Monday, July 30, 2012

Things Not to Say to An Adoptive Parent

Here are a few things that you should never say to an adoptive parent…things that I have experienced firsthand. I teach a training on how to talk about adoption in the community and how to respond to all of these difficult questions, so I hear a lot of dumb stuff. Things such as, How much did he cost? Why didn’t their real parents want them? Do you have any children of your own? Most of the time people really just don’t understand what is appropriate to ask and don’t think before they say things. As adoptive parents we have to learn how to respond appropriately because a lot of times these questions are asked while your child is present. Anyway, here is what I have heard thus far…

1. What’s wrong with him? OR I’ve heard so many horror stories about international adoption, haven’t you?

I have seriously been asked those questions by people that should know better. One incident happened last week and she went on and on about the problems that our child would most definitely have. Oh how I wanted to launch across that table and give her a piece of my mind. Sure, there are “horror” stories out there but there are SO many success stories.

2. Why would you adopt internationally when there are plenty of children in the US that need homes?

Now, I am totally fine with this question when asked out of honest curiosity. After all, part of my job is to recruit and train families interested in adopting from US foster care, I get that. But you can tell the intent of people’s questions and I have gotten this one several times in a condescending way. My answer? God led us to international adoption and this specific child AND every child deserves a chance to know Jesus. Argue with that. :)

3. You know, now that you are adopting you will get pregnant.

I’ve talked about this one before…it comes across as having a biological child is the goal of adopting which couldn’t be farther from the truth. It also happens that way very rarely.

4. Any updates?

Such a simple question, spoken from a caring/supportive place, I know. However, when you are asked that question several times a day, and some days, like Sundays at church, you’re asked it about 20 times and you have NO update, it’s a hard question! I want to just print up little cards that say “we have no update…trust me, we will let you know when we have one” and hand them out to people before they even get a chance to ask. That sounds harsh because I know people really do care but it’s not a fun one to give the same uneventful answer to over and over again.

5. One lady asked me once if I had seen that Lifetime special about a child who was adopted internationally and then her “real” parents came forward and the adoptive parents had to return the child to her "real" parents.

How she thought that story was helpful is beyond me. I had to explain to her how you use a reputable agency and that stuff doesn't happen, I also added in how adoptive parents were "real" parents and biological parents I think was the word she was looking for.

6. Oh, that’s a perfect age to bring a child home. You won’t have to deal with any sleep problems, they’ll be almost potty trained…you’ll skip out on all the hard parts.

Again, ignorance…people just don’t understand what a difficult transition it is for adopted children to go from experiencing one place, one language, a rigid schedule, specific caregivers, lots of other babies always being around, etc to taking them away from everything they have ever known, a new language, new people, over-stimulating environment, etc. They will grieve – they will more than likely have a ton of sleeping problems, eating problems, they more than likely will regress – losing skills that they once had, losing their language, learning to communicate again. It’s very sad for adoptive parents to miss out on any of their child’s life, so please don’t blow that off like it’s a positive thing to miss those things. Trust me, we will have plenty of sleepless nights, dirty diapers, etc.

I’m sure there are more but that’s all that’s coming to mind right now. Every single one of us have said things that we regret later, so I am not condemning anyone that has said any of these things, but I do want to educate. :)

All you adoptive parents out there, what inappropriate/frustrating/aggravating questions have you been asked?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More info on Elijah, and more waiting…

Barry here…Elijah had some doctors appointments back in June that we had been waiting to hear back from, and we finally got an update from all of that last week with great results.  He is doing well, and we heard that he is walking now and talking (a lot).  Apparently he is saying “Papa” now too!  I’m not sure in what context he is saying that; I’m hoping they are showing him the soft book we made for him with our pictures in it, and teaching him who we are.  It’s exciting to know that he is doing so well, but it is also really hard to know that he is growing up, and hitting all these milestones without us being able to see each new thing that he does.  There is not 10 minutes that goes by that I (and I’m sure Lisa too) don’t think about Elijah and wish that we could be back there with him, and know what day we will be able to have him home with us.

We also got a few new pictures of him, which as you know, we still can’t share publicly yet, but it was again exciting to see him and hard to see how much older he looks in just the two months it has been since we saw him last.

Now after getting to see updated pictures and hear how he is doing, it makes us just want to get there to see him even sooner, but we have to wait.  We did hear that all of our paperwork was officially on its way to Russia as of the end of last week, so it should be there by the middle of this week!  We are just praying now that once they get it, that it won’t take long at all before they give us a date for court.  It still could be a long time, there really is no guarantee of how soon or far away that call will come, but we are praying and believing that it will be soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I feel…bleh. I am not sure how to put it into words exactly…just unsettled and like a part of me is missing. Because it is. Ever since seeing Elijah’s sweet little face I have fallen in love with that boy. Having part of you, part of your heart, half way across the world and not having any idea when you get to be reunited with that part of you is pretty terrible. There isn’t an hour that goes by, sometimes not a minute, that I am not thinking about him and praying for him.

It’s hard not having any kind of update. We were told that our facilitator in Russia was able to get some updated pictures and medical information (he was scheduled to have his big medical appointments and vaccinations in June) but we have yet to see it. It’s been two months since we left him and we know zero about how those two months have been for him. How much has he grown? Is he walking now? Is he talking? Is he chewing solid foods yet? Is he still in the same room with the same caregivers or has he been moved? Has he been sick? Is he happy? What does he look like now?

I KNOW that God is holding him in the palm of His hand and I know that God knows what our little boy has been doing for every second of these past two months…but I am ready to know too. :) I am so beyond ready to be back in Russia with him…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One More Step in the Right Direction

ALL of our court documents are now authenticated and in the process of being sent to Russia. Yippee! :) It typically takes about 5 business days to get to Russia. Please join us in prayer that once they receive this packet (which I have heard is about 3 inches tall) they will be finished with their part and will immediately contact us with a VERY SOON court date! We have heard that during the summer months things move very slowly over there due to many people taking long vacations, but we are praying that God has allowed the right people to be in the right place at the right time, not allowing any delays due to people being out of pocket. Come on Russia Trip #2!!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

“Our Infertility Journey” Blog Book

I have been wanting to make a blog book for a long time and finally caved the other day. I want to always be able to look back on our journey and see God’s hand in every single step of it. I want to always remember the comments from friends, family and others who love us and are on this journey with us. It is really a story of our lives for the past few years and I don’t want to lose that! Soooo…I got it printed!

photo 1The front coverphoto 1-1Title Page/Dedication Page/Whatever you want to call itphoto 2-2One of the pages inside

I am not 100% carried away with it, only because using the website I used (, you weren’t able to choose fonts, font sizes, layout, etc. You basically put in your blog address and chose which posts to include (I included everything from post #1 until we announced that we would be adopting) and it makes your book! You are also able to choose a photo for the front cover, back cover and front page. There were other websites that allowed you to personalize everything but my book is over 300 pages long…I did not want to spend that kind of time designing the book. :) It was super easy and it serves its purpose. It’s now sitting on our coffee table. Pretty fun if you ask me. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bible Verse for Your Day

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Court Documents Finished!

We just mailed our last piece of court documentation to our agency!! Yippee!!!!! It is such a great feeling!!

We had our medicals today which was the last thing we needed. And somehow, thank you God!, we had everything we needed – copies of our chest x-ray results, our x-ray images on CD and a hard copy, copies of our blood work, copies of our urinalysis, copies of our TB test results, copies of the physicians' medical license, letters from the doctor’s office saying that he is licensed to practice there, copies of the actual medical form, AND a separate medical form needed for our home study update. Man, that was a lot of stuff. I mailed it off…(side note, just for kicks I added up how much we have spent thus far on postage for this adoption…$305.91. I wish FedEx gave frequent customer discounts…)

IMG_1219And wanted to do a happy dance or something. :) Now our agency will finish their work getting everything apostilled/authenticated and then it will all be ready for Russia!!

To keep ourselves busy we are trying to finish up Elijah’s room, baby-proofing the house (we instantly will have a child that can get into everything!), etc. It’s been so fun working on it all! Our recent project is this…IMG_1220 Granted you can’t tell what it is but it’s Barry’s creation that is going to look awesome in there. I’m quite excited about it. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Camp APAC, A Baby Shower and More!

Sorry for my absence! :) I was here…7407579686_ca10a17d6c_ofor a week. Camp APAC 2012! My 6th Camp APAC (a camp for adopted children ages 9-18 in Alabama that Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections, the program that I work for, hosts each year)! I did a little of this…7411247762_44e7ed281b_o Some of this…


Dressed completely inappropriately for the woods for our formal night.

7412065142_c1b0fd381e_o And enjoyed watching kids have so much fun!

THEN, I came back for this…

Edit Elijah’s first baby shower! My friends did such a great job decorating with the Noah’s Ark theme! They had tons of pictures of our little boy and little bits of Russia thrown in. I have a ton more pictures of the decorations that I can’t post since I can’t post his pictures yet :( It was really special!

DSC_0333DSC_0335DSC_0337This cute little banner has word such as God, Mother, Father, Blessed, etc. in English and then in Russian!DSC_0342Elijah's Baby Shower Dothan 022Alphabet beanbags made by my friend Brittani!DSC_0365 A Russian Bible from my parents!

At one point someone at the shower said, “Lisa! You are having your baby shower!!” It was pretty surreal. We received so many wonderful gifts and had a fun time taking everything out of it’s packaging, finding homes for it all, washing his dishes and clothes. Love it!

In the meantime, Barry passed his huge NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) exam – the goal he has been working towards at work for the past 2 years. Thousands and thousands of hours of studying have been dedicated to it. And he passed!!! It was a very very very exciting day in our household. I have my husband back!

AND to top it all off we received our FBI clearances today!! This was the big hold up on our court paperwork! I am taking it to FedEx this afternoon and it will be delivered to our agency in the morning. I was seriously debating driving it 3.5 hours so that they would get it today but then I talked some sense into myself. We went last week to have blood work and chest x-rays and will go Thursday for our doctor’s appointment. That should be the last piece that we need for our court documents. We have had to put our medicals off until the last minute because they are only good for 90 days and they have to be current for court in Russia. We are so ready to get all of our paperwork to Russia so that we can get our court date!!