Ha. I just noticed this title could be misleading; curious readers might think it’s about mark and I… well, it’s not; but I hope it lures them to keep reading to learn about the plight of waiting orphans and families longing to love them. Below is a history… if you know it, move on to the how to’s of visiting our son who’s now living back in an orphanage (first time I’ve typed this without streaming tears) and managing our two “third culture” teenagers.
We've known Lil Man for almost 3 years, and he's lived full time in our home for the last 9 months. As you know we entered the adoption process. Well, it seems the orphanage made a BIG mistake placing him with us so early. This premature placement was supposed to be a foster situation but of course, the paper work never materialized. When our 3-year resident requirement for adoption hit, we started the adoption process. Soon after, the orphanage informed us that we have to return Lil Man to the orphanage till we are matched with him by the agency, acting like we have not parented him and loose more precious time.
- All the care workers tell us how helpful and kind he is now after living with us for 9 months that actually is a mixed blessing because we’re happy with the report but don’t want to see that goodness undone.
- He eats like an animal again – fists full of carbs like rice or ugali shoved into his mouth none stop, until his cheeks puff like a chipmunk and his eyes blaze greedily.
- His visits with us are temperamental – easily disturbed by simple changes in activities or locations even if he chooses them. He can giggle and whine within the same few minutes. He ignores us, watches us, comes to us, runs from us – all interspersed on an afternoon visit.
- He’s afraid of being left behind AGAIN. Very afraid.
- Be intentionally thoughtful about our time apart. We cannot afford to do anything haphazardly - based on emotional decisions. We pray continually, asking God where to go, what to do, and we trust our choices are from Him.
- Create concrete plans where everyone knows what to expect from all involved. Each family member who can share an opinion about strategy must. We listen and develop a list of who is doing what with intended results.
- Emphasis balance. It’s easy to think the older kids can fend for themselves and immerse energy in Lil Man’s acute needs. It’s also easy to ignore other responsibilities, but we must remember why we are here and that God’s grace is more than sufficient.
- Be honest. We all have freedom to cry, ask questions, express our feelings; we choose not to follow those unpredictable emotions. Our assurance is to shadow Holy Spirit’s courage and comfort.
- Do healthy transitions. Even the shortest goodbyes include hugs and prayers. Life takes too many twists and turns to let someone leave without the reassurance that they are care for, that they belong.
- The rash and fever Lil Man is experiencing will disappear.
- That healthy attachment will be preserved for us all.
- That God’s wisdom and favor abounds at the Kenya Adoption Authority meeting on October 29th.
- For our family to lean hard into God’s comfort and strength through trials.
- That we don’t worry or become anxious but bring all things to the Lord.