And last, but not least, my final guest post is from Jamey Beckham. I met her in the Sunday School class that we were attending at the time. She and I were in Bible study together and she was the first person to ask me to go grab lunch when I moved to Alabama. When I think of Jamey I think of a gen-u-ine southern lady--hospitable and so very kind. It's been a pleasure to watch she and Heath as they have lived out the God-story that He's writing with their lives!
Courtney asked me to write a blog post for her a few months ago and so I am going to share a little bit about our adoption journey.
Our family consists of John Henry and Luke who are 10 and 8 and our little girl Ellie Kathryn Jiang Beckham who we brought home from China on Christmas day 2013.
Ellie is from Shanghai and was a little over two and half when we came home. Our adoption journey began several years ago. We tried for several years to have more children and had many unsuccessful pregnancies. After having five miscarriages and a few fertility doctors later we decided that having more biological children was no longer an options for us. We began praying about God’s plan for our family and I had read Mary Beth Chapman’s book Choosing to SEE, which was about the loss of their adopted daughter. The Lord had shown me that we could have more children it just might not look like what we thought. Heath and I continued to pray and seek God’s face. Then we made the decision to call Lifeline and get the process started.
We got busy working on our home study and after many months of paper work we officially got logged in in the middle of July. I was so excited to have that part of the process behind us and really just was settling in to wait about 3-4months before we would get a call about being matched with a child. God had different plans. We got a call about 2 weeks later and we got matched with Ellie. The next several months were spent getting together more documents and getting ready to bring her home. We also began praying that we would travel over Christmas because of Heath’s work schedule and the boys’ school. Things began moving very quickly and next thing you know we received our travel approval and were getting on a plane bound for China.
Since coming home our lives have been crazy busy! Life with 3 children has rocked us. I have pulled out of almost everything I was involved in so that we can focus on attachment with Ellie. It is working, praise the Lord! Our boys play lots of sports and that has been tough trying to juggle all of those activities. Ellie loves her big brothers and they love her too. Ellie is a great sleeper and eater. We are so thankful for these things. She has struggled with attachment to Heath, my husband, which has come with some challenges. Maybe I should back up and talk a little bit about what attachment is for adoptive children. We received lots of training before leaving to go get Ellie and attachment is probably the biggest issue with children from institutions. Your biological children automatically attach to you because they are with you from birth and learn to love and trust you from the beginning. Adopted children have had many caretakers and are not sure who to trust and love because of the many people who have cared for them. Often, they have never seen or had any significant interaction with a man. So, we have to teach Ellie that mom and dad are here for her and we will meet her needs. Our agency recommends for 3-6 months you really try to slow down and spend lots of time at home working on attachment. We have just had our 6 month visit and she is doing well with mom but still struggling a little bit with dad. We have been told that this is very common and to keep working with her!
We have seen some amazing changes in Ellie and praise the Lord for her coming into our lives. We have gotten to experience many firsts with her and we have loved seeing her face during these moments! Her first trip to the beach, her first bite of ice cream, her first trip to the Zoo.
We have had some hard days as well, with feelings of frustration, fatigue, and emotional overload. Having a 3 year old that has never had anyone to love her, care for her, or meet her needs can be emotionally exhausting. There are times where I feel that if I hear “Momma hold you” one more time, I might scream! I am constantly reminding myself that we are not “defined by our circumstances but we are being refined.” Watching her learn to interact with us reminds me of how we interact with our Heavenly Father. We loved her before we ever laid eyes on her. We want nothing but good for her and would do anything for her. She will still run away from Heath though even when all he wants to do is hold and love on her. It is sad, but often she would rather run away from her father than go to him (sort of like us). It breaks his heart still. Ellie has now been adopted into our family the way we have been adopted into Christ’s. God is molding and shaping us into His image. I am grateful for God’s word that reminds me to “consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2. We are so thankful for this journey and these precious children that God has entrusted us with. We realize our need for a savior and are thankful for his grace and mercy that are new each day! If you'd like to follow along with the Beckham's here is a link to Jamey's blog.
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