Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Feature: Beau

DOB: April 2008

This cutie is Beau, he is 5 years old. He likes playing games and playing outside. He is a very curious little guy and very outgoing.

Beau has dwarfism (suspected due to his stature) and a right lip cleft and palate that has been repaired. He is very active and introverted guy at times. He loves to share his toys with the other children.

If you would like more information about this child, please fill out a preliminary application by clicking on the drop down menu above entitled "Adoption"  and selecting "Application" at  Please mention the child's name in the comments section. The application fee is waived for all Waiting Child inquiries.

Feel free to contact our office by phone 970-532-3576 or email

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: To Bring or Not to Bring... That was the question

A couple weeks ago we posed a question to our Facebook families. 

When going to pick up your new child in China should you take your other children with you? Yea or Nay and why?

We had many responses to the pros and cons of traveling with your other children. Here are a couple of the highlighted points. Do you agree? 


Two of the biggest concerns that were brought up were: 

1. Bonding with new child: When taking your other child/children will that discourage your adopted child from bonding properly? Sometimes taking your other child/children actually helps the bonding process. Especially if the adoptive child has been used to living with other children in the orphanage. They might feel more comfortable with other siblings around. If your child has lived in a foster home it might be harder on them bonding if they are not the center of your universe for those few short weeks. 

2. Is the cost worth it?  The major cost of traveling and bringing your other child/children is going to be the airfare to and from the foreign country. Most hotels have a rate per family so that should not be an issue. Food and fun is going to be more but at some restaurants (even hotel restaurants) have age limits where a child under a certain age eats for less or even free. 

What our families are saying: 

Amy: I think it depends on the kids, their age, and their ability to travel. Also, the expense must be considered. We are taking ours on this trip but did not on our last adoption trip. There is no right answer.

Melody:  I think it is definitely different for each family and circumstance. We adopted twins and left our 6 year old at home. We loved having the time to bond and spend with the twins and we could not have done that with our older daughter. She would have been fine on the trip but it was best for us to spend the time with just the girls. If we had only adopted 1, we probably would have taken our older daughter.

Rachel:  I think it depends and is different for each family. We just brought home our 18-month-old daughter and had to leave our 3 and 4 year old sons at home. It was hard to be away from them but I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to travel with all three! We would have had to take someone else with us and the expense would have been so much more. We loved having one-on-one time with just our daughter before jumping back into the busy life with three little ones  For us I know this was the right decision for this time in our lives.

Janna: We have two very busy boys, 3 and 8. They stayed home with my husband and mom while my dad and I went. I missed them terribly and would have gone crazy without FaceTime. My boys would have had a very hard time in Nanchang, but would have been okay in Guangzhou. It would be easier to take them if we ever were to adopt again, because there wouldn't be so many unknowns. But I'd say it was definitely the right choice to go without them and was a special time I had with our daughter.

Dawn: We left our 5 year old at home with my parents. It was a long, emotional trip and I (even 5 years later) still feel it would have been too much for our older daughter. It also gave my husband and I some alone time to bond with our new daughter.

Ali: We left our two boys 10 and 8 at home so they would stay on their schedule and routine. This trip is not a vacation, and is emotionally taxing and physically taxing. Also it gives you time to spend with your adopted child one on one:)

Jillian: We were in china for 29 days (r/t a holiday and Asian games; govmt offices were closed), so ours was a vacation as well. It was pretty easy, no issues with crying or attachment. We even went to Chengdu and Beijing after we were done in Guangzhou. I did not feel like it was too emotionally taxing. I had a great time in china and our son was perfect. I'm usually on the go at home, so it wasn't much different, with the exception of having a new child with us, which is what we went for. I think he attached to us so well because we didn't do all the crying when we first saw him (crying scares kids). We were confident and not overbearing. He trusted us right away. We even went to his orphanage the next day, and he would no longer go to the same nannies that took care of him for 2 years. I made the trip fun with very little stress (thanks to planning and being flexible). My advice, don't stress, go with the flow, and be positive. Kids sense stress.
If I got another child from china, no doubt in my mind would we bring him with us. He will always go everywhere I go, I want him to see the world. That might be the difference though, mine IS from china. If money is an issue, my advice is to not take extra kids/family. If its not an issue, take them, it's a trip of a lifetime.
AliciaWe were so grateful to have our 4 year old son with us when we traveled for the adoption of our 2 year old son. Christian, our new son, was absolutely terrified of everything. The only time he would relax was when our 4 year old would pull out a toy and play with him. The experience was especially valuable for our 4 year old because up until that point he was starting to ask about being in my tummy (he is adopted also). After the adoption of his brother he told everyone how mommy and daddy had to fly to a faraway place to get him.

Eva:I would if it is financially possible. We took our 3 year old to adopt 15 month old and it helped great with attachment. She loved him right away and vice versa. This changed after 2 months and they fight now some:)

Rebecca: I agree it depends on each circumstance. I am so thankful that we took our 2 girls with us. They were 8 and 12. Cole was very afraid of my husband and I and wanted nothing to do with us. But he played with his sisters right away. He to this day had a very special place in his heart for his sisters and while he did come around it did help with the transition.He was able to see how they interacted with us and that helped tons. Plus, it was an awesome family experience to do together and I also think they appreciate where he came from.

Juleanne: Did it both ways and both times went great. Maybe just Depends on the family, child & situation.

SO DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? Yea or Nae? Do you have any suggestions for us on whither to take a child/children with you when going to pick up your new adopted child? 
Let us know! Join the conversation! Let us know your feelings on the question. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Story Monday: A Mother's Heart

"Before He furnishes the abundant supply, we must first be made conscious of our emptiness, before he gives strength, we must be made to feel our weakness. Slow, painfully slow, are we to learn this lesson; and slower still to own our nothingness and take the place of helplessness before the Mighty One."

I love the above quote by A.W. Pink. That really is where I have been lately.

We have been wonderfully blessed with the addition of our new daughter into our family. She is a beautiful, kind, gentle, affectionate girl who is aware of other's feelings and is sensitive to them. She is generous, funny, adaptable, helpful and has a strong desire to fit in and do well in her new life situation.

So it doesn't really make sense to me that this should be difficult.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to add to our family through the miracle of adoption. I know that this stirring is something placed there by the Lord. Although I am smitten by the sweet babies waiting for a mommy's arms to hold them, and often long for those arms to be mine, it is the older waiting child that has really grabbed my heart; the ones that watch babies and younger children go home to forever families, knowing that they have little chance of that happening for themselves.

Before bringing K home I did lots of reading and research. I followed other family's journeys as they brought their teens home. In my heart and mind I was prepared!!

And truthfully, I am surprised by how hard it is.

It's hard because even with all my preparation our reality does not really meet my expectations.

After meeting our daughter a year before bringing her home and receiving information about her from others who had met her, I had created an image of who I thought she was. Now that we have her home I realize that although my expectations were not unrealistic they did not do a good job of describing who our daughter is.

I expected that like other children I had read about she might have difficulty giving and receiving affection. I had imagined us cautiously showing her affection, starting with a small kiss on the head at bedtime and then marveling several months down the road when she had progressed to a place where we could give her a warm hug, a kiss on the cheek and tell her how much we love her.

Instead our daughter is very affectionate; sometimes indiscriminately so. She will hug most people she meets in a social setting, even if they are not people we know well. She seeks out physical affection throughout the day and often will compete with the younger children for mine or with me for my husband's. She wants tight embraces with full mouth kisses several times throughout the day. If my husband or I should sit on the sofa we are like a magnet. For me, who tends to be less physically affectionate, this has been hard. With three small children that require a lot of physical affection, K's neediness in this area, and my own deep rooted character traits, I find myself struggling to meet the demands. I am unsure of where the balance lies and if and where there is a line that should be drawn. I do not want our daughter to ever feel any rejection from us, but I also want this to be an area in her life where she recognizes what is appropriate and what is not. I am finding out that this is a lot more difficult when your child is 13 rather than 4.    

I knew the language barrier would be hard. I knew that K would not learn as quickly as Levi did. I also knew that it would not be as easy to communicate through body language as it was with a smaller child. I expected that this would be quite frustrating to K.

What I didn't expect is how frustrating this would be to me.  I didn't realize how much time it would require to stop and explain conversations to her in ways that she could understand. I didn't anticipate feeling so impatient when a concept that I think should be understood after a certain amount of time is not. I didn't think it would be necessary for me to remind myself so many times throughout the day to be patient, to be kind and to take the time to teach the idea or words again. I didn't realize how helpless I would feel, seeing certain behaviors that I would like to work on, knowing that we do not yet possess the language to do that in any kind of helpful or constructive way.

I knew that there would be learned orphanage behavior that we would not want introduced to our younger children. I imagined myself facing each one with the intense compassion that I felt toward my daughter in all of my imaginings of her. I pictured myself dealing with each one constructively with a strong desire to help her work her way out of learned behaviors that were in no way her fault for having developed.

What I didn't expect was to find myself feeling angry when those negative behaviors directly impact our younger children. I didn't anticipate myself taking up such a strong defense on behalf of the children that I have already had opportunity to attach and bond so strongly to. I didn't think that I would have to remind myself not to allow these feelings to show on the outside, that each child was mine, equally loved and committed to, and that my responses always need to reflect that. I never imagined myself having to be reminded to view my daughter with the compassion that I so strongly felt going into this.

I knew that adding to our family and especially through an out of birth order adoption would change the dynamics in our home, after all we had already done this once. When we brought our son home I loved watching our little girls adapt to this new situation. I loved watching them welcome L as their brother. I loved seeing the different character traits this brought out in each of them as they built their relationship with him.
I didn't expect that this new experience would be so unlike our first. Bringing K home has now changed these newly formed relationships between the three younger children. This is hard to watch. There is a new level of sibling rivalry that has been brought about as the little ones compete for K's attention. With K having a need to fit in and to be accepted, being the newest addition, these dynamics provide a perfect opportunity to bring out more negative character traits as she plays into this situation. As a mother with a strong sense of protectiveness for her little ones, it again brings about situations where I have to remind myself to not respond instinctively, but to be fair to each child, recognizing that there is a history of learned behaviors that contribute to the ones that I now must deal with.

I expected that K would have institutional delays and that she would probably act much different than her "real" age. I thought it would be endearing, and it was; for a while.

I wasn't prepared for how that would look on an emotional level or in social settings. Even though cognitively, I know that she is delayed, and that this is to be expected, I find myself often expecting more, thinking she should respond in situations as a 13 year old would or at least close to that. I didn't anticipate that the behaviors that we would be dealing with would be very much like the ones we are dealing with in the smaller children and just how frustrated this would make me "feel."

I do not share any of this to bring discouragement to anyone in the process or who might be considering the adoption of an older child. I also hope that I do not reflect a complaining attitude or any regrets. I do not have any. Our daughter is an incredible blessing to our family, who in spite of all of the challenges, adds joy to our lives.

Parenting is hard work. Parenting a child who has faced rejection and hurts that most of us are unable to comprehend is even harder. Each of these children is in need of a love that is often beyond what we are able to give. They need a level of commitment that is unbreakable and parents who are willing to work through the unique challenges that their adoptions will bring.

I have received an incredible amount of help on this journey through Karen Purvis' book "The Connected Child" and especially through the bible study guide available on their website. In the introduction to this study we are reminded that it is our strongest human desire to belong and that our goal as parents should not only be to bring about right behavioral responses, but to have our children involved in connected relationships. The goal of achieving desired behavior in our children, and particularly in K would not be so difficult. She really does have a strong desire to please us. A goal of achieving desired behavior, while developing in her a strong sense of connectedness and belonging is a much more lofty goal. It is one that requires a much more concentrated effort.

As her parents we must be willing and able to do that hard work. A lot of the time, I feel incredibly inadequate.

I was given a beautiful reminder the other day when a visiting pastor to our church spoke on Matthew 11:28-30. He first recounted to us how Jesus, as a carpenter, would have had the distinct job of fashioning farming implements, including yokes. He told us how each yoke would be fashioned to be a perfect fit for the oxen that it was designed for. If used properly this yoke would then make the work easier and the oxen would more effectively accomplish the task that was required of it. If the oxen chose to fight against the yoke, regardless of it's perfect design, it would cause chafing and discomfort.

What a beautiful picture of the perfect design of our own life experiences. If we will allow them to work in the way that they are intended, rather than struggling against them, the Lord can work more effectively in and through us to accomplish His purposes for our lives.

I needed this reminder last week as I struggled with guilt and condemnation at my own shortcomings. I needed to be reminded that the Lord is not surprised at any of the ugliness that remains deeply rooted in my own character, but rather that He has fashioned this current situation to help bring forth the fruit or godly character that he desires to see there in its stead. How I pray that I will learn to fully cooperate with Him, allowing Him to change me into the wife, mother and friend that He wants me to be.

Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.
Corrie Ten Boom

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Feature: Henry

Sweet little Henry was born on July 2012, weighing 7.8 pounds. 

He loves to babble and squeal and is meeting all developmental milestones. 

An echocardiogram shortly after his birth revealed “AS (valvular and subvalvular, dp+47mmHg) c subaortic membrane and aortic valve thickened.” His heart condition continues to be monitored. A follow-up echo was performed January 22, 2013, and another echo is scheduled for July. 

Henry’s birth mother was prescribed medications for insomnia and depression from February to March of 2012, and took electroencephalo therapy once at a mental health center. She also received mental health consultations. 

Families living in Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, California and Washington may apply to review Henry's file. If you would like to review his file, please submit a pre-application on our website, and mention Henry's name in the comments section.

 There is a $3,000 grant available to assist with his adoption costs.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Two new webinars from Adoption Learning Partners!!

Top 10 Things Adopted Kids
Wish Their Parents Knew 

Tuesday, May 14 7PM Central
Q&A: 8PM
FEE: $15 or $18.50 (for certification)

top ten Adopted people and adoptive parents don't always look at adoption the same way. Many of the challenges adoptees struggle with may be difficult for parents to understand and come to terms with. Both a parent's and a child's adoption experiences change over time, based on life events, ability to understand the circumstances, and new facts as they become available or are discovered.
Understanding your child's feelings about adoption is essential, so how do you gain some insight?

We've gathered a panel of adopted people, featuring adopted person, author and speaker, Sherrie Eldridge. Listen in and ask questions as they discuss:
  • What they wish their parents had known
  • Their feelings about loss, shame and anger and their love for their parents 
  • What feelings they shared with their parents and what they kept to themselves
  • What kept them from talking to their parents when they were younger and why

Brothers And Sisters In Adoption

A Discussion With The Experts

FEE: $10 (with certification)

Arleta James discusses helping children navigate relationships when new kids join the family. Our experts share transition tips and strategies for welcoming a toddler or school aged child home, focusing on preparing brothers and sisters prior to adoption and the first year after adoption.
Our experts will discuss:
  • Transitioning new family members (sleeping, eating, culture)
  • Preparing and integrating brothers and sisters
  • Attachment and expectations
  • How to make these strategies a part of your every day life

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Story Monday: Jo Family

Family of Three, Two Months Later….
Tomorrow will mark two months since our precious son arrived home, into our arms. I have been meaning to write down thoughts, reflections, and a form of “thank you” for some time now.  However, now I really understand the reality of motherhood and all its joys, but also its constraints…. Hopefully some of you will understand.J  These thoughts are being shared because of the deep realization that none of this would be so sweet if were not for all of the love, support, and prayers of so many friends and family members.
            This journey of adoption has been truly life changing and one of the most wonderful decisions ever made in my life. With the risk of sounding really cheesy,  and plagiarizing a little from my sweet husband’s Valentine’s card to me,  it really is mind boggling that I can have both the gift of my husband, “the love of my life” and now, my son, “the joy of my life.”  Of course the decision was not one made overnight or made alone. For many years my heart was drawn towards “one day” adopting.  This was before Hyuk and I were ever even dating.  In our dating years, we spoke of a mutual desire to one day adopt, but also knew that we would not rule out the possibility of having children biologically.  I honestly thought it would be easier to have children biologically rather than through adoption.  Having worked in the field of adoption for a few years, the hurdles and costs, waits, and heartaches were even more real; and it seemed to be a far off dream for us than anything.  Then days, months, even years of marriage past and Hyuk and I began to wonder if adoption may be the only option for growing our family.  While it was a deep desire to begin the adoption process and would be a dream come true, it just seemed there would be no way we could make it happen, especially financially.  Days past and I began to feel stuck, maybe we would be that couple who just grows old together and strives to bless other families and children in ways other than parenthood.  Sometimes this seemed o.k., if it was really God’s plan for us, but the sadness began to sit in…  Tears were shed and prayers were said.  A great lesson was learned, never give up hope and never stop praying.  Waiting may be hard and the path may seem impossible, but nothing is impossible with God!  
It is now obvious that the Lord showed us a way that would honor Him, but would bless us incredibly!! It still amazes me how blessed we are.  After taking a huge leap of faith two years ago this month and beginning the process of adopting our son, even more patience, endurance, and love was learned.  We knew that the process could be tumultuous and unpredictable… Looking back, it really could have been much more than what we experienced.  Emotions are not always the easiest to prepare for, even when your head knows what might lay ahead, the heart doesn't always know how it will react.  Paperwork moved smoothly and there were not even problems with approvals on the US side…. Each step of the way relied on a great deal of faith in the provision of funds, my biggest worry at the time, but again, miraculously to me, the Lord provided!! Even after many hours of filling out grant applications and receiving denial after denial in the mail that we did not qualify for any assistance, the Lord provided in other ways.
  In November 2010, we met our match on paper, HyeonSoo…. the sweetest little face that melted our hearts from the first email and phone call.  Then we began to wait again… after five, then six years of marriage, the waiting continued, to have our son home.  Delays began; delays our minds expected, but hard. Indescribably the heartache weighed on our hearts to see the pictures of our son growing up so far away.  The hardest months were towards the end when each holiday past and each time frame that was predicted seem to keep changing. 
Then Christmas was approaching and we didn't even know if our son would be home before the end of 2011.  We will never forget the love and support of so many during this time- probably still unaware of just how many prayers were spoken for us and our son.  He made it home before Christmas, an answered prayer, on December 16, 2011, and it was the best day yet in my marriage… Probably the most nervous I have ever felt and the most joyful I have ever felt all at the same time.  The first night was the hardest and scariest and I will never forget my dear husband saying, “…we will get through this” (as our little boy seemed so scared and we wondered if we could really ever comfort him and if he would ever realize the love we have for him).  Knowing my husband’s heart this could only come from a deep belief and confidence in the faithfulness of our Lord.  It is this that will also get us through the years of ahead of us as well.
Today we see the wondrous works of the Lord in our home! It is so incredible to think that we started seriously praying for this little boy and his birth family, months before he was even born (began adoption process in Feb. 2010, HyeonSoo was born May 25, 2010 near Seoul, S.Korea, referral/matched November 16, 2010).  Josiah HyeonSoo is truly a God given joy.  As a little boy who left a home so far away… a home of love and the only family (amazing foster family) he knew for 18 months, he is adjusting phenomenally. We have our challenges, but when I think of all the worries and problems we could face, it is amazing to me how smoothly the transition has gone so far. He voluntarily gives us kisses and hugs everyday, calls us oma and appa (mom and dad).  His smile lights up our world. Over the past two weeks he has started saying, “I luuu…”  ( for I love you).  He looks to us for approval or disapproval (acts up like a toddler) and makes us laugh like we never have before.  He is curious, energetic, funny and fearless at times (thus the cast on his arm already). He is growing emotionally and on many developmental levels.  Our bonding as a family is a lifelong process and we know it will not be an easy journey; however, a thankful heart should be expressed and praises given.  The Lord heard our prayers and we know He was protecting our son during those months apart and most of all He has blessed us with a beautiful, loving, growing son.  One we will always be thankful for, one we will always cherish prayers for, and one we pray will know and worship the One who brought him to us. In whatever way he goes, we pray he leads others to worship our Lord.
May adoption not be feared or felt impossible for anyone considering such a journey! It has been and is a wonderful, life changing, blessed journey.  It is at times, the hardest experience and scariest; but in reflection of it all and staring into my son’s eyes, all the wait, tears, unknown, and frustrations, are beyond worth it. It is worth my tired days, journeying into new unknowns and learning to balance life as a new parent. I think this quote is fitting and describes much of the adoption process.  It is from one of my devotional readings today and I know they are words that we will have to hold onto as we move forward as Josiah’s parents, “When anxiety attempts to wedge in its way into your thoughts, remind yourself that I am your Shepherd.  The bottom line is that I am taking care of you; therefore, you needn't be afraid of anything.  Rather than trying to maintain control over your life, abandon yourself to My will.  Though this may feel frightening-even dangerous, the safest place to be is in my will.” – (Devotion by Sarah Young)
Thank you to all who have supported, prayed for, and continue to bless our family!
“For with God nothing will be impossible.”- Luke 1:37