Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And Silas Makes Four

For the past two weeks, Gabe, Stevie, and I have been here in Ethiopia with our newest family member, Silas. On Monday the 27th we picked up our sweet boy from his home and took permanent custody of him. We've been spending a lot of time getting to know him and this beautiful country that gave him to us. He is a quiet little guy, loves to eat, and is learning english and this new way of life quickly.

So far, we have traveled to the Djibouti boarder for some kayaking, eaten a lot of interesting food, visited the home of an Ethiopian friend, shopped at the Merkato (largest african tent market), visited the zoo, and frequented the playgrounds. It's rainy season here so we spend the afternoons in our hotel room to stay dry.

Stevie is loving Ethiopia and her new brother and they are loving her. She is the object of a lot of attention here. White people are already a very rare and interesting sight in Addis, throw in a blonde, talkative two year old girl and we can draw some crowds. It has become very normal to her that everyone has to touch her hair and kiss her hands. She doesn't mind at all.

We have spent the past few days focusing a lot of attention of Silas' attachment and bonding. He was very excited to be with us and maybe even clingy for the first week. This week has brought along some new challenges. Challenges that we very much expected and prepared ourselves for. Children with attachment issues (most adopted toddlers and older children) often times throw up a defense when they feel themselves becoming attached to someone. After being shuffled from his first mother, to a caregiver, and then to another, he knows all to well how hard it is to be abandoned by someone he loves. It is a natural response for him to assume that we will do the same.

There are two reasons we wanted to let you know that we are facing this hurdle. First we would covet your prayers. Pray that we would love him with the endurance and patience that we have been loved with. Pray that his heart would be at peace with this transition. Second we wanted our friends and family to be aware of our strategy to make this easier on him. If you are around us during our first few weeks home, you may notice that Silas is being very affectionate toward you and less than interested in Gabe and myself. It would not be a first if he called you mommy or daddy. While this can be flattering, this is an unhealthy way for him to detach himself from us. This is his subconscious way of telling us "these people are just as much my parents as you are". Don't be surprised or offended if we need to take him into another room to regroup. We know that he is not doing this because he doesn't love us, but because he is afraid to let himself love us. Another part of our transition plan is to be intentional about, only us, meeting his needs. While we are so excited to have visitors and hugs and kisses, it is important that we do all of the parent jobs. Feeding him, taking him to the restroom, putting his shoes on, wiping his nose, etc. This reassures him that we really are going to take care of him.

I hope that doesn't sound like a lot of rules or like we are dealing with some crisis. Silas is a very happy, healthy little boy. There is nothing natural about taking a three year old away from everything he knows. There is nothing easy about two strangers calling themselves your parents after your mother gave you up. While there is nothing natural or easy about it, it is still perfectly within God's plan for him and us. We are honored that the Lord chose us for this journey. Thrilled that He chose Silas and Stevie from different lineage, nations, and circumstances to be our children. We are beyond excited to see how the Lord uses this part of our story for His glory.