Let me be honest. There are some not-so-pretty parts along this older child adoption road.
I don't want to paint a picture that isn't realistic, but I do want to emphasize that those not-so-pretty parts are usually temporary.
For example, sometimes there is a lot of screaming.
I'm not going to tell you the screaming is easy to handle, because it's not. It wears on me. I struggle to maintain my composure and sometimes I'm unable to.
In those moments when I am listening to a new little one spit hateful, mean words at me while using the loudest voice imaginable, I'll be honest, I don't like her. It's hard to not think how much easier life would be if she wasn't there.
And the truth is, it would be easier. For me.
But what about her? Would it be easier for her?
Can you imagine getting to a point where screaming at the top of your lungs becomes commonplace? Because it is for her. She's used to it. Up until the day she moved into my house, this is what has worked.
It doesn't work anymore, but she won't give it up without a fight.
I'm in for the long haul, so what do I do?
I take deep breaths. I kick the air conditioner on (it's an old house, it runs really loud). I send the other girls outside to ride bikes. I pray and I listen and I pray some more.
I keep her safe and I wait. Sometimes I wait for what feels like an eternity. The screaming is unnerving and it can really throw me off. I can't really describe it. It's pretty intense. I'll be honest. I hate it. It's one of the worst parts of our journey.
But then the screaming stops, and this might be the toughest part of it all. This is the part where you have to forgive and forget. This is the part where you have to accept her apology and treat her like part of your family and reassure her that all those hurtful words and comments won't be remembered.
Because that's what Jesus did, so that's what I attempt to do, too.
It's not easy. It's actually really, really hard. The most important stuff usually is.
If you're walking an adoption road and you're looking for ways to handle the screaming, let me offer a few things that have worked for me.
*Keep your voice calm and pleasant. It sounds so easy, but it's not. You'll want to scream back, but that won't help. Believe me. I've tried.
*Don't argue. When the screaming starts, she's past the point of listening to your logical reason for why she should or shouldn't be doing whatever it was she should have or shouldn't have done. Make sure she is safe and then wait it out. Stand right outside the door, sit in the next room, be someplace that makes you ready to spring into action if things become unsafe, but give her some time without trying to get a point across.
*Don't hold a grudge. You'll want to. You'll want to throw all the things she said right back at her, but don't do it. It won't help. Forgive, forget and move forward. I lived through 18 months of screaming with my first. Those words meant nothing. They weren't real. She didn't really feel that way. She just didn't know what else to do. Allow the new one to make those big, loud messes without having to drag it into another day. Tomorrow is a new day. Be sure to give her that.
*Pray. When she's losing it and you're about to, seek the One that can calm the storms. Pray for her. Pray for you. Pray for restoration and healing and to see her through His eyes. His perspective is different than ours. His is better and clearer and He knows her inside and out. Talk to the One who can change hearts.
The screaming fits are hard, but they're also temporary. Don't get bogged down in the loudness, because one day she won't be loud. Don't let the biting words hurt, because she doesn't really mean them. Stick it out with her. She needs someone who will look past her behavior and see her need. Meet those needs. You won't want to, but she needs you to.