This is the introduction of a series of postings that will tell the story of our past few months. As you read, please remember that every one of my children are loved and of the highest priority to us, including the ones that were the hardest to raise. The biggest criticism I have ever received was that of holding on too long to a child that could not be won. Those are the scars that were the hardest earned. Thus begins my story…
When you sign on the dotted line for the adoption, you are told that there are post adoption services available in case you run into difficulties. Through circumstances beyond our control, we were thrust into the state system, asking for help with one of our difficult children. Being people of faith, we’ve had no desire to access them in the past because we strongly avoid running to the world for help. Granted, there are really good programs out there that appear to be well suited for special needs kids, but the fact that they are not based on the Bible is the main reason we are very hesitant to use them. Yet, we’ve found that in the Christian realm, those who are experienced or educated in FAS issues are far and few between. Few pastors have training in dealing with FASD issues and many don’t believe it even exists. It is a real physical malady that is permanent – actual brain damage that affects things like reasoning and memory. Spiritual growth hinges on the ability to reason and remember the truths that are discovered. But I do believe that spiritual regeneration along with personal sanctification is the first step that will lead to the Holy Spirit’s ability to control and guide – even those who have learning and retention difficulties. Though FAS is forever, the Holy Spirit can guide toward managing the deficits in a supernatural way – but the child must be willing and able to accept direction.
Though we’ve tried to avoid the world’s intrusion into our family, we came to the point where the only way to preserve our family well being was to access the post adopt services that we thought were available. We were a family in crisis with no where to turn for physical help. We’d called dozens of people and programs in the Christian realm and none of them provided any solutions. If I had a dime for every time we heard “I wish I could help, but I have no solution,” I’d be rich. All of the resources we’d used in the past were privately run Christian boy’s homes that were strictly voluntary. We found our hands tied by a rebellious under age boy who refused to stay where he was put. The only option we had left was to access post adopt resources through the state, but we ran into difficulties due to our lack of documentation of past behavior and medical subsidy paperwork. To add to that, we hadn’t gone to licensed psychoanalysts or used secular counselors. We didn’t file police reports or involve the juvenile court system. We found ourselves between a rock and a hard place. So when it came to accessing post adopt subsidy, we found ourself months from any help from the state but we didn’t have months to wait. We needed help in days.
Have you ever been on a path that in your estimation was so difficult that you felt you were stumbling every step of the way leaving you exhausted and bleeding all the while wondering why God is allowing it? We’ve been on this particular path for four months. Because of the many special needs kids we’d adopted, this was a familiar road and a perfect example of the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Although God has been with us every step of the way, don’t think for a moment I haven’t begged God to end it and put us on a different path! I realize God has seen fit to take us the hard way in order to strengthen us and equip us for the next journey but each journey has become longer and more difficult. It did get a bit tiring!
The past few months have opened my eyes to the long list of families who have fallen into financial disaster and legal difficulties for doing something that most people would find very honorable. They’ve adopted special needs children. These children are labled as FASD, ODD, PTSD, RAD, OCD, ADHD and so on. You may say that it’s not fair to label a child, or that those labels don’t mean anything, but they really are there to identify the behaviors and deficits that these kids have developed – due to no fault of their own. They are simply explanations.
I find these adoptive parents deserve the highest accolades, not the judgment or condemnation we so often see. The adoptive parents didn’t cause the child’s problems, they’re only trying to make up for what they’ve suffered and give the child a secure environment in which to grow and overcome. Some of these kids muddle through their childhood, learning and experiencing healing and attachment to their new families. But some, upon adolescence setting in, find life too difficult to maneuver. Next, not based on scientific findings but on personal experience, I will explain the three categories of the FASD kids and how the third category turns out to be a very dangerous experience for adoptive families.
To be continued…