Thursday, April 24, 2014
Our children and the loss they feel.
If you have an adopted child, you are raising a child who has loss in their life. Our children were abandoned (or some other word that means "given up") by their biological parents for "some" reason. Speaking strictly from the standpoint that my children are adopted from China, I try to paint a picture of selflessness on behalf of their parents; but, the situation still hurts and the pain goes deep.
Every situation is different when trying to address this loss.
- maybe you are in touch with birth parents and have all the answers
- maybe you have a piece of the puzzle and you can speculate
- maybe you have no answers at all.
Regardless of where you are in the mix, as parents we need to try to answer their questions as honestly as possible. We may need to say - I don't know. As a mom knowing the tender heart of my children I DO want to sugar coat the loss and try to make them feel better about it.
The fact is that God designed a family to be together. Whatever circumstance made the birth parents decide not to parent their child grieves the Father. (This, of course, could be a whole blog post itself dealing with the "fall" of the family unit). Yet, we have to deal with the loss because it is real and in our face every day we are with our kids.
My children all deal with this grief on different levels. Some have never broached the subject with me and one of my kids talks frequently about circumstances with his birth parents. Of my adopted kids, 7 out of 8 have special needs. That gives me the quick answer of, "Well, they wanted you but could not provide for your medical needs. The fact that they abandoned you was for you to be taken care of, healed from your special need, and put into a forever family." They accept this but its kind of a "cover all" answer.
My daughter with microtia (lack of the outer ear) probably wont accept this answer since her special need is really "NOT" a special need at all. She could have stayed with her birth family, kept her hair long, and never had any intervention. For years after we adopted her, she had no intervention for her hearing loss. The need could be hidden and she would have been fine. I can only guess that because she was a girl she was given up. That's the tough one to explain to a child. The fact that they are the undesired sex is why they were abandoned??
There are also times when other people hurt our children by saying things that may be untrue about adoption. I have had to really hold in anger when someone says to me, "Well they kill their baby girls in China!" Gee, that's nice to say to a parent of a Chinese child.
I remember some years ago Lisa Ling did a special on the one child policy in China. I remember her talking to school children and hearing the kids say "Having more than one child is irresponsible."
The children are told this from a young age. They understand the policy and are led to believe it is what is best. Culture, poverty, and lack of medical care play a HUGE role in the orphan crisis we see today.
Recently, a baby hatch, was opened in the city of Guangzhou, China. This is the city where all US citizens must pass before going home with their babies from China. The US Consulate is located here and we must obtain our child's visa to enter the US. There have been many articles and videos regarding the baby hatch. This was a safe place to leave your child if you could not care for them and much safer than abandoning them at a train station or some other public place to be found later.
I watched a video about this and it showed the heart break of these parents leaving their children. This was not a choice of convenience - this was a choice of necessity. The video was narrated and spoke to the fact that these parents could not pay for their child's medical care Their hope was rooted in the fact the government facility would help care for the child and get the treatment needed. These were not all babies...some were toddlers. It was heartbreaking to view.
Regardless of circumstance, all of our kids have a missing piece. They are not "the same" as our biological children or the "bio" kids next door. One thing we can point out if that they are children of God. This makes them the same -- same as you, me and any other person on Earth. I pray that our children can feel God's redeeming love in their life. That some day they can heal and accept the missing piece of their life. For whatever reason, God's plan was to be adopted into our (your) family. I believe He made this plan so that His glory would shine.
Its hard to parent our children from hard places. They are needy and many times hard to love. Christ can be the difference in their life. Pray for your kids and show them His love....even when they are unlovable. ESPECIALLY when they are unlovable. Its counter intuitive to our very nature to be pushed away and still love....but we do this every day to our Father in heaven. Just as He never gives up on us....may we, too, love fiercely and not give up on our children.