Issues With the Older Adopted Child part 2

 

Issues With The Older Adopted Child part 2

(written November 2011)

I wrote a post on issues that older adopted children face here.
In this post, I would like to discuss issues of insecurities a child faces when they come into an already existing, functioning family.
Many of the older children who come home, come home to a family that already has , or has had, other children.
Older children have many insecurities. They are insecure about being loved and cherished. Many times they will challenge parents love. They are so convinced that THEY are unlovable or undeserving of love, they will set out to prove it!
They see the love being given to the other children as a threat to their existence. They also perceive that they cannot be loved in the same way.

Adoptive parents need to be prepared way beyond the typical “what would you do if your child…. (fill in the blank)…. and be ready for some REAL soul searching.

Our children come with GREAT LOSS and may feel that they have NOTHING more they can lose, so why bother! Why bother attaching to somebody who is going to reject me?  Why bother trying, when it won’t be good enough?  They feel they will never measure up to siblings that have already secured their parents affections.  They do not understand the concept of love that is big enough to cover all, especially Love  that is big enough to cover them!

As adoptive parents we MUST, MUST, MUST, understand that our children are HURT. ALL CHILDREN who come through the door of adoption have faced GREAT LOSS at some point. It is the opposite side of the adoption coin.  Adoption/Loss.
Whether they remember it or not does not really matter. It is REAL, and it is RAW.  All the material things in the world, will not fill in the void and pain of rejection.

We need to be VERY CAREFUL that we parent our children with the same tenderness and gentleness, yet parent them according to each individual need. It can be exhausting, but it is NECESSARY.

There are those who believe that a child with RAD has no feelings or conscience. I disagree.
They have deep feelings and conscience. They are buried deep within the weight of rejection and pain, neatly protected by a wall of indifference so that nobody can shatter the already shattered heart again.

It is our DUTY and JOB as a parent who brings a child home, to do everything possible to get to the shattered pieces of the heart and put them back together and help our children heal. I am not talking about shipping them off to counseling, in order for them to be “fixed”.  I am talking about US LOVING THEM.  If WE need to get counseling to get ourselves together, go for it. If we need the help of a counselor in a combined effort that WE are INVOLVED IN, find one.  BUT WE SHOULD NOT USE THE COUNSELOR TO DO THE JOB WE SHOULD DO!

Children who have no understanding of family or any concept of authority or structure will not understand consequences or punishment. It will only make them angry and cause them to dig their heels in and pit one will against the other, better known as a “power struggle”. And power struggles lead to nowhere.  Engaging in them causes growth to CEASE!

No, they must be reached in a very different way.  They must be reached through unconditional love that shows curiosity into their lives. It shows empathy and understanding, AT the SAME TIME, offering a guiding,  gentle light out of the dark tunnel. Not TOO BRIGHT all at one time, or they can’t adjust and will reel back and head for cover.  It has to be slow and steady and gentle and non threatening.

When they begin to see that their behaviors are not going to earn them a ticket back to where they came from…. when they begin to see that mom and dad love them without condition, when they begin to see that they too are cherished, because we SPEAK IT INTO THEM….. they will slowly and steadily begin to respond.

Our words are so important.  If we speak words of encouragement and affirmation, they will rise to the words spoken over them.
BLUNTLY:
If you tell a child they are a liar, they will be a liar.
If you tell a child, I know you are honest inside! They will become honest.
If you tell a child they are rebellious. They will be rebellious.
If you tell a child you know they can be sweet, kind and obedient. They will become sweet, kind and obedient.

I remember telling Sweetie 4 several months ago, ” I know that you are capable of great love. I can see it in you. I know that you can tell the truth, you WANT to be honest! You are just too scared to try it!”
After hearing this over and over, she BECAME those things.

She would say, “I know you don’t believe me!” And we would reply…. “We WANT TO! You have to tell the truth! So the truth is”…. and then she would speak it. 🙂
She has been such a sweetie and has learned so much and come so far, it just makes me teary. I just love this little girl so much.
(all of my girls, actually)

She was called a Liar! She was called violent! She was called hateful!
But She IS: Honest, gentle and loving!   She really TRULY is…..She is NOT what others said she was.  She was HURT.  Now, she is HEALING!

When our social worker visited today, we were able to share where Sweetie 4 started and where she is today. It is nothing short of a true, modern day miracle.

I praise the Lord for her. I praise the Lord that she has been TRANSFORMED before our eyes.
And I praise the Lord that our girls have a deep love for each other and for us.
Our little Sweetie 4 has changed…. from the INSIDE OUT she has been transformed.  I am thrilled to be a part of her healing and to see her grow into the beautiful young lady God has been preparing her to become.

And in 2013, she can continued on her healing journey.  We are so honored to be her parents and to be a part of her healing.

Comments warmly welcomed!

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