One of the most difficult aspects of being an adoptive or foster parent is that the vast majority of the population around you believes your child is damaged and it’s their responsibility to rescue them. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Please, for the love of all that is good and Holy, DON’T Save MY Child!
I know, I know- his eyes melt your heart, his cheeks beg to be pinched, her smile is stunning, her story is terrifying. My kids come from difficult places. I know you think you know them. I know you want to save them. I’ve overheard you marvel that they were “unwanted.” I know you think you’re privy to their story because you heard a rumor in the neighborhood.
Some of what you heard is probably true. Their lives were hard. They had obstacles to overcome that seemed impossible…they still do. I understand that it breaks your heart. Once upon a time, it broke mine too. I used to have pity for my children, then I learned that there is a better way to love them.
I know he came in to school this morning begging for food. Please don’t feed my son breakfast, he had a healthy breakfast this morning at home. When he was a baby, he was hungry… a lot. I know you think it won’t hurt. I know you may even believe that I neglected him this morning, based on what story he’s telling you.
The truth is that his mind is playing a trick on him. His fear tells him that mom’s can’t be trusted. His memory tells him he’s hungry. When you confirm that fear with a seemingly harmless snack, you are stealing the security and trust that my husband and I have spent years building.
I know my daughter is beautiful. I know her eyes are often filled with sadness. I know she leaps into your arms like she’s known you for years. I know it warms your heart that she wants your attention…and the attention of everyone at the grocery, library, church, park, birthday party, and mall. I know you think you can fill this void for her.
I know that you think she just needs your love. I know you think she knows real love. Affection has been confusing for her. Congeniality is a means to survival. Love has been conditional for her. Please do not kiss her, hug her, or hold her.
While you delight in her attention, I am waiting patiently for her to peek out from behind this persona she has created for protection. I have waited years for a genuine hug or kiss. I have listened each day, desperate to hear her call me “Mom.”
I know you think she needs you. She needs me, just like your children need you. She needs ONE mother. She needs to know that I can meet her needs. She needs to know I will protect and love her and ask for nothing in return. She needs to know that I love the person she is inside her hurting heart.
I know my children were wards of the state once. You may mistakenly feel that this makes them public property. You may ask inappropriate questions about them. You may tell pieces of their story to others. You may even think this is caring curiosity. I understand. Now please STOP. They do not belong to the public.
They are MINE. If I tell the details of their story I will lose the trust of the people I care about the most in this world. I will not answer your intrusive questions because I value the trust of my children.
I’ve heard you say “love will heal all wounds.” I assume you think it’s “love” to give my son the cookie I told him to wait for. I’m guessing your version of “love” is soothing my daughter while she sits in time-out. If I do not require my children to practice patience and self control, I am telling them they are not capable.
I will continue to set boundaries and give consequences because I believe they are strong enough to handle it. I will not allow my children to be defined by the tough places they have come from.
I see the potential in my children. I am stepping back to allow them to one day become the man or woman God created them to be. Please step out of the way as well. Please stop trying to save my child.
Question: Have you faced similar struggles with your children? You can leave a comment by clicking here.