Welcome, Joseph Eshetu!

Celebrate with us as we welcome Joseph Eshetu Gabriel Shores into our family! (After hearing the redemption story of Old Testament Joseph, he has changed his mind and wants to be called Joseph. But if you say Eshetu [Eh-shet-tu], that’s ok, too!)Joseph is seven years old and came home this past weekend from Maryland.

He’s originally from Ethiopia, but we are his second adoption and there will be a lot of mixed up feelings about that. I will share the amazing story of how he got to come home in a future post. Today, I just want to share a few thoughts so that might help you, our friends and family, when you meet Joseph.  1. Joseph had a hard life as a baby. Now, in many ways he is a brilliant, creative, and amazing seven-year-old, but in other ways (emotionally), he’s still much younger.  He is a very sensitive little boy.  He will spend most of his time near David Alan and myself, almost like a toddler. If you think that this looks weird, rest assured that we are following the advice of attachment therapists and we know what we’re doing.  2. We have to make many decisions about Joseph. Some of these include things like homeschooling, discipline, medications, sleeping arrangements, food options, etc. We do not make these decisions lightly and without consulting trained professionals. If you have an opinion that you think truly needs to be shared with us, please do not do it in front of Joseph. We know that you don’t want to undermine our parenting, but correcting us in front of him will (as experienced when our daughters came home). Please, do encourage us in the hard times!  3. Please try not to overwhelm Joseph when we come into a large crowd of friends. Feel free to come over and greet us, just try not to make that group too large. Let him take the lead on whether or not he wants a hug or a handshake or just to stand near you. (Please try not to say things that imply he’s “lucky” or “blessed” for being with us). Do, compliment him when he does something well or shows character, and remind him lots that he is a “Shores!”  4. We’re experimenting with Joseph’s diet in order to support his health, so please ask before you give him anything to eat.   5. Unfortunately, a tantrum is not out of the question. If you see Joseph having difficulties, please allow David Alan and/or myself to handle it. Don’t be surprised if this otherwise sweet, silly boy says unkind things or when we do not discipline him for saying those things in a “traditional” way. We will be providing discipline in the ways recommended by therapists who work with children like Joseph on a regular basis.   6.  We don’t want to share everything about Joseph’s background with everyone.  Please understand if we can’t give you an answer, and know that we won’t hold it against you.  (I would be curious, too!). ;)

7. Even though it will be hard for us to return messages or phone calls immediately, please forgive us and don’t leave us! We need our friends and family. It will be nice to get out of the house sometimes and have adult conversation, so please, always ask—even though we might have said no the last five times. Even the asking means so much to us. Also, it would be appreciated to know of a couple of people who would be willing to give us a night out on occasion or come over and help supervise Joseph while I organize (there’s still so much left to do!). Please let me know if you are willing.  That said, Joseph is a blessing for us to have in our home. Lydia, Ruby, Abigail, Zoey, and Isaiah are over-the-moon! They are thrilled that he is home and so far we’ve had some marathon Lego-playing sessions and a lot of yard wrestling with the boys. He has the mind of an engineer and is insatiably curious. He loves cuddling up with his big sisters and me. David Alan and I are well, but tired. He will not return to work until Thursday, so maybe we will catch up on rest before then.

Thank you all for your support—with finances, with prayers, and with calls to Frankfort to bring our son home. We could not have done this without you. God clearly has a plan for our precious boy!