Posts in category Confessions

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,,š¦, Believe!

,,¦¦ÅConsider 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,,¦¾šs work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.,,š 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.

 

 

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

– Women of Faith

It is a battle.

Not just against flesh.

IT,,¦¾šS a fight for souls and a fight for lives.

Our daughter doesn,,¦¾št know who we are and doesn,,¦¾št understand what,,¦¾šs, at stake.

Her LIFE- Her FREEDOM- Her FUTURE.

Our tiny girl is a warrior and she doesn,,¦¾št 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 ,,,¦šœ 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,,¦¾št for ME instead of believing the truth.

believe his love

If you don,,¦¾št 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,,¦¾št 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,,¦¾št let it. I think I,,¦¾šll call my book

Dear Adoptive Mama in waiting,,š¦ 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,,¦¾šs truth. He sees what is just past that door and it,,¦¾šs 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 ,,,¦šœ just as he has planned- as he keeps tending our souls.

Don,,¦¾št 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,

,,¦¦ÅHe 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.,,š 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!

,,¦¦ÅBe 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.,,š Psalm 27:13-14

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

How has Praise changed your life?

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Placement Uh-Oh’s.

Post Placement Uh-Oh’s.

A former client shared a story recently about how she and her family pulled into their drive way after coming from the public pool and saw a man in a suit standing on their door step.

It was the Guardian Ad Litem, ringing their doorbell for a scheduled visit.

They jumped out of their van soaking wet and tuckered out from the pool, house not ready for company, and completely having forgotten this appointment.

This is their third adoption, fifth child through adoption, and frankly they are pretty busy being a family.

I had to laugh because it is not just MAA clients that have moments like this.

I have on more than one occasion forgotten that a social worker was coming over and received a call that someone was “at our door for the appointment.”

These appointments regardless of how many adoption we have done are important as when there is a need in the home the visits can help address that need, and perhaps keep a child safer and help a family adjust. They are also vital to keeping international adoption open and alive in the United States. We must do them, even years later when the “process” of adoption seems so very far away because we are smack in the middle of life as a family.

For China, those post placement visits occur at thirty days after placement, six months, one year, two years, and five years later., As I am writing about this- a social worker myself- I am realizing that we must have a post placement very soon as we are quickly approaching the two year anniversary of LingLing coming home.

I’m so grateful for the story from my friend of her standing their soaked and sunkissed, messy house, and exhausted kids staring at the neatly dressed court representative because it is a good reminder that its not just me that does stuff like that- a lot! And in the long run the court reps and social worker are not looking for a house that came of off a pintrest page. They are looking for a family that is healthy, vibrant, and safe.

I think my friend with her van full of wet happy kids showed just that.

For more information on post placement requirements for your state please contact your homestudy caseworker or MAA staff. We are happy to help you understand the post placement process and then it is up to you to remember your scheduled visits (hehe, wink-wink!).

 

Streams in the Desert

Streams in the Desert

Front Cover

Recently I purchased the book, The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, written by John Trent.,  The writer is teaching on the importance of passing on a blessing to our children through different means that will build up in their bones as they grow and help them to stand strong in their God-given worth.

I like it.,  It is good to be reminded to speak words that affirm my children. It is good see that I need to be pointing them to a special future. It is good to ask myself if I touched them today other than hurriedly tossing them into the car seat.

But, its not really the book I want to write about. I’m only on chapter three.

There is a small paragraph in the book that describes a dry desert and a people that live there. The people, if you can imagine, rely entirely for their existence on a stream that brings water and nourishment to them.,  It is their drink. It is their means of preparing food. It is life for the desert people.

And, one day it ceases to flow. Maybe it started gradually and lead down into just a trickle. But here they are, in the desert, and their life source is gone.

You know what I thought of when I read this? I know I was supposed to be thinking about the blessing, after all this is what the book is about!,  (And, I was!).,  I thought about orphans.

An orphan is a lot like that desert community that needed the water to survive.

An orphan is a child without parents. A child. Alone to fend for themselves. Their lifesource, the very thing that can provide them with basic needs and a future and even a blessing, has stopped flowing. And, they are left dry.

To me those that care for orphans, that advocate for them, pray for them, support the cause of the lonely with money and time and energy are like people who walk that dry stream and find the block and begin to remove it so that water can flow again.

Because it can be that simple. No participating in an orphan care program or adopting will not end the global orphan crisis. But, removing the damn to the stream will make the water flow again….and that means the world to the small desert community that relied on it.

Children, by their nature, rely on others. They need.,  You can be the person who removes the logs from a desert stream and lets the water of life flow again.

Orphan care. Adoption. Advocacy., 

Streams in the desert for the orphan child. Life giving.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the orphan. Even if you do not know their names, or ever will, your work on behalf of orphans I pray will be a blessing to them beyond our understanding.

 

Belonging.

Belonging.

IMG_3108

A nice woman was introducing my family to someone she knew.

“This is Katie.”, she said. I smiled and offered my hand. The kids were like little squirrels at my feet.

“This one”, she said pointing at my middle son, “this one is hers.”

The little place in my gut that still tightens when I know what is coming next started to tug my smile away.,  “And, she adopted these two.”

Her intention were nothing but kind. She adores my little family. Did I mention the she I am referring to is over ninety years old, and she even went over and put her arm around my oldest son and said so lovingly, “I just love this boy.”,  She loves the boy that was adopted., ,  I am grateful because I love him too. He is amazing, and what, a pleasure it is as a parent when you know that someone else can delight in your children.

Still I went home thinking about those words, with no anger or frustration at her.,  Because her intention was love. I think intention is important. I think we can not overlook it and jump to anger.

As we walked back to the car I tried to decide to bring it up or not to the kids. Had they heard? Did it sink into their minds?,  Honestly, they had not been paying attention.,  In fact if I remember correctly the boys were playing Batman verses Hulk all the while their sister jumped silly over their wrestling bodies.,  So, I squeezed them and kissed those heads and told them they were so loved. We walked on.

The middle one, he is mine. I mean I birthed him, and he has my eyes. The marks on my stomach are evidence of those nine months being stretched.

But, what about the other two. The ones that I did not carry.,  Was that not the point?

Is not part of adoption to take a child that has been removed from the security and rhythm of belonging and bring them back into the fold of a family?

They did belong. They once were someone’s. Even if it was just for that nine months they grew so strong and perfectly , inside the womb of their birthmothers. That was belonging.

And, then something happened.

And, it was awful. Because it is awful when, a child goes from what is familiar to what is so very lonely.

Being let go is lonely.

Being surrendered is lonely.

Being dropped off at a gate in front of an orphanage is lonely.

Becoming an orphan means losing all sense of belonging.

Yes. The middle one is mine.,  Stretch,  marks.

But, so is the eldest. He is mine because we became family on paper, a contract of governments,, , much like a marriage, a covenant of Momma and Daddy and son.

And, so is the youngest. She is mine because I singed my name to those documents and I waited the months and I navigated the process in order to proclaim that she very much so belonged once more.

For these, the two I do not have stretch marks as evidence, I sat at a tattoo parlor and endured the point of a needle.,  Now all three of them have left their marks on Mom.

They may not have always been mine, true, true, true.

But, since the day I said yes I know what I have been.

Unquestioningly.,  Unwavering.,  I have been theirs.

Adoption can take a child that has lost the most precious love he has ever known, and give him once again a precious love.

It is not a program. It is not a system. It is not a fad. It is not a movement.

Adoption is the seal of belonging.

These kids, they are all mine. Because I birthed one. Because I adopted two. That makes us belong. That makes us family.

Three kids. Three continents. You should see my stretch marks.

 

(Tonight, my heart is so full of emotion and thought and prayer for this family. They are not an MAA family, but I read their story and I can not let it go.,  I am linking here to the blog: Because of Love so that you have an opportunity to share in the love that this family has for their son, Cruz, who died before he was able to come home from Ethiopia this week. He died before coming home, but he did not die an orphan. This is a powerful story, and I hope you can reach out to this family with love and support.)

 

 

 

 

 

“What is it like?”~ A glimpse into the life of a mother of 6 adopted children with special needs.

“What is it like?”~ A glimpse into the life of a mother of 6 adopted children with special needs.

The following is from an MAA parent who is sharing with us a little bit about the reality of raising a child with special needs. She is sharing so that others who are considering adopting a child with special needs such as many of the waiting children in China might get some of their questions answered. Please know MAA wants parents to be informed, and we are so happy to connect you to other resources (including experienced adoptive parents) that can help answer real life questions!

 

I have adopted 6 children with special needs.,  Three of our children have Hepatitis B.,  This has to be one of the easiest special needs out there.,  My children have to have their blood drawn once a year, and have a MRI of their livers.,  They see the pediatric gastrinologist once a year.,  I often forget all about their need until one gets a cut.,  Then it all comes back to me.,  I know I need to take extra precautions on cleaning up any surfaces they may have bled on.,  My husband and I and all our children have been vaccinated against this virus.,  It is a very manageable need.

We have a daughter with cleft lip/cleft palate.,  This is one of the more involved needs out there.,  I often hear of people saying it is a minor need and I have to disagree.,  Cleft lip/cleft palate or otherwise known as cl/cp can have other complications involved such as hearing, heart, etc.,  We are very blessed in that my daughter does not have any of these other needs.,  There are many surgeries that are involved in repairing a cl/cp child.,  It is not a ,,¦¦Åone surgery and it is done,,š type of need.,  My daughter is 8 years old and has already had 3 surgeries, and is getting ready to have her fourth surgery in a few weeks.,  I was told by her doctors they will do her final surgery at the age of 18 or 19.,  Having said that, we are so blessed in having her in our family.,  She is a true inspiration in the way she handles all of her surgeries and speech issues.

, We have a son with multiple needs.,  He was listed as ,,¦¦Åmild mental delay.,,š,  He is much more than that., ,  It didn,,¦¾št take long for his doctors to diagnose our son with fetal alcohol syndrome and microcephaly.,  He also has vision issues, hearing issues, mild cerebral palsy, etc,,š¦,  He is such a joy in our life.,  He has to go to the eye dr every 4 months for his eye problems, but other than that he is pretty easy.,  Our son will always be dependent on us, and sometimes the magnitude of his delays hit us in the face.,  But the unconditional love he shows is amazing.,  I have learned so much from the continuous joy he has in life and family.,  My son is happy, smiley, and laughing 90% of the time.,  He bounces back from his disappointments very quickly.

, We have a daughter with left side hemiplegia and leg length difference.,  She has only been home for 5 months so we are still in the throes of her medical assessments.,  Our daughter is truly amazing in her ability.,  She only has one good hand, but she dresses herself every day.,  She runs and is getting more stable, even though she walks on her tip toes on one foot.,  Our daughter will receive a botox shot next week and 3 weeks of casting to help make her foot flat.,  She will be wearing an AFO on her affected foot afterward.,  I was told she will be seeing the pediatric orthopedist every 6-9 months following this procedure.

MAA Adoption Programs

Madison Adoption Associates currently offers international adoption programs in the countries of China, the Philippines, and Bulgaria. Our programs mostly focus on placing children who have special medical needs.
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