Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

Pat and I are working on completing some curriculum called "Eyes Wide Open" that our adoption agency requires for the home study. It is a book that helps prepare parents for international adoption. There are some things and questions that aren't applicable to our adoption, but for the most part, it has opened my eyes to some of the things that our son will experience in his transition from Liberia to home. I find myself listening to noises around the house thinking, "Will that be a strange sound for him?" The washing machine, the military jets flying overhead, the microwave timer, the doorbell. Right now the radio is on and the girls are playing a toy that has Cinderella's voice saying over and over again, "What a terrific gown! It will be just perfect for the ball!" I consider our home pretty quiet and peaceful, but I wonder how overstimulating it will be and how different the sights and sounds and smells will be to our new son when he first comes home.

Pat downloaded some Liberian music from the Internet and a Liberian cookbook. We plan on trying our hand at some traditional Liberian cooking. We just want to get a feel for what life is like for our son as much as possible before he comes home.

It is amazing to me to think about how scary the transition will be for him. I'm not sure what his age will be, but in my mind I imagine him to be between 1 1/2 - three years old. I am reading a book called "After the Dream Comes True" by Michelle Gardner. Last night this is what I read:

Adopting a child between eighteen and thirty-six months of age may be the most challenging of all adoptions. These little ones have hopefully bonded with their caregivers, whether that is a foster mother, birth mother, or orphanage worker, and feel a tremendous loss when they leave their familiar environment.
In addition, they are too young to understand why they are leaving. When children are four or older someone can explain to them that they are going to have a new family. The child won't understand all that is involved, but at least can participate in good-byes. To a toddler, the whole experience is usually very overwhelming and he may seem very sad for some time.

Please pray that our son will heal from these losses and that we will be able to help him through the scary transition.

Last night, our good friend, Daiquiri, came over to deliver the reference letter she had written for our dossier. The letter she had written was so full of love for us and our family. I was overcome with gratitude for the family and friends that God has blessed us with. It reminded me of one of the questions on the "Eyes Wide Open" curriculum that I had just answered. It asked "what benefits will your child receive by joining your family?" I wrote a lot of answers like love, stability, exposure to the Bible and the truth of God's love for him, having his physical needs met, and becoming a part of a forever family and being our son and enjoying all of the benefits that entails. One answer that really stood out to me, though, was when I wrote "an amazing extended family" and "a strong support system of incredible friends." I was reminded once again of how blessed we are by relationships. Our family and friends truly are "amazing" and "incredible" and I'm so thankful that our son will benefit from these wonderful people that God has brought into our lives.

Current Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for our home visit on Friday afternoon. This will be the final step of our home study. Our case worker will be here for about three hours interviewing us and seeing our home. Please pray that the home study process will be complete without a hitch. I pray that we will have good communication and that she will see how much we genuinely love our son and want to be good parents to him.
2. Pray that we will be able to get our dossier put together quickly so it can be mailed as soon as our home study is done.
3. Pray for our son. We don't know his name, but God does. The bible says that He knows the number of hairs on our son's head and knows him by name. Please pray that he will be safe and that his needs will be met.

Thank you!

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