Sunday, January 25, 2015


From Beth:

Stephen and I were not as prepared as we thought we were for parenting our new children. Truthfully, we thought we had this parenting gig down. We didn't know that our adopted treasures would need something different from us. But, as with many of us who adopted before all the trauma and adoption education was so wide-spread, we figured it out pretty quickly! Yikes!

Our first clue came in those early days after coming home from Russia with our new son and daughter. Huge HUGE transitions for us all! We were constantly asking the question, "Is this behavior adoption related? (We didn't even know to ask if was trauma related!) Or is this normal for this child? Or maybe it's just the stress of travel and jet lag, or frustration at not being understood, or.....?" 
It reminded me of caring for our three newborns, actually. "Is she crying because she's hungry? Tired? Needs a diaper change? Sick?....." But, our children who came home to us through adoption were older, years beyond diapers and midnight bottle feedings. 

Once the honeymoon stage was over, the rages began. It became clear that our son's fits were actually not fits at all. There was an intensity, a deep place of anger and fear, that I soon realized was more like rage than any childhood fit I had ever seen. 

I remember times when I would literally lay the weight of my body over my son's raging little form-- praying that he would know that he was safe, desiring that my embrace would keep him from hurting me or himself, hoping that maybe the strong physical presence of his loving mother would somehow communicate to him that no anger need ever overcome him, that peace would replace fear. The weight of my love was the beginning of the miraculous process of displacement that is adoption. 

Whirling fear is displaced with love 
Raging anger with an anchored peace
Dark hopelessness with a bright future

Over the years I have found that the trauma my son experienced before he came home requires this action of displacement quite often. Like a weighted blanket, I still cover him. Of course, I don't cover him with my body any more for he has grown into a strong young man, but with my love, through prayer and words of hope. 

It is so clear to me that as surely as my husband and I are creating a legacy of love and security and hope for our children, that there exists also an orphan legacy--things handed down to a child from a past marred by relinquishment, fear and lack. But in those long moments of struggle with my son, and all through the years when the legacy of fear would burst to the surface despite the weight of our love, I have known that when God's peace rules, the orphan legacy is nullified. It must make way for life-giving peace.
For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
And it has not stayed hidden from me for long that I am not so unlike my son. His trauma has traumatized me. His pain has become my pain. 
And I am desperately in need of the weighted blanket of my Father's love. 
And I must choose, once again, to allow His legacy of love, peace and hope, displace my fears and heal my wounds. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


From Beth:

Susan and I have been off the blogging grid for a while, taking care of many needs with our families and friends. And if you follow us on Facebook you'll know that Susan spent many weeks in West Africa working with the Ebola crisis. But, we are back and excited to see what God might have us share with you in this 5th year of our bloggy life!!

One of my favorite scenes from C.S Lewis' Narnia stories is the one in The Horse and His Boy where Shasta is riding along, afraid and filled with self-pity. An orphan himself, he has a long list of very good reasons to justify his fears.  He becomes terrified to realize that there is someone, or something, walking alongside him. He hears the breath of this mysterious presence, but cannot at first see him. Once he gets the nerve up to talk to the beast, Shasta begins to share his sad story. 

He finds out from this interaction that so much of his pitiable story is actually (totally contrary to his own interpretation) a story of rescue and love. Hmmmm, I believe I'm familiar with this storyline myself! How often I have had the Lord totally reinterpret what I was sure was a 100% "bad" situation by showing me a new way of seeing. (Remind me one day to tell you about the phone call we got from jail!)

But, back to my point:
After listening for a bit Shasta changes the focus from himself to his friend, Aravis. What about her, he wonders? What is her story?
Copyright 20th Century Fox

I have always loved Aslan's answer (for Shasta gradually realizes it is a great lion who is walking alongside him.)  
"Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."
Like Shasta in the story, we so often want to compare our stories. It's human nature I suppose. We look to see what other moms are doing, how their children are behaving, how their adoption or fostering story is playing out, and then we measure ourselves against them.

Sometimes we come out on top, using another's weaknesses or failures to make ourselves feel good. Other times we don't look so good in comparison, and we allow our perception of their success to diminish or even condemn us. 

Either way, comparison is, as they say, odious. It is offensive, both to us and to the people to whom we are comparing ourselves, our homes, our marriages, and our children. 

The best cure is as Aslan said, to listen to what God has to say to us about our lives, and trust Him with the many "but why?" questions that arise in our hearts along the way. We wonder why others seem to have children who have succeeded so well. Or why our child has not attached despite our best efforts while another family has a child who is so very well-adjusted. Maybe we are struggling with a child who has angry, hateful outburst, and then we read a sweet Facebook post about a child who told her mother how thankful she is she was adopted. In little and big ways, these comparisons add a weight to us that God does not intend. 

I think Jesus was speaking to Peter about these same things when they walked along the beach that amazing day that Jesus showed up and made lunch for His friends. Jesus is telling Peter about his future calling and suffering and Peter, noticing his friend John, responds with, "What about him?"

Jesus simply won't engage with Peter to compare their two stories. 
Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me! (John 21:22 AMP)

So my fellow adoptive parents, let us not measure ourselves and our children--our adoption stories-- against our friends, both the social media kind and the in-the-flesh kind. Rather, let's concern ourselves with what Jesus is telling us about our own lives. Let's do as He says and Follow Him, even as we "follow" each other on Facebook! 

For that frees us up to rejoice with the victories around us and to genuinely mourn with our friends who are going through hard times. This is the community of love that we all desire to be a part of!

I will end with this statement from Graham Cooke:
Rejoice in who you are. Rejoice in who you are becoming. And then have the decency to do the same for other people!