Part 2 Guest Blogger Kara Curfman The Other Side of Adoption

The OTHER side of adoption Part 2...

     Going out in public with these unique kids from either foster care or international adoption, can be a challenge.  I am NOT trying to scare anyone, but I am not going to hide the tough parts either.  Some kids adjust to adoption quickly; some only for a time, shocking you several years later when it all begins to fall apart and you wonder what happened. Yet others will struggle from day one and wear you completely out daily.

     What is going wrong?  Why is it that when you get out in public they begin some sort of meltdown that could launch missiles.  Not just toddlers, by the way. Nothing consoles them, you can bribe them, drag them or beg them to stop.  They scream and flail and a crowd begins to form.  Onlookers will just shake their heads and comment on your parenting skills and others will grab the phone to call CPS or 911.  Then there are those who will begin videoing to post on Youtube demonstrating bad parenting.  "What were you thinking taking on other people's problems"?  At this point, this might just be going through your head.  You will be judged, you may be subject to calls to CPS or the police and yet there you are trying to reach a child that has gone through something horrible that just doesn't settle well in his/her brain.

This child needs more.  Way more.  This child deserves more.  Way more.  

Think back to the picture you all saw in Sunday School growing up of Jesus with the little children gathered around him.

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'"  Luke 18:16

 I imagine that it didn't happen exactly that way.  For one they were all immaculately dressed as was Jesus.....people in reality, it was dusty and dirty and most of them were poor.  I assure you there were no white robes, not that I have proof, this is just me talking.  I am also sure the children weren't perfectly behaved and smiling until they were at the feet of Jesus. He wouldn't have cared.  He wouldn't have sent them away. He was known for being with imperfect people which is why he incensed so many.  He was around the demon possessed, the adulterers, the "un-clean".  I assure you he was around the children whose lives were less than stellar and he loved them all the same.

     Foster or adoptive homes are more likely to have CPS called on them just based on their children and their struggles.  This is more on the extreme end, BUT it is a reality.  Go ahead and add a different race and a special need or two, like autism and you have set the stage for a potential show for the public.  The great news is that this seldom happens, but for those living it that doesn't help. Those families hide, and withdraw and struggle.

     Stand firm in that crowd of "tsk tskers" and hold that precious child until the rage subsides in the middle of Walmart or the mall. Keep them safe and keep your cool.  Keep them calm and just hold them.  It may take a while for them to calm and they may fight you for a time, but they will calm eventually.  There are any of number of things that could have set them off, like the crowd, the noise, or just simply transition.  Transitions are tough. I am not here to instruct you, but to let you know that for these children, THIS sort of thing is normal.  It's not you.  It's not about you.  It is simply where they are.  When people say to me, "isn't is amazing how resilient children are" I want to scream.  They DO take their next breath, but they are hurting.  More than likely hurting, deep in the brain in ways that may or may not come out for a long time.  Do not take it personally.  Love them, be willing to learn more, be willing to get help for them AND for you.  Believe it or not you will need help.  You may need more than you realize because this child may bring things our in you that you had buried long ago.

     We have several years post adoption with 2 children.  One arrived at our home at one month old.  We know that the pregnancy was not ideal and the one month was not either.  While we do know some of the details, others will remain unknown.  She was adopted 1 year and 2 months later and is now 5 years old.

     We adopted another child who is 7 months younger than the above mentioned one.  She was 3 months when she arrived and was also adopted 1 year and 2 months later.  Prior to birth was extremely rough and the 3 months she was with her biological mother were not much better.  She is now 4 1/2.  Both have different stories, but show tremendous scars from the past that show up in total opposite ways.  It is hard.  It is wonderful.  It is hard to describe from one day to another.  Some days we handle it well, others we are just weary from the battle. Every day we know that we are blessed!

     An example from our current situation is school.  The oldest of the two is now in Kindergarten.  She has attended a Mother's Day Out program where she was 1 of about 10.  The school was small and so were the classes.  She is now in BIG school with more than 10 Kindergarten classrooms averaging about 24 kids in a class with 1 teacher.  The classroom is loud, the cafeteria is loud, the gym is loud, the transitions are fast.  There is no nap time.  Holy can there be a world without nap time???  The shame of it all.   Little Miss Kindergartner is falling apart, little wonder.  She is wild when she comes home, can't settle down to go to sleep even though she is exhausted  and doesn't fall asleep until around 9 even though she is put to be at 7:30 or earlier.  She gets up after me at about 6:30 and the battle begins.  You never know exactly what will set her off, her uniform, her hair bow, she wants sandals and not tennis shoes (they have to wear tennis shoes), she doesn't want to buy her lunch, she wants her old school, she wants her "bubba" who has moved off to college.  I have to peel her out of the suburban. The back seat sweet reader, under the seat.  With my rear in the air. It is NOT pretty. None of it.  (No pictures will be posted of this event). A sweet, sweet teacher just waits and then gently takes her hand and walks her crying self into the school. Bless this woman.

     Let me also tell you, dear friend, you are NOT alone.  There is a mom crying in her closet right now because she doesn't know what to do and can't share this with her friends (no, this isn't me this time) because she doesn't want to hear, "I told you so".

 This is the stuff of God!  
This is the stuff of deep fervent prayer.  
This is the all-abiding love of Christ.  
This is the heart of Jesus.  
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27.

  Read it again.....S.l.o.w.l.y.  "Pure and faultless".  Wow!  "Keep oneself from being polluted by the world".  I think God is REALLY saying something here.  We can't take this lightly.  Dig in.  Get dirty. Get hurt. Fall down. Now get on your knees or your face before your Savior and let him know where you are.  Give it all to him.  Then get up and face the heart of Jesus.