Thursday, June 19, 2014

Strangers in the grocery store

I know I haven't blogged in quite a long time. Mainly because our blog is somehow messed up and runs all the paragraphs together...who wants to read like that? We'll see if it's fixed when I publish..but be warned. We've been busy with life too. But today I have a very interesting story to share, and I think it may be helpful to all those families still in the waiting that don't already have a child...that's different :)

Now this post is NOT what you expect....based on the title of the post.  I'm not going to tell you about a stranger asking how much I paid for our daughter, or who is her mother....or all of those horror stories you hear from time to time (of which we haven't experienced personally any of those things, but I know it does happen).  I'm writing to share some light and pure joy of what it's like to have an adopted child that is different than you.

Lauren knows she's different....she attracts looks from everyone....everyone says how pretty she is, they look at her and how she and I relate in public... I'm sure in their mind they are trying to figure her out.  What is her story??  Is her mommy married to an Africa-American man - and is that how her hair turned out so straight? (Lauren's skin is very dark, so I'm not sure everyone immediately thinks of India when they see her). She is strikingly unique ....   I see it in the "strangers' eyes"...they have questions.....and then little Miss Lauren breaks into that barrier with a wonderfully, joyful question, "hi, what's your name"....she says to strangers... they are surprised and happy she asked about them... they tell her, like tonight, "hi, I'm Joslyn"..."you are such a pretty girl"...Lauren replies, "I know it"...we all chuckle....and I prompt her to say, "Thank you" and she quickly obeys. But tonight was special, as the lady walked away she said, "I love you".  ...the lady asked, "what did she say?"... {her "I love you" is a hard one to understand at the moment}.... I relayed the message - and the lady looked back and said, "I love you too".  It was precious.  Now before we go down a path of protect your child, don't talk to strangers, "she must not be bonded if she can say that to a stranger", and all the other typical adoption concerns.... let's put all that on a shelf for a moment and just think about the pure, simple, innocence of a child .... that is merely telling another person, "I like you.... you are kind.... you are good".... and I hope that one day she will have in her spirit, "you are one of God's yes, I do love you as I love humanity... with all its warts". Don't misunderstand, I'm not dismissing all the typical advice about boundaries with your child, etc.  I so appreciate all that training and research.  I'm just saying on occasion I want my children to know that generally people are good.  This child has taught me soooo much about unconditional love.  It's hard to describe.

One other angle to share about almost all of our public experiences with Lauren that have a similar ring to them... although tonight was the first "I love you" addition -- {she's in a great mood...and just came home from Vacation Bible School with our who knows???}.....anyway, what if I told you that almost without exception the people that speak to us in public about Lauren... similar to above are ALL African Americans.  ..... and what is strange is, I didn't get the same reaction EVER with Joshua - and he was one cute baby :)  .... so what does this mean? (and this isn't just when it's me with Lauren...Brad experiences the same thing when he's with her.)  I think it means a barrier between us and the society is broken down when people see a happy, loving, well-adjusted transracial family. People don't assume we have prejudice...and appear free to engage in conversation.  We do naturally stay to ourselves as a society for the most part.... we come home from work, drive in our garages, close the door, and stay in a close knit family. Lauren has broken that wall down.... with her confident, free-spirit that says, "if you are looking at me, you must want to know me, even if for a minute" She assumes everyone wants to be her friend.... and she cares more about relationships than anything in the world. Of course we will watch her closely and not put her in harms way.... we will teach her not to help a stranger in the neighborhood that is offering candy...or needs help with their kittens in the car, etc.  We will protect her.  But I also want to share a thought ......what if we were all so bold that we could talk to strangers in the grocery with a loving spirit without fear??   I can't wait to see what God does with this special child through the years and all that He has in store for her.

There is hope...not all grocery store conversations are bad ones. :)      

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Romans 13 Submission to Governing Authorities

At the risk of writing something terribly controversial - and maybe even losing a few blog readers - my heart has this overwelming desire to share something with all potential PAPs. We started thinking and praying on adoption shortly after Joshua was born. For several reasons I was "warned" not to try to have other children. Being older parents, we really wanted a sibling for Joshua. So we started down a path - it started with China in 2007... started that process and then rules changed and we didn't qualify any longer - got on the Nepal list - and literally watched that program for a year (2009) and decided, no... we were not going to push forward on an adoption that by all accounts the government in Nepal would not likely complete. God directed us to India and we started the process..... and a few years later we have our Lauren. I recognize there is a dark world of sin, and I also recognize that Satan wants to continue for as long as he can to keep children without loving parents - because that is how he rolls. But since being in the world of adoption for literally seven years one thing I see over and over again... and I feel compelled to share........ When the government acts and it's a negative action against a PAP - why do we immediately say it's Satan at work? I'm not always sure it is.... I think scripture tells us to submit to governing authorities in Romans 13 (I don't think it says - submit to American governing authorities, or to only Christian faith governing authorities)... people across this globe are in power and position because God allowed it. He CAN change it. So with that said, what is God teaching us through these struggles..... may I suggest he's teaching us (and perhaps adoption agencies and social workers too)... that we should respect the rules established by governing agencies - even if we don't like it. What breaks my heart is to see a family being told by their adoption agency - I know you already have 6 children - but we can appeal their decision and fight further in a country that merely doesn't allow adoptions in larger families. Likewise rules on adopting out of birth order, or even to a single mom (Lauren was referred to an India woman before she was referred to us - who was an American resident/Indian - but she was single -and LOST the referral (I think about that alot - because our Lauren could be raised by an Indian that would likely be much better equipped to teach her about the Indian culture in ways that we can't) - but because the government / authorities said they wanted Lauren in a family that has a mother and a father....she's ours! God's plan for her was OUR family!! Now don't go off on me here - I know some of my friends are single mom's with adopted kiddos... that's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is... during the adoption process, if the government denies you - really search your heart about whether God's plan is different for you....and first and foremost, submit to the rules and decisions they make, even when we don't like it. For new families - I really think it's important to point-blank ask the adoption agency - what are the rules for successful Indian adoptions? Respect those rules.... and discern if it's right for you. I know several families that started in India and moved to other countries - I know others that started in other countries and moved to India. God would love nothing more than to place every child in a family - I'm certain about that - but what I'm not sure about is whether His plan is always the same as ours and I'm certain often times his timeline is no way near our timeline :) - and I just want families to think about that as they walk this journey. Only you will know if God's call on your heart is for India...I think it will persist and doors will open that provide you with such confidence you will know. But be careful with your hearts, not to mention your finances when it comes to denials - seek God's will and match that up with your own.... the child you thought he had for you, he does have a plan for - just in another family.... and your match is in His plan another way. It's also my understanding that photo books are not shared with the child until after court approval - at least that was how our orphanage handled it - so I'm not sure a lost referred child always does know that their referral "broke down".... as I read this - it sounds harsh or uncaring and that is not what is on my heart at all - I'm just wanting families to walk through this journey carefully - and to absolutely expect facts and success stories from their agency as to not fall into a terrible painful circumstance. While we are fighting and appealing decisions there just might be another child that God has planned for you .... he's just waiting for you to submit.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bump in the road

Well, Lauren's been home 1 year and just over 3 months. We really feel we're in a good groove... and then Christmas break... we went to Rockford and had a great time, but because of sleeping arrangements, Lauren slept with me for several days in a row... like 6 or so. Now that we're home, she can't seem to sleep alone in her bed in her room. We came home, did the exact same night time routine, and her rely is, "it's scary"... it's been so very hard. So I recalled one of her teachers telling me that at nap she chews on a plastic chew toy. So yesterday, Lauren's first day back to school, Joshua and I went on a shopping mission to find a few perfect chew toys for her. We hit the jackpot and came home with several and she tried out the first one last night. First of all, when we gave them to her she cheered, she knew exactly what they were for!! So last night, starting our regular routine, she chewed on her monkey/banana toy (that vibrates just slightly) was about 5 minutes, my PJ top was somewhat soaked with drool, she was out and I put her in her bed.... her "new" bed, by the way that we set up for her..... basically bought a memory foam cover, and also a fluffy down comforter -- anything to try to get her to sleep...she liked the new bed set up on her existing toddler bed...but nothing hit the spot like that monkey/banana. I am reminded, that just when you think you've got it figured out -- something reminds you that your child is special... her background is special and unique... she's highly sensory (although we thought most of that was resolved through new neuro-pathways built this last year)...but now I see we have the remains of the oral sensory issues. For now, I'm not worried about her teeth -- I'm sure her dentist would say otherwise, but I more worried about her sleeping. So I guess we are still experiencing these little bumps in the road ... even after a year... (I have a feeling we will have other bumps in the road as time goes by)... it's still a shock for us, because Joshua was and is such an easy kid to raise, for the most part. He's predictable and easy to read... he's consistent.... he's a rule follower...legalist... with few surprises. (I think God gave us an easy one, so we have the stamina to handle the challenges of the other one :) ... meanwhile, I can try to catch up on sleep -- sleeping with her is really hard on me..she kicks, tosses, etc. But hey, while Joshua got his hair cut today, I dozed in the lobby :) Lauren, btw: took a full two hour nap at her school with her new "chewy". :)