Posted by: ramonamom | April 15, 2008

Together for Christ: Considering the Challenges

It is the prayer of the authors that our conduct, as we strive to counsel parents from this blog, will be worthy of the gospel of Christ, and that we will stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.  (Phil. 1:27, paraphrased)

The very definition of the word “strive” (to exert much effort or energy) brings to mind hard work.  Parenting older adopted children can be surprisingly difficult.  It has been said that, without an exception, every older child in a foreign orphanage has a sad story to tell about their past.  Otherwise, they would be in a loving home, right? 

The authors of this blog have a total of ten older adopted children among them.  Ranging in age from 8 to 14 at the time of adoption, these children brought a wide variety of backgrounds with them to their new homes.  Undoubtedly, they would be labeled with numerous acronyms if given the opportunity (RAD, ADHD, ADD, PTSD, OCD, to name a few).  In these families, such challenges have been tackled head on with biblical principles, rather than medication and therapy sessions, though.  The parents in these families have strived (exerted much effort and energy) to be faithful to God’s word as they have handled the many situations which have arisen.  They have made many mistakes and learned many valuable lessons along the way, by the grace of God. 

So, what exactly have these children faced in their past and what behaviors did they bring to their new families?  These ten children have together faced; physical and emotional neglect, physical and sexual abuse from family members and strangers, abandonment, rejection (often numerous times in different situations), starvation, suicide attempts, witnessed physical, emotional and sexual abuse of others, were exposed to and assisted drug and alcohol abusers, extreme poverty, homelessness, tobacco use at a young age, alcohol and drug abuse at a young age, exposure to pornography, literally witnessed birth parents die from alcohol abuse, witnessed the suicide of a parent because of something the child did…  Behaviors which these children brought with them included; lying, stealing, manipulating, angry rages, destructive tendencies, rebellion, running away, suicide threats, sexual misconduct and much more.  Are these children the exceptions – the worst of the worst?  Not at all.  They are the “norm”, often living alongside children who had suffered much more than themselves in the orphanages. 

With such horrendous backgrounds, where are these children today?  Are they in mental institutes, living under bridges, in rehabilitation for substance abuse?  By the grace of God alone, they are not.  One is happily married, with a new daughter.  Another is working full time and trying to get started in a photography business.  Yet another is co-enrolled in high school and college, performing piano recitals on a regular basis.  Two of the boys are out of the home, working at fast food restaurants full time.  They have picked up old habits of smoking cigarettes, and probably drinking alcohol, too.  Some will go on to attend college and become highly paid professionals, with most of them landing somewhere in the middle, working and raising a family.  Three of them have professed faith in Jesus Christ and gone through the waters of baptism.  At least two others are asking serious questions regarding God and the Bible, and seem to be very close to the Kindgom.  All have heard the Truth of the Gospel, though, and have parents who continue to love them and pray for their salvation. 

We, the authors of this blog, do not have all of the answers to parenting internationally adopted older children.  We do, however, have a great deal of experience with raising our own children and counseling numerous other struggling families along the way.   We now invite those of you who are seeking biblical solutions to your challenges to submit your questions to our dedicated email address for this purpose:  adoption@bobandramona.com  All questions will be prayerfully considered, with some being answered on ensuing posts to this blog.   

 

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