Expectations: Unrealistic vs Realistic… Part 14

This series, So You Want to Adopt a Deaf Child?, is focused on the adoption of children with hearing loss, but sometimes these overlap and include the adoption of any hearing child, as well.  This particular post does that.

To be linked to the 1st and all the others in this ongoing series, “So You Want to Adopt a Deaf Child?” click here.

Consider the “birth” of your adopted child, no matter their chronological age, their first day in your home!

Let me repeat myself!

Consider the “birth” of your adopted child, no matter their chronological age, their first day in your home!

One year later…they are one year old.  Two years later…they are two.  And so on.  MAYBE, after 3 years this pattern could be a bit faster, but do not expect that to be true.

I do believe that families who are able to do this will have more realistic expectations of their newly adopted son or daughter and they will have the ability to not be in utter disbelief when they do something that seems so “immature for their age”.

Keep in mind, it is very possible your adopted child has no idea what it means to have a family, how family functions and what his/her role is in a family.  They have no idea what “love” is.  You will have to teach them that!  They may not have had any trusting relationships with adults or if they have those relationships may have been cut off for one reason or another, creating additional trauma from abandonment.  In addition, many adopted children have very little knowledge of the “real world” outside the institution where their environments have been deeply controlled and restricted.  Many will not know or understand what dangers there are out there.  Parking lots, cars and highways are rarely understood as being dangerous, no matter their chronological age.  Keep in mind if they are older they may outrun you, so keep a hand on them at all times.  They may have a “no fear” mentality and tell you they know how to swim, how to ride a bike, how to do most things the average biological son/daughter can do, but in reality, they cannot.

Do know the “survival skills” your adopted child has learned from being in institutionalized care, even if it was a brief encounter before a foster family was found will be highly developed no matter their chronological age. Unfortunately, this occurs naturally when they are neglected and do not receive the nurture and care God created for them to receive in those first few months and first year of life.  This cunning, stealing and hoarding food, lying, and of itself will constantly thrust you into thinking they are much too cunning for their age and will keep your.

I often wonder why it is God has not called my husband and me to adopt, but instead walk-along-side those who do.  Yes, we have had some intimate relationships with those who have fostered and/or adopted children, prior to God’s call to all things Signs for Hope in 2008.  I have to confess, all of those did not produce the “happily ever after ending” many assume happen when a child who has experienced ‘trauma’ is placed within a “loving family” and that impact on me has carried over into this “calling”, as I believe God designed.

There will always be that thought in my mind “But I have NEVER adopted and NEVER lived with an adopted child 24/7 for an extended amount of time, how can I possibly know what families are going through?” I am sure these same thoughts occur to the families I serve, as well.

What I do know is even if we did adopt our own experiences would never truly match another’s and I would only have my own experiences to share with others.  I believe because I am exposed, even from the outside, to a vast number of adopted deaf children and their families my experiences may be more in-depth this way than they could have been simply from my own personal adoption experiences had I had them.  I do find it interesting my own personal experiences with close biological family members have allowed me to experience some of the same or similar scenarios that families who adopt experience.

Those experiences are meant mostly to be shared one-on-one with others as God allows them to come up in one-on-one intimate conversations or in private-secure places that are protected.

In addition to the above, God’s Spirit is constantly causing me to identify with your adopted children as they struggle to fully trust you and live in a constant state of “felt-safety” 24/7 with you.

That picture for me is the exact same picture of me desiring with everything that is within me to fully receive His unconditional love for me, no strings attached, despite what I see going on all around me and how I “feel”.

I am curious…how many of us, Brothers and Sisters, truly trust God with our most precious possessions, ourselves and those we love deeply, feeling completely safe 100% of the time, without any doubts or reservations?

What does our behavior towards our Savior really look like to Him?  Do we look like we fully embrace His plans for us and those we love, knowing full well He has our best interests and theirs at heart?  What do our “meltdowns” look like to Him?

To God be the glory