Someone recently asked me why we have chosen to adopt Little D. Kirk had said something to me, a “tongue in cheek” prayer. “May God continue to bless D with new levels of maturity and peace so that his presence in the house does not slowly kill my wife.” Though it was said somewhat sarcastically, it is a real prayer of our hearts that we pray humbly and desperately before the Lord. This person asked me why we would choose to adopt a kiddo that we felt was slowly killing me.
This past summer was nearly impossible. Five kids is a lot! Balancing the needs of older kids and little kids is hard. Balancing the needs of kids who want to chill without structure at home and a kid who needs specific structure and constant activity away from home is hard. Carrying a 30 pound infant everywhere while chasing a 30 pound toddler who hasn’t learned boundaries is hard. These are surface, logistical needs I faced each day this summer. Not to mention that my family wants to eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert EVERY SINGLE DAY!
There are emotional needs as well. There are A LOT of emotional needs when you are parenting children from “hard places”. Parenting children who are emotionally needy, children who are on the brink of “fight or flight” (mostly fight in Little D’s case) almost all day is exhausting. Keeping on top of behavior to prevent all out rage is taxing. Staying calm in the presence of a child who is fighting against you, literally in fear of their life, is nearly impossible. With the help of the Holy Spirit I am able to love my little boy through these fears. With the help of the Holy Spirit I am able to remain gentle and kind with my words and my body even when he is attacking me with his words and with his body.
But I do get enraged. I do get so angry that I want to hurt him. I get so used up that I want to disappear for a few days, or at least lay in bed by myself all day. I found that by the end of the summer I was beginning to feel the physical effects of parenting Little D. My body and my heart were all used up. It’s in these moments that my prayer is that God would help me to survive another day. It’s a real cry, from a really exhausted mommy; it’s a real cry, to a powerful God, a loving Father. It’s a plea that He would give me the grace to love a child who calls me a “stupid cry baby” and threatens to “punch me in the face” (we’re hoping to deal with these issues before he becomes older and has worse names to call us). A child who scratches, kicks, hits, and spits because he doesn’t want to eat the cereal I gave him for breakfast, the cereal he insisted he’d eat this time (his fear is telling him he’s going to starve, that I’m withholding food from him). Or throws books at me as I leave him at bedtime. It’s in these moments that my husband cries out in prayer on my behalf. We cry out because we also see the charming, delightful little boy that he is. He is precious in the sight of the Lord and we believe in a God of healing and we have hope and faith that God can heal Little D from the hurt he has experience.
So the questions come in these moments…why would you choose to adopt Little D. I guess I’ve never really thought about it that way. To be honest, it was never a question that I asked. We chose to foster because we wanted to be a safe place for kids who needed a safe place. I choose to adopt Little D because when that question came up he was already my son.