On Tuesday I shared Melissa’s question; she asked if those of us who adopted older children are seeing positive change and growth. I have loved reading your responses and found them very encouraging. If you have not yet responded, please take a moment to add your thoughts to the original post. If you haven’t read it yet, you will love seeing the positive answers from families.
Earlier this week I was talking with my friend Jennifer about the ways that our families are coping with some of our children’s needs. We came to the conclusion that it is essential to look back at where we’ve come from rather than worry about where we are headed. It is easy for me to let my mind run anxiously to the future, worrying over details I cannot control, rather than recount the amazing progress we’ve made.
Are we anywhere near where I thought we would be with three of our children home nearly four years and one home 2 1/2 years? Honestly, no. We are still parenting at a level I could not have imagined. I wish we were a more cheerful example for you — If only I could write this post filled with all happy stories!
That being said, we do see healing and progress, sometimes in very dramatic ways. Russ and I are keenly aware that Dimples longs to be connected to us now in ways that made no sense to her before. She longs to set things right and seek forgiveness when the day has gone terribly wrong. That is by far the most significant change we are marveling at right now.
In all of our children who came to us from “hard places” we see:
more eye contact
Use of calming tools and techniques
sad tears – rather than angry tears
greatly increased desire to set things right with us when they have wronged Russ or me
somewhat increased desire to set things right with siblings
more age appropriate behavior
greatly increased ability to use words to express feelings
I could go on and on, but what keeps coming to my mind as I write this list is how much Russ and I have changed in the way we parent these children. We thought that they would fit into the life and parenting style we had, but it simply was not true. We had to learn new ways of parenting and understanding, so the improvement has come as ALL of us have learned new ways of thinking and relating.
We are still learning how to make our home a happy place for all of our children. This requires that we think far differently than we have in the past about meeting the needs of everyone in the family. Having Honeybee and Dimples in a small, Christian school has been a win-win for them and their siblings. Structuring all “tech time” (computer, Wii, movies) is essential now. Requiring creative play time, outside play time, and even independent play time is necessary. Limiting food choices helps. Staggering bedtimes is necessary in order to eliminate unkindness when a parent is not present to monitor conversations. Providing structure on weekends improves behavior, in fact, providing structure improves behavior nearly all the time.
I could go on, but I’ve got to tell you, Spring Break has taken a lot out of me. Russ has been working crazy long hours all week and I really miss knowing he is going to come through the door at 6:00. The kids miss him too and it shows. I will be glad when this “Break” is over and we can get back to our regular life.
I hope your weekend holds some unexpected blessings. God is faithful and He is good! What on earth would I do without Him?