Adoption Reality

I asked Sarah if I could share a recent email dialog she had with one of our adoption advocates in Haiti.  Our adoption isn’t easy.  Walking by faith is a daily battle of wills; ours versus His.  Here is a small glimpse into our adoption reality…..

– from Sarah –

“I need some counsel this morning.  As if you don’t have enough to do already.  I just knew that you would understand and maybe could help me.  Please do not take any of this the wrong way.

I am really struggling with coming to see Naomi.  Our adoption at the moment, as you well know, is not moving too much.  Well not at all really.  And I just can’t figure out or seem to have a peace about our visiting Naomi with there being so much uncertainty about when the adoption will begin to be in process.  Please know, I am not doubting this adoption.  I have complete faith that this is going to be an amazing miracle of God.  I just want to do what is best for her.  And I guess I am just trying to figure out if visiting her and leaving her so often when the adoption has not even begun, is right.  Is any of this making sense?  I literally have been physically ill to my stomach worrying about this.  I love her so much and just want to do the right thing.

Can you please just be very honest with me?  You know Naomi so well, being with her everyday.  I only want to do what is best for her.

Thank you for “listening”.  You have no idea how much we appreciate what you do. Please give Naomi huge hug from me! Tell her we love her!”

– from adoption advocate –

“My heart just aches for you – and your family.   Please know how very much I love your ‘mother’s heart’!

It is interesting that you should email now.  I have been watching Naomi quite a bit recently, thinking what a GOOD thing it is that you are coming.  She has been struggling a bit.  A bit moodier, a little less inclined to obey, and I have thought how grateful I am that you will soon be here.

In my opinion, she needs that intense one-on-one “I love you MORE than anyone else in this world!” time that she gets from you.  She needs that settled feeling of knowing that she is valued.  As I have watched her behavior after your earlier visits, I have seen how it has truly impacted her in positive ways.  She is happier, more joyful, more energetic, and so content.

I really struggle with knowing what is right here – she will come to my house by herself or with (other orphan) two to three times each week.  It’s kind of like coming to grandma’s house – they get different snacks, and have a bit more freedom in terms of play time – sometimes they get to watch a video.  But when she has to go back to the girl’s house she is so sad.  She and (my child) are just six weeks apart in age, and so I think she has trouble understanding why (my child) gets to stay and she has to go.  What I’m trying to say is this – she knows that I love her, but she also knows that it is different with (my child).

When you are here – it’s all about Naomi – and she knows it.  That has been powerful in her life.   If you’re in this for the long haul (which you’ve never given me any reason to believe that you are not) I would try to budget in trips to see her every 3 to 4 months.

Just want you to know that I understand what you’re asking – I really appreciate your sensitivity to Naomi and the entire situation – and I want to do what I can to help your family to survive these upcoming months and years well!  If, after prayer and quiet reflection with our Lord, you decide that it is not best to come at this time – I will completely support that decision – and will welcome any ideas that you may have for keeping your connection with Naomi during this time of waiting.”

– from Jason –

If you have walked this road before and have received wise counsel on how to handle this….please share. Public or Private.  If you are a counselor, pastor, child psychologist, or social/adoption worker with insight….please share.  Public or Private.  This is shaky ground for us, we don’t have it figured out, we don’t have the “right” answers, we need help.  If you haven’t walked this road, we would love to have your encouragement/prayer.  Public or Private.  But, respectfully, keep your “opinions” regarding whether you think  we should or shouldn’t be visiting our daughter at this stage to yourself….love ya, mean it.

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4 Responses to “Adoption Reality”

  1. I am commenting as one who is finding her way on this road as well. I can only share from our experience as we head into our 18th month of waiting to bring our boys home from Haiti. When we began this process (naively thinking it would be much shorter) we intended only to take one trip to Haiti. However, six months into our wait my husband and I traveled to sign our I-600 and spend one unforgettable week with our sons. It was on that trip that we knew in our hearts that one of us must return to try and continue the connection that had begun during our time together. Six months later, I returned for another week and now, another six months later, I am traveling once again. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think my boys know that I am their mommy or that I am different from any other visitor to their orphanage. (They don’t even cry when I leave.) What I do know is that they love the undivided, 24/7 attention that I lavish solely on them. I make a point of bringing a familiar toy and singing the same songs to them on every visit, and it is my hope that when they do come home they will somehow connect the dots and realize who I am and how much I love them.

    At the same time, I do know of an adoptive mom friend of mine who never visited her children prior to the homecoming of each of them and their bond is beautifully strong. May the Lord guide you to the decision that is best and right for your family!

    Sincerely,
    Stephanie

    http://iansadoption.blogspot.com

  2. oh do we understand these thoughts. when i went to visit the first time it was hardest on me. amos didn’t seem to mind and story was 6 weeks old. then the next time aaron was there and it was still hardest on us. amos was pumped b/c he got to ride on a motorcycle (remember that?) and story was 7 months old and clueless. the next time was harder on amos b/c he was no realizing who we were and what that meant.
    then aaron and i both came for another time and it was very hard on Amos. these last two times have been so hard on him and so hard on us. BUT i think it’s good that we’ve been going. we’ve committed to going at least 4 times a year and so far it’s working out.

    we can tell a difference with amos and are starting to see progress with story (she’s now 20 months old). they both (especially amos) know that we are mama nad papa. a bond has been created.

    we had these same thoughts after left them last march. wondering how we can keep doing this to him and her. putting them through such sadness when we leave.

    licia told us that he loves it when we come and doesn’t stay too sad too much afterwards.

    in our non-educated opinions it is working out well for us to visit. we are also towards the end of this process with them so it might be a little different for you guys.

    but we are so grateful for the bond that has been created between us and our kids so many miles away.

    that’s my 2 cents. love you guys.

  3. Stephanie and Jamie, thanks for the words of encouragement. Much love and appreciation for your willingness to share your journey.

    Stephanie, had we the chance to go back in time and do one thing different, it would probably be to take the same approach you have taken…to just be the white man and woman that LOVE her and pay all attention exclusively to her. Not presenting ourselves as her “momma and papa” until things were much farther along.

  4. Melissa Shackelford Says:

    Sarah and Jason, I wanted to check your blog today because your family and upcoming trip to Haiti were on my heart. I read this and my heart truly aches for you. While I have had no experience and cannot imagine the faith that is being required for this, I CAN offer you prayers and encouragement. The Bible tells us to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thes 5:11). Thank you for sharing this difficult journey with us and allowing us to share in the pain and joy that you experience along the way. I pray that you have a safe, enjoyable, and encouraging trip. I pray your visit with Naomi encourages her as well and that each of you (Jason, Sarah, Claire, & Naomi) will experience God’s love in an amazing way. I also pray that God watches over Isabella and her caregivers in your absence.

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