What Does Healing Look Like? [Eight Thoughts from an Adoptive Mom]

I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.

Hudson Taylor

In March 2011, I wrote a post beginning with this quote.

It’s fascinating (and a little frightening) to read my thoughts and hopes from so many years ago. It’s very vulnerable knowing you can read them too!

This is what I wrote that day,

“When I read (this quote), I choked out a tearful laugh and then smiled as I thought of my life.  Perhaps raising my family is not a great work of God, but it is my greatest work for Him.  There is nothing more important to me, more precious to me, or more meaningful than the work Jesus has given me as the mother of my children and wife to Russ.”

Seven years later, it’s still true. Many years ago, Russ and I decided we would place great value on the work of raising our children. The relationships we have with each other and our kids are still my highest priority.

Six of our kids are 19 and older; can you believe it? As I watch my children become adults, it’s remarkable to witness the fruit of our work – parenting is definitely hard work.

It’s not that growing up has been a smooth path. Some of our kids have struggled a lot, but we walk the road with them and never give up.

And we pray – a lot.

In the same post, I wrote:

“Two years ago parenting some of our children seemed impossible, now it is difficult, but one day, I pray with all my heart, it will be done (or at least the healing won’t consume so much of our lives) and they will be healed of their deepest wounds.  I can almost imagine what it might look like, what they might look like with peaceful, whole hearts.  I believe with the help of God, even the most wounded children have the capacity to heal.”

Seven years later, this is what I know about healing:

1. Healing is not “all or nothing” for our kids with early trauma. There are many small steps along the way.

2. Our job is obedience to God even when it doesn’t appear anything will turn out “right.”

3. We can’t look at parenting with a “success or failure” mindset.

4. Parenting requires true patience – patience for the long haul (think years).

5. Attachment may not happen the way we hoped it would. We need to give our kids and ourselves grace. We can have satisfying relationships even if the secure attachment we yearned for didn’t come.

6. As they become young adults, our children have their own journeys of healing to travel. Our role is to support them while giving them space to do what they need to do.

7. Our worth and value aren’t tied to our kids looking like they’ve “turned out” okay.  Likewise, their worth and value aren’t tied to making us look successful as parents! We are all loved by God and our worth is found in him.

8. Shame will steal our joy and our ability to appreciate our kids for who they are if we let it.

Don’t be discouraged. We need to press on toward healing and attachment with our kids from “hard places.” It’s come more easily for some of our kids than others.

The truth is, secure attachment feels really good – but, as wonderful as that is, parenting isn’t about feelings. It’s about true love, the kind of love shown to us by God.

We are called to love regardless of circumstances and feelings, and sometimes that’s a really hard task.

You’re a good mom, my friend, doing good work, sometimes in very hard circumstances. You are not alone.


Be sure to grab my free download, Hope for your Parenting Journey: a guide for adoptive and foster moms.

with courage and hope,

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

13 Comments

  1. Nancy
    July 16, 2018

    Needed this today, thank you for always being vulnerable and always leading back to God the source of all our strength.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 16, 2018

      You’re welcome, Nancy. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Reply
  2. Bethany
    July 16, 2018

    Thanks for the encouragement!! What truth regarding parenting is not about feelings!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 16, 2018

      I’m so glad this speaks to you, Bethany. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  3. Kari
    July 16, 2018

    I value your wisdom and encouragement so much!! Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 16, 2018

      I appreciate you letting me know, Kari. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Cathy
    July 17, 2018

    So true. Especially the idea of the long haul. I was talking with a friend about the comfort found in the idea of things always changing and hard things being temporary, as long as you can accept that “temporary” may mean a few years in some cases! I also agree that it’s so important to notice and be encouraged by the small steps rather than be disappointed if it’s anything less than complete overhaul. Life doesn’t work that way for any of us! But we can feel strengthened by seeing small indicators of growth and hopefully build on them.

    Reply
  5. Carol
    July 17, 2018

    I especially needed points 6, 7, and 8 as I have adult adopted children and sometimes feel very discouraged with their life choices. But other times there is great joy in our relationship. Thank you for your ministry.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 17, 2018

      Carol, I was just talking with another mom about accepting all the things we cannot change about our lives, kids, husbands. When we can do that, it gives us room to enjoy and appreciate them and our lives.

      Reply
  6. Lori
    July 17, 2018

    To read this is very reassuring. We’re 9 years, 7 years, and 5 years in our journey with our kiddos added to our family thru adoption. It is a long, hard road that looks very different than our 2 bio kids’ journey. I am so thankful that I can walk this journey with Christ as my team captain! Not everyone “gets it”, but you truly do!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 17, 2018

      We definitely need each other in this adoption journey. I couldn’t do it without friends who understand. I even called a friend this morning to get some encouragement as I navigated a hard parenting decision. Thanks for leaving me a note, Lori.

      Reply
  7. Cathy Carlson
    July 17, 2018

    Love this, Lisa!!!

    So true.. “secure attachment feels really good – but, as wonderful as that is, parenting isn’t about feelings. It’s about true love, the kind of love shown to us by God.”
    Makes me think of the (rough) quote, ‘God is concerned about holiness, not our happiness’ (Ravi Zacharius-maybe??). This gist being, he longs for our holiness and the process is often painful but results in a deeper walk with Him- phew! I love the concept but can’t we just be there already??? lol

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 17, 2018

      I know! How many lessons do I need Lord? Thanks for commenting, Cathy, it’s fun hearing from you.

      Reply

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