Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Stockings

The Christmas before my son, Gaven, was born my parents bought us a trio of nice, needlepoint stockings. My husband (Max) and mine had our names embroidered. Since we didn't have our son's name yet (he was to be born in January, right after Christmas) he didn't have a name on his. Gaven's is the one on the far right - the single snowman. Following the same tradition, this year I decided to buy and hang a "matching" stocking for our son-to-be. His is the other blue stocking with the 3 snowmen. Gaven helped me pick it out. We bought it from the same place as the others... he thought it was the best match because it was blue like his and had a snowman. Gaven can go on and on pointing out all the things all four have in common, just the boys have in common, just him and this brother... and on!

I hung our son-to-be's stocking right in the mix with ours even though he will not be coming home for Christmas. His stocking will remain empty. However, I'm filling it with prayers. It is a visual reminder that he is in our hearts this Christmas. It's hard.

It's been a rough month for me thinking about our son in Rwanda and yearning for the time he will be here with us. We have had 2 friends bring their son's home recently, one from Ethiopia and one from Rwanda. Although our families haven't gotten together yet, hopefully soon after the busy holidays, I have been able to connect via phone and email. It makes me long for my son too! These families were at least 9 months ahead of us their adoption process so it's like getting a glimpse into my future. We also had some friends over for dinner who are VERY familiar with Rwanda. That stirred up my emotions too. Although the orphanage we are adopting from is very nice comparatively, it is still an orphanage and there are many issues that come with that. It's hard.

Adoption Update:
I called my case worker yesterday just wanting to check in and talk through some of my recent reflections with her. Her only update on Rwanda was that the first 30 families' files have been processed (although all may not have received their official letters yet because some of their fingerprints and other papers need to be updated first). Hopefully after the next batch of dossiers are processed we will have a better idea of when we can expect our dossier to be approved. I would LOVE to have our son home before summer vacation so that I can have that one-on-one time with him while my son is still in school. However, it isn't looking that way. After our approval it still can take a few months to get the referral (a match with our son) and then a few months before we travel. I can still hope and pray :)

In the mean time, I have asked our adoption agency if they can connect me with another family that adopted an older child. We requested a boy 0-4 years old. From what I have been told by several sources, it is common practice for an orphanage to match a family with their oldest age request - which make sense since most people probably request younger. So most likely, we will be up matched with a 4 1/2 year old. I would love to talk with a family, who adopted a similar age, about their experiences in the country with their child and the first few months. My husband and I also plan to take a course our agency is offering to their families who have or are adopting an older child. So I just keep trying to educate myself and prepare. Our pastor made a comment once that stuck in my brain "Plan for the worse and hope for the best." That's what I'm doing, I'm being proactive and learning as much as I can (without physically being in the situation yet) assuming our child may have attachment, trust, food, sensory and developmental problems as a result of the trauma he has experienced in his short, precious life. Despite the heaviness of it all I remain hopeful. God has NEVER let me down and I trust He NEVER will no matter what the situation is at any given moment.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He WILL give you the desires of your heart." This Bible verse has been my life mantra since become a Christian. It is a source of comfort and truth. I must first delight myself in the Lord. The word delight reminds me of the desire, spontaneity and pleasure of communing with God- not a drudgery duty or obligatory task. I have found that as a result of spending time getting to know God through the Bible, He has showed me my hearts desires. Often they have been hidden by false desires of the world only to be discovered by my willing obedience and joyful service to others. I hold to this truth in the present and when thinking about the future.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My New Parenting Tool Box

There are many things to learn about parenting an internationally adopted child. Being a mommy to our future son from a Rwandan orphanage requires a different kind of parenting. There are many things that I will have to do differently. I thought I would do a mini series of posts about what I learned at my recent Trust Based Relational Intervention training for children from hard places and the effects their previous life trauma on them.

In this short video by Dr. Purvis, she gives a short summary of the bigger picture I hope to "unpack" and couple with practical tools for my new parenting tool box.