I'll go ahead and post this, but I'll be back with lots more pictures and stuff to write about.
God certainly knew what he was doing when he gave us Emmeline (our newest little one who is now 4 months old) right in the midst of this adoption process. This is our first adoption...and of course we knew that Joseph would have missed out on the experience of a Mom and Dad, on the experience of family etc. but I don't think anything could have opened my eyes more perfectly to what Joseph has missed than to be experiencing our newest baby right now. To see her from the very start...to meet all her physical and emotional needs, to listen and be attentive to her cries, right down to the simple act of eye contact and facial expressions...I am now seeing all that Joseph has been deprived of and what we will need to go back to and experience with him in order to meet those needs for him when he gets home.
Dan and I have been reading and reseaching so we can be best prepared to care for Joseph when he comes home. It has been very eye opening. Most people who haven't adopted really have no idea what is involved in meeting the neglected needs of a child who is adopted from an orphanage. The simple things we take for granted when we raise our own children are just not present with kids that come from an orphanage.
Joseph is three years old. We are estimating that he is more on the level of a 12-15 month old than a three year old. We knew he would be developmentally much younger...but we hadn't learned until recently all the things that can be done to go back to help "fill in the gaps" for a child emotionally that hasn't been cared for in the same way you would care for your child in your home. Dan and I are realizing how seriously we are going to need to take meeting our son's needs...no matter how young those needs might seem...because we want him to have everything he has missed to be as whole as he possibly can be.
So right now a lot of discussion is going on in our house as to how to best meet Joseph's needs. And it is definitely going to be awkward at times...because we know that a lot of what we are going to need to focus on might not make sense to a lot of people, but it will be worth it for him. Our goal is definitely not to expect him to be his age or for him to be "secure and independent" but to be truly secure and know he can be fully dependent on us as much as he needs until he feels secure.
I am so thankful for God's timing and for our little baby #5 who is helping prepare the way for her big brother in ways she'll never even know she helped. With fresh eyes we are seeing what he will need...and we absolutely cannot wait to start meeting those needs for him. He has waited long enough.
So for our friends, please pray for us...and understand the strange and challenging road we have ahead of us. Know that we are doing what we're doing for Joseph's best interest and we can use all the support we can get!
And speaking of baby # 5 who has been such a blessings in more ways than we can count during this whole process....
|She's finally starting to be ok with being on her belly. She'd still rather be in a standing position amidst all the "action" of family life. She LOVES personal interaction and is such a lovey.|
|The current gang all together before they head out to the pool for a swim. We can't wait till Joseph is right in there with all of them!|