Adoption Update – Crossings

Fun news! After four paper-filled months, we finished our last home study interview at the Lifeline office on Friday morning! So other than turning in a few remaining pieces of info, we’re all set to move on to the immigration part of our process. What that entails, we’re not really sure right now (we’re guessing more paperwork!)- but I’ll be sure to post an update over on our Adoption Timeline page once we’ve completed it! (Note: I *think* it takes a few months to complete this step too, so it may be a while before anything pops up over there.)

After we wrapped up our home study interview Friday morning, we grabbed a quick lunch, and then headed in to a room where we met five other adoptive couples, and the folks who were leading/helping out with Crossings. (A two-day seminar equipping families for international adoption.)

In the center of each of our tables was a giant pile of candy and some “fidgets”, just in case we needed a pick-me-up during our 13.5 hours (total) in the meeting room.

Crossings_Lifeline_International_Adoption

The training was lead by Whitney White, who works at Lifeline as their international adoption counselor…

Crossings_International_Adoption_Training_Lifeline

…and before I tell you about our favorite part of Crossings, I wanted to share some of the things I scribbled down/read during our time there:

– Every child desires to belong to, and love, a (safe) adult because God designed us that way. He designed us as relational beings, so that we would have a deep need and desire to connect with Him and those around us.

– We’re responsible for all insight in the beginning, and it’s very important to keep our expectations in check.

Expectations_Diappointment_Reality

– We must strive to understand their world. It takes frequency, intensity, and duration for an at-risk child to heal. Remember the importance of exhibiting grace and compassion, and never minimize a child’s experience.

– Children need a balance of equal parts nuture and structure, and we would do well to look to how Jesus taught and interacted with people as our guide and model for connecting with our children. Even in his last days on this earth, Jesus was focused on connecting with people who, in the image of God, were created to connect.

Child_Hand_Adult_Hand

– For every year spent in an orphanage, a child may be delayed by six months, and according to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, trust is learned in the first 18 months of life. (Our child will more than likely be above the age of 18 months, so we were very grateful for the important reminders to love unconditionally, and to parent with extreme patience. On day one of the seminar, I jotted down, “reveal to me what I need to know to parent this child to the best of my ability” because I thought that was a such great prayer for soon-to-be parents to cling to.)

– Be mindful of your child’s whole being- their heart, mind, soul and strength. Dr. Karyn Purvis wrote, “By loving and nurturing your child in that kind of holistic way, you can give them the gift of real hope- an opportunity to heal and become whole“.

Heart

I imagine our appreciation for those insights (and many more) will only continue to grow in the coming months and years- as will our appreciation for our favorite part of Crossings: the people.

Crossings was a mandatory part of our home study process, but now that we’ve completed it, I can really see the importance of attending this kind of training whether it’s required or not. If you’re an adoptive parent and you’re on the fence about attending something similar- I’d love to encourage you to go! Kevin and I struggle with social anxiety sometimes, but spending that kind of time with five other couples who are also in the process of adopting children (of all ages and races) was so awesomeThroughout the two days, we were exposed to a lot of very tough-to-process/super-important-to-know information, and feeling like we were all in it together was so helpful. Between sections, we exchanged everything from stories & support to contact info and cookies, and Kevin and I left feeling so much more Connected. To encouraging new friends, to each other, to our child, to our agency, to this process…and to the One who is at the center of it all.

PS- For those who have attended something similar- we’d love to read about your experience  if you’d like to share it in the comments section below!

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Comments

  1. Missy says

    I’m so excited that things are progressing for you guys!! I cannot wait to see the little one God has picked out for you…..don’t get discouraged if a child doesn’t come as soon as you’d like….that just means it’ll be in Gods time, and it’ll be perfect. Love you guys and I’m praying for you, and your future little blessing!
    Missy :-)

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Missy! We’re excited too, and we couldn’t agree more about God’s perfect timing. There’s so much comfort in knowing that everything will happen just as He means for it to! :-)

  2. Diane McBee says

    Layla, as a longtime church nursery volunteer I am so thankful that you learned this info! Many people think serving in the nursery is babysitting, But loving and providing a safe environment for even the youngest children is part of introducing them to those safe and loving relationships- that in turn introduce them to their Creator. Congrats to you and Kevin. You will be awesome parents.

  3. Kelley says

    Such great advice in that post! I think it speaks to all parents – adoptive or biological. A child is a gift and sometimes we need to be reminded of that (ahem. when their teens mostly) Best wishes with the next set in this journey. So excited to be taking it with you!

  4. says

    So glad the training was helpful! We have had to take some seminars online to fulfill our adoption training requirements and, unfortunately, they have all been pretty un-helpful. Such a bummer, because I feel like there is so much to learn! I can see how connecting with the other couples would be a great part of the weekend and feel like we definitely missed out on that by doing the training online.

  5. says

    You are on amazing journey! We adopted our beautiful African American son (Transracial Adoption) 10.5 years ago. We saw the hand of God going through the process and at placement. There have been certain issues we have faced by being white and our son African American. We take it one step at time. We love our beautiful dark brown son. He is sunshine to my soul. There is no destination but it is a journey that you will take together. My best wishes to the both of you. God knows exactly what child will be yours and He will be by your side every step of the way.

  6. says

    i am an adoptive mama. my family is made up of the beauty of life through adoption. & oh how i love karyn purvis. meeting a child where they are at is so important. remembering who they are/were (their whole being) before we met them because it is their past & their reality. i LOVE being able to show my boys Jesus. as much as i love them… i am so blessed because they have taught me so much more than i have taught them. adoption is beautiful.

  7. says

    My husband and I are adopting from Ethiopia. We just got back from an adoption training this past week too! I’m willing to bet it was VERY similar. All based on TBRI and The Connected Child book/research. We are adopting through Gladney in Texas and their training is called Pathways. It was SO good and SO helpful no matter if you are adopting or have biological kids – all parents could benefit! Hope you guys feel a little more prepared like we do now for the child that the Lord has for you in His perfect timing.

    • Layla says

      Crossings was based on the same book/research, Ashley! :-D How cool! I’m so excited to e-meet you today…we would love to travel to Ethiopia one day too. ;-)

  8. Amy H. says

    found you all via pintrest and begin to follow you via facebook. we have adopted from China twice and have one bio child. it was a great experience and you are welcome to email anytime! my oldest was NSN and my middle was SN (albinism). Lifeline is FANTASTIC and the international adoption clinic is amazing!

  9. Rebeckah says

    Layla – so glad you loved the required classes. Honestly before our jack came home last year there was a fair amount of eye rolling on my part, but now that we have been home a year I lean on that info so much. I am constantly asking “is it adoption or is it development” and I need to regularly remind myself that, as Dr Purvis often says, it’s both! Use the wait time to build your library of adoption book, because once you get through those first few crazy months, you will find yourself referring to them again and again. Also, sorry if I missed it but have you said which country program you are in? And immigration sounds a lot more intense than it is….just fingerprinting and a couple of forms…a real cakewalk!

  10. Donna Doble-Brown says

    Layla. . . I’m so excited for you guys! While I didn’t adopt and I did have two children many moons ago . . . . I remember that first time and wishing their was a “manual” . . . I had no family around and it was a nervous time as a new Mom . . . but I quickly learned that I did have an intuition about what was right and wrong for my child . . . and I followed it even when it was REALLY difficult and went against main stream . . . . I already know you have been blessed with this too! just trust . . . . you guys are going to be great parents! sending lots of love and blessings! xo

  11. says

    I love your updates, and you guys will make great adoptive parents, I am sure of it! That little child has no idea right now lucky he os she is going to become! Looking forward to reading more!

  12. Rie says

    In our experience after adopting two children internationally…one at 6 years old and one at 2.5, I think if we had to sum it up, they simply need more. More love, more attention, more affection, more patience (from us) and more discipline. They also have challenges that will stay with them the rest of their lives, but it’s important for them to recognize that and makes provisions for themselves with that in mind. Just my 2 cents if it helps at all! :)

  13. says

    We had sessions over one month (full days on Fridays) with several couples, focusing on the attachment theory, dealing with loss, and theraplay…it took 8 months from our application (the limit in the UK), now we have been approved by the panel and the anxiety begins during the wait for a match…its more intense than ever…let me tell you..so relax for the moment! :)

    • says

      note….Dan Hughes…building the bonds of attachment; Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul; The Boy that Was Raised as a Dog—all good books! (btw I’m a second gen adoptee :))

  14. says

    I’m an adoptive mama (x2) with 5 bio kids too… we lead an adoption/foster care ministry at our church and have attended and lead many similar seminars… so glad you got to hear such wise words! By chance are you attending Summit 9 in Nashville in May? I heard Karen Purvis speak at the Summit for the first time three years ago, and look forward to hearing her words this year! God bless you guys as you continue to move forward with the adoption – – expect crazy blessings to be coming your way.

    • Jeanine says

      I am an adoptive mom with bio kids as well. I’d love to hear more about your adoption/foster care ministry as God has been putting the need for this type of ministry in churches on my heart.
      I am really enjoying following Kevin and Layla’s adoption journey and am so blessed by their heart for orphans. I wish I could go back to the time that we were waiting for our daughter and just rest in God and His timing. It is always perfect, though sometimes we can only see that in hindsight. I hope and pray that you will enjoy every minute of the journey as you wait for the child God had planned for you all along.

  15. Jane Crawford says

    This training sounds like something EVERY parent should go through whether adopting or not! I have always said that being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and we get absolutely no training for it. With a lot of prayer, a lot of luck, and a lot of love, my two girls have turned into wonderful human beings. Your story warms my heart more than you know, and I continue to pray for you and Kevin and for the little one that God will one day place in your care. I know in my heart you will be wonderful parents.

  16. Tina says

    Hey Layla,

    I just stumbled on blog, so excited for your adoption. I am a foster care social worker and adoption assessor. I highly recommend that you read Wounded Hearts Healing Homes by Jayne Schooler and The Connected Child by Dr. Purvis. Both are great books. Also Dr. Purvis has a great website http://www.child.tcu.edu that has a lot about connecting and help to bond. There are a ton of things to read that will really help with the attachment and bonding issues.
    Love following your journey

    • Layla says

      Thank you for the heads up about Wounded Hearts Healing Homes, Tina! We finished The Connected Child before we attended Crossings, and the seminar was actually based around that, and much of Dr. Purvis’ work at TCU. Great stuff! :-)

      • Tina says

        Oops i meant Wounded Children Healing Homes..Her training was Wounded Hearts Healing Homes. I always flip them. All of Jayne’s books are helpful. She is awesome! Also there is a book that may have been recommended to you, it is The Out of Sync Child which is all about sensory processing disorders which is somewhat typical of children who are neglected at a young age or who comes from orphanages. It has been helpful to the families I have worked with. I too recommend A Boy who was Raised as a Dog. Great book.

  17. Jan Canales says

    I am so very impressed, hopeful, excited, and prayerful for you two! I know the time will come when a couple and a child are
    blessed and all your lives will be even more connected to our Lord and Saviour! May God bless your every move in this process.

    • Layla says

      Thank you so much, Jan! We appreciate your kind comment and look forward to sharing more updates with you as the journey unfolds! :-)

  18. says

    That sounds like a great class! I think almost everything we had to do was online–but how awesome to meet other people who are in the journey with you. It has been invaluable to have both online and real-life close friends who are adoptive parents and who “get” you in the hard and the good. (Excited to keep hearing your story!) :)
    ~Gini

  19. cindy says

    The prayer you jotted down is not only for parents to be. I have been saying a version of this prayer for many years! My children are now 30, 27, and 25. I will utter this prayer until I die. The answers are always there.

  20. says

    Adoptive mama to two special needs kiddos (from foster care). Being a parent is tough work! Reminding myself that I am Jesus to my babies is so important! I also find studying the spiritual significance of adoption is important as well. It is truly a higher calling than bio parenting. God shows us what it means to be an adoptive parent and love unconditionally.

  21. Robbie says

    We adopted through Gladney in Texas almost 7 years ago and brought hope an awesome little boy from Russia. He is the light of our lives and I firmly believe that God truly meant for him to be ours and us to be his forever family. It doesn’t just “happen”! Keep your chin up through the waiting period and just know that God is using this time to put everything in place so that you are connected with the child He has for you!

  22. Misty says

    Hey Guys!
    My husband Ben and I just finished our training and home study throught the children’s aid society. We have decided to move ahead with fostering with a view to adopt. After years of trying to start our family on our own, we have come to have peace with trusting that God has big plans to use us in the lives of His children ~ whether they be ours biologically or not. We have learned so much about the importance of giving a sense of uncondional love and security to these little ones that God will place in our care – and we feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to make a difference in this way! <3 I have often wondered, and still do sometimes, why God has not allowed us our own BUT, I've also felt Him place firmly upon my heart that He has chosen us for this important role because He designed us for it. When I take a step back and look at my life and my passions, I can so clearly see that God has eqipped me with a genuine desire to love the unloved and to lift others up – I am so happy to know that He has done the same for you both. I now consider it an even bigger honour to have been chosen by God for this task than I would have initially without all of the challenges to get us to where we are today. I'm happy to read along with your story and wish you both a beautiful, love filled life with you new wee one in God's appointed time. We just found out this past Monday that we have been officially approved by the agency. We have our first meeting with our adoption worker next week … then we go on a waiting list … and then … we wait. The hardest part! … but so much peace comes from knowing God has the perfect timing all figured out! Amen! :) xx

  23. says

    YAY for learning new things and connecting with new people! I think those insights are important to all parents, and they spoke to me as well.

    One other random thing I wanted to tell you was that I’ve noticed some odd things showing up in the the “You might also like” section below each blog post. It used to just show other posts from your blog, but lately, I’m seeing things like, “Legal Tricks to Fixing Your Credit Score,” and “How to Exercise Your Brain to Make it Strong.” Pretty sure those are not TLC posts, and I thought you might not know it was happening. :)

  24. sara says

    Hi there! We are in the process of adopting a little 2 1/2 girl and possibly a 2 yr old boy from China. We just recently sent everything to China and now wait to be locked in by them. We have 4 of our own bio kids, 8, 7, 5 and 2 yrs old.(Here’s our blog if you find time in between all the paper work :) http://hisgranddesign.blogspot.com/) We did read the connected child and had a love/hate relationship with it. We really did love the information in it, it just was very eye opening! But if God has called us to it, HE will get us through it and we are VERY certain that this was His calling, so I know we can do it. (Ask me that in few months, it could be different. :)) I was so super excited to see you were adopting international! It has been a wild ride, and just like pregnancy has had MANY ups and downs, but the blessings I’ve seen through it so far already are AMAZING! Things i would have missed out on had I not stepped forward!!! Good luck on your adventure! Can not wait to read what is up ahead for you!!!

  25. says

    I get so excited every time y’all give an adoption update! Congrats on finishing the home study. It really is a relief to have that behind you. The Crossings training never worked out with our schedule so we ended up doing our training online. I hate we missed out on the opportunity to meet other families in the process though. Isn’t the connected child book awesome though? We are already using some o the parenting advice on our biological daughter. I hope the rest of the adoption process goes smoothly and quickly for y’all.
    P.S. immigration approval went a lot quicker than what was estimated for us back in January. Maybe they will move quickly for you too.

  26. says

    We completed our home study with Lifeline just before they started offering the Crossings class, but I’ve heard its fantastic. I have learned a lot from Karyn Purvis’ book “The Connected Child” and from the book “Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft”. I also really enjoy reading the Tapestry blog (connected to Karyn Purvis ministry) http://tapestryministry.org/blog. And the Empowered to Connect sessions at the Created for Care retreat. (You should definitely go next year!!!) :) I think all of it can be a little overwhelming, but it is so encouraging to see the hope these children have and how God will allow us and strengthen us to be a part of that. I love feeling connect with our child even now as we pour our time and hearts into preparing for him in this way.
    I’m so glad Lifeline is doing the Crossings class now, they are such a great group of people. Congratulations to you guys for finishing up your home study. SO exciting!!! I’m an architect in Birmingham, maybe our work will cross paths one day! Blessings to you and Kevin and your little one!

  27. Sarah says

    Layla-just thought you would like to know that I also am seeing the same thing at the bottom of your posts-under the You Might Also Like section- things like how to fix your credit score, etc. that are not TLC posts.

  28. says

    Just wanted to let you know Layla, that I continue to keep you and your husband in my prayers. It must seem like it will take forever to have a little one of your own, but God’s timing is so very perfect. I’m also keeping the child that He knows is yours already in my prayers. I’m asking that God prepare hearts and minds to make all come together perfectly.

  29. says

    Layla,
    Although I’m not an adoptive mom, I am a mom. :) I can’t tell you how excited and happy I am for both of you right now. The anticipation you’re feeling is the same we felt when we were waiting for our little ones. What a wonderful blessing for your little Sweet Pea to be grafted into your family! And it’s so exciting and reassuring to know that God intended that one for you both, as He intended our children for us. I’m waiting eagerly and prayerfully with you until this time of “Expecting” delivers your child safely into your arms. Thanks for keeping us updated!

    Kelly

  30. Julie B. [Holland] says

    Love you updates. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Im so happy for you both.

  31. Meg says

    Hello Layla! I just wanted to say that I have followed your blog for years. It is so sweet! I can already tell that you and Kevin will be thoughtful, compassionate, and engaging parents. Best of luck on your journey! Also, have you read the children’s book “I Love You Like Crazy Cakes?” I have let students (who were adopted) of mine take it home to read with their parents and it is such a sweet book to have! xoxo, Megan

  32. Stacey says

    We are raising our beautiful grand daughter. When she first came to us full time, we did a lot of work with attachment—we had to re-create bonds, connection and trust. It’s been a bit over 8 years and she is thriving! Taking the time to build that connection and foundation was essential. We are so in love with her! I just know that you and your husband will be wonderful parents and your child will be blessed.

  33. says

    Just read about your adoption process. My husband and I adopted our daughter in 1969. We have two sons by birth and wanted a girl to add to our family. Adoption was much easier then and I soooo wish it would be that easy today. I can tell you, though, how much joy our daughter brought with her when she came into our home. She was then and is today an amazing person. There is absolutely NO difference in having a birth child or an adopted child. We always told her about being adopted from the first day she was ours, at 3 weeks old. She has always been very accepting of adoption. I wish you as much happiness in adopting a child, as adoption has brought to us. Just remember, that every child brings love with it.

  34. says

    I am glad my husband and I are not the only ones that struggle with social anxiety:) We are happy to be together, by ourselves. But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone is required and almost always rewarding. Congrats on your adoption progress :) God bless.

  35. says

    I never leave comments, but just have to say I love the “adoptive parent prayer” you mentioned. We have two kiddos (3 & 1) adopted from Taiwan. We have just recently begun to intentionally pray over them in regard to their adoption and who we need to be as their parents.

  36. Jen says

    Where are you guys adopting from? We are thinking of going international. We just had a birthmother change her mind. :(

  37. Alicia says

    Hi Layla!

    Congrats on finishing your homestudy! This is such a big milestone! My husband and I are in the process of bringing our son home from Taiwan. We had to attend a workshop with our homestudy organization, but we didn’t find it very helpful. We also had to read several adoption books (not The Connected Child, but I’m wanting to read it) which were helpful but borderline overwhelming too!

    You mentioned that you were about to star the immigration part of your paperwork. I found, honestly, that this was probably one of the easiest parts of the whole journey! We applied for his Visa, USCIS told us to go to one of their specific offices, we were fingerprinted, and we received our approval. I loved that they somewhat “guided” us through it by telling us our next steps. We haven’t exactly had that with our homestudy organization.

    Anyways, I wish you an amazing journey towards bringing your child home!

  38. Jaimee says

    I visited your site for the first time today and was moved to tears (at work!) upon reading that you are moving toward adoption. I was adopted 44 years ago by a young couple who opened their home and the deepest places in their hearts to not one, but eventually three, children who were born of others. They eventually had a biological child as well, whom they loved just the same as/differently from each of their adopted children. I thank God every day for the women who had the strength and foresight to relinquish the children of their flesh to be raised and loved by complete strangers as the children of their hearts. I am praying for you, that you will be led by God in this undertaking and that you may have the courage to face the challenges and triumphs of adoption as His own. And by the way…. even Jesus was adopted!

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