Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mail Call

November 28, 2005
When we arrived home from work, we found a stack of fun "baby" mail! There were surprise gifts purchased off our registry, and a box with a "free sample" diaper in it. When we have tangible things like baby clothes to hold on to, it makes the "expecting time" less abstract. It reminds us that there will be a REAL baby here someday! (Plus, it helps us to get ready!) I think Grandma is getting excited! Thank you!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Grown-Up's Guide

November 17, 2005
I found this article online today, and I loved it! It has all the points we've been trying to explain to everyone.

Cross-Cultural Adoption: The Do's and Don'ts for Grown-Ups
By Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz

"Not sure how to handle questions about cross-cultural adoption? Learn how to best ask and answer these questions while nourishing an adopted child's sense of cultural self and showing she is a natural part of the family. . .

Parents and children of these families are sure to encounter numerous questions which must be answered carefully to avoid devastating a child's sense of self and instead foster love, acceptance, and belonging.

So just what are the best ways for parents to answer questions about a child's adoption? (And what questions should the rest of us avoid asking?) Read on for a list of the "do's and don'ts."

What You Should Do
  • Do treat her like any other kid.
  • Avoid the temptation to spoil her because she didn't have everything that the other kids had in the first few months or years of her life. The most valuable gifts you can offer these children are patience, routine, and consistency -- and most of all, unexaggerated expressions of love and devotion.
  • Do support her when curious strangers ask questions. When curious (and sometimes thoughtless) strangers ask questions or feel the need to comment on the circumstances of the adoption, do not let them lead you into uncomfortable territory. Instead, gently steer them back to more suitable small talk or respond in such a way that shifts the conversation to positive adoption language that in turn lets the child know that you are on her side.
  • Do respect her privacy. Adopted children have the same need for and the right to privacy as you do. They do not want their entire life story being told to strangers. If she hears you discussing the intimate details of her origins, she will likely feel embarrassed. Until the child is old enough to decide for herself how much information she would like to share regarding her background, please respect her privacy.
  • Do treat prospective adoptive parents the same as expectant parents. Adopting a child is just as exciting for soon-to-be parents as being pregnant. They feel the same way all expectant parents do -- overjoyed, overwhelmed, nervous, impatient, and most of all, excited. Don't be afraid to ask adopting parents about these feelings. After all, adoption is neither a secret nor a source of embarrassment or shame.
  • Do acknowledge and celebrate the differences. One of the best things you can do to show your support as well as your love for the adopted child in your life is to learn a bit about the culture and history of her birth [heritage]. Read a couple of books, especially travel books. Even if you have no plans to travel there, there is no better way to get the feeling of another country.

What You Should Not Do

  • Don't introduce her as adopted. The pain this inflicts on the child is obvious. The child is made to feel inferior, like she will never be considered a real part of the family. The rule is simple: Don't ever, ever do this.
  • Don't say how "lucky" she is. After hearing this enough times, the child can be made to feel like a lifelong charity case, rather than the cherished child she is. Yes, she is lucky, but so is any child who has a supportive, loving family. And we parents are lucky, too, to have been able to create this loving, supportive family.
  • Don't assume adoption is a second choice. The reasons people choose to adopt are as varied and unique as the people themselves. While it is true that many choose adoption because of infertility, it is also true that many choose adoption for myriad other reasons as well. Many people choose to adopt not because they are out of other options, but rather because they believe that adoption is the best choice for them.
  • Don't jump to conclusions about the birth mother. Often thought of as weak, irresponsible, cheap, and worthless, birth mothers often suffer a lifetime of pain far greater than that of childbirth. Please don't jump to the wrong conclusion that these women are any different than you and me or that they love their children any less.
  • Most cross-cultural adoptive families know little or nothing about the circumstances that led their child's birth mother to relinquish her child. What they do know is that they love their children's birth mothers because they are a part of their children and it is because of them that their beloved children are who they are.
  • Don't tell us we're sure to have "our own" now. She is our own. Those parents who choose adoption because of infertility do not secretly harbor lifelong yearnings for a biological child. Having "our own" is now irrelevant; the child we have is the one we want and it is inconceivable that we could love or want any child more. Like all parents, we have the best. "

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Just Browsing

November 16, 2005
Today, while we were doing a little Christmas shopping during lunch, we decided to browse through the baby department, now that the store's construction is complete. We inspected strollers, high chairs, and bouncers, and Calvin really had fun driving a stroller around. He was especially impressed at how it could turn sharp corners, and he took a few minutes to send it speeding around the clothing racks!

Friday, November 11, 2005

God's Gifts

November 11, 2005
While ordering ministry materials online today for work, I stumbled upon an online devotional in which a woman relates the journey of adopting her baby son from Korea. She writes that God had placed the desired upon her heart when she was 5-years-old to adopt from Korea. Years, later, her dream was finally fulfilled. It was encouraging to read how God worked miracles throughout the entire adoption process.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [Roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; Trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] also in Him and He will bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5, AMP)

"God places the divine desire for His gifts within our heart with a promise that the desire will come to pass in His will and way. The desires of the heart integrate with the process of our growth in life. The process is not about attaining the gift but receiving the gift from the God. Part of this process is the discovery of how to keep the focus off the desire and upon the delight of the Lord. It isn't always easy. In reality, seeking God first is a lifetime process. In Him, we commit our way through each and every day. Matthew 6 reminds us that we are to seek Him first and all other things will be added on. It is a discipline to seek Him first believing that He is sufficient for all that we face and desire in life. There are times that the desires of our heart are magnified beyond any other desire. As this occurs we come to a point that we must choose to push through the desire; seeking Him first, trusting, leaning on, relying on and putting our confidence back in the Lord. Delight, commit, and trust are gifts to be continually received in the spiritual journey.

Heavenly Father, I delight in YOU. YOU are King of kings and Lord of Lords. YOU are sovereign and in control. I thank YOU for the desires that you plant in my heart. I delight in the fact that YOU have a plan and a purpose to use the desire. I commit my way to YOUR way. My life is in YOUR hands. I trust YOU regardless of my visible circumstances. YOU promise to never leave me, nor fail me, but to always be with me. Thank YOU Lord. I love YOU Lord. In YOUR name, Amen.

Receive the gift of delighting in the Lord today. Receive the gift of committing in the Lord today. Receive the gift of trusting in the Lord today. Experience the gift of divine delight, commitment and trust. The Gift goes on..."

( Kerrie L. Palmer) Click Here to Read the Complete Devotional Series

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Today's Verse

November 10, 2005
We found this encouraging verse today:
"But these things I plan won't happen right away; slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" HABAKKUK 2:2

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Study Hard!

November 9, 2005
Calvin went to a "New Baby Care" class at the hospital last night. (Michele couldn't go because of a meeting at work.) So, Calvin took very detailed notes on diapering, feeding, dressing, and all those other essential baby care tasks! He even brought home papers on how to do baby massage. The instructions ended up being posted on the fridge, next to the feeding stages/instructional guide he had put on the fridge last week! It reminds me of "finals week" at college, when we would post "study guides" in the kitchen!

The class instructor had some interesting advice. She said that the bulb syringes are "non-essential," and that she never sends them home with parents because they use them "improperly, and in the wrong orfices!" So, I'm wondering why this nurse didn't TEACH the parents how to use this very useful tool. Babies can't blow their own noses! What if they get a cold? I think I'm going to go get a bulb syringe... She also said that burping babies isn't necessary, either. Hmm... I guess we'll just let the kid deal with painful gas bubbles. No big deal, right? But, she did give good information about when to call a doctor (if the baby is turning blue, has a fever of 101*, etc.), so I guess we're prepared for emergencies.

Before the class, we wandered around "Toys R Us" together. We were there to get bedding for the baby travel bed (posted earlier), but we also had fun trying out all the toys, and reminiscing about our favorite childhood toys. Did you know that See & Say Toys are completely different from how they were 20 years ago? We did find Care Bears and Hot Wheels, though. Calvin had fun hearing me tell him all of my mom's reasons why I couldn't get certain items as a child. It was all wonderful mommy advice, such as: "No, you can't get that board game; you'll lose all the pieces" "No, you can't get that; it'll be too hard to wash." "No, you can't get a huge gumball; it won't fit in your mouth, and you'll drool." (Thanks, Mom! I love you!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Baby Gifts

November 8, 2005
A friend of ours stopped by my office today, and dropped off a few "hand-me-down" baby items, including a baby swing! Her youngest child is 15 months old, so everything is still pretty new. It was such a fun surprise! She had even washed everything, put the toys through the washing machine, etc., which is a big help. What a blessing! It is so neat to see others getting excited along with us and helping us get ready.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Prayer Warriors

November 3, 2005
So far today, we have had about 3 different people tell us they are praying for our child & adoption journey. It is such a blessing to know that our child will be surrounded by the prayer support of their grandparents, friends, and other family members. I believe one of the best things you can do for a child is pray for them. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Act of Faith

November 1, 2005
At this point in our journey, all we can do is prayerfully wait & prepare in faith. We don't want to get in the way of what God is doing. We were really able to indentify with what Eugene Peterson writes in his introduction to the book of Hebrews in The Message Bible:

"It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can't get too much of God, can't get too much faith and obedience, can't get too much love and worship. But religion- the well intentioned efforts we make to 'get it all together' for God- can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us. The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God's action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith. But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents' worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way."