We cleared!!! What does that mean? It means the US Embassy has given our sons "permission" to leave Ethiopia and immigrate to America. Our exit interview will take place next week and we'll bring our babies home. Finally!!! The wait has been hard at times, but through the anxious moments and the pleas for God to move on their behalf, He has given us peace and strength to rest in Him. What happens now? We pray for peace and strength to continue to rest in God, because check out what happens now...
Paul and I transition not only FROM somewhat frequent date-nights, sleeping in on weekends, and mommy coffee dates, but also
parenting two introverted home-bodies who are quite independent and somewhat “spoiled”, in the double-digit ages of their young yet not "baby" lives, have been attached and nurtured from Day 1, with no scars of physical or emotional abuse, neglect, disease, parental loss, malnutrition, group living in an institution...
parenting two little ones who have experienced all of the story of orphan life. They've been in the pit of despair and destruction and we are barely at the top of that pit holding onto their little hands and looking in their little faces as we speak life over them and let them know they are done living in the filth, dank, darkness of that pit. We have to hold on for dear life and pull them out because what they know in their short life times has been yucky. They have truly known extreme poverty, disease, loss of all they love - parents, home, family, warmth, food. They've been institutionalized, even at the same ages that our oldest were learning how to swim, watching Sesame Street and Veggie Tales in their jammies with their favorite blankies, and snacking on cookies and milk with Mom and Dad. Have they ever really attached to anyone? What did love look like for them? Who has nurtured and cared for them? UGH
What will this look like?
I am not the perfect parent! I’m not really even very good at this. It’s all about God’s will and learning to do things His way and in His strength. Learning that I should never get the glory for what He has done and will do in our family and for our boys. It's not really Paul and I holding onto their sweet hands and pulling for dear life to rescue our sons from that pit. It's really God holding onto OUR hands and reminding us that He already did the rescuing. This is what it HAS to look like.
We all have much to prepare for. For anyone who has thought or said to me or Paul, "You are amazing." "What a beautiful thing you are doing." "Those boys are so lucky." Or any other statements that allude to exactly where you know I'm going here...
Please don’t think that I have it all together! That I’m full of grace and love and I am “super-mom”. You know, that thought that passes through some peoples’ minds when they know an adoptive mom and they say to themselves, “I wish I could be a parent like her and do all that she does!” No way. Don’t let that be the way you think of me! Remember, this adoption stuff was all God’s idea. I’m seriously weak and imperfect and need God ALL THE TIME. There is no way I went ahead of Him in this - thinking I was such a great parent and because of that I should have more kids. You don’t see me at home when I yell at my kids because their lessons aren’t complete when I think they should be, or when I can’t seem to take five minutes away from my email or phone to give my eyes, ears, and heart to one of my children who need or just WANT my attention. It hurts my heart just knowing how imperfect I am. But, then again, if I thought I was “all that”, then how would I ever come to the full understanding that I NEED my God. I need to lean on Him for everything. Life is not easy. If it were, we would forget to turn to Him, even for the simple ability to breathe in deep.
Adoptive mommies are learning how to parent wounded and broken children. That is a whole different ballgame, folks. I think about all the hurts my two youngest have experienced: poverty, mal-nourishment, disease, loss of loved ones, lack of education and fun, abandonment… Friends - this all means parenting by an entirely new set of rules. It means dealing with all sorts of possibilities – rejection, anger, violence, disobedience and rebellion, lies, stealing, illness. And the list goes on. I will be; I MUST be a different mommy to these boys than I have been to our two oldest. It’s a very daunting calling when I haven’t even mastered how to be a “good” parent to them.
How can you as our friends be involved and helpful?
1. Remember we are imperfect! We are no different from you. We just had a different calling - or maybe the same, if you have adopted. My guess is that here is when we stop 'looking amazing' (if we ever did). When our family of six is together at home, this journey will not be over! On the contrary, the second volume of a many volume set will have just begun! All children make all parents realize the need for a God who loves and disciplines us unconditionally.
2. You can pray for us. Pray for a smooth transition with as little anger and sadness as possible. Pray for strength and rest for all of us. Pray for soft hearts for Rhyan and Tyler as they learn to share every part of our emotions and energy. Pray for health and safety. Pray that the language barrier is overcome quickly. Pray that we don't lose friends and family who may not seem to accept or understand our schedule changes and needs, and focus on our two youngest, and to "equally" accept the boys as real family divinely created to be raised as Gregersens. Pray for peace and patience for each other.
3. Please be patient with us. Our family will look different and be different. It will take time to re-enter life as we've known it. Actually, life as we've known it will not be the same at all. We're taking a complete 180 degree turn! If you can be patient with us, at least friends and family as we've known it may still be there to share life with us!
4. Learn what it means to be the friend or family member of adoptive parents. And also what it's like for us as adoptive parents. There are so many books, helpful blogs, websites, etc. that are great resources. We haven't done this on our own! You have all been part of this journey in so many ways. As the body of Christ, you have partnered with us in God's plan of adoption! Below are just a few resources that might be helpful.
When I Look at My Daughter, I May Always Think About Adoption - See more at: http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/blogs/post/thinking-about-adoption-and-my-daughters-birth-mother/#sthash.l41hICUJ.dpuf
On a special note, we are still a bit short on funding for our final trip and remaining agency fees. Please see our "Your Bids Help Our Kids"
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