Sunday, January 26, 2014

Adoption: A First Choice

May 2010 (Two months after coming home)
Recently someone shared a blog post about infertility with me. First of all I am assuming this person assumed we dealt with infertility... I try not to let it bother me when people do this... but it does sadden me that most people think the only reason one would adopt is because of infertility. To set the record straight our FIRST choice was adoption. Even when I try to explain this I still get the "awe, it's OK if you don't want to talk about your struggle" look... People! There was no struggle? The only struggle is convincing people that adoption can be first choice...
Anyway...I digress... The link was a blog post written by a pastor about he and his wifes 'struggle'. Judging by the 100's of comments on this post I am assuming this guy has a pretty big church or following.
October 2013 
Out of curiosity I read the post. At first I was assuming that the end was going to wrap up nicely into an "but we have been blessed by the chance to adopt" ending... It didn't.

Instead this man who is a professing Christian, who by default professes to be ADOPTED by Christ went on to talk about their, and thousands of other peoples silent struggle. Talking about the struggle is not what I found troublesome. I realize that many people go through this and with that comes a lot of mourning. I get that. I have watched friends and family go through this. I see how hurtful this is. I don't deny the pain.
What bothered me was that was the ending... "We struggle silently... and after 10 years of trying to conceive", he said, "we have been forced to accept that we will never know the joy of being parents."

WHAT??? Really? I was speechless. I scrolled through the comments hoping to see someone... anyone suggest adoption but I didn't see that. Instead it was filled with more and more comments agreeing with him and confessing to the same realization. No children...

I am probably, OK I AM sensitive to this issue. I get that not everyone believes in adoption. But a Pastor, an adopted child of God... He couldn't see it.  It kills me because someone with this much following has influence. If he had finished the post with what I expected it to be and even half of the people who commented on his post followed his lead to look into adoption.. well...  they could have cleared out a couple of orphanages.

I look at my family and I feel like we are completely normal. I feel normal, I think my kids feel normal... but somehow we aren't "normal".
I wish we were though... not so I can feel better about myself, but so kids around the world can be adopted, so they can have a forever family, so they can feel... well... normal.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What a difference three years makes...

It almost makes me gasp to see the difference.

There are days that I can't believe that she hasn't always been as big as she is this day.
They grow so subtly... (except for the pants that just won't cover ankles by the end of a winter). But today I came across this picture of Maylin sitting on our pony and almost fell out of my seat. "She was once this small?" That picture was 6 months after bringing her home.
Now three years later there she sits on grandma's horse looking all grown up looking beautiful.

Maylin is our complex little girl who has had a complex little life. I'd love to say that her gotcha day was the end of that complexity but in reality that is far from the truth. A more realistic take on the situation was that it was a tumultuous day. (Even though we saw no tears or any acting out that day) It was a day she had to let go of her past, good or not, and trust go with two strangers who didn't speak her language, didn't look like her and couldn't even pronounce her name very well.

Trust is a word I wouldn't use for a long time. Sure there began to be a trust that she was going to be be fed, trust that she was going to have a safe place to sleep, but trust deep down in her heart that someone loves her, trust that someone REALLY loves her.. well that is an eternal work in progress.

Because of this lack of trust this precious girl can sometimes be mistaken for being a little "strong willed" just for the sake of being strong willed. Sure sometimes that is the case (what kid doesn't have their moment) but more times than not it's because she feels like she doesn't have control or because she doesn't have a voice, which can then lead to feeling like she "isn't safe" (her own words). And lets face it when I don't feel safe I am often ready to fight!

Most of her early childhood she had no voice. She didn't have a voice when she was abandoned, abused, neglected, she didn't have a voice when we, two foreigners, took her away from her foster family...  with no voice one learns to make a voice... que the strong will, que excitability, que the tears.
I think she and I are learning to understand each other's voices and I honestly do think she feels safe with Adam and I 99% of the time.

For the most part Maylin is a happy-go-lucky, push life to the limits kind of girl. Not many understand the vulnerability deep within which can occasionally cause her to sink her heels in.

I pray each day that she will see her needs met, not just physical needs but deep rooted emotional needs. I pray that those around her are able to see the vulnerable girl behind the strong, confident personality. I pray that she receives love, patience and grace.

For any of you who have, know or want adoptive children (older adoptions, or infant adoptions) click on the link below it is a GREAT video to help you understand the voice of the child. It is about an hour so set some time or watch it in segments but WATCH it. I promise it will shed light into the child and help you understand the voice they have/are creating.
Better Understanding our Children

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baptisms: December 1st, 2013

Several months ago in school Pierson and Maylin learned about baptism. After I read a great explanation of what it was and what it means both kids said they wanted to be baptized. 
They wanted Jesus in their lives! 
Of course my heart was happy and was very excited that is was their choice!
Pierson said he wanted to ask Mark, our preacher, to baptize them so we waited patiently until he finally got the nerve to do so. (He kept changing his mind but because he originally said he wanted to do it by himself we waited it out and let him ask in his time...)
 It was a beautiful day and lots of family and friends stood with us as we were called forward.
 Maylin does NOT like to be in front of people. Even though she wanted to be baptized it took some convincing to get her to stand up in front of everyone. She clung to Adam as if her life depended on it.
 When Mark called her over she did well though. She walked over, told him her full name and stood there by herself without running off the stage! I was pleasantly surprised  relieved.
 She wasn't much of a fan of getting water dumped on her head though! lol This face just cracked me up!
 Pierson who is usually cool, calm and collected in front of a crowd forgot his name! He calmly walked over when Mark called him, but when Mark asked for his full name... He face became blank and he turned around and asked us "what's my name?" lol  Bless his heart.
 The rest went smoothly.
 It was an awesome day! We were thrilled that our children made this choice all on their own. I don't think much can make a parents heart happier to know that your children choose to love, accept and serve God on their own. We didn't persuade them. We didn't force them... It was their choice. It was beautiful.
Of course afterwards we had to go out for a celebratory brunch with the family who lovingly made the trek to come witness this milestone in their lives.
Thanks to everyone who came. It truly meant a lot to Adam and I. It meant even more for the kids. They still talk about it and the people who came. (and if I am being honest, the gifts that came...)
I pray they will look back on this day in their lives knowing how important this decision was/is in their life.

For each of you who stood up with us we all cherish your love and support. Being there speaks more than you will ever know! You are ALL a blessing to us as we know you will be there to help us love our kids unconditionally, nurture them through good times and bad times and most importantly you will be examples that guide them in their walk of faith.

Much much love!

God please help my children develop servants hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, 'as to the Lord, and not to men.' (Eph. 6:7) And help them to develop a heart for missions, a desire to see your glory (declared) among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among all peoples. (Psalm 96:3)