Category Archives: Family

One year ago today…

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One year ago today, after 24+ hours of travel, almost no sleep, and incredible anticipation… we laid eyes on our sweet Ladybug for the very first time.

I will never forget the emotion of that day. I remember feeling this huge shock reverberating throughout my life – this small child that we had committed to love and cherish forever and always was REAL! She actually existed!

It is nearly impossible to chronicle the changes the past year has brought to our family individually and as a whole. We are not who we once were. We have deeper joy and more painful wounds than we could have ever imagined. Ladybug has grown in amazing ways.

One year ago today, she met her family for the first time. One year ago yesterday, we were but strangers. Today we are the only mommy and daddy she has ever known.

One year ago today, she spoke a language that, sadly, she no longer remembers. Today, she makes up silly songs, counts, sings her ABCs, proclaims her love to her family, rambles on, and says, “I’m sorry.”

One year ago today, she met two of her sisters. Today, she is learning that her sisters (now three!) are her best friends and pose no threat to her acceptance, attachment, and survival in our family.

One year ago today, she ignored us as best as her curiosity would allow her. Today, she seeks out our comfort for owies and good morning hugs.

One year ago today, she was an orphan. Today, an orphan no more, she has a mommy, daddy, three sisters, grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, friends, church family, and the future of more family to come.

One year ago today, she was exactly five months away from coming home for the first time. Today, she has been HOME for exactly seven months.

The past 7.5 months have been inexplicable for our family. Building and growing a family is never easy, and the task can become even more daunting when so much baggage tags along for the ride. The challenge feels ultimate. The reality and complexity of adoption will forever draw me to the cross of Jesus Christ. He alone could complete this great work and knit people from different parts of the world together into one home and one family. One love.

We have so far to go, but I stand in awe at the work God is completing. I so look forward to our future!

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Ladybug is HOME!

On August 13, 2015, Ladybug spent her first night with her new family. And on August 23, 2015, Ladybug spent her first night in her new home in her new country.

She is home!

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We saw her again for the first time since March on August 3, and I haven’t spent a day away from her since then. The past 9 weeks have been just oh so much. So much joy and so much pain. So much of every imaginable emotion.

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Welcome home, sweet girl. Daddy, Mommy, and your sisters are so glad you’re here.

Prayer Requests

Last night, we were beyond blessed to have a small group of our church family surround us in prayer, feed us, and send us off with their blessings and support. It was beautiful, and it was exactly what we needed.

In preparation for our evening, I was asked to put together all of our prayer requests. What a daunting task! 🙂 Nevertheless, I wanted to share our list so that the rest of our friends and family and supporters can cover us in prayer these last days as a family of four, over the next month of becoming a family of five, and even into the fall when we become a family of six. Here goes nothing!

  • Our relationship with the Lord: We recognize that our relationship with God is our life source. Without Him, we will surely fail. Pray that we remain close to Him, seeking Him, listening carefully to Him, and worshiping Him no matter what becomes of our circumstances.
  • Chris’s and my relationship: Pray for clear communication and lots of love and grace for one another as we enter into this new season of life and marriage and parenthood. Pray that we stay well connected and sensitive to one another.
  • Poppy and Bumblebee: These sweet girls don’t know what’s coming! 🙂 Pray that we can continue to meet their needs well, all while making all of the necessary adjustments. Pray that they demonstrate resiliency and that Chris and I can read between the lines to help them through their sure-to-be big feelings! Pray that their relationship with one another would grow and be strong and that they would welcome Ladybug with open hearts and open arms.
  • Ladybug: This sweet little one fills my thoughts and my heart with all kinds of hopes and dreams and prayers. Pray that we are wise in her transition and that we love her effectively. Pray that the Lord would minister to her little heart and that she would know how deeply she is loved by Him and by us.
  • Our health: Pray for all of our health. This feels like a high-stakes trip! I am in my third trimester – there is much that I’d appreciate prayer for, for myself (aches and pains and energy and good sleep!) and for Gumdrop (mostly that baby would be safe and stay put!). Additionally, pray that we can adjust to Ladybug’s healthcare needs quickly and seamlessly.
  • Travel and paperwork process: Pray our bags make it to her country and then back to ours again when they’re supposed to. Pray that the airplanes do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Pray for great seats and smooth trips (and understanding flight mates!) Pray that the paperwork process in country moves along as well as possible so that we are not delayed.
  • Extras: Pray for all of those extras that we know we can trust God with. You know, the “more than simply survival” stuff – taking advantage of the chance to see Ladybug’s country, make family memories, collect keepsakes, take photos, etc. Pray that we could have FUN and that, when our three girls look back on this time of life, that they would know how loved and cherished they each are and how JOYFUL life can be. Even if it’s also really hard and difficult.

I’m teary-eyed when I think of how God has used each of you in a special way to support us through this process. And, I know He and you all won’t leave us hanging now!

When we come home

This post is difficult for me to write because it forces me to articulate some difficult things about adoption. It necessitates vulnerability. If those around us don’t understand some core things about adoption and how the related issues can affect a child and a family, then our plan for homecoming won’t make much sense.

A key thing to remember is that all adoption is possible because a child has first suffered an incomprehensible loss. Yes, adoption is beautiful. Yes, God works powerfully through adoption – as a Christian I know this in my soul firsthand. There is so much – so very much – good that can and is born of adoption. But, as adoptive parents, we must never forget the loss and grief and previous hurts that our child has experienced.

I don’t want to come at this too heavy-handed. It’s true that we do not yet know what Ladybug will struggle with as it specifically relates to her coming adoption, but we as her parents need to be prepared for anything.

Additionally, when a baby is born, there are a lot of things that the baby’s parents do almost instinctively that work toward creating attachment between them and their new baby. Much of the time, birth parents do not go out of their way to foster excellent attachment, it’s just a God-designed by-product of how we parent our babies and young kiddos.

Because we have missed those early days and years with Ladybug, we will be focusing more intentionally on attachment: helping her to learn what “mommy” and “daddy” are, helping her to trust us, helping her to learn what it means to be a part of a family, helping her learn appropriate dependence (to later learn appropriate independence), and more.

All of this to say: we may make decisions or choose to parent in ways that are confusing to others or that others may disagree with. While we welcome respectful guidance and wisdom in our lives, we also want to let you know that we’ll be doing the best we can with the knowledge we have. This may include “babying” Ladybug, seeming to tolerate undesirable behaviors, or making a big deal out of something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to others.

Just remember that while our homecoming is the culmination of the adoption process that you all have lovingly followed us on, it is only the very beginning of a lifetime we have spent the last few years preparing for!

When We Come Home

1. We are super excited for all of our friends and family to meet our new daughter! She’s pretty fantastic, and we can’t wait to share! However, we need to keep her world as small as possible to give her a chance to adjust. Please don’t expect to meet Ladybug right away. If it’s days or weeks, or sadly even months longer to meet her than you had hoped, just know that we, too, wish it could be different.

If you stop by the house and we can’t invite you in or ask that you not stay too long, we’re sorry! We will probably try to avoid a lot of interaction at church or other places initially; I promise we’re not trying to be rude!

2. Please refrain from kissing or hugging Ladybug. Indiscriminate affection can sometimes be an issue for kiddos who have been adopted. We don’t anticipate this being a problem for Ladybug, but please stick to a “hello” and a smile, anyway.

3. This may sound silly, but please don’t feed Ladybug. Feeding and attachment go hand-in-hand: think of the breastfeeding baby and the touch, eye contact, met needs, and satisfaction that the mama and baby experience. So, Chris and I really need to be the only ones to feed Ladybug indefinitely.

4. Please don’t ignore us! I know it feels like I’m asking everyone to allow us to live in a cave, and while we do need some good quality family time, we want and NEED to have the support of our loved ones, too. We would love for you to call, text, or Facebook us; send us some fun mail; bring by a meal; offer to pick something up from the store, help with an errand, or help in some other super tangible way. We NEED your prayers! Celebrate with us!

Many adoptive families implement really structured time frames for a lot of these rules: they may commit to not leave the house for the first 6 weeks except for doctor’s appointments; or they may say no visitors for “x” amount of time; etc. In general, it is recommended to “cocoon”as a family for at least 1 month for every year a child received care outside of your family. For us, that would be at least 3 months. We’re staying away from firm boundaries for a few reasons – the greatest of which really probably has to do with Gumdrop’s impending arrival. For example, we will need my mama’s help with the girls during labor and delivery, so I can’t very well prevent her from meeting Ladybug for six weeks. So instead of imposing firm boundaries of time on ourselves, we’re going to listen to the Lord’s prodding and follow Ladybug’s lead with as much grace and wisdom as possible!

Thank you for caring enough about Ladybug, our family, and learning how best to support this transition by reading this post!

Gumdrop

At the very start we were but two
As our love grew, that two became one
It wouldn’t be long before there would be a third
Having only three we desired more thus we became four
Hearing a call from a far off land, we decided to add a fifth to the band
Wouldn’t you know that God knew best and that’s when He added number six to our glorious mess

-written by my husband, Chris

Introducing Gumdrop

We are happy to announce that a little “Gumdrop” will be joining our family, due to arrive in October!

Keepsakes

I’ve always been a sentimental sap. Even as I increasingly desire to minimize and purge “stuff,” I struggle with sentimental items. Things from my childhood and the things that my children are creating and collecting now are important to me! I keep their hand tracings, first drawings, paintings, and more.

I believe it was our second day in Ladybug’s country that one of Ladybug’s caregivers offered us an invaluable gift: Ladybug’s keepsakes. She presented us with items that Ladybug has drawn and colored and created over the last year or so of her life.

When she handed me the pile, I gingerly leafed through everything. “We can take these things with us?” I asked, incredulously.

She shrugged. “Only if you want them.”

“Oh! Of course I want them! Thank you so much!”

So now, beyond the future we will create together with Ladybug, we have even more of her past to help her hold on to. Amazing.

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I wanted to photograph everything to document here and to have in case the originals are lost. Enjoy this precious two-year-old artwork 🙂

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