Saturday, July 28, 2012

Moving to new site:

He is ours.

He legally bares our name.

He looks so much bigger.

His contractures are much better than we thought! His knees and feet and elbows are very contractured, but his hands and wrists are barely affected! (Unlike what we were expecting based on his picture!)

And he has enough muscle to crawl! Much more muscle than we expected!

And he's so cute!

His strawberry mark is gone and now there's just a scar there from what we think was a small surgery.

He doesn't know how to eat. So we'll have to bottle feed for a while. I requested breastmilk for him and am waiting for a donation.

He loves to snatch glasses off our faces.

His sister calls him her baby.

We were told he was at a nine month old level, but in the couple of weeks we've been with him he's now more at a 12 month old level!

He is so loved. I never thought I could love someone this much who did not come from my body.

We're about to do our best to make up for the first two years of his life.

We're moving updates from this blog to our permanent blog:

Thank you all for everything.

*at peace knowing my baby is safe and loved*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Give us time. A heads up.

I wanted to write something about how weird we're going to be after Roland comes home. Just to warn you all. (Yes I know we're weird now! But we're going to be MORE weird. Yes that's possible. No I'm serious. Shut up!)

Ahem. We're going to do things like give him a disgusting, germ-covered, nose-insulting blanket (that he used in his birth country) and let him snuggle his little face into it. It will never be washed. We're going to sleep with him for months before moving him to a crib. We're going to be giving him a bottle (even though he's two) for a ridiculously long time. I'm going to wear/carry him constantly. I'm going to play an insane amount of peek-a-boo. We're going to shelter him a ton, especially at first. We're going to do a daily massage twice a day where our phones will be off. And worst of all for all you Roland fans dying to meet him, we're going to hoard him like Smeagol with the ring.

This will all be temporary (not temporary enough for grandparents) and with a definite measurable goal in mind: our son's healthy emotional development.

There's a great article here about what newly adopted children need who have come from institutional environments. I encourage you to read it in its entirety to answer many questions you may have about our new and strange parenting behavior. Children like Roland can develop attachment disorders, PTSD and behavioral issues. We had to take several classes on this as part of our Home Study. That's why I need my loved ones to hear me on this.

I had researched about all this before committing to Roland. In fact we had started on a Home Study while I had a job that I commuted to every morning. I had five years with this company and foresaw many more, but I knew that the best thing for a displaced child was a mommy who was home constantly with him. I immediately gave my notice (once we were serious about adopting) and was offered a position at home to accommodate the change in our lives. (That right there was a God-send.) I fully realize that doing my job from home while having an upset two year old strapped to me will be difficult, but for the sake of bonding I need to do it. (I had a dream once that I won the lottery and never had to work again. That was glorious.)

You see a child needs to bond to a primary caregiver. Roland does not have a primary caregiver, never has. For the sake of Roland's future wife and friends and for dealing with the harsh treatment for his disability he needs to develop healthy attachments now. It's just as bad for a child to not attach to anyone (and self sooth and not want to be touched) as it is for a child to attach to EVERYONE believe it or not. Both are unhealthy and lead to lots of issues you can research on your own if interested. The healthiest thing is to just bond with your immediate family, and more so with one caregiver (mommy). That means I can't hand him off to people as much as I will desperately want to. To quote the article, "YOU ARE THE ONLY CAREGIVER!! You always bottle, feed, bath, dress, change and most of the play. If friends and family want to help let them walk the dog or clean your house, wash bottles or do laundry, bring food or make you tea. No baby-sitters and no sending the baby away for respite. Until your baby is firmly emotionally attached to you, NO ONE the baby doesn't see daily should hold or even touch him or her, and even those that the baby sees daily should hold him or her at a very minimum."

And when we notice that he's fully attached to me, that may change after each and every medical appointment or surgery.

Roland may fight the entire process. (Yes I will be wearing an unhappy child most likely, and will have to watch for signs of overstimulation. We have resources and know to see a counselor if things don't improve over time.) I will need help. I will need someone to call when Rolly won't stop screaming in my ear and all I want to hear is, "This is temporary. You did not cause his problems and you can't fix them. But this is your job now and you can do it." (Avoid saying things like, "You signed up for this." Because however true that is, I will probably cold cock you through the phone.)

This is not a job I am uniquely qualified for by the way. Not even one I'm particularly good at. (I don't sign up for nursery at church. Sometimes I see the nice nursery lady with the sign up sheet and dive behind a table.) I really believe I'm being led down a hard path, just like when Laelia was first born, that will lead to the most incredible destination. I will be stretched to do things I don't do well. Help me through the dark times. Understand when I can't do anything for a while. And please please please please please band together and love on my daughter through this. You have my permission to take her to Disneyland for a day or buy her anything. Lots of play dates. Seriously. My love will multiply for my children but my attention will divide, and not always evenly.

We will be treating Roland differently than we treated Laelia at his age. He's been through a great trauma of being given up and he will go through another trauma when he is taken away from everything he knows and is brought home. Then add to that the surgeries, castings, medical and dental appointments to reverse two years of neglect and he's going to need a healthy way to deal with the hardships and grief. He's going to need to know how to ask mommy for comfort (by crying) and receive that comfort (be soothed by my touch, voice and smell). He's going to need me and he cannot feel loved through this if we don't bond like crazy. Since Laelia did not experience any of that trauma she can be parented in our usual manner. For example, Laelia gets timeouts if she acts up. These work great for having her calm down and control her behavior in order to be part of the fun again. Time outs don't work for a child who was thrown away and neglected. In fact they can damage him. This means that Laelia can be sent to her room, but when Roland acts up *I* get a timeout with him.

We're not going to do this perfectly. I promise you that at least once in this process you will look at us and shake your head in disagreement about something. We will have all the worries and stupidity of new parents all over again. But we have lots of advice and counsel already in place. What we need is support.

And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. If I'm not super fat by the time Roland is bonded to me you've all failed me as friends. ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm under spiritual attack... there I said it. Darn trolls.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -Ephesians 6:12

Okay I am up way too late and I'm way too tired to be writing. Who is letting me blog in this state?

Well since no one is stopping me, I want to rant a bit. I have this one pet peeve that I have no idea where it came from but here it is: saying I'm under a spiritual attack.

(Disclaimer: I have lots of religious-y pet peeves: from sermons on tithing to using the word "Christian" as an adjective. I don't like these things, but I could totally, absolutely be wrong and often am. Keep that in mind as I wax on.) 

(Oh and when did this become such a religious-y blog? Someone shoot me.)

I figure if God is so big, like on the scale of Thinker-of-the-Thoughts-that-Aren't-Our-Thoughts magnitude then it's kind of arogant to say that I know his will. (Yep he definitely wants me to go to this college or get pregnant or adopt or own these jeans.) But worse yet is when things go wrong and we then turn that into "And since it's not working out that way it must be a spiritual attack by Satan himself, because Lord knows the prince of darkness doesn't slither out of the hole unless someone like me tries to do the Good Lord's work. You see, God told me to do this thing and now that this thing is hard I'm under spiritual attack because I'm so special I warrant a total focus from all the powers of darkness. I'm so so so special. Look at my specialness and weep."

Thus I'm rarely able to say I'm going through a spiritual attack. Because let's face it, we live in an imperfect world and stuff just goes wrong because it's spiraling. It doesn't take some giant effort to make this process hard. Hard is kind of guarenteed.

So after all that it brings me great displeasure to say, I think I'm under spiritual attack. Maybe?

My blog moderator has told me that there has been a rise in troll (online bullying) activity lately on my blogs. (Trolls be warned! I don't read you and I don't see you and I don't respond to you... like I'm doing... right... now. *ahem*) I guess they hit my daughter's blog too. In fact we got a virus a little while ago. Ugh... trolls.

You can tell it's a troll when they 1.) attack your character off the bat, 2.) call your child ugly or bring up your child in a negative way, 3.) use bad grammar or spelling mistakes, 4.) take the conversation 180 degrees away from the topic and/or 5.) outright lie. You see trolls feed off responses and want you to engage them. They will say anything! They will do anything! If outright lies won't get you, they will misspell a word and know the English nazi mother you grew up with all your life WILL NOT LET THAT STAND! *pant pant*

"ur adopsion" <---------- feel it... it burns

The saying, "Don't feed the trolls!" is going around the interwebs warning that you CANNOT reason with a troll. No response is good enough. Nothing you contribute will make it better. You just get more and more polite and state facts and try to beg for common sense (all the while getting super frustrated and praying for their souls) and they are on the other end laughing. "Yay attention! Look at how mad she's getting! Look at her try to teach me how to spell! Ha ha ha."

But us Reece's Rainbow families are just a special lot I guess. We've attracted a mutant troll.

Recently the same people/person trolling this blog and my friends' blogs has decided to take it to the next level. They actually took steps to write letters to disrupt our adoptions. Yes, you heard me. They claim to have written them to my son's birth country and the USCIS.

Now everyone tells me not to worry and that it was a waste of postage and this happens because we go public with our adoptions (usually because we need to fundraise) and it attracts the crazies. Well, I'm one of the last public adoption blogs left out of my adopting friends and have you seen me posting much lately? I can't say when we're going to travel. I can't post pictures once we get there. I can't do anything until my son is safely home. Because someone is out to get us. The thought is unnerving.

These trolls have also used Spokeo to look up our personal information. They claim to have done this for each and every family adopting special needs through RR. Because what this adoption was lacking was a good old-fashioned stalking. 

To answer your question, yes it's being dealt with by RR and others. It's not just being ignored because too many people are living in fear and hiding their blogs and being harrassed. But I'm saying that our response (as writer, and as reader) is to ignore them. (Thankfully that's what moderators are for!) Charles and I don't have an online business they can mess with and none of our information on Spokeo is even close to accurate (we're old and rich?! Woot!) so we're staying put for now.

So why am I saying to ignore trolls while I devote an entire blog post to them? Well lately the trolls have been claiming (on nearly every blog, including university articles and random forums) that the photolistings we used to find our son are illegal.

The hard thing about vicious people is that you wonder just how much of what they're saying is truth. A good troll will have 90% truth and then some great 10% baloney. The whole "it's illegal over there" accusation worried me. It's not illegal in the US, but is it illegal in my son's birth country? I mean until now I've never studied their law! I was happy I could find them on a map!

I was provided with the law from my son's birth country that clearly says that photolistings (speficially the one used to find my son) are good and legal (whew). Here's a link to another fellow adopter who has written out the law on her blog and she's taken out the country name (that we're not suppose to mention so that's why I'm always saying "my son's birth country") and replaced it with *****s so it's safe for me to share. (Notice that it's in the country's language/alphabet and then translated into English so you can check the translation using Google translate and don't have to take the adopting family's word for it.)

Resolution 905 paragraphs 46 and 47 actually ENCOURAGES photolistings. In fact I found a photolisting of my son IN his birth country! His own country photolisted him! It's not illegal here or there or anywhere. And every rule is being followed.

Another family who is in my son's birth country right now just finished court where a judge ruled that they are the proud new parents of two adorable kiddos with special needs. When the judge asked them where they found their children, they said, "On a photolisting on Reece's Rainbow." The judge then threw a fit? Oh no wait, the judge smiled and said she wished there were more families like them and granted their adoption in minutes. Why? Because she knew that photolistings are encouraged and helpful and certainly not illegal.

As the link above says, "We filled out the above mentioned papers called "Child Specific Petitions" and filed them with the government agency in our girl's country. If we could not preidentify a child there would be no document such as a CSP."

I also have a picture of our adoption facilitator standing next to three Reece's Rainbow posters (riddled with pictures of children from photolistings) IN the Department of Adoptions over there! They are up on the wall! NOT ILLEGAL!!!

We are legally allowed to show our child's picture, name, status, age, siblings (if any), siblings' ages and any special needs. I'm even really allowed to tell you my son's country, but just trying to stay on the safe side. :)

So anyway, I'm just hoping that anyone who reads the trolls' posts and comments will notice their bitterness, their attacks (often name-calling the founder of RR and the facilitator in country), their lies and even their grammar and spelling errors so that they can be seen for what they are. It's hard though. Even I had to second guess myself. I mean these trolls will say photolistings are illegal and even link to the law that says it's actually legal! They trust no one will question their sources or click on those links and translate it into English. Nope, we just take their word for it! And... yeah, I never did click on their links for myself either. (I just cried to my support group. Yep. Part of the problem.)

So there's the trolls, and there's the stress and there's my work situation and there's so many other things I *can't* talk about here that just add up to me finally thinking I can be a total snob and arrogantly claim that we're under a spiritual attack. (I just threw up in my mouth a little.) Because true or not that's sure what it feels like. Like we're pressed in on all sides. It just took stalker trolls looking up my personal information and sending letters to stop my adoption for me to admit it. Well that, and this chipped nail. Because you never chip a nail when everything is going right.

And this spiritual attack has got to be worth like 4,500 Jesus points. We may even level up after this. +5 HP or something.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prayer request... but you're all on your own.

So another blog about prayer. I'm obsessed, what can I say. If I were God I'd strip me of all this control all the time just so I prayed constantly.

Today I've been praying every hour at the top of the hour. It has changed my perspective tramendously. I have of course been praying for Roland (who we've been calling Rolly, like trolley) and my sweet Laelia and my handsome Charles, but I've also been praying for a lot of my friends. And I realized after talking to a few of these friends that there are things we just can't pray for ourselves.

As many of you know there is a wait between our two trips to Rolly's birth country. During that wait Rolly will be all alone with no visitors. He won't get the Mama loves and cuddles he will have gotten used to while we're there for our first trip. What will he think? What trauma will that do to him?

Then I'll fly back solo a few weeks later and get him. The second trip will cost more money in flights and living expenses (which is why I'm going alone to save money). It will also cost time and energy.

You see there's this thing called a manditory ten day wait. That means that even after a judge in a courtroom has told us that Rolly is ours, we still have to fly home without him and wait the "ten days" which can take several weeks depending on lots of things.

It's like saying, "He's yours! Now say goodbye and go home without him."

It will be hard. Harder than hard.

But we are fully expecting this.

But in really really rare cases (like rarely if ever) they *have* in specific cases we don't necessarily absolutely qualify for (but never in Rolly's region so I've been told) waived this ten day wait.

Now imagine with me for a moment what would happen if the judge waived that ten day wait for us. It would mean we were never separated, we got to all come home as a family. No worry of causing PTSD to my son. No worry of breaking his heart or frustrating him or abandoning him. No worry of traveling alone for a new trip by myself. No worry of last minute fundraising for these expensive flights. No second trip. No more time off of work. No more delaying medical treatment. No working out babysitters while I'm gone. It would be wonderful.

But it won't happen. It just won't. We're expecting to make two trips and follow every rule.

But it doesn't hurt to pray for it, right?

Except it totally hurts to pray for it. I can't in fact. Praying for this would get my hopes up. Praying for this would change my attitude from one of, "I will do any hard thing you want, Lord, to get my son" to "Why couldn't you give me this one request?!" So I can't pray for it. And I don't. I keep my prayers to that of asking for God's will and strength to do what he wants.

But that's when my friends step in. Lauren was the first I told this secret desire to. She promised to pray. It lifted my burden almost immediately! That gave me the courage to share this request with some ladies at my church, " see there's this ten day wait thing..." and they all were praying!

But also friends have come to me who have their own things they can't pray for. It would make them angry/sad/depressed/crushed if God said no. So that's where I can come in for them!

I've been praying that JH gets the home she's hoping for. The specific one. The one that she wants. Because she doesn't want to be let down, but she also doesn't want to pray for more than God's will in where to plant her family. But her heart yearns for it. So I can pray so she can remain content.

I'm praying for JD's cancer surgery. That they get it all without needing to do radiation. Because that is something she's willing to go through, but of course doesn't want to. (Talk about a 'take this cup from me' prayer!) And it hurts to pray for escape from the harsh treatment because what if God says, "No"? What would that do to someone's morale who is recovering from surgery? But I can pray for it so she can focus on getting better whatever comes.

I'm praying for PK. She has an addiction that is terrible and life-ruining. It's scary. So darn scary. She cries and prays for the desire for this substance to just go away, and gets crushed when it just won't go away (it may never go away). It's heart-breaking. But praying for strength to handle it and strength to get treatment for it is good for the soul. That's her focus while we step in and pray it just all goes away.

So every hour at the top of the hour I pray for these things, and others. Will I be disappointed if they don't work out? Of course. A little. But they would be crushed.

So I don't want to pray for the ten day waiver because I would be devestated if something I prayed hard for didn't work out. When I pray for something I imagine what it would be like. I just can't go there. It's not realistic or healthy, like the person who instead of working hard just thinks and prays for a million dollars to fall in their lap. My spirit groans for it, but my thoughts can't go there. Instead I pray for my attitude and for being open to every possibility, no matter how hard. So I need y'all to pray for this impossible thing. I need you to shoulder the disappointment since there's no chance it will work out. But I need you to pray so that I know the request is out there. It would just make me feel better. And I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We know the when.

We got a phone call this morning (5:30am this morning) that we've been waiting almost seven months to get. We now know when we will be accross the ocean meeting our son! We're not allowed to publicly announce it, but let's just say it's soon.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Chip In

So I'm sticking ye old Chip In back up. See it in the upper right corner? Turns out flying during the summer is a lot more costly than flying during the winter. (We first started calculating how much this would cost in December.) Living expenses go up a bit as well. Tourists. Well, I guess that's what we are too. :) Ugh, it just feels like a bait and switch every time we calculate for this adoption. I wish things didn't change so much! It does not help that I have control issues. ;)

We're about to wipe out our savings and checking accounts to adopt this precious boy. That's scary. We're about to fly thousands of miles across the sea into another culture, language and world. That's scary too.

Soon little guy! You are worth it.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I just want to blog about something I suck at: prayer. I suck at prayer. Bringing me face to face with the needs of my son makes me sick to my stomach. It just reminds me that he's without a mommy, he's without proper nutrition, anything could happen to him, etc. Instead my prayers turn into, "God... Roland." And that's always uttered with a very whiny inner voice. (I would have said "pleading" but "whiny" is closer to the truth of it.)

Prayer makes me feel out of control, and I like the illusion that I'm in control. I'm also afraid God's plans may be different than mine. That thought alone makes me want to hide under my covers instead of pray.

We had a scare that my son was no longer available for adoption a couple months ago. It was unfounded. One bad thing about being in the inner circle is that you learn things about where your child is that are not comforting, and you never get all the information. Did you know bombs went off in my son's birth country not too long ago? Yep, terrorists. More than once.

Our friend (a sweetheart) who has really encouraged me through this adoption drama just "lost" her daughter. They were about three weeks from getting their travel dates. That little girl is no longer available for international adoption. This is the second time this has happened to them.

It could be I'm thinking about my friend's daughter, and it could be I'm worried about the unknowns (and more likely it's what I warned y'all about--I'm going crazy during this time of waiting) but I feel this need to pray for Roland. And I suck at praying. And so I'm blogging instead. Can we say avoidance? :)

There's obviously many things to pray for. Roland is in a place where the likelihood of getting infectious disease is very high. He'll come home with at least one form of worm, flesh bacteria or "problem." He'll also have bonding issues. He'll have stress from moving his environment. He'll have eating issues. And all of these could be permanent or very temporary.

But I'm feeling the need to give my child up to God. I don't have control over this situation and I need God to do ALL the heavy lifting. Not just for sickness or health, for emotional or psychological healing, but for every aspect of my son's situation.

I'm unsettled. And the crazy part of me is worried you'll read this and pray for me and forget to pray for Roland. If you only have five minutes to pray, forget me and pray for my son!

Or, you know, pray for whatever. Don't let my crazy affect you. ;) I'm also projecting my own hardship with prayer onto you all. Five minutes. Pshhh.

I was reading Seven, the book that's not about adoption by Jen Hatmaker. And one part made me about choke on my own breath. She was going through the adoption process at the time she wrote the book (she finished the book before she had her adopted children in her arms) and she included a random story about that process. I'll quote it here:

"During the first week of October, I suffered inexplicable sadness for our Ethiopian kids, yet unknown to us. I couldn't quit crying. I couldn't stop worrying. I felt heavy and dark without knowing why. With tears burning at the slightest provocation, I threw my emotions into the Facebook ring for some backup. From adopting friends a common thread rose up: 'God is prompting you to pray for your children for some reason. You don't know them yet, but he knows they are yours. Intercede for them this week; then write these dates down. Once you receive your referral, check their paperwork, and you might discover divine timing.' A slew of similar stories were posted.

"So Brandon and I prayed desperately for our kids. Were they losing a parent? Were they suffering? Were they tender and lonely? Were they especially hopeless? Their need was unknown, but the ache was acute. So I cried the tears I just knew they were crying, and I begged Jesus to be so near, so gentle in their young, tragic lives while they waited for us, wishing a family wanted them but too afraid to hope."

"[...] We discovered our referral was one gorgeous, unbelievably perfect five-year-old girl. She was beautiful in every way. Brandon fell especially hard. With her little chicklet teeth and her shy smile, it seemed we might finally get a 'gentle child,' which required adoption since our gene pool squashed that characteristic. [...]

"I went three weeks back to those dark days full of prayer and sorrow. I confirmed the dates then searched this beautiful girl's file:

"It was the week she was brought to the orphanage.

"Shipped twelve hours north of her village, her people, everything she knew to a crowded orphanage with children and workers who spoke a different language, it must've been devastating. She must've felt so alone. At age five. Except Jesus never leaves His little ones, His most vulnerable. He was there in the scary van ride north. He was there in her confusion and fear. He was there as she was assigned a bed and communal clothes and had her beautiful head shaved. He was there that first heartbreaking night. And He made sure we were there in spirit, too.

"I'm telling you, we felt her grief. We carried her turmoil. We cried her tears. Jesus made sure we sat watch with Him over her. He invited us into the vigil He was keeping on her behalf." (pages 199-201)

I have felt this before (recently) and when I finally asked the person I was praying for if everything was okay it wasn't. I knew it wasn't. Even though I knew nothing at all. Sometimes it just works this way. It's not voodoo, although I'm making it sound like that, but it's obedience to pray. To keep watch. To be a little intuative and senstive to others. And I need to stop blogging and get to it. Prayer time. Ooh Facebook! Going now. Ugggggh. Hard.