Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten - Tips on Adoption and School

Well, today was the last time I'll experience the "first day of kindergarten." Of course David says he doesn't think we're "finished adding to our family." But that's another story for another day!
We've always approached Caroline's adoption in a very open way. I honestly think her first words were "alo" (hybrid of hello and hola), Mommy, Daddy, and I'm adopted. We're always open to talking about her birthmom, her first months in Guatemala and how she feels about being adopted. Sometimes she brings it up - sometimes we do.

Leading up to the first day of kindergarten I thought it might be good to discuss some things she might be faced with now that she's a "big girl." We were at a local water park and she and I were floating in the lazy river. This is how the conversation went:

Mommy: "What are you going to say when someone asks 'Is that your Mom?'"

Caroline: "I'm going to say 'yes'."

Mommy: "What if they say, 'But you have brown skin and your Mom's skin is white?"

Caroline: "I'll say, 'That's how God made us.'"

Mommy: "What are you going to say if someone asks if you're adopted?"

Caroline: "Of course I'm going to say 'yes.'"

Mommy: "What does it mean to be adopted?"

Caroline: "It means that you have a family that loves you very, very much!"

Pretty simple, huh? I realize that it might not always be that simple. I guess my goal is to keep the lines of communication open and give her opportunities to share how she feels about being adopted. I'm glad it's "simple" right now. These first 5 years of her life I've been able to "protect" her somewhat from comments. I've usually been there to change the subject when someone asks a nosey question like "Your husband must be Hispanic" or "Is she mixed?" But starting today I won't be there and she'll have to deal with the questions and comments on her own.

In light of this, I thought I'd give some links to articles that might be helpful. Although it's not a specifically Christian publication - Adoptive Families Magazine has some great tips for adoptive families.

If you have tips on how to handle questions - or ways that you've dealt with adoption and school, please share them. Others can learn from you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Katy comes home!

Many of you remember our friends John & Stephanie who tried for 3 years to get their daughter Katherine home from Guatemala. It was a LONG process. Every morning on the way to school the kids and I pray for children who are "stuck" in the adoption process. TWO school years went by and we were still praying for Katherine. One day Cameron asked, "Mom - is God EVER going to bring Katherine home?" I'm sure John & Stephanie felt the same way at times. It was hard. But they were faithful and believed that God had made Katherine their daughter. He would bring her home in His timing.

In January when adoptions began to close in Guatemala we asked for your help. The concern was that the Guatemalan government would not have a "grandfather clause" for those children who were already referred to families and in the adoption process. Many of you responded and contacted your congressmen. Katherine was one of those kids....."stuck." God honored your efforts and Katy came home several months ago.

She's doing amazingly well! It's been hard. I think John & Stephanie would tell you that adopting an older toddler can be difficult. I admire them because during the long wait they read about attaching/bonding, attended workshops, talked with other adoptive parents and most of all, prayed. When Katy came home - they were equipped. Because of that she is adjusting and thriving!

Many of you are in the "waiting" stage and are discouraged. My heart goes out to you. I encourage you to seek God during this time. His timing is confusing to us at times, but it's always perfect. John & Stephanie would say that it's worth the wait!

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret - it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land."
Psalm 37: 7-9