Welcome to Episode 18: Truths about Mothering the Broken.
Today we want to share some truths and practical ways we nurture our broken, adopted children in hopes it will speak to someone in the trenches like we are on a daily basis. We both agree, it takes Sacrifice and Service from the adoptive family to begin building trust and security in our adopted children.
Sacrifice means you are called to love like Jesus with no guarantee your child will love you back. You will be called to dig deep into the word and your soul to have enough for a day and then there are times when you’re still lying on the floor in a pool of tears. Jesus is enough. We have to refuel our hearts everyday in Him. Remembering how much He first loved us on the cross can give us the hope of pressing on to live our broken children. Even when they push, spit, slap, and cry for hours. It is sometimes the only way they can process the horrible past they have endured. They are fighters. It’s how they came to be in our family. They have survived and will use all that fight against you to make sure this new gig is legit.
Acts 20:22 “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…”
Adoption sometimes saves us from who we might have become in own making. A life with all we could ever WANT in exchange of a life sacrificed to a child who NEEDS everything we can give. It is a beautiful testimony to Psalm 73:26 “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Service is scaffolding and supporting our child AND family all at the same time. Even when we don’t feel like holding our child through an entire day or feeding them another snack on demand or cosleeping with our child so they feel safe and secure. Serving unconditionally is one of the greatest ways we show our love in the midst of great trauma.
When anyone adopts whether it be internationally or domestic, the adoption comes from broken relationships producing broken children. Adoption is a very complex and life changing choice. Both for the adoptive family and the adopted child. Having a new child home can be both joyful and dreadful. Choosing to adopt a child comes with huge risks and responsibilities.
How is adoption life changing?
Share the joyful and dreadful.
What are the risks and responsibilities?
Practical Application? Take life one moment at a time. Be in prayer all the time. Have a friend a text away to talk, cry, and pray with constantly, especially those first weeks home.
There are NO guarantees or promises from the child. We really can’t even expect they will love us. They didn’t choose birth, abandonment. OR adoption. . If we do have preconceived expectations, it can only bring disappointment and added stress to the mix. It puts unnecessary pressure on everyone. Choosing to bring a broken, sad, institutionalized, forgotten, lonely child into a home is a big calling. It is not something to be chosen lightly or with lofty expectations. We take the child where they are and nurture them forward toward healing.
What would be preconceived expectations we have had?
Why do our children come to us broken and lonely?
Practical Application: When adopting any age child, it is wise to view him/her several years younger and treat them that way. Put yourself in their shoes sitting in the environment they were just in, then thrust into an American family in a 5 star hotel, instantly with ALL they can wear, eat, and constantly on the go. Can you imagine the nerves and confusion going on? STOP and realize this child is ALL that matters… GIVE them every bit of yourself and when you get home~ DO THE SAME THING!!!!!
There are often more low points in the first months than high ones because everyone is adjusting and the new child must take precedence. It is not fair to that child. It is not fair to the parents. It is not fair to the children already in the family. Adoption is NOT FAIR. It is choosing to bring a child home believing the brokenness can be healed with lots of love, time, and patience.
What are things we do in the first month?
What are things we can do to nurture toward healing?
Practical Application: Most of my children were young enough I could still carry them in the carrier while going about our daily life. I was able to care for my other children while still giving my new child precedence. I have been known to sit on the floor with at least three children in my lap. Stay available for all the time. Giving face time to your children (all of them) will make all the difference in the world. Your children already home will have a huge influence on your new child as you sit near allowing your new child to watch and learn. Believe me, they are watching EVERYTHING and pick up on so many ideas just being and seeing.
We also know, no two days are ever the same. There will be good ones and bad ones, and extremes in both of those. No two adoptions will ever be the same so we can’t compare how well someone else’s child is doing to our situation. No two children will ever be the same. Just because our first adoptions have been smooth sailing and our children have adjusted so well doesn’t guarantee the next ones will be the same.
What is something we can do to help a really bad turn around? Or survive?
How do we help our children adjust?
Practical Application: Give words to your other children of how things are going and remember sometimes our face is our only form of communication to our new child. Being loving, kind, gentle, and caring with our face even in the middle of the tantrum can maybe keep things from escalating. And when it doesn’t, tell the child over and over you love them always. Allow them to hear I love you more than anything else. EVEN when you don’t really know if you love them yet. Fake it until you make it.
Just a few other thoughts to make adoption a little more real and honest:
We feel like giving up
We feel like taking the easy road. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
We have wondered what we were thinking in adoption
We get angry and raise our voices
We make mistakes
We want things to be like they used to be~ and so does our adopted child.
In the end, it will all be worth it!!
Amber and Joe have about $15,000 left to raise before traveling to China in May. They have been graciously awarded a matching grant from Lifesong. Anything up to $3000 will be matched~ potential for $6000! That is huge SO…
PLEASE consider giving to their fund via this link provided. Teagan their precious son will be so blessed if you do!!!