Posted by: ramonamom | March 13, 2009

Disruption Adoption #3 – Our Story

For an explanation of terms and an introduction to this post, please read this previous post.   

Almost a year after having brought home a second daughter from a previous adoptive home, we were called upon to help a couple who were struggling with their 14 year old daughter, home less than a year from her native country.  Since we were acquainted with this couple already, we did not hesitate to begin to gather information regarding the challenges they were having, hopeful that we would be able to help them work through these issues.  They seemed willing to accept suggestions and help, to a degree at least.  After a few email exchanges, my husband and I decided to offer to bring this young girl into our home for a respite, as the family was only two hours from our location.  Her parents eagerly accepted the offer and arrangements were made.

The differences between this girl and the other two we had brought into our home from disruptions were dramatic.  Having received information from her family regarding her behavior, we felt somewhat prepared to deal with these issues.  However, the anger and bitterness that came with this young woman were beyond any we had previously dealt with.  Shortly after she arrived, she had managed to alienate all ten of our other children and they all refused to spend time with her.  Although we encouraged them to “let love cover” the offenses, it was obvious that there was much that she needed to be confronted on.  This child was rude, selfish, arrogant, and disrespectful, on top of her anger and bitterness.  Soon, my husband was the only person in our home who was able and willing to communicate with her (I was willing, but not nearly as able as he was). 

Interestingly, we soon began to understand what the basis of some of this misbehavior was – she was a highly intelligent young woman who was well versed in the ways of manipulation.  My husband had a good grasp of the intelligent teenage mind, as he had also been an often misunderstood teen, due to an above average level of intelligence.  He recognized that her deepest need at the time was keeping her mind active and working on something other than her pain and anger.  Thus, he engaged her in religious debates and challenged her to respond according to what she found in her Bible, which was a parallel of her native language and English.  Having come from a non-Christian country and adoptive home, she had more than enough opinions and beliefs regarding religious issues and she was not at all hesitant to engage in such debates!

As my husband reasoned with her from Scripture, I continued to email this girl’s adoptive family to see how they were doing during their week of respite.  Much to our dismay, they were enjoying the relief of not having her there so much that they made the decision to follow through with the disruption once she returned.  There appeared to be a great disparity in this home regarding the opinions and desires of the wife and the husband, though.  In short, it became clear that the wife of 30 years was telling her husband, who loved the daughter a great deal, that he could have one or the other in his home – his wife or daughter – but not both.  Since this couple did not have the foundation of God’s word to work with, there was little we could do to convince them otherwise. 

My husband and I prayed about whether or not we would be willing to bring this young woman into our home on a permanent basis.  For the first time since we started adopting, we did not get input from our children on this decision, though.  They had made their thoughts clear enough during the time she had been there – they were all eager for her to leave.  We felt strongly that God was calling us to open our hearts and home to this angry and bitter young girl, though, so we told the parents of our decision.  She knew nothing of this during her week in our home, as we were intent on having her adoptive parents tell her of their decision to disrupt.

After this fireball of a young girl left, our job was clearly set before us.  We went to work telling all of our children of our decision and the firm belief that this was something God had planned for our family.  Their reactions varied from acceptance and willingness to do what they could to get along with her to strong dislike of what was to come once she came back to live with us.  The process of bringing her back into our home took a number of weeks and we were pleased to hear that she had followed through with a set of instructions we had sent her home with, in order to work on the relationship with her parents from her perspective.  The parents were steadfast in their decision, though, and the hurt and confusion in her heart increased greatly when they did finally inform her of their decision to disrupt the adoption, as she had been working diligently and doing what she could to repair the parent/child relationship. 

Shortly after her adoptive father left on the two hour drive to bring her to our home, we received a phone call from her adoptive mother.  Things had not gone well at all when they told her of their decision and they seemed truly disturbed and surprised at the strength of her emotions in reaction to this announcement.  The mother remained solid in her determination to cut all ties as soon as possible, but that same steadfastness was completely absent as the father sat in our living room, making promises to this young girl that we knew he would never be able to fulfill.  It broke our hearts to realize that we would be the ones to deal with the emotional fallout, yet we did not interefere as they said their goodbyes and made their promises. 

No attempts were made to hide the defiance, rebellion, and hurt in the heart of this young girl, as she openly lashed out at anyone who dared come near her.  I found myself hiding knives when she threatened to hurt herself and others and then also hiding maps as she wildly threatened to walk back to her native country.  In her hysterical state, it did us no good to reason with her and point out the thousands of miles of water over which she would be “walking”…  We knew that she was angry enough to set out on her own, though, whether or not she would ever end up there, and our goal was to keep her in our home until she could settle down and be reasoned with. 

Such a time of reasoning was slow and painful in coming.  Once, when she threatened to run away in the middle of a dark and cold night, my husband had the courage to put her outside and then lock the doors and turn the outside lights off.  During the very few minutes that she stood barefoot in the frigid outdoors, the kids and I found all of the coats and shoes in the house and hid them, knowing that if she had the tools for the trip, she was likely to strike out on her own at any moment. 

At another  point in this painful period of adjusting to the finality of her adoptive parents’ decision, my husband and I employed what we later discovered was called “holding therapy” with this 14 year old girl.  We sat on our couch, firmly holding her in our arms for four long hours, as she fought and screamed for the other kids to help her.    Much to her dismay, each of them simply smiled and walked past us, though, fully aware that we were in control of the situation.  

Ever so slowly, we began to see changes in this young woman.  Hours upon hours were spent talking to her, explaining the situation over and over again.  She felt certain that by signing the papers and consenting to our adoption of her that she was somehow stating that it was what she wanted, which was not at all the case!  Having made the decision to sign at one point, we walked away from the notary public’s office in dismay, as she was not able to bring pen to paper and actually sign the consent form.   Promises made in the heat of the moment by her adoptive dad were indeed broken, along with her heart. 

In the midst of these struggles, we found ourselves looking for a new house.  My husband’s mother had graciously agreed to move in with us and help with the cooking, so we set out to look for a home well suited to our growing family.  Although this was not an easy task (to say the least!), God provided exactly what we needed and the packing and moving began in earnest about six months after she came to live in our home. 

Having been distracted by the business of the move, we neglected to notice small changes in this daughter’s behavior and attitudes.  As we were settling into our new home, though, she came to us and began to ask new and amazing questions.  The one that sticks out in my mind the most was along the lines of, “I am suddenly caring about other people and their feelings.  Could this be something that God is doing in my heart?”  Coming from where she had been – steely cold, with an uncaring attitude towards anyone but herself – we rejoiced to answer in the affirmative!  “Yes!!  God has used the time you have been spending in His word to change your heart!!”  The more we talked, the more we became aware that God had indeed worked an amazing change into the heart of this defiant and rebellious orphan!  To this day, we like to say that we left the old _____ (her name) at the old house and brought the new one with us! 

Four years later, much sanctification has taken place in the heart of this young lady.  Although she is far from perfect, we have the blessing of remembering just how far she has come as we see her struggle to grow in her walk with the Lord.  During the dark times when we begin to wonder if she is indeed walking with the Lord, all we have to do is remind ourselves of the four hours we spent on the couch with this daughter firmly in our grasp and the monumental changes we have seen in her life since that day.  We are thus encouraged that she is just as firmly in the grasp of a wonderful Lord and Savior, as we return to reasoning with her from Scripture.

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Responses

  1. wow…though one of our adopted daughters has some very challenging behaviors( to a much lesser degree than the above-mentioned) it is refreshing to read your perspective on things and read first hand how God intervenes with these broken hearted angels.Thank you for sharing your world…


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