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!

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!


Pat & Heather said...

You both are really on top of this...thank you for sharing the "rules of engagement." We'll keep praying and trusting for a good transition home.
Can't wait to talk with you both soon!

The Princess said...

Thank you for helping us understand how to help you be the best parents for Brayan, Luana, Lucas, and Maynara.

Counting the hours.


Brent said...

Guys.. thanks.. just thanks for giving us direction and wisdom to know how best to support you. You guys are such good friends.. We look forward to the rule changes and the growth in this new chapter in your lives :)
~ The Hixsons

Kimberly Fullton said...

It's almost a year later and I'm SO glad we've been able to slowly loosen up on all these rules. They were important in the beginning, and we're glad to have had so many supportive friends. New Rules of Engagement: Treat us like any other scattered, distracted, slightly-frazzled, truly-blessed family of 6!