Wednesday, December 14, 2011

waiting

How difficult the waiting is, all the unknowns just hanging out there. It forces us to believe that there is warring going on in the spiritual realm. We have to trust that even though everything in us wants to make progress, wants to force people to go quicker, we simply can't. So we wait. The first day after we get news is always the hardest,has both a good effect and difficult effect on us. For instance on Tuesday it was "I will talk to some childrens relatives but they live very far away and can only get here next Monday" that kind of news gets us so excited but also leaves us feeling like we should be doing something more! After prayer and talking we decide we must trust our advocate - earthly one and heavenly one - and wait for things to play out. We kill ourselves thinking "what if this or that" but we realize that we are closer now than ever, but so many obstacles still stand in our path. God can topple them in an instant or they could be things that stop us from becoming parents to certain children. We don't know. But we keep trusting, and fighting.
It is a battle in our minds and hearts to stay focused on tasks for the day that often have nothing to do with adoption.a battle not to wish the next step would come quick, the thing that will give us more answers but is still a week away.
God has blessed us with a comminty here who is ever gentle and always encouraging and understanding. I don't know where we would be with out them. Even when we are angry and frustraited they listen and understand.

So today we go to the village, to be with those we do have in front of us to love.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"it takes a village" reblogged

i am not sure if this is illegal in the blogging world, but i just stumbled on a blog i have to copy and paste here. i wil give credit, and i hope you enjoy this insight.
so the below is Jen Hatermaker's blog and then another bloggers response to her blog post. confusing i know, but i think you can follow - 2 bloggers, and me the third in the line posting these thoughts that are not my own, but i really appreciated hearing.
they come first from:
http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/02/how-to-be-the-village#.TrG5yC5r1Pl.facebook

and then the responses are from:
http://james127.blogspot.com/

"It takes a village" AMEN!
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Jen Hatmaker just posted on how adoption 'takes a village'.

Here’s what we would love to hear Before the Airport:

1. Just kind, normal words of encouragement. Not the kind that assume we are one breath away from atheism. Not the kind that attempt to minimize the difficulties and tidy it all up with catchphrases. We don’t actually need for you to fix our wait. We just want you to be our friend and acknowledge that the process is hard and you care about us while we’re hurting. That is GOLD. I was once having lunch with my friend Lynde when AWAA called with more bad news about Ben’s case, and I laid my head down on the table in the middle of Galaxy CafĂ© and bawled. Having no idea what to do with such a hot mess, she just cried with me. Thank you for being perfect that day, Lynde.

2. Your questions are welcomed! We don’t mind telling you about the court system in Ethiopia or the in-country requirements in Nicaragua or the rules of the foster system. We’re glad to talk about adoption, and we’re thankful you care. I assure you we didn’t enter adoption lightly, so sharing details of this HUGE PIECE OF OUR LIVES is cathartic. Plus, we want you to know more because we’re all secretly hoping you’ll adopt later. (This is not true.) (Yes it is.)

3. When you say you’re praying for us and our waiting children, and you actually really are, not only does that soothe our troubled souls, but according to Scripture, it activates the heavens. So pray on, dear friends. Pray on. That is always the right thing to say. And please actually do it. We need people to stand in the gap for us when we are too tired and discouraged to keep praying the same words another day.

4. If you can, please become telepathic to determine which days we want to talk about adoption and which days we’d rather you just show up on our doorstep with fresh figs from the Farmer’s Market (thanks, Katie) or kidnap us away in the middle of the day to go see Bridesmaids. Sometimes we need you to make us laugh and remember what it feels like to be carefree for a few hours. If you’re not sure which day we’re having, just pre-buy movie tickets and show up with the figs, and when we answer the door, hold them all up and ask, “Would you like to talk for an hour uninterrupted about waiting for a court date?” We’ll respond to whichever one fits.


I particularly liked her 'after the airport' tips, so I wanted to share them here. My thoughts are after the // and in bold.

(Note: I personally do not think airport celebrations are helpful to our adopted kids. They are incredibly overwhelmed, and we want to keep those neurotransmitters safe and sound by keeping the stress as low as possible!)

You went to the airport. The baby came down the escalator to cheers and balloons. The long adoption journey is over and your friends are home with their new baby / toddler / twins / siblings / teenager. Everyone is happy. Maybe Fox News even came out and filmed the big moment and “your friend” babbled like an idiot and didn’t say one constructive word about adoption and also she looked really sweaty during her interview. (Really? That happened to me too. Weird.)

How can you help? By not saying or doing these things:

1. I mean this nicely, but don’t come over for awhile. Most of us are going to hole up in our homes with our little tribe and attempt to create a stable routine without a lot of moving parts. This is not because we hate you; it’s because we are trying to establish the concept of “home” with our newbies, and lots of strangers coming and going makes them super nervous and unsure, especially strangers who are talking crazy language to them and trying to touch their hair.//This is why I think the airport celebration is too much for them. Wait a season...until our kids are good and 'settled' like our dear friends the Youngs, and then have a HUGE celebration for their homecoming!! This is also why I would not recommend immediatlely sending our adopted kiddos to school. They need to bond at home. They need that time to become a family unit and learn the surroundings of their new life (keeping those neurotransmitters as calm as possible).

2. Please do not touch, hug, kiss, or use physical affection with our kids for a few months. We absolutely know your intentions are good, but attachment is super tricky with abandoned kids, and they have had many caregivers, so when multiple adults (including extended family) continue to touch and hold them in their new environment, they become confused about who to bond with. This actually delays healthy attachment egregiously. It also teaches them that any adult or stranger can touch them without their permission, and believe me, many adoptive families are working HARD to undo the damage already done by this position. Thank you so much for respecting these physical boundaries.// This is very good advice, and another reason I would not recommend newly adopted children going to school immediately. Take time off and bond. Kary Purvis says for ever year a child was in the orphanage, give them a month to be in reaching distance of their parents. Jeremiah was in the orphanage for 3 months, and we kept him cocooned for 2 months. For 6 months, we still didn't let people hold him or be his primary care. Bonding is the most important thing you can do when you come home.

3. For the next few months, do not assume the transition is easy. For 95% of us, it so is not. And this isn’t because our family is dysfunctional or our kids are lemons, but because this phase is so very hard on everyone. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to constantly hear: “You must be so happy!” and “Is life just so awesome now that they’re here??” and “Your family seems just perfect now!” I wanted that to be true so deeply, but I had no idea how to tell you that our home was actually a Trauma Center. (I did this in a passive aggressive way by writing this blog, which was more like “An Open Letter to Everyone Who Knows Us and Keeps Asking Us How Happy We Are.”) Starting with the right posture with your friends – this is hard right now – will totally help you become a safe friend to confide in / break down in front of / draw strength from.// This is usually true. This is probably moreso true for internationally adopted kiddos. With our domestic adoptions, we personally didn't experience this. However, with Jeremiah....trauma center is a great description as to what our home was like. A little inside snapshot during our homecoming: kids who were home before adoption are SO happy to see us, yet feeling disconnected because we had been away - they are in need of lots of attention and one on one time/eye to eye time. Jeremiah is terrified of everything that comes within a foot of him. So, make that work? Mommy wears Jeremiah, but he screams and vomits every time other kids come within a foot of him. It was exhausting. Jeremiah takes TWO months before he'll set skin on the floor of our house (he only felt safe on mommy's back). On mommy's back, he was gold. Vomiting, diarrhea, and a whole sanitary station (that looks like a hospital changing station) in our bedroom. No children allowed in our bedroom to keep them from 'accidentally' touching something that would pass on giardia or Hep A. Blowouts....no, you don't know what I mean when I say blowout. BLOWOUTS - pj's FULL of liquid poop - every single morning for 2 months. Jeremiah vomiting his food, Micah coming behind and eating his vomit. Going to the dr with bm samples over and over. bleach. lots of bleach. Washing laundry multiple times a day. Survival friends. Survival.

4. Do not act shocked if we tell you how hard the early stages are. Do not assume adoption was a mistake. Do not worry we have ruined our lives. Do not talk behind our backs about how terribly we’re doing and how you’re worried that we are suicidal. Do not ask thinly veiled questions implying that we are obviously doing something very, very wrong. Do not say things like, “I was so afraid it was going to be like this” or “Our other friends didn’t seem to have these issues at all.” Just let us struggle. Be our friends in the mess of it. We’ll get better.// Yes.

5. If we’ve adopted older kids, please do not ask them if they “love America so much” or are “so happy to live in Texas.” It’s this simple: adoption is born from horrible loss. In an ideal world, there would be no adoption, because our children would be with their birth families, the way God intended. I’ll not win any points here, but I bristle when people say, “Our adopted child was chosen for us by God before the beginning of time.” No he wasn’t. He was destined for his birth family. God did not create these kids to belong to us. He didn’t decide that they should be born into poverty or disease or abandonment or abuse and despair aaaaaaaall so they could finally make it into our homes, where God intended them to be. No. We are a very distant Plan B. Children are meant for their birth families, same as my biological kids were meant for mine. Adoption is one possible answer to a very real tragedy… after it has already happened, not before as the impetus for abandonment. There is genuine grief and sorrow when your biological family is disrupted by death and poverty, and our kids have endured all this and more. So when you ask my 8-year-old if he is thrilled to be in Texas, please understand that he is not. He misses his country, his language, his food, his family. Our kids came to us in the throes of grief, as well they should. Please don’t make them smile and lie to you about how happy they are to be here.// I agree with some of this. However, I absolutely believe that our kids were ordained for our family. If they weren't, then that would mean God made a mistake. He doesn't make mistakes. I believe our adopted kids were ordained before there was time to be in our family. Adoption is absolutely the result of a broken world. But if we believe that God didn't ordain our kids for our family, then we don't believe God is 100% sovereign.

6. Please do not disappear. If I thought the waiting stage was hard, it does not even hold the barest candle to what comes after the airport. Not. The. Barest. Candle. Never have I felt so isolated and petrified. Never have I been so overwhelmed and exhausted. We need you after the airport way more than we ever needed you before. I know you’re scared of us, what with our dirty hair and wild eyes and mystery children we’re keeping behind closed doors so they don’t freak out more than they already have, but please find ways to stick around. Call. Email. Check in. Post on our Facebook walls. Send us funny cards. Keep this behavior up for longer than six days.// AMEN!!!!!! Thank you, friends, who never left us!!!



Here’s what we would love to hear or experience After the Airport:

1. Cook for your friends. Put together a meal calendar and recruit every person who even remotely cares about them. We didn’t cook dinners for one solid month, and folks, that may have single handedly saved my sanity. There simply are not words to describe how exhausting and overwhelming those first few weeks are, not to mention the lovely jetlag everyone came home with. And if your friends adopted domestically right up the street, this is all still true, minus the jetlag.// YES! And it allows us to focus on becoming a family w/o thinking through food! Leave it on the front door with a note that we can read to the family ;) And do what my sweet Gisele did, grocery shop for the essentials (toilet paper, cereal, milk, etc), and leave it on the doorstep. Text and tell her the cost, and she can leave a check on the doorstep for you. Awwwww...amazing blessing for us!

2. If we have them, offer to take our biological kids for an adventure or sleepover. Please believe me: their lives just got WHACKED OUT, and they need a break, but their parents can’t give them one because they are 1.) cleaning up pee and poop all day, 2.) holding screaming children, 3.) spending all their time at doctors’ offices, and 4.) falling asleep in their clothes at 8:15pm. Plus, they are in lockdown mode with the recently adopted, trying to shield them from the trauma that is Walmart.// I hadn't thought about our other kids leaving during that time. I don't think I would have liked that (maybe because our kids were so little?), but the rest is absolutely true. But asking and being available NEVER hurts!! ;)

3. Thank you for getting excited with us over our little victories. I realize it sounds like a very small deal when we tell you our kindergartener is now staying in the same room as the dog, but if you could’ve seen the epic level of freakoutedness this dog caused her for three weeks, you would understand that this is really something. When you encourage us over our incremental progress, it helps. You remind us that we ARE moving forward and these little moments are worth celebrating. If we come to you spazzing out, please remind us where we were a month ago. Force us to acknowledge their gains. Be a cheerleader for the healing process.// This is huge. I would post victories on fb. It was a HUGE victory the first time Jeremiah spent 2 minutes in the floor w/ his siblings in my lap! We celebrated with dancing, people!!! It was HUGE. Then 5 min without even looking for mommy! I made it to the kitchen while he was in the living room on the floor playing with his toys with his siblings. AWESOMENESS!!! Then the day he sat in his exersaucer for 2 minutes!! Everybodies victories are different, but they are VICTORIES!!!

4. Come over one night after our kids are asleep and sit with us on our porch. Let me tell you: we are all lonely in those early weeks. We are home, home, home, home, home. Good-bye, date nights. Good-bye, GNO’s. Good-bye, spontaneous anything. Good-bye, church. Good-bye, big public outings. Good-bye, community group. Good-bye, nightlife. So please bring some community to our doorstep. Bring friendship back into our lives. Bring adult conversation and laughter. And bring an expensive bottle of wine.// O man. What a fabulous, fabulous idea. We didn't do this, but we should have!! I think because we were asleep at 8:15 (see above comment) due to exhaustion. But a fabulous idea. Brilliant.

5. If the shoe fits, tell adopting families how their story is affecting yours. If God has moved in you over the course of our adoption, whether before the airport or after, if you’ve made a change or a decision, if somewhere deep inside a fire was lit, tell us, because it is spiritual water on dry souls. There is nothing more encouraging than finding out God is using our families for greater kingdom work, beautiful things we would never know or see. We gather the holy moments in our hands every day, praying for eyes to see God’s presence, his purposes realized in our story. When you put more holy moments in our hands to meditate on, we are drawn deeper into the Jesus who led us here.//Yes. It's always SO encouraging and gives us strength to press on!!!

Here’s one last thing: As you watch us struggle and celebrate and cry and flail, we also want you to know that adoption is beautiful, and a thousand times we’ve looked at each other and said, “What if we would’ve said no?” God invited us into something monumental and lovely, and we would’ve missed endless moments of glory had we walked away. We need you during these difficult months of waiting and transitioning, but we also hope you see that we serve a faithful God who heals and actually sets the lonely in families, just like He said He would. And even through the tears and tantrums (ours), we look at our children and marvel that God counted us worthy to raise them. We are humbled. We’ve been gifted with a very holy task, and when you help us rise to the occasion, you have an inheritance in their story; your name will be counted in their legacy.// AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!


Thank you for being the village. You are so important.