Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Friend's Guest Post-"The Orphan Cry"

I don't know if you know this or not (if your my facebook friend you know ;)) But this Sunday is ORPHAN SUNDAY!! November is National Adoption month, a month to focus on the orphan crisis. Many churches around the U.S. take time the first week of November to bring attention to the many orphans around the world who need us.

A dear sweet friend, who I have had the privilege to get to know through this adoption process, came home about 3 months ago with her own little man and is starting the process again to go back for her sweet girl. She starting writing a series of post leading up to Orphan Sunday. With her permission I am re-posting her first blog post as I am really hoping it helps you all see and understand the high and lows of the love of adoption...

The Orphan's Cry

*This coming Sunday is "Orphan Sunday" November 3rd.
Church's around the world take part in bringing awareness about the fatherless and ways to get involved. I am going to do a post a day about orphans, the fatherless, adoptive parents, and they ways we as Christians we can be involved and put to action the verse 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world 
              James 1:27

One of my adoptive mommy friends and I were chatting the other day about how our kids were adjusting since coming home. We both have had similar issues with our kids, and upon sharing experiences discovered both our kids have a particular "cry." It's a cry we both had discovered is not like the other cries we have heard since they have come into their family. It's a very distinct, sad and haunting cry. We both agreed this cry we hear stops us, it haunts us, it makes your heart beat out of your chest and you loose your breath.  Hours later I  was thinking back to our conversation and realized this was 

"the Orphan's cry"

Yes our kids are no longer Orphan's! Praise Jesus! But there are always reminders that stop you in your tracks, you find yourself having moments where you flash back to life before "YOU" before they were in our arms, they were somewhere else. They were in an institution- even the nicest of orphanages ( like Regis's) they were without a momma and a daddy, they were missing that very relationship we all are designed by our heavenly father to flourish under.  My boy lived almost 4 years without that relationship. 
We as adoptive parents enter that journey of redemption with them, we take on their pain, we take on their grief.....

we sit with them when they are crying and grieving

we watch them "glaze over" or "shut down" when there maybe too many people around, or they have too much stimulation. 

We take them off the playground because some other child has startled them so badly its reminded them of being in the orphanage and they can't stop crying

We sit with them during night terrors, not allowed to touch because that will set them off even more.

We sit through pediatric, dentist, ENT, cardiac, orthopedic, and so many other specialist doctor appointments while our child flails and cries and yells because their only experience with doctors has been rough and hurtful, and without compassion..

WE are filling out form after form that serves as a constant reminder our child was once an orphan because we don't have the answers for "family medical history"

we get to hear "they are so lucky to be in your family" when when we know nothing about their past wast was lucky....

We find we can't put "footed pajama's" on our child because our she was restrained at some point in the orphanage and this triggers terror 

We get asked question after question about their "real parents" 

we get asked whats wrong with our kids feet, or eyes, hands, or head

We hear them yell "don't leave me mommy" when we leave to run an errand,  knowing they remember being left by their birth mom

we get stares and second glances and questions about how much our kids "cost"

we have to go to their rooms to see if they have woken up in the morning because they have learned not to cry upon waking, because no one comes

we find food under their pillows, stashed away in their rooms because the fear of running out of food is still so fresh in their little minds

we sit with them when they cry that cry that takes our breath away

we love them through the screams and tantrums and screams of "your not my mommy"

we see them regress and shutter at the sound at someone speaking mandarin or their native language to them.

we rub our hands on the back of their sweet heads, so flat from being left in crib for hours on end - a reminder for life that they were left alone, left too long....

but WE also

Get to see them blow bubbles for the fist time

Get to see them slide down a slide and play on a play ground for the first time

we get to see them try a new food for the first time

we get to see them slowly gain trust in us

we get to hear our deaf child say " I love you" after of weeks of hard work and determination to communicate.

we get to see them try cotton candy for the fist time and see the cutest sticky faced grin!

we get to see their hair start to grow, their little ribs not to show so much, and they finally get to be "On" the growth chart at the doctors

we get to see them gain the strength to sit up at  24 months of age, to stand, and to begin to walk.

we get to tell our "story" to complete strangers and see them smile

we get to see their lips "pink up" for the first time in months after their heart surgery

we get to see them "light up "  around their new brothers and sisters, establishing relationships that will last a lifetime! 

we get to experience all their "first" through their eyes

we get to see JOY
WE get to feel it
WE get a glimpse, a taste of the Joy our heavenly father experiences in US, when we join HIS family

and you know what? These ALL outweigh the "hards" and the "tantrums" and the "cries"

Our children who come to us through adoption have a lifetime of hurdles, they are not all of a sudden "ok" when we bring them home. They are resilient yes, they are miracles. 
As adoptive parents we have chosen to walk the path with them, sometimes it will be easy, sometimes we don't or won't know what to do. So we pray for the Fathers help, and we pray for the day when they take the step and ask 
the savior to come into their sweet hearts and they finally experience the real "redemption" and healing only Jesus can provide.

Love you all!!! Have a great week! Wear those adoption shirts this Sunday!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Getting So Real

If you had not heard yet-WE GOT T(ravel) A(pproval)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are going to China in 2 weeks!!!!
I have to say watching the hours and minutes pass by Friday night was AGONIZING to say the least. I kept telling myself, do not let it bother you, it could happen Monday and it wont make a big difference if it does, but my heart was sinking fast. And as I sat on the couch that night with my husband watching silly movies with the kids, and i had to tell one more person that there was no news, the flood gates took over...I was heart broken. I was just so tired of hoping and waiting, I wanted to GO. Finally I took a few breaths and tried to let myself enjoy the moments I had with my family of 6 at home. Then my phone made an odd ring. A ring tone I had set up to sound weird so it was a sound that I would only hear if my social worker was calling me with news or information and again I was fighting back the flood gates. I almost couldn't answer it because I knew I'd sound crazy crying before I even really knew what she was calling for. Josh just looked at me asking me who it was and I could barely get out that it was Kelsey. I rushed to the room so I could talk (you know Murphy's law for mom on the phone=must ask her every question I have ever had since birth).
Kelsey and I went on to say a few words and I wanted the whole time to stop being polite and say PLEASE TELL ME YOU CALLED WITH TA?! But I didn't...but she got to the part where she said well it came in! And I lost it! Still trying to keep my cool, answer the kids and Josh, and have a calm grown up conversation while dancing with joy and excitement inside!
My heart hasn't stopped beating fast since! When I announced to my Facebook world tons of our friends and family joined in with celebration, love and encouragement. And you all will never truly know just how much that touched our hearts to see!!! REALLY TRULY TOUCHED!
My mind has been on Nina a lot. Wondering if  I am ready to take on her special need. I have never been much of a fighter, and honestly having 4 healthy kids, I don't think I have really had to. But Nina will probably need that at times. Someone who knows her and knows what she needs and will fight to make sure she gets what she needs. Am I really the one God created to be her mom? And wouldn't you know in church Sunday something my Pastor said, "what I believe defines my self worth". And what I believe is God created me to be the woman who follows his calling, I believe God has called me to step up and fight for Nina and Isac. So He has made me to be the mom they need. After church I was talking to Pastor and he was asking me about our adoption and I was telling him how nervous I was about being ready to handle her special need and be all she needs me to be. His words brought tears to my eyes as he said, what really matters is that God trust us to call us to be their parents. So mind blowing that God trusts us with His precious children.
The love that we have gotten from our church family this morning was amazing! We never got two feet before someone gave us a hug and was rejoicing with us! I just can't wait till Nina and Isac one day realized just how loved they are!

Prayer request:Getting things together, keep praying for our sweet children's hearts as they are leaving so much. And pray for our own children's heart as they are about to have two new siblings at home.

Have a great week! LOVE YOU ALL

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"What to Expect When Your Expecting"

Some of you mamma's out there probably remember reading this book. I myself read a lot of the pages in it, though not all. Page upon page about what to do if your baby is crying, what that small rash is forming on their tiny little legs. How to help them fall asleep and how to wrap them up tight before bed. Something I never remember reading was how it is clinically proven that the love, soothing tone and loving touch of the mothers skin on her new born baby, helps the babies brain to develop. Or that by simply feeding your baby when it is time to eat, or changing their diaper when they are wet or dirty, teaches your baby that they are loved, they are secure and that they can trust this woman called mommy.

I suppose one of the reasons it isn't in the book is because it seems like a no brainier to most to love nurture and take care of our baby and give them what they need. Yet, for an orphan, many of these things were lacking in their young infant lives. Many were dropped off at train stations, left behind on buses or in the hospital rooms, or at gates of police stations or the orphanage gates. Many never had the chance to be taught to trust, having to cry and have no one hear them, be hungry and have no one bring them food, sit in a dirty diapers for hours before someone took the time to finally look their way, or just simply lay in a crib for hours on their backs while time ticked away. Then later learn to trust even less as the older children fought to take their food and have no one to take the time to step in and help them.

       All of this is likely how both of our sweet children have been living all of their lives. I am grateful that Nina seems to be in a nice orphanage, as far as orphanages go, and Isac is with a foster family who I pray stepped in and filled in the gap for his biological mother until we can go get him. That's not to say that any orphanage or foster family can take the place of being with their forever family though.

    I say all this to give you a glimpse as to why doctors, physiologist and adoptive parents who have been there, recommend cocooning. Cocooning is when a family comes home with a child from an orphanage and they try to stay close to home for a month (or more or less depending on the children). In a sense helping them to trust their small home environment before they step out into the rest of our families lives outside the home. Our children will be losing allll that is normal to them. Their sights, their smells, their care takers, the children around them and even people who look like them. All of this will be very very overwhelming and may take a while for them to process and get used to. We want to create a trusting environment for them that they know is their safe space and theirs.

We need to be the ones to feed them, wipe away their tears and give them snuggles, as a way to build that newborn-parent relationship.  Isac may have some idea of what a family is, Nina not at all, and they need to learn when they are hungry or need security, we fill in the roll of the ones who do that for them. We need to build trust that we will always be there to protect and provide for them the very best we can.

In all this we need your help as well (you all thought you were done helping us didn't you. ;)) Children in orphanage settings have a really hard time not attaching to anyone and everyone, especially those they may see often or who give them things so it is very important that they don't get excessive hugs or kisses from anyone other than us for awhile until they are very secure with their role with us as the parents as it can hinder that relationship. That is not to say we want you to ignore them or anything but a simple short hug or high five is fine. And we ask for awhile that we are the ones giving them any gifts or food or attention as most of their lives they have gotten what they wanted from other caretakers by "being overly friendly" (a survival trait)  and them trying to get that from others can harm their attachment to us.

      We say all this knowing ALL children and families are different, no two are the same, so what we do is something we have prayed and learned about ourselves and not what we think everyone should or needs to do themselves. I write all this to give you a heads up on how we will start off when we get home. We may get home and discover that Nina and Isac never seemed to pick up on the normal orphanage habits. I know some have expressed wanting to bring meals and/or meeting us at the airport which we would LOVE and be so honored. Know we love each one of you and are so so very thankful for all the love you have poured on us! Just as a mom with a newborn, we know our cocooning is only a season and may not need to be as intense as we are planning on. Only God knows that, so for now we are following what we feel He has led us to do! And that we will be out in the real world again, coming to birthday parties and play dates again!

Thank you all for your love, support and encouragement! YOU mean the WORLD to us!!

*Prayer request-we are on day 5 of our TA (travel approval) wait!! We so hope to get it this week!!! Please pray that when we do we can find good plane tickets for Josh's mom and aunt who are coming to help take care of our children!

Love you all! If you have ANY questions about any of this we would be more than happy to answer any that we can. Here are a few more sites that explain some of what we were talking about.