Thursday, October 25, 2012

I couldn't fix it

I think the hardest thing for me to accept in life is that there are things I simply can't fix.

Choices that others make that --agree or not-- I just don't get a vote on.

Hurts, struggles, grief that I see people walk through--and yet, there is nothing I can do to make it better.

As a "do-er" by nature, these things have always been hard for me to accept.

But last night? As my sweet baby boy told me he was sad, but didn't have the words to explain it in any greater detail?

That was the first point in my life, in which I would have moved Heaven and Earth to "fix it".


I think so many times we do our very best to prepare for grief.

We see it in their coping mechanisms.

We acknowledge that it's the root cause of their behavioral issues.

Their sleep issues.

Their meltdowns.

We have tools to help our children regulate their emotions.

Tips and tricks to teach them new behavior patterns.

Entire libraries full of books to remind us that connection must be the foundation of correction.

And yet, at the end of the day?

Looking into eyes filled with sadness and words trapped behind a language barrier?

I didn't have any tools in mind. No tricks up my sleeve.

I just wanted to fix it.

And I couldn't.


I can't change the fact that he misses people he loves dearly in Africa.

I can't remove the hurts and loss he's suffered. Some he may not even recall exactly, but he know's he's sad...

I can't tell him when or if it will all go away. That the pain and grief will magically disappear and all of the sudden, he'll be completely free of those early scars.

But I would.  If there was any way in this world that I could heal him, I would do it.

I think that's at the very core of the heart of a parent. And as I sit here swallowing down the lumps in my throat even just recalling the sadness in his eyes..I'm reminded that we are not his only "parents". He has a Heavenly Father who loves him with even more fierceness than I do.

He has a Father who IS capable of bringing his heart healing and filling voids that I simply can't fill.

He is a child of the Most High and his Father will move Heaven and Earth to bring him healing.

I am confident in this.


And while I know that Marvel struggles between the joy, love and trust he is building with us and the sadness, grief and sorrow at what he's left behind, I am made more and more aware that healing isn't an overnight process.

That joy and grief aren't mutually exclusive.

That walking this path of healing isn't going to be an easy or short journey.

But that, through it all,  we can hold fast to these truths:

That "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds" (Psalm 147:3)

That He promised he could give rest to all those who labor and are heavy laden. That if we would take His yoke upon us and learn from him, we would see that He is gently and lowly in heart and we would find rest for our souls. For His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

That sorrow may last for the night...but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)

I don't know what the future will look like. I can make my sweet boy no guarantees about how he will feel in one year...Or 10...Or 20. 

But I can promise him, with every fiber of my being, that we will walk this path with him. That he is NEVER going to be alone. That it is ALWAYS okay to be sad or angry or happy. That how he feels is valid and that we are never going to leave. That we will be right there with him. In the times when he doesn't want to dig deep into the well of emotions. And in those times when he feels his loss the deepest.

And I can Guarantee to him that our God is faithful and has promised him healing and wholeness in ways we could never offer him.

I once heard it said that sorrow may last through the night, but joy WILL come in the morning. And that, if joy isn't there, then it isn't morning yet. 

Hold fast.

Because it WILL come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I've been wanting to link up somewhere with my Wordless Wednesdays....ya'll have any suggestions?

Welcoming home some dear friends this weekend. My heart is full.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saying Yes.

Sometimes when you say "Yes" to God, you have to fight every fleshly instinct you have.

Oftentimes it's not about what you can see but rather what you CAN'T see.

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying, "We want to walk the path YOU have set for us".

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying, "I'm trusting more in You than in what I see around me"

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying,"I will walk this path even though I have no idea where it leads"

Saying Yes to God is rarely as convenient as saying Yes to the world.

And the return is beautiful and hard, mighty and weakening, filled of joy and pain.

But it's worth it. All of it.

I remind myself every time the enemy starts throwing stability, money, risk, and comfort in my face that, though I can't see where this path leads, I am confident that my God is taking me to land of milk and honey--if only I won't stop to wallow in the desert.

Because this path? Is worth it.

We are in a season of prayer, trusting, and hope and we would love it if you would stand with us praying:

* That God would open/close doors that need to be

* That we would be receptive and quick to respond

* That we would have a Kingdom understanding that the "finances" of it have no ownership when our God is the Provider.

* That we would make decisions carefully and only after seeking His will

* And that  God would protect and direct our family

Our God is Good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Because there aren't any to describe this....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tools of Transition: The Introduction

For most families in Adoption-Land, transition is the Big Unknown after the airport.

Here you are with this child that stepped off that plane with a suitcase full of needs, desires, hurts, secrets, anger, disappointment, longing, and fears.

It's not that transitioning with ANY new child at home isn't a big unknown.

But to ignore the differences would be to disadvantage our children's healing. So this isn't the place to make those comparisons...

While at this point I am guarded about how much to share about Marvel's homecoming and transition (note: We still reside at 123 This Is Hard Lane sometimes); I did want to share some specific tools we made sure to keep in our belt at all times.

These aren't magic fix-it-all pills. But they are tools that might help back someone off the ledge and away from the downward spiral.  And believe me, there are days you need a lifeline or two...

So for my first installment, I thought I would list some of the resources that have helped me establish what I would call the Tools of Transition.  I know not all families have the freedom we had. Marvel is--for now--our only kiddo so not only can the world revolve around him sometimes? but we also had no preconceived notions about the right way to parent. 2 point advantage for being a blank slate =)

1. The Connected Child: I personally think there are practical tips and ideas in this book that are beneficial for even the most secure and attached children. But especially for those of us diving into a Great Unknown, this book is as useful as knowing how to communicate "Do you need to go potty?". In other words, it can be critical to your very survival!

2. Empowered to This website is a compilation of webinars, articles, clips of Dr. Purvis addressing specific needs and issues, and has by-far been my greatest Go-To resource in the transition season.

3. Empowered to Connect conferences: I had already read The Connected Child when we made the decision to go to the ETC conference so I was wary that there would be anything NEW to learn. Friends, let me tell you....there is ALWAYS something new to learn..... This conference has been my greatest "pat yourself on the back for doing something proactive while in adoption purgatory" moment. I was so proud that we made the commitment to go because the tools and information we gleaned from this have proven to be INVALUABLE. We are trying to work it out to go again sometime in the next year! If you ever get the opportunity to go, you must. I insist.

3.  Blogs: I wish I could list all the blogs that have given me ideas, hope, or even just made me feel a little understood on this journey but I know I would miss one. Regardless of what your journey in life is, I would encourage you to find a few people (or their blogs) who have climbed that mountain before you. Because if you choose to do it alone, you will miss all the stories of triumph and defeat, the tips and tricks for traversing the forests and --let's be honest--you might hit a few unnecessary bumps along the way.  Get a village, ya'll.

4.  Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care:  I didn't go the easier route when it came to boy hair-care. As soon as I laid eyes on Marvel's beautiful curls, I knew I couldn't cut them off. I wanted to see what amazingness might come from nurturing and caring for those locks and I have been blown away by the beauty of my sweet boy's curly hair.  I for real could not have done it without this one particular resource. There are many sites for AA hair care (and I will list some in a future post) but CHVH understood that I needed the very very very starting point to be spelled out.... even after 3 months home and countless hours perusing the information here, I was back on this site LAST NIGHT because I needed some additional help. I'm here often. =)

So there you have it, the beginning of our journey home. As I think back to how unprepared I felt, I realize that, while I was NEVER going to feel be prepared, we had taken enough proactive steps to have the tools we needed to not panic *as much* in the moment.

Most of all, as you read this, I hope you remember this solid truth. There is nothing we are going through now that is harder than what our child has already gone through. When I look at the resilience and bravery of my son, I think to myself  "You can be better than you are. You have to be better. Because if, after everything he's been through, he can look at you with love in his eyes, then you can read one more book or try one more new thing to help bring him his healing".  

There is nothing more important than helping our child see the redemption that God has brought our entire family and grab hold of the healing that He has promised. It's not an easy or quick road and I make no claims that we are  out of the forest yet....Heck, These tools I talk about may be completely obsolete in a month. But I am giving my whole heart and will to this amazing boy's healing and hope.

And I am confident that I will see it.

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

3 Months Home!

I realized this morning at church that today was 3 months home exactly!

There are times when it feels like he's been in our family forever and there was no "life" before him.

And other times I hear words like "I have to go pick up my son from school" or "Why are you holding your bottom, do you need to go potty?" and I think.......Wow....That sounds....really... weird.

Okay so potty talk might always sound weird, but you get my drift, ya'll!

3 months home and I am continually amazed by Marvel. I feel immensely blessed to hold him each night as he falls asleep or have him confirm (after I've said it) that I love him or I'm proud of him. He is truly an amazing. Amazing. child.

In the past few weeks, we've had a lot of firsts:

*  Marvel started going to school ALL DAY last week and made the transition like it was no big thing at all and we were all crazy for watching him so carefully! I shouldn't have been surprised. Ya'll all remember how well he did on the First Day of School afterall!

*  The temps dropped to the 30s and 40s (Fahrenheit) this week for the first time. Based on our experiences and what we've read, this is probably the coldest temperatures Marvel has ever experiences. And, of course,that sparked another "first"...

*  Emphasis! Marvel has started telling us things with Emphasis!. For example, today he told me his hands were "very very VERY cold" and last night, as Moses was about to knock something over, I heard a quick repetition of "nononono NO!" followed by an "Oh nooooo" ;-)  It's been awesome to watch him determine whether or not something deserves emphasis and it's so exciting to see him adding this to his repertoire of language (which is growing by leaps and bounds daily)

* Complete sentences. Used to, when Marvel wanted to talk in long sentences (like most people do) we would get a series of repeated phrases..."Mommy, daddy-where is it? I don't know. daddy where?" or "Moses, outside. let moses out, Moses backyard?"  It was obviously quite hilarious to hear and a lot of fun to copy ;-)   Of course, we knew that season was going to be short, especially with his language building at supernatural speeds.... and much to my funny-bone's dismay, this week, Marvel came up to me in the kitchen and said "Mommy, I need some water please."  The Husband has also started calling Marvel by a nickname and Marvel often responds "[Nickname] is not my name! My name is [Marvel]!". Most recently, we've even heard  "I'm", "It's" and "don't" a few times! It may not seem like anything unusual for children who learn a language in the normal way but for later-English-learners, it's a pretty big deal when they start using words like "I" "You" and "And" when they begin using contractions? Break out the confetti! Because that is HUGE!!  

*  Marvel has decided he LOVES Pizza. This makes life a lot easier because after he decided he no longer liked eggs (who would after eating 2-3 a day for 2 1/2 months?!) and before pizza, I had no idea what to send in his lunchbox when he finally went full-day! Most parents might scoff at sending mini pizzas each day with their child but I know for sure he will choose not to eat if the food hasn't been approved. We've chosen to give him control in the food department (since we single-handedly took away any control he had before when we picked him up and flew him halfway around the world and required him to learn a new  language) and I want to know he ate SOMETHING during the day, so pizza and corn-on-the-cob it is!!!  This week he has said he would try corn dogs and hot dogs and has asked for cucumbers in his lunchbox which encourages me that we are continuing to make great strides in the food department!!

*  Association: We've been trying since we brough Marvel home to get him to make associations with people/relationships by asking "who are your friends at school?" then listing several names we recall from the first days or showing pictures of his ET friends with their families/siblings. He picked up the parental association quickly "Marvel's mommy vs. Orange's mommy" but he's recently started telling us the names of friends at school and remembering his teacher's name when I ask him a generic "who is your teacher?". This week, he's started pointing at strangers in the store and saying "Mommy, baby, I don't know?" to which I respond, "That's right, Marvel, you don't know that baby!" =)

Genius Child, I tell ya!! =)

* He loves Moses more and more each day and showers the dog with hugs and kisses! He was so excited to celebrate Moses' first birthday this week and buy him a new bone and, as I type, they are sharing the kid-couch with Marvel laying across Moses. Best Friends, he would tell ya!

All in all, we're making great strides in language, food and trust-building and hopefully building the foundation of safety for him to begin working through everything he's been through. I've made a story book of the adoption to give him some opportunities to open up about how he felt during certain shared experiences.

We are always reminded that we may never know where these amazing traits we watch blossom come from but we reverently remember from whom they come....

Favorite Food(s): cupcakes, pizza, strawberry milk, cucumbers, apples, carrots and pancakes/bacon; french fries; butternut squash soup; 
Favorite Person: Moses (our dog). He also loved spending the weekend with his cousin K1 and told me they were "best friends" as well =)
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Show(s): Jimmy Neutron, Avengers, Iron Man, Dora and Diego
Favorite Phrase(s): "Aww Man", "Mommy, I love you!", "Moses, Move!", "It's Dinner-time!", "What is it?", "I see it!", "Mommy, crazy?", "I think so"
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Thing(s) To Do: Help cook in the kitchen; do puzzles (currently doing 24 piece puzzles!); play Memory; dress up like superheroes; play soccer

First time riding a horse!

First Fair rides!!!

First time sleeping all night in his own room (with cousin K1)