We had a visit from a wonderful friend of one of our Journey Moms. Brenda lives in East Asia with her husband and family. She spends her time mostly homeschooling her children and visiting orphanages alongside her husband when she has opportunity. They have 4 biological children and 3 adopted children from Asia. She shared how at one point in her life, she said she would never adopt.
Well, God has taken her down another road. She began by having an opportunity to foster a child who has created a special bond between herself and one of our Journey Moms, Terri. This is extra special. This child, Sam, was fostered by Brenda for a year and one-half before adopted by Terri. They shared about this bond during our time together last Monday evening, 7/8/2013. Brenda stated how difficult the waiting was when she did not know who was going to adopt him and she kept getting different referrals and each one would fall through, etc. She kept praying for a Christian family for Sam and was so blessed and amazed by God when she met Terri and Phil. Now anyone that knows Terri and her family knows how much they love the Lord and seek to do His will, love Him, honor Him, etc. It was a true blessing Terri and Phil were matched with Sam!
Brenda was given pictures beforehand of Terri’s family to prepare Sam. Terri said it was so neat to see the look on Sam’s face when Terri and Phil were actually there in person! She said his eyes got so big with wonder and amazement as he sat on Brenda’s hip at their first meeting. They stayed in country a couple weeks each time to visit and complete paperwork. Then during the second trip it was transition time. Terri and Brenda said they discussed who would ‘be mom’ for each event and meeting they had together. Brenda started out as mom of course since Sam was used to her and then slowly Terri took more responsibility of Sam over the next few days and weeks. Terri said when it was time to leave, Sam did not cry out or have much grief at all until about 5 days later. During that time he seemed to be thinking about his foster siblings because he was around other children in a play area and began to look a little frightful and then began some deep sobs. Terri cried as she shared and we all got a little teary eyed.
God never planned on loss. He never wanted loss. In adoption there is much loss. Loss grieved is healing to the human soul. It washes out that pain and allows memories to be cherished or remembered without so much pain later. A child that grieves for those whom he or she lost is a healthy child. A child also will experience loss at all ages while growing up as their understanding grows about their past. This is time to embrace your child. Embrace and support your child and be careful of how you feel. Try not to allow your feelings influence the way your respond to your child. If you have an unrealistic expectation that your adopted child will never have questions about his/her past or if you feel rejected if he/she asks then work that out on your own. Take time to grieve your unrealistic expectation. Try not to let your feelings influence the way you support your child. Its healthy and normal for your child to ask and wonder. Allow them to do that. It does not make you any less of his or her parent. You are given the gift of raising this child, but the child is still not ours. The child is the Lord’s. Thank God for the time to parent and love. Ask God to show you how to parent just as He parents us. One cute example I heard once was about a little girl after taking a bath and being wrapped in a towel, began asking her adopted mom about her biological mom. She said she just wonders what she looks like. The adopted mom took her little girl and stood her in front of the mirror. She said, ‘look at you, I would bet your mother would have looked a lot like you look.’
Brenda shared about some of the orphanages and how some are pretty good and some are not so good. She adopted one little child out of an orphanage in which the workers were often found playing cards instead of caring for the infants. She babies are mostly laying on a wood board inside their crib with a thin blanket or sheet under them. They have one little diaper wrapped about them tied on with a string. Brenda said the workers do less and less because if they do more, the children will need more. Such as you feed you have to change, if you talk more, they want to interact more, etc. She said the children often bully each other as well. Since there is limited supervision, they often find ways of getting along. One example she gave was a time when she was going to adopt a little girl and she saw a frightened little girl in front of her. She had not visited with her much so this little girl did not know her as a trusted mother yet. Then this little girls eyes got real big as she looked across the room and Brenda looked over to see a little bully boy coming over to her, Brenda jumped in the way and shielded this little girl from the boy. From that moment on this little girl was up in Brenda’s arms and felt safe. She began to trust her as her adopted mom.
One of our Journey Moms got a chance to talk with Brenda about her adoptions of two little girls adopted at different times from Asia. This was a helpful time she said because she helped her understand her daughter’s better. One was from an orphanage and one from a foster home.
We were blessed to have Brenda with us and look forward to more refreshing and encouraging times together as Journey Moms. All moms, want-to-be moms, grandmothers, just those interested in being supportive of moms that have adopted or will adopt, etc. are all welcome to our Journey Moms events. If you have a topic you would like to hear more about or have some stories you want to share, etc. please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to set something up!
We meet in Valpo at the Uptown Cafe the second Wednesday of every month. This is often subject to change, so stay up to date on our Journey Moms facebook page. Thanks!!