If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. Luke 6:32
We enter adoption with open, eager hearts. Ready to love a child and be loved in return. We know that some people have difficulty but do not expect it to happen to our family. When it does it can be a nightmare beyond what we imagine.
The reality of living with a severely damaged child it is overwhelming. For years there is the hope that the love of family has the power to conquer all. Unless it does not. Year after-year-after-year – you exhaust energy, money and support on a child who returns nothing, rejects all, abuses. You pray for healing that does not come.
There is little understanding among those who do not experience constant warfare with a beloved child. Advice freely given is often useless. When they are young and present a sympathetic face to the outside world you are criticized for judging to harshly. As they are older, stealing and raging, you are criticized for being too soft. At some point you start counting to eighteen, praying for protection; for you, all your children and the world in general. Choices are limited and you are faced with two options; continue to fight the battle or let go; knowing that the child you are sending out into the world is not prepared.
I have two adopted siblings with degrees of attachment disorder – along with a host of other challenges (alphabet soup). They are adults now. As a teen and young adult I lived imbedded in a war zone and saw the dirty side of the fight. Trying to walk the line between preserving privacy and exposing the truth- I am just going to say it was bad, terrifyingly bad. I can actually understand the motivation behind sticking a child on a plane in the hopes of waking from a nightmare. It was wrong and I would not do it – but I understand it.
As the adoption community reacts in horror to this tragedy I hope there is more. I hope there is more support for the good parents like mine. Those that make the hard decision and take the right steps. They do not abandon or abuse. They live the tough life ands give up “normal” because they fell in love with a child. They fight day after day without support or understanding.
I also hope that there is more understanding that the child you adopted, whether at four months or at ten can carry the burden of attachment issues or FAS or any number of other challenges. Do not assume that you can ignore advice and avoid the work of attaching to your child. Do not simply react in horror believing such a thing could never happen to you.
I do not know the solution to healing families damaged by trauma in a childs live. I do know we need a better support system – a safety net for families facing challenges they are not able to meet. There is not one now.
My prayers are with those who are in limbo because of one mother’s irresponsible choice. I pray for the children who will wait for families that may never come. My prayer are also with those who will sleep tonight with locked doors. For mothers battling on behalf of their children, fathers overwhelmed, siblings sacrificing, and children, however old they are, in need of healing.
As for my family, we are still waiting for a happy ending. There are still challenges today, but I love my siblings. I hurt for the traumatized, damaged babies they are under that impenetrable armor they wear. It is much better than the worst it once was, but success is still a ways off. Please pray for all of us.