This weekend I went to the refresh conference in Redmond Washington. Its is a conference for foster and adopted families. I have gone to plenty of adoption conferences and plenty of orphan care meetings and gatherings. I walk away with convicting truths and encouragement from each one. New methods and understanding to the depth of our children from trauma. New ways to help our unattached daughter to get attached, new ways to help us attach to her. This weekend was different I walked into refresh completely and utterly defeated. Scared from the last 2 1/2 years of struggle with our kids from hard places.
I walked away with plenty of information, truths, and permission. Permission to be honest about our struggles and permission to put down our pride and ask the body of Christ for help.
A very strong and honest mama spoke right into my heart as if I was the only person in the audience. She spoke on her struggle with her daughter. she shared this quote " If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, judgement." (Brene Brown)
I am here to share with you my shame has grown in tremendous ways. Its has kept us in a deep sadness, and in turmoil. We can not longer keep a martyr stance. We are in much need of help. Saying this is even giving me such tension for fear, for fear of no one coming to assist us.
Here is an analogy given this weekend that describes the church with adoption almost to a T. When people share about adoption/ fostering there a big group of the church walking you to the end of the dock saying "JUMP, JUMP, JUMP!" you get all excited and well you take the plunge. When you jump into the water you realize the water is freezing cold, you can't touch the bottom and oh no you can't swim! You look up to the people that said "Jump" and they say "we have no idea what to do we just know how to say "jump.'' Your left to thread the water on your own.
Let me tell you something friends. Adoption is NOT for everyone but the call for us to help the fatherless is for every believer. There is no question about this. There should never even be a question. Yes after we say yes those fatherless children now have a father and a mother. But the journey doesn't end there at all. The call continues.
When God adopts us he adopts our history our trauma our messes. Can you imagine if after we said yes to his gift of salvation he says "all your past trauma we wont deal with, just forget about it ,ignore it, your a new creation that means those things wont ever bother you again.'' Or "ugh, this again, I made you new, get over it already dude!" Or does he as a loving father deal with every single hurt we have, heal them, and when they arise remind us of our truth in Him. That we are loved, beloved, wanted, accepted, adopted, adored, sacred to Him regardless of the ugliness and the baggage we carry to come greet Him at the cross. We go to conferences and the speakers have us do an exercise: we write things down on paper, hurts, ways we need Jesus, and we nail them to the cross . We say things like "leave them at the cross'' It would be awesome if they never followed us home right, but truth is it will it does. We have to continually nail them back figuratively speaking. And we are adults. Our kids with trauma can not do this. Not even if they wished. Trauma has changed the chemistry of their entire beings.
When we adopt kids with trauma we adopt the trauma the messes that come with the pain, we become punching bags for them, we hurt for them, we adopt the pain and it becomes unfathomably impossible to withstand. Worse we don't see rewards, we don't get thanks yous, some of us get words that tear the very center of our hearts. See hurt kids, kids that have severe trauma may find it hard to love back, or even impossible. Its not their fault its not MY fault, or yours but we end up with that feeling. You then withdraw because of shame. Shame that you can't fix them, shame for the feelings and thought that come to your mind. Shame that anyone who said you should have not will remind you that you shouldn't have. So you stay in that closet of shame for a while, you wallow in it.
I have permission to ask you for help. So if you allow me I want to share Focus on the Family description regarding how to help families that foster and adopt. We both would be greatly and hugely blessed if you came along with us in our journey to heal our children mostly to heal our daughter Our daughter that has severe trauma (we keep the details of this between mom and dad only) We have not had many break throughs with her. I feel like we are putting on temporary band-aids over her trauma and then when we have an outrage or she shuts down we wonder "what just happened?''
Reality is we don't have everything she needs. Love is not enough right now for her. She needs extensive help. We want to give it to her, we want to fight for her, but we need help, lots and lots of Help.
We need you to WRAP your hands around us.
W. wrestle in prayer: Prayer warriors. We need you to lift us up in prayer.
Pray for strength and patience
Mercy and Grace
Pray specifically for our children by name.
We need you to tell us your praying for us, to remind us of the Truths. We even invite prayer warriors to our house. Lay hands on us in all seriousness. Get all Pentecostal on us and bring oil if you want :)
R. Respite: Keeping on our toes and on high alert can become very tiresome for parents with struggling kids. We are on constant alert waiting on triggers that make our kids take three steps back and leave us in exhausted. We need people to take give us respite. It may look like our girl coming to your house for a long day, so we can be with the other children and give them our attention they are craving. So when she returns we are renewed and refreshed to help her. It may look like helping with other kids while I take our girl to extensive therapy we will be signing her up for.
A. Acts of Service: I feel funny about this one. However this was also in the booklet from Focus on the family. Errands, shopping, meals, I would only ask for these when we are doing our extensive therapy with our child. The books says don't say "let me know if you know anything" Because you wont be asked. So true. I would never ask anyone to cook us a meal, to go to the store but truth be told. Our services will most probably be in Seattle and there are times I may not be able to make it the store. I am deeply breathing cause this one is a hard one for me.
P. Promises of God:
From the booklet: Providing encouragement with Gods word through notes, calls, text, or emails can be a powerful source of comfort and strength for families. Hope-filled words combined with listening ears. understanding hearts, kindness and mercy will deeply resonate"
Even if you have never adopted or fostered, we need encouragement we need you to remind of us scripture truths. The big picture: that this is Gods design for our family that these children were indeed to be in our house, this is the truth, we need you to remind of this!
Now if you can stand in this gap with us for us and be in community with us. Please raise your hand, Please tell us. We need to hear from you. If you are in the same place, please allow us to be in your community. Gods writing a story for us for your wounded child and for you. We may have not wanted the story to be written like this. Yes I know its going to be hard and well it will take time, but I wanted to sail into the sunshine and my horse is not here and it may not come, and I have to be fine with that.
For the meantime there is work to do. Please stand with us and allow us to stand with you.
Text us, email us, call us, look for us on facebook. Tell us your wrapping us up. :)