When pregnant wayyyyy back in 2002 with #1 little baby Sparks, I recall clinging to a wonderfully thick book called “What to Expect When Expecting.”
You may also recollect this wonderful handbook full of explanations to ease the worries of any newly expectant mother. It also made me say whaattt!? on a few crazy, wild changes my body would endure. NOBODY ever told me those nitty-gritty details when I was dreaming up names before I was pregnant!! Anyway, some paths should be walked one blind, faith-filled step at a time! 🙂 And like my wonderful mother in law (sweet mom) would say “I think mother’s must forget how painful birth is, because they usually have more children!” Being pregnant was a new and frightful feeling at first, but it most certainly helped to have other moms who had birthed sweet babies reassure me this has been done for a longgggg time and it would be ok.
With adoption things are a tad bit different, but God has lovingly sent WONDERFUL, experienced families to assist us with helpful advice. I’m sure each of them may also have thought It would’ve been nice to have a step-by-step book predicting all that would be to come….but that just isn’t realistic. I would love to know how our daughter will react to us on Gotcha Day, how attachment works exactly, what her physical needs will entail, her fears, what foods she may like/despise, and how we should precisely be ready to plan for this “birthing process” of Elyana into our family.
But, God has been patiently teaching us, with ALL the unknows….to trust Him. And, though no two adoptions are completely alike, I am so grateful there are other moms/families out there who have shared their hearts, and practical advice about adoption. I desire realistic expectations of adoption, not a flowery view that she will just jump into our arms and all will be forever happily ever after. I know there will be wonderful days that bring so much joy that we cry thankfully, but I want to honestly prepare for the meltdowns and grieving she may endure as well. We certainly pray for, and expect God to help her to adjust, while giving us wisdom on how to help her.
With all the waiting we’ve been doing lately, it’s given us time to read and better prepare. God knows what to do with all the time and He is mercifully helping us to prepare even more mentally and physically. With His wisdom, we will have the ability to love her just as we should, giving her just what she needs, while allowing her to just be her.
I wanted to share some great info for any of you out there who are interested in reading for yourself or possibly for a family member who may be adopting. There are a lot of links….and you may not be interested in all of them, or any at all. But, I came across this treasure of information through one of my favorite blogs…..ashleyannphotography, and was SO grateful for all the time she spent on compiling useful, meaningful material. She posted the following, before they left for China to pick up their sweet little girl:
“I do want to point out that most of these posts are not ones that tell the ‘rosy, storybook’ stories of adoption. They are honest, real posts about the hard realities that some, if not many, adoptive families and children face during the early days. There are a million beautiful posts out there regarding the joy of adoption. I hope to share a million of my own beautiful stories with you one day! But, I know parenting has both the joy and the struggle…the struggle is often what makes the beauty shine even brighter. So, I am thankful for those that shared the struggle and the beauty of adoption…
And now onto some links…
This is a series by Love Without Boundaries that we have found invaluable as we prepare for the coming days, weeks and longer:
- Realistic Expectations: Cleanliness
- Realistic Expectations: Potty Training
- Realistic Expectations: Clothing
- Realistic Expectations: Child Preparation
- Realistic Expectations: Food Issues
- Realistic Expectations: Attachment
- Realistic Expectations: Parasites
- Realistic Expectations: Post Adoption Struggles
For families currently in the adoption process:
- I am the abductor ~ a post on Ordinary Miracles and the Crazy 8 from the possible viewpoint of a child in the first days of an adoption
- Grief ~ another post from Ordinary Miracles and the Crazy 8 the grief her daughter faced in the early days (be sure to read current posts to see how her daughter is now)
- Depression, lovely clefts and the ultimate love ~ my friend Angie’s vulnerable account of facing post-adoption depression
- The Ugly Beautiful Truth ~ answering your child’s hard questions by Stefanie of Ni Hao Ya’ll
- Irises for Baby L: thoughts from his foster mom ~ this is an article by my friend Suzanne of Love Without Boundaries. She writes from the perspective of a domestic foster mom, but I think it would be a great read for any adoptive parent or foster parent
- And my friend Emily – who just has lots of honest posts related to the bonding and attachment process
If you have a friend or family member adopting:
- Family & Friends “Dos and Don’ts” ~ tips for understanding the transition
- After the Airport ~ Jen Hatmaker’s popular post regarding life after the big airport moment when a family arrives home
Well, those are a lot of hard to read posts. Some might call them ‘negative’, but I owe a debt of gratitude to the women who vulnerably shared. Their willingness to be honest allows me to prepare for what could be ahead. Their honesty means I can be a better mom because of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from amazing women. To them, I say “thank you.” http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2012/08/08/guess-who-is-getting-on-a-jet-plane-in-2-weeks/
Although every link may not apply to Elyana, and her specific needs, Ashley Ann’s blog has been a great way for us to, in some small way, know what to expect when expecting an almost 2yr old, thousands of miles a way.
We are also SOOOOO very grateful for all the parent’s out there, willing to share their hearts, so that other parent’s, and families can be better prepared.
The communication and new-found friendship with the Hall family in Louisianna (who adopted their Sarah Jane from the same orphanage as Elyana) has been such a remarkable blessing. John has spoken with Bud about technical/Dad details, and June has been so kind (even in this adjustment period to call and email me answers to questions). They recently posted this great welcome home post. It’s another great window into a family’s world of post adoption adjustments. http://budandjune.blogspot.com/2013_11_01_archive.html
Thank you, supportive, loving family.
Thank you, old and new friends.
And most importantly…..
Thank you, God for your amazing love and this sweet girl you’ve allowed to bless our lives already, Elyana.
~It wont be long now!