Friday, November 13, 2009

The Reality

Parenting is NOT easy - it is full of curve balls and question marks. But where I feel I struggle more is parenting adopted children. I question myself constantly. Why does she cry so long when I leave? Is she afraid I won't come back? How long should we let her sleep in our room on the mattress? How can I show her that we won't leave her? How can I best show her that her past is part of who she is? What are encouraging things I can say to her to represent her birth mom? Why does she wake up so often with night terrors? What were her living conditions like - and how does that play into our life now? I could go on and on. It is just different to me - I second guess so many things that I may or may not do for our boys and not give a second thought. I hope, with time, that some of that will go away - but we've had Chloe over 4 years and I still find myself there often.

So I feel SO blessed by a book I was sent this week - 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed by Sherrie Eldridge. I have read other books by Eldridge that have opened my eyes to things, but this one is SO right where I am! She has given me the freedom to say, "Parenting adopted children IS different - and it's ok to ask question and voice your fears and frustrations." As an adopted child herself, Eldridge is full of wisdom in how to care for our little ones - what their backgrounds may have been, and some feelings they may experience.

Here is one of my favorite "Ah-hahs":
  • Parenting Success, Adoption-Style
  • To work through my personal issues thoroughly, in order to hear the heart needs of my child.
  • To identify with my child on his/her emotional level and to mirror acceptance.
  • To accept and nurture the nature created within my child's first home, the birth mother's womb.
  • To learn and accept the complex realities of adoption as our unique life challenge - not trying to change the challenges into what the nonadoptive world expects.
  • To base love and acceptance of my child on his personhood, not his performance.
Maybe it's just me (although I doubt it) but I needed the freedom to read these things. I needed to see what success may look like - I have so many fears of my inadequacies (I'll admit it - even more after bringing Jada home - CAN I be for her what she needs??). So this book is just really meeting me where I am. I am learning TONS. I am finding that in each chapter I am having to hold back from highlighting the entire chapter!

She ends each chapter by giving you a time to "Listen to your child's heart" - she gives thoughts on how adoptive children may look at situation. Here is one I can relate to having both of the girls in mind....
"When you hold me for the first time as a baby, if I arch my back and won't let you cuddle close to me, I'm not rejecting you. I'm hurting. I miss my first home - my birth mother's womb. Don't let the cycle of rejection begin. If you interpret my actions as rejection, then I'll sense that and I'll feel rejected. Hold me closely until I mold my body to you, even if I cry. This is what I need."
I guess that's why I want to share this book - it is a gift this week - exactly what I needed as I'm questioning what I KNOW God has called me to. It's a big task - but I am thrilled at the growing He must have for me!!


Kim K. said...

Sounds like a book I need to add to my Christmas wish list. Thanks for sharing. Extra hugs!

Love for Lilly Yin said...

We are facing the same challenges...and just got Lilly out of the floor of our room after 6 mths. I am with you all the way! The Connected Child helped me a lot. It is the forbidden topic in adoption, but we have been going through attachment issues. It is different but so rewarding! ((HUGS))

Carol said...

Parenting is hard enough without all those extra difficulties! How wonderful that you found a book to encourage and bless you. Love you!

Carey said...

"CAN I be for her what she needs?" So true. So true. Thanks for the recommendation!

shelley said...

I have had sooo many of those same thoughts. Thanks for sharing the book, sounds like a great Christmas present

Faith, Hope, and Love said...

Great post, Becky!!! I will have to get this book for sure. Even after 14 years with Mikayla, the questions haven't stopped. There will always be that piece of their life that is a mystery...and the older they are the bigger that piece is.

Thank you for sharing this!


hollym. said...

You are speaking my heart perfectly! Thanks for the book title! I can use all the boosting I can get!
Sometimes I wish it was a "law?"(for lack of a better descriptive word.:), that non-adoptive parents had to read these books, too. I sometimes feel that this is my "battle", of having to explain so much to them!!
Take care and keep doing what your doing!! A great job of parenting.

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
~Deuteronomy 24:19

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