Monday, February 20, 2012

So... how are you... really??? ...And thoughts on "Life After Finalization"

The Question

That is a question we are getting a lot of lately... from just about everyone.

It is a fine and fitting question.
People seem to be curious about how our kids are "bonding" or "attaching" and how we are holding up. Sometimes they even venture out there and ask, "And well, how are your (or other) kids doing with this?..." which I translate to mean, our bio kids. I don't always love that line of questioning... but going on...

I "get" it. People wonder if we are "holding up" or maybe if we are struggling or our kids are struggling or our other kids are struggling... because of this scary thing called "adoption".

This is all honest... as very very honest as I can be, while still upholding my kid's privacy to a certain degree.

So right now (as in this moment) I (and I assume Tim) are doing really great... actually far beyond our expectations both for our family, personally and also for our newest kiddos... and the other ones too!

In ten minutes I might be ready to jump off a cliff of insanity... but really that has all to do with the fact we have 5 children under the age of 7... and really nothing to do with adoption.

No really... yes, really... we are doing very well!

If you had told me in September "where" we would be and how we'd be doing now I'd have been beyond, over the moon happy, and I am right now, that happy!

What Defines "How Are You?"

I guess, this could have been something ugly and horrifying.
We were truly aware of the "worst case scenario" in adoption or what were the likely things we needed to be prepared for in bringing home kids through adoption... and I think everyone entering adoption would do themselves a big huge favor by assuming the worst and preparing for it... and most importantly committing to it!

But really, I have this hunch that that is exactly the type of fears that The Enemy of Orphans likes to put into the minds of folks to keep them sitting in their homes with empty bedrooms, with under used toys and unfilled spots at their dinner tables.

He puts that little seed of doubt and fear that says, "What if you do this thing and people think you are crazy? What if you get the kid home and they ruin your life... or even worse your bio kid's lives? What if you aren't happy? What if you have regrets?"

It could have been horrifying, I know that. But I think that is really only up to me, as the parent to define. We could have gotten a "handful-of-a-kid"... but we could have defined it as "horrifying" or as "challenging", "life-ending" or "life-changing", "depression inducing" or "growth producing."

You see. It isn't about "what you get" but about how you perceive and how YOU personally choose to deal with it. But we didn't get "hard" or "difficult" kids... in our perspective they aren't at least... maybe they would be to others??? (Isn't that a thought.)
We got 2 normal people who have gone through a lot in their short lives.

It HAS been: Challenging. Costly (on every level). Sweet. Growth producing. Exciting. Redemptive. Sanctifying. Fun. Marriage building. Maturing. Patience testing. Insightful. And. Love growing.We are better people for having been taken down this road.

Where We're At

Our kids... all of them... are doing really well. The newest two in particular...

Isaiah Allan is one amazing, sweet and cute kid! He is learning English, acting more and more comfortable every day and really seeming to like us all... that is a good sign. He is a normal kid. He is selfish, sweet, picky and loving. Really... he has made us believe in "older child adoption" and he's made this thing look easy.

Thea Agnes is active, cuddly, and sweet! We certainly didn't expect her transition into our care and family to have gone so smoothly based on the first few times we had her in our care. There were lots and LOTS of screaming , crying and lots of fears and grieving... which can be a good sign. She was reacting like a normal person to LOTS of scary and unknown changes... and that is good. It has taken some time for both her and I to feel "at home" with each other, but really I only hoped we'd be at this stage at 6 months or a year. Even this week she's started hugging back, kissing and grabbing hold of me while she's being held and even patting me in a loving way like she is comforting me! She's always seemed like a "happy baby" but she'd also had some behaviors that are common for kids from baby homes... most are all gone, or only reappear every month or so for a day. She's amazing to me!

The Other Issues In Adoption

Quite honestly I think the little known or expected "issues" in bringing home kids via adoption are the "issues" that the parents bring to the table. Expectations, fears, personal issues, personal voids, sins, desires, and again... expectations. Those are what shoots adoptive families in the foot and make them hobble around in an "ugly" way, making the rest of the world wonder why adoption is "worth all the trouble". The issue isn't adoption, or hurt kids it is about MY issues creating havoc around me.

I think everyone whose adopted has gotten home and discovered some difficult thing and wanted to regret or doubt or pity. But, recently, I came to this realization that there is another option... remove myself from the equation and to move around and gain a better (more manageable) perspective on the situation.

Perspective is such a sweet gift from God! Even in an artistic sense, perspective gains a new image, a new vision and a renewed passion for the same exact thing!

Spiritually speaking it allows us to not be hindered by things of this world and to look at the issues we face through the eyes of God...

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

I am not preaching here... I am also applying this to me personally. There has been A LOT of praying in our house the last few months... mostly from me... even today. And deep breaths.

We're All Orphans Or Former Ones

Then, I also find we all act like "orphans"... afraid, untrusting, doubtful, hurt, insecure, back-biting and self-reliant... from time to time. We treat others as if their main intent in life is to "harm us" and we don't trust and love first and foremost. I think what is surprising to me is that I see these characteristics in others ... and myself (those us us who normally don't "have a reason" to act that way). It is just what we all tend to revert to on some certain level with out the truth of God in our lives and the security found there in. Why we'd expect more of little people who've been hurt, shuffled around and lost more than most people, is beyond me! Perspective.

Verses like these remind me of the orphan like state I was once in, and how too often I tend to "regress" back into that old way of living...

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves (or orphans), so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

So, long story short... this big ol' bad adoption thing has "chewed us up and spit us out" and we are still intact... in fact, much better off because of it. We not only have 2 new, amazing children, but we have grown, been built up and strengthened through it!

We see, know and have experienced some amazing things!
And all the glory goes to God for the great things HE has done!

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