Thursday, December 30, 2010

3 Months...

It has been 3 months since we were officially approved for our adoption. Well, it's only been 2 months since we knew we were approved, which seems strange that it took them an entire month to let us know that we were approved. That's a tad irritating. But, alas, we were approved on September 14th. Although 2010 has flown by, the past 3 months have seemed like an entire year on their own. I didn't expect waiting to be this hard. If the past 3 months have gone by this slowly, what will the next 2-3 years be like? I dread finding out. Christmas was agonizing, and I am praying we don't have to go through that yet again next year.

2010 has been a crazy year. A good one for the most part, but a good one. With the exception of 2 car accidents and some crazy emotions, I don't have much to complain about. It's crazy to think that a year ago, we had no clue that we would be adopting.

I talked a little bit in my previous blog about some plans for 2011. This is going to be a long year, I believe, but I am bound and determined to make it a good one. I am just about ready to start painting the baby's room. I'm pretty sure I've got the paint colors/style picked out. I'm also starting the "Read the Bible in one year" thing. I have a One Year Bible devotional that makes it pretty simple. I'm excited about that. I want to take this crazy, exciting, scary, sad, and stressful journey and use it to draw closer to God. I've never had to cling to Christ more than I do now. He is the only one with the strength to carry me through this.

So, here's to a new year, and a new start! Let's hope we end 2011 with a bright-eyed blessing in our arms!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodbye, Christmas!

We ended up having a pretty good Christmas, but boy was I glad to see it end. I've just really felt like Scruge this year. I think it's a culmination of no baby, no money, and family stress. Completely out of character for me, I had all our decorations torn down by 8am the day after Christmas. But, overall, we have so much to be grateful for.

We spent Christmas eve evening with Brandon's parents and sister, Brandi, and her husband, Josh. We really enjoyed our time with them. Brandon got a new drill and I got a gift certificate to the salon to have my hair cut and colored, and boy am I excited about that!

We spent all of Christmas Day at my parents' house. where I lost 2 games of "Sorry" to Brandon and my mom. My sis, Kristy, and her husband, Darrin, were there, and Darrin's parents and brother came over for dinner. I loved spending the whole day with my family. I still really miss living at home from time to time.

I am really excited about the upcoming year. I am planning several changes for myself. I typically don't make New Years Resolutions because we all know no one ever keeps them, and I guess I'm not really thinking of it as a New Years Resolution, but I am bound and determined to get this weight off once and for all! I'm trying to encourage Brandon to join me. I'll be blogging my journey on my other blog, A Couple Of Losers. Follow if you wish. It's less about weight loss and more about making healthy changes, in hopes that my weight will follow. I don't want to be so focused on numbers that I get discouraged too easily.

I'm also really excited about 2011 because I have some fun projects planned, including working on the baby's nursery! It's torturing me! I can't wait to get in there and make it look like a baby's room! :-)

What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Contemporary Christmas

Ya know what makes me sad? How secular Christmas has become. Brandon and I were talking about it as we drove around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights last night. People put up lights, decorate the tree, make all sorts of Christmas goodies, we spend time with family, spend a ridiculous amount of money on gifts we don't really need, and watch many a Christmas movie.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE all of these things about Christmas! I turn into a little kid at Christmas. But, it seems like people talk more about lights, traditions, gifts, and what their holiday plans are than they do about Jesus.

Is it just me, or has Jesus been uninvited to his own birthday party? I've even heard non believers say that they like to celebrate "Christmas," they just don't do the "Jesus part." Really? How can you celebrate someone's birthday without acknowledging the guest of honor?

So, I am challenging myself this season, and I want to challenge you as well. I know how easy it is to get sidetracked with the busy schedules and long to-do lists. But this year, I want to spend a little more time with God.

Starting today, I am going to start reading the Christmas story from the Bible. I'm going to try to break it down piece by piece. Every day, I will spend some time reflecting on the story of our Savior's birth, and drawing closer to him this season. Will you join me? Let's not forget why we have Christmas to celebrate in the first place!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Twenty Things" #7

I know, I'm posting these back to apologies...

"I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family."

This chapter echoes the previous one. We as parents must make the effort to keep an open dialect. The adoptee is a victim. She didn't choose this. It isn't her fault. She didn't deserve such a loss. There are 3 aspects to the victim mind-set:

  1. Innocence- it wasn't her fault
  2. Defenselessness- she was powerless to stop it
  3. Helplessness- she cannot change the past

We need to be confident in our parental role, and avoid trying to be parents of the year. Life is messy. It is nowhere near perfect. And that's ok! As I said earlier, I always want my child to feel free to discuss his/her past, because without the past, there would be no future! (obviously...)

"Twenty Things" #6

"Just Because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them."

I really like that this book is written from the viewpoint of the adoptee. This chapter talks mostly about how children view their birth parents. As adoptive parents, we have to set aside our fears. We're not keeping up with the Jones' here, pardon the expression. We don't need to feel like we are in competition with the birth parents, trying to win the child's love. The adoptee already loves his adoptive parents! But, reality is, he does have 2 sets of parents, and there's nothing we can do to change that. It is only natural that adoptees think and dream about their birth family, especially if it is a closed adoption. What I got out of this chapter: it's OK for them to wonder about their birth family!

If you have an adopted child, you should make sure your child knows that it's ok to talk about her birth family, and that there is no reason for her to feel guilty or bad about it. The birth parents will always be a part of her life! Personally, I don't WANT my child to "forget" her birth family. After all, these are the people who will give my child life, and I will be eternally grateful! So, I desire to always make an effort to include my child's birth parents in our conversations.

"Twenty Things" #5

I know...I've gotten off track with these. But, I have NOT forgotten about this! I am still reading the book, and I will continue my chapter-by-chapter review :-)

"I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption, then validate them."

I think I have mentioned in previous posts that one of the things that I have learned so far is that no matter how much we desire our child, no matter how much we love her, and no matter how much she means to us, we can not change her circumstances. We can not change the fact that she will have suffered such a great loss before she was even born. This is astounding (and hurtful) to me. Oh, how I wish I could make it better! But, since I can't remove the hurt, I must help my child grieve and deal with their circumstances. The first key to this is to help her verbalize her feelings. We, as adoptive parents, must make absolutely certain that we provide a safe place for our children to share with us their feelings...regardless of what those feelings might be. Adopted children need to know that we love them just the way they are, and that there is nothing that they need to do to "deserve" our love.

We need to be in tune to our children, and take their ques. We need to know when to talk with them about their adoption, and to let them know that we are here for them whenever they want to talk. But what about the kids who don't know how to put their feelings into words? One of the book's suggestions is to help your child work through their feelings through play. It can be acting out stories like what it was like at the hospital on adoption day, or playing with dolls or barbies and pretending one of the dolls is adopted, or even writing a story together about it. I really liked those ideas. I think those are some creative ways to help a child walk through their grief.

Some other suggestions to help the child work through his grief in the book are:

  • Create a Lifebook
  • Let her write letters to her birthmom. If you can't mail them to her, keep them in a box or a scrapbook.
  • Give your child privacy. He may want to work through it alone at times.
  • Expose him to other adoptees.
  • Always remind your child of his strengths.