Sunday, September 16, 2012

Empowered to Connect

This weekend, I attended the Empowered to Connect Conference here in Nashville. For two days, I learned about brain function and what chemicals the body releases when a baby is nurtured and loved and their needs are met. I also learned about what happens when those needs aren't met and how devastating that is for kids from hard places. Even in the most loving orphanage, it's still not the kind of nurturing a child will get from his very own momma. To be held and stared at for hours a day. To cry and know someone is coming to meet their needs. To feel safe, to feel precious, to feel loved unconditionally. To know he'll be fed and his diaper changed. To know he has this person(s) who is always there for them. My sweet boy hasn't had that. He hasn't had consistency. I'm pretty sure there have been days when his little tummy has been hungry and his needs haven't been met. The rest of what he's been through - I may never know. But I know he has experienced much loss and hurt in his young life and that alone is enough to make any momma just want to lock herself in a room and sob for days. But you can't stay in that place. You have to move into the place of hope. And that's what this conference was all about. It equipped me with knowledge and understanding and tools for how to bring healing in my sweet boys body, soul and spirit. I truly hope that the things I learned will stick with me in moments when my knee jerk reaction could be frustration and instead turn it into compassion. Compassion for an innocent child who isn't intentionally acting out or being defiant but a child who has been in survival mode for a long time and didn't have the nurturing he needed. Dr. Karyn Purvis talked about giving our children a voice, letting them know they're precious and that they are safe and can trust us. While that is a huge responsibility that could be overwhelming, I just found myself wanting even more to get my boy home so we can begin the journey toward healing.

There's so many unknowns and so much info. I don't know what specific things will be a struggle for him. But I know that whatever it is, there are resources out there to help me so I can help him. I am beginning a journey with my son. And I feel so honored to be the one who gets to be on this journey with him. I know there will be many hard days ahead but I also know that I don't have to go it alone. I am so thankful for that. I've been thinking so much lately about all the families who adopted 20 years ago and didn't have all the resources we have today. I feel so blessed by conferences like this one and books about attachment and adoption and how to help our children heal. I'm thankful for other adoptive families willing to be transparent and real about their struggles. I'm thankful for a support network and most of all for a father in heaven who demonstrated exactly what adoption looks like when he adopted us!!!

My prayer is that Mihretu would know that I'm his safe place and that the connection we already have would continue to grow stronger every day and that the Lord would give me wisdom and compassion and patience and kindness and gentleness with this precious child He has entrusted to me.

Lord empower me to love my child well and to parent him in a manner worthy of this which you have called me to. Equip me with every tool that I need and all wisdom from above to be exactly what Mihretu needs me to be. Help me to be a very real example to him of what love is and who you are. Thank you in advance for this gift and for the honor of being this precious child's mom. Lord please be in all the details needed to bring him home soon so we can begin this journey together.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1: 5

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. ~ James 3:17-18

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And the winner of the "Season of Thanks" painting is...

IMG 2329 from Autumn Kerr on Vimeo.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed toward me bringing my son home. I will be eternally grateful!

I apologize for the sideways video - not sure how to fix that:) 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blessed beyond my comprehension

So I've been completely blown away by the generosity of friends, family and strangers alike. God is using boatloads of people from everywhere to get this sweet son of mine home. God has been on this from the beginning. After losing my job a few years ago and seeing how faithfully God provided during that season, provision is just not something I generally stress about. Some people have emailed me and asked how in the world I would raise that much money. I didn't know but I knew God did. And here we are, a little over a year later and He has totally provided in some really neat creative and fun ways. There were periods of long waiting and no news from my agency because nothing was happening with paperwork. But with the financial side of things - before I've even needed money for the next due date, it was there. I know this is all God because I haven't done anything worthy of any of this. But God loves Mihretu even more than I do and He's making it very clear to this momma that He is that sweet boys Abba Father and He WILL move heaven and earth to get this boy to his forever home. I also know that He will continue to provide for him and our family once he's home. There is so much peace and comfort in that. Especially as a single momma.

At this moment, between a generous ShowHope grant and lots of donations, sales from my blog store, yard sale and concert funds, I'm at just over $29,000 toward my adoption. It's abundantly more than I could have asked or imagined. I am thankful. So thankful.

And then on top of all that - the "but wait there's more" moment comes. No it's not an infomercial - it's crazy awesome mind blowing sweet friends who are still blessing me - this time in a way I would have never even thought of!!!

This was my facebook status last night:
Ridiculously blessed by a surprise tonight in which my small group informed me that an anonymous donor gave a large amount of money toward me getting a more reliable vehicle for when I bring my sweet boy home. Then my small group friends asked other people who knew me if they would be willing to match the donation and a bunch of other people donated on top of that to go toward it. I was completely shocked and surprised. Never saw that coming. I already feel so incredibly blessed by all the support for my adoption costs. Never in a million years would I ever dream of anyone donating above and beyond for a vehicle. It's all anonymous so I have no idea who to thank but you know who you are - a HUGE THANK YOU!!! I am a bit in shock but incredibly touched and completely surprised. Wow.

Yeah - wow is really the only word for that!!! This just feels different than the donations for the adoption. This feels more personal and more like a gift for me. First of all, I LOVE minivans and everyone who knows me well knows that. (No, I am not joking btw.) I am often known to say the words "if I had a minivan..." followed by statements such as "we could use it to take a staff road trip" or "I could totally fit all of these yard sale items in it". The Honda Odyssey in particular has a special spot in my heart. I drove one many times while babysitting for some sweet girls whose family owns one. Love, love, love it! Stow and go seats, push button sliding doors when you're carrying heavy groceries, room for all your friends and getting to ride high up - yeah, what's not to love!!! Minivans are so practical and I'm a practical girl. But to me, wanting one just feels like a desire. Not a need per say although of course it is a great family vehicle and it will be easier for getting a toddler in and out and probably safer than my current car. But because I love minivans so much - it really feels like that feeling some people might have about getting to indulge in an awesome vacation. I know - you're laughing at me right now cause not too many people in this world would feel that excited about a minivan. But I do. And so that's why this feels so much different, so much more like a gift for me. If I'm being honest, I much prefer being the giver than the receiver. But I can see God teaching me and showing me that He wants to bless His kids with gifts and He cares about the things that we love and want. I am completely in awe that my friends would want to donate EVEN MORE money on top of all the money they've already given to the adoption to help me get a minivan. I mean, seriously - I have the best friends in the whole world and you should have seen how excited they were about it. There truly is so much joy in blessing people with good gifts. I love being on that side of it. And while it feels a little strange on this side of it - I'm seeing such a neat glimpse of God's love and how the body of Christ is to care for one another in all of this. We are the church. And all of this - what a story to tell Mihretu as he's growing up! "Look what God has done to get you home, to bless you and your mommy and to provide for your family sweet boy!" No detail of our lives is too small for God. I'm still letting all of this sink in - still kind of shocked at the whole thing. I really would have never imagined. But God did. He's the best dad ever!!!

LOVE our Ethiopian family

We just returned from Ethiopia and oh boy - my heart is completely wrecked. Mihretu and I traveled on our own last March (2018) over his ...