Do you ever worry about how adopting children with significant trauma histories is impacting your other children?
I was feeling discouraged about one of the younger kids, my brain wearied by the challenge of parenting kids with challenges. I said something to one of my older sons about adoption being really hard on everyone.
He replied, “I’m glad we adopted. I’m completely different because of it and I like the person I am much better than who I would have been.”
He went on to talk about who he was before we adopted and how our lives would have looked if we’d stayed on the same path. Adopting our kids derailed us from the track we were on, setting us on a new course we could never have imagined. Our family was profoundly changed.
One of the questions I ask in the survey for my sibling book is, “How has the experience of adding adopted siblings to your family shaped you?”
In the responses, young adults often reflect on the positive changes in themselves. Their faith was strengthened through the challenges. Their education and career choices were influenced based on the experience. A significant number say they may adopt in the future.
Undoubtedly, it’s easier for adults to reflect back than it is for teens and kids still living in the midst of trauma and chaos. Yet even those kids often have positive things to say about how they are being shaped for the better.
Several of my adult kids talk about becoming more compassionate toward people with mental illness. They have greater compassion for people with complex drug or criminal histories. They have a better understanding of racism.
As a result, they’ve chosen to volunteer in youth ministry, work with children in the medical field, donate money to support mothers and children, and more. Just last week Annarose began teaching English to young teens at a low-income school in Colombia where she is living this semester. I don’t know if that would have happened if our lives hadn’t changed so much.
Our kids acknowledge the complexity of our family and I know they worry about us sometimes. That’s a common theme among young adults whose parents are still in the thick of therapeutic parenting. They are concerned for their parents’ health, marriage, finances and more.
As much as we love our kids, God loves them more. He is working everything for their good and his glory. If you are afraid for your kids or worry you may have ruined their lives because life in your home is so difficult, don’t lose hope. God is at work.
That being said, we should concern ourselves with the safety and well-being of the kids already in our homes when we consider adopting or fostering. They should be at the top of our list as we seek wisdom.
We answer to God for the children he has already given us. It does not honor God to adopt or foster knowing we are likely putting our children at risk.
Be wise, friends.
While Russ and I can’t change what has been, we’re working hard to make our older kids a priority. They lost us for many painfully difficult years. Thankfully, they still love us and want to be with us.
And I just need to say, there’s not much better than having adult kids who sit and talk about fascinating things over a cup of coffee. Sweet rewards are coming young mamas, hang on!
Question: How are your kids being shaped by the experience of adding children from “hard places” to your family?
If your kids (of any age) would like to participate in my book, you can find the survey HERE. Please note, it is not intended only for children born into the family. The project is also for adopted children who families later added children from “hard places.”
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Have a wonderful day, friends. I am so grateful for your presence in my life and I hope I am a blessing to you too.
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