their frustrations.  I know sounds weird right?  Nope, it's not.  I need it because being all alone at this stage in our adoption would be absolutely impossible for me to imagine.

I am thinking about the words I heard today and how much I know that it is truth.  How I know that I am not absolutely crazy, or maybe I am and now have crazy friends.  I'm just glad that I know I'm not alone in my thoughts.

What I heard today and what I've thought in my heart for quite some time:

  •   I've learned that hope deferred really does make the heart sick, and I believe it makes God's heart sick too.
  • I also have some thoughts about "God's timing" in adoption that certainly wouldn't be that popular, but does it occur to no one else that human error plays a role in adoption just as surely as it plays a role in all sorts of injustices? Do we look at a child stuck in an abusive home, locked in by a corrupt or inefficient system and call that "God's timing"?
  • God wants orphans to have families.
  • I don't think we have to check our brains at the door and sweep every delay under the "God's timing" rug and put on our happy faith faces. I think Jesus would be fighting and grieving and working relentlessly to free these kids from the bondage of being an orphan if he was on earth today. Not being a passive advocate who pretends to be happy about children stuck in an institution.
Thank You friend who spoke the words that have been on my heart.

I am thinking that I'm tired of hearing it's "God's timing".  It is just an easy thing to say while patting someone on the back. But, I can tell you that if a friend's child died today...I wouldn't say that.  If someone had cancer all of a sudden...I wouldn't say that.  If a child was molested right now and we found out, would we say, "It's God's timing?"  So, my children who were dropped off at an orphanage and left, who are living without parents, and the wait continues on and on...I don't believe for one moment it's God's timing, God's plan.  He wants orphans in families.  He wants to place the lonely in families!

I am thinking that my heart is getting sicker by the moment...hope deferred is a sick thing for sure. This is a hard road and getting harder every minute. I want some type of normal.  I scream for it.  Normal would be nice. These roller coaster emotions are driving me insane.  I hate roller coasters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I am thinking that normal is not what Jesus ever lived on this earth...normal is not what God asked us to live either.  I am thinking that this week as our Lord was giving it up for ME, for YOU that He went through horrific suffering for our sins...I can suffer through this for His children, for His will.  I am thinking however that I don't like it, I wish it wasn't this hard. I wish human mistakes didn't drag out our homecoming with our kids.

I am thinking that skyping with my boys yesterday was incredible.  It helped me realize that they were "real".  That this wasn't just some boys that I met at an orphanage and loved on and went home.  They are ours.  They are my boys.  I needed it so much!

I am thinking the most precious thing I heard from G is, "Where's Daddy?" (I will admit that I wish he would have said, "Hi, mom 1st."  Guess we know who's the!)  And then he said, "I love him."  G loves his daddy...has from minute one! He lost control when his daddy was leaving for the last time and that's who he wants to know about 1st thing now.  You know, He's never had a daddy.  I think he longs for that and is so excited that he has one, but, is probably wondering if it's really ever going to be permanent.  I'm glad he now has a daddy!

I am thinking that that is how it is when we get saved!  We long for someone we've never had before.  Someone to fill that gap in our heart.  Our Daddy.  When we finally meet him and make Him ours.  We ask, "Where is He?"  We want to make sure He's there, that He's gonna' hear us and answer us and hug us tight.  The reassurance that comes with that is amazing!  I can't wait for G to have a daily dose of knowing in his heart for sure that He has a forever on this earth daddy and a forever forever Father! 

I am thinking how cool it is that adoption is the example of our adoption by our Lord.  If you could see these orphaned kids faces when they meet their parents for the 1st get a glimpse of heaven.  When you see the parents standing on a porch and waiting for the door to open and for their child to either run or be brought into their is such a reflection.  Oh, how our Lord stands at many a hearts door and waits for it to open and His child to come into His arms forever.  And when it happens it's really something hard to explain...just how wonderful it is.  It takes your breath.

I am thinking that those moments of each our friends meeting their children, will never be able to be erased from my mind.  Beautiful moments!!!

I am thinking that so many will miss out on such a reflection of our salvation our rescuing by not stepping out of "their life" and adopting.  It might be uncomfortable...but, it will change your heart forever.  Just like many will miss out on a forever Father if they are not given a chance, if someone doesn't reach them and show them a forever home.  Living a life of such a horrible thought.  But, when Christ followers refuse to adopt God's orphaned children...their every day life will be a living hell...and more than likely their forever will be as well.  Also, if we don't reach out and witness...many will be orphaned and separated from their Father forever.  Both, are tragic and heartbreaking...and fixable...if we will just step outside of "our selves".

I am thinking that so many Christ followers think we are on this earth for SELF.  For our pleasure.  Check... ticket to heaven bought and paid for.  Now time to party it up.  That's not what God asked.  He asked for us to do works once we are saved.  He asked us to suffer as He did.  What have you did lately that's hard?  Let's all make a difference.  I know I don't want to be in heaven on "little mansion, little crown" row and everyone know that I did not do a thing for my Lord and that's why I live in the slums of heaven...because I didn't really care about Him.  Yikes.  That is a long forever to live like that!!!!  My riches will come in heaven if I let them all go here on earth! 

So, yes...I have a lot of thinking going on.  I have a lot on my heart.  If you can even find it.  I feel like it's crumbled up and spread thin right now.  My heart is in more than one place...and anytime you are ripping something and stretching it that hurts. It hurts bad.

I pray my boys will be home soon. I pray my adoptive sisters kids will be home soon.  I know how they feel.  I feel their pain and it's huge! I want our kids in my arms.  They are precious, they are adorable.  They need their family.

Yep, That's what I'm thinking today!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Word is still NO!  No to Passing Court.  We keep hearing, "soon".


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Devotions the last couple of weeks:

I wanted to share 3 devotions that I have read in the last couple of weeks.  I have been reading out of 2 different "day of the week" devotion books + other studies.  
One of the books is called, "God Calling Journal".  This journal is written as if God is speaking it.  This is what I read this morning: 

"I am here.  Seek not to know the future.  Mercifully I veil it from you.
  Faith is too priceless a possession to be sacrificed in order to purchase knowledge.  but Faith itself is based on a knowledge of Me. 
So remember that this evening time is not to learn the future, not to receive revelation of the Unseen, but to gain an intimate knowledge of Me which will teach you all things and be the very foundation of your faith."

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."  2 Peter 3:18 

I love this.  I know that so many have been going before His throne each night for so many adoption needs.  And I think that personally I have found what is talked about above.  It's not about Him revealing His plan for our adoption to us...but, I have gained an intimate knowledge of My Lord in the evening time.  Something that I will continue and cherish for the rest of my days.
I want to remember that without these trials and struggles...I would have never developed this intimate knowledge.  I've never grown before like I have through this period of my life.  For that I am grateful.

Okay moving on:

March 18...Out of the Same Book:

"Listen, listen, I am your Lord. Before Me there is none other.  Just trust Me in everything.  Help is here all the time.
The difficult way is nearly over, but you have learnt in it lessons you could learn in no other way.  "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."  Wrest in Me, by firm and simple trust and persistent prayer, the treasures of My Kingdom.
Such wonderful things are coming to you, Joy--Peace--Assurance--Security--Health--Happiness--Laughter.
Claim big, really big, things now.  Remember, nothing is too big.  Satisfy the longing of My Heart to give.  Blessing, abundant blessing, on you both now and always.  Peace.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."  Jeremiah 33:3   

I just loved this devotion.  Claiming big is not what many preach, "Claim it and receive it" having to do with wealth, etc.  It's so much deeper and more rich than that.  This has to do with things that God desires, not what we desire w/out Him placing it in our hearts 1st...once it's in our hearts...we desire it beyond belief and we should Claim it big time and desire it.  And I do so agree that I have learned lessons that would have never came if it had not been for this loooong wait.  God is oh, so good.

3rd and Last if from March 7th (From the book Look Unto Me, The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon, Jim Reimann:

Have faith in God.  Mark 11:22

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon: 

Faith is the foot of the soul that enables us to march along the road of the commandments.  Love can make our feet move more quickly, but faith is what actually carries the soul.  Faith is the oil that enables the wheels of holiness and devotion to roll freely, for without faith the wheels will ultimately come off our chariot and we will simply drag along the ground.  With faith "I can do everything" (Phil 4:13), but without it I will have neither the inclination nor the power to do anything in service to God.

If you are looking for people who will serve God the best, look for people with the most faith.  Little faith can save a person, but little faith will never do great things for God.  In The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1628-1688) Little-faith could never have fought Apollyon--it took Christian to do that.  Little-faith could never have slain Giant Despair--it required Great-heart's arm to knock down that monster.  Little-faith most certainly will get to heaven, but often along the way will be forced to hide itself and thereby frequently loses all rewards except its crown of salvation.

Little -faith says, "This is a rough road, covered with the sharpest thorns and full of danger.  I'm afraid to go."  But Great-faith remembers the promise, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as the days, so shall thy strength be" (Deut. 33:25 KJV), so Great-faith boldly ventures ahead.  Little-faith waits in despondency, it tears mingling with the floodwaters it stands beside; but Great-faith sings, "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you" (Isa. 43:2); and then Great-faith fords the stream at once.

Do you desire to be comfortable and truly happy?  Do you desire to enjoy your faith?  Would you prefer a faith of cheerfulness as opposed to one of gloominess?  then "have faith in God" (Mark 11:22).  But if you love darkness and are satisfied to live in misery and gloom, then convince yourself to be content with little faith.

If you love sunshine and would rather sing songs of rejoicing, then earnestly desire and seek the best gift: "great faith" (Matt 8:10).

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Jesus used the words "great faith" only twice--neither in reference to the people of Israel.  The first described a Roman centurion, someone hated by Israel, but a man with enough faith to ask Jesus to heal his servant.  Upon this encounter Jesus said, "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith" (Matt. 8:10).  The other reference was to a Canaanite woman who asked the Lord to deliver her daughter from demon possession.  Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted" (Matt. 15:28).
What does this say about the exercise of faith of God's people today?  As in days of old, we must be careful to follow the Lord in the inner heart of faith--not simply in our outward actions.  In the Old Testament, God said of His people's unholy rituals, "they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them" (Isa. 1:14).  Thus, the church today as well must be careful not simply to have "a form of godliness [while] denying its power" (2 Tim. 3:5).
I love the statement from Charles Spurgeon: "Little faith can save a person, but little faith will never do great things for God."  It is so true.  It is an easy step, God made it so simple, Jesus did all the work for us to be saved.  We just have to say yes.  It's the action afterwards that seems to stop us.  I think that many times we don't want to "say it's true", but, we get saved and then stop.  Well, we are saved.  Now I am SAFE!  Whew, slid into home base and I don't have to play another game of ball.  For many years I played the safe card.  Living my worldly life.  The American Dream was more important than God's dreams and desires.  That is so, so tragic.  Truly though many just will live their lives like that...even Pastors.  Many Pastors will be "stuck" in the same service week after week, many will leave the ministry because it was not all the glamor they hoped it to be.  Well, that's another topic, another subject.  But, us "non preachers" are not the only ones who will never truly do anything.  It happens in all levels of Christianity.  Serve the aquarium of fish, wonder where our weekly fish food is, complain when the aquarium is not what we want...but, venture out into the big sea?  Never...I have little faith and that's all I needed to be saved.

In the bible I do not see examples of "little faith".  The men were men and some of the women stood up like men.  Nothing wrong with that.  They had Big Faith.  I know that God desires all "Christ Followers" to do just that...FOLLOW!  There's no need to be scared.  Let me tell you...I was scared the 1st day I ventured with my kids down a dusty road between the 2 Transition Homes in Ethiopia.  There were some other people sitting and walking that was a bit worrisome. But, it was not going to separate me from my son. And after I walked the road that day...I found out that it was a dusty road that I will cherish forever.  It's just a matter of trusting God in our lives and stepping out and just doing it.

Ladies...many of you I am praying for.  I have heard so many of you say that you desire to do more, or even desire to adopt...but, your husband would "never go for it".  Pray for him.  Talk to him.  Don't let him hold you back from having Big Faith. Maybe actually ask him what he thinks...maybe you are just saying he would "never go for it" but, yet you've never even asked him what he thinks.  If it's God's desire and on your heart...Big Faith will find a way for things to happen in your lives.  But you do have to be proactive and start can't just "tuck it away" and if God moves you or moves your spouse than you'll do it one day.  No, you have to have Big Faith and start the process.  Don't let others hold you back from serving God in whatever capacity...pray and trust God to remove any obstacles...if it's His will...He will!  If it's even as small as "getting to church" to worship him.  Maybe your husband doesn't want you there or is to lazy to go.  Go anyway, take your kids. Maybe it's a mission trip that God has placed on your heart.  Go.  If you don''ll find yourself 30 years later saying, "If only".  1st and foremost you are GOD's.  Have Big Faith, pray and seek what His will is for you.  Don't just keep going with little or no faith. 
Maybe it's not you wanting to move but, your spouse and you are holding him have I seen this lived out.  A husband with passion and a wife holding him back.  You know, I did that exact thing when Darren left his "safe and secure" job to start his own company. Man, I gave him a hard time.  I just kept telling him, "Get a normal job".  I was scared and wanting security.  Aren't all women?  We went through many years of little to no money and it was tough.  But, now when I look back...I know without a doubt that the day that I trusted him as my husband as a smart man...things really fell into place.  I had to realize that he was not going to leave us destitute, that he would work 3 jobs including delivering pizza if he had to to keep us from going under...I had to have Big Faith in him...and stop having little faith...I had to trust him.  Same but, even more so with our Lord. Having a "safe" zone is not what God ever intended for our salvation to be about.  It was to accept Him and then hit the dusty roads of the unknown for Him. You are going to be much more happy and cheerful by stepping out on Big Faith.

God is so, so amazing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm spent...

Yesterday we received an update on the infamous "MOWA letter" writing.  I was so hopeful, yet tried to remain calm and in check.  Here is the update we received:  "We have heard positive reports today regarding MOWA processing the backlog and are hopeful to have good news for you tomorrow. I will be in touch with you first thing tomorrow with an update."

I'm telling you...that is what we had been waiting to hear.  So, as I got up this morning I had such an upset stomach from the anticipation, friends it was like Christmas Morning as a child...I had to keep busy so, I found myself barking out orders and cleaning my house. You know I have found myself lately mad, upset, depressed, hopeful, down, up and oh, so very testy.  Yep, it's not all that glamorous these days. The kids have learned that my moods have nothing to do with them and they are trying to support me as well as they can. And I am trying to find activities that are positive and all hiking, movies, cleaning, chocolate...yep, trying to not let my mood ruin a day.  Believe it or not, I have also learned to pray, pray and pray some more, (on my face, through the night, in tears, while fasting), and just remain silent if I have nothing good to say. Yes, I have learned to be silent, except to the Lord. I have found myself at His feet more than ever.  I have found that He really is the most important. Not because I am wanting, I have found out that He is God Almighty and that I want to serve Him with blood, sweat and tears.  It's worth it friends.

All right back to my morning: By about 9:45 my stomach was hurting from knowing in my gut that we were not going to get a positive phone call.  At 10:00 am I sent an email to our agency and got the reply I dreaded.  Nope, we did not pass court yet again.  No good news as they had hoped.

Can I say that I am spent.  I am so weary.  I know God is doing something huge in our lives, he has formed me into someone I never thought I would become.  He has did and is still doing an incredible work in me and my family.  But, can I say...I'm spent.  I'm over it!  Yes, I know that God has this and has a plan.  I can say that I don't need or want to hear that from anyone right now.  I KNOW...but, I don't need it preached to me.  I am so, excited for our travel friends and those who have traveled after us who have either already went and got their kids, or have passed court after us, or has received great news about Embassy.  I am excited truly.  But, I am also partly sick of hearing it.  I know...that sounds so, so mean.  But, it's true.  I can't clearly or will I EVER understand why it was us who had to wait!  Friends are coming home and we still have not passed court!  Really?  REALLY?  It's so hard to comprehend.  But, I will continue to keep giving it ALL back to God.  I have nothing else to give, I have let Him have it.  

I just with that at this point I am wanting to put my boys photos is so painful to look at them.  I am answering the question of, "Do you want us to take photos of your boys?", with, "No, not really."  Who does that???  That's the bad mom of the year award.  But, it literally hurts so, so bad.  It hurts to know someone else is hugging them, that they are having to be lined up again for yet another photo and our 9 year old knows that means no coming home.  I weep when I receive photos of makes me sad not happy.  I know, I'm crazy!  I am so grateful for those loving my boys and taking photos...I love the updates but, also hate them.  I never knew this could be so, so hard.  Ugghhh.

Adoption is not easy.  Would I change it all and not do it?  Nope.  I would go through this again and again.  I know without a doubt that God wants and desires to set the lonely in families.  We had to step, many are not!  There are so many Christians, (I hate to even use that term...I've been there...claiming to be a Christ Follower...but, when I'm sitting how can I follow), who are so into self they can't see the cross and what God is pleading for them to do.  I have looked in the eyes of many, many orphans and even the faces of the parents having, HAVING, to give them up...and know without a doubt that I would and probably we will go down this path again!  These kids are a GIFT to us!  It's not the other way around...they are rescuing us from SELF...we're not rescuing and saving them...they are saving us from a worldly self filled life.  They are fulfilling us in an AMAZING way!!!

For now though...this has been the most taxing, exhausting process of my life.  It has torn and ripped and pulled out places in my deepest self that I did not know existed.  Some I'm glad that I can now see and work on. I will NEVER be the same.  In other ways I wish it wasn't such a crushing experience. Friends it hurts. Maybe many don't understand...I've actually noticed many that don't.  You know...I don't expect to be babied or pampered during this time...but, I've realized that many "friends" that I thought were rock solid... really aren't.  Some life long friends have not even asked how our trip was, as of yet.  It's only been 6 + weeks.  They have not asked to see photos of our boys or even asked how it was meeting them for the 1st time.  Should I expect that?  Yes.  The ones that we have been there for each others births, sicknesses, and those that are in leadership positions...I think it's not really "expecting"...I think it's more of it should be natural and the norm.  Maybe I counted those friendships as much more than what they really are.  I don't know. And I'm sad that I thought many were much more.  I think a lot is the result of self over much going on in their own lives to focus on anything else.  I've learned how important supporting others is. I want to be their for others.  It's what we should be doing.  You know in many ways I would have found myself so lonely during this time of our lives because of those I always considered rock solid...but, amazingly...God has placed new people in our lives who truly care and ask and are there.  And yes, there are still some solid life long friends who have been there.  It's just all been a bit surprising.  I won't stop loving those who have not been there...but, life has forever changed in those relationships, or lack of.  It's interesting to say the least.  And I've learned that many will disappoint...but, I know that I'm no different to my Lord and how I have and will disappoint Him and I know I will fail others as well...but, I'm working at not letting that happen...I know how important it is.
I have explained what is going on as giving birth to your child and spending a few weeks with this precious child and then having to leave them in a foreign country and waiting for someone to tell you that you can be with them again.  As one friend said, "No one in their right mind leaves their child for 50 + days all alone in a foreign country, no one."  It's so true.  If God has placed them in your family and hearts...they are YOURS.  And it hurts more than one can explain.

God has this, He is working some mighty things out right now.  I want to let you know that God is amazing!  I love Him so, so much!!!  And I would die for Him.  I right now will suffer, hurt and wait for Him!  It's worth it friends.  No one said that following Him would look glamorous.  I am being molded as I am His clay and He is my potter.  I am being refined in the fire.  But, that's okay!  I might be in therapy before it's all over...but, I would not change my mind about adopting.  We've actually talked about..."When we do it again."  Who says that when they are going through the fire?  Those that know how just important, incredible, and wonderful it is.  I long for my boys...I am heart broken today...yet again.  How many times can one's heart break???  I'm not for sure...but, it has been a countless # of times here lately.

All for my boys our family...I will persevere and move forward.

Right as I hit the period...this is the song that came on the radio:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adoption Prayer Requests:

"Oh, Lord and Mighty Savior...please hear our plea's to bring your orphans home.  Please move mountains and let things go smoothly and quickly.  We love your orphans...we are willing to fly across the oceans, to face the unknown, to fall in love with your beautiful Ethiopian children.  Love is a of ourselves we have chosen to do.  You placed them in our hearts...and in our lives...all we want is to give them a forever home like you have for us with Heaven.  Thank you Lord for this journey...for these children.  Please move these mountains and bring our kids home."

  • Floate's...apt. today.
  • Coffield's
  • Herwehe's
  • Lancaster's
  • Williams
  • Kramer's
  • Davidson's
  • Winn's
  • Darling's
  • Michel's 
  • Hellman's
  • Hall's

  • Munn's 3/1 (date of court date)
  • Sorrenson's...official to sign their documents so they can have a court date!
  • Major's 3/10
  • Hatmaker's 3/10
  • Robinson's 3/10
  • Storm's 3/10
  • Druckenmiller's 3/10
  • Jamison's 3/10
  • Wanderer's 3/14
  • Jurren's 3/15 
  • Anderson's 3/21
  • Jones 3/21
  • Dreyfus 3/23
  • Cassidy's 3/24
  •  Shelburn's
  • Barth
  • Chapman

Waiting for an answer - Hopeful of a change:

  • Mullis 3/14 for #3 court date...for now
  • Henderson 3/15 for #3 court date...for now

 Loved this post...

Twelve reasons adoption is good for the believer…

Let me say upfront that first & foremost, adoption is about finding the right family for a child (& not vice versa). It is about providing permanency for another human being.
That being said, there are a lot of other secondary benefits for those who are led to adopt. If someone came to me with one of these reasons as their primary reason or motivation for adopting I would encourage them to tap the brakes because, as I said above, adoption is first about providing a home for an infant/child/teenager. But like many things in life there are layers of benefits.
Here are 12 secondary reasons why I believe adoption is good for the Christ-follower:
  1. Adoption & the adoption process provide a venue to trust God like few other things can
  2. Adoption is a visible picture of the Gospel – adopted children are brought into the family & receive all the blessings, rights & inheritance of the biological children
  3. Adoption enables us to enter into the pain, loss & grief of another human being which is good for our hearts & soul
  4. Adoption reminds us that we are not put on this earth for ourselves – we are here to serve, especially those who have no voice
  5. Adoption is what God has been up to ever since Genesis 3 – setting the lonely in His family
  6. Adoption teaches our children, both biological & adopted (& the local church – that God’s people look out for those who cannot look out for themselves – it’s just what we should be doing
  7. Adoption forces us to confront our motivations, beliefs and expectations about how we build our family
  8. Adoption demonstrates that love is a choice, not a fleeting emotion
  9. Adoption is one of God’s answer for the orphan…one day there will be no more orphans, but for today adoption is needed
  10. Adoption helps foster compassion
  11. Adoption is infectious – those who watch a family go through the adoption process will be more likely to process it for themselves
  12. Adoption teaches perseverance & endurance because it can be hard – really, really hard
Are there any that you feel I’ve missed? What would you add to this list?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 18 Devotion...

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

O tested soul, perhaps the Lord is dealing with you to develop your gifts.  some of your gifts would never be discovered, much less developed, if not for your trials.  don't you know your faith never looks as good in the warm weather of summer as it does during winter?  Our love is all too often like that of a firefly whose light appears much stronger when surrounded by darkness.  And hope itself is like a star whose light cannon be seen in the sunshine of prosperity but is only discovered during the dark night of adversity.
Afflictions are often the dark contrast in which God sets the jewels of His children's gifts in order to make them shine even brighter.  Wasn't it just a little while ago you were on your knees praying, "Lord,, I'm afraid I have no faith.  Please let me know that I do"?  Although perhaps not consciously done, wasn't this, in fact, a prayer for trials, for how will you ever know you have faith until your faith is exercised?  You can depend upon the fact that God often sends trials in order for us to discover our gifts and to make us certain of their existence.  Besides, the goal is not merely discovery of our gifts but is the real growth in God's grace that results from holy trials.
God often removes our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians.  He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by disciplining them through forced marches and difficult service.  He makes them ford streams, swim across rivers, climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.
Dear Christian, couldn't this account for the troubles you are now experiencing?  Isn't the Lord revealing your gifts and causing them to grow?  Isn't this His purpose in dealing with you?

Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.
                   William Cowper, 1731-1800

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Joesph is a great Old Testament example of suffering.  Sold into slavery by his own brothers, he later experienced prison just as the apostle Paul did.  Yet over time he saw God's hand at work and, when given the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers, he said, "You intended to harm  me, but God intended it for good...the saving of many lives" (Gen. 50:20).  He was his leadership abilities and his position of power in Egypt as the result of being refined by affliction.
Paul learned the same lesson through suffering, for he wrote,

(The Lord) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.                      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"See, I have refined you...I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. 48:10).

Along with the above...I know that adoption of God's orphan is also a huge spiritual battle.  Satan wants nothing more than to stop such a beautiful thing from happening.  I know that through all that we and others are going through when we get our babies will mean all the much more. Trials do make the promise sweet. Fighting for them makes them even more ours.
I still pray for all of the struggles to come to a quick end and all of our babies to be home...but, I will take from it, while I'm going through this fire, a lesson that God is showing me...take how He is shaping and developing me in the area of orphans and standing up for them...I will develop whatever gifts or lessons He is teaching. I will fight to the end to get our boys home and fight for others to bring their children home.  I will become a prayer warrior for the many who are going through the same streams, swimming across the same rivers (or oceans in our case), climbing the same mountains, and walking many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. With God we will prevail and rescue these orphans...but, along the way...I want to be developed into who God wants me to be...refined in the fire, the clay being shaped by the potter...and the weak one being held by my Father when I think I can not possibly be shaped and refined any more.
  This journey is so worth it...just never thought it would be so uphill...but, I will try to do it with grace and strength.