Parents of hurt children need to focus on being happy with what they have been given, rather than sad about imperfect results. The “might have beens” must be grieved, but with the knowledge that their child now has a forever family. He has a home where he can leave his yearbook, bring his children, and spend holidays. He has a history and fond memories. He has a family that loves him and serves him — a model of behavior he has internalized that will aid in his own parenting one day.
Many times, parents who adopt a hurt child find themselves doing it again. “It’s like cross-stitching,” a single adoptive mom of six said. “It’s kind of addicting, and you never know how it’s going to come out until it’s done.”
For all the tears and trials of parenting a hurt child, the payoffs can far exceed the heartache. As a society, we owe these parents a debt for all they have invested and endured. While their children may not be perfect (none are), they have been given the tools to become competent, responsible, loving adults who will be contributing members of society. That is a tremendous gift to the child … and to all of us.
Right now I’m reading Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids by Dr. Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky, LSW. This book, an especially helpful resource for those who are working with kids with attachment issues, includes a number of suggestions to help adoptive families form strong attachments, and help the children overcome the trauma of their past.
Today as I read, one passage struck me as being profoundly insightful … especially in relation to fostering or even adopting older children, whose complex histories often cause them to make decisions that have long-term effects for the whole family.
In case no one else tells you this today … You are a gift! To your child, and to the world!