Monday, December 21, 2009

Expect the worst and hope for the best. Pray for us.

We have been waiting for Jack for over 4 months now, and knew we were going to adopt over a year before that. We have been preparing ourselves for this journey. Taking classes about adoption, reading books on attachment. Researching and learning about everything that we may expect. But Jack, Jack has not been waiting for us. He is in his little nine month old world that consists of living with a wonderful woman who loves him very much. This is his foster mother. It is unbelievable how much love these foster mother's in Korea poor out into these children and the evidence is proven time and time again when these children are sent home so healthy and visibly well taken care of and loved, and by the heartache in a foster mother’s eyes when she hands over the child she has cared for, for so long. Jack does not know we are coming. He may not have even gotten the picture book we sent him of our family. We assume he did but we never heard. We will be total and complete strangers to him and we will be taking him away from the only mother he knows his Omma. He will be scared, confused, and will be in shock and morning over the loss of this woman who has loved and cared for him for over the past 5 months. He will be taken away by strangers who look like no one he has ever seen before. These strangers do not have black hair, they most likely are much taller than the people he usually sees. They won't have dark almond shaped eyes like the people who have comforted him everyday of his life so far. They may be scary to him. Yet he is supposed to learn that these people are his forever mom and dad. Then these people will take Jack on an airplane, which can be a scary experience and his ears may hurt, and he will want his Omma and wonder why she is not coming to get him. For weeks he will search for her, he may even cry out the word Omma in his sleep.
We will do everything in our power to make Jack feel safe. It will take Jack a while before he will trust us. It will take longer for him to open his heart to us, because it will be broken and unable to open for a while. He may push us away and not want to look us in the eyes because he is broken inside and does not want to trust again, or love again because he feels he may be left again. He may seek out others and reach out to them. Mom or dad shopping, so to speak, as a way to have control over his situation.
We as his mother and father will do all we can to foster the growth of attachment for our child. This includes only us filling his every need. Only us changing diapers, only us feeding, only us picking him up if he starts to cry. He needs to learn who his mother and father are and when others take care of his needs he could become confused as to who is who. Or assume that the position is open to whoever comes by so why trust one person.
How long will this take? Well the books and research has said you can never put a number on it and only mom and dad will know when he is ready. Some well known books say one week with his new family for every month he was not. This would mean nine weeks before Jack has made a full transition to our family.
Transition is different from attachment however. He may have transitioned into our family by then but attachment is a long slow going process that is continually worked on and takes months and sometimes years. It is also a process that can have many setbacks. Things in Jack’s life may cause him to push us away again such as illness, or maybe just a memory that was triggered.
We know all of these things. We have a huge job ahead of us and would like prayers and support as we journey home with Jack. Jack will have experienced more loss and life changing experiences in his little life than I have ever in my whole life. He has lost a birthmother who he grew with for nine months. A child knows their birthmother. When I left Ethan in the nursery at the hospital shortly after birth they brought him back in saying he was hungry less than 10 minutes later, I found it strange because I had just fed him. So they laid him down next to me and his crying stopped instantly and he fell asleep and did not want to eat. He was not hungry, he wanted his mother. Internally Jack's little system knew he lost his birthmother and it remembers she was gone. His heart was healed a bit when he was placed with a foster family in the city in which he was born, but he lost her too when he moved to a second foster family in Seoul at around 4 months. Now Jack is going to lose a mother a third time. Many foresee this as such an awesome thing for Jack to come home to his forever family. Jack won't. We can see the big picture that a little 9 month old boy cannot see or comprehend. He will once again experience loss and pain. We expect to bring home a very sad boy, yes there will be bittersweet moments and even maybe some smiles and giggles along the way. Those are the moments we will live for and that will keep us going when at night he is mourning and pushing us away because we are not his Omma. Jack with be in mourning and will be grieving the loss of his foster mother, the loss of his home, the loss of the sights and smells and language of his birth country. He will be sent across the world to live with strangers who will slowly try to mend his little heart.
We know the power of prayer and know that God can do wonderful and marvelous things when we ask. We want to ask you to pray for us. We want you to pray for Jack and for his transition into our family. Surround us with a sense of peace as a family. Send us patience and understanding. I truly think this is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have seen it in the faces of others who have journeyed before me, but I have also seen the heartache and the low days of those same people. I know we will see those times. I just pray we don't stay there long. If you are still reading, thank you.


Nichole said...

What a wonderful post and I have tears in my eyes from reading it! We will pray for you, John and Jack during these next few weeks. Now, I need a Kleenex :)

Allen and Kala said...

You and your family will be in my prayers. I can only imagine what Jack is going to feel like. It sounds like you have a very good idea of what to expect and are prepared. It's one of the best things you can do for him.