Saturday, May 28, 2011

 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!

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