Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I shared in an earlier post that I would love to share some of the great advice I received while going through the toughest part of the adjustment period.

One dear friend told me "Parent them now the way you will parent them 1 year from now." It's so hard to find the balance between compassion for all they are going through and yet not putting up with disrespect or disobedience. For the first few weeks I kind of let everything go and then didn't understand when I tried to "lay down the law" why they were not respecting my authority. A friend (with experience) reminded me that if I don't set the boundaries in the very beginning and then stick to them it was going to be much more difficult to try and be an authority to them later on and they will not respect me when I try. Then you are suddenly facing an uphill battle to try and get to where you should have started anyways. I've seen this to be so true even in the first few short weeks. We still have our moments but once I made the decision to not be afraid to parent our children, things have been much better!

When sharing with this same friend that I felt like our family always had the "walking on eggshells" feeling she told me to decide not to feel that way. Feeling that way is a choice. In families everyone does not always get along every second of the day. So if everyone is not happy every second... so be it. Let it happen, but choose not to walk around afraid of the next thing that will make someone unhappy. Making this decision was huge for me. Simply deciding I was done with it released so much stress I was feeling and helped with the tension in the air for everyone else too.

Pray with your family! I know this is something we all know but it is worth repeating. I think I have learned this more then ever after our newest family members came home. There were times I was so angry with them and they were so angry with me that the last thing we wanted to do was sit together and pray. It is hard to do when you are feeling mad or hurt. However, I found it to be the single most valuable thing in our relationships. There were times I would need to have someone pray with me first before I could cool off enough to go pray with them, but once I got someone to first pray with me I was able to go to them. I would simply tell them (as good as I could in Creole) that I know they are not very happy with me at this moment but we need to pray and ask for God's help and forgiveness together. These moments ALWAYS ended in hugs and a softening of the hearts of everyone involved. Something I wouldn't have believed possible in the midst of the battle.

Pray with others! There are going to be times (I think especially for us Mom's) that it will just be too much to handle alone. I called my Mom during one of those moments and she told me that from now on when I felt like it was too overwhelming I was to immediately pick up the phone and call Jim, or her, or my Dad, or one of my closest friends and pray together. So wise and so helpful. This made a world of difference in the hardest times. When you know you've got God and loved ones committed to helping you through it life rolls along so much better.

Talk with someone/people who know what you are going through. I've been blessed with a really close friend that has done this a few times herself. One of the greatest gifts I received during this time was to be able to call her and hear that all the feelings and things happening in our home were totally normal. Her cheerfulness and experience has been priceless and she has been one of the greatest sources of encouragement to me.

It will get better! No, it will not ALWAYS be like this. It may feel like it when you are going through it but things really will get better with time. Just take one day at a time and ask for help when you need it. I often felt that every time I didn't handle a situation right that I had really blown it. ;) What feels HUGE in the moment will hardly be remembered a couple days later and is unlikely to have a lasting effect. The most important thing is to both tell them and show them that you are so glad they are with you and that you love them. It's OK if they are not always happy and it's also OK for them to know you are not always happy. It is important though to remind them and yourself that this is new for everyone and it will not always be like this. I've found that it also helps to be willing to tell them that you are not perfect either, and be willing to ask for their forgiveness when you lose your cool.

Is it worth it? So worth it. This is still new to us but already we are seeing the beauty that our new family members add to our lives. Jude is so sweet and affectionate now. He has started to say "I love you." and if I say I love you to him he will grin big and say "Me too." He will come up to me out of the blue and give me hugs and kisses and spends a lot of time just snuggling up close to me. There is no feeling like it! Stephanie makes us all laugh. She is very helpful and thoughtful. We have had some really great Mother-Daughter moments and have so much fun together. She is also a cheerful helper and likes to make us delicious meals and serve it to everyone. Lovenie is nothing short of a HOOT. The girl is funny. She is so chipper that she makes people smile and laugh everywhere we go. She dances often, laughs hard, and loves big! They have already brought a lot of joy to the family and we are just getting started. I do believe that our life will be so much richer because God chose to bless us with them in our lives.

Those are just a few of the things that come to mind at the moment. I know my posts these days are even more jumbled then usual. I just do not have the time or energy yet to process my thoughts better. Please forgive the grammar and spelling! ;) I do hope that being honest about our experience can be a blessing to others as they wade through the hardships and blessings of adoption.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

So glad that the Lord has granted you wisdom and grace as you parent your newly enlarged family!