Friday, July 14, 2017

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

I have made a decision! I am no longer going to compare myself to other parents, or other families (even other adoptive special needs ones) based on what they are able to do as a family. Though they have 5-10 children, it still might work in their worlds to take each one to ballet lessons, swim lessons, special olympics baseball, or some sort of music lessons. They might have amazing outings with their families, filling up their van with the kids and going off on family adventures to the beach, or on a hike in the woods. “My kids deserve these things, too, I used to think,” and, “It’s not fair for our kids to miss out just because we have a large family and I’d just rather stay home and play!” 

Our summer started out with us signing one dear child up for swim lessons, which he loves, which are great for him, which hubby was going to take him to each time while I stayed home with the rest of the kids four days out of the week, but then had to work for every single one. First lesson went great, although I didn’t get to see much of it while watching the four other littles. Second, a slight issue right before starting lessons, and then the third started at home with a full blown meltdown (not mine yet!) I was determined to do the right thing, though, and take this child to swim lessons, so I loaded all the kids up in Goliath and kept telling myself that surely things would calm down before it was time to go in for lessons! I won’t go into any details, but let’s just say it was a doozy of a melt down, and by the time we got there it was apparent even to him that we needed to go home!

Then again today, feeling guilty about becoming a hermit and keeping us all at home all of the time, with the occasional outing to Costco when hubby is there to go along, I decided to ‘do something fun’! My first thought was, “Let’s go down to the local beach!” Well, of course the kids thought that was a great idea, except things didn’t stay peaceful long enough for this to continue to seem like a good idea a few hours later. So, we made sandwiches, and decided to put the kids back in the Beast and go for a drive to a small town nearby. ‘Where are we going? Why are we going there? When are we going home? Are we still in Washington, or are we in Oregon (x30). Uh, oh! I spilled my chocolate milk all over the floor! My crayons, ahhh, they fell everywhere! Construction, construction, construction. “Mom, is Dad mad at me for spilling my milk?” “Are we still in Washington?”

So, we made the decision to make our long outing a short one, and head to the place we all really wanted to be: Home! There and then I decided that I just have to quit comparing myself and my kids to other families. At least until the next time I get back on social media!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Advice From an Adoption Advocate: Don't Do It!

I love to take pictures of my children. I love to show the world their beautiful, happy faces, and their cute little outfits as they frolic together happily. Because, honestly, who wants to advertise to the world that adoption isn’t always beautiful and perfect? How many people would line up to watch a video of my son having his daily melt-down? Who wants to hear about my daughter lying for the 3,011 time for absolutely no reason, or read about how my kids find something to argue about ALL. OF. THE. TIME! As an adoption advocate, how many families am I going to convince to adopt a child when talking about how many of my adoptive mama friends currently have children in the hospital, or who have actually lost a child? Who will want to take the risk of forever changing their family if I share how many times I hear stories of children coming home with RAD, or other trauma related issues? No one wants to hear about families that aren’t bonding with their child, or who wish they had never heard of adoption.

If I tell you that I am so often filled with guilt; guilt when I can tell my husband is overwhelmed because of these children that I begged him for, guilt when my new little girls have to spend part of every day listening to their brother with autism rage, guilt for stooping to an 8 year olds behavior myself sometimes, guilt for not making the effort to have local friends, or return phone calls because I just don’t have it in me, does that make you want to sign right up for adoption? Let me tell you something. Adoption is hard. It just is. Parenting an adopted child is very often hard. As adoptive parents we spend a good portion of the year or years before with this dream of what our child will be like, and how he or she will fit into our family. We might worry at times about the what-ifs, but we try not to go there. Sometimes the child that comes home with us is who we thought we signed up for, and sometimes not. We take classes and read books in preparation to understand our child and better parent them when they come into our family, but no amount of learning and reading ahead of time is necessarily going to prepare us for some of the possible issues we may encounter. 

So, how can I advocate knowing that a family’s life might be forever changed for the worse if they take this leap of faith called adoption? Well, here I am as an advocate telling you - don’t do it! Don’t do it unless you are willing to give everything, lose everything for this child. When I was a younger parent, I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices that I am having to now for my family. I never thought I would parent children with Autism, or Down-syndrome. I never would have thought that I had it in me to do so. But God knew better. My first international adoption was supposed to be for a healthy infant, but instead was my almost two year old son that would later be diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. And although he can be such a joy at times, he can also make my life a living hell. But you know what? I went back for more! It didn’t say, ‘Oh, my goodness, I never signed up for this, and I am certainly not going back for more children who might be a further strain on my life!” Instead I realized, ‘I can do this!’ and, “I want to do this!” I have also thought so many times about what might have happened had our son been matched with another family that didn’t love him as much as we do. Would they have tolerated his behavior, or would he have been reduced to nothing emotionally without our support? So, not only did we go back for more, but we went back for four more. We counted the cost, and decided we wanted to give it all. Why? Because they are worth the risk and even the possibility that your family may never be the same again. Because much of the world doesn’t think they are even worthy enough to live. Because once you have seen the difference a family (even a dysfunctional family) can have on a child, you want to see it happen again and again. 

So, when I post pictures of those darling little babies with Down-syndrome, can I guarantee you that they are going to be delightful human beings that will be wonderful additions to your family? No. Can I tell you that they won’t also come with autism, or heart defects, or that they will never have leukemia or Alzheimers? No. Their presence could very well hurt your marriage, end friendships, and make you feel like you are losing your sanity. Am I trying to pull the wool over your eyes by posting these computer enhanced pictures of these darling children, or showing you only the happy side of our own family? No. They need families who will make a difference, who will give everything, and risk everything, even if it means losing everything they once had. But as much as I long for these children to have a family, as much as it pains me to see some of them wait month after month, year after year, I also implore you - don’t do it! Don’t adopt, don’t bring these little lives into your own life unless you are willing to lose everything for their sakes.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Letter From One Dad to Another on Choosing Down Syndrome Adoption

I’ve been asked to write a letter to all the Dads about another Dad’s perspective on adopting; specifically, adopting children with “Down Syndrome”.  I am 55 years old and a new Dad of two precious girls from China with Down Syndrome.  Prior to their adoption, we had 4 adopted children and one biological who is now grown and on her own.  My wife Lora, the author of this blog, felt called to adopt a child with Down Syndrome and cautiously asked me to consider the idea as well.  I have to admit that was a tough decision.  As I went through the internal process of making a good decision, what was most helpful to me was reading other family’s stories; seeing what others struggled with, focused on, how did they resolve conflict and adversity?  And in those stories, usually written by the Moms, I focused mostly on the Dads.  How do they do it?  Why did they do it?  Are they miserable?  How is it that these old guys in the pictures seem to be genuinely happy surrounded by such large groups of children?  I pondered these sorts of questions a lot.  These people became mentors to me , though they didn’t know it.  Now I’m the old guy with all the kids.  And someone may find my perspective interesting out there.  That’s what wife tells me.  One of the things about parenting at an older age is that it is the product of all the years of experience that led me here.  This is my experience.

Before we had our first child as a newly married couple 26 years ago, I thought only of me.  I wanted smart, fun, successful, good looking children that I could be proud of.  Like a successful career, children would either reflect my success or failure in life.  So I prayed to God that he would not give me a child with a handicap.  Specifically I prayed, “Please God, do not let my child have Down Syndrome”.

God answered my prayer by giving me a wonderful little girl, Katie Marie.  A miracle baby of sorts, since my wife almost miscarried.  And God decided that after Katie I would never have another biological child again.  Since I wanted only perfect children, then I would spend the rest of my life rectifying that stupidity away.  And looking back now, at age 55, I can see that really it has come to this:  God is healing me through my children.

God wants me to know that I am far from perfect.  The greatest gift He can give me is “imperfect” children, just like me, who will force me to abandon the idea that I am in control; that I want to be in control; that this life is about comfort, success, fame and fortune.  Instead, God’s will turns me to Him; to rely every day, every hour and minute on Him.  He wants me to know I am utterly dependent; “nothing” as it were.  I have unseen inner handicaps God wishes me to see.  He exposes them to me, like a good doctor, so I will be willing to receive necessary treatment and healing.  He does this through children; imperfect, messy, needy children.

So now, I understand these smiling dad’s in the pictures a little better perhaps.  They are smiling because they may have found an inner peace that comes from doing what dad’s were intended to do:  Build, protect, guide, honor those entrusted to us from God Almighty.  Not for our sake.  For the love of God.  I see God in these Dads and their large families, and I see God as he chips away at my deformities.  The “point of it all” in this life is slowly revealed in the sweet, trusting face of these little gifts of life God entrusted to me; of all people, He entrusted them to me!

Every adoption we have ever done has been accompanied by its own inner anxieties.  And I must emphasize, anxiety for me, not the wife.  She is the creative force.  I am the unwilling accomplice worried about passing practical issues like money and budgets; physical and emotional limitations.  She has dragged me outside of myself every step of the way.  But, I suppose that’s why I married the girl in the first place.  Lucky guy!

Prior to our first adoption, Stephen, who is now 18, my concern was bonding.  I was concerned about whether I would love an adopted child in the same way I loved my biological daughter.  Would there be two classes of love and attachment between children?  I chewed on that question for a year, but there was no resolving it, because you just can’t know.  I asked everyone I knew who’d adopted or had been adopted about their experience, trying to answer that question:  “Can I actually love an adopted child”?  “Did you actually feel loved as an adopted child”?  One wise dad’s answer, who’d adopted numerous children, permanently clarified it for me.  Question:  “Were you every worried you’d fail to bond with any of your adopted children?”  He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.   Answer:  “Uuuhh, I don’t know”, he responded, “I just like kids”.  Simple answer, I know, but it changed everything for me.  It was not about me.  It was about the kid.  “I like kids too!  Have one”!  We did.  He is now an amazing young man, off to college, and fulfilling his God given talents.  He is a light in the world.  I did that.  Because I listened to a father’s advice: “I like kids”.

That statement has pretty much guided me ever since.  Whenever I think about the practical concerns that so often lead me into the weeds of discontent, I return to that:  “I like kids”.

I will pass over the next adoptions.  We adopt Jason from Taiwan to make it three.  He struggles with emotional anxiety.  We adopt Annie and Wyatt from China to make it five.  She has minor physical and cognitive disability.  He has no disability.  Kate has moved out by now, so there are four children in the house.  Again, I’m done.  I’m proud of myself for doing all that I’ve done.  

Then wife approaches me about adopting again(!).  For some reason she is called now to adopt a child with Down Syndrome.  As difficult as that is to hear and process, I realize that all the years and struggles and decisions over our married and parenting life have come to this:  I need to confront that horrible prayer that I once prayed to God, “Please God, don’t give me a child with Down Syndrome”.  God blessed me with this wife to bring the lesson to pass.  Deal with it Brian.  Do it correctly now.  You are older and wiser, don’t repeat the mistake again.  For the sake of your soul do not.

I am now in my mid fifties and I cannot imagine adopting at this age.  How does this work as I get older?  Practically speaking this makes no sense.  From the World’s playbook, this makes no sense.  And then my wife shows me these blogs of families in which Dads my age, perhaps older or younger, are surrounded by kids in much larger numbers and with some disabilities greater than I am currently proposing.  And I think, well, if they can do it why can’t I?  And I think, if that smiling Dad hadn’t said yes, those smiling kids may very well be on a dusty street alone in China, rather than surrounded by siblings all having good times together.  And I return to the thought, “I like kids”.  These families are full of kids.  But now I know where these kids are from.  No longer some hazy theoretical problem, but actual faces and names and voices and emotional fears and desires.  I know them now, through the sampling of children I’ve met through my wife’s work. They were not smiling before.  They were hopeless before.  They were in orphanages, perhaps tied down to their beds, facing a future on the street if no one chose them.  But someone said “yes” and chose them.  How cool must that feel to a child with little or no hope?  “I was chosen!  They picked me and only me!”  Now they are children with hope and a future, in families that love them, enjoying the wealth and plenty God graced their parents with.  They receive love, but they also give it back.  And I think, “Why not.  After all, I not only like kids, I love kids”.

So to all the dads out there considering, “Should I?  How can I?  It makes no sense!”  my advice is this:  focus on the kids.  This is the chance you have to do something that will last long after you are gone from this world.  Only this matters, raising children.  Special needs?  They were given those needs by God.  God wants them loved too, and loved just the way He made them, “disabilities and all”.  He did not make a mistake.  Perhaps their needs are there for you to be made better by them.  Certainly they do not stand in the way of God’s love.  Then who are we to love them any less.  

And I will say this about Down Syndrome.  I was wrong all those years ago.  As wrong as can be.  Children with Down Syndrome are an incredible gift to me; my family; the world.  They are about the sweetest, coolest children you can imagine.  If you are feeling down about things, spend a little time with your children with Down.  You will be smiling again shortly.  Lights in the world.  Little lights.  Do you want a light?  I didn’t.  Now I do.  Lucky me!  Thanks Lora!  You have made me a better person.  Yes, they require assistance.  Depending on the severity, more or less assistance.  But once you give yourself over to parenting, that in itself is part of the reward.  And I would encourage all you dads out there to be open to expanding the circle of smiling faces in your own little family.  Nothing finer in life, than to be responsible for raising, protecting and gifting to the world children of God.  Just as they are; as He made them.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Day of Peace with Autism

Yesterday was a day of peace. What happened to make our day so peaceful? Absolutely nothing. You see, usually a day with our son, who has autism and ADHD, is like living with two different people at once. There is our sweet, loving son, Jason, who truly is our most thoughtful, affectionate child…when he’s Jason. He’s the one to remember to make your birthday special, or want to take care of you when you are sick. He is very outgoing with people he meets. Very polite, and inquisitive. My feeling is that people just meeting him find him quirky but charming in a genuine way. 

So, when things go south, I just have to remember who Jason really is. This loving little guy that I adore is not the same boy that makes me question myself as a parent daily. Who yells and rages at me in ways that just defeat me. And things can go bad in a split second, leaving me walking on eggshells for most of the day. Over the years we have read the books, tried the diets, and after years of refusal, tried the medication. We try to make sure that he stays fed, hydrated, and have completely removed the iPad, and other electronics. Supplements? Check. Once in a while we will think we are onto something, but no, there he goes into a complete meltdown, hitting the walls, hitting himself, irrational, inconsolable, yelling words our older children would never have dared to utter to us back when they were little and we had this parenting thing down. And it makes me so sad for him. The tears are real, his misery is real. In these moments it doesn’t matter that we’ve told him fifty times that day that we love him and always will. His insecurities come out from deep within, and sometimes there is nothing that can be done except to ride it out. 

When Jason came to us at 22 months, he had been living with a foster family since about the time he turned one. Before that he was with his birthmother and grandfather at home. So, by the time we were matched with him at 14 months, his birth family had disappeared, and then after staying several months with a family of strangers, we brought him to a foreign country, and another group of strangers that spoke an entirely different language. (In fact it would be a few years before Jason started to acquire language skills. We would later discover that this was a part of his autism diagnosis.) When he first came home his days were joy filled. He bonded with us as his parents, and with his siblings immediately, lavishing us with hugs and kisses. But at night his demons came out, and he would wake up in terror night after night for months. For the first week he would only sleep with me holding him on top of my chest. If he woke and I had layed him to my side, he would scream in terror. Eventually he felt comfortable sleeping next to me, and then on a cot next to my bed. After weeks I moved to his room with him sleeping on the floor next to his bed, and then finally after months of being home, he slept on his own in his room. Still, for years he would often wake up in the middle of the night barging into our room screaming in terror. 

We enrolled Jason in the public school system’s special preschool program at four, thinking that maybe his lack of language acquisition was due to not enough socialization with peers his age. At the end of the semester when we met with his teacher, she explained some of his issues in the class, such as his inability to stay focused on a task, and lack of interaction with other children. I asked her then if she thought he might have ADHD, and she said, “Yes, and I think he might also have autism.” That was a lightbulb for us. It just made sense. It was like a terrible sentence, and a relief at the same time. Over the next month we would have him tested, and the experts would confirm this diagnosis. We began therapies, and slowly he started to build his language skills, and make better eye contact. We got an IEP set up for school so that we could adjust his services as needed every year. In fact, at school Jason did (and always has done) fairly well at school behaviorally. He is well loved by teachers, and liked by most of the students. 

At home, though, perhaps because of the lack of structure, or because he feels he can let his hair down, things are not the same. At home he is two boys again. And after he has raged, and beat the walls, or torn up his books, and he goes back to being Jason, I have to just love him and enjoy him, and soak up his love for me as he wraps his arms and legs around me for a super Jason sized hug. And I have to not hold it against him that moments before he was making life somewhat miserable. I am glad that at least there is this good, loving side, and that it isn’t always just darkness. Adding younger siblings both rocked Jason’s world and made it better. His dark side comes out even more often with these walking triggers, but he has also learned to be more patient, to share more, and to be nurturing to them. And his newest little sisters with Down-syndrome can do no wrong in his eyes. Only to his 3 year old sister will he yield his beloved living room chair, or back off in a disagreement. 

Yesterday Jason was sick. He was at the end of a cold from last week, and had been complaining of a stomach ache for a couple of days. As we have had both of these illnesses floating around all of the members of our family for the last several days, this was not unusual. But the real surprise was that Jason was just Jason. Really starting from the previous day he was somewhat lethargic, but still his sweet happy self, and the dark side never came out. Not once. Jason is now ten and has been with us for over eight years. So, for me to say that this was unique tells you something. It’s not that every day is a bad day with him by any means. To have this day, though, where nothing triggered an outburst of emotion, where we only saw the loving, happy side of Jason was such a blessing. I found myself thinking over and over, “This is how it would be if he were normal.” That sounds terrible to say, but it was such a revelation to me. Who knows how much of the other side of Jason comes from his Autism/ADHD diagnosis, or from the huge trauma of leaving his birth family as a toddler. Somehow, though, the wiring in his brain has changed, and somehow having his immune system down just this one time, did what medication, diets, and therapies couldn’t do, and kept those demons away, allowing him and us to have a peaceful, joyful day together. Oh, to be able to bottle that up and pass it around as a cure! But for now, I will have to be grateful for just this one day.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Loss of a Child's File

THE LOSS OF A CHILD'S FILE. So many of us have been through this. As I sit here looking at my precious little girl, home only for a little over a month, I know now why the other child was not to be ours, was meant by God to go to another family. But as I see her pictures meeting her new family, my heart is torn, feeling joy and loss at the same time. Joy that she is with such an amazing family (that God always intended her to be with), and loss because we tried for almost two months to get her file ourselves.

It was the struggle to convince my husband that we needed to bring this second child home at the same time as our other daughter. Showing him her video over and over again until he got the background song stuck in his head. Prayers that he would say yes, and then once he did, prayers that we would be able to transfer her file to our agency since we already had PA for our first daughter. And oh how we tried, but it was not meant to be. But this little girl opened up our hearts to bringing a second child home on this last trip. 

I felt strongly that we should adopt two little girls with Down-syndrome. Partially so that they would have each other as they grew up, and partially because one more little life would have a family. Now as I look at my girls I see that God brought together the perfect combination. Their personalities blend together so well. As I hold my little girl, I can’t imagine loving her any more if she had come my own womb. I love the feel of her skin, and the smell of her little body and breath. Her joyful smile and bright eyes make our lives more wonderful each day. So, as I see the little one that we lost with her new family, I admit I do feel sadness at the loss of her. I know, though, that she is exactly where she is supposed to be, and that God used her as a path to bring our sweet Lucie home.

I know there are so many other families out there that have tried to bring home a precious child that they felt in their heart was theirs, only to be told that that child belonged to someone else. My heart aches for them because I know that feeling of loss. Looking at her pictures with her amazing family will probably always be bittersweet for me. Some families don't even get the chance to see God's work in watching the child they lost flourish with their new family, or get to look at the child's face in their arms that was intended for them instead. I am grateful.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Brian and Rosalie

Friends, this is on my heart this morning. It was almost a year ago that we first saw sweet Rosalie’s picture on a waiting children site. My husband at the time had still not bought into the idea of adopting again, as we had just come home a few months previously with two of our children from China. He was also newly open to the idea of adopting a child with Down-syndrome. Then I sent him a text with her picture, and he texted back something positive. I knew he was hooked! After that it was her or no-one! And it took a bit of work to get her file. 

My big concern, though, was her video. It is absolutely precious, and you fall in love with her immediately as you are watching her. At the end, though, when I saw that she was using a walker instead of walking independently, I was really concerned as to what my husband would say. I am not saying that we wouldn’t have gone for a child that couldn’t walk, or that was in a wheelchair. Believe me, there are many precious kiddos who have tugged at my heart who will never walk independently! It was just that in this case I had already asked my husband to take such a big leap of faith, and as we already had special needs kiddos at home, and some just newly home, I wasn’t sure he would be able to stretch just a little farther. Well, I should have known better! He was already committed to loving her and taking care of her no matter what her needs were! 

As it turned out, she had continued to receive therapy and was able to walk independently well before she came home. Children with Down-syndrome often take a bit longer to reach their milestones. But the point is, it would have been ok even if she never reached them. Seeing how much my husband loves Rosalie already warms my heart so much. I’ve seen him be a daddy bear with the other kids, even telling one of them that they would not push his little girl! She loves to watch him cooking in the kitchen, and I will look over and see him on his knees giving her a hug, or from another room hear something sweet that he says to her. 

I’ve said this before, but this was the same man that admittedly prayed when we were trying to conceive twenty something years ago that we would not have a child born with Down-syndrome. Now we can’t imagine not having Rosalie, or her sister Lucie, in our lives. They really are the joy in our days. When the other kids are bickering, or one is having a melt-down, our girls manage to make us smile in the midst of it! God is so good. He always knows!!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Thoughts On the Decline of International Adoption

My thoughts on this article about the decline in international adoptions to the U.S.

The cost of adoption is high, and frankly, I believe it always has been. We have been adopting since 1998, and our first was a domestic adoption. We have 6 adopted children, and I really think that end the end the process cost just about the same for each one. I agree that the high cost is definitely a deterrent from adopting internationally, but I also think that there are many people who could afford to adopt and just don’t. This is why I advocate mostly to people who have already adopted, because they have seen their children’s lives transformed, they have seen what is being left behind and what is gained. They will sacrifice, fundraise, do whatever it takes to change one more child’s life. I, too, know of families that have fully paid for their adoptions through fundraising. It’s not a fun or easy thing to do, but they persevere.  What I am more concerned about is the families who want to sacrifice and fundraise to bring a child home, and who are told they can’t now because of the lack of waivers. It is so disheartening to see families come forward to adopt a precious child you have been advocating for only to find out that they no longer qualify because of income, BMI, family size, etc. And, too, those who have PA that have them taken away! This boggles my mind!!

I do think it is interesting in this article the reasons they list for the changes in numbers: Unethical Agencies, yes there are some out there, but other agencies have been working with them for years, and have placed thousands of children (I am speaking mostly of China here.) Lack of post-placements done. This is our fault as families. The post-placements are usually pre-paid, so it’s not a matter of cost. We have agreed as parents in advance to do these. Some families just decide that they don’t want to do them once their child is home, and they know it isn’t going to cause their child to be taken back. But it does obviously have and effect on adoptions at large and the trust between countries. The third reason was re-adoptions in the U.S.. Sometimes replacements have to happen. I know of one family that needed to do this, and it was the very best thing for the child and the families involved. However, it happens too often. Disruptions in country, meaning that people go to the country to pick up their child and change their minds once they have seen the child because of undisclosed medical issues that they don’t think they can handle, or behavioral issues (which are often because of the trauma of the huge change that is happening in their lives, and not long term) happen way more often than we think. Interestingly, these are not listed in the statistics you see online because most agencies don’t disclose that information.

So, yes, it is a shame that the cost of adoption is so high, and that there is greed and politics that keep these sweet babies from coming home, but it’s also us. More people who can afford to adopt need to, or need to support those financially that are willing to but don’t have enough funds. Agencies need to be ethical, as do adoptive parents in filling out paperwork. Potential adoptive families also need to do their homework in researching which agency to use ahead of time. There is a FB group called, "Rate Your China Adoption Agency" that is extremely helpful for choosing an agency to adopt from China, and I know there are many seasoned adoptive families out there that would love to give their recommendations if asked.

Parents also need to seriously consider what they are up for before they send in a Letter of Intent for a particular child that they want to adopt. There are always unknowns in the adoption world. It’s important to do a lot of self examination about what it would take for you to leave a child behind in China, or cause you to re-place a child once home. Then there is the waiver issue. In addition to the changes that need to be made above, this one is going to take a lot of prayer. If you pray, then pray that these restrictions will be changed, and soon so that the numbers of children that are brought home to families doesn’t continue to drop.