We are living in a world that, for the most part, drastically misunderstands the ‘why’ behind adoption. This can often bring on unwanted praise and adoration from outsiders. How do you handle this when the point of adoption is not to receive accolades?
On a sunny spring morning in April, 2002 we walked into church for the first time after bringing our firstborn daughter home from the hospital. Through sleep depravation and absolutely no clue what we were doing, we held our baby girl close as we opened the door and stepped into the foyer. You would have thought the Pope had come to town. They almost had to start the church service late because everyone had gathered around us to get a glimpse of this precious gift we held in our arms. I stood behind Kristin and she cradled our sweet girl close to her chest.
As parents, one of our jobs is to allow our children to make their own decisions, when they’re old enough. But what do you do when you realize you need to step in and make decisions for them? How do you know when it’s time to protect them from themselves?
I remember hearing an old preacher, a long time ago, talk about granting our kids responsibility when they grew older. “We must arrive to the place in our parenting, and when our children are old enough, where we allow them to stand on their own two feet,” he said, through a crackly voice.
We’re parenting children who have come from past trauma. Some have major special needs that require us to be hands on all the time. This begs the question: will he or she ever live on their own, apart from us?
I pick my child up from the residential facility he lives in on a warm Sunday morning. He’s in high spirits as we slowly walk through the reinforced doors and down the sidewalk toward my car. Our conversation bounces from movies, to who the Colts are playing later that day, to whether or not I think Thanos can be defeated in the next Avengers film. It feels good to be with him. I love him deeply.
Often over the last several years, we’ve been asked if adoption and foster care is really worth it. Granted, this question usually comes from people outside of the journey, who are peering into our lives wondering. But our answer is pretty solid. YES! Here’s why…
It was one of those long days, yesterday, where you’re doing a million things but not really getting anything done. Ever had a day like that? No margin, no time to take a breath, just running, and running, and running. By the time I finally made it home last night with my teenagers, around 6pm, I was completely exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that I had been thinking about my bed, and the the 3-inch memory foam on it, since I had crawled out of it at 5am early that morning! Yeah, that exhausted.
This was supposed to be a post from Kristin about taking better care of yourself while caring for children from hard places. But then I read the story of the recent suicide of California Pastor Andrew Stoecklein, after battling with depression. So I decided to talk openly and honestly about the struggle of being a pastor.
I’ve been there.
This thought bounced around in my mind in the early morning hours, like words echoing off of canyon walls, as I read the heart-crushing story of how Pastor Andrew Stoecklein’s life ended this past weekend. In the darkness of my bedroom, I wiped tears from my eyes as I thought about his wife and young sons now trying to figure out how to live life without their husband and daddy. I read how he struggled with depression, and anxiety and I identified perfectly.
On this week’s episode of The Honestly Adoption Podcast, we’re kicking off a brand new season entitled “I Have A Question.” We asked you to send us your biggest questions and we received a ton of great feedback. Today Mike and Kristin begin with “How Do I Help My Child Who Doesn’t Have Services?”
Communicate, communicate, communicate! That’s really what it comes down to when you’re talking about a child you’re caring for who doesn’t need, or have, special services like an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), therapy, special medical services, a behavior plan, or more.
Your job as a parent is to make sure your children receive the best possible services. Whether this is within your school system, your pediatricians office, or your family therapist’s office. You do this because you care. But what do you do when you feel like you can’t adequately communicate the needs of your child?
You’ve probably experienced something like this when speaking to a professional:
“It doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong with him?”
“I understand you believe she has a special need, but she is a great student, well-liked, and makes good grades. We are not sure she needs any services.”
It’s not always the case, but often, men can be the toughest nut to crack when it comes to the adoption journey. I know from personal experience. There are a few reasons why this happens, and some key steps you can take to eventually arrive at the same place with him on this journey.
Back in the day, before we got married, I said no to just about everything. In fact, if shaking my head was an Olympic sport, I would have taken the gold. I was such a difficult person to get along with in those days. One of the biggest topics Kristin and I disagreed over was parenting. Sitting in my metallic blue Pontiac Firebird one cold November night, in the fall of 1998, we had a
discussion fight over parenting. Kristin wanted to adopt. I did not. At all. Period. Case closed. End of discussion. Or, so I thought.