Sunday, December 30, 2012

When Parenting is Hard

Many of my facebook friends shared this article the weekend after the school shootings in Newtown. I read it and it all came flooding back. 

I used to live this woman's life.

I'm not sure what "caused" my oldest son's issues, but I have lots of ideas, all of them my fault. He was a demanding infant, although my postpartum depression at the time really didn't allow for much perspective. 

When he was two-years-old, our daily nap time ritual consisted of him standing on my bed screaming for an hour, a literal 60 minutes, until either the timer went off and he could get up or he finally passed out in exhaustion. I begged God everyday for the latter. As his expressive language grew, he added insults into the screaming. I had read all the books and knew I needed to win the battle of him staying on my bed, but I had to let the verbal abuse go. "Be consistent" is what the experts say, and I was that...for an entire year, every day. It never changed. 

As he got older, the fits of rage increased in both intensity and frequency. Every time I instructed him or said no to him, I braced myself for the fall out. I never knew if the response would be from my sweet young son, or the monster that seemed to roam within him. Sometimes, a simple command like, "put your shoes away," would yield a calm, agreeable response, "Okay, mom." But sometimes, it would turn him into a screaming, writhing beast who would throw things and hurl threats and insults to anyone around. His siblings would cower in fear. Sometimes, I would, too.

He was our fourth child. It wasn't like I didn't know how to raise good kids. What was wrong with me? What was wrong with him

We withdrew from outside life. Without any predictor of mood, I simply could not schedule things for fear of a meltdown before we walked out the door. There were often several meltdowns a day. From explosion to exhaustion lasted anywhere from one to six hours of intense, one-on-one attention to the detriment of the other kids who learned to make themselves scarce lest they become a victim, too. 

My first priority was the safety of everyone in the house. I had to lock up all the sharps. I had to tell the other kids to lock themselves in their rooms. I sometimes had to just give him his way to keep some semblance of peace. I prayed and begged God to give me wisdom, to heal his hurt, to bring us peace. 

Sometimes, I grieved because I loved him so much and was unable to help him. Sometimes, I grieved out of guilt because I barely even tolerated him. I longed for "normalcy." I felt guilty because of the time and attention he took away from his siblings. I asked my husband to consider residential treatment.

I tried talking to my friends about it. They either murmured sympathetic things while looking at me like I'd grown a second head, or acted like the tantrum their typical child once threw somehow compared and gave me advice accordingly.

I was out of my depth. 

We finally called the local outpatient behavioral health clinic for an evaluation. The waiting list was three months long.

It was a long three months.

He was tested to see if he was on the autism spectrum. He wasn't. We did get a diagnosis, though.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, nos.

It failed to give us any real answers as to cause, but at least the foe had a name. 

We loved the evaluating psychologist, but all treatments were done by behavioral therapists. Ugh. We had observed one of those while waiting in the waiting room. Not a nice woman. We prayed our son would get someone better.

By God's grace, he actually got a therapist who was also completing her internship to be a psychologist. She was gold! She worked with him on identifying emotions, on stress release tactics, and on sticker reward charts. She worked with us on appropriate discipline and structure. 

We used "loving holds" if he wouldn't willingly go in time out, which he wouldn't. The timer didn't start until he complied and would sit alone...and stay. "Loving hold" basically meant that I would sit him on my lap and lock my arms around him while he head-butted me and kicked my shins while screaming threats. It was lovely.

But it worked. 

After a few weeks, the "loving hold" was only necessary for a few minutes vs the forty-five it took initially. A few weeks after that, it wasn't even needed. 

Soon after, I went to work full-time and Daddy became the stay-at-home-parent.

That's when the real transformation took place. 

With Dad's attention and input, he soon became the sweet, confident little boy we seldom saw before. Mr. Hyde was gone for good. 

I wish I could say what was the thing that turned him around...what was the key. I have no idea why the prayers I'd prayed for so long were suddenly answered. I am just so grateful that they were. I shudder to think of where we would be if nothing had changed.

Today, he is a happy, well-adjusted seven-year-old boy. This past year, it's like he finally grew into his skin. His tactile defensiveness is gone. No longer the gawky, uncoordinated kid he was, now he does amazing stunts on his skateboard and bike. He's still a bit shy and reserved, but he has quiet confidence to try new things. We prepare him for new situations and sometimes, he will admit that he is unsure but he now has the skills to articulate it. Occasionally, he will erupt and blow something out of proportion, but it's rare and over quickly. 

I am grateful. I don't pretend to have any answers. I feel like we have experienced a miracle. The only advice I would give to anyone in similar shoes is to seek help until you get it. Be persistent. Love your child, even if you need some distance from him to do it. And, also: Give yourself a break. Find a way to stay sane. Surround yourself with caring people. 

For the rest of you I say this: Have grace for the mom in need. Keep your judgement in check. Offer respite. Take her out for coffee. Listen. Pray for her. Look for, and remind her of, the good in her kid.

You never know when it will be you that needs help.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Love, Loss, and Forever

When God burdened our hearts about orphans abroad who have Down syndrome and compelled us to act, we never anticipated that our child would already be living in a family. We believed that we would pursue a child in an institution. 

Because of Reece's Rainbow, we knew that kids with Ds are abandoned at birth and relinquished to orphanages where they live until they are about five-years-old. Then they are put into a vehicle and driven to an adult mental institution to live out their days. 

When we set out to adopt one of these precious kids, it was with that picture in our hearts. 

But then, of the hundreds of pictures of little boys, I couldn't choose one....certainly not one over another.  

With the suggestion of a friend, we were led to Serbia, as they have a semi-blind referral system, meaning you don't get any information on a child until they receive your dossier and you are approved. 

Once we saw this video of Serbian mental institutions, we knew we'd made the right choice. 

As we waited for approval, I often thought about what it would be like to step into the institution or orphanage to meet our son. I tried to steel myself against the heartbreak I would experience there, yet, I really looked forward to bringing that experience home with me to better advocate for those kids.

Imagine my surprise when, of the three boys for whom we received information, all of them are currently in foster care.

Foster care? I didn't even know that was a choice in Serbia until half way through our process. Serbia is working hard to comply with laws that were established in 2005 and change is slow, but apparently they are moving forward.

The bottom line is that we are saving a child from an institution. Our son's future was institutional life eventually, if not for our intervention. Also, by bringing him home, we are opening a spot in the foster home for another child.  

But it's not what we were expecting. 

Now, I'm preparing my heart for a different sort of heartbreak. I do not relish taking him from the people he loves and who undoubtedly love him. Adoption is loss, always, before it becomes great gain.

But this seems too much. 

It will hurt him to leave them. It will cause him confusion and pain. His grief will break my heart. It hurts me already because I am his momma. I can't bear to think of what this will cost him, in the short term. I have been praying for that moment and praying that God will prepare his heart and the heart of his foster momma, even now.

But, I am reminded in this post by Missy that the love those people have for him is less than the "unmeasurable, unending, my-heart-would-never-mend-if-I-lost-you love" that he deserves. They care for him, I'm sure, and he will leave a void, but it's a void that will be filled again by the next child. "It is a poor substitute for the love of a mother, whose heart would never fully mend if she were to lose her child." He doesn't know it yet, but he needs, and his soul yearns for, the forever love of our family.  

More from Missy's post:

Aaron Ivey says,
The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'
 I, too, hear the call sweet boy. Your suffering is now my suffering. Your story is now my story.
"Because the love you know right now? It is not enough."

Monday, November 19, 2012


It is official: We will be traveling the second half of January to get our son!!! He is three-years-old, with Down syndrome and has a repaired heart. His surgery performed when he was 7 mos-old and we are told that it was successful, although he is still followed by cardiology. 

According to the information, he's a good sleeper, loves baths, interacts well and is affectionate with others, and "knows what is forbidden, but he disrespects it," which tells me he will fit right in! :)

"B" is currently in foster care, which is certainly not what we expected when we started this process. Honestly, having him in that setting gave me pause, simply because we anticipated rescuing a child from an institution. However, I am simply thrilled that Serbia even has foster families and that they, themselves, are moving children out of institutional life.

It does present another set of emotions for us and highlights that adoption is loss, first, which I will explore in a future post.

But, for now, we are beyond excited! We can't wait to meet him! Currently, we are waiting for his social centre to give us information on his clothing sizes so we can go shopping, although we do know that he weighs about 26 lbs. 

We will be in country for 2 - 3 weeks. We'll have our initial meeting with the Ministry in Belgrade and then travel to B's hometown, about an hour and a half away, and stay until we obtain custody of him, and then it's back to Belgrade until all procedures and paperwork are completed.

And then we come home.      

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I've been trying for days to write a politically correct and humble post about adoption. I had references and statistics and persuasive words and then cringed because it sounded too preachy, so I watered it down until it became boring and predictable and failed to communicate what's in my heart. So this is the raw, rambling, unedited version.

I think more people should adopt. 

Specifically, I think more Christians should adopt.

People don't like to be told what they should do, especially from someone who hasn't actually done it, yet. I get that. I don't like it either, but children are dying while I try not to offend.

There are children wasting away in institutions in Bulgaria, or scrounging for food on trash heaps in The Philippines. There are kids in orphanages in Ukraine who have caregivers paid to provide them with food, but not paid enough to keep them from the abuse of an older child. Here in the United States, children in foster care are exposed to all kinds of trauma making them at high risk for suicide. There are teenaged girls aging out of orphanage life in Russia who will directly enter the sex slave trade. 
Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die.  Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.  Proverbs 24:11-12    

I've not yet parented a kid with a past, but I've read a lot and talked to enough adoptive parents to know that it's not easy.  Most orphans have some kind of special needs. For some, it's why they were abandoned. For others, it's because they were abandoned. It's difficult for kids to emerge unscathed from what they've endured. 

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3,4 

I've been told by many Christians, in essence, they couldn't handle adoption given their present circumstances.

Being the queen of "I can't handle it," I get that, as well. In fact, I've said that very thing several times during this adoption process.  We like to be in control. We like for things to make sense and to do the responsible, socially acceptable thing. 
“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.” -Francis Chan   
Some of us already have a lot of children and it makes zero sense to take on more. Some of us have empty nests and it would be outrageous to start over. Some of us have not yet had biological children and it would be crazy to start our families with adoption.

But when does God call us to things that make sense? To things that we can handle?

If we can handle our lives, where is God's glory in that? 

It's a myth that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. In fact, God delights in doing just that because it forces us to kneel at His need include Him in our lives. 

When we do that, He has promised that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, that He has given us all we need for life and godliness, and that He will meet all our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

Church, "I couldn't handle it" is not a valid reason to avoid considering adoption. 

I know, I know....not everyone is called to adopt, but aren't we all called to be willing to adopt?  It's time to have the conversation, to ask your Father, "What do you want me to do for orphans?"  
What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world. James 1:27
I was recently told that I can't change the world. True, but I can change the world for this child. How about you? Can you open your heart and your home and change the world for one?  

Disclaimer: I know there are those of you who LONG to adopt and it is not yet God's timing for you. You are helping orphans by paying forward and helping others to follow God's call to adopt. I know this because you've so generously helped us. God sees your willing heart! Don't give up. Continue to advocate, continue to give, and believe that He WILL give you the desires of your heart! And for those of you who are willing, but have not been called, thank you for helping others, for sponsoring children, for loving on the neighbor kids whose parents are always at work...for doing what He HAS called you to do!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

When Random Turns to Warfare

Random emotions are rolling in my heart. Random thoughts are swirling in my brain. 

We are in a holding pattern in our adoption process. Just waiting on the translator to finish up and deliver our missing documents to the Ministry. (Got an email this morning telling us they will be delivered Wednesday.)

In the meantime, here are a few things that I've discovered:
  1. I don't wait well.
  2. I am weak.
  3. Did I mention that I don't wait well?     
I really don't wait well, but I'm finding that it's actually been somewhat of a relief not to have to think about anything adoption related. (Well, until one of the five hundred well-meaning people I've encountered just this week asks me about it.) 

But, in the waiting, I have lots of time. Lots of time to question, "What the h--- are we thinking?!?" Which brings us to number 2.

I am weak. I am passionate, compassionate, and just, but, conversely, I am impulsive, wimpy, and angry. I am weak. Just given time, I have worried that I am not brave enough to tackle this and that I have acted rashly in moving forward to rescue a child we've never even seen.

But then, in re-reading Adopted for Life by Russell Moore, I realized that I'd forgotten something important.

Adoption is warfare.

The protection of children isn't charity. It isn't part of a political program fitting somewhere between tax cuts and gun rights or between carbon emission caps and a national service corps. It's spiritual warfare...
The universe is at war, and some babies and children are on the line.  The old serpant is coiled right now, his tongue flicking, watching for infants and children he can consume.

There is an enemy of our souls that does not want us to embrace this child into our lives. He will stop at nothing to see that it doesn't happen. He knows that complacency works well with me to stall me in my tracks.

I've been passively waiting, thinking that I had no choice and almost congratulating myself for not freaking out, when I should be on my knees fighting to get this kid HOME! I should be storming the gates of heaven and asking for favor to be granted, obstacles to be overcome, mountains to be moved, translators to move quickly, paperwork to be in order, protection over our son...

In the back of my mind, I was lulled into thinking that since we took the steps to put things in motion, our work here was done until we brought him home. I forgot to be his mother NOW. He needs me to do everything I can to get to him and all I can do right now is pray.  

So that's what I'm doing. Will you join me? 


Monday, October 15, 2012

What Choice Do We Have?

We were given very basic information (first initial, sex, and birth year) on four kiddos with Down syndrome from the Ministry. Although we are approved for a child aged birth - eight-years-old, they gave us info on kids aged two - four-years-old, as that's what we originally requested.

They are still waiting for some additional information from us before they will come forth with more details about these kids, but we do know a little bit.

Orphans, all of them. Rejected simply because they were dealt an extra chromosome. 

My excitement that we are moving forward was quickly replaced by this huge burden. I was overcome with .... I don't even know how to describe it ... grief? responsibility? .... for these kids.

How do you choose a child? 

I know which gender that we would prefer and which age range. But, should preferences even have a place in such a decision? In preferring one set of characteristics, we're excluding real, live children. Kids who have little hope that anyone will ever come for them. 

How do we decide that? How do we decide that this child deserves a family while the others may face lifelong institutionalization...cold bars, abject neglect, forever sameness?

It is gut wrenching.

And then a friend saw my heart and prayed for me. And, in her prayer, I saw the truth.

This child, my child, has already been chosen for our family. This is God's plan, after all. He will be faithful to show us who He has for us, when the time comes. I have no choice, but to rest in that knowledge.

He has a plan for the others, as well. He sees them. I know He does. I pray that someone will come for them, too. In the meantime, I pray that they will be safe, and that they will feel Jesus close to them. The Bible says that He will be a Father to the fatherless. I pray that He surrounds them with people who see them and will tell them that they matter, that they are loved, that there is hope.

I am excited to meet our child and to bring him/her home to our forever family. 

BUT, it seems like such a tiny drop in such an ocean of a bucket.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eon is growing...ME!

Today is the first day of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I have been mulling over all I have learned by having Eon in our lives and am convinced that, without him, we would not be pursuing adoption, not just because we would have no idea or vested interest in what happens to kids with Down syndrome in other countries, but also because his life has so changed our perspective and even our world view.

Having Eon has taught me that we have so very little control over what happens in our lives...not nearly as much as we think we do. That is alternately terrifying...and freeing! When Eon was having heart surgery, I wrote that there is a fear born of faith. I have faith enough to know that God is in control, yet fear that His ways are not my ways. But, disability and surgery forced me to explore what I really believe about God and His goodness. In November of 2009, 10 months after Eon's birth, I wrote:

Even if my world changes tomorrow and the unthinkable should happen, it's going to be ok. Nothing surprises God. His grace is sufficient for me. He has promised to meet all my needs and He is here, with me. That's what Immanuel means, you know...God with us.

Having Eon has taught me that conventional wisdom is a crock.  Conventional wisdom tells us that having a child with a disability is a bad thing. Our experience, and that of thousands of others, has proven that to be false. In fact, the opposite is true. When a perceived negative turns out to be a positive, it opens up a whole world of opportunity! The fear has been removed and our hearts are freed to pursue adoption.

Having Eon has taught me that the real disability lies in the minds of individuals. People are afraid of what they've not experienced and that fear prompts them to place limits where none should be. 

And Eon, himself, teaches me things every day:
  • People should be greeted enthusiastically whenever they arrive, no matter how long they've been gone.
  • We really should weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice, just like the Bible says.
  • All cookies should be Oreos or they are not worth eating.
  • Coffee with a loved one is so much tastier than coffee alone.
  • If you can't figure something out, keep trying. If you still can't get it, seek help.
  • Books are awesome, no matter how many times they're read.
  • Communication can happen in so many different ways that don't actually involve words.
  • Pitching in to help can be fun.
I feel like he's grown me so much in three short years. I am so blessed to be his momma and so proud of my little man! I can't wait to meet his chromosomally enhanced brother and see what he brings to the table, as well.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Miracle on facebook street

When we decided to adopt, we had no idea how we would pay for it. We certainly have enough to raise another child, just didn't have thousands of dollars at our fingertips. We paid for most of the initial costs (home study, passports, USCIS fees, etc) ourselves, but that left the remaining bulk of it (airfare, lodging, food, time off work, translation, etc.). At the beginning of this week, we still needed $5400. I was out of fundraising ideas and didn't have time for those suggested to me. We expect to be traveling in a few weeks.

A few weeks ago, we found out we were rejected by the one grant for which we qualified. I was devastated. They gave the reason that they're a small organization and can't help everyone, but I was convinced it was really because I didn't do a very good job in the phone interview. I posted this on facebook: 
Our Lifesong application for a matching grant was denied. I am reeling. :( I have been a sobbing mess. I feel like it's all my fault. I knew I didn't connect with the lady who called & interviewed me.
As soon as she read that, my friend, Nicki, got an idea. She conspired with another young friend, Emily, who is a journalism major at Ball State University. Unbeknownst to me (but known to my husband) they decided to make a video and launch a website to share our story and our need. I didn't learn that they were conspiring for us until the night before they shot the video. This is the result:

*Be sure and watch the video to see a glimpse of our crazy life. :)

They launched the fundraising campaign at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and by 11 a.m. on Wednesday, they had raised $5500!!!  Fully funded in 25 HOURS!!! 

Incredible, awesome, unbelievable, amazing...all words we have repeated over and over. We've alternated between weeping and laughing and, quite frankly, we're exhausted! But it's a GREAT kind of tired. :)
Beyond the money and the obvious move of God on behalf of our new child, the stories and encouragement people have shared with us have humbled me and filled me with gratitude. As I sent thank you emails, people responded. Some shared their stories of why they were moved to give:
 Thanks Tara! I'm so excited for you guys. I'm the oldest of 4 siblings and my younger brother Jacob is a downs kid. My parents actually run a not-for-profit back home that provides therapy for special needs kids so I know what a blessing they can be! Best of luck to you all! --Josh Frigo
Many blessings to you! My husband and I have a heart for adoption and hope to adopt someday, yet our time has not come. I’m glad that we can help in a little way... --Greta Lundby
I have never considered adopting before. I want several kids, but have never wanted to adopt. Even after traveling to Haiti and Peru on mission trips and working in orphanages, I didn't want to adopt. I wanted to have MY kids, biologically. But after watching the video and learning your story, my heart was totally changed. I texted my fiance yesterday after watching it and asked him "would you be open to adoption once we decide to have a family?" Because he's wonderful, he said "of course!" I just wanted to say thank you for your witness to God's love, because through you and your "yes" to this adoption, my heart was totally changed. Maybe someday, I'll get the chance to give a precious child a whole new life through adoption. God is good. --Valerie Carnevale
 Others simply gave us words of encouragement:
I am honored and extremely humbled to be given the opportunity to be a part of this. All of us our being blessed by this. This adoption isn't just changing one child's life. It's changing an entire community of people. It's one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever been touched by. Can't wait to meet a kid I already love :) --Grace Mitchell
...I hope you feel the love and support of not just those of us donating and making noise, but most importantly of your Heavenly Father who loves, adopts, and supports you.  I'll be praying for you and your family.  --Eric McCoy

How humbled we are that others would choose to partner with us in rescuing a child. That they, too, would see beyond our circumstances, our desires, our plans and see the heart of God. What happened here was holy, of that I have no doubt. We would be foolish to think this was about us. This is clearly about He who instructs:

 "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done." Prov. 24:11, 12 NLT

And who calls the care of orphans "true religion." (James 1:27)

And who tells us that when we care for the least of these, we are doing it to Him. (Matthew 25:40) 

We are thrilled to have the funding, don't get me wrong! It was a HUGE faith builder for us, but we are even more excited that others see the need that moved us to action. God is using our story to change hearts because it was never really ours, was it? It has been His story all along.
He is so good!

* We are continuing to receive donations because, well, adoption expenses are not set in stone and circumstances may conspire to increase them. :) We plan to take some toys along to share with an orphanage or two, also. With whatever funds we do not use, we will bless one of the many precious families we know who are still waiting to bring their special child home.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Deep Water

It was my privilege to attend the True Woman 2012 Conference from Revive Our Hearts Ministries this weekend, here in Indianapolis. The worship was amazing, thanks to the Gettys, a husband/wife duo from Ireland and the messages were challenging and encouraging.

Last night, Priscilla Shirer spoke and she is a lot of fun to hear. Her text was Luke 5, and she made many excellent points as she led to the portion that rocked my world. 

I tell my children that there are three parts to obedience: They need to do what I say, when I say it, and with a good attitude. Admittedly, I have yet to master that last one.  

If I know that God has spoken, I will obey. But often, I will do so begrudgingly, counting the cost loudly and kicking the whole way. Adopting a child with special needs has been no different. I know that God has told us to do this. No question. But, I have been ruminating on worst case scenarios in an effort to prepare myself. I have been lamenting the financial cost. I have been worrying about the logistics of travel and the care of the others left at home. I have been wondering what it will be like to parent a child I don't yet know.

Even yesterday, I watched Priscilla in her stylish outfit and thought, "How come God calls some people to study His Word and wear cute shoes," implying that someone else's calling is easier...classier...better than mine.

Luke 5 is the passage in which Simon Peter has been out all night fishing to no avail. He caught nothing and is busy cleaning his nets when Jesus arrives on the scene, commandeers his boat, and preaches to the crowd. After the crowd disperses, Jesus tells Simon to pick up his nets and get back in the boat to cast them again in the deep water. 

"Master," Simon answered, "we worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets."  Priscilla pointed out that God often calls us to that which contradicts our experience. His calling often goes against conventional wisdom because His ways are not our ways.

Priscilla stated, "It's better to go into the deep water with Jesus, than to stay in the shallow without Him, where you're able to stand on your own two feet."  The shallow water we can handle by ourselves, with our own giftings and talents. But it's in the deep water where God shows us His glory. It's in the deep water where He shows His strength. It's in the deep water where He shows us His power.

When Simon Peter did as Jesus said, he caught so many fish his boat could not contain them. The passage says he signaled to his partners to bring their boat, too. Priscilla pointed out that he signaled to them...he didn't shout, probably because he was speechless. "That kind of miracle only happens in the risky place of faith," she said.

While she was speaking, my heart was filled with hope! 

If my Jesus is in the deep water, then that's where I want to be. If my Jesus is in a Serbian orphanage caring for a child that has been discarded, then I want to be there, too. I want to throw caution to the wind, to plunge ahead, to embrace my calling, even though it flies in the face of common sense. I want to behold His glory, to observe His strength, and to experience His power. I want my faith to become sight.  I want to obey

*We still need several thousand dollars and hope to travel in about 3 short weeks. We would be so grateful if you could contribute any amount and/or share our chip-in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's Next?

I keep getting asked what the timeline is for our adoption. I'm learning that having an accurate timeline for adoption is like stopping a river with a's just not possible.

But, we shipped our dossier, today! Yay! Which means, it is all out of my hands. Finally! It should arrive in Serbia next Monday or Tuesday. It should take about a week to translate and then will be delivered to the Ministry.

Once it's reviewed by the Ministry, we should receive a list of referrals within a couple of days. 

That's the hardest part. We must choose a child from those available. I've mentioned before my reluctance to choose one child over another, but we're only approved for one. We do have a child in mind that we've heard about, but we'll see.

After we accept a referral, we need to be prepared to travel within the week. 

Did you read the number of "should"s? Not a real definite timeline, but in the absence of any snafus, travel is very, very close.

We still need funds. My friend, Melissa, herself an adoptive momma of a cutie from Serbia, is offering a gift to the first fifteen people who contribute at least $10 to our chip-in. Would you consider donating? Every little bit really does help!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Life With My Boy

Our little farmer
Eon is 3 1/2 years-old. He continues to be an absolute delight...when he's not too busy being an absolute stinker! :) He thrives on routine, but loves new experiences, too.

Little sister KJ
He adores his little sister, KJ (now 21 mos.). They are each other's favorite playmate. Eon will wait for her to wake up in the morning and the minute he hears her call, he bursts in her room with a loud, "Hiiiiiiiii!" Then there is a general love fest that lasts about 5 minutes with lots of hugs and kisses and smiles until one of them tries to shove the other down the stairs. ;)

He attends developmental preschool three afternoons a week and rides the bus, which is new this year. He loves it! From the reaction of the staff, it's easy to see that he's a class favorite. 
First day of school.
Needs a little work on applying the backpack!

Speech continues to be his biggest issue. His receptive language is spot on, but he is hugely delayed in expressive speech. We recently started taking him to a local outpatient clinic for additional speech therapy as we felt the school therapy wasn't nearly enough. (and I felt the therapist did a poor job of communicating with me last year, so I wasn't real optimistic about this year.) I can tell Eon is frustrated with his inability to communicate sometimes. It frustrates me, too, and is my greatest area of concern for him.

He's made some real gains in the last few months. He no longer needs his liquids thickened and can drink from an open cup with rare spillage. We have not actually had a recent swallow study to confirm that he's not aspirating on thin liquids, but he has no signs of aspiration, nor has he had any congestion since we stopped thickening, so I think we're good.

He doesn't bolt from us in public nearly as often, which is HUGE! When I allow him to let go of my hand to run ahead, like at the park, he stops and checks with me several times for reassurance that it's okay, so I think he's starting to understand what's expected. At the state fair this year, he started to run and I caught him. I squatted down and asked him where he was going. He pointed off somewhere and I said, "If you run off, I'm afraid you will get lost and I love you too much to lose you." He threw his arms around me and just leaned in for the longest hug. I think he really understood and stayed with us the rest of the visit.

Eon is about 75% accurate with his colors and is starting to learn shapes. We're also working on recognizing his written name. That reminds me of a story: When he gets in trouble or I really want him to listen to me, I will use his given and middle names, Simeon Israel. Recently, his 5-year-old brother, Zak, asked me, "Why do you always say Eon's real and not me?" "What are you talking about?" I responded.  "You say, 'Simeon IS real,'" he answered. "No, Zak, I'm not saying that he's real. Israel is his middle name! " LOL! Years of therapy avoided with one question. Whew!

Eon loves coffee! Child after my own heart. :) If he gets up before I leave for work, we'll have coffee and breakfast together. (Don't worry...decaf for him.) It's a special time.

He continues to be just one of the boys in our family, and yet, his chromosomal enhancement does set him apart. He's very sensitive and, while he will get physically hurt and barely notice, if there is an emotional component attached, he will be almost inconsolable. He has an empathy for others that is rare for a child his age, too. And kids with low muscle tone give the best hugs. He's a joy and we are so blessed to be his parents!
Boys and dirt...awesome combination!