The Post I Never Expected To Write About Adoption {Our Disrupted Adoption}

Well, it’s time I peel back the curtains a little bit and tell you about our adoption journey the past 8 months. I’ve hinted on more than one occasion that things were rough and there was a guest blog post I wrote on We Are That Family where I gave some cryptic details, BUT very few people knew the extent of our heartache. Even now, I’m ashamed to share it, but I know that speaking truth is the beginning to healing. Giving words to sorrow has always been the door to which I find comfort, and I must walk through the door before me.

Our girl experienced extreme trauma in her life before coming to our home. I won’t share details of her trauma publicly because it is her story, but it was extreme and affected her deeply. Trauma literally rewires the brain and causes all sorts of things in children as young as she was at the time of the traumatic events. As we peeled back the layers, we began to see more clearly that we were not the right fit for her. Her trauma reactive behaviors were severe, multi-faceted, and so very, very scary. We hunted down every resource available to us locally to help her, but it was “too little, too late.” Her needs are extreme and the level of therapeutic parenting that she requires is beyond what we can provide for her with other small children in the home. We cannot compromise the well-being of our biological sons for the sake of “saving” her.

frozen hat

While she looked healthy and happy to outsiders and in pictures, we saw a very dark side of things within the walls of our home. Our happy home had become more of a prison with alarms on doors, surveillance cameras, extreme safety protocols, and more. She is, to put it very mildly, mentally ill. As I type this, she is in her 2nd psych hospital stay and has been there for over a month. The first time was the day after Christmas and she celebrated her 6th birthday there. During her 7 months with us, we went through 3 forensic investigations with CPS, an interview with a detective, 2 psych hospital stays, an ER visit for self-harm, death threats with a viable plan (we later found out she was attempting it one night, but backed out), suicide watch, countless hours of therapy…and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to keep her safe from hurting herself or to keep others safe from her. Our love wasn’t enough.pink gloves

We have agonized over what is best for our family and for our beautiful girl. We truly love her and are heartbroken for the road we have walked with her. We are even more heartbroken for her past experiences that, essentially, made it impossible for her to receive and reciprocate our love. Ultimately, we have had to be very honest with ourselves about what we can handle and what cannot continue to happen in our house. We have made the decision to disrupt her adoption placement with us and not finalize the adoption. She will not return to our house when she is released from the psych hospital and has been moved into the residential treament portion of the hospital.

waterfall

We know this may come as a shock. It is to us, too. I remember reading about adoption disruptions when we first started our adoption journey and judging what I couldn’t understand–and here I sit in the very same rocking boat after being pulled out from the waves of this storm. We know we have loved her the best we knew how. We take comfort in the fact that we gave her a safe place to share her story, sought justice for her, pinpointed her specific therapeutic needs, showed her what a loving family looks like, and most importantly, exposed her to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can truly heal her anyway.

water shed

We are now trying to piece our lives back together and heal from the second-hand trauma that we have experienced. Our boys have suffered. My husband has suffered. As the primary caregiver and target of most of the aggression, I have suffered immensely. Not one of us is walking out of this unscathed. Our entire family has been touched by this, but we are clinging together for comfort at the feet of the cross. We know our Savior isn’t surprised by our circumstances, and for some reason, we were asked to walk through this for His glory. We know that if we hadn’t taken her when her emergency placement was presented to us, she would still be in a hopeless situation with her abusers. I have to believe that, while this is terribly difficult, there is purpose for the pain. God will rebuild our lives just as He has done so many times before.

Failure to Thrive?

As I write this, I’m sitting at Panera immediately after Asher’s 9 Month well check. I’m trying to catch a few moments to myself and process after a few hard days emotionally. The latest wave to crash against me? Hearing the pediatrician mention the words “failure to thrive” in reference to Asher. I mean…have you seen this kid?

Is this the face of a child that is failing to thrive?

Asherbabyfood-HappyBrownHouse

Sure, he may be on the small end, but what those growth charts don’t tell you is that he’s been crawling and climbing for 3 months. He’s chasing an active big brother and would much rather play than snuggle up for an extended nursing session…unless it is nighttime and there’s nothing better to do. Those growth charts don’t tell you that he’s clapping, waving, and giving kisses. They don’t tell you that he’s been saying “Mama” and “Bubba” for 3 months. They don’t tell you that he’s recently picked up the words “Bye-Bye” and “Go-Go”. They aren’t able to tell you about the depths of his belly laughs and the shrieks of joy when he’s in the bathtub splashing.

Failure to thrive? Not the face I’m looking into.

Now, don’t misunderstand me…

I am concerned that he doesn’t have the rolls where he should. I am concerned that he’d rather play with his food than stick it in his mouth. I am concerned that he doesn’t have cheeks to pinch. I do recognize that his low weight could be an indicator to something medically wrong, but failure to thrive? Really?

I’m just not sure.

You see, I’ve seen the children that truly aren’t thriving. I’ve seen the empty eyes, the frailness, and the missed milestones. I’ve seen the orphan child that bangs her head against the crib rails or rocks back and forth to self-soothe when there isn’t someone to snuggle when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

Matter of fact,  I have a child that might be rocking in a crib halfway around the world this very second.

No. I just can’t accept the term “Failure to Thrive” in reference to Asher.

Low on growth charts? Yes.

Failure to thrive? No.

Not when there are 163 million orphans needing a forever family.

An Embassy Tale

And now, a fun story that will be written down in our adoption journal…

While we were in Washington, D.C for the 2:1 Conference, our Dossier paperwork was in the same city. I knew it was there and joked about wondering if they needed me to hand-deliver it somewhere to speed up the process. A day or two later, our GPS got us turned around due to an unexpected detour. We found ourselves driving on some random roads while the GPS recalculated very slowly. I was admiring the gorgeous houses and then I started noticing flags. Country flags. It dawned on me that we were driving through the embassies.

And because I’m sentimental, I typed in “Ethiopian Embassy” into the GPS.

Ethiopian Embassy

Not only did we drive past it, but I got out and took a few photos. Because really, when am I ever going to be standing in front of the Ethiopian Embassy knowing that my paperwork is sitting inside at that very moment? Never. Once in a lifetime thing.

So, yeah, I’m the weird lady that got out and took pictures of the Ethiopian Embassy and the flag.

Also, the Lord made the flag unfurl in the wind just for me.

Ethiopian Flag

Oh, sweet child of mine, we are coming. Momma and Daddy are coming just as fast as we can. We love you.

Dossier…Check!

I am beyond giddy to be able to announce that we are finally DTE status.

What is DTE?

Dossier to Ethiopia!

Our paperwork process has been a rather long one compared to some, but we are confident that God’s timing is perfect. We’ve had bumps in the road with our paperwork~sometimes it was our fault, other times we were at the mercy of the process and government entities.

This is a very big step for us. It means we are finally on the “waiting list”…even though we’ve already been waiting for a while in our minds. The dossier is a big stack of papers gathered from all over. It is basically our life on paper. Financial statements, birth certificates, medical letters, and pictures are just a few things that are included in a dossier. We turned it in a while ago, but it still had several stops in the United States before it got to travel over the ocean. We finally heard that it is on it’s final leg of the journey!

So, now…we wait.

Waiting is something that we’ve grown used to. Ok, I lied. Nobody gets used to it, but it is part of the process, so I wait. While I feel like our family is incomplete at this moment, I am comforted by the fact that God’s timing is perfect. He is in the details. And honestly, Asher is keeping me so busy these days that I am ok with waiting a little longer. Neither of us are ready for me to take two trips out of the country. So really, it is ok…talk to me in a few months and my tone might change.

My Favorite Family Portrait…

One of the pictures I didn’t share yesterday when I talked about the “My” Sight Word Book Jonah and I made together was this…

Family Portrait

Did you catch it? Look closely…

Did you see those extra bodies on the right hand side?

You see, even though our family TECHNICALLY looks like this (atleast for the next few hours/days until I give birth)…

family

Jonah sees it much differently.

When he thinks of our family, he already includes little brother on the way and sister from afar.

And that, my friends, makes this momma’s cup runneth over.

Because he gets it….he really gets it.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 ~ Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…

Treasures For You…

Since I’ve been posting about Jonah’s Pirate Birthday Party, it’s only natural that I share a few hidden treasures with you! Trust me, we’ll be back to the the last of the Pirate Party details soon…

Treasure #1:  I posted over at The MOB Society about the Hidden Treasure we’ve found over the past 10 months. I’d love it if you came over to visit and support me over there! And no, it has nothing to do with the pirates!
Mothers of Boys

Treasure #2:  I’ve got another blog post up at Totally Tots! This time I posted about “The Funny Font Book” and how to address some of those “funny letters” that confuse kids when they come across a different font than they are used to. Also, it includes a FREE download for readers!

totally tots

Treasure #3:  The other site I write for, Pennies & Blessings, is hosting a giveaway bash all week! There are some great prizes, including one from my shop on Saturday (8-13-11). Be sure to head over there each day to enter!

Pennies and Blessings

Stitches by Sara {Coupon Code Alert}

Ooooh…

Aaaah…

Ooooh…

Aaaah…

Ooooh…

Aaaah…

Show me more!!

Aww, come on…Is that all you’ve got?

Stitches By Sara Collage

This is just to let you know that my Etsy Shop (Stitches By Sara) is open again!

I’ve been working very hard behind the scenes trying to get everything ready to go and it’s time to sell. I’ve still got a few more things that I’m hoping to load in the next few days, but for the most part, the shop is stocked and waiting for customers!

ALL proceeds from the shop go towards our adoption. Thank you in advance for your part in bringing our little one home!

Since I love my blog readers and the support you’ve been giving us, how about a coupon code? Use the code “HBHblog15” to receive 15% off during checkout! (Coupon code expires: 7-20-11 at 11:oo PM so act fast!)

Thanks for subscribing!

Sunday Morning

Singing this today and reminding myself that God is in charge. While I’m anxious about adoption paperwork and trusting on God to provide the funds for His calling, I shouldn’t be. I’m trying to rest in His peace today and trust Him to guard my heart and mind….battlefields for my focus.

By the way, have you heard of Seeds Family Worship? I love the way they’ve put scripture to music to help families worship and memorize scripture together! We’re not talking boring or annoying kids music either, but something that adults enjoy, too. When you order one of their CD’s, you actually get 2 CD’s…one for you and one to share with someone that needs Jesus! Plus, you can listen to some of the music online for free!

Yearning

It’s funny to me how you can miss someone so much that you haven’t even met yet.

In these days leading up to little brother’s birth, I find myself yearning for ALL of my babies to be home. Not just little brother growing within, but also little sister from afar. It’s somewhat strange to be preparing my heart to bring both of them home, but at separate times. While I know the date, give or take, that little brother will arrive, we have no idea how long our Ethiopian adoption will take. At the same time that all of these unknowns are swirling around in my head, I know God has already written the date on His giant master calendar and my job is to wait and prepare my heart.

A Flower for My MommyPhoto Credit: bitzcelt via Flickr

Maybe it was all of the adoption questions we answered while on vacation or the pregnancy hormones, but I’m yearning for her even more these days. I’ve dreamed of her–never seeing her face, only her little brown hand in mine. Just the other night I was overcome with emotion at the dinner table as I glanced at our empty chairs, knowing they will one day be filled.

No, we don’t have a referral yet. We don’t have a picture to stare at. Not a name or a birthday to add to the calendar…but she’s ours. We’re already connected. God has already written her name on our family tree and on our hearts.

But I’m only at the beginning of all of this yearning…more is sure to come.

Jonah talks about her often, too. He asks questions about Ethiopia and wonders what sister might be doing at any given moment. We look at the globe and the distance that separates us for the time being. He prays for her every single night without prompting. He draws pictures of our family including “our girl,” as he calls her. He loves her so much already.

And I wonder…Will she every really know just how much we yearned for her and the very hope of her presence in our lives?

Adoption FAQ #5: Boy or Girl?

We really struggled with this decision. I mean REALLY struggled.

We originally said we were open to either gender. How could we choose? It felt like if we were to pick a gender, we were taking control of things instead of letting God work…and as we’ve already established, God is in charge of building this family regardless of our input.

Then we found out that I was pregnant with a little boy…and we started to revisit the gender decision.

Can I just be real for a moment? In some ways, a little boy would be “easier”. We’ve already got all the boy clothes we could ever need for hand-me-downs. We’ve got all the boy toys. And for very lazy reasons, I could buzz his Ethiopian hair with minimal effort or know-how on my part. But let’s face it, those are all superficial reasons to pick a boy.

And since I’m still being real…I have a strong desire to dress someone in pink, ruffles, and hairbows at some point in my life.

Through our interactions with The Mercy House, we started thinking about what life is like for a girl in a third world country. It isn’t pretty. The facts are downright depressing and make me ask God hard questions in the middle of the night. Rape. Prostitution for food. Back-alley Abortions. Yuck. Yuck. Sigh…

I knew what we had to choose.

All hair care tips welcome for African girl hair. :)