He's 5 years old now and we can say that he has known us the longest. He has fallen asleep in his bed more times in our home than not in our home. He has used the words "mommy and daddy" referring to us more times than he hasn't. He has been cuddled and kissed and has been called "our son" longer than he hasn't. This was a big day for us.
For the last 2 1/2 years, since he has been home, much of our time and efforts have been on ensuring his security in our family and in our love.
The first 6 months home, we were the only ones in his life to help him fall asleep, feed him, kiss his booboos, change his diapers, bathe him. The adoption world calls this "cocooning". To the outside world, it may seem silly or strange to watch a 3 year old be fed by his mom with a spoon, or silly to UN-potty train just to RE-potty train.
There were many times in his first year home where I held Dima in my arms, for hours at a time, while he screamed and thrashed and struggled to understand what comfort from a mother's hold looks and feels like. He would have much rather have been left to the corner he chose where he could deal with his frustration on his own.
The voice in my head would tell me "just put him down if it makes him stop crying. It would be much easier that way and he would be happier...and so would I." I hated watching him cry, but I hated even more the thought that he didn't find comfort in my arms. So I would hold him, and often let both of our tears intersect on his cheek. I would sway back and forth, not allowing for his physical outcries to affect me.
I would whisper softly into his ear..."mama's here. Mama will help you calm down." And finally, his whole body would retreat, he would melt into my arms and stop crying. We would breath together, his breath matching mine, and then I would hug him and let him down.
Those days were brutal, but they were tremendously vital for building trust, love and attachment with our son. For children who are born into loving families, these lessons are learned from the moment their head touches their mother's chest after their first breath. These children learn that their diaper will be changed when it is dirty, they will be fed when they are hungry, and they will be comforted when they are sad.
They learn that their mother's arms are a place of comfort, nourishment and rest. They learn that their father's arms are a place of security and provision. These are deep truths that children learn that many parents don't even realize they are teaching.
But, for children who experience neglect in the early months and years of their lives, those lessons are not learned. In fact, in many cases, a different lesson is learned: that there is no one to trust. They learn if they want something, they have to fight for it. They learn that in order to survive, they have only themselves to rely on.
So, Wednesday October 24th was a very special day. It marked the trust built, the love received and the hope restored in a life, in a family. We wanted to celebrate. Many families choose to do a dedication of their child when they are a baby. Sometimes this includes a baptism or a ceremony. We simply didn't have the opportunity to do a baby dedication with Dima.
So, on Friday evening, to celebrate this day in our family's life, we decided to have a dedication service for Dima. We wanted it to be a spiritual marker of committing our son into the hands of God - for His work and His plans for Dima's life.
We gathered in a little chapel inside our church with a few close friends. We asked each person to write a word that they would commit to praying over Dima for the remainder of his life and then to draw a picture of what that word represented. After this, each family presented their word to Dima and gave him the picture. Here were the words:
Then Dima sat on a little chair and we all gathered around him and prayed these words over him. It was a beautiful marking of this special day as we celebrated his present, his past, and his future.
And our thoughts, of course, shifted to our little girl. We yearn for the day when we will celebrate her being a part of our family longer than she hasn't, when trust will be established, and the words "mommy, daddy, and brother" roll off her tongue without a second thought.
- We will be fingerprinted on Thursday afternoon as a part of being "accepted" by the US government to adopt an orphan
- We were just informed by our agency that 3 weeks ago, our paperwork was sent to Russia and translated, officially registering us as adoptive parents.
- Our case manager said the wait could be anywhere from 8-18 months. Our hearts sunk. This was much longer than we were expecting...but trusting that God has our daughter perfectly picked out for our family.
On NOVEMBER 10th. 12pm-3pm there is a HUGE FUNDRAISER in the Akron, OH. area...
- I am blown away by the amount of items donated for a silent auction: Vacations, sports packages, spa packages, kids books toy baskets, imported Russian collectibles, Chik-fila meals, and so much more. We have around 40 items donated.
- There will be concessions - hotdogs, nachos, popcorn, drinks -so come hungry!
- There is going to be a fun corn hole tournament that anyone can join, with multiple ways to win prizes!
- There will be a bake sale with tons of homemade yummy treats to bring home or snack on while you are there
- There will be activities for the children: crafts, games, story telling, and a balloon making clown!
- There will be vendors who will be giving a portion of their proceeds toward our adoption: Usborne books, 31 bags, sterling silver jewelry, homemade craft items, homemade bread and bread making classes, homemade purses...truly something for everyone!!
PLEASE RSVP on the Facebook page by clicking HERE. It will be really helpful to know how many to expect for concession purposes.
- Please pray that our referral would come much sooner than expected. Though I love the idea of not traveling to Russia in the winter, I hate the thought of waiting 8-18 more months!!
- Pray that God would continue to stir in the hearts of people to give
- Pray for our little girl - that she would be held and treated specially.
Until next Monday, love Kate, Steve & Dima.