December 26, 2007

"Why am I in this family anyway?"

boy_doing_laundry“Why am I in this family anyway?” Words casually thrown to me over the shoulder of my 8 year old as he disappeared up the basement stairs with the umpteenth load of clean laundry.  This is the child that God is using to sharpen me and break down the self-sufficiency that I suffer so dreadfully from.   On his next trip past I set a ‘date’ with him to meet in the bathroom and talk about it in 5 minutes.   The bathroom is almost the only place in our house for this type of discussion and I can keep an ear to the kitchen in case the little girls get into mischief.  Dutifully, I finished sweeping the laundry area, prayed for wisdom and approached my bathroom meeting with the totally wrong idea about where we were headed.  You see, I thought he was warming up for a good complain about why he had to carry all this laundry up all these stairs, all by himself.   I was ready with my standard lecture, “God has given us all tasks to do with our days and in a large family…”  Thankfully, when I took this big boy into my lap, God had me ask 'why' he asked the question rather than launching automatically into the 3 minute mommy sermon.

He wanted to know the specifics of why he had to be adopted.  He had hard questions ready, and I had to stop and truly think before I answered.   “Did she cry when she gave me to you?”  “Why couldn’t she keep me?” “Do I have sisters and brothers at her house?”  “Why could she keep them but not me?”  Every question was an opportunity to bring us back to God’s plans for our lives.  And with every one I had to avoid the pat, socially acceptable answers that we use so carelessly with other adults.

When I thought about saying she was too poor to feed another child, my heart echoed with the cry, IS THIS THE STANDARD FOR PARENTING - WEALTH?   When I thought about saying that she didn’t have a husband to help her, my heart cried out WHAT ABOUT THE WIDOW - SHOULD SHE LOOSE HER CHILDREN?   And when he asked about her crying, I had to say yes, her heart was absolutely breaking.  Rather than offer the standard adoption answer that she was a little sad but knew she was giving him a better chance at life.

The truth is, I have no solid answer for these questions aside from the destiny God has laid out before each of us before we are even conceived.  Any good sounding, logical, politically correct answer I might come up with won’t stand up to the trials of adolescence and the storms of life.  Nothing but trusting that God’s plans are absolutely right and for the good of those who love him will carry him through those testing days ahead.

Through this child’s questions   I was reminded again that out of a dark valley in her life came a joyous celebration in ours.   I’ve been chastened.  For years I have blindly spoken the adoption platitudes that our culture has developed to understand these things.   I have taken the easy road in discussions because people accept it without argument.  Now I am walking into the wilderness with my 8 year old son, seeking to understand why Gods plans are so often pain filled, and how through it all we can honor God together.

0 comments on “"Why am I in this family anyway?"”

  1. "...Gods plans are often pain filled..."

    Just this morning our oldest daughter (adopted at 12.5, now 17.5) and I were casually discussing some of the lies told to us leading up to and during our adoption of her and our youngest daughter. I was delighted that I could confidently proclaim with Joseph that even though they may have "meant evil...God meant it for good..."!

    1. My Xman is almost 9 now. I steratd him in behavior therapy about 3 months ago. I highly suggest you look around for a good behavior therapist, as it can take a while. Xman used to not be able to handle change well. He felt like life was out of his control at that point. When we sat down with the therapist and explained to him "coping skills" can help him take a moment, calm down, and get life back on track. Figuring out that HE had the control in himself to change things made him pretty happy. He actually steratd using them on his own within a week. He still has to be reminded to use them sometimes, and which coping skills are good for what times. (reading for 10 minute coping skill during a test is not a good one, maybe he should try slowly taking ten deep breaths). Maybe you can start without the therapist if you feel comfortable enough. I would be happy to scan the coping skills our therapist gave us and put on my FB page for you. Xman was also allowed to make up his own skills. His favorite is what he calls Armadillo Squats (which looks a lot like the "hands, shoulders, knees, and toes" in fast forward. When he's still manageable, or, we catch it before it happens. I ask him what coping skill he needs to use to keep control. And he'll pick one! He does it, I ask him if he's good now, if no, rinse and repeat, if yes, ok, lets continue with our day. If he's already into a meltdown, I ask him to take the standard 10 deep breaths. Mommy, I'm telling you, this stuff has changed our lives. Not only at home, but school too. Good luck, I feel for you.

  2. Its an interesting quoetisn. We all think that we don't have that bias, that we are beyond that. But I thought about it and it was a shock to really follow the thought to conclusion. I also think there is a hero's mentality with a white couple adopting a minority child, like that child was rescued. But if a black couple adopts a white child, people interpret it differently. They ask if you are the nanny

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