October 16, 2015

When I realized today’s date, my thoughts turned to my kids, but not in the usual way. One year ago today Jillian and I took my 86 year old mom to the hospital for a quadruple bypass and valve replacement. Just nine weeks later we lost her to a stroke. You can find the first in the series on my other site, Love My DIY Home. But my main topic isn’t my mom today.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I want to talk to you about your adopted kids.

(The rest of you can just go ahead and read along. I’m sure you will be able to find something that applies to you as well).

I have 15 kids. 2 are homemade. 13 are adopted. When I thought about the day I took Mom to the hospital, I remembered how much I appreciated the support I got from some of my kids when she passed…and I also remembered how much I have tried to forget that some were strangely silent.

To sum it up…

  • 6 of my daughters and 2 of my sons came to visit Mom during her last days, 1 son wanted to but couldn’t, 1 son kept in contact by frequent texts and calls. 1 son didn’t understand or become involved, but he did come to our family reunion. Those 11 helped me survive those weeks and coupled a difficult time with blessing.
  • 1 daughter and 3 sons never called, came to visit, or in any way acknowledged the fact their g’ma was gone.
  • The ones who were supportive were brought closer together. The ones who were silent and absent drifted farther away.

So what happened?

Why out of 15 kids did 4 not care their g’ma was gone or that I’d lost my mom? They all grew up with her around. She lived with us for 12 years. She babysat them, joined us for Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and even the not so special, average days. She went to church with us. She laughed with them, yelled at them, told them stories and gave them presents. She was a huge part of their lives.

She was at each hospital homecoming and adoption day. Some didn’t like her because she was difficult at times. Some loved her even though she was difficult at times.

How is it that only 11 out of the 15 rallied during our family tragedy?

If you are an adoptive parent, listen up because I’m here to set the record straight.

No matter how hard we worked at raising our kids, no matter how many hours, what we sacrificed, or how much we prayed for guidance or hoped for success, our kids are who they are and we cannot change them. But I’m not here to talk about them. I’m here to talk about you, the adoptive parent.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

When you adopt, you get kids from all walks of life (usually not so great a path), with different genes, experiences and views of what life is all about. Some have been traumatized. Some have seen and experienced things most adults have never even heard of that gives them a skewed take on life.

There are no guarantees in raising children.

Let me say that again. There are no guarantees.

You can do your best and still not have a child love and care for you.

I have one daughter that doesn’t even acknowledge that we are her family. I was told not long ago one of our sons feels the same way.

How is it that some claim their family and some don’t?

I know of two absolutely wonderful adoptive moms (and dads) that have the same situation in their family. These ladies are two of the most sweet and godly women I know. Both of them have adopted kids that haven’t communicated with them in years.

One adopted kid is sweet and kind but doesn’t acknowledge her as mom any more. One is mean and hateful. Two are indifferent. I KNOW it wasn’t bad parenting. I KNOW these were great families that did the best they could. Both are Christian parents that were stable, faithful and consistent.

So what gives?

If you are an adoptive parent who has experienced disappointment in either how your kids are living, how they treat you or you have not heard from your kids in months or years, realize your are not alone. Unfortunately it is common.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I know an adoptive mom who had her skull bashed in with a hammer by her son. Another had to send her biological kids to a separate school because their adopted siblings attacked them whenever they saw them in public when mom wasn’t around. I once met a mom who drove to a gas station and left when her teenage son was in the bathroom, calling protective services to pick him up. She was afraid her son was going to kill her and didn’t know what else to do.

I slept with a bat next to my bed for two years out of fear of one of my son’s mood swings. I just didn’t know from one day to the next what he was going to do.

I could go on but you get the picture.

Before this gets too depressing, I do have adopted kids that love me and sometimes I forget they are adopted. They are a blessing to me and we enjoy each others company. Yes, it can happen and it did. Many have grown to be responsible young ladies and young men that are a credit to God’s grace and unfailing love. They are a blessing to us and feel blessed that they are in our lives. It is our hope that all of our kids will one day love us and want to be in our lives. Until then, I wait and pray.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Adoption is risky. When you adopt, you put yourself out there.

If you have adopted, stop feeling guilty, disappointed or abandoned if your child has not met your expectations. You are the top 1% of humanity! You chose to step out of your comfort zone to share your family with a child that was not originally your own. How many of your family or friends have sacrificed the peace and safety of a “normal” family and reached out to a child that was without?

Even if you made mistakes, you still showed up every day. Even if you weren’t perfect (who is?), you deserve a gold star. You did more than the other 99% who stayed in their comfort zone and watched you do what they would never consider doing.

Stop feeling responsible for your child’s bad choices. They have their own mind, their own heart and their own agenda. I have seen kids turn out great even though they had crummy parents. I’ve seen kids blow it in life who had fabulous parents.

God alone is responsible for the outcome of your efforts. Your only responsibility was to be faithful.

You went above and beyond. You are blessed. You are amazing.

Now go live like you know that.  ~Val (Mom of Many)

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)