Thursday, October 04, 2007

Adoption Issues

Is your home a place of redemption? Does it need to be? Has anyone suffered great loss in daily relationships?

I'd say my home requires me to create a space to heal the broken hearted. Have I? Not well enough. Here's my gauge- the level of peace and unity in my family.

I believe every household has a thermometer- the one who may not look like it on the outside, but is the most sensitive and vulnerable inside. The exterior may read "I don't care", but the actions scream "Someone do something!" My adopted son, Tater, lets us all know when family matters become askew. The second he senses a chasm between my husband and I, he runs to the crack and jumps until Buck and I get on the same page again. Sometimes it takes Buck and I months to work together, and the result of not working together is chaos.

I've come to realize adopted children have two questions they ask over and over again.
1. Will you still love me if...?
2. Whose got the power?

Apparently, I haven't answered those questions correctly yet for my adopted son, because he still continues to ask in so many manipulative ways.

While my birth children exhibit considerable character flaws, they do not have these same questions. They know in their heart of hearts they can trust me to have their best interest in mind.

I notice a lesser emotional connection with Tater. He doesn't take me at my word like the other children. His wounded heart cannot trust me, so most everyday, I'm tested and judged as wanting by him.

So how to build trust? That's where a home of redemption kicks in. Redemption is gentle. Redemption is kind. Redemption doesn't seek revenge, only healing. Redemption is confident. Redemption believes, even if a strategy is not working, one will be revealed which will meet the need. Redemption does not lose hope. Redemption is never angry and does not seek it's own way. Redemption does not struggle for power; it is power.

A Remedy
The area I have completely conquered this year is not ever getting physical. I believe aggression only breeds more aggression. If my son defiantly picks up the very object I've asked him not to touch, I don't make any movement to retrieve the object. In the heat of a difficult moment, if I ask him not to go outside, and he heads straight for the doorknob, I do not block his way. If he refuses to stop banging a ruler on the table, I do not make any effort to physically remove the ruler. Spanking is absolutely out of the question.

Abandoning any type of physical control has made a boatload of difference in Tater. A year ago, someone in our family would be "accidentally" hurt by him nearly every day. He'd run into a room like a whirling dervish, knock over his little sister, and wonder what just happened. Over the course of this year, that carelessness has been nearly extinguished. Just considering it now, it's miraculous, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how the change occured.

Deeper Remedy

Here's the part of redemption I have not yet completely conquered- remaining peaceful in difficult situations. I haven't mastered a neutral or kind tone in conflict. I've made progress, but when push comes to shove, sometimes I don't keep it together. My goal is to lay down my natural responses of anger and even irritation, and respond in an even keeled way. Sound impossible? It is eye opening to think of the times I'm in a snit with my husband or children, and how quickly I am able to answer the phone pleasantly. Why not keep it together with my family, those I love the most, in the best way possible?

Mostly because I'm human. Imperfect. Redemption has a plan for that as well, though it is tricky- forgiveness. When I'm short with someone, I need to ask forgiveness. If the person is not ready to give it, then I wait. Patiently. Redemption always hopes and believes it will work in the end. I'm not always on the side of redemption, because forgiveness requires something I'm not always willing to give- self examination and humility. Buzzing around town taking care of others or making sure I have plenty of "me" time only complicates things. It leaves no room for necessary deep listening for ways to grow in kindness and forgiveness in my home.

Instead of wrapping things up neatly here, I'll stop and post more another time. School is underway and this teacher needs to get back to work.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. I've been wondering why my daughter has been pushing my buttons so much lately - doesn't appear to listen I don't think she has really begun to understand her adoption story. She sure has been testing me lately.
But we do alway say we're sorry - and that we forgive each other. (thanks - learned that one from you two) I always try to make her understand that I may not always like her behavior - but I will always love her (and her brother)

truevyne said...

I haven't met any adoptive parents who don't agree with these questions yet...

Hope said...

When my kids were growing up our home was not a place of redemption. It's becoming more and more that place these days. The hard work you are doing in your parenting inspires me. Thank you for being so honest.

truevyne said...

Thank you, Hope.