Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Monday, August 29, 2011

rafting fun

River rafting in Durango was probably the best part of our trip together this summer. Enjoy the pictures!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our continued journey

We returned Friday night from taking our child to the Ranch for Kids. We are more hopeful than ever, after meeting the staff there. Everything our child has displayed, they have seen (I'm sure they've also seen a whole lot more). They gave us answers when we struggled. They gave smiles, when we really needed them. They gave encouragement. We met other kids who have been there for awhile and they are beautiful much healing takes place at the Ranch..The family who runs the Ranch is living their calling, loving on kids from hard places, in a meaningful way. No hospital or institutional setting could give our child what is needed, but we believe, with God's help, the Ranch can.

School started yesterday here..we are blessed. One of our good friends is helping teach all of our curly headed kiddos and she is such a gift. I watched yesterday, as she explained a math lesson and she did it with such patience- the kids learned so much and I got to focus on 8th grade work.

People have asked how to pray- if you could continue to pray for our child, who is away right now. Pray that the work that needs to get done will get done quickly and healing start soon. Please continue to pray for everyone here, to really live what we believe and walk in forgiveness. Forgiveness has started as we remember each day that our child's actions were the result of early life experiences. If you really want to help...adopt a child, rescue other kids from experiencing what our child did and pray for the staff at the Ranch, who do the hard work of helping those kids affected by early life trauma.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our journey of hope and healing

We haven't blogged much about our 3 week RV adventure and our time at home since. I started this blog to be an encouragement for other families to adopt, so when we have a tough story to share, we want to be mindful of how it is shared, so as to still encourage families to bring children into their homes. We still wholeheartedly believe that children need homes and our family is meant to advocate for the fatherless. With that being said, we felt it is time to share a bit of our journey these past months. Please pray before you continue to read, so you can truly hear what we are saying. Also, know that while we choose to share this journey on our blog, we are going to try and protect our child's identity, by referring to the child as it. We do realize this sounds impersonal, but it also serves as a protection.

One of our newly adopted children is struggling. If you are a reader of this blog, you know the child has been struggling for months, struggling to accept our love (particularly my love), our boundaries and our family. This struggle became so very apparent on our trip. While we watched everyone else bond and attach even more, we watched this child pull away and become more volatile the more time we spent together. This emotional volatility isn't new, but became almost unbearable in such close quarters. Spending three weeks in tight quarters is an excellent tool for increasing attachment for children who can attach. We have seen that with more hugs, smiles and laughter from one of our children. However, I think it's like pulling out toenails for those who struggle with attachment issues. It's just like our homeschool experience with our adopted children. For those who can attach, it has been the best choice. But for the child who has attachment disorders, it is almost painful to have to be around Mom all day, and in a variety of different roles. When our child feels like it has disappointed me with schoolwork or a behavior, the sadness becomes overwhelming and turns to mad and the mad to rage. The more the mad comes out, the more everyone else pulls away, thus creating a vicious cycle.

This child's story is completely different than the story of the other three siblings. It is this very difference that we're seeing played out in our home on a regular basis. It's the same reaction that we know many, many other adoptive families live with on a regular basis. It's the same reaction we were warned against over a year ago, when we started this process. We knew the cost then and we know the cost know and our hearts haven't changed one bit. This child is worth the cost. We honestly wouldn't change our decision a year ago.

However, we have come to a point of knowing that our love is not enough for our child. This child needs more help than we can offer here, even with excellent counselors and supporting environment. This child needs more than the medications we've already tried. At the end of the week, we will drive to a place of healing, a place of hope, The Ranch for Kids in Montana, which specializes in kids who have experienced the kind of trauma our child has, both prior to and once institutionalized in an orphanage. This is the hardest decision we have ever made, as a family, but we also have great peace about it and are thankful for so many reasons:

1. We are thankful that our child is here and not back in Ethiopia, where beatings would be given for these same behaviors.

2. We are thankful that we can afford the help our child needs. Last year, at this time, we had no extra money, but God has blessed our business in such a way that we really can pursue the very best help for our child and not worry about the finances.

3. We are thankful that for everyday our child has been in our home we have said, "God loves you. Your Mommy and Daddy love you."

4. We are thankful for our other 8 kids, who are completely FAMILY, loving living their lives together. We are amazed at how much they all enjoy each other and how they truly do love each other.

5. We are thankful for our support system here (and through my sister's family), who without judgement, have walked through this with us and still found so many ways to encourage our child and us. B and G and boys, we really appreciate you.

6. We are thankful for the adoption community we are a part of, where we can email a prayer request and KNOW it will be prayed for by many, many families.

7. We are thankful for a family that demonstrates grace and forgiveness.

8. We are thankful for the lessons we have all learned this past year.

Finally, we are hopeful. We are hopeful that the Ranch will be our child's place of healing. We are hopeful that we can be reunited quickly and completely.

We would appreciate your prayers as we navigate this new journey. We would especially appreciate your prayers for our child. While you pray for our child, please also pray for those little ones out there, who are in circumstances that cause Reactive Attachment Disorder.. I truly believe it is something that makes our Father weep.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ethiopia bound- at least some of us!

In November, Mike, Micah, Kael, Janika and Elli will be traveling with Childrens Hopechest to Ethiopia to work with children at two care-points, Trees-of Glory and Kind Hearts. While at Kind Hearts, they will get to meet the little boy we have sponsored for a year and a half. They are SOO very excited to be able to make this trip and travel with such a neat group.

Janika and Elli are hoping to do a little music time with the kids, but we don't have a travel guitar. If anyone has one and would let them use it for the trip, we would really appreciate it. Also, we will be collecting school supplies for them to take to the children there. So, if you're in Williston or Sheridan and would like to donate, please contact us and let us know.

This trip is the first of many our family hopes to take. It is so exciting that Micah feels ready to go back to Ethiopia and serve. He is such an awesome young man, who is great with kids. We are proud of him and his desire to give back. God has truly blessed us with teenagers who love to love on others. We are thankful.