Monday, September 30, 2013

Dreaming.

I had a dream about her not that long ago.

She was sitting in front of me and I was playing with her hair. You know, in that familiar way that a mother does with her child. I never saw her face, but she was there...we were together. And it gave me that peace that comes with hope.

I feel closer to it...like I can taste it...like it is going to happen...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Orphan Care.

I'm guessing that if you read this blog, you have at least some interest in the issues of adoption and orphan care.  And if that is the case than you must read this blogpost that I read this morning.  It is incredibly well-written and absolutely worth the read.

What I will say is that this article once again highlights one of the reasons that I love the direction that Rwanda is headed.

Orphanages are not the solution to the world's orphan crisis.  First and foremost, our response should be to help parents raise their children.  One of the things written about in the post was how no children should be raised outside of their family because of financial reasons.  If we are spending money caring for them outside of their family, then why wouldn't we use that same money to enable their family to care for them at home?

I have to admit that I have really struggled with situations when people (really good people that I love), have adopted internationally, children with known relatives.  In truth, I find this devastating.  This is doing nothing to promote the family in these countries.  In fact, I think it could be argued that it has often PROMOTED the giving up of children so that they may receive better schooling or be less of a burden on the family.  This is also one of the reasons that we were drawn to Rwanda, because they only adopted out "true" orphans with no known relatives.  (I can think of only one exception to this, and frankly, I have always been bothered by it.)

Re-unification is always best.  Does it mean that some children will live in much less than ideal situations than we believe our cushy American homes could provide?  Yep.  But for whatever reason, God chose them as that child's parents and we need to enable them to stay together as a family whenever it is possible.

So first best is for a child to be with his or her bio family.  Second best?  Domestic adoption.  Whenever possible a child should be raised in and with the culture they were born into.  I love that Rwanda is trying to move towards this.  For a country to embrace and care for its own is definitely important.  How would you feel about American children being sent all over the world to be cared for by others?  It happens, you know.  Read this.

Third best?  International adoption.  Get the child into a family.

LAST is orphanages, even good ones.  Even our beloved New Hope Homes.  Although I will tell you that they cringe at the word "orphanage" there, as they have worked very hard to be as close to a family situation as possible, even limiting the number of children they take in.  And when the bio family is able (and willing) to take the child back, that's what happens.

All too often we don't really think through the repercussions of the "help" that we offer.  We get caught up in the romance of it all and how good it makes us feel and we forget that there may be other options.  Better options.  My hope is that by posting this we might all stop and think a bit more about how best to care for the world's orphans.

Oh, and in case you didn't read the blogpost that I mentioned at the beginning, click on it below.  NOW.  Seriously.

How the Christian orphan care movement may be enabling child abandonment  from Rage Against the Minivan

Monday, September 23, 2013

Re-Homing.

Back in May, we got a dog.
He's a great dog. He minds us pretty well, the kids love him (especially Matthias), he doesn't chew on any of our things...we are just glad to have Huckleberry in our family.

But it hasn't been easy. He loses his mind when other dogs come around...oh and when he sees cars...and the Terminix guy...Recently, Anthony took him in to get a bath and his nails trimmed and the groomers couldn't do it because he got so anxious. Neither could the vet. They think he was probably abused before he was abandoned. The sweet pup has issues.

He truly is a good dog, but we just don't feel like we have really been able to enjoy him the way that we would like too. Our dream of family + dog, doesn't look like we thought it would. He is taking a lot of time and work and energy...

Now hear what I am saying...HE IS A DOG, which is not even kinda sorta the same thing as a child. But, as we have struggled with what to do with Huckleberry, I have also been reading a series of articles on the re-homing of adopted children.  And between my emotions from dealing with Huck and wanting to adopt a child (not a baby), I've found myself overwhelmed by these articles.

In case you don't know what re-homing is, it basically is when people find new homes for their adopted children.  This is not done through legal channels.  It is an underground, this-adoption-isn't-working-for-our-family thing.  In other words, it is a complete reinforcement of the child's biggest fear that they are too much to handle, too much to love, not worth sticking with.  And it is absolutely heartbreaking.

Adoption is hard.  But it is a choice (you can't accidentally adopt) and once you make that choice you have to stick with it.  Sorry, no options.  Re-homing is devastating and wrong.  SO. VERY. WRONG.  I get that life may seem like too much, but there are people and systems built to support you.  And if you aren't willing to go the distance, than don't get on the bus!

We want to get on the bus with another adoption.  It is going to be hard.  We are knowingly adding new issues to the mix...age, language...and all I can think about right now is that we have to make it work with Huckleberry.  We have to go the distance, even if he is just a dog, because Lord willing, within the next couple years we will be adding a new little lady in the house.  And we won't ever quit on her...no matter what.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What he needs.

A while back I wrote a post about some of the issues that Nate has had and what it was like to face that as a mom, and as an adoptive mom.  I wrote about how the mama bear in me wanted him to be "normal" and how it took me a while to face the truth of things.

Of course, once I embraced those things, I dove in.  I advocated for my son to get the care he needed in the way that I felt fit our family best.  And all last year, he had a therapist come and work with him at the preschool.  She was amazing and encouraging and so helpful.  And she told me Nate was improving.  And I felt encouraged.

But all the work with schools and therapists and teachers also opened my eyes to how big some of the issues that Nate has are.  And it hurt, because even though I knew he needed help, I began to realize that I had still been hoping that he was "okay" and that I had just been over-reacting.  And now he has started kindergarten and we are working on homework and he struggles and gets frustrated and my heart hurts for him as he seems so defeated.

But that hasn't even been the hardest part.

I'm a bit of a hard-ass when it comes to how I mother.  I've never really struggled with letting a baby "cry it out".  I don't gasp when my kids fall, but tend to say "shake it off!" unless we are talking real blood and guts.  I make my kids try what is on their plates and if they whine about not liking it, I remind them that my job is not to feed them what they like, but to teach them to be able to eat anything with a smile of appreciation on their face.  I value independent play.

That's not to say that I'm never a soft place to land, because I am.  In fact, Anthony has often commented about how he thinks that is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about me.  That people don't realize how gentle I can be...

But the thing is that Nate doesn't need a mom that is a hard-ass.  He is so sensitive and gets sad easily.  He already talks so negatively, even though that is something that he rarely hears from us.  He shuts down if you get in his face and becomes completely overwhelmed.  He struggles spending time alone...

And the other day it hit me...the way I naturally mother is not how Nate needs to be mothered.  He was built for something different.

Oh how I cried.

This isn't because he is adopted.  We can be miss-matched with our biological children too.  But this is one of those things that as an adoptive parent you feel more keenly.  It feels like another reminder that he was not born to be mine.  And even though this is what we chose, it still hurts.

So, I am having to rethink things.  I am approaching things differently then I have with any of the others.  I have to stop myself when I want to respond in my motherly way and think about what need really needs at that moment.  And this will make me a better person, I have no doubt.  But it is hard, so very hard.