Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's Wrong With These Kids?

I often get asked a variety of things about adoption, but one of the most asked questions is:

What if there is something wrong with the kid you bring into your home?

The answer:

There is something wrong with that kid.

There's something wrong with me too.  And with my other children.  And with you.  There is something wrong with all of us.  Aside from Jesus, no one has walked this earth perfectly and most days, I'm about as far from perfect as I can get!  I'm less concerned about what the new kid is going to mess up and more concerned about what I'm going to mess up for the new kid!

Bringing an adopted child into your home isn't easy, but it's also not impossible.  The truth of the matter is, this kid is not going to meet your expectations.  She's not.  Don't set her up for failure by thinking you know who she is or how she should behave.  Remember, in the beginning she doesn't even know who she is.  She has been that chameleon for years, learning to blend in and go unnoticed when it meets her needs and being loud and defiant when blending in didn't work.

Changing those behaviors will take time.  I honestly think that's what trips a lot of people up.  It certainly did a number on me.  I wanted her better and I wanted her better today!  It was learning to live with the best she could do that day that drove me crazy.  I wanted her best to look like what I thought it should look like.  I was in for a rude awakening, because she didn't care what I wanted.  She was bent on doing things her way and I was determined to do things my way.  You know whose way won out?  God's.

The two of us fought and battled, but in the end it was all about grace, mercy, forgiveness and changing our hearts. There was nothing "wrong" with her.  She didn't know what love looked like.  She had a skewed vision of family and a nonexistent ability to give and receive love.  What did she need?  Time and consistency.  She needed to consistently hear that I loved her and that Jesus loved her and that we were in this for the long haul.  For a week?  No.  A month?  No.  A year?  No.  A long time.  I just don't know of any way around it.

So with time and consistency the behavior can change.  But what about the other issues?  What if there are health problems?  Mental illness in her biological family?  Some kind of undetected, undiagnosed problem?

What if there is?  She's mine now.  We'll do our best with whatever obstacles are put in our path.  If I based my steps on the "what ifs" I'd be paralyzed with fear of the future.  I'd rather put my future in God's hands.  That's where it belongs.  There may be some unforeseen, life-changing event in our future.  Does that mean I shouldn't risk it?  Should I have not stepped out in faith and loved these girls with all that is in me, because one day something might happen?  Wouldn't that stop anyone from doing anything?

Yes, kids in the system have problems.  Kids not in the system have problems.  Does that make them unworthy of my home?  Is my home such a spotless place that her problems are not a good fit?  Do I see myself through rose-colored glasses yet look at her through a microscope?  

If you are looking for reasons not to adopt, there are plenty.  But your reasons don't hold a candle to this smile:

I would do it all over again.  The tears, the challenges, the heartache.  I would do it without blinking an eye.  Why?  Because all that ends and when the dust settles and you look around you'll catch sight of the most beautiful people you have ever seen.  I'm looking at them right now.  I call them my kids.

1 comment:

Andi said...

This is my favorite of all your posts and I've been sharing it again and again and again. Please, please, please write a book. I mean it. I'll make it mandatory reading which means you'll get several sales! :-) Or, even better, write foster parent training curriculum.

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