Friday, May 17, 2013

A Season of Preparation

As many of you know, I'm not working right now.  We moved to Monterey in January and I didn't want to start teaching in the middle of the year and substitute teaching and I don't get along well (at all).  Every time we have moved I have told Chris, "I'm not going to teach here."  And inevitably I have missed it, and quickly found my way back to the classroom.  God blessed me with amazing teaching jobs both in Hawaii and Japan.  However, this move has been different.  I do love teaching and working with children, but I believe God gave me this season to get prepared for Abram.  I know many of you moms (and dads) are thinking, "you can't prepare for parenting," which is absolutely true. Each child and situation is unique.  However, God knows that I at least like to "feel" like I am prepared and I whole-heartedly believe He has blessed me with this time.  I get this question all the time, "what are you doing during your day since you aren't working." Well, here's my answer...

God has blessed me in every place we have moved with incredible women who I learn so much from.  Since they can't move with me I always asked them to share their parenting techniques/ideas with me and I have started writing them down in our "family notebook" or I have just written down things that I observe them doing with their children.  I have learned so much! They have also shared with me books that they have found useful along the way.  What better time to sit and read about parenting than now?!?! I can't put into words how much I have learned!  Each book is full of things that Chris and I want to incorporate into our parenting.  I chose to read some books specific to parenting adopted children and some books about raising children in a Christian home.
Give Them Grace: My new friend, Jenn, who I met at the adoption retreat recommended this book. She's a mom to four children.  It is amazing! Highly recommend this book to all parents!

The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: My sweet friend and amazing mom from Sasebo, Jessica, always talked about this book. I knew I had to read it and I'm so glad I did!

Shepherding a Child's Heart: When my friend, Valerie, and her family came to visit us in Sasebo,  I really enjoyed learning from how she parented her little girl.  Before she left I asked her about her strategies and she recommended this book. Loved it!! 

These next two books are specific to parenting adopted children:
The Connected Child: This book was referenced and referred to SO MANY times at the adoption retreat.  Amazing book... A must read for any adoptive family! So eye opening!

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: Kim (who we met in Hong Kong and referred us to our agency) recommended this.  Great reference book!

I have been a book worm lately!  My highlighters are exhausted! :)  

Besides reading, Chris and I have also been busy decorating and painting Abram's nursery (I'll post pictures when it's done).  I have waited for years to be able to decorate MY child's nursery and sometimes I just stand in Abe's room in amazement that it is actually happening!  We've also been hitting lots of garage sales looking for fun toys at bargain prices.  We have three more major things on our "to do list" we would like to finish before we travel:  

1) Finish watching the "Empowered to Connect"videos by Dr. Karyn Purvis (author of The Connected Child).  There are about 70 short videos in the collection, so we watch a few every once in a while.  We have learned so much about how to connect with Abram and what he needs in order to attach to us. 

2) Learn some basic sign language.  I have learned from several adoptive moms with kids who have cleft palates that this will be the best way to communicate with Abram before he gets his palate repaired.  
Thanks, Maud, for the book and DVD!
3) Also, learn some basic Chinese phrases so we can communicate with Abram.  We know he will learn English quick, but this book is packed full of phrases to use at the very beginning. Hopefully, they will help Abram feel more comfortable with us and know what's going on.

My friend Jessica from Sasebo taught me about the word, "season."  She taught me that God orchestrates seasons in our life for a reason. I know God gave me this season of not teaching/working to prepare for Abram.  This time has truly been a blessing!