Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jonathan Had Fun

We had a wonderful day yesterday with Jonathan. When we met him we clearly saw fear in his eyes, but that quickly went away as we reminded him that he had seen us at McDonald's, and gave him quarters to feed the animals. As we walked through Maymont Park in Richmond, looking at the animals, we talked with and interacted with Jonathan. He did not seem shy at all. A very short time into our visit he was walking along, talking to Tim .

Tim pointed out animals to him and both shared little bits of information they knew about them with each other and the rest of us.
As our walk progressed, Jonathan became tired and sat down to rest. I pulled out bubbles that I had brought along and he seemed to really enjoy them. After convincing him it would be better to chase them on flat ground instead of the side of a hill, we walked on.
A short way up our path, Jonathan slipped and skinned his knee. After a short rest for recovery, he let me hold his hand to help him hop along, saying, "I can't walk on it at all." Within about 10 hops uphill, I suggested he let Tim carry him on his shoulders. Jonathan let Tim pick him up and seemed to really enjoy being carried along, especially when Tim let him steer him by putting his hands up as handle bars and turning as Jonathan led.

When we reached the top of the hill, the two ladies that were with us left us with Jonathan while they went to get the car. Jonathan seemed a bit nervous, but I pulled out the bubbles and he enjoyed chasing them as we coaxed him up to the meeting place.
We left the park a short time later and got a drink, finishing our time for the day at a duck pond. Jonathan kept looking for flat rocks to skip in the water and played with a feather in the water with me. At one point Jonathan came up beside me leaned in and kind of gave me one of those head-shoulder hugs that completely warmed my heart.

Jonathan was smiling very big as we said good-bye and told him we would see him again very soon.
The meeting was a success.

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Met with Jonathan

Yesterday was a very full day. We met at McDonald's to view and be viewed by Jonathan. We arrived a half-hour past the beginning of our hour of time with him due to a mess up in communication. We were given the address to the wrong McDonald's. The plan was for us to be there first and Jonathan and his therapist would enter and come to say "Hello". We would then interact with Jonathan in a nonthreatening way. As it turned out, he was the only child in the play place when we arrived, and he knew right away what was up. He was quite nervous and for the most part did not interact with us. He was able to observe us from the safety of the tunnels however and see that we are safe. He did venture down near us a couple of times, but very cautiously and for short periods of only 2-3 minutes. On one of these occasions he opened the emergency exit and the alarm sounded. The therapist immediately stepped around the corner to find the janitor to turn off the alarm, leaving me standing beside him to verbally sooth him from his apprehension about the loud noise. I then had his attention and told him about the time Nathaniel pulled the alarm at a school during swimming lessons and fire trucks arrived filled with firemen . He was interested, smiling and said he wanted to do it again so that firemen would come. We explained why they wouldn't come and that the janitor wouldn't be happy to shut off the alarm again so he shouldn't do it again. Hopefully I didn't open a new can of worms with that one. It was nice to have a positive interaction with him though. Isn't God is a humorous and thoughtful God?
Before we felt like we had been there at all, it was time for Jonathan to leave. It was quite entertaining watching this poor young therapist try to get an unwilling, crafty, feisty, little boy to get his shoes on and into his car seat. We were watching from a distance and saw her put him into one side of her SUV to avoid having him get too wet in the heavy rain. She walked around to the other side to buckle him in. He quickly climbed over the seat into the back as she arrive at his side of the car. She went around to open the back and he climbed back over the seat into the back seat. She went back to the side door...and on and on this went. I don't know how she ever managed to coax him into the seat, but she was completely drenched by the time they left. We felt bad for her, but it was a bit of comic relief.
Later in the afternoon, we met with Jonathan's social workers and his foster parents. That was a time of reassuring them of our desire to do what is best for Jonathan as is theirs. It was also a time of assuring his foster mom that we are not working against her, but with her. She is really hurting right now. (I have a suspicion that he is being placed into a new home due to their marriage being in deep distress.) They graciously shared photos of Jonathan and information about favorite things and usual routines, names of his pets, etc.
Jonathan's birthday will be on Tuesday. We will get to see him Monday, but we will not be celebrating his birthday with him at this time. We may go for ice cream in small celebration of it next Sunday with his foster parents. This would be a very short visit since the foster mom is very emotional at this time and we don't want to pressure her too much to stay in control for too long. She has loved Jonathan wholeheartedly for the past 3 years, never intending to ever give him up. This is taking an emotional toll on her. Please keep her in your prayers.
We arrived home very late last night, and very tired and drained. I was not really aware how stressed I was about the meetings yesterday until this morning. I feel wrung out. Getting a call about seeing Jonathan again on Monday has helped a lot to lift me up again, but I still feel very tired today.
We are looking forward to a beautiful day of fellowship with some families from church here on Sunday and that always energizes me. I thank God continually for his grace in bringing us to this wonderful body of believers.

Until Late,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beautiful Virginia Day

The weather today is perfect. I love that in Virginia the fall and spring are so long and beautiful. The moderate temperature is truly a delight. We are all basking in the joy left over from a fun Lord's Day picnic with our church. Tim's mom and dad returned safely from their trip to the Clan Ewing meeting in Northern Virginia. We have experienced two small blips in our day. Tim's dad discovered his lovely two hour walk while lost in the Great Dismal Swamp behind our house has left him covered in Chigger bites. He is soaking away in Epsom salts right now.
The other small blip is we have to wait to meet Jonathan until Thursday. He has come down with a stomach virus and will not be up for our visit tomorrow. :( That disappointment however has been softened with the news that we are indeed on schedule to meet him this week. We were disappointed Friday evening to receive an email indicting that the process may be delayed. This news had been received with much disappointment and stress. We are continually reminded that God is in charge and this is His plan and we are merely willing tools.
Our God is an Awesome God!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Adoption Story to Date

I have decide to update all of our friends and loved ones on our adoption process via my blog so that I could cover you all at once and remember important details. We were presented with the opportunity to be considered for Jonathan, a 5 year old Caucasian boy on August 22, 2008. We were told that the case workers may be looking for a home school family for him since he is not integrating well into kindergarten and daycare. He has been in the same foster home since he left his birth mother's cousin's care at the age of 3. He had been shuffled from his birth mom to cousin and then the cousin abandoned him at a hospital to end her care of him.
His foster parents had planned to adopt him when parental rights became officially terminated, which was in February of this year. As time progressed, however, they began to realize he was not thriving in his daycare environment and really needed the consistency of a stay-at-home mom.
On September 4 we went to Richmond to meet the case workers for Jonathan, along with 3 other couples who were being considered also. Whitney attended with us as she and I were on a return trip from WV at the time. We received a lot of scary information regarding this small child. It seemed as though everyone was desperately trying to find a label to fit his challenging behaviors.
We prayed long and hard, asking for prayers from our church, and consulting with another family who had adopted twins with similar adjustment difficulties, and with his social worker some more. After much deliberating, we decided it might not be in Jonathan's best interest for us to adopt him. Yet... God had decided otherwise and as we again reevaluated and considered, He brought us to realize that Jonathan is exactly the little one God has hand-picked for our family.
I was invited to go to see Jonathan and watch him interact in his kindergarten class on the 19th of September to see for myself his animated eyes and his behavior. He did not know who I was. I enjoyed playing with blocks with him, watching him play learning games on a computer, which he loved, and hang out at a drawing center, which he did not have any interest in. That day, realizing that Jonathan has many difficulties and challenges to overcome, I fell crazy in love with this precious little boy and together our family decided we are committed to loving Jonathan for a lifetime.
Jonathan's social worker met with his foster parents yesterday to let them know they found a family for him. We, or maybe just I, will meet with Jonathan and his social workers at a restaurant on Tuesday the 23rd, where we/I will be introduced to him as his new parents. His social workers are still trying to decide if it would be better for him to meet us together or one at a time.
Thursday, September 25, both Tim and I will get a chance to spend 2 hours with Jonathan. We will then go, perhaps to his foster home, to meet with his foster parents and see where he has been living for the past almost 3 years.
After these initial meetings, we will be meeting with Jonathan at least 3 times per week, working up to an overnighter and to eventually him moving in with us.
We are looking forward to celebrating Jonathan's 6th birthday with him on September 30, and hoping he will be permanently in our home by mid October.
Blessings to all,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Life Today

Today, I woke up to a beautiful new day with my family. We were also very blessed to have with us Tim's parents, having just arrived yesterday evening. They were very game and joined us in an evening of contra dancing with other families from our church. I met them all for the evening after spending an hour earlier in the day at a kindergarten class looking in on a little 5 year old boy. This visit was the preliminary visit to see if we want to go through with the process of bringing this little one into our home. We are so excited that God has brought this sweet little boy, Jonathan into our lives to become our new youngest son. We know that Jonathan is the child that God has put on our hearts to pray for these past three years and we are looking for the many upcoming years of being a part of his life.