Friday, November 14, 2014

Why Older Child Adoption is So Hard

Jesus is the Light, our Hope
Older child adoption is a beautiful thing...but at the same time it's a deeply hard thing.

And when the face of the child is SO beautiful, SO smiley, NO ONE CAN IMAGINE that it's not all sunny and rosy all the time.

But it's not.

Plain and simple.

When you've fended for yourself for ten long years, in an institutional environment, you learn to survive.

And those skills? They were reinforced again and again in her previous life. They are what made her STAY ALIVE.

You have your life whirl-winded off to another land, another culture, wear different clothes, eat different foods, go by a different name, begin new things like walking, school and self care...

but the old habits are still lying underneath. Ready to rear their ugly heads.

Ready to be employed when deep emotions start to surface.

They worked before! They will work again!

But, well, not so much.

Not here. Not in a family.

My sweet friend sent me a message today. Her perspective on parenting and WHY this might be so hard:

Deeply praying for you all during what looks like a potentially long hard road with her. It's obviously a heart issue...and she's had less than one year of her 11 years of ANYONE teaching her what that even means. You're stuck/privileged (depends on the day how you see it, I'm sure) with having to make up for 10+ years of no one teaching her right and wrong and positive vs negative attention and lying and how to be in a family and the list of what we teach our kids is soooooo long!!! It's hard enough when we get to start from the beginning of their lives!
Praying for wisdom and endurance and extra measures of grace for you to give to her, and a softening and opening of her heart to all you've been trying to teach her in these last 10 months!

And isn't that the truth? It's HARD when we start with our children at birth! Let alone massive trauma at the front end! And don't forget to factor in atrocities suffered in the years while waiting for a family. How could we think that we can teach her what she needs in a few months?

We don't. But, on a daily practical basis, we expect things from her to keep our family functioning...afterall she's CAPABLE, but then again...she's not because of so many, many factors.

Older child adoption is hard because we are starting past the middle! We've lost formative years, laying groundwork and building trust. Trying to go backward to fit it in doesn't work because there are paradigms pre-existing in those places in her brain...and they were critical to her survival. I can't in one word, one week, one month, one year say ANYTHING to debunk them. 

It's a slow, plodding work.

Times like these I see the inside out yuck of my own black heart and sit in awed wonder at the grace God has on ME.

Please pray for Esty. Pray for us as her parents. Pray for her siblings. These things affect us all, wear on us all and we need to remember that we are called to this, no matter what.  (This is why adoption is intense ministry!)

We must cling to the hope of Christ in it all.

post signature


  1. Mom of a new adopted 13 year old boy. I so understand!! Hugs to you!

  2. Perhaps something I have seen some others have done would help. (You may already do this.) Get her to help you put together a little book of what she did before then moving into what she does now...but especially the time with you sticking with her when she was so ill.
    And also people have written about toddlers and younger children just needing to be physically close...missing the mummy skin-to-skin bonding. Maybe with an older child it would help to lay or snuggle together on a couch and read books (or just talk about then and now?) Maybe not on difficult days.. but then again, she may be trying to see if she still fits for you even when she doesn't feel like she wants to. So, maybe that sort of thing would be more needed on those days.
    It could be too, that she is testing that you will still keep her when you are planning for the new little one. Yeah, she has the evidence of the others, but perhaps hasn't internalised completely that it applies to her as well.

    And perhaps you know all of that already, but it just comes to mind to say it. No, we never did manage to complete the adoption process. But our son (25!) is just coming out the other side of several long years of his own version of being difficult. Not obvious to outsiders, which in some ways made it all the more difficult! It happens with birth children who test in their own way those things they were taught.
    So, I will keep praying!
    Sandy in the UK

  3. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
    Believing these words for Etsy. Love You, Amy. Keeping you and all of the family in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Right there with ya sweet friend! Call soon and we can talk. I tell families all the time that our process has been relatively easy compared to how hard I know it can be. However, even when it is easy... It is still hard! God is good though and I wake each morning to a new dose of Grace and Mercy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...