Randy and I adopted the first time thirty years ago. The boys were five and seven year old foster children. Since then we have adopted eight more children. Our two biological sons have never complained about their siblings. All twelve of our children have been a great blessings. Of course there have been tears shed inbetween the joyous times.
One of our adopted children came to us at birth. The other children were all older when we adopted them, ranging from five to twenty years old. Our most recent adoption was May 2009, we adopted our sixteen year old foster daughter.
Yes, some of our children have come to us with serious emotional pain and fear. That pain and fear sometimes drives them to behave inappropriately. Somedays can be very exhausting but our call as parents is to affirm their sucesses and help them learn that they are forgiven when they blow it. Unconditional love and acceptance brings healing to their broken hearts.
We have learned that these children respond to our forgiveness and acceptance. It appears that if we were to continue to abuse them, reject them and not understand their fear they would harden their hearts to the point of hurting themselves or others. If we remember not to take their challenging behaviors personally and provide a balance of nuture and structure everyone is safe and someday everyone will achieve some level of happiness.