Friday, March 23, 2012

What happens when the kids come home?

I've written about my children's attachment issues and what transition looks like many times on my blog.  I've shared the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I even wrote a story to help people understand what it's like for a child here.

I have six children through adoption already, and they have all come home at different ages, stages and trauma levels.  They have all developed at their own pace and each relationship has stretched, grown, and refined me along the way.
I have learned a lot and know that I will never know it all, but I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas I have about adoption, transition, and relationship.

First, I believe as adoptive parents, we set ourselves up quite a bit.  Especially if it is our first time.  You see, the process of the adoption itself can become such a mountain to overcome that we lose sight of the fact that in reality it is really just a moment in time.  Character building to be sure, but it is only a means to an end.  Other than you have a child at the end, nothing about the process of adoption contributes at all toward actual relationship with your child.

I will repeat that.  NOTHING ABOUT THE PROCESS OF ADOPTION CONTRIBUTES TOWARD ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD.

Sometimes the adoption process is so long and difficult, so stressful and agonizing, that we think once the child is home, we are home free.  After all,  we were stretched and waited and prayed and were uncomfortable and sad and lonely and away from our families and we trusted and believed...we did what God asked, so now it's time for the blessing, but when our kids come home, that just isn't the case at all!
There might be screaming, and food issues, and health issues, and attachment issues, and rejection, and spitting, and hitting, and...the list goes on.  This is not what we planned for.  The hard part is supposed to be over, right?

How can we think this way?  That is like saying a wedding is a marriage.  In a wedding, we save and plan and work and discuss for months, sometimes years.  Then it is all over in a matter of hours and you are left in the arms of the one you love.

Just like adoption...not!

In a marriage, there was already RELATIONSHIP with your spouse, the wedding marked the point at which the two of you became one, and afterward, (ideally) your relationship continues and deepens.

In an adoption, everything before the child comes home is one-sided.  YOU are working hard toward uniting with your child.  YOU are falling deeper and deeper in love with this person...
WHO HAS NO IDEA THAT YOU EXIST
OR THAT YOU ARE COMING FOR THEM
OR WHAT FAMILY MEANS
OR WHAT LOVE MEANS
OR WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE NEEDS MET
OR WHAT IT MEANS TO NOT BE HUNGRY
OR HAVE YOUR PAIN ADDRESSED
OR WHAT IT MEANS TO TRUST

How is any of that magically supposed to occur just because you did a lot of paperwork?

The answer is that it can't.

This is where the real work begins.  The adoption process was just a trial run, a warm-up for the real work.

So, how am I going to bridge this gap for these 4 new children?  How do I create relationship with each of them individually while maintaining and growing the relationship I have with my spouse and children already in the family?

Very carefully.

First, I will not try to "catch up" as fast as possible.  Masha is 16, Sasha is 12, and Alina will be 11 and Vika will be 6.  It would be very unwise to try to treat them like any other American child their age.

What do I mean by that?  Lets take Masha as an example.  Most 16 year olds have a cell phone, Facebook, email, drive, activities, etc.  So why wouldn't I try to give her that right away?
I suppose if my goal were to just give her the "typical" American life, I would.  However this is not my goal.

Our goal is relationship.

Our goal is to give her true family.

If I have no established relationship, no foundation of trust or mutual respect, all of those things are going to create more distance between us.  These are some of the reasons we have chosen to homeschool.  By getting to know who our children are, how they think, what their strengths and weaknesses are, through the vehicle of schooling, we can custom fit solutions to meet those needs, correct or adjust those attitudes, and act out- LIVE OUT creating relationship.  That would be a lot more difficult to do if they were out of the house 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week.  If I added email, and cell phone, and Facebook, that's even more stuff in the way of our connection.
In order to connect at all, I must commit to do what it takes, and what it takes is to slowly build a foundation.  It's just like having a baby.  You don't give any of those things to a baby.

WE MUST REMEMBER THAT EMOTIONALLY OUR CHILDREN ARE INFANTS IN THEIR CONNECTION WITH US, and just like we increase sleep, food and activity gradually with a baby, we must do those same things gradually with our adopted children.  You don't give a starving person Thanksgiving dinner and you don't give a relationally and emotionally starved person all of American culture at once. (Depending upon what it is, maybe not at all.)  If we crowd all of that STUFF into the space that already exists between these new children and us, how can we hope to reach them?

Please understand that I don't mean to impose any of the specific methods we are using in our home, like homeschooling, I just encourage you to consider the thinking behind it and try to create similar situations in your own family.  It is only through meeting our kids where they are that we can hope to get them on the road to where they deserve to be.

Anyway, those are the thoughts and processes that we have done so far and will continue to do with the new kids, and by God's grace we trust that He will be glorified.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quick update

Hello friends!
The giveaway to benefit all of these beautiful children is being blessed tremendously.  Our precious children: Masha, Sasha, Alina, and Vika have been so blessed.  Between the Lladro giveaway and now a healthy portion of Mulligan stew, their grant fund now has $4741.85 in it.
Even more exciting than that, BERNADETTE HAS A FAMILY!!!

Thank you all for your generosity.  To revisit the children who benefit visit this blog.



Job 29:11-13

 “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. 

I read this verse today and thought of all of you who have so generously given to change the world for these children.  You are being used by God to deliver the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper now does, YOU!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Look at what beautiful people have given to place children into families


There are so many children who need families, and so many families who need help to bring them home. I am so very grateful to the wonderful people who have helped my children so far, and I would encourage you to help out these other beneficiaries of the Mulligan stew.  Please consider helping these children as well.  Read about them here.

Every donation is tax deductible and will change the world for so many children.  I am humbled by the generosity of people I have never met, and I pray that I honor their faith in me by bringing glory to my Father in heaven through our adoption.  
Above all eles, the families of every child listed in the link above value your faithful prayers as they seek to bring their blessings home.  
Thank you so much for your support.

HERE IS THE LIST OF ALL 83 ITEMS.  Total value is over $4,500.00.
  1. 3RD GENERATION iPAD 16GB WiFi with engraving - $500.00 value - donated by S.
  2. Kindle Fire Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi  - $200.00 value - donated by Molly
  3. Kindle Fire Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi  - $200.00 value - donated by Kelly
  4. Extra $250.00 donation to a waiting child of the winner’s choice
  5. Extra $100.00 donation to a waiting child of the winner's choice
  6. Extra $50.00 donation to a waiting child of the winner’s choice
  7. 250.00 gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond
  8. 250.00 gift card to Best Buy
  9. $100.00 gift card to Vintage Pearl
  10. $100.00 iTunes gift card
  11. $50.00 gift card of your choice
  12. $50 gift card to Bath and Body Works
  13. $25.00 gift card to Old Navy
  14. $25.00 gift card to Fandango
  15. $25.00 Amazon.com Kindle gift card
  16. $25.00 iTunes gift card
  17. $25.00 gift certificate to http://www.handiworkforelijah.blogspot.com/ - This gift certificate will also benefit Lilly 3G on RR
  18. $15.00 gift certificate to Vadas Creation http://www.etsy.com/shop/vadascreations 
  19. $5.00 gift card to Walmart
  20. $5.00 gift card to Walmart
  21. Beautifully and lovingly made Afghan by the M. family - $100.00 value
  22. PUPPY EYES stained glass by Martha Walker - $50.00 value
  23. Handmade Dr. Seuss quilt for a Double bed with ornate and detailed quilting by Heather Vitella-  $400.00 value
  24. Owl purse handmade with love by Brenda - $20.00 value
  25. Owl purse handmade with love by Brenda - $20.00 value
  26. Happy Hartman Handmade soap - $15.00 value
  27. Happy Hartman Handmade soap - $10.00 value
  28. 4 Handmade potholders - Made with hands of love - PRICELESS
  29. Beautiful Dresser Scarf  - $10.00 value
  30. Chain crocheted by seven year old Maggie, who has a very big heart for orphans - Value: PRICELESS!!
  31. Set of cards from Africa - lovingly purchased from an African man in a handcart wheelchair - Priceless
  32. Set of cards from Africa - lovingly purchased from an African man in a handcart wheelchair - Priceless
  33. Set of cards from Africa - lovingly purchased from an African man in a handcart wheelchair - Priceless
  34. E-reader/ipad cover by Missy Breen - $8.00 value
  35. Tag blanket by Shelly Berman - $10.00 value
  36. Two very cute hand puppets by Missy Breen - $12.00 value
  37. Monkey receiving blanket by Kaitlyn - $15.00 value
  38. Pooh receiving blanket by Kaitlyn - $15.00 value
  39. Flower receiving blanket by Kaitlyn - $15.00 value
  40. Beautiful handmade child's quilt donated by Amanda Burlingham - $45.00 value
  41. Homemade hair clips and bow by Jamie Lentz - $20.00 value
  42. Melissa and Doug Vehicle Puzzles in a Box Set - $12.00 value
  43. 100% Highland newborn Booties and Aviatrix baby hat - $20.00 value
  44. ART GIFT SET (Crayola and Elmer's products) - $50.00 value
  45. Handmade doll by Becky Wangerin - $29.00 value
  46. 2 handmade grosgrain ribbon bows. One of the bows is a ladybug and the other is a butterfly. Plus a  bow organizer/holder for the bows. It is a wooden cloud with a long ribbon attached. By Alissa - $15.00 value
  47. Scrabble tile pendant with ball chain necklace. The picture is of a little juice box. By Alissa - $8.00 value
  48. Scrabble tile necklace with ball chain necklace.  The picture is of a flower. By Alissa - $8.00 value
  49. Handmade bird's nest silver wire wrapped pendant necklace with 3 blue eggs and simple silver chain. By Alissa - $15.00 value
  50. Can You Say Sew - t-shirt - You get to Pick!! - $12.00 value
  51. Calling Orphans Home t-shirt -You get to Pick!! - $25.00 value
  52. Kate Spade Black Leather Handbag - $295.00 value
  53. Utility tote - $30.00 value
  54. Metro bag - $52.00 value
  55. Lia Sophia necklace and bracelet - $188.00 value 
  56. BEAUTIFUL pendant handmade by Sarah - You get to design!! - $15.00 value
  57. Shamrock earrings (handmade) by Christina Reed - they are raising money for their adoption with these earrings - http://smilesandtrials.blogspot.com/2012/03/just-in-time-for-st-patricks-day.html - $8.00 value
  58. Tiffany & Co. Revere 1 3/4 Qt. Crystal Bowl 7 3/4 Dia. - $70.00 value
  59. Antique Salad Servers (circa 1914) - $60.00 value
  60. Lladro: The Bridesmaid - $355.00 value
  61. Walt Disney Classics Collection Timon "Luau" - $64.00 value
  62. Walt Disney Classics Collection Snow White "Won't you smile for me?" - $75.00 value
  63. BIBLE STUDY GUIDE - http://www.biblestudyguide.com/ (includes Teacher's Guide Unit 1, Student Pages Beginner Level 4 sets, Beginner Time Line and Bible Book Summary Cards (b/w) - $100.00 value
  64. Christian Books on CD Lot One - Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis -New (opened), How Good is good enough? by Andy Stanley, I Am Not But I Know I AM by Louie Giglio -New (opened), What Good is God? by Philip Yancey -New (opened), Just As I Am by Billy Graham - $50.00 value
  65. Christian Books on CD Lot Two - HOLY Discontent by Bill Hybels -New (opened), Radical by David Platt -New (opened), Rumors of Another World by Philip Yancey -Like new, Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado -New (opened) - $35.00 value
  66. Christian DVD Lot - The Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Forbidden Book (The History of the English Bible) - $50.00 value
  67. The Daily Message-through the Bible in One Year (entire Bible on audio CDs, organized by daily reading) -New (opened) - $10.00 value
  68. Digital Personalized Scrapbook - 25-50 page scrapbook - by Amanda Holmes - $100.00 value http://www.theresoneless.blogspot.com/2010/07
  69. A Daybook of Grace: A Year of Devotions to Draw You Near to the Heart of God - $20.00 value
  70. “7 – A Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker - $15.00 value
  71. “7 – A Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker - $15.00 value
  72. “7 – A Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker - $15.00 value
  73. E-book - ANCIENT BIBLIOPLAN COMPANION - $39.00 value
  74. E-book - MODERN BIBLIOPLAN COMPANION - $39.00 value
  75. Charlotte's Chocolate Factory - winner's choice of brownies, blondies or cookies - $15.00 value
  76. Charlotte's Chocolate Factory - winner's choice of brownies, blondies or cookies - $15.00 value
  77. 1 dozen "cake balls" or "cake pops" by Kerri - $25.00 value
  78. 1 dozen "cake balls" or "cake pops" by Kerri- $25.00 value
  79. 2 loaves of homemade bread and honey by Diana Tyree - $11.50 value
  80. 2 loaves of homemade bread and honey by Diana Tyree - $11.50 value
  81. 2 loaves of homemade bread and honey by Diana Tyree - $11.50 value
  82. 2 loaves of homemade bread and honey by Diana Tyree - $11.50 value
  83. Chocolate gift basket - Comes with hand-carved wooden platter made from a Chinese Fir Tree.  Basket includes Chocolaty Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake Fondue, White Chocolate Sauce, Hazelnut Zebra Hand-Crafted Biscotti, Chocolate Toffee Hand-Crafted Biscotti, Godiva Milk Chocolate Cashews, Godiva Dark Chocolate Almonds, Godiva Milk Chocolate Strawberries, A Large Assortment of Lindt Cream Filled Lindor Truffles, A Chocolate, Berries, Cookies, Grahams, Crispy Rice & Pecans Bar, A Chocolate, Peanuts, Peanut Butter and Chocolaty Puffs Gourmet Bar, 2 Godiva 3.5oz Dark Chocolate Bars, Godiva Milk Chocolate Bar (3.5oz), Godiva Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bar (3.5oz), Godiva White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch (3.5oz), Rich and Creamy Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Rich and Creamy Vanilla Walnut Fudge, European Delicacies Premium Cookie Assortment (incredible!), Godiva Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar with a Creamy Peppermint Filling, Godiva Milk Chocolate Filled With Caramel, Godiva Dark Chocolate Filled With Raspberries, Ribbon, Wrap and Ivy Enhancements - $200.00 value

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What does it mean to be 16?

Every girl looks forward to "SWEET SIXTEEN" doesn't she?

A big party
presents
hopefully a driver's license...maybe a car!  (or access to mom's)
More independence
a first job
for some a first kiss (Not our daughters, Scott says not until they are 40, married, and out of the house)
school dances
fun with friends
It's truly a golden time for every young girl.

Right?


In eastern Europe, a child in the state system ages out at 16.
Where's the party?
the presents?
too much independence
the first job?
can't even think about the first kiss
school dances?
fun?
It is truly a dark time for every young girl.

What about a child with a disability?
The independence is gone and so is the freedom.  They become trapped within the walls of an institution.
if they are physically disabled, they are confined to a bed.
How can I rest when this is the truth?  How can I close my eyes and pretend it doesn't exist, that it's not my problem?
I can't.
It is my problem.
I am a child of the King and am commissioned to bring HOPE- the GOSPEL to all the world.
Because my Masha weighs so heavily on my heart, I am writing about girls, but this is true of precious boys as well.

My friend Julia dares to hope.  She dares to dream.  She dares to hope and dream BIG!
She has created a Mulligan stew of sorts to make a difference in the lives of so very many of these children.  She refuses to allow them to be forgotten, to live life never having known love.
Please friends, go to her blog and see the mighty works God is doing through her humble heart that dares to hope and trust our heavenly Father.  Click here to visit now. I pray you will consider joining her mission.


Friday, March 2, 2012

We have a WINNER!!!!

video

I am sorry this is a few days late, I am sick with Bronchitis, but with the help from Dasha, who as you will see is also a little under the weather, we have picked the winner of the Lladro figurine.
Thank you all so much for your generosity.  Your help is changing the world, one child four children at a time.