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.
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.
I used to believe that my child was just being bad. I was convinced that he was a bad kid who just wanted to make our lives hell. But then I discovered some truth that totally transformed everything I thought, and most importantly, the way I reacted!
There are stories throughout history of people coming into the light of understanding. Call it transformation, if you will. These moments were life-altering for not only the person who experienced it, but those who were close to them as well. The Apostle Paul hated Christians and was actually responsible for killing many because he believed in an ideal, or a narrative playing out in his mind. And then he came face to face with the truth. He stepped into the light, and it transformed him.
Often times, when our children are acting out, misbehaving, or out of control, we can fall into the mode of thinking they are just being bad. But there’s way more happening with them than we often understand. How do you gain the right perspective in those heated moments?
I know how this goes for most of you. You’re parenting a child who routinely acts out and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason (or so it seems). They act like they have no control of their little bodies in public places. They’re aggressive toward other siblings (and it’s usually when you’re driving 75 miles an hour down an expressway). They meltdown over, what seems to be, meaningless things. They pester others in your household until everyone is out of control and severely dis-regulated. You name it!
The answer is yes. Absolutely. You can. But it doesn’t happen in one day, overnight, or even in a year or two. We are wounded humans and we have the task of parenting children who have suffered deep wounds. It takes a lot of time. But healing is achievable. It happens step by step…
When I was a child, I planned to save the world. The whole entire world. In 4th grade, my teacher shared pictures of an ocean filled with plastic bottles and soda straws. I committed to recycle. When I was in 10th grade my ecology teacher warned us of the plight of the timber rattle snake. I promised to care for their habitat. When I was 12 my parents watched a documentary on the orphan crisis in impoverished countries. By the time I was 16, they adopted my youngest brother from Bulgaria. I would never again be unaware of the suffering in the world. I knew without a doubt that I would make a change.
It’s been a little more than a week since we opened enrollment for Oasis Community and the stories we are hearing have moved us, inspired us, and left us in tears. Here’s a little more about Oasis..
Join Oasis Community Today!
“I can’t thank you enough for Oasis. It showed up at the perfect time. I was drowning with my kids, with my marriage, with my life! I think you guys may have just saved my life!”
Community is so unbelievably important to achieving health and success with your kiddos on this journey. Even if the journey is easier for some and harder for others. We’re all in this together and we need one another.
Have you ever met an adoptive family that seems to have it easy? Like not only was their process smooth, but their kid just hasn’t seemed to skip a beat. No health issues. No physical issues. No mental health issues. No IEPs. No developmental delays. No sibling rivalry issues. No letters for a diagnosis the majority of the world doesn’t understand issues. No phone calls from school issues. No law enforcement issues. And no holes-in-your-walls issues.
It’s a common question in our society. We all wonder if we are capable of such a hard task. Those of us who are seasoned usually find out we most definitely are not capable at all because so much more plays into it. Outside our group, it’s phrased as more of an exclamation. “Not everyone should adopt!” It seems they feel judged and maybe that I think of them as less than for not doing such a “noble” task.
I’ve observed/know of/heard of many families who started the journey of adoption where it worked great. Most just worked, but maybe not great. I’ve also observed those that started the journey and then it didn’t work. Like all things went TERRIBLY wrong. There is no cookie cutter answer or family for this job.