I love how Karen ended the conference today. The last words were so encouraging. She was answering questions that had been submitted and apparently lots of parents were feeling less than their best (I know I certainly was). A whole pile of question cards were about how as parents we have messed up our kids and done everything wrong in our parenting style. Have we destroyed our children for ever?
Karen answered with "Unless you are a parent of a child less than 72 hours old, or alien spawn. You have made mistakes parenting. Welcome to the human race." That put a smile on my face and brought back perspective. She continued with, how asking forgiveness and admitting your at fault with your child will put $1,000,000.00 into your child's trust bank, and talked about how scar tissue is stronger when it has healed.
So often as adoptive parents we hear from those who think they know our situation: "Love is enough,"
"Once he knows he's a Jones he will settle down."
"She will forget her difficulties/past/birth parents and be ok now."
"You need to put your child's past behind them."
"You would think things that happened when she was 1, she would be over now that she is 12."
I love how Karen deals with this ideology.... If your birth child had been kidnapped for 2 years and then after you had spent thousands and thousands of dollars to find them, and they are returned to you... How would you view them? As parents we need to remember any separation from birth parent is Trauma to a child. If we can hold on to the compassion we would have for a child that had experienced kidnapping, we will do well.
In doing so, we as adoptive parents have to be fully invested above and beyond the birth parent model. The high nurture and high structure model is not for wimps. Birth parenting books will not always help a child who's age is 8 but the behavior displayed is 4. I can't tell you how many times I told my Sweet Potato at age 8 to "act your age." I was so frustrated and really down on myself as a parent. Constant embarrassment because your child is not acting "normal" does that to you.
Today was full of highs and lows as I could see all the things I was doing right in my parenting, therapy and realizing Sweet Potato has made huge leaps since age 8. We have the train moving in the right direction. Seeing my failures and areas I need to improve in, like how often I derail the train because her trust bank with me is not as high as it needs to be.
Ahh well I'm the "big" person in this equation and I can handle it right? :-)
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I need to not forget this is a Journey we are on that will last until I see heaven. We will never arrive at "fixed" just as no child birthed or adopted is ever "fixed" by their parents. I need to enjoy the trip.