Friday, March 24, 2017

Two Big Questions Christians Face When Considering Adoption Disruption

An unexpected blessing that came out of one of  the toughest decisions we have ever had to make, that of disrupting an adoption, is the many wonderful people I have the opportunity to connect with via email and phone calls. I thrive of helping others who are in situations that they feel are hopeless. That is probably due in part to the intense relief and gratitude we felt when others have been there for us over the years.

 Two questions come up time and again when I am talking with people who are considering disruption. The questions are ones that I wrestled with at one time or another over the years B was in our home and when we were trying to decide if we really had dissolved all our options in seeking help for our family.

The first question is, "My husband is not ready to take this step, but I feel like I am drowning," or if I am speaking with the father, I usually hear, "My wife says I have to choose between her and the child."

My answer to this question is to explain why a child targets his/her primary caregiver, which is usually mom. Mothers are the nurturer's, they are the ones who hug and kiss the scraped knee's and stubbed toes. She is the one children go to when they need extra love and support. Naturally as a mother, when a new child comes into your home, you want to do all you can to bring healing and happiness to this hurting child. But many times, the child has already learned that the world is an unsafe place. He has learned to hurt others before they can hurt him, especially in regard to adults. The harder mom tries to get close to the hurting child in her care, the harder he is going to push against her. For various reasons, dad  doesn't often receive this same treatment. For one the child typically doesn't spend as much time with dad, thus the threat of a relationship building is not as great. Second the child knows part of keeping mom at bay is getting between her and dad so if he is mean to mom and but is a sweet charmer when dad is around, he will cause conflict between them.

The second question I hear is, "Is it right for Christians to disrupt an adoption? The Bible tells us if we trust in God, he will supply all our needs. Does the fact that I am struggling so badly indicate that I don't have enough trust?" I wrestled with this question for a long time. As Christians we are brought up on the concept that God is all we need, making us feel like their is something wrong with us spiritually when we come up against a block wall. When that wall is being unable to build a relationship with a child, you feel really helpless and like the worst kind of person. When I brought the verse from Philippians 4:19 into the equation, Dean told me that perhaps finding a new family for a child is God's way of supplying our need's. God doesn't always answer prayer the way we think or even wish he would, sometimes he allows us to go through things that feel so twisted and complex that there seems to be no way out, so he can reveal his awesome power. I am in no way suggesting that disruption is something that should be done lightly but there are times when a fresh start is the best gift you can give a struggling child. 

We were told that sometimes a child who is not doing well in a particular family, feels he is unable to move beyond the pain he has brought upon his family. In such instances, a fresh start may be all he needs to succeed. 

 Another reason many family's are led to disrupt is because the child is abusing younger siblings. Moving a child to a new family where he is the youngest child, thus not faced with the opportunity to re-offend, may be what he needs to begin healing. 

Sometimes one or both parents are ageing or in ill health. A child who has RAD/attachment issues will not feel safe with someone whom he knows is not strong enough physically to keep him safe from himself. Many of these children, if they were able to reach deep enough inside and were willing to acknowledge it, would admit they are scared of themselves. They are longing for someone "strong enough" physically and emotionally to stand up to them and keep them safe.

Sometimes a parent will remind a child of their abuser, through no fault of the parent. Body language, tone of voice, hair color....many things can remind a child of the person who once hurt them and while they know this is a different person, they are still triggered and unable to heal. In such situations finding the child another family, a family where he is not daily triggered may be all it takes for him to move on in life.

Finances play a large part in the equation of  parenting children with attachment disorders. This is no run of the mill issue that will resolve itself. It requires years of therapy, inpatient treatment, psychiatric medication and typically, therapy for the rest of the family who is on the receiving end of the child's pain and abuse. Finding affordable care along with knowledgeable staff who can invest the time and emotional energy required to help these children heal is tough. Many family's simply can't afford it.

These are just a sample of the many things parents and their hurting child are up against. As parents, we are charged with keeping our children safe both emotionally and physically.Sometimes that protecting involves finding the child a new home, a home where he has the opportunity to succeed.

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