Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World AIDS Day...

This is a blog post written by a lady that is very well respected not just in the "blogging" community, but throughout the world of adoption advocates. This is something we are passionate about, and want to encourage others to be educated... so take today to learn about something you might not have otherwise... or maybe had misinformation about. Families depend on people like us to not only become educated, but to go near and love like Jesus. Enjoy her post...

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Does it matter to us? Should it matter? Many of us have lived unaffected by HIV/AIDS, but in Ethiopia, my children’s birthplace, there may not be a single person who can say that. Every day children are orphaned by this incurable but treatable disease; they are left to raise their siblings, left on the street, left to a neighbor’s kindness,or left at the gate of an orphanage. They cry, they starve, they suffer, and many of them do not yet know that they too are infected with this virus.

What can you do?

1. Read

If you only have time to read one book, I recommend There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Her Country’s Children. Written by an adoptive mother, the book tells the story of one Ethiopian woman who responded to the AIDS orphan crisis with practical compassion. It is a compelling and interesting read.

If you have time for two books, get 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen. My exposure to AIDS in Africa had been limited primarily to Ethiopia, but this book features a short story about 28 different people across the continent and how AIDS has affected them. 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa will give you a quick education about HIV/AIDS in a captivating style.

2. Learn

Visit the From HIV to Home website, to find great information including our free webinar and audioconference. You can also read Family Stories about families who have adopted children living with HIV.

If you have 30 seconds, go to my HIV Fact page and get the facts.

Take three minutes to watch Truth Pandemic by Project Hopeful; make sure your knowledge about HIV/AIDS isn’t stuck in the eighties.

3. Shop

Shop with a purpose. Christmas will be here soon and this year you can purchase gifts that will benefit children with HIV/AIDS.

At From HIV to Home we have some great new earrings available for a donation of $30.

4. Care

If it all seems remote to you, take a few moments to watch my family’s video of our Ethiopian adoption. I know I don’t write about HIV/AIDS much, but our lives have been forever changed by this virus. I am so thankful to God that we learned there was nothing to fear about HIV, and I feel honored that God trusted us to adopt our children who are HIV+.

5. Adopt

Consider adopting an HIV+ child. It isn’t as hard as you think! The last four years have seen an explosion in the number of families adopting HIV+ children. When we began the process, a handful of HIV+ children had been adopted from our daughters’ orphanage. Now, the children are finding families very quickly. For more information on HIV+ adoption, contact Adoption Advocates International one of the other agencies placing HIV+ children.

Don’t wait until December 1st to wear a red ribbon. Do something today and when World AIDS Day arrives, you will be ready to tell somebody else what it is all about. Please feel free to share this post and spread the word about World AIDS Day. My family thanks you for caring.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A favorite: GREAT deal...

Well, I love good pictures and GREAT deals.... Shutterfly is offering 50 free photo cards to bloggers! I LOVE that! With as many photos and Christmas Cards that we send out, it is a HUGE blessing to have 50 for FREE!!

Every year I complete a book for each of the kids, and give it away as gifts. So this is one of my favorite things: http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books/simple-path

I also love making our own holiday cards : http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/holiday-cards

It's fun, affordable, and right now AMAZING deals at Shutterfly!

Ok, go check it out!http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stuck in the 80s?

Something that we have become passionate about over the last 2-3 years within the realm of adoption and orphan care is the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it is a major contributor to the overall orphan crisis. Another ministry we've been able to get to know, Project Hopeful (In this weeks PEOPLE magazine, btw) has created a project called the TRUTH+Pandemic. Here is a little glimpse of how they are using their platform to educate others. Amazing, really. Hope you enjoy, and are educated... maybe even challenged a bit...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Forever Family... One Year ago...

One year ago... We were getting ready to meet you for the first time.
One year ago... We were wondering how you would react... how you would feel... would you be scared?
One year ago... We were changed forever. Blessed beyond imagination.
One year ago... We touched you for the first time.
One year ago... We fell in love with you.
One year ago... We held you for the first time... and haven't let go since.

Our first year is behind us! We can't believe how much we have ALL changed. It was a sleepless 4 months, lots of trying to understand each other, and lots of tears... both ways. At the same time... there was always love... for you... and we saw you loving on us too... But now... there is a beautiful dance starting. We know you, you know us. The fear is starting to disappear. Your personality BLOWS US AWAY. You are quite possibly the cutest jokester on the planet. You are SO SMART! You are talking so much! There are so many times that I can't believe you haven't ALWAYS been here. You are one of the three musketeers, and you are awesome! There are so many things you love... and you are SO HAPPY! We love every part of you. Happy forever family day, EHM!

Love mommy and daddy...

* This is the first post ever of our video. We hope you enjoy it. It is truly perfect as we understand more fully OUR spiritual adoption through the physical adoption of E. Through adoption, we ALL were given the chance to "feel like I"m born again." WE are the ones who have received the BIGGEST GIFT. We are the ones who have ultimately been saved... from our self-centered world... from a life full of ourselves and our own "wants" ... and have been given the ability to give... to love... and in turn receive love from one of the most amazing boys that walks this earth! I'm so grateful I'm chosen to be E's mommy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh Attachment!

This week I have the privildge of attending the TBRI (Trust Based Relationship Intervention) Training at TCU with Dr. Karyn Purvis and her collegues. Today was my second day, and it is amazing! Yesterday I was so exhausted I could barely hold my head up when I got home! I really can't put into words all that I am learning, and re-learning. What I can say is that I am so passionate about helping families walk the adoption journey well, and I am excited to see what comes out of this experience. If nothing else, it is without a doubt helping our family function at a better, more secure, and nurturing place. I find it a breath of fresh air to balance nurture and structure instead of getting caught up in the tug of war of power struggles and feeling like "I have to win!"

However, my most memorable part of today was when Dr. Purvis discussed Attachment. It is completely fascinating to learn more about how Adult Attachment impacts Child Attachment. I was able to have the AAI (Adult Attachment Interview) as part of our pre-training for this week. Dr. Purvis says that "We cannnot lead a child where we have not gone ourselves." The meaning behind that is that we as parents and providers can't lead children to healing if we are not healed. The AAI measures your Adult Attachment style, giving greater insight into how your attachment style as an adult impacts your childs attachment style.

Did you know that in adoptive families, there is an abnormally large amount of parents that are Avoidant or Entangled, and only a small % are actually secure? I find this very interesting. Dr. Purvis says "Your attachment style has nothing to do with being a good or loving person, but it has to do with if your heart is available to connect with your child in a way that brings healing." WOW. ok. So, we need to be mindful of this! I must admit that I was SWEATING IT on getting my results back, assured I was at best a real mess! ha! The results were better that expected, so I was pleasantly surprised! It must have been the years of internal therapy with myself! ha!

I wanted to share with you all 2 videos that we watched today that just moved me deeply. The impact we as parents have can NOT be undermined, or forgotten. It MATTERS if we are present with our children and emotionally available for them! It has an IMPACT on who they are if we do not respond or take their needs seriously. We watched one video called crybaby, that shows a child's needs being completely ignored and basically taunted. Many find it "cute" or "funny" or even "spoiled"... but ultimately, the child is acting this way because he NEEDS something, and whatever that is... it is being completely ignored. The second video I found completely moving me to tears... because I know that attachment dance with my children... the one that brings mutual respect, fun, joy, and obedience! That's the way God intended us to be! Enjoy the videos... and sorry this is so "clinical" but I have to process somewhere!

Coolest Dog in the World
- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The waiting and what's to come...

Well, we have been on the waiting list for over a week now and I'm starting to remember how much I hated it the first time. ha! Not really! We are just moving on with life... Just the 5 of us... waiting for that perfect timing when our phone rings and says "we want to talk to you about a little..." WOW! I remember it like it was yesterday for E... and I am SO DANG BLESSED to be here again so soon. My plan? not a chance. His plan? certainly. Ya'll only God through me and the Mr can raise these children in His love.

So we wait with excited, yet peaceful hearts, knowing that our day will come and it will be the one He chose for us. For the meantime, we are enjoying being our family of 5... the way things are today. I'm really trying not to get caught up in the future and just enjoying each and every day with my little 3 guys and doll right now. I don't want to miss one day!!

But, we've gotten some questions about our adoption that I thought I would try to answer the best I can.

1. How long will you have to wait?

We aren't sure. It could be weeks or months. Thus... we feel like we are waiting at #1 ALL THE TIME! AHHH... it could be anytime!

2. Why do you have to wait for a special needs child... aren't there plenty waiting?

We chose our agency based on their incredible ethical standards. We have NOT been looking on their waiting children's list because they know what we are open to and will notify us if there is a child that comes into care that matches our parameters. That may sound silly to you, but that is the way we have chosen to do it, unless God drops a child in our inbox... which has been done before (remember Dimples?)

Also, another wait is how the paper trail works in Ethiopia. Gladney will notify the government orphanages that they have a family open to XYZ, if Gladney doesn't have a child already in care that fits our parameters. At this time, then a child that was "waiting" in the government orphanage will be moved into the Gladney home. Before this happens, Gladney has it's own team of investigators and staff ensuring the paperwork and story of that child is accurate. After all the appropriate paperwork has been completed, they will transfer the child to Gladney. At this point, there is more paperwork that has to take place in country with Gladney staff BEFORE we EVER KNOW about the child! After the appropriate steps have been taken, then Gladneys in country staff will notify my case worker who will then call us! That's the deal... pickle!

3. "I'm worried about you adopting a child with special needs."

Don't be. We have spent the last 2 years praying about this and you have to trust God that He knows what He is doing! Don't worry about us, pray for us. Pray for our family. Pray for the transitions that are coming. Pray for our financial support. We would NEVER CHOOSE this road if we didn't know 100% we were called.

4. What kind of special needs?

We obviously haven't gotten the call, so we don't really know the entire extent of our child's medical needs. However, we can tell you what we are not ready for. We are not approved for any major neurological problems or long term care situations. We believe that in the future God may call us to that, but for now, we believe that the ages of our children limit our time and energy to take that on currently. We have found this lays to rest many people's fears who love us, but only know a little bit about our adoption journey currently. I appreciate people's concern, and desire to pray. We believe that we will be in a situation that will require dire need of medications and medical care, yet most of our life will be lived normal day to day. If you have more questions, you can ask us!

We hope this helps you understand the process we are in right now. I know it helped me to type it out! ha.