For the last month or so Lee and I have been slowly tackling our online training course, which is approx 10 hours long. It has been really good. I didn't know what to expect at first, but it goes over everything from the legistics of adoption to the emotional impact of adoption. One thing that is slowly sinking in is how DIFFERENT our first few weeks home with Malachi will look versus coming home with Miller. I think that it is important that I begin an ongoing conversation with family and friends now about what our life will look like for at least a few months once Malachi is home. We pray that you are not "offended" by this conversation, but instead that you are very supportive of the necessary bonding process that will need to take place between me, Lee, Malachi and Miller. I am by no means an expert on this, but I am commited to seek wise council on how to best bond with our adopted child. We have already began our research on this. This blog is by no means an exhaustive list of what to expect, however, I think it is a good way to begin this conversation and hopefully provide insight to those who love and support us.
I like simple and to the point. How 'bout you?
--We ALL are completely excited about meeting and loving on Malachi.
--Malachi, however, has NO idea that we are coming! He is not "anticipating" our arrival. The concept of adoption is beyond his comprehension.
--No matter what age Malachi is when we meet him - he has already experienced a LOT of loss! Loss of the only person he really knew (his birth mother). Loss of familiar surroundings - from a minimum of mom's belly to first orphanage then transition home. This is the minimum in switching of surroundings. It could be greater than this.
--Malachi will not automatically love us and be bonded with us - after all, not only are we strangers, but we are COMPLETELY different from anything he has every known - our skin color, our smell, the sound of our voice and the language we speak.
--Bonding will take hard work and time (we will need your support!!!)
--We will meet Malachi, spend approx a few days with him, then come home WITHOUT him :( very sad!
--A few months later, once all the legal paperwork is complete, we will return to get him and bring him home.
--Let's look at this from his point of view:
He has essentially lost everything he knew and was bonded to. He has been switched between at least 2 orphanages by the time we meet him. He meets us, complete strangers who look different and speak a different language. We love on him! Then we leave. A few months later, we return and take him with us. He barely knows us!
TRAUMATIC? yes! Were we prepared? The best we could be. Was he prepared? Absolutely not. He's an infant/toddler. Is it better for him to stay at the orphanage than to have a forever family? ABSOLUTELY not! Will the transition be hard? YEP. Will it be worth it?? YESSSSSS!!!!
I don't mean to sound so "doom and gloom" however, becoming an orphan is not the most beautiful thing in the world. It is sad. It is brutally sad. It is sad for the birth parents, for the child, for the caregivers, for the adoptive parents and for God. And although up until now I have not mentioned HIM in this blog..... HE makes ALL the difference! You see - God can take something so devastating, sad and hopeless and turn it ALL around! That's what He did when he adopted me into his family. I was much like Malachi! Spiritually I was lost - being tossed from one sin to the next trying to find a place to belong. Of course there are obvious differences - I chose my sin, Malachi didn't choose to be an orphan, but THANKFULLY.... oh so THANKFULLY... my Father was doing behind the scenes work to prepare for my adoption into HIS family!
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."
If you are a BELIEVER... you were adopted! Study it for yourself if you don't believe it :) You were "grafted" into God's family. He made a way for you. Jesus died on the cross SO THAT you would be adopted and become a child of God. THAT is the reason we are adopting!! Because our Father did it first. He created adoption. He can make anything new... he gives hope to the hopeless!
Short little "mini sermon" to break up the blog :)
So back to the point!
--When we arrive home with Malachi, we barely know him and he barely knows us. There is some bonding that needs to take place!
--This will look different than bonding with Miller. The moment Miller was born he recognized Lee and I as his parents. He knew our voices! We took care of his every basic need - food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, etc.
--Malachi does not know we are his parents. We can't just tell him who we are and expect him to respond, we have to create that bond, the dependent bond between babies and parents.
--Adoption experts advise that for a "season" (which could mean weeks, months, etc depending on the child) that ONLY Lee and I provide his basic needs! Bottle, diaper change, calming him if he cries, etc.
We pray that y'all will be considerate and supportive of all of the above. We do not have a clue what we desire for the structure of those first few months home with Malachi to look like, however, we have 2 years to study, pray and continue this ongoing conversation about our transition from "journey 2 Malachi" to "life with Malachi."
But for certain, structure number 1 will be that only Lee and I (unless we have an extreme reason) will feed, clothe, change his diaper and calm him when he cries until we feel he is successfully bonding.
Thankfully... this will only be for a season!! So please be patient with us! We know y'all want to love on him! We WANT y'all to love on him! However, I read this quote somewhere and loved it.
"The long term needs of the child outweigh the short term desires of adult family and friends"
Malachi needs to know who his parents are and to form a bond with them. We thank y'all ahead of time for being supportive in this transition for both him and us! It's only a season!