February 5, 2011
A couple of weeks ago a close friend sent me an email. She asked me to read an article featured in Good Housekeeping this month. As readers of this review, many do not know my friend but she is a trusted source in my research of older child adoption. A adoptive mother for five years now, she has been a source of comfort and encouragement. In the opening paragraphs, I knew right away the reason she had recommended it to us.
For my husband and I, adoption has not been picture perfect. Shocking as it might be, we did not plan our adoption story to be written as it now. When we began this journey, we thought we might receive two babies. It is wonderful to be able to adopt a child under two years old; however, early on, we knew the Lord had other plans for us.
After completing the necessary steps, we were given a referral for two beautiful sisters: one was three years old and one was just 18 months. We prayed about the forever commitment to these two gorgeous girls and the call became clear: accept. With peaceful and excited hearts, we accepted the referral. Upon sharing our news with others, it became clear that a line was drawn in some hearts. Many believed that we should wait for younger children. However, we knew, in our hearts, that these precious girls were to be in our family.
After accepting our referral, we began the research on adopting older children. As we read in the article Love Medicine, we realized that we needed to identify and build the “blocks of love”. As the stories grew grim, we knew that we had our work cut out for us. One of the statements in the article that stood out to me was when the parents of a young boy were trying to help him realize that he was not a source of stress or shame but a “delight and joy to my caregiver and to the world”. One of the ways that parents have had success in this arena is the area of focused play. When my biological boys were little, we played lots of games of “piggy toes” and “where are you”. This article brings out the point of view that although our oldest, especially, will be beyond the typical years of “piggy toes” she is still in need of many, many games of piggy toes and other trust building exercises.
One of the other ideas that stood out to me is the commitment of love. I know that there will be days or weeks where we are over our heads. This article was very helpful in reminding me not to take the issues personally. In fact, the mother on pg. 188 said she began to tell her child that she was staying and would still be there when he stopped screaming. I agree with the article that finding a way to build the blocks of love for a traumatized child is the hardest and most satisfying work of a lifetime. Adoption, through incredibly beautiful, is brought about by trauma and loss. My goal is to allow security to be a theme in our home.
Lord willing, in a few short months we will begin our adoption journey as family. Our commitment on paper and in our hearts now must lived out-daily. We will continue our research to find tools to help our family adjust as it grows and to learn how to love our girls in a way that makes them feel secure. We are a work in progress but we know that day by day we will make progress. We will be a family.