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Monday, February 25, 2013

Adoption Fantasy Vs. Adoption Reality

One need look no further than the MIRROR to see that we are ALL flawed Human Beings.

There are many who have answered the call to adoption either through prayer support, for those walking down the adoption path, through financial support, or actually adopting themselves.
We have had the great privilege of walking hand in hand with prayer supporters, financial supporters and then each other as we stepped out in faith to bring our children home.

It is a normal thing to "fantasize" about what your child is going to be like; dreaming of what their personality will be like, but  it becomes DANGEROUS, when you expect your fantasy to be REAL.

You may have fantasized  about a docile child and your child is hyperactive! You may have expected a child with long blonde hair and your child's head is shaved and her hair is dark brown. You may have expected a girly girl and gotten a tom boy, or a boy who is great in sports, but he prefers the violin! These are VERY SHALLOW thoughts, really, when it comes to bringing a child home, or even giving birth to a child.


There is NO TIME to dwell on the  "what if's"  when your child comes home with unexpected behaviors, illnesses, syndromes INCLUDING FAS, RAD, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, or any OTHER label your child can be given.... HONESTLY, the ONLY REASON to have these diagnosis, would be to help SECURE your UNDERSTANDING and COMPASSION so that you can PARENT YOUR CHILD, the CHILD GOD HAS GIVEN YOU, in the BEST WAY for THEM to SUCCEED!

Sometimes the path is HARD.... and sometimes NOT.  But there is JOY in the JOURNEY, no matter the path!  GOD FULFILLS HIS PURPOSES in our lives, weaving that Beautiful Tapestry of Life, sometimes with the fabric of tears, and sometimes with the fabric of great joy!
Sometimes that GREAT JOY comes from a child who learns, finally that they are loved, or for a child with learning disabilities, the first time they remember how to spell a word!
Sometimes joy comes when a child hugs you for REALLY REAL for the first time after, being home for years.....or when, like Erika, they call you, "My Precious Mother", "My Precious Father", from the first time they see you.
Sometimes that joy comes when your 2 year old sits up for the very first time, or when he walks without assistance for the first time at 8!  You get joy in just cheering him on!

There is NO TIME to waste in the "what if's"...... and IT IS A WASTE OF TIME!  It is also a mindset that will allow Bitterness to set into the heart, if we are not careful!

ALL CHILDREN are a blessing, and there are no perfect children! 

I would like to strongly appeal to those on the adoption journey;  ALL CHILDREN who come into your family through adoption are Special Needs Children!  And asking for a child with "minor, correctable issues" such as a cleft lip or pallet is only dealing with the physical! 
There is NOTHING MINOR, about being abandoned and living in an orphanage.  There is NOTHING MINOR about NEGLECT,  ABUSE and STARVATION, and it cannot be "corrected"!  The emotional scars of REJECTION are NOT MINOR, no matter HOW YOUNG your children come home.  Each little personality is DIFFERENT and they will handle those stresses differently!
Some will regress and be ANGRY. Some will be so fearful they cannot respond. Some will have behaviors that are downright BIZARRE, and some will come out of situations like that seemingly unscathed; but I would say that is the exception, rather than the rule!  It is up to us to LOVE OUR CHILDREN WITHOUT HOLDING BACK!
Don't WASTE years being angry because you don't think everything was disclosed to you!
You have the child that GOD HAS GIVEN YOU!  PARENT THEM! LOVE THEM!
TAKE GREAT JOY IN THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS! TAKE JOY IN THEIR BABY STEPS TOWARDS WHOLENESS..... REMOVE the PLANK from your eye, so you can see HOW to clearly remove the speck from your child's eye. 
Bitterness has NO place in the life of a parent.  It will only beget Bitterness!  PRESS ON! MOVE FORWARD! DON'T LOOK TO THE RIGHT OR THE LEFT, but KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL!  Bringing your child towards wholeness and healing!

Fantasy Land is a very dangerous place to live!


Aus said...

Absolutly great stuff - and you can't stress enough that there is no such thing as a "non-special needs" adoption! All of our adopted kids share that abandonment - and it rears it's ugly head at times you'd never expect it too - like when it seems that everything is just humming along wonderfully and bam - the wheels fall off for no reason at all - but that's what it means to be an adoptive parent. And maybe that's why adoptive parents just seem to "get it".

Regardless - spot on! And remember parents - just like there are no "perfect kids" and no "perfect adoption" - there are no "perfect parents" either - but make your mistakes out of love and they are survivable...and it never hurts to tell your child you goofed on that one sometimes!

hugs - aus and co.

Sherrie Coffey said...


Christie M said...

I talked about that in Houston.... "When the wheels fall off for no apparent reason!" :)
It is usually when a child is feeling safe and happy and then VULNERABLE! They forget.... and it is scary for them, like being unclothed emotionally, in public!
And yes! Those 3 little words we can say that mean so much.... I AM SORRY!

sarah212 said...

I love reading your posts! I think this all makes a lot of sense. I'm someone who hopes to adopt someday (I'm 22, just got out of college and not married, so not yet!), and from what I read/hear about, it seems like a lot of families go in with expectations that are very different from reality. I'm not saying it's all their fault; I think people are well-intentioned and are trying to help children! But they think because the child is young, they won't remember/be affected by their past, or that an older child will be very grateful for being adopted, etc. And then a kid comes who is very different from what they expected. I think it's not a great way to enter an adoption, but I also feel a lot of compassion for people who did go into adoption with those sort of ideals/expectations and ended up in a situation that can be really challenging without any preparation.

The only thing I was unsure about in your post was this section:
"There is NO TIME to dwell on the "what if's" when your child comes home with unexpected behaviors, illnesses, syndromes INCLUDING FAS, RAD, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, or any OTHER label your child can be given.... HONESTLY, the ONLY REASON to have these diagnosis, would be to help SECURE your UNDERSTANDING and COMPASSION so that you can PARENT YOUR CHILD, the CHILD GOD HAS GIVEN YOU, in the BEST WAY for THEM to SUCCEED!"

I was confused when you said that the ONLY reason to get a diagnosis is to secure the parents' own understanding and compassion. I think there are lots of reasons to get a diagnosis: to secure services at school, medical services, to be able to research ways to get around problems that are specific to certain conditions (ex. teaching math to kids with FAS can be particularly challenging, what are some ways to address those impairments) etc. Having read most of your blog, I'm not sure if I just misunderstood that section, because you are like my model adoptive parent :) and I'm pretty sure there is nothing I could add that you wouldn't have already considered. I just wanted to make sure that you didn't have an issue with getting a diagnosis for those reasons.

Christie M said...

Sarah, you make a very good point! The word "only" should not have been used. I should have said something different.
I think proper diagnosis can be used for services as you said.
I think I was trying to emphasize that diagnosis SHOULD secure our compassion, instead of drive us to excuses for fear, rejection or pulling away.
Thank you for asking about that! :)

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