Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Special Needs Child

Our last two adoption have been of special needs children.  These kids would never be considered special needs if they had been born in the US.   Anyway, our newest addition has a cleft lip and palate – his need is more visible – although his lip looks so good, most people don’t notice it.  His speech however is another story.  He is VERY difficult to understand.  I know he understands English well at this point (not fluent, but doing great), but his speech is almost unintelligible.  This has been the most difficult thing about this adoption.  He is such a great kid and if we hadn’t been willing to consider a need which would require some surgery and therapy – we would have missed out on what an amazingly adaptable, joyful child that he is.  He has been fine with me saying “really” or “wow” or “sure” when he tells me a story which I can’t understand at all – at least he was good with it until this week.  His English is progressing so well that he just noticed this week that I am not giving him the appropriate answer and he is getting frustrated.  So, thank goodness, his cleft palate repair is tomorrow.  He is also getting ear tubes which should help with his hearing loss (and the constant – “huh” – that I get from him).  I wanted to remember what he sounded like before surgery – so I took some videos this week.  (I remember thinking how cute Benjamin’s accent was as he was learning English, and now, 4 years later – I can hardly remember that he had an accent).  Will’s speech will not be perfect after his surgery – but he will at least have the capability, with a lot of speech therapy, to learn how to speak and really communicate well for the first time in his life – I am so sorry he had to wait 5 years for this.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Will's Adoption Video (really it's more of a slideshow)

I worked on Will's adoption video this week.  I used Window Live Movie Maker and nearly went insane trying to get everything where I wanted it.  I see a couple things I would like to change - but no way am I messing with it again (at least not for a year or so).  I really like making these slide shows of the kids adoption stories.  I am terrible at making photo albums.  By terrible I mean that I don't have any photo albums of the kids. All my pictures are on the computers and I haven't even printed any of them.  I figure why waste the paper. Anyway, I just needed to admit that I am a bad mother and none of my kids will ever have a baby/memory book.  I guess I will look on the bright side and figure that in the next couple years the kids can just go on the computer, go through all million of their photos and make their own.

Will's adoption has been so smooth thus far.  I hope that our story is encouraging to others who consider adoption.  My husband and I had just enough courage to start the process.  I guess that is all that we needed and then God took over and made everything fall into place.  If you are thinking of adopting my advice is to stop being scared and take that first step.

 I found this quote from C.S. Lewis (Into the Wardrobe) - I really like it:

" To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way." 

So enough discussion, here is the video:


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Orphan Sunday

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I know the dates are wrong on my banner, but Orphan Sunday is coming late to our church this year.  We had to put it off a couple months since we were in China adding Will to his forever family.   We are now having our event on February 19.  I am so excited.  We are going to have information on adoption (international and domestic), foster care, and child sponsorship.  My goal for the event is to spur families to consider adoption and for others in the church for whom this isn’t an option to realize that they can care for the orphan in a different way.  We are hoping to grow our ministry in a way in which we can meet needs of foster children/parent’s in our own community,  provide financial/emotional/educational support for adoptive families, and to encourage child sponsorship or volunteerism.  If you could please start praying for our church as they receive this message for open hearts and minds from the congregation I would really appreciate it!

Here is a great video from the Christian Alliance for Orphans about the need – click on Orphan Sunday below for the link:

Orphan Sunday 2011 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Will!

 

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This week was Will’s first birthday. Well, actually he turned 5, but I am pretty sure it is the first time he actually celebrated a birthday.  He was so happy.  He has very quickly learned how to sing Happy Birthday and enjoyed the fun immensely.  It’s funny the night I took this photo was actually the day before his birthday.  We had to try and fit cake in between tumbling, basketball, and boy scouts this week.  He had cake on this particular day, but I didn’t give him his gifts until the next day.  He didn’t care, he was just thrilled with his homemade strawberry cake, decorated by his sister.  He was so excited to take cupcakes to his preschool class to celebrate and some fruit snacks to daycare.  He just soaked it all up and it was so nice to see.  I love this time with him where everything is new and he has such joy even though it wasn’t fancy and the celebration was squeezed into a few minutes between other activities.  He talked a lot about the day although I have no idea what he said, between the language barrier and the speech issues related to his cleft palate – it didn’t really matter – I know what he meant.  These are the things that make me such an advocate of older child adoption.  My son is truly happy for his Happy Birthday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Word To My Church and Community

We have been home a little over a week with Will.  He is doing so well and I always hope that our families adoptions will show what a joy growing your family in this way can be.  I want to talk a little about positive adoption language (AKA - what you should say and what you shouldn't!).  I am saying this because before I adopted I never thought about it.  Why should I care?  Well, if you interact with my family or any other family in the world who has adopted it is important that you pay attention.  I would compare this lesson to an etiquette lesson (AKA - how not to hurt my or my children's feelings, or otherwise cause permanent damage to a child's delicate self-image).  Now keep in mind, I don't get my feelings hurt easily and no one who has said anything to me in the past has nhurt my feelings, so don't feel bad if you have ever said something to me which may be somewhat inappropriate.  So, what do I mean:  Example #1: How many kids do you have of your own?  I have 5 kids.  I may respond with this or I may say I have 2 biological and 3 adopted children.  These children are all very much my own and not someone else's.  So, never ask a adoptive parent how many kids they have of their own - because all of their children are very real and very much a member of the family, no matter how they arrived.  Example #2:  Do you know their real parents?  Well, sure - I am their real parent.  All of my adopted children also have very real birth parents, and no, I don't know who they are.  It is illegal to give your child up for adoption in China, so no Chinese child will have known birth parents.  If the child is adopted from another country the parents may know who their bio parents are, but it really isn't any of your business unless the adoptive parent chooses to share that information with you.  Example #3: How expensive was your kid or I heard that adopting from there was REALLY expensive?  Don't ask me how much it cost to adopt unless you have a legitimate interest in that information.  In this case I will be happy to talk your ear off about every single detail of my adoption process including the cost.  If you are asking because you can't believe I would pay that much to adopt, then you shouldn't really ask me the question.  After all, I didn't ask you why you just bought a new car which cost more than my adoption while I am still driving a 10 year old minivan and loving on my newest most wonderful gift from God.  I am sure your new car is just as snugly in the morning and blesses you each day also, OK - so I will digress.  Example #4:  Why not adopt a child from the US?  Because my child was in China.  Have you met them, they are obviously mine.  I don't care where you adopt from, where you sponsor a child from, whatever, just do something!!!  Stop asking me silly questions, start doing what Jesus did and Go ye therefore into all nations - Wherever you need to go - just do SOMETHING (because right now doing nothing is what most Christians are doing and to tell you the truth it reflects poorly upon us!)  OK, so I could give you some more reasons about why China, but I won't!  Example #5:  You all are really good people for adopting. (OK, so this isn't a question, but a statement I have heard no less than 100 times in anticipation of our most recent adoption since apparently normal people might adopt once or twice, but if you adopt 3 times you must be a saint)  We are not saints, we love our kids and have chosen to grow our family through adoption (If I was pregnant for the 5th time you would ask me why I don't use more birth control - but adopting was obviously not an accident).  God very clearly tells us to care for the old and the young in the Bible:  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27   -- Our family could choose to follow this by sponsoring more children, supporting an orphanage, continuing to work on medical missions trips.  I hope we do all these things.  I can't ignore the fact that God has given us the resources and the desire to add another child to this family.  If God has given these things to you, how can you say no?  I thank God every day for not letting fear take over and stop our family from very clearly following his plan for our family.  We are not special, but our kids sure are!  As I hope the number of adopted children in our community and congregation grow - please take a minute to make sure that you are making an effort to welcome these very wanted children with all the respect that they deserve.   Here is a link to a website with positive adoption language in case my long-winded discussion hasn't bored you to death yet:  http://www.holtinternational.org/adoption/language.shtml

Friday, November 25, 2011

We're Home

We have been home since last Friday night (or early Saturday morning depending on how you look at it).  We are back to work and being on call.  The kids have started back at school (nice to start back on a 2 day school week).  Will is jumping right in to our normal family activities.  I went to preschool with him on Monday and then on Tuesday I took him and dropped him off.  He did great and just followed along with the rest of the class.  Preschool only last about 2 1/2 hours so it isn't to much stress on him.  We are going to have Thanksgiving today with family (we can never do holidays on the actual day!)  I plan to keep updating the blog - although less frequently since we will be going through some upcoming surgeries with Will.  His first appointment at the cleft clinic is in about 3 weeks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Orphan No More

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My child is an orphan no more.  We had another free day today in Guangzhou.  Tomorrow morning we go to the US Consulate where we have the oath taking ceremony for Will’s US citizenship.  He will receive his visa the next day and at his port of entry into the US (Chicago for us) automatically becomes a US citizen as soon as we pass through immigration.  We spent this morning at the park and this afternoon we went to a Buddhist Temple.  Although we are very anxious to return home, I am thankful for this time of bonding that we have with Will and the other kids.  As soon as we return home we will have the normal daily distractions and will miss the time we had here.

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