This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

We are home from Brazil and settling into our new normal.  The kids have enjoyed snow, Christmas Trees, gingerbread houses, stockings, presents, car trips, grandparents, turkey and split-pea soup.  The new parents have enjoyed giggles, kisses, hugs, jammies, bedtimes, movies, outings, tickles and the magic of sleeping children.  We are soaking up every moment and thanking the Lord for His good gifts.  

We wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our faithful friends and family.  We will probably post pictures every so often, but we haven't yet decided what the purpose of this blog will be now that our waiting, traveling and adopting are completed.  Stay tuned to see what God does next!

Many Blessings,
Kim, James, Brayan, Luana, Abraao Lucas and Maynara Fullton

Saturday, December 19, 2009

19 December 2009--last day in Brazil, first day as new creations

We’re wrapping up our last full day in Brazil tonight. The children are sleeping, James is packing suitcases, laundry is spinning in the washing machine and Kim is trying to find an eloquent way to tie up this trip in a neat little package.

We took our friends Ester and Leonel out to lunch today to thank them for all they’ve blessed us with during our last week in Brazil. They have given us much more than a place to rest our heads and fill our tummies. They have given us much more than rides around town and guided insider tours of all the Rio high-spots. They have opened their hearts to us, and in love and service, they have brought us into their family. Much more than even that, they have helped to bring all four of our children into the family of God.

Tonight after dinner, Ester led the children through the Gospel using little colored hearts representing the glory of God, our separation from him because of sin, Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the cleansing and new birth that we receive when we are washed by his blood, and the hope of eternal life in communion with the Lord.

All four children decided to accept Christ into their hearts and we are all celebrating with the angels that each one is now not only a child of ours, but also a child of God’s, forgiven and cleansed.

A perfect way to end this trip. And a beautiful way to begin our family.

Praise God!

Friday, December 18, 2009

18 December 2009

Our friends and family back home in the Northeastern US are bracing for a big snow storm.  Some are even fleeing the state early in anticipation of loads of fluffy white stuff this weekend.  So long as it doesn't interfere with our plane landing on Monday morning, I'm thrilled about the snow and I know the kids will be to.  And that's not just because we're enjoying 80+ degree weather here in Rio.  And it's not because we spent one last full-day at the beach today.  And it's not because we're coming home with killer mid-winter tans.  It's because I really love the snow!

Please enjoy some pictures from our day today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rules of Engagement

This is a friendly, public service announcement for all our folks back home.  We´re coming home soon, and we want to give you a heads-up as to what to expect from us as we step into our new life as a family.  We also have some tidbits that we think will make the adjustment easier for the children.  All of this is shared with one important objective in mind:

Our children are learning what it means to be part of a family, to trust and obey their parents, and to build ties of attachment and bonding to their new Mae and Pai. 

Considering those important goals, we want you to know that, for the kids´sake, we´re going to try to take it easy for a while.  If we duck in and out of church without stopping to chat for very long, if we don´t show up at small group, if we don´t invite everyone to a big welcome-home bash, or if we bail out of some event quickly... please forgive us.  All this will come in time.  We have missed all of you so much, and we are looking forward to seeing you, but we´re going to have to do it in a metered way for a while, until the children get used to things and learn a little more English.  We´ll probably start inviting a few people at a time over to the house to meet and greet, some time after the new year. 

Here´s what you can do to keep things smooth when we see you:
  • Give a hug and kiss to the kids, Brazilians are warm and friendly, and expect to be greeted warmly.
  • Please understand if they should happen to refuse affection or greetings, that´s a defense mechanism against feeling overwhelmed don´t  be offended, and please respect their need to warm up slowly.
  • Remember that the kids´ job is to connect and bond with Mom and Dad, so please let us do all the care-taking (feeding, offering food, bandaging boo-boos, carrying around, and disciplining).
  • Speak slowly and carefully using simple phrases to help them understand your English.  They are English Language Learners and will be so for several more years, at least.
  • Use the phrase "ask your Mom/Dad" if/when they ask you for stuff (especially food).  This is a phrase they have learned in English and will help to facilitate their learning to look to their parents for necessities, help and permission. 
  • Back us up.  If we direct one of the children to do/not do (or eat/not eat) something, please go along with us even if you would do things differently.  When they see you respecting our words to them, they will learn from that example.
  • Please do not allow the children to hang on you or cling to you.  It is common for them to do this, but they must learn to cling first to Mae and Pai.
  • Be equal.  The kids always seem to be keeping score, so if you feel like giving a candy cane to Brayan just because he´s super-sweet, please make sure to have 3 more at hand.
  • We know it´s Christmas, but speaking of giving things to the kids, if you have something to share with them, please give to us first so that we can hand it to them for you... or ask them to "ask your Mom/Dad" if you can give them something.  It´s important that the permission always come from us.
Really and truly, everyone is adjusting pretty well, but becoming a family takes some time, and we are still working hard on the areas of asking permission, respecting and obeying, and sticking together as a family.  If everyone in our circle is on the same page with us, then we think the adjustment will be easier on everyone. 

We couldn´t ask for more loving, supportive and understanding friends and family members and we thank you for everything you have done up until now, and everything you´ll do to support us as a family.  Praise God for the people He´s put in our life!

17 December 2009

After a little scare as to whether they would be ready by the end of the week, we were able to pick up the kids' visas today!  (Yay!)  We hopped on the Metro after lunch today and headed downtown to the US Consulate.  After a brief visit to pick up their passports and some very important documents in sealed envelopes, we walked around downtown a bit to get a feel for the Centro and for Pai to see a few buildings he'd been hoping to see in Rio.

The kids were real troopers, although Maynara had some interesting comments about Pai's rampant photo-taking:  "It's just walls and windows," and "where's the art in that."  Mae had to remind her, "remember, your Pai is an architect, which means he designs buildings, so he likes to visit them and take pictures of them."  The highlights of the walk were the 2nd floor roof garden on the Ministry of Education & Health building, and the Cathedral of São Sebastião.

All Clear

It´s OK.  As we were praying, biting our fingers, thinking about which Senators to contact in DC, and worried about the cost of changing six plane tickets five days before Christmas, the Consulate called.  The visas will be ready to pick up this afternoon.

Praise the Lord!

We´re coming home on schedule.

Praise the Lord!

Stop what you´re doing and PRAY!

We have not yet been able to pick up our childrens´ visas from the consulate.  Since we are the first case under the Hague Convention on International Adoption, there are apparently some "system problems" that are holding up the issuing of the visas.  The consulate just told us on the phone that they cannot guarantee that the visas are issued by the end of this week, and we are scheduled to leave on Sunday. 

Please pray for a bureaucratic miracle so that we can pick up the visas today or tomorrow and get on our plane to spend Christmas at home. 

We´ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

16 December 2009

"I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."  Job 19:25

Today we went up to the top of Corcovado mountain to see one of Rio's (and the world's) most famous monuments:  Cristo Redentor, Christ the Redeemer, which is visible from many points of the city.  To get to the top of the mountain, we rode the Trem do Corcovado, a 30 minute train trip through the forest up to the top of the mountain.  At almost twice the height of the Pão de Açúcar, the views of the city are perhaps even more spectacular from Corcovado than they were during yesterday's adventure.

The statue is also pretty spectacular!  Although it was really hot and crowded and we didn't stay too long at the summit, we hope that the visit is something the kids will be able to look back on and remember fondly.  Not only is the statue an instantly recognizable symbol of their birth country, which I hope will make them proud every time they see it represented in the future, but it is also a vivid visual reminder that Christ is indeed their Redeemer!

We have been lucky that our kids are interested in the Bible and in Christ's death for their salvation.  As I write this, though, I am reminded that it is through Christ's salvation that we have all been adopted into God's family as His children.  This is our example as we start our own earthly family through adoption.

May we all grow to be more Christ-like as we learn to be a family.