Where To Begin….How Healing Starts

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There are so many out there in the adoption community who are in the midst of struggle, trial and trauma.  Children have come home and parents have had wonderful, good intentions of helping a child through their trauma to wholeness.

Yet, when the child comes they are overwhelmed with the enormity and reality of what a child has really LOST through years of neglect, abuse and trauma.

All of the classes, all of the education, all of the good intentions are met with REALITY.
A very hurt child is NOW in your care. They are YOUR responsibility.  And you are left  to sort through the enormity of hurt and rejection.

Yes, they were all smiles on adoption day. They were leaving the troubles of the world they knew to a new adventure!  They didn’t realize their troubles would follow them.  They didn’t realize that you are not Jesus Christ, their Savior.  They didn’t realize that you have many of your own “unpacked bags” from your own childhood challenges.  OR, maybe you don’t! Maybe your childhood was picture perfect, which causes you to have a true lack of ability to comprehend the suffering your new child has endured.

Either way, we have areas in our lives that when exposed, can cause us to react in less than attractive ways.

One of the reasons people start out patiently  and then within a few weeks start to react in negativity is lack of vision.  Sometimes we think if we provide certain ingredients into the life of a child, they will respond with the correct corresponding emotion.  Or that their emotional responses will actually MATCH the corresponding emotion!

Smile- Happy
Frown- sad
Tears- hurt
Food- eat
Disneyland-  joyful excitement
Ice Cream-  treat
I say No-  Child obediently  says “yes maam”
I say make your bed- Child makes bed with joy
I say Pick up your toys-  Child picks up toys
Dinner time –  manners and pictures of children dressed up, napkins in laps
and thankful for wonderful cooking.
I play a lovely song- child enjoys song
I hug- child hugs back
I snuggle to read a book – child snuggles and enjoys the story
Bath time- joyful play in the water and getting clean
Bed time- time to sleep peacefully
Home is provided- child feels safe
Toys are provided- child loves toys
Clothing is provided- child loves clothes
and so on…..

And now, back to serious REALITY!

Children do learn and respond accordingly, they really do.  Of course never perfectly,
as no child is perfect just as no adult or parent is perfect.
But in order to BEGIN, against a surmounting WALL of pain, hurt and grief, we had better be prepared and be armed with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, Acceptance and Prayer for wisdom from above! Because we will need ALL of the fruits of the Spirit, and  they do not come naturally!
Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1st Corinthians  Chapter 13…. The whole thing. (may as well, it is all important)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Many of us  know the Love is patient, love is kind verses.  But what about the first verse in Chapter 13…..
 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

It is possible to sacrifice, including our own bodies and lives and possessions and do it in a cold and unloving fashion.  That is kind of scary isn’t it?

I honestly believe that THAT scripture can be a key, eye opening verse for many of us who have struggled.

Why are we doing what we are doing?  Where is our joy IN and THROUGH the journey?
How have we lost our focus?

Yes, parenting a child who comes from extreme difficulty can be terribly hard, but our strength and endurance comes from Christ.
We can do ALL things through HIM who strengthens us!

So, where does healing begin?  At the beginning.  It happens when we put on TRUE LOVE, and ACCEPTANCE of our children with great joy.
It comes when we stop trying to FIX them, and instead fix ourselves.
It comes when we begin to LEAD them from the place they are STUCK to a place of wholeness.
But that can’t happen until we have given them reason to trust us!  TRUST US!

Question yourself.  Are you trustworthy?  Should your child TRUST YOU?
WHY?   Are you predictable and safe?  If your child shares their heart with you, do they have confidence they will not be crushed by reaction?
Can they count on you to be loving yet firmly rooted?  Can they count on you to accept them for who they are in the moment?  Even the ugly moment?

Sometimes, helping a child heal is like trying to tame a wild bull.  🙂
They are so frightened and  fearful and angry (which is fear btw)  that they cannot stop what they are doing.
We have to find a path to calmness and soothing, and lead them to a place of FELT SAFETY.
This is a term that Karyn Purvis uses often and it means FELT Safety.  Not just safety.
They are already safe, they just don’t know it. 🙂

Trust and Felt Safety go hand in hand.
And it does NOT take a long time, as long as WE are on that trajectory of healing ourselves and not looking at the circumstances of the moment.

A child may start to do well and then fall back into old behaviors.  That is the time that we need to be on guard to make sure we are acting out of a loving hope and not a judgmental loss.    IT WILL HAPPEN.  Our children WILL go back and forth and we need to help them stay the course!  And in order for them to stay the course, WE must stay the course. 🙂

I am going to start a series on “How Healing Starts” for different circumstances such as food issues, disrespect, tantrums, sharing, relationship and more.

This is on my heart right now very deeply.
Time to share. 🙂

Comments warmly welcomed!

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