Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I try to live in the realm of reality - but it's been hard in this process.  There is so much that we want so badly to be true, that we claim it as a reality.  Nothing wrong with claiming & believing- but we need to keep in touch with reality, too.  Here are some of the (harsh?) realities of adoption...

Reality #1 - We are not saints. 
Jake & I are normal people.  In fact, I'm not even sure we'd qualify for that.  We're just 2 kids, who very soon will be 2 parents.  We're 2 kids who are doing our best to follow God's plan for our lives.  Just 2 kids, really.  We're not doing this because we're 'really good people' or 'special' - nope.  Just 2 kids.  Anyone can do this.  Anyone.

Reality #2 - We're not ready to be parents.
Were you ready to be a mom?  Was your husband ready to be a daddy?  No way.  We feel so inadequate at times.  Our first child, special needs - no less.  What do we have to offer him?  What can we possibly give him?

Love.  And that's what we'll do.  Because some days, we feel that's all we'll have to offer.  We're excited. Really excited.  Thrilled.  Ecstatic.  Can.Not.Wait.

But there is a piece - maybe a big piece - that just screams "I'm not ready for this!".  And that's okay.

Reality #3 - You have no idea what we're going through.
Unless you've done it, you just don't know.  And by 'done it' - I don't mean had kids.  I mean adopted a child with special needs, internationally.  You're clueless - just admit it.  And that's okay, too.

Just know that it's hard.  It's lonely.  It's sometimes terrifying.  We need your love, your prayers, your encouragement.  We do not need (or want) your opinions.  They don't matter.  I'm sorry if that hurts you - but it's the truth.

Reality #4 - We might not come home with Carter.
We've known this from day one - and I've debated sharing it here, because I don't want to scare our family & friends.  But I've decided that if something should happen, I'd like to have those questions answered now - and not have to answer them in the middle of a dark valley.

There is a chance that Carter has been adopted, or is not available to be adopted.  This does not happen often - it's rare, in fact.  But it does happen.  It would not be the fault of anybody.  Not us, not Reece's Rainbow, not Carter's government.  This country does not pull the child's paperwork from their file until the parents are there, sitting in the office.  Therefore, Carter could be adopted days before we get there, by someone else.

If that happens, then we grieve.  We cry.  And we move onward.  And after much prayer, we trust God to show us who our child is.

Because we don't know who our child is.  But our big God does know.  He's known since the beginning of time who our child would be.  We're trusting Him - even in difficult situations like this.

Of course we're praying that this isn't the case - Carter has already found a home in our hearts, and we hate the thought of bringing someone else home.  But it's possible.  And those would be the moments that we don't need your opinion.

Reality #5 - Attachment sometimes sucks.
Excuse my lingo - but I'm being blunt.  It's hard.  It's a long & laborious journey.  It doesn't happen over night.  It may take months - even years - to feel fully attached and connected.  In fact, we may never feel like we're completely connected.  And that's okay.  All we can do is offer him everything we have.  All we can do is totally put ourselves out there, and pray it works.

Attachment starts in the orphanage.  With each visit, our goal is to gain his trust and get to know him.  We're not just going there to play with him.  We're going there to begin connecting.  It's the foundation of attachment.

Reality #6 - We may be in Carter's country a long, long time.
We may even need to make 3 trips, instead of 2.  The way court works in the capital city (where we'll be) is like court in Washington D.C. vs. court in little old Winnebago County.   Our court date might not be until 4-5 weeks after we get there.  After court, there is a 10 day waiting period, and then another week or so of paper chasing.  We're hoping and praying that Carter will be home by Thanksgiving - but it just might not happen that way.  That's just how the process goes, and we're going to do our best to be flexible.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Sometimes...reality stinks!


  1. Ashley!! I have been following your blog for a while now, thank you so much for leaving that comment! I was SO overjoyed to hear that you're going to the same orphanage where our Owen is (OMG, if you can get pics and video of him, I will be chasing my own tail with joy)! I am so excited for you being at this point! This was a great post, by the way. I feel a lot of the same... anxiety, I guess... when I really start thinking about traveling, especially since I'm going to be on my own after court... and everything else to follow. But somehow, I know it's all going to be okay, just like you said! We're keeping you in our prayers for a smooth and safe journey!

  2. GREAT post, Ashley! Yep, reality does stink sometimes...maybe sometimes literally! LOL But even though we've BTDT 2x, we still don't know what you are going through exactly. Everyone is different, every adoption is different, every child w/ Ds is different.

    So wonderful to spend time with you last night. Hope we didn't scare you too much. :-) We KNOW you and Jake will be wonderful, wonderful parents and you will do GREAT while in country. Love you!

  3. Oh I'm struggling with the same thing. I'm praying it all goes well and your sweet little guy is waiting for you. He is so stinkin cute!!

  4. Hey Ashley and Jake! (Not sure if you remember me, but we connected at the Children's Hope Network, or WACAP, Parent Ed Retreat.) I hope everything goes well on your trip! I am so, so happy for you! Can't wait to hear all about it, and see some great pics!

  5. Ashley and Jake,
    I love reading your posts each day and following your amazing journey. Yes, you are in my prayers each day and I can only imagine how very homesick you are. When I have traveled abroad a few times I, too, felt that need to be home after only a few days and we weren't in such a foreign land with a much different culture.

    Your comments about seeing no children was most interesting and very sad.

    Hang in there, it will all be worth it as you well know.
    Love, Lynda Olsen


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