On our adoptive and foster parenting journey, we’ve had lots of dark days. Sometimes many more than days of light. The amount of times we’ve felt like giving up and laying down are simply uncountable. But we’ve found unending hope…
“Your son has FASD!”
“This hearing is continued. And we’re reinstating visitations.”
“Hi, I’m your son’s principal. Just wanted you to know that he’s in the office again for punching another student and cussing out the teacher.”
“Ma’am, we caught your daughter stealing again. We have no choice but to press charges.”
On and on it goes.
There is no class in college, or book you can read, to walk you through this. To give you a plan. To help you figure this out.
Nothing prepares you for the dark days of this journey. Think about it- when you met that special someone, who would later become your spouse, you didn’t sit around in the student center on your college campus, skipping out on studying for that huge exam, and dream about the day when your future son would punch another kid on the playground, or find himself back in the principal’s office for the 20th time in a month. You didn’t gaze into one another’s “perfect” eyes and fantasize about raising the child who would eventually have such severe behavior issues that they would have to attend a separate school for behavior specialization.
And I’m betting there wasn’t much thought given to how you would handle a difficult child who would eventually push you and push you and push you until you wanted to quit, feeling as though you would never make any breakthrough with them.
That’s just not real life. But, here you are. Stuck in the middle of a life that you didn’t expect to be living. Maybe it’s crossed over from parenting to your marriage. Perhaps you are sitting in your quiet home right now, alone, broken, and wondering if you and your spouse will last another day together. The dark cloud of doubt, disillusionment, or hopelessness has positioned itself over your family and it doesn’t look to be moving on anytime soon. Maybe your child is so unbelievably aggressive, hateful, defiant, or disobedient that you can’t imagine how you’ll survive another day!
You know full-well that’s the voice of trauma speaking out of your child but you struggle to not see them as just a bad kid. You love them deeply, but you’re tired. So….u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-y…..tired.
Can I just say to you- I know. I’ve been there. We’ve been where you are. We’ve felt (almost) everything you’re feeling. We’ve had the same thoughts. We’ve wanted to give up. But in the middle of this storm, here me. Read this carefully…
There is hope! And…
You’re not alone!
On those dark days, we don’t spring up and shout this with jubilee. No way. In fact, we have been known to lay in our ditch of emotions, wallowing for a while (okay a looooong while) before realizing that we have hope. And even though I say “you’re not alone,” it’s even hard to believe when all hell is breaking loose in my home. You may even be shaking your head and whispering, “Yeah, but you don’t know my situation. You don’t know how hard this is with my kid!”
So….how is there hope? I’ll tell you.
Me. That’s right me. And Kristin. And my friend Andrew. And Karen. And Johnie. And Megan. And Ryan. And Megan. And Michelle. And Mark. And hundreds of thousands of others just like you. We get you. We ARE you. And we are right there in this trench with you. When your case manager calls you and gives you some really really frustrating news…we get it. When you’ve just spent 5 or 6 hours restraining your child because they walked in your door after school and something triggered them….we understand.
When you’ve waited and waited and waited for a real hug, or a genuine “I love you,” or that long long awaited healthy bond….we celebrate with you.
There’s is hope because you are NOT alone. You just aren’t. And your child is not a hopeless case. They are not defined by a disorder, or a failure, or past trauma. They are precious and beautiful and full of hope and a future.
You see, everyday is a new day, with a new promise. We keep moving forward, even on the dark days. We place our hope in the next day, and the day after that. Sometimes it’s a step by step process and that’s the best we can do. Weary foster or adoptive parent….lift your head up, and let your heart be filled…..
You are NOT alone….and there IS hope!
Question: Do you feel alone? Do you feel hopeless? What’s your story? How are you finding your way through the darkness? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
I love this book! A wonderful resource for adoptive and foster parents…’ -Jenn (Ranter) Hook, founder of Replanted Ministry.
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