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good reads

Before jumping in with both feet, we did a LOT of research and reading on adoption. We wanted to be as head sure as we were heart sure, making as much of an informed decision as one can with all the unknowns that this journey naturally brings. I have been like a sponge, wanting to soak-up  anything and everything I can lay my eyes on about international adoption!  We definitely went in with eyes wide open. :) And as a soon-to-be adoptive parent (and first-time momma), I am overjoyed and scared spitless all wrapped up in one! Seriously. I know motherhood will be the biggest blessing in my life and, yet, the hardest thing I will ever do. I want to be prepared as much as I realistically can when it comes to the unique challenges adoption brings, attachment parenting, expectations, being a transracial family, etc. I want to be learned. So I’ve been doing my homework. :) I do realize there are things you just learn as you go, and those that you learn with experience (trial and error). And I suspect that I am not alone. So I thought I’d share with you my recommendations and current bookshelf (all descriptions are directly quoted from amazon.com).

I’VE READ & RECOMMEND:

Adopted For Life by Russell D. Moore

A stirring call to Christian families and churches to be a people who care for orphans, not just in word, but in deed.

Weaving A Family by Barbara Katz Rothman

Weaving together the sociological, the historical, and the personal, Barbara Katz Rothman looks at the contemporary American family through the lens of race, race through the lens of adoption, and all-race, family, and adoption-within the context of the changing meanings of motherhood.

The Strength of Mercy by Jan Beazely

In a world where suffering and injustice abound, we yearn for evidence that God has not forgotten His children, that He knows each one by name. We, long, too, to know that God guides and directs our lives, that He desires to use each of us in His plan to bring light to the nations. This is the life-changing message of The Strength of Mercy.

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft  by Hopkins-Best

“Toddler Adoption” looks at the unique joys and challenges of adopting and parenting a toddler. When a child aged is adopted between the ages of 12 to 36 months, they often show signs of cognitive and emotional immaturity, which can cause behavioral and relational issues. This book offers support and practical tools to help parents prepare for and support the toddler’s transition between the familiar environment of their biological parent’s home or foster home to a new and unfamiliar one, and considers the issues that arise at different developmental stages. It highlights the challenges that parents are likely to encounter, but also gives positive guidance on how to overcome them. Written by a specialist in children’s development who is also an adoptive parent herself, this fully revised and updated edition of the go-to-source on adopting toddlers is essential reading for both parents and professionals working with adoptive families.

I’M CURRENTLY READING:

The Connected Child by Karen Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion.

Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you:

  • Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child
  • Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders
  • Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened

I’m Chocolate You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black & Biracial Children in A Race-Conscious World by Marguerite Wright

Based on Marguerite A. Wright’s research and clinical experience, I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla teaches us that the color-blindness of early childhood can, and must, be taken advantage of in order to guide the positive development of a child’s self-esteem.  With wisdom and compassion, Wright spells out how to educate black and biracial children about race, while preserving their innate resilience and optimism–the birthright of all children.

Black Baby, White Hands: A View From the Crib by Jaiya John

It is only three months following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nation is burning. Black and White America are locked in the tense grip of massive change. Into this inferno steps an unsuspecting young White couple. Neither significantly knew even a single African American person while growing up. Now, a child will change all of that forever. In this fateful moment, a Black baby becomes perhaps the first in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a White family. Here is a brazenly honest glimpse into the mind and heart of that child, a true story for the ages. Jaiya John has opened the floodgates on his own childhood. Black Baby White Hands, a waterfall of jazz splashing over the rocks of pain, love and the honoring of family. Magically, this book finds a way to sing as it cries, and to exude compassion even as it dispels well-entrenched myths. This classic is sure to find itself well worn, stained by tears, and brushed by laughter in the lap of parents, adolescents, educators, students and professionals. Here comes the rain and the sunshine, all at once.

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For all you adoptive mommas, what are you reading? What adoption literature/resources do you recommend?

I’d love to hear from you!

her heart

since day one of our adoption journey, we have prayed many a prayer for our Uga-babe. these prayers were mainly for her protection and health as we didn’t know her living situation or her circumstances. and although, these were important, i found myself most burdened to pray for her heart. we didn’t know what the circumstances were going to be that would collide our two worlds, join our stories, and make us family.

but what we did know was that hurt and grief were inevitable. she was going to, or already had, experienced great loss in order to make her eligible for international adoption. and this pained me deeply. i am so concerned with her little tender heart. every fiber in my being wants to protect her from the brokenness of this world. from the evil. from the hurt. all nineteen months of her has already been exposed to this at some level. oh, be still my heart!

and yet, can i tell you how gracious God is? and the peace that he has given me! i know that it could be so different (i tend to be a little bit of a worrier). and she’s not institutionalized in an orphanage, but with a foster couple. oh how gracious is He! i can honestly tell you i have not worried about her throughout this whole journey. i can’t take any credit for that, its only by the grace and portion that He has given me. he has allowed me to find rest and peace in his sovereignty. i  cling tightly to the promise that it is He that holds her. she belongs to him first. he heard her first cry when she entered this big world. he intimately knows her heart.

although the wait is long… so very long… it will happen at just the right time; in her life, and in ours. although i know we have already missed so much of her little life, he knows (and wills) the exact age she will be when she becomes an Alexander. oh, how i long to see her grow! and yet it will not happen a moment too soon or a moment too late. please gently remind me of this when i grow weary.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3

so i do the only thing this momma can do: i continue to pray. earnestly. and since the day we learned of our daughter, my prayers have been even more specific. as she grows and develops, so is her heart and her character. they say by age 2, a child has developed their whole view/sense of the world: whether its loving and safe, or scary and insecure, etc. we are not there to protect her, to show her our love; to influence her heart or help build, and model, character.

so i have most recently been praying the fruits of the Spirit over her heart. daily. that even now, she is building character after Him:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control

(Galations 5:22)

185280972139471662_t1YU2iyK_bi just love the lyrics of a song i recently heard:

I’ve loved you from the start. Believe me when I say, its not about the scars. Its all about your heart.

So true, baby girl, so true.

community

i’ve been thinking a lot lately of what i want this next year to look like… more specifically how i want to invest my time. that is, in addition to more intentional and purposeful times with the Lord and with my husband (two relationships in my life that can ALWAYS grow better and deeper).

as i ponder this, the word COMMUNITY keeps coming to mind and heart.

our years in africa taught us both many things… oh so many. and among those, a BIG one, is community…both on and off the ship. the ship had its own unique community. it naturally evolved. the moment i stepped out of the cabin there were people. community just happens when you live, work, and eat with 300+ people. its life, and you learn and roll with it. :)

the other community was the kind-of community i observed as soon as i walked down the gangway and stepped off the ship. africa does community very well. they just do. its survival. and a way of life. in this community you share your meal with your neighbor, you help build a friend’s thatched home, you give your blood to save a dying family member, you help raise your brother’s children. your village is your family. you simply give and take. its all in the relationship. and that’s how i want to live. and the kind-of friend i want to be. thank you, benin/togo/sierra leone, for giving me a glimpse into community living.

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i feel the Lord challenging me to reach out to our neighbors. more than just a ‘hello’ or chat here and there. to be a brighter light to those i work with. i want to invest even more in my friends, and in my family. i want to listen more. i want to love my husband better. and commune with Him. daily.

for i believe God created us to be in community. he created us as relational beings. to walk life together. in the laughter and in the tears. in the beautiful and in the messy.

so this year, i strive for community. right now, i’m not quite sure what it looks like exactly. but i’m open, and excited to see what’s in store for 2013!

top 12 of 2012

Happy New Year!!!

The year 2012 was a unique year for us… going into the new year we were still adjusting back to life in the states and creating our “normal” again with new jobs and still seeking contentment and purpose with where the Lord had brought us, which was back home for now. The year also brought us full swing into the greatest adventure of our lives!! We had just finished our home study in December of 2011. We were finally walking the journey towards what the Lord had impressed upon our hearts since 2009… growing our family first through adoption! It has also been a year of spiritual growth, as I have never prayed for someone so deeply and earnestly.

12. January

Went snowshoeing for the first time!! And LOVED it :) It was our first time in the snow in over 2 years!!

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11. February

We enjoyed it so much the first time, we snowshoed again in February at Trillium Lake.

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We also got our home study finalized and authenticated by the state this month.

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10. March

I flew to Denver and spent five days with my very best friend, my Twin. It was then that I shared with her our heart for adoption. She had to be the first. :)

IMG_60239. April

We found out only two weeks from submittal that we were approved by USCIS!! We were ecstatic to say the least. :) Cuz this meant we were placed on the wait list!

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8. May

We finally shared with family our big news!!

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And then went “public.” :)

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7. June

We went camping at Wallowa Lake in eastern Oregon

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And celebrated one month on the wait list! We began praying specific Scripture over our Uga-babe(s).

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6. July

Went camping again at our favorite spot- Timothy Lake. :) We hiked the 13 miles around the lake in 4 hours!

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5. August

My big sis came to visit from California AND my twin sis! All three sisters together in a long time! We floated the Sandy river on inner-tubes with adult beverages. :)

I still don’t have the pictures yet. But, I’m telling you it was a GOOD time!

We also spent a day at the beach this month. We love the beach and make a point to go to the coast at least once every summer. Oh, and this outing usually includes clam chowder at Mos. :)

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4. September

We celebrated 8 years of marriage in China (at the Great Wall) and Korea with our brother and sister-in-law!!

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3. October

Enjoyed Fall and its festivities, including our very favorite- Sauvie Island’s pumpkin patch and corn maze.

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2. November

On November 2nd we found out that our Uga-babe is a GIRL!! We have a DAUGHTER who is waiting for us in Uganda!! Yep, no longer on the wait list. :)

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Our hearts were overflowing this Thanksgiving!!

1. December

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!!

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