Monthly archives for October, 2014

Snapshots: Together at last!

Snapshots: Together at last!

We are celebrating with one MAA family that has just returned from China with their boys.

Photos like this make our day, who are we kidding, they make our year!!!,  Thank you for sharing photos like this with us!

The joy on their faces is brilliant and this is why we do the work we do.

Congratulations to the McKinney family!!!!!

021 097 IMG_0350

Advocacy: Andy

Advocacy: Andy
An excellent update came in today for our handsome 7.5 year old Andy who is still waiting for a family to see him.,  What a treasure of a son he would be!, , ,  Fine motor skills: Andy can fold paper airplanes and boats. He can write his own name and his numbers. He can put pieces of toys together and do it very well. He is smart and has a good imagination. He can color and paint and uses his colors well. He can run, jump, bounce balls, and throw balls. He can communicate well and speaks very clearly. He can speak simple English words. He has good understanding and logic. He likes hearing stories and can repeat simple stories. He knows about 50 Chinese characters and knows from 1 to 100. He knows 15 colors and many shapes. He likes group activities and likes showing his ability. He can express his ability very well with body language. He likes dancing. He is a leader in the class and has good social skills. Teachers all like him well.,  Measurements from October 2014: Height‚¯,¼‚¦‚119cm,weight‚¯,¼‚¦‚23.5kg,head‚¯,¼‚¦‚51.5cm,foot‚¯,¼‚¦‚right 19‚¯,¼‚¦žleft 22cm,24 teeth.
Scroll down for Andy’s original post.,  For more information or to review Andy’s full file, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here: https://madison.mysamdb.com/SAM/Fm/Fm_Ap_Form_Edt.aspx See More
Photo: An excellent update came in today for our handsome 7.5 year old Andy who is still waiting for a family to see him.  What a treasure of a son he would be!    Fine motor skills: Andy can fold paper airplanes and boats. He can write his own name and his numbers. He can put pieces of toys together and do it very well. He is smart and has a good imagination. He can color and paint and uses his colors well. He can run, jump, bounce balls, and throw balls. He can communicate well and speaks very clearly. He can speak simple English words. He has good understanding and logic. He likes hearing stories and can repeat simple stories. He knows about 50 Chinese characters and knows from 1 to 100. He knows 15 colors and many shapes. He likes group activities and likes showing his ability. He can express his ability very well with body language. He likes dancing. He is a leader in the class and has good social skills. Teachers all like him well.  Measurements from October 2014: Height‚¯,¼‚¦‚119cm,weight‚¯,¼‚¦‚23.5kg,head‚¯,¼‚¦‚51.5cm,foot‚¯,¼‚¦‚right 19‚¯,¼‚¦žleft 22cm,24 teeth.</p>
<p>Scroll down for Andy's original post.  For more information or to review Andy's full file, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here: https://madison.mysamdb.com/SAM/Fm/Fm_Ap_Form_Edt.aspx

Walk of Love

Walk of Love
Madison Adoption Associates's photo.
Sara Lang and Jessica Harrison man the table at Brittany's Hope Walk of Love.

, It sure was a great day at the Walk of Love for Brittany’s Hope!

Guest Post~ For the Waiting Momma

Guest Post~ For the Waiting Momma

This is a guest post from a writer and soon to be adoptive mother through the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even though MAA does not have a Congo program we assisted this family through the homestudy process and are eager to see them united with their child. Sarah Andersons writing is encouraging for those who wait, both children and the adoptive parents that count the days until they are united.

Dear Adoptive Mama in waiting,,‚¦, Believe!

,,¦…œConsider it pure JOY, my brothers (and sisters!), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it,,…¾‚s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.,,‚ James 1:2-3

We are facing a huge trial. Our daughter is stuck in a difficult situation., Many around us have stopped asking about our adoption and others are riddled with fear., We are in a HARD PLACE.

But HOPE comes- PEACE comes- JOY comes.

We see the trials and we face them head on., We see the brokenness that keeps our daughter stuck in an orphanage.

phoebe sleeping

There are days when things seem impossible.

 

 

,,¦…œWe can begin to find JOY in our trials when we accept them for what they are- schools of instruction for our soul.,,‚

– Women of Faith

It is a battle.

Not just against flesh.

IT,,…¾‚S a fight for souls and a fight for lives.

Our daughter doesn,,…¾‚t know who we are and doesn,,…¾‚t understand what,,…¾‚s, at stake.

Her LIFE- Her FREEDOM- Her FUTURE.

Our tiny girl is a warrior and she doesn,,…¾‚t even know it.

Benedicte2

We felt a bit in shock as we stood facing another battle.

But you know what settled in and around that shock?

Through the brokenness and cracks of our story?

PEACE-TRUST-GOODNESS-LOVE-JOY-FAITHFULNESS-PERSEVERANCE

In those broken places ,,,¦‚“ the LORD reminded me that he is GOOD.

He loves ME.

He loves our daughter across the ocean.

He is over all. I am so sure of his goodness that it pushed the fear out.

He is in control and HIS best WILL happen.

I think there needs to be a book called the Adoption Battle or maybe just the Adoption Journey Survival Guide. For the Encouragement and Sustainability during the weeks and months of waiting. It is SO EASY to turn negative, I have been there. I still find myself there some days. But it is so much more freeing to find trust- joy-peace and want to persevere. There was a time when I felt like I might Give up. Why? Because I began to believe the lie that God wasn,,…¾‚t for ME instead of believing the truth.

believe his love

If you don,,…¾‚t believe ask the Lord to help you- to hold you up and keep going when you struggle with doubt. And on those days when you can,,…¾‚t hold your arms in praise because it is so terribly hard to see the positive in your situation, call a friend and ask her to pray for you and keep your arms lifted for you. Because doubt is there. It is SO STRONG- it can shake you. But don,,…¾‚t let it. I think I,,…¾‚ll call my book

Dear Adoptive Mama in waiting,,‚¦ Believe!

The Door

Believe the door will open. Believe when you doubt. Believe his goodness is true and his love for you is new.

The door may be strong- it may be heavy.

The door seems to be blocking your view of freedom. No way past it. You feel stuck.

But the truth is not always visible. We have to believe in God,,…¾‚s truth. He sees what is just past that door and it,,…¾‚s his love.

.old_wooden_door_191561

He loves us so. More than we will ever begin to know.

I see his love in his pursuit of me and those I love.

I see his love in connections he makes- people I meet and friends who stay near.

His love is in the sun, the rain and soil. IT grows ,,,¦‚“ just as he has planned- as he keeps tending our souls.

Don,,…¾‚t give up- Believe even in the Doubt.

Speak with your heart.

Pray with your soul.

Jesus is near. Do you feel him next to you?

He knows what best, even while we sit in pain

His goodness and love are never the test- they always stay the same.

Consider it JOY.

Dear Adoptive Momma in waiting,

,,¦…œHe has put a new song in your mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.,,‚ Psalm 40:3

,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  , Oh precious one. From our lips he has ordained praise! In the dark places, the doubting places- he has ordained praise. The Lord will put a new song in your mouth, a hymn of Praise. Praise the Lord for the ways he loves you, for his goodness that knows no end. For the Peace the squelches the wildfire in your soul. Praise him for the song- the notes spaced out perfectly and placed at ease. He is the composer and He is writing a new song in you! Praise him for things yet unseen. Praise him, for many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. He places us on a rock. His goodness fills you, his love reaches you.. His peace fills your every need. Praise him when you are weary. Trust that he is moving mountains and answering prayers beyond your line of vision. He is fighting your battle!

,,¦…œBe confident of this: YOU will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.,,‚ Psalm 27:13-14

*note that italics are a change in words from the original

How has Praise changed your life?

 

Advocacy: Shaun

Advocacy: Shaun

 

Shaun will be turning 7 next month and is newly listed with Madison Adoption Associates. He is a terrific little boy with a very manageable need! He is in care of a very well-run orphanage with a Half the Sky program. Shaun is diagnosed with bilateral atresia of external ears (moderate conductive hearing loss).,  Diana at Madison met him last year and said he is VERY sweet. A few adoptive families have met him too and have said that he is very sweet and precious!, ,  Shaun’s file states that he is not affected by the atresia of the bilateral auricles. He likes being with and playing with other children. When called loudly, he will turn to you and smile to you happily. He likes helping his teacher- when the teacher praises him or affirms him, he gets very happy. He is also willing to help other children. He is extroverted, active, and restless.

Madison received two videos of him and his friend, who is also waiting to be chosen by a family.
Video Links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiB_NdFeND8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHHkHTXTgGc

For more information on Shaun, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here: https://madison.mysamdb.com/SAM/Fm/Fm_Ap_Form_Edt.aspx

**If you are interested in his buddy on the shared list, please email me at el_lauren at yahoo dot com (no spaces) for his information.

Wearing Your Child

Wearing Your Child

 

Watching the world go by...

Watching the world go by…

There is a set of hooks behind my front door that hold a collection of baby wearing gear, some purchased, some home made, all that have been well worn. Currently, with a newborn in the house again they are coming in very helpful. I can be hands free to teach the other kids, milk the goats, and attempt to cook a meal.

Baby wearing gear is not just for babies though, nor is it just helpful to a tired parent.

I have “worn” all four of my children.

I wore Samuel as we trekked through the countryside of Ethiopia, throughout the city of Addis Ababa and it kept us both better off through out the six, airport transitions as we made our way home.,  I kept wearing him for months after we came home because he would bring me the Mai-Tai and gesture to go for a walk.

From the day he was born I wore Finn to sooth him and walk him to sleep. Carriers made dining out and Saturday garage sales a breeze. There was no heavy car seat to haul and he was ever so content to be snug right next to me.

LingLing took to the carrier the very first second I picked her up and strapped it on. She didn’t take to much those first two weeks in China, her grief and fear heavy, but she allowed that carrier and me and the walking secured together down those busy Guangzhou streets. Jason and I could do anything that we needed to do and little LingLing, just two and a half, would tuck her head down deep in the carrier and hide from the world. And, I think it was exactly what she needed. For her, a stroller would have been nothing but oncoming traffic where as a lifted high in a carrier, safely able to observe or rest, she had the time to learn my voice, smell, and kiss as my very stride provided therapy to her body.

And, then there is Charlie born just this past summer.,  He is a baby well carrier baby too, a an incredibly peaceful little soul.

I think strollers are helpful tools.,  I’m thankful for them. While in China I saw many parents with recently adopted children walking with that familiar exhausted grin down the streets.,  For those adopting older children strollers came in incredibly handy when legs and feet grew tired, some hotels even rent strollers for families to use while in China so this is a great resource to look into that can reduce your carry on luggage.

Please, however, consider bringing a carrier of some type if you are adopting a smaller child that can still be carried. Not only does it make the physical carrying of weight easier on you, but it truly can be beneficial in bonding. Depending on your child’s temperament and experience they may even find a carrier to be a safe haven in their suddenly and remarkably new world., ,  In my experience too a child that struggles for a moment in getting comfortable and settled in a carrier will soon get accustomed to the ride.,  In some cases children with sensory issues can be very comforted by the constant gentle pressure and movement of being strapped to a loving care taker.

There are many varieties of carriers, I know because I think I have them all. (Small addiction, perhaps?).,  My husband laughs at me when I bring home a new one but he does not complain for he has seen how helpful they can be in both soothing a newly adopted child and in making travel and errands much easier for all.,  Carriers come in all shapes, sizes, styles and are present in many cultural traditions of childcare.,  I tend to wear babies on my front and older children on my back. LingLing was worn on my front, because that is where she needed to be for her own security until months after coming home when the fear subsided and she was ready to explore.

carrier ling

A connected moment...

A connected moment…

Our favorite carriers have been the mai-tai and the ergo.

I made my own mei-tai, but you can purchase quality ones all over the internet and in some speciality stores. The Ergo is incredibly comfortable and versatile.,  Ask around! There are lots of kid-wearing folks in the adoption community. There are even folks that lend out their carriers to parents juts for the adoption trip. Bring that stroller, sure!,  But consider the benefits of a sling, wrap, or carrier for both you and your child and pack at least one in your suitcase too.

 

 

Sleep.

Sleep.

I used the cry it out method for my first child, adopted from Ethiopia. There I said it. As a social worker I know it is rather taboo to admit that.,  I was young, he was my first child. It was what I, thought I was supposed to do, after having been given a few books on the subject of children and sleep. Frankly, the crying it out ended after just four days and then I had a child that slept beautifully from then on. No more screaming when I put him in his crib for naps and nighttime, all which I attributed to letting him cry it out., Three additional children have taught me a lot. And, opened wide the doors of compassion in my own heart. Yes, my first child did sleep rather independently very quickly after coming home.,  Yet I would do it differently in, a heartbeat if I could.

Sleep is incredibly important. I know this for my children and as the mother of a ten week old infant,  I know this for myself too. We need sleep. It is a healthy, wonderful, nurturing, restorative time in our days and night. Sleep is important.,  But, maybe we should take a little of the pressure off our shoulders about the details of the how’s and lengths and such of sleep.

His first few weeks in my care my Ethiopian born son, fourteen months old, slept in my arms. He would wake at night right next to me and grab onto me, tight, and I held him close telling him that “Mommy was here”. He would go right back to sleep as long as he was latched onto me someway., ,  It was not long after he had been home, certainly he was not secure in his new environment yet, that I was handed a book about children and sleep.

“Oh Girl”, someone had said, “He should be sleeping through the night by now and you cant hold him to sleep or else he will never fall asleep on his own!”

It was after that (from more than one person) that I started doubting myself and read the book that led to the crying it out.

That was years ago. My son and I are attached, our lives woven together with the fiber of days and years of love, humor, dedication, care.,  He is evidence that a parent can make mistakes and Grace will cover it.

Maybe what is more important than “our children sleeping through the night” and toting that they can “fall asleep on their own” is that we can know with confidence that however they go to sleep they do so knowing they are wrapped in the love of their parents.,  For my family that means no more crying it out, rather a sleep time routine for little ones of rocking, reading,,  holding, singing, and sweet smiles and heavy eyelids.,  It means we stop what we as, adults may be doing and take the time to make entering into sleep a moment to bind together.

They were not right either, those that said if I rocked and cuddled the kids would never sleep on their own. I have evidence of that before me in three out of the four of them, (the, baby doesn’t count yet!), who run off to bed happily, sleep deeply, and wake come morning chatty and ready for the day.

Somehow this whole issue of sleep can create a lot of pressure for parents from outsiders.,  We let our first cry it out. We had so much anxiety about what we were doing “right” and “wrong”, which come to think of it is exactly the opposite of what sleep is all about~ peace.

Children need sleep. They need parents who will provide consistent rests, naps, and slumber. They must have good sleep to thrive in every area of their lives., ,  Children that have been recently adopted, just as much as they need sleep, have a deep need to know that you are present and that you will hold them through the night if that is what it takes for peace.

A child needs to sleep in your bed, wrapped up in your arms for security? Ok.

A child needs to sleep on the floor in your room so they don’t fear the dark? Ok.

A child needs rocked into order to quiet their body and welcome rest? Ok.

A child wakes in the night and wants reassurance you are, indeed still there?, Ok.

It wont last forever. It wont. It wont. It wont.

And, it may not be a sign that they have “sleep problems”. It may just be the most normal of all things~ a child reaching out for the love of their caretakers.

If you don’t know this already believe me that it is true. They grow so very fast and the days of night waking and sleep deprivation quickly become long ago memories. And, there, is most definitely sleep deprivation after adopting regardless of the ages of your child. It shall pass though, and , I hope that your, memories, can be of , affection and bonding and growing amid the weary eyes.

Talk with your spouse, search your heart and wisdom, know your child and provide them what they need,,  peaceful sleep.,  However you do it in your family, I hope you make the choice of how to “get your kids to sleep” because of confidence it is the very best thing for the child and not because of outside pressure.

There are many good books on the subject and a lot of websites. Read up. Think hard. Pray. Worry less. Hold more. Sleep is about peace. Do the method that brings peace to your home and the heart of your child.