Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Adoption Education 101 December 30, 2009

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 10:33 pm

I have learned a lot about adoption in the last three years of my delving into this world.  One of those years was spent in the process of adopting, two years (almost) have been spent parenting adopted children.  I have read many books and gone through two different adoption education classes.  (By the way, I am NOT claiming to be an expert!)

There are things I have learned that I think would be useful for others to know.  You don’t have to be an adoptive family, I am talking about the public in general – information for anyone who knows someone who has adopted, is thinking of adopting, or even a perfect stranger you meet at the store who has adopted.

One thing I recently learned is that adopted kids don’t want to be asked where they are from.  This question makes them feel “different” from the new home country they are trying to fit into.  This can remind them that they stick out like a sore thumb and do not belong.

Don’t judge the behavior of an adopted child or how you “see” the parents dealing with it.  There will be issues that are being dealt with in the adoptive family – possibly for years – that are way more complex than the typical misbehavior of a biological child.  These kids are processing grief – loss of birth family, loss of country of origin, loss of caretakers and friends – and those are at the less extreme end.  Internationally adopted children may have suffered abuse of many types, malnutrition or starving, or have a survivor mentality from institution or street life.  Their “home” life – if they have memory of one before the orphanage – was probably dysfunctional at best.

Do not ask the child school or learning questions.  Have you ever been asked a question you think you should know the answer to, but you don’t?  You feel ashamed that you don’t know what someone obviously thinks you should.  Think about how that might make a child feel who already feels overwhelmed with all they are trying to learn.

You can ask what they are learning in school or what they like about school, but don’t ask them to read something, to do a math problem in their head, or how many minutes are in an hour. 🙂  As parents, we are working hard every day to give our children confidence in their monumental victories in learning a new culture, language, customs, and family life.  Add to that learning to read, write, and memorize facts such as how many hours there are in a day.  It is a LOT!  We spend years teaching our biological children things they don’t even realize they are learning BEFORE they even attend school.  These adopted kids did not have that advantage.

I read that they believe it takes about five years to master a new language.  This is a statistic they are finding in public schools in relation to ESL students.  Our adopted kids learn communicative language fairly fast and sometimes we see that and expect everything else to come as quickly.  The child’s background in education can vary widely and that has an immense impact on how quickly they will catch up in school.  Emotional issues can also play a part.

Something else about language.  A child, newly arrived in the U.S. may not speak much English, but it is possible that they understand quite a bit.  So, don’t assume you can talk about things in front of the child because they “won’t understand”.

I recently watched the movie “Pollyanna” with the girls.  It is funny how my ears are very attuned to adoption issues now.  There is an exchange early in the movie where a lady tells Pollyanna how grateful she should be for a home and that someone has taken her in.  That comment made me shudder.

I have had people tell me how lucky my girls are.  I even had someone ask me if the girls knew how thankful they ought to be.  Let’s just say that none of these sentiments ought to be said in hearing of an adopted child. 

I am sure at some point in their life they will feel grateful.  That realization will not happen instantaneously, however.  You and I cannot even imagine the upheaval and grief that these children feel from the losses they have suffered in their lives.   We aren’t adopting them so that they will express gratitude to us.  We are adopting them out of a desire to make a small dent in the suffering of orphaned children in this world.  In this act though, we are given some of the greatest blessings we could never even imagine.  In other words, WE are the lucky ones. 🙂

So many of these things I am learning I would NEVER have thought about if I hadn’t been in this world of adoption.  I am not scolding anyone or trying to make anyone feel bad.  I really want to educate you so that you will be aware. 

My encouragement to you would be to give love and support to your friends who have adopted.  Sprinkle your conversation and interaction with lots of understanding and grace.  Smile at families you see in a store that have different colors represented.  Don’t give extra notice to the obviously adopted child, but give all children in that family equal attention.  If you have questions about adoption, ask the parents when the kids are not around.

I am sure there is a ton more that I am not thinking of.  If you are an adoptive parent, please feel free to add to this!  If you are on the other side, please feel free to ask questions.  I appreciate your input.

Thanks for reading.  Lori

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Books I Read in 2009 December 28, 2009

Filed under: Books — Lori @ 2:16 pm

I was talking with my sister in law about the books she got for Christmas and was planning to read for next year and it got me thinking of all the good books I read this year.

I try to spend time reading every day.  I don’t get to read as often or as much as I would like, but I squeeze it in when I can.  This year I also spent a lot of time reading adoption books for the education requirements our adoption agency has for its families.

Not in any particular order, but from what comes to mind first, I read:

The Prayer of the Lord, R.C. Sproul – a great book on prayer.

In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson – a reminder of the inportance of the cross in our daily lives.

A Chance To Die, Elisabeth Elliott – a biography of Amy Carmichael – so inspiring!

Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias – a great book that shows the differences in beliefs between Christianity and other religions.

Discovering God’s Will, Sinclair Ferguson – very straightforward and convicting book on trusting and obeying God.

The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood, Susan Hunt and Barbara Thompson – a call to biblical relationships between younger and older women.

Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper – neat ideas for keeping Christ the center of your family celebrations all year.

Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliott – an easy to read, daily devotional style book of personal anecdotes and spiritual wisdom.

The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur – a heart changing read!

The Word and the Spirit, Charles Spurgeon – this book is about the person and work of the Holy Spirit – I have enjoyed it (not quite finished!).

Trusting God, Jerry Bridges – this has become one of my favorite books!

Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges – ouch!  (very convicting!)

The Character of God, R.C. Sproul – the second time I have read this book on Who God is.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three, Ginger Plowman – the best book I have EVER read on discipline.

The Connected Child, Karyn Purvis – the most wonderful and practical book you can read if you have a child that has dealt with hard things in their past.

A Taste of Heaven, R.C. Sproul – a book about worship.

The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur – another book about worship – I loved it!  His premise is that we need to worship God with our lives every day of the week – not just on Sundays.

Family of Adoption, Joyce Maguire Pavao

20 Things Adopted Children Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, Sherrie Eldridge

Inside Transracial Adoption, Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall

Attachment in Adoption, Deborah Gray (still working on this one!)

Whew!  I may have missed something, but that gives you an idea.  I honestly have a stack of books I want to read this coming year and I will do my best to tackle them! 

I would love to hear from you if you read a great book this year and want to pass it on!  I am always looking for reading ideas.

Happy reading!

 

New Year’s Resolution

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 12:09 pm

I found this at Justin Taylors blog:

Resolutions and Regret

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 35:

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?

The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.

Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.

Never look back at your sins again.

Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ’.

That is your first step.

Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.

What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying.

No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone.

Here’s the “one thing” Paul wanted to do: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Also remember this rule from Robert Murray M’Cheyne:

For one look at yourself,
take ten looks at Christ!

 

Waiting Well? December 27, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith — Lori @ 11:54 pm

I have had to think a lot about waiting lately.  We all think we can plan things out and that we know the best timing for an event don’t we?  I sure do.  If only God would listen to my plans sometimes! 🙂

Really, I am glad that He doesn’t.  Knowing God is in control doesn’t necessarily make it easy to wait, but it does bring perspective and a chance to learn and grow in our trust.

Our pastor gave a Christmas themed sermon last week and one of the verses he quoted stuck in my head and has played over and over.  Galatians 4:4,5  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

The Amplified version says, “when the proper time had fully come”.  God, in His knowing eternity past, present, and future knew when the “proper time” was for Jesus’ birth.  There were hundreds of years the Jews waited for God’s promised Messiah.  I am sure they had wondered if it would ever come.  Those years they waited were not easy.

God doesn’t move in the time that we are confined to.  God operates outside that limitation.  We certainly do not completely understand the mystery of God’s sovereignty or His control over all things, but we can have faith in it because we have seen it work.

Here is where I am going with this – I want to wait patiently and with faith.  I want to sit back and not be anxious and remember that the God Who not only created our world and everything in it, is holding it together, is sustaining it.  He cares for me – after all, I am an adopted daughter, redeemed by God’s Son. (verse 5)  He knows what is best.

I believe with all my heart that God has had His hand on Levi Sangeet’s life ever since he was conceived.  He had a plan for his life and knew that it would one day intersect with our families’ life.  Isn’t that amazing?  And wonderful!  I can’t wait to share that with Levi some day, the same way that I have shared that comforting truth with the girls.

In the meantime, we make good use of our time!  I finally got Levi’s room put together.  We found a great bookcase headboard on Craigslist and got a mattress at Costco yesterday.  I had already purchased the bed set and Kevin and I had painted one of the walls in the room an accent color the day after Thanksgiving.

We are ready and waiting……………………………….patiently and with great hope!

 

Good News December 22, 2009

Filed under: Family,Life — Lori @ 11:19 am

My mom’s surgery went very well yesterday.  In fact, we had the very best of results.   Before surgery they injected a radioactive blue dye that travels from the duct where the cancer cells were found in the breast and find the “sentinel nodes“, the first lymph nodes that that duct drains to.  Click on the link on the word “sentinel nodes” and you can read about this process if you are interested.

They removed those nodes during surgery and did a biopsy on them, letting them know whether or not there is cancer in those nodes.  If they are negative, they assume the rest of the lymph nodes are negative as well.  Mom’s sentinel nodes were negative for cancer!!!  We are so relieved at this news.  From what we understand, all the treatment she will need after recuperating from surgery is some radiation.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragment in regards to my mom’s diagnosis.

 

This and That December 17, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 12:20 am

The last time I gave you an update of our adoption process I was also asking that you pray that our dossier would be approved quickly by CARA, the government agency that needs to give our papers their stamp of approval before it goes to court.

I found out from a comment left by Jenny, another mom in the process of adopting from India, that there was a step I hadn’t been made aware of.  I asked my agency and was told that once we had approval from immigration (Dept. of Homeland Security) to bring a child back to the U.S. that an “Article 5” would be issued and sent to CARA.  CARA will not give approval for our dossier without this piece of paper.

I got an email today from immigration asking for another form and a photo of Levi and then they said they will be issuing our Article 5 to CARA.  So, very soon, that paper will be in their hands in India.  We are still praying for God’s timing although hoping it is sooner rather than later that they give us their approval and send our dossier off to court.

So, in the meantime, something else came up in our lives.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Those words do tend to strike fear in the heart of women when we hear them.  It seems to my mom’s doctor that this has been caught very early.  She will be having a lumpectomy on Monday and they will check at that time to see if the cancer is contained or if it has traveled to her lymph nodes.  That will affect her treatment needs after the surgery.  No cancer in nodes, radiation only, cancer in nodes, she will need chemo. 

I hope that the peace and calmness that I feel about this is from growth in the area of trusting God and not some kind of numbness.  I believe that trust is an area that the Lord has been working on in my life for quite some time – although there is still work to be done.   

Mom is very confident in the Lord’s control over this situation and that makes it much easier to go through this with her.  Please, if you think of us, pray for my mom and that as a family we would support and encourage her in helpful ways.

Thank you also for your continued prayers for Levi and our adoption process, as well as my mom’s surgery and treatment.  We appreciate you so much.

Proverbs 3:5,6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Kira’s Superpower December 11, 2009

Filed under: Family,Just Silly,Kids — Lori @ 12:42 am

Kira has a problem with buttons.  If there is a device near her with buttons, she wants to push them.  It is like they call to her.  And the funny thing is – when she pushes the buttons she does things to those devices that you never knew could even happen. 🙂

Two things have “happened” today, actually.

The first was when I went to copy some papers on my printer/copier for school today.  I tried to make the copies, but for some reason only one-fourth of the paper would copy.  I tried to shut it off and back on hoping that might clear whatever was wrong, but it continued to copy only one-fourth of the page.

I was messing around with it, trying to figure out what the issue was.  I even called Kevin to ask him for ideas, but he wasn’t in his office so I left a message saying that I might know what he will need to get me for Christmas. 

All of a sudden Kira confesses that she was playing with the buttons.  She, of course, has no idea what she pushed and in what order.  I know I should have been mad, but I was seriously trying not to laugh.

The second event of the day was in the parking lot of Fred Meyer.  The girls and I had done some shopping and Kira – surprise! – likes to push the button on my remote to open my trunk and unlock the doors.  After I got the trunk loaded I realized that her window was down. 

I asked her why she put her window down to which she replied that she didn’t.  Then I realized that every window was down halfway.  Hmmmmmm.  All I can guess is that there is some way to push the buttons on my remote that makes the windows all go down halfway.  I never knew that could happen, but Super Kira figured it out!

I am hoping that we can find a way for Kira to use her powers for good and not evil. 🙂

 

 
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