Friday, October 18, 2013

Bringing Deacon Home

This is a long blog post but please read the entire post to better understand our needs after we bring Deacon home. This information is important and most adoptive families have had to do exactly what we are doing in order to help inform our friends and families.

This information is not my own, but it comes from people that are a lot smarter than us and have more experience in dealing with adoptive families and their needs. So, please read this and if you have any questions please let us know. Please understand that we love you all and we are really excited to bring Deacon home and introduce him to all of our family and friends. Now, I don't want to make this post any longer than it is so without further ado.....

As we get ready to embark on the most exciting event in our lives, we are thinking a lot about the people around us and how much our lives are going to change. Family has always been important to us. We are so fortunate to have such loving, involved family and friends. We appreciate the support and excitement that you have all shown to us as we have made this journey. We're thrilled about bringing our new child home! We've done a lot of reading, research and asked a lot of other adoptive parents about this process and we feel prepared to help our baby become a well- adapted member of our family.

There are some things about adoptive parenting that are the same as parenting a biological child. There are also quite a few areas that we have learned are different. Through our adoption agency, the UAB International Adoption Clinic, books, other adoptive parents, adoption social workers, psychologists and more, we have learned that our baby needs a specific type of environment and parenting when he first comes home in order to feel safe and secure and to learn how to live successfully in our family.

While we know that every child is different, we also understand that there are many possible things that will impact our child's beliefs and behavior when he gets home. These include how much nurturing our child received, if there was abuse or neglect, the amount and quality of food received, illnesses, the quality of care and our child's unique temperament and personality. The result of these things can include behavioral issues, emotional disorders and a sense of grief and loss from being separated from the only home and caregivers our little one has ever known. Adoption is a traumatic and scary event for any age child whether they are newborn or 10 years old. They're being removed from all of their routines and familiar surroundings. Even babies will feel grief and sadness at an event like this.

In order to help our child feel safe and learn that we are his parents, we are creating the type of environment that will help promote security during this stressful time.
When our child gets home, at the recommendation of experienced adoption professionals, we need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy family member. Our child needs to learn that we're the parents. He needs to feel nurtured and safe. He will not be used to having parents to love and care for him.

Here are some things we will be doing for our child based on research and experience with other adopted children. 

- We'll be living a very quiet life with limited trips out and few visitors in for a little while. Social workers and psychologists tell us that when children are first adopted, they may be overwhelmed, scared, and nervous. By keeping our lives very boring at first, we'll be helping our child feel safe. This does NOT mean that we do not want visitors coming to see our little one for the first time. We will just have to limit it a little so it is not overwhelming. 

- We do not want family to stay away from us. We just can't pass our new baby around for everyone to hold a lot and we will have to be mindful of overloading with new things and people.

- We know you'll all want to hug, kiss and help spoil our new baby, but it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve his chances of attaching strongly to us. 

- Until we feel our child has attached and clearly knows we are his parents, we will need to feed, change and take care of him. I know that missing out on some diaper changes will disappoint many of you. Have no fear; there will be many more once he becomes comfortable at home.

- As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called "indiscriminate affection" and can mean that they haven't really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that our baby has attached to us if during his first months home he will let just anyone take him and hold him without searching for his mom or dad. 

- Please do not get upset if we do not allow you to hold Deacon. He needs to learn that we are mommy and daddy. 

- Attachment is a two- way street. We need to attach to him as much as he needs to attach to us. So these guidelines also help ensure that we grow to love him as his parents. There may be times that we are faking it until we make it. Or, to say it in a nicer way, parenting with our hands until we are parenting with our hearts. Be patient with us and know we want to do this no matter how hard it is. 

- Pray for us. Encourage us. Know that new adoptive parents can experience the same kinds of emotions as post partum depression. And we also aren't getting much sleep. So be nice. 

For sure it is going to be a weird and wonderful experience for us. We are so excited and can't wait to bring our baby home so you can all see him and get to know him. Things are just a little different when you are adopting a baby rather than having a biological child. He will be adapting to a lot of new things . . . new parents, new family, new home, new foods, new time zone (totally opposite of what he's used to). That's a lot to swallow at one time.

We appreciate your understanding in reading this. We've giving you all this letter so that you will understand how dedicated and committed we are to helping our new child adjust and adapt during this stressful time in his life. We feel confident that everything will smooth out quickly and we will be on a more normal schedule. 

Thank you!  We love you all!
Matt and Jacque 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What do you think about going to Ethiopia next week?

Wow! Things have happened very fast since our referral day. We got our referral call on July 9th and little did we know that exactly one month later we would be standing in an Ethiopian court room.
On July 31st, I got a call from our agency. I answered the phone and Lesley said, "Hey Jacque! What do you think about going to Ethiopia next week?" I just laughed. Lesley laughed with me but then stared encouraging me that it was totally doable and she explained that she would walk us through the process. I was still laughing. Lesley let me know that our court date was Friday, August 9th but we needed to be in Addis on the Wednesday before.
When I got off the phone I knew I had to call Matt. I called him and said "We have a court date!" We then called a travel agent and started looking at flights. Once the flights were booked I felt better about the whole thing. I knew we could get packed and show up at the airport. So, we had about 5 days to get things taken care of and get packed. We did it and we were so happy to get on the plane!

 Here we are on the plane getting ready to leave New Orleans. About 28 hours later we landed in Ethiopia. Our first day in Addis was overwhelming. We left the airport, went and checked in at our hotel and then went to the Transition Home to meet Deacon.
Meeting Deacon was a moment that I will never forget. He was so happy when they carried him into the room. I didn't really know what to expect from that moment. I was afraid that we was going to scream, but he didn't. He was so happy and smiley.

This was a special moment for us. As I was holding him all I could do in this moment was to thank God for this blessing. He is the one who orchestrated this entire process from beginning to end and He is the only one who deserves honor and glory for what He done in our lives. Now, although we have gone to court and we are officially his parents this process is still not over. We will have to make a second trip in order to bring Deacon home. We are now waiting for more paperwork to be finished and for the U.S. Embassy to get their part done. Until all of that is done we will wait to bring him home.
This will not be an easy time for us and it seems that the days are really long. Please be praying for us as we wait to hear when we can go back.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Referral Day

I'm sorry I have not done a good job of keeping the blog updated the last couple months. The truth is I was a little discouraged with how slow the process was moving. Our last post was in May when our number was 24. In June, our number moved two spots putting us at 22. The list had moved so slowly for the last couple months, I began to wonder if we would ever get a referral.

On July 1st we got a new number...15! We were so excited. I was so relieved to finally be out of the twenties. We were excited to tell our families our new number because we had jumped so much. 
This summer has allowed us to travel some to see family and friends.  July 7-11 we were able to attend a Regional Campus Ministers Meeting in Denton, TX. We have family that lives in the Dallas area and this meeting allowed us to spend some time with them.  This meeting also allowed us to see friends who serve in collegiate ministry who can relate to what we face on a daily basis. 

On the 8th, Matt was in meetings and I spent time with a friend of ours who has also been through the adoption process with our agency. I was able to ask her several questions about their process, talk through what we are experiencing, and catch up with each other in general. It was really good to spend that time with her.

On the 9th, Matt left for the meeting while I chose to stay with my family running errands and just hanging out. Around 4:30pm my voicemail made a ringing sound letting me know I had a voicemail but my phone never rang. I had a voicemail from Jen at our agency asking me to call her back and that she had exciting news. Immediately I could not breathe but I didn't want to get too excited. So I called her back and she said, "We have a referral for you!" I think I said "Are you serious?" and then I started crying and not the pretty I'm so happy cry, like I cried the ugly, I can't breathe cry. I had to take a moment and pull myself together. Jen and I got on conference call with our country coordinator, Lesley, and she gave me the details...a 5 month old, boy. When I got off the phone, all I could think about was getting to Matt or getting him to me. 

Matt was in meetings at the conference. I knew I needed to call him and get him to me. I knew that just asking him to leave the conference and come eat dinner with me would not work. I stared the conversation just asking him to come home and eat dinner with me and the family but he wanted to know why and if something was wrong, so I just blurted out, "WE GOT A REFERRAL!!" and then I instructed him to not drive like a maniac. While Matt was on his way, my family and I tried to think of several creative ways of how to tell Matt it was a boy. The only thing I could think of to do was to make a sign that said, "It's a boy!" I saw Matt pull into the driveway so I stepped outside and held the sign so when he ran up he saw it. We had a few moments to ourselves celebrating and crying. Then we went inside, celebrated with family, went through all the information together, and began making phone calls. 

We cannot explain the excitement we are experiencing and feeling. We would like to thank all of you for your constant encouragement and prayers.  We would ask that you continue to pray for our baby boy and us as we wait to hear from the Ethiopian government about a court date.  We will keep you posted on when we receive our first court date. God has been so good to us and only He could have orchestrated all the events to take place the way that they did! We thank God for bringing us a referral and we pray that he will continue to work out all the details of our adoption story.  

Thank you again!

Monday, May 6, 2013

May Update

May has started off with a bang! We got a new number on the first. We didn't really think that we were going to move at all this month, so we were surprised when we saw our new number. Here it is....

We are excited that we moved three spots this month! Be praying that children will continue to be placed with their forever families and that we will be matched with our child quickly.

We also found out that some of our paper work is getting ready to expire, so we have to do a home study update. Which required us doing paperwork, getting some blood work done, and having another home visit with our social worker. Thankfully we were able to get everything done quickly and easily.

May is a crazy month for us. So the addition of more items to my to do list almost sent me over the edge. But God has worked and allowed us to get things done quickly and with minimum stress.

Summer is just on the horizon for us and we are so excited! We are always sad to see students go, but we know that God has plans for each one of our students and we will get a whole new group of students in the fall. I (Jacque) will be graduating on the 18th from NOBTS. So, I'm trying to wrap up my last assignments and get them turned in. We are excited about the different things that we have coming up and the ways that God is moving in the adoption and in our lives.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April Update

We received our new number for April. The last few months have been a little slow with regards to referrals. So, everyone needs to pray that children will be matched with their forever families. We are getting closer, but sometimes it still feels so far away. So here is our new number......

We have had a lot going on in the last month and the next couple months will be no different. Ministry, school and work keep us both on our toes. We love doing college ministry but summer break is coming and it is nice to have a break every once in a while.
Also, I will also be graduating in May with a masters degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. So my time at school will be coming to an end. People ask me if I am excited to graduate and truthfully I am but I am also a little sad that the whole thing is coming to an end. I never in a million years thought I would like school as much as I have. Yes, I have my hard days at school when I don't want to go or I don't want to work on school work but over all I have loved my time at NOBTS. God has blessed me with the opportunity to go to school and He has blessed my time there.
Anyways, enough with all that. Please continue to pray for us in these next couple months as we are working hard to finish both our semesters in a manner that is glorifying to God. Please pray for us also as we are waiting to receive a referral for our child/children.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Late January Number!

We have a new number for the month of January! I'm sorry this information so late, but with recovering from Christmas, celebrating J's birthday, celebrating our 8th anniversary, and taking a class during the Christmas break 2013 has started at full speed. So, I apologize for just now getting our new number out. Here it is.......

Our New Year has started out great and we are excited to see what God has in store for us in 2013! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas 2012

We had a wonderful Christmas break! It was so great to spend time with our families and celebrate the birth of Jesus. I love Christmas time! Christmas to me is such a reminder of the gift Jesus gave us by coming to earth as a baby in order to give us the gift of salvation. I feel like I worship so much more deeply during Christmas because of the overflow of my love and gratitude for God sending Jesus to offer mankind salvation. Don't hear me wrong, I am grateful throughout the entire year for the gift God gave us, but Christmas is just a reminder to take time and really focus on God's gift to us, His son Jesus.   

Matt and I traveled to Arkansas to spend time with our families and then we went to Oklahoma to spend time with Jacque's extended family. The end of our Christmas break became eventful when most of us came down with stomach virus. The stomach virus worked it's way around the family and I think there were only three that were spared. Even though we passed around a stomach virus, I would not trade the time we got to spend with our families! 

Here is a picture of all the kids in their Christmas eve pajamas! They are so cute!