Friday, September 28, 2012

Monthly Wait-List Update

Our wait-list update was delivered a little early this month as our agency's Ethiopia coordinator is leaving for an, I'm sure, much-needed vacation.  (After all, she puts up with a lot of families on a daily basis).  Bless her heart!

As I previously predicted, it looks like we're going to be hanging onto the number 9 for a bit longer.

We have begun the process to expand our parameters to accept a child from the age of 2 to the age of 6.  This requires an amendment to our original home study (which is being prepared next week) and an application to amend our USCIS paperwork.  Once we receive approval from USCIS, our age range will "officially" be updated on the waiting list.  And, who knows, maybe we'll get a referral before then anyway.  Wouldn't that be something?  (Luckily, it's not costing us an arm and a leg).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom Petty Was Right

Tom Petty had it right when he said (or sang), "Oh, the way-ay-ting is the hardest part".

It occurred to me this morning that if this were a real pregnancy, I'd be in my third trimester.  To be specific, I'd be almost 38 weeks pregnant at this point.  And miserable.  (Oh, wait....).  I'd be sitting around with my feet up, visiting the doctor weekly and, reluctantly (ha!), allowing others to wait on me hand and foot.

Instead, I often feel that we've been dropped into the black hole of waiting (which, by the way, is no one's fault; just the way it is).  I can't feel a baby moving and we don't have the promise that we definitely will NOT go past the 40 week mark.  Instead, what I know is that we've been waiting 38 weeks....and we may very well wait 38 more.

If you're the praying type, not even one would be wasted on us (for peace, for patience, for discernment).  We have received some information from our agency regarding our potential wait that is a bit discouraging.  Technically, there is only one family ahead of us on the wait list whose parameters (age and sex) are similar to ours.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that this family has been waiting for 18 months.

We have the ability to amend our Home Study and extend our parameters; broadening the possibilities, if you will.  We know that He has a plan....and it's perfect, as always.  We just don't want to run ahead of him.....or lag behind because we're not listening.

I'm not going to lie and say that we aren't discouraged.  We are.  But this too shall pass and I know that there will come a time that we will look back on these days and know what a vapor they really were.

In other news, we're rounding out another month and new wait list numbers will be communicated soon.  At this point, I am not anticipating any movement on the list.  Last month was a big month for all of us; we're probably due a little lull.  : )

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet Ruthie Grace

One of the absolute highlights of our adoption journey has been meeting fellow adoptive families, both live and in person and via the internet.  Sweet, sweet like minded people are a blessing.

Several months ago, I "met" via Facebook a family from Alabama who were fundraising to bring their sweet girl home from China.  The Boyd family sold our adoption tees for their adoption and I just can't even tell you how exciting it was when they came home with Ruthie Grace and pictures like these showed up on Facebook.

Welcome home Ruthie Grace.......I'm SO thankful that you are one less!

While We Wait - ETC 2012

Last week, for two days (Friday and Saturday), Jeff & I attended the Empowered to Connect (ETC) Conference which, lucky for us, was held right here in our own city.  I consider it such a blessing to have had this opportunity as the conference is only held a few times per year and all over the country; what are the chances that it would land LITERALLY down the street at such a time as this (for us).  God's's always perfect, huh?

The conference is based upon a book co-written by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross titled "The Connected Child".  Dr. Purvis is the Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.  During the past decade, she and her colleagues at the Institute have invested their efforts towards developing research-based interventions for at-risk children.  Throughout her life, Dr. Purvis' personal and professional calling has been to create a welcoming, loving environment for children.  Foster and adoption issues have always been at the heart of her work, and when her own children were small, she served as foster mother to many children  (taken from her bio, found here).  Her work is highly esteemed and her book is required reading for most, if not all, parents pursuing adoption.  It certainly was for us.

I went into the weekend thinking that we would learn a lot of specifics about what to do, specifically, when you bring your child home and how to transition him/her into your family.  As it turns out, the conference was about so much more.  It was packed (and I do mean PACKED) with so much great information; some of which was extremely scientific but Dr. Purvis did a great job of "dumbing it down" for people like me.  I love the way that she took the extremely scientific and interjected practical ways to incorporate this parenting style into your family.  What I love even more is that throughout the event, Dr. Purvis modeled such Christ-like behavior as she spoke often of the children that she "served"and incorporated scripture.  Many times during the event, as she spoke of children she has served, she teared up and her sweet spirited voice would crack; a testament, I believe, to the heart that she has for these children from hard places.

Below are just a very few of the thoughts that we walked away with:
  • Every child who comes through adoption or the foster system have come from what Dr. Purvis calls "hard places".  Even the baby who is adopted at birth.
  • One of the things that Dr. Purvis is most passionate about is giving children a voice.  During the conference, she shared a picture of newborn orphans in a Russian hospital (2007) whose little mouths had been duct taped so that the nurses didn't have to hear their cries.  Some children do not have a voice.  Others are simply not heard.  
  • The human brain develops differently for children/people who have experienced trauma.  All the way back to the womb.  How it develops matters.  You can't just discipline someone whose brain is not properly developed into the behavior that you desire.  
  • Many children need help identifying their own feelings.  Their feelings need to be validated and then they need to be empowered to regulate their own emotions which is terribly difficult for many of these children.
  • Dr. Purvis and TCU teach Trust Based Parenting methods which are based upon more than a decade of research with vulnerable children.
  • Undoing the past isn't necessarily easy.  But it isn't impossible either.  It takes patience and dedication.
  • Things like voice control and body language make a huge difference and saying "yes" often is critical.  (This absolutely doesn't mean that the parent is permissive...quite the opposite).
  • These children do not / will not respond well to the same parenting style that we have used on our biological children.  And to be honest, now that we have been made aware of something different, we don't want to parent the same.  In fact, one of the first things that we did was to apologize to our two boys.  : )
  • Every child needs to know, OFTEN, how precious they are and what an awesome job God did when He created them.
It was a great weekend and, for me (Kelley), filled some of this wait time with something that felt proactive involving our adoption.  An added bonus was that we were able to spend a little time with a fellow Lifeline (our agency) family.  It was so great to meet the Burts and look forward to following their journey as well.