Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rejoice with Me

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me!" Luke 15:3-7

It is so hard to find words adequate to express our joy. As I reflect on our Maren's home-coming this phrase "rejoice with me" captures what is in my heart. Our daughter is HOME! The lost is found. Rejoice with me.

Alex and I have prayed since 2003 that the Lord would set an orphan into our family. Many mornings at breakfast I would sit down with our children and we would ask the Lord to bring us a baby who needed our family. We would say, "we are available please make a way".

However, the whole idea of adopting seemed overwhelming. We wanted to adopt so much but it would take a miracle for us to be able to do it.

Finding His Hands Taiwan was a miracle. The fact that Maren was not aborted was miraculous. Financing our adoption was another series of miracles. Being matched with a birth mom who was such a perfect complement to our family was another miracle. All of these miracles has given us great hope that God is at work. We pray that we will all be in heaven together one day. We are so happy that God has provided miracle after miracle.

It is with this joy that we wish to invite you to rejoice with us on November 14, 2010. You are invited to Maren's first birthday party. We are holding an open house in Maren's honor at in our home on Sunday, November 14th from 4-7 p.m.

In lieu of gifts, we will have a basket available for anyone wishing to make a tax deductible donation of any amount to His Hands Taiwan, the orphanage where Maren received her care for the first seven months of her life.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Alex and Beth

For friends at a distance who would want to bless Maren's orphanage the U.S. address is:

His Hands Taiwan
P.O. Box 404
Leakey, Texas 78873

You can write in honor of Maren Brodine on the memo line.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Love Her All the Time

Maren is 11 months old today! We must be settling into a routine because I didn't even think about it being a mile marker until we were at the YMCA this morning. We still rejoice in finally having her HOME! These kinds of days were always so hard when she was on the other side of the sea. We never wanted to miss out.

I decided to have a little photo shoot with her this morning. I probably should've waited because it was nearly her nap time and she was not a happy camper. She needed to sleep. But some of her "sad" pictures were so adorable I had to share them. We love her all the time, happy or sad!

She dislikes hats, bows, or anything on her head. She is happiest when she is exploring and touching. In fact, it is hard to get her to look at the camera because she is usually so busy and so focused on what she is doing.

She loves Sam. They are buddies! He can't wait for her to walk and follow him around. (He may change his mind about that.)

She is beginning to laugh whenever we laugh at something. She wants to be a part of the group. It is super super cute! This baby has captured our hearts. Love you, Marenbella!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We Go Together

Maren has been home for a little over 3 months. People often ask us how bonding is going. Some people offer commentary saying, "she looks like she has bonded now". This is our first adoption. We are newbies. We feel "bonding" is going very well. And, we believe bonding is not a one time thing.

Bonding is not something that can be calculated or comes to a definitive end. It is an ongoing process that takes time. It is about relationship and growing trust and love. We loved Maren so much before we ever met her. And we are more attached to her
today than ever. Tomorrow I believe we will know her a little better and our connection will be even stronger.

We have been very purposeful, intentional, and careful for the past 3 months with Maren for her long term good. This has not been easy. Our actions have only been with her best interest in mind. She needs us in a very special way. She needs to learn who her family is first. She needs to know that we are her primary caregivers and nurturers. We are different than other people.

I have learned a lot through my research on adoption and bonding. You can see a few of my favorite books if you click here. Also, I have stumbled onto an amazing website by a specialist in child psychology. I would also like to link that here. These resources are especially for adoptive families. However, I think there is a lot of wisdom here for any parent or interested person.

Our social worker recommended at our first home visit in August that no one outside of our family would hold Maren for 6 months. We have chosen to follow her professional counsel. Others who adopt make different choices and that is o.k. Each family has to do what they believe is best for their child.

When we made this decision it was not about other people and what they would think and how they would react. We are aware that some people have felt excluded. People are dying to hold this precious little bundle. I can't blame them! She's wonderful! We empathize with others and have not wished to hurt them. However, if we don't give Maren what we believe she needs, who will? It is not easy to ask friends to wait. But six months is not long in the scheme of Maren' life.

Maren and I are always together. This is one of my greatest joys. We are making up for the time that we were half a world apart. She is learning that Alex and I are here for her. We want to meet her needs. I have taken full responsibility for all of her feedings because I want her to know I am her mommy. I nursed our first 4 children and I want to give her the same priority, love, and commitment as her brothers and sisters.

Our house is not as clean as I would like. I am more tired than I had been before she came home. Alex and I are rarely alone. But, I don't have an ounce or a minute of regret. I am trying to fully soak in and enjoy this time which goes all too quickly. I can't believe we are so close to her first birthday!

Adoption is a passion of mine. Alex and I are praying and seeking the Lord about the future of our family. I would love to do this again some day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Letting My Perfectionism Go

I cannot believe how little I have blogged here since arriving in Taiwan! I had been planning to write every day on our trip. I thought I was off with a bang when I posted
"Camp Wannameechameg" from our Omaha hotel room the night before our departure. But once Maren was in my arms I found it very challenging to type one-handed. Blogging has had to wait.

I thought when I got home I would go back and catch up the blog. I wanted it to be chronological so I have been waiting to post anything current until I had caught up. Well, Maren has been home from Taiwan for over 3 months now and I am not caught up and catching up doesn't seem to be easy. She was sleeping when I started this post and now she is wide awake in all her cuteness and charm kicking and cooing and giggling as I type. So much for my plans....Maren is better.