Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How I Managed to Fail at Adoption 101.

{a caveat to this post}

Adoption 101:
"Make sure your child knows that he is here to stay forever."

How I screwed that up
the answer is


I don't know.

I don't really know what I would have done differently.
They were happy.
They had settled in.
They showed no behaviors expressing insecurity.

There were no signs.
There were no signals.
There was no packing of the backpacks and standing by the door.

So the knowledge that they had been feeling that way
it kinda made my head spin
and made my jaw drop
and my heart crumble.

So here I sit.
Reflecting on that conversation
and wondering

I got nuthin.

I guess we could have had some Mandarin speakers over sooner
but would that honestly have made a difference had we done that right away?
Would they have really grasped any concept of a family or permanency at that point?
Or would they still be reeling from having their world turned upside down
and the news that they were here to stay may not have even been all that welcoming at that point
......if we are being honest. 
Which we are.

Part of me thinks it took us showing them our love, our stability, our permanency over the last nearly 3 months.
Kinda like we aim to teach our kids not to just talk the talk
but to

We were walking the walk.
We were loving them.
We were serving them.
We were caring for them,.
We were laughing and crying with them.


We showed them what a family was like.
Prior to that,
prior to us,
let me tell ya
they had no idea what that looked like.

So if indeed someone had shown up at our doorstep those first few days and said,
"Hey guess what?! You are here to stay! Yippee! Congrats!"
would they really have truly received that?

I don't know.
Part of me is starting to think this timing was impeccable.
We showed them,
then we told them.

And though that certainly wasn't a conscious decision,
I'm kinda thinkin that it worked for us.

So instead of sitting here feeling empty-handed, inept and incapable of expressing everything to them
I will instead, let Him fill in those gaps and equip us with everything we need
exactly at the moment we need it.
Cuz that's life.
that's love.

That is family.

PS This concludes the series Deep Thoughts by Sonia. 
Come on back tomorrow for a post of levity involving baseball, blood, 8 stitches and a chain link fence. 
Ya know. 
If you like that kinda thing.


  1. and that is a lot of boys!!! Great picture!!! Also, you are awesome!

  2. Love your post and so excited we will be at the same location next base. Love your raw honesty, transparency, vulnerability and humor!

  3. God has the most perfect timing and reasons for every single thing and happening in our lives. We may not know the reasons right now...doesn't matter. We just love Him and trust.

  4. i don't think you failed at all. if you'r 6 or 7 and have never known what a family is and what forever is- why/how would you ever bleieve/know that is what you were getting. what a difficult concept to grasp if you've never had it-- family, and what that all means. we just take that for granted because it's what we know- i honestly do wonder what those who can't verbalize feel/think (i.e-those under 3)

  5. God's timing is perfect (I've got to believe that, right?!?)! They discovered that they're staying with you once they WANTED to stay with you. :) How amazing is that! Not failure, just God's timing. They had to have an inkling of what family is before they could know that they were going to always be a part of one.

    Big hugs and prayers. Especially on the upcoming move.

  6. You are amazing and I love what God is doing with you and your family.

    I really want to read tomorrow's post now. Cause, well, I do like that sort of thing. :)

  7. I that they have truly spent 3 months being loved by your whole family and gotten to feel how wonderful that is...the news that they are now a part of that forever was probably the best news of their lives. I bet you they will look back on that "Moment of Knowing" as a huge benchmark moment in their lives. YOu are right...earlier the news might have just added to their it is an incredible gift!

  8. Girl....this is NOT failure!! It is success!! They have ONLY been home for 3 months and you bring someone in who can communicate things with them the way they can understand. You are amazing! Shame on that orphanage for not helping them to understand what was happening. However, how can they really understand until they are living was not anything they could relate to before now. Just like telling Wesleigh she's going to have a sister...she has no idea what that means. She will have to learn that by living through it.

    Can't wait to hear about the stitches and fences...I'm that kind of girl :)

  9. You SO did not fail! All In His perfect timing...remember that.

    And I will definitely be back tomorrow because I do like that sort of thing. :-)

  10. I agree with the others that you did it exactly right. While the way you found out was not ideal adjustment and attachment are not always ideal. In the midst of the "normal" day to day you did just that...gave them a new normal. One that fostered attachment and adjustment within them. You nailed it!

  11. We are home 7 months and I think my 11 y.o. still thinks...maybe....possibly ....he will need to go back...he bravely threatens to...every now and then.

  12. I'm with you.
    I think you had to SHOW it and then TELL it.

    I also think you write just as good as The Pioneer Woman!
    And she's awesome.
    : )

  13. I can think of a lot of ways to describe you and failure would not even enter my mind. You did nothing even close to failure!! One look at your pictures and one minute to read any of your posts, except maybe the ball one :), shows an intense and Christ-like love for these two youngest sons. I think you are exceeding high above what would be expected and your sons, all of them, are thriving. You have set a high example--and I am so proud to call you my friend.

  14. It takes telling a child again, and again, and again that they are here forever! Our son (adopted at age 6) would ask me that question for the first 2 years he was home--he just couldn't believe it was really true! It was if he couldn't get his hopes up. And for the longest time he feared he would somehow go back--like be stolen back by someone in Vietnam. Now, 3 1/2 years and one visit to Vietnam later, he knows he is REALLY here to stay! It's awesome! Love following your blog--we just returned from China with #9 and as a mother of 6 boys, I love all the boy stuff here :-)

  15. Loved this post too. Sometimes it's a whole lot harder to show than it is to tell!

  16. fond your blog form We Are Grafted in , and I so appreciated it. I have NOt had the Mandarin speakers over yet, and my adopted in November 2010 4 year old may very well be thinking the very same things! I will have to make sure I have a conversation about that with him. I'm actually unsure if he would understand Mandarin anymore (I assume he would), or respond to someone speaking Mandarin to him (I don't think he would). However, I think he is fluent enough in English now that he could understand this conversation. Thanks for sharing to give me a heads-up on what COULD be going on in my little guy's mind!