I'm not going to go into all the history at this point, but some of you know that one of our sons has ADHD (pretty severe) and some other issues. It's something that we have a handle on and have to constantly work to stay ahead of. But lately, I've just been sucked down by all the yuckiness of it. I feel like I'm walking through a bog, I'm putting forth ALOT of effort, but not making too much progress. Part of it is that for some reason, his medication doesn't seem to be working. This is a big deal because he's one of only 5% of kids for whom Ritalin or it's paradox does not work. We only have a very few limited options in terms of medications. So when it appears that something is causing his medication to have NO affect on him, it's a pretty scary thing for me.
Anyway, I usually have a pretty good attitude about it. No sense complaining, it is what it is, this is my life, I love him, I will do what I need to do, yada yada yada.... but lately, I've been worn out by how many times I have to reprimand, repeat, remind, prompt, remove, and restrain. I feel like all I am doing is negative and that I don't get much opportunity for praise. Praise of good behavior and actively ignoring negative behavior is the foundation of our therapeutic parenting that works really well for him, so when there doesn't seem to be much opportunity for that the whole thing starts to come unraveled. We are back to chewing on clothing, not eating, just general ADHD yuck.
So much for not going into it all, huh? Anyway, this morning I found myself with a little spare time after the buses left for a conversation with my Lord. And what a sweet conversation it was! I just sat down with no real plan in terms of prayer, Scripture reading, etc. I just started pouring out to Jesus what was on my mind and telling him how yucky it all is and how tired I am of it and just generally complaining and confessing my many shortcomings. Then I picked up the book that Gwen told me to get this week (folks, I JUST bought this book on Tuesday!) God is good like that, don't you think? He sent me over to Lifeway for a book because He had a message He needed to get to me today! Just stopping to praise for a second here! Anyway, so after that prayer, I open up my "Jesus Calling" devotional. Here is what it says for today... you ready?
"I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not. But there is more - much more - available to those who ask. ..... When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or in another person. The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process. That is up to Me. Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun. I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person's life. Even My servant Paul was told, "My grace is sufficient for you," when he sought healing from the thorn in his flesh. Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are intimately interwoven with Mine. Ask and you will receive."
So, deep exhale here! It's not up to me. How many times must I learn this lesson? Seriously folks, talk about a pit! I have fallen into the pit of me so many times that I have a personal private pit just set aside for me. I'm in there so much they had to give me my own so that there would be open pits for other unsuspecting believers to occupy. I want to smack myself right now and say, DUH! It's amazing the relief I feel just from this reminder. I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to heal my son. I just have to attend the GEIT meetings and IEP meetings and search for another medication and find a doctor who can get the right combination of holistic and Western medication and remember to focus on the positive and ignore the negative and pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray! This is MY journey, this is my path! And I do not walk it alone by any stretch of the imagination. How do people do it when they have no faith? I honestly don't know. It must be hard to get out of bed in the morning!
This is the honest truth of what it is like to parent a kid who has residual affects of institutional life and a very toxic fetal environment. This is not every kid adopted from an orphanage or adopted from Russia. But the truth is, if you adopt a child from an orphanage, and I don't care HOW GOOD the orphanage environment is, you will most likely face some difficult days. There will PROBABLY be affects of institutional life that you must overcome. Not all will be debilitating for life, like what we are probably facing with my son. But some will! Some children are born into very healthy families with debilitating limitations too, but those odds don't stop people from giving birth. And it certainly shouldn't stop you from adopting! In the end, like Paul, God gives us all certain paths to walk because it keeps us closer to Him and He knew that I was going to need this "thorn" to remind me of my insufficiency. It was my assurance of salvation, set in motion for me LONG before there ever was a me. It was written on God's calendar that I would walk this path before time began. Why? Because He loves me so much that He wants to spend eternity with me and being the perfect parent that He is, He is willing to give me discomfort in this life to deliver the GOODS in the next life! This is total nonsense to non-believers, but can I get an AMEN from all who know this as truth!
One point I want to make is this.... I have spent a very long time working in the field of orphan adoption. Not long in comparison, but what feels like a lifetime to me. I spent a good portion of that time not revealing the ugly side, not talking about how hard transition can be, not wanting to talk about the risks because I didn't want to be the one who discourages someone who might otherwise adopt. But the truth is, if knowing there are difficulties involved in parenting discourages you, then you probably SHOULD be discouraged. Adopting is the easy part! So is pregnancy and childbirth... the hard part is the day in and day out of whatever you get! I have said it a million times! There's a satisfaction in walking through the orphanage doors that cannot compare to any other peace I have felt in my life. The truth is, if you aren't willing to prepare in advance for what you need to do, if you aren't willing to face the fact that there are risks and not every child coming from an orphanage is "perfect" or even will be after some months of love, then you will need to spend some more time on your knees. It's not that I think God is going to discourage you, I think He's going to prepare you! But you do no one any favors if you bring this child home and aren't prepared to parent the child in whatever may come. Sometimes it's a very easy process. It certainly was with Jack. We hit the ground running, never looked back and he's been one of the easiest kids I know since that day. But it's not always this way. And that's okay too. Because neither are birth children. My biological child is one of the hardest children in my house at times. (He's too much like me!) So, there you have it, a verbal "throw up" of all the randomness I had in my heart and mind this week. And some major praise that God wants us to get the message.
And if this post doesn't do it for you, then just know that my dear friend, Gwen, got her referral for her daughter "Abigail", who we've been praying for since I have known her. In January Gwen started selling T-shirts to help fund the adoption of Abigail. And the shirts had a daisy on the front, dropping it's petals because it's "broken". Guess what, this week, Gwen got a referral for her Abigail and her name is DAISY! Thousands of people have been wearing DAISY on their chests for MONTHS! You don't think God loves the details? You don't think He wanted us not to miss that this was His will do you? He's so tender like that and it's amazing! And yes, Gwen is naming her Daisy... seems too Providential not to, don't you think?
2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."