post Summit

May 2, 2010 at 8:36 am | Posted in adoption process, adoption resources, secure relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We had such an amazing time at the Summit VI conference this week.

The CBN report at our house was a lot of fun and the crew was super to work with!   We managed to have a fun, family morning complete with giggles and tears and a barking dog and boiling tea and steaming muffins.   🙂  We’ll let you know when it airs.

This conference was the first official adoption event that we’ve done since we brought our sons home and I knew it would be good, but I didn’t expect to feel so very encouraged.

Most helpful to me was Dr. Karyn Purvis .   She is wise and serene and practical and encouraging…. just the package I needed to press me forward in my mothering.

Adoption is a hard journey. No one becomes and orphan through an easy, happy story.   And joining a new family is a gigantic transition both for the child and for the existing family.  So to hear the wisdom and the counsel and the soothing encouragement from the speakers and other parents has been a ‘binding up’ of the soul for me.

Also, knowing that adopting Philip and Zach isn’t the period at the end of the sentence as it relates to our family’s involvement in orphan care…. the question now is:   What next?    🙂

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broken hearts

February 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Posted in adoption issues, Prayer, secure relationships | 1 Comment

When the cupboard is empty, I go to the grocery store and within minutes, I’ve fixed that problem.

When a kid needs their school uniform ready, I get it spinning in the machines and …. Voilà!…. it appears folded for them shortly.   Problem fixed.

When the teenager is running errands and realizes her bank account is empty, a few clicks online put her back in shape.   Problem fixed.

From rides to project-poster-boards, from bake sale brownies to late night counseling sessions, I’m the go-to person around here.   And, frankly…. I deliver just about all the time.

But I’m finding that there are some problems that I just can’t fix.   Specifically:  Broken, fearful little hearts.

Children who have experienced early childhood risk factors (such as neglect or living in an orphanage setting, etc)  sometimes come with lingering issues that are very present and real.   So real, in fact, that these kids are classified as ‘special needs kids’ by developmental experts.   They’ve been harmed by their early circumstances and they’ve suffered losses.   Even if a child was pre-verbal at the time of the harm, the impact of these risk factors is profound on his brain chemistry.

Tender hearts learn the unspoken rules about what it means to live on this planet very early on.

We see this often as tears and frustrations continue to be part of the daily rhythm of our son’s life.   Without being able to articulate why,  disappointment lands on him like an avalanche of pain and distress.   He wails and seemingly overreacts to almost every situation.   There’s a ‘sense’ of uncertainty in his experience, even though he IS secure now.     There’s a ‘sense’ of danger, even though he IS very safe and very loved.   There’s a ‘sense’ of helplessness that informs his perspectives and shapes his responses to the regular stimulus of daily life.   He gets these inaccurate, but powerful perspectives from a deeper place that imprinted on him long before we ever met.   It’s a message that repeatedly tells him, “Life is not safe.   Life = despair.   It’s hopeless.”

How great it would be if I could just go to a psychological ATM and withdraw the amount of security and confidence that he needs.  Or if I had the right pills or better yet, a time machine to go back and eliminate the issues to begin with!    How I wish I could fix what ails him.

What I can do, is coach and reassure and walk with him through it, praying that the ‘sense’ he has will eventually shift to one of peace.  I need to be reminded often that God:

“heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”  Ps 147:3

I can’t fix my little guy’s problems.   (and I’ve been trying for a while now..)   But my maternal heart rests more knowing that even as I type this, God is on the case.   He’s healing and He’s binding up the broken, cracked emotional and psychological places deep below the surface.    There’s hope in that.

Connecting

September 9, 2009 at 7:25 am | Posted in adoption issues, adoption resources, secure relationships | 2 Comments

I’m reading the book The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis …… again.  It was recommended to us about a year ago but when I read it the first time, we hadn’t yet brought our boys home.   It was all theory.   Now I’m reading it with open eyes and almost a year of experience.

There have been lots of hurdles in our adoption ~ most of them paper hurdles and most of them chronicled here.   But the hurdle of forming a deep connection with a child may prove to be the biggest one.

The whole thing is a little like entering into an arranged marriage.   Neither partner knows the other person and it takes a while…. sometimes a long while….. to form trust and to relax into each other’s life and into each other’s arms.

Except in an adoption, one party (the parent) completely knows what’s happening in advance and pours themselves into it in every way.  The nursery is painted and clothes are bought.   The parent has pictures and makes plans and takes trips and writes a blog and enlists prayers and holds fundraisers to flesh out the calling God has initiated in their hearts.    The other party (the child) has no idea what’s happening in his life and so makes no emotional preparations or celebrations and has no anticipations of what is to come for him.   He is just trying to adapt to his ever-changing world as an orphan.    He’s just playing ‘dodge-ball’ with life and trying to NOT get hit.   So, if anything, when the big day arrives – as the parent rejoices and celebrates the culmination of a long process, the child sometimes cowers and trembles at what seems to him to be in instantaneous (and maybe unreliable?)  change in his reality.

But that’s autobiographical enough for now.

I’ve wondered whether I should write about this topic here at all.    Maybe it’s too much candor and exposure.  Honestly – I don’t hear it being talked about by my other adoptive-mom friends.    (But, then again, it’s not really facebook status material, is it?)    Maybe it’s too much candor for my son, who’s journey and story I intend to protect.

BUT, since it’s not an indictment and since I don’t have any particular pretense to try to uphold, this is my latest reading material…. again.   If I have the courage, I’ll continue to write about it.

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