Image Therapy

Images are a powerful and integral part of my life. Images perceived with my physical eyes are just as potent as the images in my rather over-active imagination. At times this make-ableeb (my pronunciation for make-believe when I was a Mr. Rogers watcher) world exists as a completely real-to-me parallel universe. Images are realty, vitality and therapy.

Front Porch View 05

When I knew that I was going to meet the parents of my… of one of the dearest boys in our House of Dreams I was less than happy. (Gasp!) I know, I know. I could blame it on being overwhelmed and fatigued from the move. That could have been a contributing factor. More than that was that nasty selfishness that got in the way. I wanted the kid to stay with us. He literally lights up the room. I didn’t want to have to face the change. If you want to know the absolute bare bones truth I was sulking because I wanted my adoption to be happening instead of theirs. Horrendous jealousy trying to rear its head again.

I forced myself to be a good host when I met them on Monday. I probably failed miserably. We will just blame their coolness on fatigue from their travel, the stress of meeting their child for the first time, maybe some Frenchness and just outright culture shock. There are so many factors swirling around in moments like these.

As I left the House of Dreams Monday night I knew that things had to change – fast. I had to act fast. Repentance breeds creativity. After God and I got things settled an idea hit me. I had spent Monday morning emailing tons of photos to the parents of one of our kids adopted earlier this year. (If pixels can be weighed in tons there were literally tons of pictures.) It was fun to be able to do that for them. The disc we sent with them didn’t read on their computer. I am so grateful that we have a constant contact with that lovely family so far away in Europe. So as I pulled up to my own home sweet home I had the idea of getting developed the pictures we have of J.D. for this, also lovely, French family. They had brought pictures of their life in France to show their son and us, so I knew they would appreciate pictures of their boy’s life here in Bolivia.

That evening I let the images of this little man be therapy to me. The tears came as I cropped and labeled, copied and saved. As I prepared the file I prayed for him, them and us. I decided to start treating them I hope to be treated when my time comes. I scoured even the most obscure folders on my hard drive to be sure not to miss one stray shot of their son.

The next day I got the pictures developed. I was a bit disappointed that I could only find 28. The sweet boy has been with us for almost three years. Note to self – take so many more pictures of the everyone.

I entered the home with my package. After the double kisses on the cheeks I pulled it out and handed it to them. Then we sat draped with a dozen kids as I told them about their son. They made me think hard to be able to write names and dates on the backs of the pictures. I gladly did so. They asked about special friends and made their French mouths pronounce the names. I pointed out that his favorite color is yellow, in almost every shot he is wearing a yellow shirt. J.D. smiled and pointed as we went through the pictures. His friends laughed as they saw themselves beside him in the images.

It was a good time. I was genuinely very happy for them. It was real.

This is something that I want to do for all the adoptive parents. Really, though, I will be doing it for me. For me images are realty, vitality and therapy.

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7 thoughts on “Image Therapy

  1. What an amazing gift you are giving them.

    thank you for sharing with us, even the hard stuff. I know that I would probably be going through some of the same emotions and feelings, but to admit it on your blog? Thanks for your honesty!!!

  2. WOW Ang! God is so good to help us when we ask Him to help us find a better attitude! What a precious gift you gave and I’m sure very appreciated by the parents and especially J.D. as he grows older!

    I wonder if keeping all those pics within a seperate folder and using tags with the children’s names would help you in future endevors. Surely there’s gotta be a nifty way to organize as you go! I’ll keep pondering that and see if I can think of anything to help out!

    Big, big hugs!

  3. Angie this is so perfect. I had thought of this exact thing after reading mind bytes. I was going to ask you if you made photo albums for the parents when children got adopted. As a picture person myself that would mean the would to me & I also would not want my child to forget where they came from. So glad it was a healing process for you too. God is good & knows just what to do to staighten us out.
    Have you tried looking though other peoples facebook albums etc to find pics? I know that is where I got a few pic of JD that I have. Anyway, that is a thought if you are trying to find more photos. Libby also had a great idea of making personal files for each child.
    Love & prayers to you always!

  4. Congrats on another adoption, yeah!! Passing over the CDs of a child’s life with us (and sometimes even before) is one of my greatest joys in the adoptions. My family had exactly two pictures of my sister pre-adoption and how we treasure those!

    I haven’t printed out the pics since our first or second adoption though because there are anywhere from 200-700 pics/videos per child, yikes! That makes for many late nights searching for pics…have heard of software that could help with that but haven’t taken the plunge yet.

  5. What a gift that will be for him when he grows up! It will be invaluable for him to be able to look back and recall all of the faces who have made such an impression on his life thus far.

    In foster care we make what are called “Lifebooks” for all of the kids we work with. We help them find pictures, label them, write down memories such as homes they lived in, who they lived with, names of friends, all of the little things you might never think of. It could be a fun craft project for the older kids to work on once in a while. I have it on my hard drive if you’re interested.

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