Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
People develop the same way gold is mined
Several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold.
But you don't go into the mine looking for dirt.
You go in looking for gold!
We have had a week of shoveling tons upon tons of dirt just to survive. We have had illness and injury and attitudes and problems but in the midst of this horrible week God has shown me some very precious gold dust that has been mined in my children's hearts.
My oldest son, now a young adult, left work to come sit with me in the hospital the day his sister passed out and had a seizure. My daughter and I were both surprised to see him. How awesome that he was so concerned that he would give up a day of pay to sit with his mom and sister.
As he sat with us he began to catch us up on his life. He is now living on campus so we don't see him much anymore and it had been a couple of weeks since we'd last sat down to really talk. He began by sharing what God was doing in his life...how he was starting a Bible study with his roommate, forming an accountability group with five of his other friends and of his call to become a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I couldn't believe what a change I was seeing in my boy.
You see, this is the same child that just a few months ago was rebelling and arguing every time I saw him. He was blaming others for his mistakes and making some very poor choices. My husband and I were beside ourselves trying to figure out what to do. We had birthed this particular child and for 18 years of his life we'd been there guiding him, helping him. Now he was fighting us for all he was worth.
In the end we decided to let go. He moved out and we began to PRAY. As a parent this has been the hardest thing to do. But apparently it was worth it. We were able to get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do His work and what a work it has been!
Now, this is not going to be the end of this story. There is still plenty of dirt to be moved and hopefully lots more gold to be found but it is a wonderful beginning. And an awesome encouragement to my husband and I that there is hope for our other children....even the RADlets. They may have a little more dirt to sift through but then again there might even be a bit more gold there too.
Friday, March 27, 2009
As humans we find all kinds of ways to deal with the stress in our life. Some choose things like alcohol or drugs. Some choose some more socially acceptable methods like eating, shopping, watching TV, playing video games or hobbies. Some of these are healthy, some are not. But my son, for some reason, felt less stressed if he was plotting, stealing and hiding the things from us.
When he would take something we would tell him that what he took was no big deal........it's a thing that is replaceable. To us the big deal was the honesty and trust we needed from him. We would tell him that he needed practice in telling the truth and try to get him to confess. Most of the time this only led to a stand off between parents and child (probably not the best parenting technique, but we learn as we go). One stand off lasted days upon days upon days. Finally, when he returned what he'd taken, I handed it back to him and said, "Here, you can have it." He didn't take it from me so I sat it in a prominent place in his room and picked up a pen to write something on his wall. (I can hear the collective gasp from both of you who read this blog regularly) He was as puzzled as you and watching me with his mouth open. I wrote in large dark letters........."THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!!!!!"
That was not the only time I wrote on his wall. I wrote a personalized version of Jn 3:16 there so he would know that and understand that Jesus loves him. I wrote Jer 29:11 there so he would be reminded that God has a plan for his life....that includes hope! Every time a scripture applied to something that happened and I wanted him to remember it........I wrote it on his wall. By the time he moved from that room there were probably a dozen or more verses written graffiti style on his walls.
My son is changing rooms again next Friday and this treatment facility will allow him to decorate. I know that they would never allow writing on the walls but I am thinking how I can get the scriptures up where he will see them and read them. I'm thinking the other kids and I will be making a lot of posters for him to hang in his room.
Psalms tells us to hide God's word in our heart and if my son won't open a book to read it and get it into his heart..........maybe he will read the writing on the walls!!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
There are questions in the Bible that can be added to this list. One of my favorite questions is in Exodus chapter 8; during the plagues when Moses asks Pharaoh to pick the time he should pray to God to get rid of the frogs. One would think that would be a no brain-er....NOW. But Pharaoh says....tomorrow. You've gotta be kidding! Why would you want to live with a frog invasion for one more night?! A seemingly dumb question with an absolutely crazy answer.
This morning in Sunday school we talked about another of those questions in the New Testament. In John chapter 5 Jesus is walking by the Pool of Bethesda, sees the crippled man, stops and asks him, "Do you want to be healed?!" That would be the only reason he would be laying there waiting for the waters to stir. Everyone by that pool had come there because they wanted to be healed. They looked at it as their last chance. These were the people that the doctors of the day couldn't do anything else for, they weren't getting any better but perhaps, they could find healing in this pool.
Do you want to be healed? I know that you may not be physically ill but we all have hurts, hang ups and habits that we need to be healed from. And sometimes the fear of changing; the fear of the unknown; is more scary than the hurt we are feeling at the time. We would rather stay in our comfort zone (as bad as it may be) than to leave the comfort of the know to be healed. You won't really change for the better until the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.
We have a RADlet that loves his comfort zone. He has had so many chances and yet I'm still not sure he's ready or even wants to be healed. This is a very sad thing for our family. We all want him to be healed. We are all right here to help him to be healed. We would do it for him if we could BUT it all boils down to his choices and his answer to this very important "dumb" question....do you want to be healed?!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
After they moved in, we began to try to unpack the bags and figure out the best way to help them adjust. We were told that none of them had attachment problems, that they were just normal children that needed lots of love. (cue the music, set out the tissue and hang the "be a foster parent" banner). But this is real life not a movie or a sappy TV commercial and that kind of love is HARD WORK.
Our newest members of the family liked us well enough, I guess and were happy to be in a home with other kids to play with; but they didn't really know us or trust us so..... how do you help them deal with the hard issues of the abuse they've suffered, the loss of birth family and foster family and friends?
Since I could find no how-to books on this at the library, I came up with my own idea......a book that my oldest adopted child and I could write back and forth in. I bought a simple notebook and a special pen and began to write to my new child from my heart.....a blog so to speak.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But just today I was reminded of another allegory written by David and Karen Mains. They have written a series of short story allegories and put them into books. Tales of the Kingdom; Tales of the Resistance and Tales of the Restoration. We have them all and I highly recommend them.
In Tales of the Kingdom there is a story called "Two Noisy Knights". These two knights were old and one was farsighted, the other nearsighted and they seemed to bumble through life together. They thought of themselves as Rangers who fought for the Kingdom and had great adventures. But really all they did was give the cheer and sing the song and try to claim the victory with the other Rangers.
One day they literally run into the baker, knock him over and trample his bread because they thought he was an enemy. The baker took this to the Ranger Commander and the old Knights were brought before Him. The Ranger Commander asked "Have you any scars or wounds from helping others?"
What a strange things for Him to ask. Why would helping others give you scars and wounds? I had to think about that for awhile. But have you ever heard anyone say that....Hurting People; Hurt People?!? That is so true. I live with hurting children and I can tell you that they do indeed hurt others, quite often. They will lash out at whom ever happens to be standing closest...which is usually me.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Let us not become weary in doing good,
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As I came in for the morning session I saw an open table and sat down. Soon the place filled up and I was sitting with seven other people I had never met before trying hard to make conversation.....wishing all the time that David could be there with me.
The speaker got up and said something about how early in the morning it was and that we needed to stretch. So, reluctantly we all stood up and went through her calisthenic drill. By the time we were finished none of us were standing behind the chair we started at, the place at the table where all our papers and notes were, the seat whose back held our purses, the space that we were (even after only 15 minutes) were calling ours. She asked us to be seated in the chair that was directly in front of us. Most of us looked around a bit first, eyed our purses and stuff then hesitantly we sat down and tried hard to keep our minds on what our very knowledgeable speaker was sharing with us.
It is amazing how uncomfortable that was for all of us. I was already feeling lonely, missing David and not knowing anyone else there but now I felt uneasy and even cheated. I wanted to get everything I could out of this conference and I am a note taker but my note pad and pen were across the table. Should I reach across and get it or maybe ask that person to hand it to me. But if I did that would I offend the speaker? Would that be a distraction to the others? After about five minutes of straining to listen and take in all Juli Alvarado had to say, one man raised his hand and asked what was on all our minds. "Could we please return to our seats now?"
Ms Alvarado asked us to describe how we felt right at that moment. She said that it only took us a matter of minutes to get that attached to a plastic seat and for us to see how upset we were when it was taken from us. Then she asked us to think about how our kids felt every time they were uprooted from one foster home and taken to another. Some of my kids tell me that there were times when they went to school and came home to find their suitcase packed, sitting in the living room and a social worker there to take them to another foster home. I can't really even imagine how that must have felt for them.....but thanks to Juli Alvarado I now have just a little hint.
You might want to check out her web site.....www.coachingforlife.com
Monday, March 9, 2009
Then after about three doses of antibiotics it stopped abruptly. This child who just a day before had been so reluctant to leave our side was now yelling at us and the other children and being down right mean. When I began to ask about the problem I was told that it was due to boredom. As my little one began to feel better but was still restricted to the indoors boredom set in and this was frustrating.
Sorry, but that made no sense to me. When I am bored I may fidget, doodle, rock back and forth, become quite chatty with anyone that is in listening range and I may even just break out in song for no reason other than to entertain myself but I can't think of one time that I was mean to someone just because I was board.
Also this being mean thing.....I am the first to admit that I can be mean myself. But generally I do this when I have a problem with some one. When I'm mad or hurt or feel betrayed.
We tend to take this being mean thing personally but I'm now beginning to understand that for the RADlets that's not always the case. I spoke to one of my older RADlets and asked for an explanation of this strange phenomenon. I was told that it is better to get a lecture from mom on your behavior than be bored. It is also apparently better to plot against a sibling just to see their reaction than to be bored. To them it is better to tear up property (theirs or something that belongs to someone else) than to be bored. Boredom must be one of the worst things in the world to a RADlet.
So, maybe my Granny was right when she said "idle hands are the devils workshop". I guess my job now is to make sure that my little RADlets don't get too bored. Wonder how I can do that?! I'm sure I'll think of something.....after all a house that has ten people living in it always has some spots that need cleaned right:)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Children with RAD have not learned the love and trust cycle that most learn by the time they are three. You know....the child needs something so he cries, then mommy hears him and gives him what he needs. Some of our children came from foster care and were tossed from family member to family member before they entered "the system". Then they were tossed from foster home to foster home. There was no stable person in their life to teach them love and trust so they live life trying to make it on their own. We live life trying to give them what they missed out on when they were babies.
The behaviors our RADlets learned---lying, steeling, manipulating, cheating, fighting, hoarding etc.... kept them alive in the neglectful homes and institutions they were in but those are also the behaviors that keep them from attaching to a REAL family.
Those RAD behaviors can get really ugly at times which is why I was offended when I read an article that suggested that we are God's RADlets. It compared us to children who have not fully attached to our Father. "How can that be?" I thought, "I am not like that!" but then I reread the symptom list of RAD and was humbled.
Those with RAD are:
*superficially charming----some may call if being fake but we're not like that are we?
*controlling----OK, now you're getting personal! Yes, I do try to control things instead of turning it over to God.
*argumentative-----we would never argue with God now would we? or argue with God's other children about the Bible, TV shows, the carpet in the church building?!?
*hyper-active, yet lazy at performing tasks-----busy but non productive. Sound familiar?
*frequent tantrums of rage-----how many of us have silent adult tantrums when we don't get our way?
*constant chatter----if this weren't true God wouldn't have had to remind us to "Be still and know that I am God"
*hording----my kids hoard food, instead of trusting that we will give it to them, is there anything we hoard because we don't trust that God will provide it for us?
*have an attitude of entitlement----does this apply? Don't we sometimes think we deserve God's blessings because we have been a good Christian for so long?!
*fascination with blood, gore, fire, evil, etc...I would say...sin-----we too have a fascination with sin. We sometimes try to get as close to that line as we can without going over it. Sin is fun for a time....if it weren't we wouldn't be drawn to it.
So.....are you one of God's RADlets? I will leave it up to you to decided for yourself. I will have to say that I am, like it or not. But trying to learn attachment and love from my Father as I teach attachment and love to my children.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy; His burden is light
You don't need the answer to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
As I heard this song for the first time and really listened to the lyrics I began to cry. I thought of my children. I am constantly trying to guide them, correct them, teach them, prepare them, counsel them, fix them, pray for them etc...etc...etc...but what God really wants from me is to love them and to be quite honest, that's not an easy task.
You see, God gave me some very special children. Some of my children have attachment disorder.....they don't know how to love. Loving someone who loves you back is easy (or at least easier) but loving someone who doesn't love you is tuff! But my job as the parent of a RADlet (a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder) is to teach them love...how do you teach them? Buy loving them.
Isn't that what Jesus did? We love because He first loved us. 1Jn 4:19