Monthly Archives: August 2011

I Was Minding My Own Business

Well, technically I wasn’t or I wouldn’t have been reading this blog about another person’s life.

However…

I was minding my own business,

strolling through Google reader,

perfectly happy with my life of four little girls,

glad that I had survived thus far in the whole adoption experience,

so satisfied that all of us were alive and thriving,

and I still possessed some sense of my sanity…

and then I saw this picture on a blog I follow…

and I knew.

I knew alot of things in that moment.

I knew that adopting Lily is one of the most wonderful life experiences I have ever had,

(It’s right up there with salvation, meeting, and marrying my Leading Man, giving birth, but different and unique from all of those and one that has changed all of us collectively, as a family.)

that I would be robbing all of us to not take this adoption journey again,

that the issue is really not, “why would we do this again,” but “why not?”

I knew that I WANT another child because I truly love being a mother. And having a child grow in my heart instead of my womb has truly been one of the most powerful things that has ever happened to me.

I knew that this hasn’t been an inconvenience to my family but has only made us stronger, fulfilled us,

and the life of these children is too precious a thing to waste because of my own selfish comforts.

I just want to read this book, can I just take a bath without interruptions, I DO NOT WANT TO DRIVE A VAN!!!

All the arguments, they are really so futile.

I have truly believed I was done until this moment.

I thought I had done what God had wanted me to and now I was finished.

But, this picture has completely revealed to me that we need to adopt again…

heck, that as CRAZY as this sounds to myself,

and literally at this moment I am shocking myself

I WANT to do this again. I believe there is another child out there for us.

And not only that, I am POSITIVE I think we should adopt an older child some where between Girl #2 and Girl #3.

I guess this is the point that I tell the Leading Man…

but wait…

that is going to make it REALLY official!

Am I seriously considering this????

Help me Lord!

This sounds completely ridiculous, but these are my stupid arguments at this moment:

  • I kind of like this even number thing…
  • We just got a new car, and we will be filling our last open seat. Won’t it be too stuffy? We can’t get another car, we just got one…and I am NOT driving a van!
  • I still feel that I am making so many mistakes with Lily why would I subject yet another life to the torture we know as, Anna???
  • That would mean more years I go without being able to read a book, travel with just my husband, take a quiet bath…
  • Isn’t it too soon? Won’t I be robbing Lily?
  • People are going to think we are crazy.
  • Wait a sec, am I doing this for blog love or because I am addicted to the exciting experience???
  • I don’t want to go back to China…maybe we can go get a child from Africa…that would be good, huh???

God: Shhhhhhhh!

Sometimes Adoption Makes Me Sad

No man’s land.

We’ve been there.

It took me by surprise the first time it happened.

I got the call that the birth mother had relinquished her parental rights.

I cried.

Then, I got the paperwork and cried some more.

Our child was a “ward of the state.”

Orphan.

With no one.

As hard as foster parenting is, somehow knowing that birth parents were still in the picture was better than no man’s land.

That day, I was overwhelmed with sadness for what this mother had done.

What she had given up.

For her child. For my child. For our child. Hers and Mine.

Everyone told me I would be “happy” because the child was now free for adoption.

On the outside, I was, of course.

Moving forward is good. Being a foster child is not good.

But there is no gain without some loss.

I remember introducing her (still quite young) and people telling her how lucky she was to be adopted into our family.

You wouldn’t have seen it, but I did.

The shadow of confusion that went across her face, a split second.

Yes, of course, she was happy. But, she was filled with sorrow, too.

Because gaining a new life means loosing the old one, even if it isn’t so good.

That’s how I am feeling about Joshua today.

I am sad that he has to give up EVERYTHING to be part of our family.

The onus is on him to change.

He has to learn our language. (We have Chinese word charts on the wall.)

He has to eat our food. (We like Chinese food but it’s not the same.)

He has to adapt. (We only have to make another place at the table.)

He will have a family. (Not an institution.)

He will have the best medical care available. (Not limited by status.)

He will know the Savior. (And have eternal life if he chooses to embrace the Hope.)

There is no gain without some loss.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving your life so that we might have ours.

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Jennifer Peterson

Jennifer Peterson is wife to one faithful man and mom of 9. After the first three came along, they became foster parents and adopted 5 kids including 2 sets of siblings. Jennifer and her husband Bob are currently in China to adopt an 8-year-old boy with a heart condition who has been waiting a long time for his forever family. Join the journey here as they ponder how and where God will stretch them next.

Encore: God Doesn’t Need Me

Eden

Published on September 26, 2010 on We Are Grafted In

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This is our daughter, just after she arrived at the orphanage. Taken by a doctor who wanted to show us the extent of her malnourishment.

Yes, the orphan crisis is one of the few things that keeps me up at night. Children not only abandoned to AIDS, poverty, and war but then subject to exploitation at the hands of traffickers in their own hometowns . . . and in my hometown. The lump in my throat comes not at the vast numbers of children orphaned throughout the world but at the mental image of one single child. Cracked lips, hair matted from sweat, dirt caked fingernails, and bloodshot eyes from yet another night of poor sleep on the street.

Millions of little cross-bearers fill our earth without someone to help carry their load. I have yet to hear a story of an orphan enfolded into a home that didn

Encore: More Learning Through the Adoption Process

Originally published on her blog on September 25th, 2010 and on We Are Grafted In on February 21, 2011….

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I woke up last night–okay, let me rephrase–Trevor woke me up last night at 2:00 with a bad dream. I quickly got him back to bed, tucked in tight, listening to Christmas music (his choice–good boy!), and went back to bed.

I was still awake at 3:30 when Jay Henry came in after having a nightmare.

I simply could not turn my brain off.

I truly feel like I’m failing Emebet. In every way possible. We make it through each day. But we are not moving forward. Every word, behavior, action, gesture and complaint from her cause me to react poorly. Even if it’s nothing extreme or purposeful, my immediate response and feeling is dislike. I do not like her. I do not like her being here. And I make her know it. This is not always the case, but often.

This has created a huge conflict in me. Why in the world do I act this way? How can my love for my biological kids be real and genuine, if I can treat another child so differently and with contempt? Why, when I am constantly praying and asking God to change our circumstances, do I go right back to these wordly, selfish actions? I know that my actions towards her cause her behaviors. I have no doubt about it. But it seems impossible to change my feelings. And we all know that it is so hard to act one way when you feel the exact opposite. I have always worn my emotions on my sleeve, and Kent can clearly verify that I cannot hide anything.

But last night, as I lay awake, praying for God to change this in me, my thought process changed a little. I turned the tables, and played my own devil’s advocate for our situation. If I were the one in a new home with new people and a family that was already established, and I was treated the way that I treat her, how could I possibly feel loved, cherished, important, or equal?

I absolutely wouldn’t. I would feel sorrow. Pain. Loss. And I, like her, would respond with defiance and anger. She is acting exactly like I am.

We are both experiencing pain. We have both experienced loss. We are both living in the midst of sorrow. And neither one of us is handling it well.

Immediately upon returning home, we were convinced that she needed rules and structure, which we quickly put in place. In doing so, I think we skipped over the part where we needed to love, love, love. Unconditionally and without reserve. No rules. No expectations of her. We seem to still be in that place. Expecting so much (partly because she is so capable). Giving so little.

My thoughts then went beyond that.

Most of you know what a scary beginning we had with Masyn. Almost losing your child creates gratitude that is huge. Deep down, she holds a special place that no one else can, because I know how close we came to not having her. She is my precious, precious girl who causes tears often because I am overwhelmed with love for her. Completely overwhelmed. It is really hard, then, to add in a child who creates the exact opposite feelings.

So after putting myself in Eme’s place last night, I put Masyn in Eme’s place and tried to imagine her losing us, her family. I then imagined the pain, terror, and uncertainty that she would face being relocated to another country where she didn’t speak the language, and never seeing her sweet brothers again.

And then I tried to invision her being placed in a home where she had a new mom who disliked her, and couldn’t see her for the amazing little girl that she is. And where she was yelled at all the time just because she was different than their existing daughter. And where she was not loved on in the midst of her grief and adjustment, but was told to stop crying because it was annoying.

This completely broke my heart. I would be devastated to know that my daughter were in such a place. I would be heartbroken that this little girl, who was so amazingly special to us, was being treated indifferently in what was supposed to be her new “family.”

I spent much of the rest of my “awake” time asking God to forgive me–yet-again–and to help me, every moment, shower Eme with love. I want to create an environment of security for her. I want her to know that she is loved, just like the others. That she is special. That we want her here. I want my behaviors towards her to be so different than what they have been. Mostly, I want my heart to want her here. I don’t want it to be fake. I want it to be genuine.

Today has been good. Her behaviors are still present, but my reaction to them is different. I am calm and loving in my responses. I am hugging and kissing on her any time I get the chance. I am trying to look at her through different eyes.

I know our struggles aren’t magically over by any means. But getting back to that place of surrender is key. God can’t change me when I’m being stubborn and closed-minded, and I have been living in that place. Bitterness has crept in and taken up residence. Last night, lying in my bed while the rest of the house slept, I wrestled with God, and He returned me to the place where He needs and wants me to be. Completely dependent. Completely reliant.

Hopeful.

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Lindy Gregg

Kent and Lindy have been married for 10 years and have three biological children (two sons ages 8 and 6 and a daughter who is four) and our newest addition, Eme, who is 2

Plan A

Adoption is not Plan B.

Not for us.

We have never looked at it this way, but in conversations with quite a few well-intentioned folks, I realize that the general population often views it that way.

“You know you’ll get pregnant as soon as you finish your adoption.”

“I know a lot of people ‘your age’ who are looking toward adoption because they can’t get pregnant.”

“Do you want to have your own children?”

I’ve learned that adoption is often viewed by many (on the outside looking in) as the consolation prize. Plan A didn’t work. So you’re settling for what is available.

I disagree and so would all the other adoptive parents I’ve ever met.

There is no Plan B.

The journey to adoption is NOT a surprise to God. He’s wasn’t caught off guard by the reasons or the path. For some it’s infertility or health reasons. For others it is how God calls them to add to their family.

For us, it’s because God is made it ABUNDANTLY clear that we are to adopt. Now.

Many people assume because we are adopting first that biological children are not an option for us. At this point, we have not heard otherwise, so we hope to welcome a freckled, type-A, northern/southern hybrid into our lives one day.

But whatever happens, it will be Plan A.

We are adopting now because there is a need, and we have a call. In the DRC alone, there are 5 million orphaned children.

We could not get that figure out of our minds and hearts. There was no reason good enough to hold off on adopting until we had biological children. We couldn’t stop talking about adoption. We needed to start the process.

We know it doesn’t make sense to most of the world. God made it clear, so we’re just following.

Any child brought into our home, biological or adopted, will be real and be our own. We pray that others will come to understand that as well, but we also know that we have the privilege of telling the story of redemption and grace each time someone questions our family dynamic.

The story of Plan A for our family.

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Leslie Word

Leslie has been married to her husband Brian for a little over 2 years. They live in Montgomery, Alabama where Leslie works for a nonprofit agency and Brian is a student pastor. They are passionate about caring for the orphan and have helped start ONEfamily, an adoption, foster care, and orphan care ministry in their church. Their free time is made up of watching football, eating Mexican food, and spending time with their rambunctious puppy, Knox. They have chosen to adopt first and are currently awaiting a referral of one or two children from the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can read more about their adventures here.
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Get ready.

As part of celebrating one year of WAGI, this next week will feature encore postings from a few of the most popular posts from WAGI to date. Whether you are new around here or have been reading since August of last year, you won’t want to miss these.