Friday, June 21, 2013

Finding joy in the little things

We are still waiting to bring home our precious son. We know that things are moving in the right direction but it's a very slow process. The kids are getting impatient and excited and are starting to truly understand that Manny will be home soon. Of course, we don't know what "soon" means. I have started gobbling up all sorts of blogs and journeys of other families as I try to prepare for what life may be like once he's home. I have been to trainings and read books on attachment and behavioral problems.I am also trying to learn at least some of his language so I can communicate with him and try to calm his fears in time.

It's a scary thing knowing that he is 7 years old and grew up in an institution since he was 1. Right now he is with a foster family and they are having problems with his behavior. Nick and I receive updates regarding his behavior and occasionally pictures. The problem with these updates is that they loose something in the translation and it is really hard to gauge whether they are something to be concerned about or just kids being kids. He likes to talk non-stop - so does my oldest. He didn't want to eat dinner one night so he hid it in his wardrobe - my 3 year-old doesn't eat dinner ever but she feeds the dog. He got in trouble at McDonald's for breaking his fries into little pieces and he cried until he made himself sick - all 3 of my kids have that flair for the dramatic. See, it's "normal" around here and his foster "Auntie" in Hong Kong wants to call a psychiatrist.

I know full well he will have trauma and behavior issues. You aren't born to drug addicted parents, abandoned in an institution with 16 boys to a 2-room house, shuffled off to a foster home 6+ years later, and then adopted into a strange family in a different country with a different language without some (maybe a lot) of trouble. I take hope in reading others stories about God's redemption of these little souls. They give me an idea of what I am in for possibly as well as how well God can use these little guys. I have found a great source of strength through http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/ . She is an amazing mom and believer and she had a recent post about adopting and loving on these institutionally held kiddos. Through that post, I found numerous other blogs of moms and families who have been where I am now. What a comfort and a joy!

Right now, in this seemingly never-ending season of waiting, I am learning to find the joy in the little things... a hug from my youngest, a smile from my oldest, a laugh from my son, peace and quiet with my hubby once the kids are in bed, a good night's sleep (rare around here), even a great workout at the gym that helps me get through my day. All the little things that we really need to stop and say a prayer of thanks for. Some days I need to be reminded of this and other days they are much easier to see. So take time to find some joy today. Look for the little things that tell you God is in control and He has your best interests at heart!

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:13-15 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hurry up and wait...

We always seem to be in a hurry just to wait. We waited and lost Timothy and now we are waiting to see if everything goes smoothly with "Manny." Just to catch everyone up on the past few months we grieved the loss of our son Timothy from southeast China. Their government changed their rules mid-adoption and we were left with the loss of our son. Explaining that to our kids and working through that loss could only have been handled with some supernatural grace and comfort. God was faithful and brought us through it.

Of course, we have some battle scars and a few wounds that won't heal completely until we are all reunited in the hereafter. The kids and I prayed for Timothy as we watched "Santa" and his sleigh fly around the world on Christmas Eve (Thank you Norad for that small blessing!). At the same time, we got to pray for "Manny" in Hong Kong and know that we should be able to bring him home before his 8th birthday.

"Manny" found us a few months ago. We had been looking through our agency's portal website almost daily looking for any boys that God would want to put in our path. "We changed our expectations and broadened our ideas for what we could or could not handle. We received an e-mail about a boy that wasn't even online yet. We took one look at his information and the picture of his smile and said "Tell us all about him!" After reading through the pages and pages of his history, we knew that this was our son and asked to be matched. All the while, a part of our hearts were terrified that we would lose him just as we lost Timothy. We were scared to tell the kids about him, scared to choose an "American" name for him, scared to even share that he may become a part of our lives. I would describe to friends and family that we were cautiously optimistic about the outcome and trying to rely on God for His peace and His timing but really, we were just trying to put one foot in front of the other and pray we didn't lose another son.

We have gone through the Dossier process all over again and even though this paperwork pile was less daunting as far as hoops and sheer amount of it, it was almost more so because of what we had to lose. We were able to essentially hand deliver our dossier to the main office because there was a 2-day conference that we all went to. At this conference there were social workers, ECE educators, foster parents, SAFE families, adoptive parents, and parents in the process of adoption. It was such an amazing chance to hear wonderful stories and heart-wrenching tragedies that all were made good through the power of love and God. There was some major healing for me there as I listened to parenting strategies for trauma filled kids and God-centered approaches to dealing with life's curve balls. The people I met were so genuine in their grief and their joy that I was able to finally get excited that this adoption may truly happen.

I spoke with my kids about some things that needed to change around here and some things that I needed to change about myself so that we can all be better and really make our home great. I sat down and was able to start to put down on paper some names for "Manny" that can work with his Chinese name and our last name and allow us to continue to call him "Manny" since it has started to stick. I can call him "Manny" instead of "your brother" when I talk to the kids and allow them to get a better, concrete picture of their brother instead of the ethereal and abstract in the future brother that we were reduced to.

We are back in the hurry up and wait stage as we go through the mailing of the dossier and the approval of the government in Hong Kong but it's getting easier to wait. It is still worrisome and tense but through the power of our Heavenly Father we are getting through it and are looking forward to the day we can bring home "Manny" and sharing his journey with the world. I know God has some amazing things planned for this little guy since his beginnings were so dark and painful. I pray that we can be good stewards of his story and use it to promote adoption and love to many, many people. God can and will use us to work miracles!


Psalm 10:12-14

The Message (MSG)


12-13 Time to get up, God—get moving.
    The luckless think they’re Godforsaken.
They wonder why the wicked scorn God
    and get away with it,
Why the wicked are so cocksure
    they’ll never come up for audit.
14 But you know all about it—
    the contempt, the abuse.
I dare to believe that the luckless
    will get lucky someday in you.
You won’t let them down:
    orphans won’t be orphans forever.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rage Against the Minivan: Let’s not leave advocating for orphans to adoptive...

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