There is an elephant sitting in the living room and I think it needs to be discussed.
(for my foreign readers, an elephant in the living room means there is something obvious that is being avoided. Everybody knows it is there, but they don't talk about it.)
In the adoption community, there is rejection. EVERY SINGLE CHILD who spent time in an orphanage or foster care or was abandoned at a hospital or was left on a street corner, HAS BEEN REJECTED. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE!
Then, there are the children who are behind, WAY behind because of neglect and abuse. They are emotionally shattered when they arrive and fall further and further behind in trying to adjust to a new culture, new family, new rules, new foods and new friends.
Do we think they don't feel that?
The stress on them is a HUGE factor. Many are grieving and mourning loss and trying to make sense of what has happened to them, much of which makes no sense, outside of an eternal purpose.
All the while, the family they have come into, wonders why they are not thankful, why they are not happy and why they are so sullen...
And the "bullying" begins at home.
As parents of children born to us and children who have come to us at older ages through the gift of adoption, ALL of our children at one time or another have either experienced bullying or been the bully.
I can say for sure we have had more of our fair share of bullying, and that should NOT be the "typical childhood" experience, which by the way, carries on into adulthood for those who have special needs.
Why? Those childhood bullies grow up, and they continue to bully, and they pass their bullying on to the next generation. Shockingly, I have witnessed it.
As parents, we need to MAKE SURE...EVERY SINGLE EFFORT if we see our child being aggressive to put a stop to it at it's very root. If that means humbling a proud child who thinks they are the cat's meow, or can walk on water, it must be done lovingly and gently, but it must not be ignored.
For the child who is being bullied, I have strong opinions on this. (go figure) :)
Bullying should not be tolerated, yet it is an epidemic in the schools. One of the reasons we pulled out of the system was because we could NOT get the school to help in any fashion regarding bullying.
They REFUSED to tell the children to stop. FLAT OUT REFUSED... and then a teacher joined in.
I thought it wasn't so, and was devastated for my son when I found out it was. I listened to him and investigated and trusted his heart. IT WAS TRUE. AND WE LEFT. He HAD to be protected.
There is NOTHING WRONG with protecting a tender heart that is very wounded.
I know we did the right thing, as today, my son who was so terribly sad, is a happy, married man, father, and teacher.
He had the confidence to go right back into that system and work. Bless His Heart :)
For children who have been the victims of rejection, neglect and abuse, it is a fine dance we dance to affirm that they were mistreated, but not allow them to accept a victim mentality.
Even with Miss Alli, who went through so much, and two failed adoptions, while we do not agree with disruption, she has had to face the truth; that her behaviors played a part in her loss.
That is a LOT for an 11 or 12 year old to deal with, but with loving support and guidance, TRUTH heals!
The other major factor in helping our children to lead healthy and productive lives despite a difficult past, is the TRUE CONCEPT OF FORGIVENESS.
If they do not forgive those who have hurt them. They will not move from the past in a healthy manner.
We have had many conversations with our daughters about this very issue. If God, who is perfect, lovingly forgives us our sin, who are we to refuse to forgive? If we refuse forgiveness, it is a form of pride and selfishness that MUST be rooted out.
We HAVE to call it what it is.
Also, lacking forgiveness leads to one of the most difficult things to deal with of all. Bitterness.
Bitterness eats at the soul and eventually, like a bad vine, chokes out the person you once were and were intended to be. It causes so much pain and unnecessary evil.
DO NOT ALLOW BITTERNESS TO OVER TAKE YOU.
We can feel bad for the folks who have had a difficult life, but frankly it only continues if you feed the beast of self pity and discontent. And that my friends is sin.
You were once an orphan, but you are an orphan no more. You were once abused, but Praise God, you are abused no more. You were once neglected, but you are cherished!
And then..... BE THE PARENT who CHERISHES, LAVISHES LOVE, HOLDS YOUR CHILD IN HIGH REGARD, and BE THE PARENT TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH.
Slow and steady, bit by bit and stretch them to EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL HEALTH!
Children who have been abused and neglected CAN FLOURISH! They do NOT need to become statistics, they need to DEFY statistics!
Parents play a HUGE ROLE IN THIS! We ALSO are their example. DON'T TAKE ON THAT VICTIM mentality yourself when things are hard! You are teaching your children to do the same.
Our children need us to lead! Sometimes they are blind and need us to gently and tenderly guide them to the waters of life.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 c“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
d“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven;...
CHALLENGE your children to TRY HARD! CHALLENGE THEM TO WORK HARDER!
CHALLENGE THEM TO BE HONEST AND FORGIVE THEMSELVES AND THOSE WHO HAVE HURT THEM and CHALLENGE THEM TO LOOK FORWARD TO A WONDERFUL FUTURE!