1 Day ’til China….

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Well, here we go….leaving on a plane tomorrow to go bring our boy HOME…

Can you believe it? Felt like this day would never get here.

But it is here.

God has proven Himself faithful. We started with nothing towards this adoption financially and God has provided EVERY.SINGLE.PENNY.

EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.

Thank you to everyone who prayed, gave and supported us in so many ways. We can never thank you enough. Please know that the greatest desire of our heart is to get home and begin to pay it forward to see more children find their forever families. We have been discussing setting up a non-profit to be able to award grants specifically to families that are adopting children with Down syndrome. I can’t wait to share more details with you.

Please pray for us today and in the days to come.

My to-do list seems never ending today and the kids are bouncing off the walls with excitement.

Each time I look at my three littlest babies, the tears start to come. The thought of leaving them for two whole weeks is almost more than I can bear. It must be done. I know that. But it does not make it any easier.

My momma heart is about to rip from my chest at the thought of leaving MinLan. The work of bonding and attachment is difficult, hard work. We make every effort to not suffer any setbacks. Leaving her for two weeks goes against every fiber of my being in relation to the attachment I have worked so hard to build with her. Please pray for me and specifically for her. I know some people think this whole bonding and attachment thing should be pretty secure by now. But the truth is that it is a never ending process. She has known neglect and abandonment like none of us can ever imagine. Please just pray HARD for her. Pray that in the deepest parts of her heart she knows that I will come back to her…that I love her more than anything and that we will not see regression in her. Pray for Bryan as he tries to comfort her in the days to come.

Below I want to share a letter I shared during our adoption process with MinLan. All of our family and friends are so excited to meet John Preston. But there are some very important steps and precautions we have to put into place to encourage his attachment to us as his family. This will not be a quick process. It will take time. And I have no idea how long it will be before we will be comfortable with you giving him love and affection, gifts, treats, etc. He has spent almost nine years without the concept of a mother and father to love and provide for him. We have to take him back to square one and teach him what that looks like and what it means to have a family. I’ll share more about what this will look like in our daily lives as the days go by.

Thank you for reading and for loving our family.


This may be long…please bear with me.

I promise it will make a difference in how you view us bringing our sweet boy home.

Dear Friends and Family,

As we get ready to embark on one of the most exciting events in our lives, we are thinking a lot about the people around us and how much our lives are going to change. Family has always been important to us. We are very fortunate to have such loving family and friends, especially our church family. We appreciate the support and excitement that you all have shown to us as we have made this journey. We’re thrilled about bringing home John Preston!

There are some things about adoptive parenting that are the same as parenting a biological child. There are also quite a few things that we have learned are different. Through our adoption agency, the UAB International Adoption Clinic, books, other adoptive parents, adoption social workers and more, we have learned that our little one needs a specific type of environment and parenting when he first comes home in order to feel safe and secure and to learn how to successfully bond with our family.

While we know that every child is different, we also understand that there are many possible things that will impact John Preston’s beliefs and behavior when he gets home. These include how much nurturing he received, if there was abuse or neglect, the amount and quality of food received, illnesses, the quality of care and John Preston’s unique temperament and personality. The result of these things can include behavioral issues, emotional disorders and a sense of grief and loss from being separated from the only home and caregivers our little one has ever known.

Adoption is a traumatic and scary event for any age child whether they are newborn or ten years old. They’re being removed from all of their routines and familiar surroundings. Even babies will feel grief and sadness at an event like this. In order to help John Preston feel safe and learn that we are his parents, we will be creating the type of environment that will promote security during this time.

When our child gets home, at the recommendation of experienced adoption professionals, we need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy family member. John Preston needs to learn that we are his parents. He news to feel nurtured and safe.

Here are some things we will be doing for John Preston based on research and experience of other children. We will try our best to live a very quiet life (so hard for us!!!!) with limited trips out and few visitors in for a little while. It will be very hard for us with our very busy schedule. We are not exactly sure how this will work in our lives. We will just take it day by day and make adjustments as we need to. We also want to be supportive of our other children and not upset their daily lives either. Thing might be difficult for us to figure out but we are committed to being FLEXIBLE!

Social workers and psychologists tell us that when children are first adopted, they may be overwhelmed, scared and nervous. By keeping our lives as boring as possible at first, we’ll be helping John Preston feel safe. This does NOT mean that we do not want visitors coming to see our little one for the first time. We will just have to limit it a little so it is not so overwhelming.  We do not want family and friends to stay away from us. We just can’t pass let everyone hug and kiss on John Preston and we will have to be mindful of overloading him with new things and people. We know you’ll want to hug, kiss and help spoil our sweet boy, but it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve his chances of attaching strongly to us. Until we feel John Preston has attached and clearly knows we are his parents, we will need to feed, and take care of him. I know that missing out on some sweet sugar and hugs will be disappointing to many of you. Have no fear; there will be many more once he becomes comfortable at home.

As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called “indiscriminate affection” and can mean that they haven’t really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign John Preston has attached to us if during his first months home he will just let anyone take him and interact affectionally  without searching for his mom or dad. For sure it is going to be a weird and wonderful experience for us. We are so excited and can’t wait to bring John Preston home so you can all see him and get to know him. Things are just a little different when you are adopting  rather than having a biological child. He will be adapting to a lot of new things…new parents, new family, new home, new foods, new time zone (totally opposite what he’s used to). That is a lot to swallow at one time.

We appreciate your understanding in reading this. We’re sharing this with you so that you will understand how dedicated and committed we are to helping our new little one adjust and adapt during this stressful time in his life. We feel confident that everything will smooth out when it’s God’s time and we will be on more of a normal schedule.

We Love You All,
Jenifer and Bryan

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