Monday, July 20, 2015

the Superficial Struggle

I've decided to start at the top of the list because not only is it the first thing mentioned in the video, but also because it's a crucial part of the "dysfunction" we live in as adoptive parents of older children.

#1 Superficially engaging and charming

This is actually the reason some of you who know us are questioning what could be so "hard" about parenting the girls you know to be so poised, polite, and sweet. It's like two different children inside of one body; the girl at home and the girl in public.

(Most days) The girl at home stays in her room all day, only coming out for necessities, avoiding all parental contact. (Some days this behavior is only directed at me, but other days Blaine is included)

The girl in public welcomes the conversation of others, especially other parents, and is warm, bubbly, and engaging.

(Sometimes) The girl at home will go a whole week without saying a single word to me; on a good day she'll say "good morning" and "goodnight." 

The girl in public loves to chat! She especially likes to chat with others in front of us, so that we can take notice of how much she is enjoying herself.

When asked to clean up after one of our pet's accidents, the girl at home will refuse and disrespectfully say "No! It's not my mess!"

The girl in public is always respectful, responding with "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" when addressed. She is submissive to authority and always well mannered. 

Each and every day, when asked how her day was, the girl at home will respond with a simple "good," never offering more information. Even when prompted with other questions, she would prefer to sit in silence on the ride home from school.

The girl in public will gladly talk about her day with others at church; she prefers surface, nonchalant chatter over deep, meaningful conversations that would allow her to connect with her adopted parents.

The girl in public seems well adjusted, happy, and completely embracive of her new life, but the truth is she is broken, numb to feeling, and unsure if she wants this "new life."

I could go on listing examples of how this plays such a huge role in our day-to-day life, but I feel sure I have made my point clear. So often I am told of how the girls have "come a long way," how they are "well-adjusted," and how they are just so "precious," "sweet," and "lovely." My sharing this is not about correcting those who have said those things nor is it meant to tear down our girls. It is for those adopted moms out there who are in the same struggle; who, like me, wonder what they're doing wrong. How can the girls appear so comfortable with everyone else? It must be me! It wasn't until someone else had the courage to speak up, in a blog just like this one, that I finally realized it wasn't me! For so long, I harbored so much guilt, I believed it was because I wasn't good enough, brave enough, strong enough, kind enough... but, it wasn't me and it's not you! There is so much freedom in realizing that. 

I think the kids want us to think that it is our fault. Maybe you don't agree and maybe you just don't understand how that could be true. But, I believe all of our kids have lived in misery for so long that they don't know how to live at peace. Misery is familiar, misery is what they know, misery is what they feel, and they aren't satisfied until everyone in their house is miserable, too. That is the cold, hard, honest, truth. Just like the old saying, "Misery loves company."

We must be aware, but not overcome. We must not allow the root of bitterness to rise up and give place to anger. These children are to be pitied. But we must not only pity them, WE MUST PRAY; pray that God would deliver these children from the awfulness of their past and the depravity of their nature; pray that He would restore what is broken and give them everlasting peace through His saving grace; and we must pray that we would be a vessel of His redeeming love in the providential goodness of their adoption into our family. 

There is so much to share, this is but the tip of the iceberg, my friends. But, I pray that you'll stay with me and that you'll come to know my heart in this matter. The adoption of older children is so complex, there is no cut and dry, no black and white, no short and sweet answer to the question "how is it going?" It is my prayer that this will be a window into our world, to inform our friends of how you can pray for us, and to help other families who are in the trenches of parenting adopted children. 

Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. Hebrews 7:25 AMP

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