Sometimes God has a special gift for us. Waiting. We don’t even know it’s there. Then one day, when we least expect it. We are asking God for our daily bread, and He gives us more than we can ask or imagine. A little bit like the fish and loaves story in scripture.
At the beginning of March we brought a special therapist to our home, Nancy Thomas. She came here for 5 full days, 6:00 am until 10:00 pm, WOW long days!!! Nancy Thomas specializes in helping children with attachment issues and conscious development. So most of her work is with adoptive children from challenging pasts. Even though our children were adopted at young ages, many of our children still struggled with things. We’ve spent their entire lives helping shape their character, bond as a family, and work hard to be overcomers in all areas of life. No matter how much we prayed, worked, encouraged, taught, disciplined, encouraged more, taught more, etc there still seemed to be a piece of the puzzle missing. So we brought Nancy to our home to help us identify the missing pieces, see what we needed to do differently or keep the same, and most importantly- how could we help ALL of our children become God’s best in each of their lives.
Well it was a tall order in this unique house, but not for Nancy! She has spent years rehabilitating children from extremely abusive pasts. Helping them overcome horrific things such as childhood molestation, neglect, trauma, and more. She helped us see that even though our kids came to us young, their long lists of infant surgeries, PICU life, foster care, and drug exposure added up to a lot.
We had spent years parenting the “fetal alcohol” and “disability” side of our kids. She helped us turn our eyes to the heart of the matter…. attachment. It is something that we take for granted as we parent our kids, snuggling them, kissing them, telling them stories. But when kids spend countless days in hospitals, 9 months in the womb cringing from burning alcohol and drugs, and more— it causes ones brain to develop different. The part of the brain that we use in bonding with others (the cause and effect part of the frontal lobe and temporal lobes) is atrophied. Brain scans show those parts of the brain look like swiss cheese. So even though we loved on our kiddos day and night, it wasn’t enough. Even though we teach them character, it’s not enough. There are parts of their brains that “need an extra workout” to help them attach appropriately to people and in turn, care about themselves and others. Learning how to love, really love, not just enjoy others.
Here’s how it usually works:
1) RESPECT (wow- my parents are all powerful and they meet my needs when I cry)
2) TRUST (wow- they keep meeting my needs, now I know if I cry they will help me)
3) LOVE (I bond to my parents BECAUSE I first respected then trusted them. That bond is love)
4) CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AND THINGS (I care about things because I am cared for)
You see this developmental cycle doesn’t develop correctly in lots of adoptive children as well as children with disabilities. We try so hard to fill them with #3, that #4 doesn’t happen. They learn to enjoy things and learn to manipulate others. They learn how to reflect character qualities that we teach them to get what they want. But there’s something missing. So we start at square one. Even though some of our kids are 10 years old, they need to start from the beginning. RESPECT 1st above all in every little thing. Love is 3rd. I’m sure part of you is thinking- that’s a bit extreme- shouldn’t it be a balance? OK OK it’s not that we are not loving them- of course we are still loving them!! Remember first that their brains are already out of balance- so we need to rebuild the brain and the heart. Just imagine if you broke your leg. When you got the cast off you would have to work extra hard to rebuild it. It’s not that you are neglecting the rest of your body. You are focusing hard and deep on your leg SO THAT your WHOLE body can work together BALANCED in a healthy way. … and THAT is what are now purposing to do. Rebuild our children’s hearts and brains in a HEALTHY way. The end goal- that they can truly be TRANSFORMED by the Word of God in all areas of their lives, not just mimic the Word of God.
So this Daily Bread turned into overflowing baskets of fish and loaves. More than we could ask or imagine. It’s a lot of work when God gives you more than you can imagine. A lot of work. But sometimes that is part of the deal. Surely when all those people got tons of fish and loaves on the hillside there with Jesus, they had to pass it out, clean it up, and cook it before they could enjoy it. Part of the deal. So right now we feel like we are holding 12 baskets full. Full of more than we could imagine. Everyday we ask for grace and wisdom to parent God’s children well. God, in His sovereignty, knew that some of our kids would have these obstacles in their past, and He knew this day, Today, would come too.
We share this with you so you can SEE God at work in the lives of children with broken pasts. So that you will SEE that God can do more than man can imagine. Sometimes, people are afraid to adopt. They hear stories or hard times and struggles with kids. Yes that is true sometimes. But NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING is impossible for God!!!! Adopting an older kid with a broken past- HA! God says- HA! I’ve totally got that covered! Stop fearing and start believing— It’s the same with our relationship with God…
4) Care- that transformational work in and through us.
One last food for thought…. over 400,00 children are in Foster Case in the United States alone. Over 53,000 are already legally freed for adoption and just waiting for homes.