Thursday, October 10, 2013

Loving hard kids

I received several emails asking me to repost this after I pulled it because of nasty comments from the specific people I speak to at the end.  Mom's with hard kids need fellowship, they need people to stop by, drop a coffee on the front porch with a note of love and expect NOTHING in return (not even the door to open until after their car pulls away because she is so embarrassed by her looks, her house, or her raging child),  A hug at  church, a meal, a smile.  In our first year home I could NOT do happy hour any longer, go with friends to get my nails done ~ truth is I was (we were) in crisis mode.  People who didn't understand left but you know what almost two years later God has placed the most God loving friends in my life who understand if last minute I can't make it, ask how to best support my hard child but most importantly don't judge.  We are very lucky as we have come a very long way in a very short period of time.

When I first started looking into adoption
I heard that adoption would bring out all my skeletons.

Yeah, right I thought.

You see I thought I knew what it was like,
I wasn't one of those new parents.

I had parented three children.
I had cared for countless others who suffered from

I thought I knew what I was getting into.

I was wrong.

Just like our other adopted children,
I held onto those few pictures for months,
running my fingers along the edges,
just as I had rubbed my pregnant belly.

Praying for a child my arms ached to hold.
Praying, loving and worrying.

I still remember those months of anticipation.

THe night before as I looked at the cribs,
The darling pair of slippers left by hotel staff.
Laughing as they had no idea of our sons legs.
All of my birth children waiting in anticipation, with special surprises,
waiting with open arms to welcome their new brother into their lives.

I remember as they brought us a malnourished child covered in barf.
THe child who immediately moved around our room
trying to destroy each item he could reach.
Never crying, never noticing things were different.

The beloved new brother fighting, hurting his new siblings,
My heart hurt as their open hearts began to close slightly.

Oh we were so unprepared.
Our excitement of spending time in CHina turned into a crisis,
A child covered in bruises,
skin and bones, and scars around his waist.

My heart hurt as I watched my son wolf down food,
My heart hurt as he screamed each time we held him.
And slowly we realized we were merely a tool.
A tool to food, warmth and toys.

And then my skeletons slowly appeared,
Boundaries never set,
Low self-esteem,
childhood abandonment etc.

Many have questioned our parenting of him.
Truthfully, I sometimes fall into the trap of questioning myself.
WOuld other people parent him better,
What am I doing wrong?

We have seen friends and family disappear,
The changes to great,

Days, weeks and even months
I held onto only God's word,
He tells me He knows the plans for my life
and the single word like a beacon
His plans to PROSPER me.
                                       Jeremiah 29:11

Almost two years later many things are better,
we have all changed, become wiser and found a new peace.

God has replaced every friendship,
family member we lost
with God loving people who support us,
not judge us.
Who love our son within his boundaries.

We completely believe God sent him to us,
and Us to him.
We found value in this little boy who touches so many,
We love him enough to care about not jsut his legs,
but about repairing his soul.


Below is an exerpt from this blogpost ~ I hope you find as much comfort in it as I.                                       


You love them by doing the loving thing over and over and over. 
You love them by parenting them in the way they need to be parented – with high nurture and high structure (despite how you parented your other kids or how your church friends parent). 
You love them by holding them when they are raging and telling them that you aren’t going anywhere. 
You love them by praying for them and fighting the spiritual battle on their behalf. 
You love them by not being easily offended. 
You love them by not being easily manipulated. 
You love them by not giving up, by not confirming their suspicions that you are just like all of the others who abandoned them and broke their trust. 
You love them by laying down your life, picking up your cross, and dying to yourself 
and over 
and over.
Yes, you love them. . . and by the grace of God, someday, yes someday, you will wake up and realize that they believe you and they trust you and both of you FEEL, truly feel that phileo (friendship) love that you have both been longing for.


  And if you are a friend of someone who has a child from hard places I BEG you to support them.  THe Bible commands us to care for the widows and orphans.  I have learned on my journey that very few will actually adopt but this command applies to us all.  As a friend (I believe) God is commanding you to help that mother/family and thus helping that orphan (adopted child).  

If they ask you not to hug their child PLEASE do not.  I understand it goes against everything we as humans know.  And the child might appear to thrive under you touch but I can guarantee you this mother will be dealing with the disregulation it causes for hours, days and sometimes weeks after.  Instead tell them how awesome, amazing and inspirational you think they are.  

If the mother warns you the child is manipulative jsut believe her.  SHe is not saying it to be mean.  She has seen her child charm strangers and turn on her family within minutes.  Manipulation was a survival tool in the orphanage - it ensured an extra coat, gentle handling and extra food.  However, this mom is trying her best to help this child to feel safe and secure without having to use those orphanage tools. 

If the child is having a time in (or out) PLEASE do not interfere.  You are sending mixed signals to the child which undermines the parents authority.  In addition, the mom does not have the luxury to confront you (or is to tired).  But again your moment of caring will spiral this child back out of control.

I am praying, that all of those friends out there will instead look at that situation and give the mom a hug knowing she is doing her best in a very difficult situation.


  1. Thank you for this post, I'm a special needs teaching assistant and it is unbelievably helpful to see it from the parents point of view. May God bless you and all your family

  2. I'm proud of you for putting this back up. If your post helps even ONE mom of a difficult child to realize that she is NOT alone - in having a difficult child, in feeling overwhelmed sometimes, in struggling with relationships, in struggling with how others interact with her child....then those hateful words you've shouldered will have done an immense good in this world. You are an amazing, amazing Mom, my friend. You are fiercely devoted to the needs of ALL of your children and those who would judge you have not walked a mile in your shoes.

  3. I join Sarah in thanking you for reposting. I would add that if your post helps even one person who had been afraid, to step in and support that mother of a hard child - with a coffee or a listening ear or whatever - then it was worth it. Not being a parent myself, you help me to understand both the beauty and the pain of adoption - thank you for sharing both.