A LITTLE ABOUT CALEB (& THE NEXT STEPS) March 13 2018, 0 Comments
For those of you who might have missed the announcement, I got the official call about adopting Caleb in late January and accepted his referral shortly after. It's hard to explain the difference in the feeling of waiting for "a child" and waiting to meet a specific child - my little boy. An actual child with a real, complex past-- a beautiful and tragic story all his own. Before, the waiting felt endless and sort of empty, now it comes with so many emotions - grief for what Caleb has been through, pure joy in the thought of being his mom, and anxiety about all the parts in between.
I've learned that Caleb is quite sensitive and shy, and that change is hard on him. The latest update from the adoption agency said that he has become "more clingy, needy, and withdrawn on occasions". This just makes my heart ache. If you pray, please pray with me that Caleb will have peace. I have been praying everyday that he will be relaxed, confident & joyful.
At the advice of Wandisa, the adoption agency I am working with in South Africa, I recently sent Caleb a video introducing myself and showing him around my house. I'm not gonna lie - it was hard to make! I mean, what do you say - "Hi, I'm your mom"? It took me a full day to decide what to say and how to keep it lighthearted, yet real and genuine. I have been praying that, on the video and in-person, Caleb would find me to be loving, funny, intriguing and trustworthy. And most of all, that he would be open to having a relationship with me when I arrive...that he wouldn't be anxious around me or scared of me.
Once I arrive in Cape Town, I will have two weeks to get to know Caleb while he remains at his care home. The plan is for me to spend increasing amounts of time with him each day. The second week, I may take him for an outing or two, then bring him back to the care home. Late in the second week, I may even take him to spend the night with me, then bring him back. This slow transition should be helpful for him. I pray that it's not too confusing. I am praying everyday for Caleb to understand what’s happening, and for him not to be traumatized by this huge transition. I'm hoping that, by the time we have our court date, and he comes to live with me, we will at least be buddies.
After court, we will legally be a family. Either that night, or the next day, Caleb will move in with me (and my awesome mom) at our home in Cape Town. We are planning to get a place near the beach since it will be the off season (fall) and the beach homes are priced in our budget. Hopefully playing on the beach will help us build attachment. There is also an attachment therapist in Cape Town who has offered to meet with us. I am grateful for her and for all the help I can get! We will be staying there a few weeks as we wait for Caleb's passport and other paperwork to be completed. I am praying that, as we settle in together, I will remember all of my training and that I will have unlimited grace and empathy for Caleb - and grace for myself as well.
So, when will all this happen? I am currently awaiting approval from immigration. As soon as the approval arrives in the mail, we could be on a plane within 2 days! Last I heard, they are hoping to schedule us for court some time in the last 2 weeks of April, and mom I would need to arrive 2 weeks prior to that date. So, it could move VERY quickly once the approval comes in.
And the money situation - last time I wrote I still needed about $12,500. I am so happy to say that I only need about $3,700 more! I am in shock at the generosity of those who have given. It's been a true blessing. I will never be able to thank those of you who have made this a reality. If you have been meaning to flip a flag, there are about 16 flags left. If you'd simply like to donate, feel free to give here.
I will be writing more frequently as my trip comes to fruition, and while in South Africa, so stay tuned. I can't wait to show you guys a photo of Caleb. He is a doll! I will be able to post his photo on court day...and every day after that, so get ready!
I recently looked back at my adoption correspondence and found that I first contacted the adoption agency on March 12, 2014 - exactly one month before Caleb was born. I have literally been praying for this child his entire life. Through all of his hardships and triumphs, he has been deeply loved from afar. I can't wait for us to be able to love him close-up.