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Monday, October 11, 2010

Adoption and Disruption Thoughts I Can't Express Part 1

This post has been wearing on my heart.... for awhile. I have written, deleted, written again, waited until midnight when I could really concentrate, and then tried it again.   So here goes another post on Adoption and Adoption Disruption/Disolution.....
Please bear with me.
And for my dear friend, who has struggled for years with 2 children who are no longer at home.... I love you. I want you to know FOR SURE, this post is not about a parent who has to protect themselves from a child with severe mental illness.  Many biological parents are in the same boat.
You have NOT disrupted your children. You are still their parent.  :)

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that we adopted our sweet Sarah, from Adoption Disruption/disolution.
So we are the happy beneficiaries of our sweet, sweet Sarah.  She has been home since she was almost 6 years old.  She is now 11.

I recently posted an article by Russell Moore, because I find it to be a good article.
But I remember, about 2 years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention announced an emphasis on Adoption.....    On one hand, I say, that is good. On the other hand, I say that isn't good.

There are many reasons people adopt.  And yes, it is true that Scripture calls for people of Faith to CARE for the Orphan and Widow.  (James 1:27.  But, just like you would prepare to care for anything, in your life, PREPARATION is needed.

One of my favorite lines in the movie "Martian Child", was that of a girl who said, "Most people study more about how to raise tomato plants than they do children."  And, that is not too far off.

When we were adopting Anna, we mentioned that we would be taking parenting classes from the Local Child Advocacy Center. You would have been shocked at the response. "Why, you have already raised 4 boys!"  "Do they think you don't know what you are doing?"   "That is stupid!" and I could go on, but I'll spare you. ....
And the most famous comment we got, "You can't adopt! Don't you know you can't spank!"  LOL
I found that one the most disturbing. Golly, I hadn't even thought about finishing the paperwork and this person already had us spanking our child.....
And there were many statements along those lines which made me wonder, what kind of person bases their decision on if they can spank or not? LOL

So, once again we began to delve into the adoption world in preparation for our daughter.  We studied "Heart Felt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson (which is not about adoption) With Anna, I hadn't come across any real adoption books I knew about, so our classes sufficed, along with the book, "A Child Called It!"
There was enough information to help us see where our sweetie was coming from emotionally, and with my own personal background experiences, we were on our way to becoming a family.
When our Social worker said we would LOVE Bryan Post and Heather Forbes, we studied books by them, "Beyond Consequences Logic and Control, Beyond Consequences Logic and Control 2.

After Sarah and Before Erika, we added to our collection, Karyn Purvis, "The Connected Child", "Primal Wound", (which was VERY interesting) many blogs, and Daniel Hughes Books , "Building The Bonds of Attachment in the Deeply Wounded Child", "Facilitating Developmental Attachment",
and then, we were reading Bruce Perry's book, "The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog"....
Along with all that reading we read our Bible.

All of these books are good books. They all offer bits and pieces of information that may help to put pieces together as you study your child and get to know them and learn HOW to love them.

However, No child is a one size fits all child, and there is not one, "One size fits all" book, outside of scripture.
I  know many, wonderful parents who have worked very hard, to learn to parent their child according to that child's needs.
But in all the book reading and preparation, there is nothing like the real deal to let you know what kind of sin exists in your own heart, how much change YOU need to make for yourself, and  just how many issues you have put on the back burner to not deal with, and now all the pots are overflowing. :)

Adoption is not for the faint of heart, nor is parenting.   Put the two together, and get ready for a ride! :)
But, what a ride is CAN BE!  Our experiences have moved toward the positive. But our family is not perfect. No family is.
I was listening to a sermon yesterday on Moses and that he didn't enter the promised land because of his disobedience to God.... wow.... He was not a perfect man, but I know I have a long ways to go before I ever resemble a Moses.  Yet God, has brought these children into our lives to lead and guide into adulthood, and into the Hands of the Lord.
If we were to guage our children based upon their first 6 months home, I'm not really sure what I'd say, other than, maybe, we are moving in the right direction. :)  The work was hard, and took place minute by minute, hour by hour, meal by meal, day by day, step by step..... it was continual and full!

And then, each little girl began to branch out, blossom and grow in different areas at different times, but going in the right direction non the less.  It took some  a little longer to get to a "norm" for us than others, but those 3 steps forward 2 steps back and sometimes what seemed like 4 steps back, would always keep us on our toes, trusting the Lord to guide us, and remind us of how HE sees US!

Can you tell I'm having a hard time expressing this?
So here I get to the disruption part.

Many people will look at blogs and families and think everything was easy to get to where they are.
That couldn't be further from the truth.  Parenting ANY child is hard, HARD work.
Some families will wind up going into adoption,  because the "church" has called for it, or because they are bored, or because they don't have children, or because they are truly called. (these are actual words spoken)
They go through all the work to bring their children home, and then..... it gets hard. They haven't taken the time to try something different. They say "this is how I did it with the others, or this is how my parents raised me,  and this kid will have to fit into OUR lifestyle", they don't read those "psychology" books.... and they don't seek out help.
And then, behind closed doors, there is abuse, emotional neglect, and worse.... and then in desperation they dissolve or disrupt.    I used to think it wasn't that common. Sarah was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.  And we still can't imagine the why with our Sarah.  But she has experienced the devastation of being twice rejected. (first at birth, and then after adoption)
Yes, she is happy. Yes she is very much our Daughter, Yes, she has her own personal pain that she will have to deal with the rest of her life.  That is reality. It doesn't consume her, and it isn't the end of her world... but she is STRONG. She is SO STRONG.  I don't know that I could be as strong as she is.

Maybe it IS true that adoption isn't for everybody; parenting isn't for everybody.  But caring for the orphan is.  What about supporting those families that are trying to adopt?  What about getting involved in their fund raisers, or donating to funds to get children home?  How about not judging families who bring children home and those children struggle with behaviors that are not normal?  How about not judging the children!  (we have had that one recently) How about praying for families who bring children home?  Prayer is a powerful tool. Pray that God will give these families wisdom and discernment in raising their children.

I don't  know that there is any way to prevent a disruption from happening, if the parent isn't willing to try thinking outside the box, but in many other cases, where parents are simply struggling, we need to be open and have helpful hearts.  We need to be willing to come alongside and hold the hands of those who are despairing.  There IS success, GREAT success, when we reach out, and especially when those in need reach out for help.  Peer help is available.  Keep reading blogs, attend the BCLC parenting classes on line. Watch Karyn Purvis's videos online.  GET HELP.   It is available, and it is worth it.

Please don't suffer in silence. Reach out, and keep your family together.  But remember, change will come with YOU.


junglemama said...

I am so glad that things are going so well for all of you! Thanks for sharing your heart on this subject.

Christie M said...

Christine, can you put a link in the comments to your new support group?

I am still considering taking this post down. Everytime I write, it seems prideful.... and I'm not wanting it to be so. (I don't feel prideful)

I don't know how to write what I am trying to convey. (Joy comes, but it is hard work)

:)De said...

I have read you enough to hear your heart in this post and it does not sound prideful at all. The guilt can be sufficating; "Did I pray enough?" "If only I had..." but I feel better equipped to be of support to someone who may be going through the dark times.

Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom.


Happymom4 aka Hope Anne said...

You just said it, Christie--"Joy comes, but it is hard work." AMEN AND AMEN.

When we adopted our Dd back in 2005, we read what we could, and took a full 36 hours of classes. But NOTHING had prepared us for reality. It was SO hard and SO lonely much of the time. Later, we found BLOGS (!!! YES!) and FRUA (YES!) and got in touch with people who pointed us towards Don Hughes and some other great authors and little by little, things began to go better . . . and now I can truly say that our Dd is a true joy to have in our home!! ;-) But fun getting there? NO WAY. All of us still carry some emotional scars from the first couple of years . . . and we approach the idea of another adoption with great wariness, just because we know how hard and exhausting it was to get to this point of sweet goodness as a family. We are the better for having done all of this hard work together . . . so with God's help, we will do it again as He opens doors. Don't stop talking. People need your message!

Unknown said...

Please don't take offence, but something you wrote here has been on my mind a lot. It's the way the Church calls people to adopt. There are all kinds of thoughts in my head about that, things i'd like to share but will probably never write down out of pure lazyness - to write it in a way that most people with whom it hits home won't get offended is way too much effort, and just pissing people off would not be my intent.

There are so many thoughts your entries always give me. Thank you for them.

Christie M said...

No offense taken, in fact, I bet if we emailed, we may have the exact same thing on our mind, which is why I can't figure out how to word it .

Kathleen said...

We have two bio and four adopted kids, and yes it's hard work, and yes the rewards can be awesome (we adopted in 1999 so we're far from new to this). Our church has started a group to encourage people to adopt - I attended one or two meetings, but my POV is much like yours - and my interest in this group is ensuring there are SUPPORT systems already in place for the families that DO adopt. I don't think that POV was much appreciated. :-(

But I think it's crazy to jump in with both feet and adopt just because someone says you should - study, learn everything you can - make sure you DO have a support system - the best way to "do no harm" is to learn first, and to deal with your own "stuff."

Our kids, we parents - we all want to do a good job - but just as our kids DON'T KNOW HOW, parenting kids from trauma is HARD and DIFFERENT and we parents don't know how, either, unless we've been taught. The parenting methods that work (I <3 BCLC) don't come naturally to most of us when our kids are being oppositional and defiant and engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

Do it, yes - but with eyes open and as prepared as you can be.


Christie M said...

Kathleen, thank you for visiting my blog. Your comments are most welcome. :)

Tracy said...

So many thoughts in my mind as I read your post, so hard to express!

I guess I can say it best that you have blessed and encouraged me with your sharing. This journey can be lonely sometimes! I do wonder at how concerned people are about not spanking. People have even asked us how we can be resolved to be in sin by not spanking them. I love your other post about that.

I agree about the church, it is a yay adopt feeling while wanting to shout that it is harder than it looks. My social worker put it well that adoptive parents who come to the place that they can say, "How can I be a resource for this child?" instead of "How can this child be a resource to me?" are the parents who get it. It is not about us, it is about the children. There is a lot of dying to self and finding out how sinful you are. I pray that as more Christians do adopt the culture that encourages adoptions becomes one that understands and supports the adoptive families.

I am so thankful your children are with you. I am grateful for your sharing. I feel like I rambled, we recently were BLESSED with a little baby- three adoptions in three years. A 2.5 year old from China and two domestic baby blessings. I still can't believe how good God is.

Christie M said...

Tracy, It is very lonely when others don't think the same.

I have never been so shocked when my good news of adopting was met with the comment, "you can't adopt, you can't spank!" B/

Then, when our adoption was final, this same group gave us a literal "paddle" wooden large thing that could really harm somebody, as a gift!

It turned my stomach. What really bothers me is that they would assume we would ever be so harsh with our children as to spank them for everything they ever did in life!

We spanked abit when the boys were little, but every fiber of my being just said, "WRONG".... but we were in such fear... we were told that if we didn't we would be dooming our children to hell. I kid you not.
What fear and control can do to people is amazing.
I think many people LOVE their children, yet are trapped in fear and spiritual abuse.... it is a fearful thing to step outside of the "determined as acceptable" practice of the church...

What should be happening is.... being a berean and making sure what they teach lines up with the Word of God, and if it doesn't, exit stage left OR if you are strong; stay and make a difference.
God Bless!

You Are Still Holy