Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Because their lives are worth it too

Moving right along with our adoption.  One major thing I have noticed with this adoption is the lack of support this time around.  When we were adopting Eli, everyone was so excited for us.  I think bc it was new and people thought we were great for helping this kid (not our thoughts, but comments we would get from others).  I guess, foolishly, I thought we would have the same excitement this time around.  I was warned by my friends who have adopted more than once  not to get my hopes up, but I was sure they were wrong.  Unfortunately, they were right.  With a few exceptions, it has been a very different experience this time. 

Another friend of mine just posted that she had a family member who actually said she was concerned that by adopting they would be taking things, like brand name clothes, away from their other children.  REally?  First, we don't buy our children brand name clothes anyway, but why can't others, outside of the adoption world, SEE that things don't matter.  Should we leave our girls in orphanages, to whither away, so that I can give Thomas and Gwen THINGS?  Do I want to raise children who would value toys over a person?

Is it okay for me to choose jewelry over rescuing these children?  Some would say we have done our part.  We adopted once already.  Aren't we done yet?  Hasn't the novelty worn off?  How will we know when we are done?  I would say right now that even after bringing the girls home we may not be done forever.  How do you stare at pleading eyes, eyes that scream, hold me, love me, please, and say no, I need this THING more.  I can't stare in those pleading eyes, and say, your life isn't worth it to me. 

Photo

This is a ten YEAR old girl.  Look closely at this picture.  Notice how tiny she is?  Notice the shaved head?  Notice how she is tied hand and foot to a crib?  She is tied so she can't get out of the crib and explore.  She is tied so the caregivers don't have to deal with her.  She is tied so she can be ignored, left year after year, not to grow and be loved, but to remain, to exist, to only exist.  Is my life worth more than hers?  Is it my place to decide her worth?  I don't think so.  This could be my Lillie or my Jocelyn in a few years.  Jocelyn is already VERY small, 15 pounds or so at 6.  Should I have left her?

 Vm (2)

This is a 13 year old boy.  His hands are tied together to prevent him from hurting himself.  I might hurt myself too if I was left in a crib and ignored all day, just to break up the monotony.  I see you sweet boy, I see you. 

I wish I could tell everyone who has doubts, or fears for us, or thinks we are crazy, how my heart will never be the same after leaving Eli's orphanage (which was truly doing a very nice job).  I wish I could make them see the joy Eli brings us.  I wish I could make them understand, that even on the hard days, the days I end up exhausted and worn, that I would never choose to go back to my old life.  I wish their hearts would break just a little for these children, who have no one to rub their thin bodies and give them comfort.  Who have no one to kiss them and love them and help them learn and explore.  I wish I could explain the absolute joy I feel when I look at Eli, when he calls MAMA impatiently, when he holds his sisters hand in the car, when he comes to me and asks me to take him somewhere. 

Everyone has worth and value.  We will continue to value and love those we are entrusted with, and be open to anymore who may be brought our way. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Life skills

We have been busy around here!  In our homeschool, we are trying to work hard on important life skills :) 







What?  unrolling the entire roll of aluminum foil is an important life skill too :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I will follow you into the dark

Last year at this time, I was longing and aching to hold this little guy in my arms. 
This was the updated picture we had gotten of him.  He seemed so grown from the old picture that was listed with him.  Would he like us?  Would we like him?  Were we making a mistake?  Not all unicorns and glitter when you adopt.  Adopting is scary and I believe everyone has doubt at some point.  For us, the moments where we KNEW what we were doing was right FAR outweighed the moments when we wondered, but if we are being truthful I DID have those moments.  I'm not ashamed to admit it either. 

Paperwork and social worker visits and drives to get papers signed, certified, and apostilled kept me busy. Finally the day came when we left to meet him.  The pain of leaving the other children behind was too much for me, and I cried silently on the way to the airport.  Luci kept us occupied on the plane ride ;)  so not much time to worry about the children left behind or the child we were going to meet. 

And then, we met him.  And he was everything I had dreamed of.  I had anticipated crying and hugging him, but he had different ideas!  He firmly took my hand and marched me to group bc it was time for circle and that was it.  We sat behind him, kissing his hand and marveling at this real child, finally, no longer a picture to look at, but a real child.  Sometimes I think with photo listings it's too easy to fall in love with a picture and we forget these are REAL children, waiting for families to call their own.  I think pictures can make it too easy to say, not this one, I don't like this card, this one is prettier. 
There were some rough times in country, with Eli testing boundries and limits, not speaking his language or the nanny's language.  I was SO glad to be home when we got back, and I thought, my arms are filled for now.  We knew we would adopt again at some point, bc we were so moved by the children we had left behind.  "Someday" came quicker than we had anticipated, and that is a lovely thing.

This mothers day, my arms are aching to hold our girls, our Lanie and our Jocelyn.  I KNOW this time we will have more struggles, simply based on the girls current functioning.  Neither girl is walking or talking, neither can feed themselves.  And the song, "I will follow you into the dark" plays in my head.  I will follow both of them, wherever they need to go.  If we need to walk into the dark and sit and be still for a while, then that is what we will do.  There is sacrifice on both sides of this adoption journey. 

Our adopted children's biological parents gave them up, whether they were ashamed of their disabilities or simply couldn't care for them I will never know.  But it is a sacrifice.  To never see Eli smiling and laughing, to never kiss his tears away and hold him tight.  To never hear him call "mama" when he needs me or wants to tell me something, it is a sacrifice.  We are sacrificing our easy world.  Life is good and simple right now, with very few struggles.  And it is okay that it may be hard when we bring the girls home.  We will grow stronger from the struggle. Our children will see that good things are worth waiting for.  They will understand that hard work brings great rewards. 

We want them to understand that there is always room for one more, in your heart and in your home.  These aren't just words we want them to hear.  We want them to see it for themselves.  See that it is okay to give up a comfortable life for someone else.  The greatest gift I can give my children is to teach them to care for others, to sacrifice your wants and needs to help someone else.  I hope they will someday understand what we are trying to do and what we are trying to teach them. 

Soon enough, I will be holding these two tight in my arms, following them on their journey to healing.  And I cannot wait until that day is here!




Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dirty

Sorry it's been so long since I posted.  We've been busy and on vacation and doing adoption stuff...and I haven't had much to say.


One thing we noticed when we were at Eli's orphanage was that the nanny's were fastidious about keeping the children clean.  Faces were clean, all the girls hair was done, clothes were straight and tidy.  The children got scolded if they got dirty.  I am not complaining about this mind you.  This showed us that they cared about the children and wanted them to look nice.  This is a direct contrast to pictures I have seen and stories I have heard from other adoptive parents who had children in not so nice places. 


With that being said, when Eli first came home he would get very upset if he got dirty or wet, crying and holding out the part of him that was wet/dirty.  Over time, we were able to assure him that it was okay with us if he was wet or dirty, and he has slowly but surely become more okay with it. 

We are putting a little patio in our yard, and lots of dirt comes with that.  Gwen decided to play in the mud, and Eli joined in.  It warmed my heart to see him so happy to be dirty, no hesitation, no crying or upset.  He is our son, and every day we see more little signs that he is truly settling in here, after almost 6 years with no family to call his own!


 
 
As you can see in the video below, when I ask him if he is dirty his first reflex is to deny that he is dirty.  I think this may take a long time before it goes away, but we are okay with that.  I know this summer he will have many many opportunities to be dirty ;)