The Adoption Chronicles: Introduction and Background
Loving the Wounded Child: The Adoption Chronicles
Helping people love and support the wounded children in their lives by better understanding childhood trauma has been the mission of Loving the Wounded Child.
So far, I’ve shared out of my experiences of parenting my biological child, wounded by the experience of a broken family and the struggles of a father trapped in addiction.
(If you’ve been reading here for a while you’re already familiar with my story. If not, you can visit these posts: 1.About 2.From Despair to Hope, 3.Trauma, Self-Blame, and a Death Wish. 4. The Unexpected Trauma to the Child by the Beast of Addiction.)
After my son was diagnosed with a trauma disorder I began learning everything I could about childhood trauma. I wanted to know how to best raise a child who has experienced trauma. In the process, I’ve become passionate about bringing support to other parents wading through similar struggles.
Through my research, I’ve learned about the wide range of experiences that can traumatize a child. Prolonged neglect and abuse are among the top offenders.
(For more on childhood trauma click here.)
Many children who are abused and neglected end up being removed from their biological families and placed into the foster care system. If the parents make the necessary changes to get their children back, the family can be reunited. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen and the rights of the parents are terminated. This leaves the children with no “forever” parents unless someone decides to adopt them.
Because of all the difficult experiences that have brought children to “the system,” they have been deeply wounded/traumatized. Thus, much of what I write here applies to adoptive and foster families. I know what it’s like to parent a child who’s experienced trauma, but I don’t have the background of parenting an adoptive or foster child.
If all goes well, that will be changing. Recently, my husband and I made the decision to begin the adoption journey!
We’re not too far past our 1st anniversary, so it seems a little crazy deciding to adopt this early in our marriage. However, there are many reasons we’ve decided to proceed right now.
Through my research on trauma, I have connected with many adoptive/foster families and also had the privilege of walking beside my sister and some friends in their adoption journeys.
Because of these connections, and a vision God gave me (read it here), we’ve been learning about the high number of children needing foster or adoptive families. Our hearts were stirred to do something. We didn’t see how we could be aware of the huge need yet turn our backs when we have space and resource to help!
Actually, just 7 months into our marriage we began the process of getting licensed to become a foster family, thinking that was a good way to help at that point.
We completed the application, background check and fingerprinting, and learned what changes need to be made to our house to meet the state standards. (That list was surprisingly substantial, considering it’s not an old house. The changes include finishing our basement– a rather large project!)
The initial steps went quickly, but we sort of stalled out after completing them. While trying to find time during the busy summer months to work on the basement project and fill out mounds of paperwork, our (my) intensity to move forward dwindled.
Doubts and questions had also begun to creep in.
Is foster care really the right choice for our family? Will the in-and-out of foster children set my biological son back? He’s made so much progress– will he regress with a less predictable routine?
These were just some of the questions we had to wrestle with and pray through. We didn’t want to close the door on something God was calling us to just because we were nervous. But we also didn’t want to push our way through a door that wasn’t right for us to walk through.
Through much prayer and many conversations, we’ve decided that foster care may be a door further down the hallway of our lives. There is validity to our concerns considering where our family is in this season. We now see that beginning the foster care process simply got us walking down the right hallway. The door that appears to be open to us right now, is the door to adoption.
Along with learning about the immense need for people to adopt waiting children, I have observed the amazing changes that have taken place in my son in the past year since Tom has become “Dad.” The healing and changes that have occurred are truly remarkable. It gives me hope that through offering our love and the stability of a forever family, we will be able to have a positive influence and change the course of another child’s life.
We don’t pretend it will be easy– doing something worthwhile rarely is. Nor do we pretend that we will be the “hero” to any child God places in our family. We fully expect that we will learn, grow, and be changed more into the likeness of Christ through this journey and are praying for heaps of grace!
And so it begins. We are working to prepare our home and our hearts to love on another wounded child.
With equal parts nervousness and excitement, we have said “yes” to God by beginning the adoption process. We don’t know how long the process will take, but we’re told not to expect it to move too quickly.
In the meantime, there is work to be done, both in our home and in our hearts. We are endeavoring to trust God’s timing. He is always on time– something we may often have to remind ourselves of in the coming days (weeks…months…).
Additionally, I believe the Lord impressed upon my heart that I am to journal through our adoption process. There are other stories out there, and certainly not one is alike, though there are common themes. Each story contains its own version of ups and downs, trials, joy, pain, loss, and beauty. I have found encouragement, inspiration, and motivation by reading these stories. I’m hoping others will find the same through our journey!
I invite you to follow along for a little peek into our journey to adoption.
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The Adoption Chronicles: Entry #1, Entry #2