Archives for the month of: October, 2011

Oh, my aching back!  Once in a while I suffer from overwhelming back pain.  My upper left shoulder starts to bother me, then within a matter of hours my whole upper left back is throbbing with pain.  An out-of-place floating’ rib is the culprit, and off to the chiropractor I need to go.  Since he is hunting today, I’ll have to endure the debilitating distraction until tomorrow.  Such is life.

When we first considered adoption, our home study required among other things, for my husband and I to each get a medical exam.  This would validate that we had good overall health and could take on additional kids to raise.  Thankfully, my back wasn’t bothering me the day of the exam nearly a decade ago.  Backaches, as well as life’s other headaches, can be a reason, or an excuse, to not consider adoption.  Afterall, if you can’t take care of yourself on any given day, why should you increase your burden?

Many Christians, capable of opening their home and hearts to orphans, simply won’t consider adoption because of this or that excuse.  Frequently I hear:  “I work”, “We can’t even control the kids we have”, “We don’t have room”, “I only want a baby and foreign adoption is too expensive”, “I would, but my wife is done having kids”.  The list goes on and on.

Christians!  When are we all going to realize that every one of us has unmanageable burdens?  Like the Apostle Paul, these ‘thorns in the flesh’ should not be a reason to NOT serve the Lord God!

Yes, my back is killing me today and I can’t deal very well with anything, let alone all my kids.  So, my husband took some with him, one of my older daughters is supervising the little ones, and we’ll make do.  In the meantime, 5 kids who didn’t have spit in their life before, now have a farm to play on, nutritious food to eat, and loving arms to hold them. They have a future. They have Christ! 

On any given day, life is not perfect for my adopted kids because of our human failings, but it is better than the alternative they had before they came to their forever family.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month in the US – so, stop with the excuses, and get to adopting!   If you can’t adopt, help someone who can.

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The phrase ‘rose colored glasses’ describes seeing life through a lens that turns everything into bliss.  Several of my kids have the opposite view of life, seeing through the shadowy lens of trauma.

Last year I was a front seat passenger involved in a serious car accident.  The car swerved uncontrollably to the right toward a deep ditch, caught air, rolled three times, pancaked upside down, crushing my arm and pummeling my hand – which had flown out the side window broken by my head – into rocky soil.  I am nearly recovered from my head and arm injuries,except for occasional nerve tingling.  I have 95% use of my right hand, which suffered broken bones and a deep flesh wound down to tendons.

The deeper wound I still suffer from almost daily is the trauma of the accident.  I lost consciousness as we left the road, and therefore have no memory of the actual crash.  Every time I ride in the passenger side front seat, on dirt roads, the pre-crash memory of knowing something terrible was going to happen, instantly surfaces.  If the driver (I can only ride with my husband driving, no one else) allows the vehicle to get right of center, I grow anxious.  If the car begins to slide, I panic.   If we swerve close to the ditch, I have to fight back tears.  As soon as my husband senses my stress, he graciously slows down and offers me comforting words.  I can only breathe a sigh of relief when we hit our driveway coming home, or blacktop heading into town. 

I have now begun to understand the ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ that 3 of my adopted children live with, and the signs that PTSD has surfaced any given day:

  • One comes for more frequent, desperate, heart-felt hugs
  • One takes on a viciously sassy attitude in response to simple questions or requests 
  • Another retreats to the comforting zone of electronic games with head hung down, mumbling dejectedly

I am left wondering “What happened?”  It is all about control.  If one can be in control, no problem.  If one is not in control, problem!

Before my accident I didn’t understand why my kids couldn’t just ‘get over it’ or ‘use words’ to explain the problem.  Now, I get it.  In their moment of stress, they need me to:

  • give heartfelt support by my slowing down to just hang with them, offer a comforting word, or allowing them space
  • calm a younger child by my sitting close, and regulating my breathing to theirs
  • comfort an older child by putting my hand on his knee, or arm around her shoulder
  • soothe one who is hyper-ventilating from extreme anxiety; I gently instruct “smell the rose, blow out the candle”‘ for deeper, slower breathing

Later when things are calm, I ask the child to share, if they can, about what triggerd the episode.  Sometimes there is discussion; sometimes there are no words to describe the overwhelming trauma, and it will have to be revisited much later on. 

Past trauma and its fallout, which puts a different lens on life for adopted kids, is a very real, very present, and often very exasperating issue.  Parents who reflect upon their own ‘out-of-control situation’ memories will begin to see life through the same trauma lens as their adopted child.  Then,  with empathy, parents can deal more effectively with behavior modification, social/emotional delays, and attachment issues.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress….”  James 1:27 NIV

It is a quandary in modern times that Christians who want to adopt children can’t afford it, while larger churches individually spend millions of dollars on buildings, and billions of dollars collectively on projects worldwide that are contrary to Biblical teaching (read: liberal political agenda.)  Orphan care should be a primary ministry of the Christian church, especially in America where families have spacious (compared to the rest of the world) homes with empty rooms just waiting to be filled with the joyful sound of safe and happy kids.

Speaking as an adoptive parent, who has been a faithful church member and attender for well over 45 of my 53 years (except for college falling away…), I have a few things to say about the Christian church in America in regards to adoption.  I’ll try to speak the truth in love.

Except for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) my family now attends, I have not experienced a church that actually walked the talk of orphan care.  Evangelical Free, Southern Baptist, Four Square, Nazarene, unaffiliated, United Presbyterian, not in one I attended as a long-term visitor or member, did I bear witnesss to the promotion of adoption as a way to serve Christ.  No consistent teaching, preaching, praying, modeling, or giving in order to support adoption as an indirect ministry.  Nor encouraging of members to consider adoption as a direct ministry, pledging full support of whatever it took to answer the call to ‘look after orphans…in their distress’. 

Churches think adoption is ‘nice’.  White congregations are glad to have a few new members ‘of color’ in their pews each week.  They smile and pat adopted kids on the head (FYI: adopted kids don’t really like that kind of physical invasion).  They tell parents they are special for what they are doing. They enjoy having adoptive families for their latest charity.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t use multiple bags of  out of style, too large or too small hand-me-downs.  You are written off as ‘ungrateful’ if you turn down such a gift.  It is not understood that your burden is so great you just don’t have the time, energy, or space to deal with such generosity. A better help would be to just ask what is needed.  I am very grateful for individuals who have come alongside us.  Their dear friendship, encouragement, prayer, and support via refinishing bedrooms, meat for our freezer, and discounted music lessons has made all the difference.

Most churches don’t have family integrated worship so your kids – who need 24/7/365 supervision – can be with you the whole time.  They don’t know how to accommodate your learning delayed kids into their classrooms.  They don’t want to deal with inappropriate ‘acting out’ behaviors during worship, or anywhere in the building.  They don’t to throw baby or new kid showers.  They don’t take the time to understand how hard it really is for you as parents, or the challenges your bio kids.  They don’t invite your large and unruly family over for dinner.  They don’t really even want to be your friend. That might mean sharing your burdens, or praying for you without ceasing, or helping you through severe depression because your teen has been running away.

The financial cost of raising more than 2 kids in 21st century America (yet on only one income as one parent invariably needs to be home for adopted kids), the social and emotional toll on the whole family as they deal with ‘issues’, the spiritual warfare attacks on innocent siblings and marriages, can all be devastating for the adoptive family.  Adoptive families need the full support of churches, with every member in the body of Christ doing some thing, some how, to come alongside them, in order to successfully raise all of their children.

There are models for success like Project 1:27, or individual churches that give $10,000 grants to adoptive families for any needs that are incurred, and of course para-church ministries that actually help with adoption services.  But, it is still the ‘big daddy’ government who must step in with subsidies and Medicaid for state adopted children because the church won’t do it’s job.

It is ultimately the church, Christ’s bride, that holds the key to worldwide orphan care solutions.  Church intervention, support, encouragement, modeling, and top-tier budget assignments would transform not only how children are percieved as wanted, precious, unique, and made in God’s image, but that they are worth all the time, resources, and effort to place into a forever family, God’s plan for society’s foundation.  Orphanages, no matter how well funded, can not model for children God’s plan for a man and a woman to happily married, growing in Christ, procreating and raising the next generation for His kingdom.

It’s time we Christians did our job of adopting orphans, and insisting that our churches help us to do so.  There is no better way to raise kids to become believers, than to raise them in our Christian homes, supported by the body of Christ, coming together for worship within the walls of His church.  Amen.

Ask the average parent with a young adult at home if they enjoy their teen, and probably the answer is ‘NO!’  Well, in our home, we not only like our teens, we appreciate them as young adults.

We have home schooled our kids for 17+ years, ever since my 25 y.o. son decided he never wanted to go back to school in 2nd grade (that’s another blog post!).  The decision to home school caused our kids to turn out completely different than the direction government, private, or Christian school would have taken them.  Besides each of them being our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, we actually are intruiged by our young adults interests and talents, have engaging conversations with them, and enjoy their company during mealtime, board games, or late night laugh sessions.  Life is not always perfect, but they are in the select group we CHOOSE to be involved with every day of our lives.

This is why I can write a post on ‘not YELLING at young adults’…okay, I can write about it, but don’t hold me to it at ALL times!

Yelling is what happens when nothing else has worked to get someone’s attention.  It is also a way to vent frustration.  Sometimes, it actually works to achieve the desired outcome, but afterward there is a heavy price to pay.  The point being, all teens, especially adopted with birth dads or grandmas or foster parents that yelled, will not take a liking to being yelled at.  Therefore, they will not respect the parent who yells, or hear anything communicated during the yelling match.  They will freeze, fight, or flee.  That is not the desired outcome.

So, what motivates young adults?  What motivates parents?  Money, friends, free time, new possesions, opportunity, compliments, polite requests, rewards for work well done, travel, special time with Mom or Dad?  These motivate me!  Of course there are trade-offs, and we all  must work within the limits of available resources.  Parents and teens can brainstorm solutions that are win/win, stick to what is agreed upon, or suffer the agreed upon consequences for not.  It takes time, patience, biting your tongue, unfolding your fist, and being on your knees in prayer.

Having a positive, productive relationship with your teen, works.  Being on their team as coach and cheerleader, mentoring them, discipling them, talking to them about their dreams and sharing yours, setting reasonable boundaries together, all these build relationship and secure bonding.  Teens need the confidence that comes with parents who show affection, concern, interest, and spend time.   Maybe things won’t get better overnight, but in the long haul there will be results.  Find out what your teen wants out of life, and out of their relationship with you, then move in that direction.  

In just a few short years they will be on their own, ready to accept what the Lord has for them. If you don’t help them fly, they’ll be back in the nest!  I think I’d rather be more patient and avoid yelling now…

My last three posts discussed the issues of raising adopted babies, toddlers, and elementary-aged children.  Before my next post on parenting young adults (aka teens), I want to talk about what I call ‘Fast Forward Parenting’ (FFP).  FFP catapults you forward into a place you don’t want to go, to deal with something you don’t want to think about, to help a child you don’t even know you like (even though you love him/her.)

Adopted kids, whether placed through the child welfare system, from foreign soil, or out of a life changing tragedy (loss of functional birth parents)  will no doubt lack important life skills. The typical biological child, who was raised by capable parents, will have probably attained these skills at expected ages.  This lack of age-appropriate life skills, even though the adopted child has very advanced knowledge of the world, will invariably catch the adopted parent ‘off-guard’ when Dad or Mom least expect.

Adoptive parents, therefore, have to plan for, and adjust their lives to accommodate FFP.  They will need to teach with direct words, by example, or demonstrative emergency lecture if need be, a variety of familial and societal expectations. 

FFP fairly basic examples :

  • safe boundaries for recreation (don’t leave the yard w/o permission; don’t talk to strangers at the park; don’t pole dance on anyone’s leg)
  • appropriate use of the English language (use a complete sentence, look at the person you are speaking with, no cussing)
  • expected behavior norms (no hitting, lying, or stealing; be gentle with smaller, younger kids; wear a robe over your underwear)

FFP more challenging examples:

  • discussion of private parts, their purpose, and the importance of waiting for marriage to use them as God intended (try discussing this with a 5 y.o. who knows more about sex than you!)
  • teaching children to discern which kids in the neighborhood are safe to play without doing a criminal background check on their parents
  • how to safely be around chemicals, firearms, matches, and power machinery before there is an accident

FFP downright scary examples:

  • helping a child memorize your phone number, and reminding them that they should call you first if they are picked-up by police
  • getting a child to understand it is unhealthy to obsess about being with their incarcerated, rights terminated birth parent
  • instructing a child how to determine which person or place would be safe to go to for help if they get lost while running away from their new adoptive home

FFP requires huge adjustments in time, finances, parental privacy, and social life, as you are thrust like a cannon ball out of your comfort zone.  FFP is necessary for your child to not only survive, but thrive as he or she becomes part of a forever family.

There is sometimes so much to teach an adopted child, just the thought of it can be overwhelming!  Those blessed with the placement of a school-aged child have a big job ahead.  Where does one begin?

1.  House Rules Education:

  • the 10 commandments are the basic house rules (no coveting, hating, lying, stealing, etc)
  • everyone sleeps in their own bed, alone (except for Dad and Mom)
  • everyone changes in their bedroom or bathroom, alone
  • doors stay open at all times unless someone is in bedroom or bathroom, alone

Are you catching my drift?

Further…

  • side hugs and kisses on cheeks, only
  • boys and girls do not wrestle with each other, ever
  • telling on others who do not abide by these rules is EXPECTED!  (Just make sure the truth is told)
  • clear and consistent consequences for breaking House Rules will be enforced

2.  Character Education:

  • teach the 10 Commandments (post in a visible, public place for frequent review)
  • teach the love of Christ, His sacrifice for our sins, and His forgiveness when we do sin
  • everything we think, say, and do should glorify, honor, and serve God
  • Dad and Mom are to be honored, loved, obeyed, respected, and trusted (not all adults should be)
  • everyone tells the truth at all times (FYI: lying will go on for years)
  • we don’t touch or use others’ personal possessions without permission (FYI: stealing will go on for years, especially food)
  • we keep our private parts, private (this is why 24/7/365 supervision is highly recommended)

3.  Work Ethic Education:

  • each person is responsible for their own stuff, which should be organized at least once daily; help is available
  • each person is responsible for completing their assigned daily chores; help is available
  • work can, and should be fun; play dance music while everyone cleans the house once a week
  • each person is to cheerfully respond to Dad or Mom’s requests (what I say, right away, with a smile – thanks Marcia!)
  • if someone doesn’t work, they don’t eat (use another ‘hook’ if eating disorder is an issue)

4.  Academic Education (adopted children are most likely behind in school achievement):

  • provide an environment where reading and lifelong learning is encouraged and desired
  • use conversation and demonstration to teach culture, history, math, and science while cooking or woodworking
  • read WITH child at his/her level of ability; read aloud TO child at a higher level
  • art and music get creative (right) and logical (left) hemispheres of the brain communicating for increased achievement
  • accept your child’s current abilities; grow strengths while working on weaknesses
  • unrealistic expectations lead to defeat and kill motivation
  • provide you own home therapy for learning delays; if needed, seek outside help ie: Speech therapist
  • government schools are free, have special education resources available, but moral and safety issues can be a serious concern
  • Christian schools are expensive, provide teaching from a biblical worldview, but don’t always offer special ed help
  • home schooling takes parent time, is of nominal cost, and meets a child at his/her level with individualized learning

Educational concerns for elementary age adopted children are wide-ranging, but with the Lord’s leading, these’ needs can be met.  Attentive efforts and wise decisions made now will provide long-term gains later.

I just love 4 y.o. boys!  Their over-the-top questions, filthy bodies from playing long and hard outside, and exhuberance for wrestling, are special memories.  Don’t get me wrong, I have loved my girls’ toddler years (butterfly kisses!)  I just was always more of a tomboy, than a tea party girl . 

Adopted toddlers can be especially energetic, talkative, and inappropriate as they settle in to their forever family’s home.  New routines can’t happen all at once, but  parents can start introducing them one-at-a-time so as not to overwhelm.

A.  Practicing good habits early on creates lifelong routines:

  • personal hygiene: teeth brushing, hand washing, regular bathing, clean clothes each day (kids would wear their favorite outfit for a week if allowed!)
  • simple chores:  bed making, table setting, putting away toys
  • manners: at the table, not interrupting, shaking hands with adults
  • regular schedules: consistent bed time, meal time, work before play
  • daily family devotion w/ Dad, perhaps before breakfast or after dinner

B.  Polite communication skills make non-stop chatter a blessing, not a curse:

  • please and thank you
  • Mother (Father), may I?
  • slow down and settle down; talking too fast while jumping makes a story hard to understand
  • indoor versus outdoor voices (yelling is for outside, screaming only for blood injuries!)

C.  A few basic house rules help reign in untoward behavior:

  • bedroom doors open except while changing, alone; no playing on bed w/ others
  • outdoor toys and wild games stay outside (including baseballs and tag!)
  • no tents or closet play – potential for hidden secrets involving private parts
  • work out sibling problems using words, then get parent if needed
  • limit electronic/tv/dvd time (1-2 hours max daily),
  • greet guests, and play quietly (keeping electronics off) while they visit

D.  The 10 Commandments are easily posted, memorized, and practiced:

  • put God first in all things
  • honor Dad and Mom with love, respect, obedience
  • no stealing, lying, hating/hitting
  • be appropriate with your body and others’

E.  Have fun and enjoy this season of you child’s life:

  • crafting once a day with your child develops his/her fine motors skills and mind
  • encourage (and supervise) imaginative play, outside when weather allows
  • play WITH your child in the house, yard, or park
  • take long walks outside observing God’s world
  • teach children your interests/hobbies, encourage theirs’
  • work together doing everyday things like housework or maintenance
  • read, read, read to your child every chance you get

Toddlerhood is a season for Dads to really get involved as the child’s infant clinginess to Mom begins to wane.  Close bonds forged now will bear fruit as the child matures and looks to Dad as loving shepherd during elementary years, and respected authority during young adult (aka teen) years.  An investment of TIME in your child’s life during this stage will be worth every sacrifice in the future.  Plus, it is enjoyable!

My three youngest cherubs were lovingly cared for in a Christian foster home.  Their foster mom made every effort to give them a good foundation before adoptive placement.  She read to them, sang to them, took them to church, and planned fun outings that exposed them to God’s world around them.  The two youngest were placed with her as very young infants.  The older of the trio spent significant time with their birth mother before and during foster care placement.  They came to us at ages 1, 2,  and 3.

My two older adopted kids were with their birth mom through the ages of about 2 and 4 y.o., then placed in foster care, experiencing a series of homes we don’t know much about.  They came to us after the last foster/adopt placement failed, when they were 5 and 7 y.o.

The varying degrees of parenting ability in the different situations faced by these 5 kids during their first 3 years of life, has had a direct effect on how each of these kids have navigated life, since. The kids that had a great start have flourished.  Those with less than great, have floundered.

If  high quality parenting is provided early on in an adoption placement, babies are more able to adjust, bond, and grow to become the joyfilled, capable men or women that God planned from conception.  A great start is what babies need to successfully grow in all areas of their life at their expected/intended pace.

A.  Physical: 

  • frequent, close physical attachment, especially at the chest level to feel/hear parent heartbeat
  • adequate nourishment on a regular schedule that is digestible and healthy
  • daily exposure to fresh air and sunshine 
  • safe, nurturing physical touch such as hugging, kissing, massaging, tickling, gentle wrestling
  • safe and secure bed, cushioned seat, car seat, or baby sling wrap
  • safe boundaries, with consistent gentle, loving correction if boundaries are crossed

B.  Social:

  • cheerful voices happily stating the baby’s name and family members names
  • encouraging words and statements that bless 
  • close interaction with family members, then later on with others in family’s social circle
  • stories, word games and songs with family members
  • lots of time everyday with forever family members
  • as little time in day care, or with non-family members as possible

C.  Emotional:

  • regularly hearing “I love You” and other life affirming phrases
  • close, appropriate, physical expression of love such as cuddling, rocking, or family bed sleeping
  • compliments and encouragements such as”‘good job” or “I’m so proud of you”
  • soothing, joyful background music or singing
  • relaxed, joyfilled parents and siblings

D.  Spiritual:

  • regular family devotions; even a baby can hear, see, and feel the love and worship
  • regular church worship service attendance with the family, not in age-segregated nursery
  • Bible stories and hymns at bedtime or anytime
  • Christian art or scripture throughout baby’s room and home
  • teaching the 10 Commandments as the basis for house rules

These are the essentials from which one can begin to create a loving home.  Each family has traditions and life-affirming experiences that can be included to make their family unique, bonded, and successful.  It isn’t an instant fix-all, but a foundation from which to build a child’s life.

We all probably remember Aesop’s fable concerning the Tortise and the Hare.  It’s message of ‘slow and steady wins the race’ is timeless advice, and is also timely to this post. If you had asked me a few years ago, or even a few months ago when one particular adopted son of mine turned 15 y.o., “Are you winning the race?”  I would have replied with a sigh, “I don’t know”.  Today, I know, and can confidently answer “‘Yes, we’re winning the race with him!”  Instead of dreading being his mother each day, I am (most days) delighted to be!

Consistency during the race – perhaps marathon is a more accurate term – of raising adopted kids is crucial to a family’s success.  Change won’t happen overnight, and major behavior changes might not be evident for years. More often than not, slow is how the problems of life need to work themselves out.  We should be ‘slow to anger’  Proverbs reminds us, among other things. Steady is what parents need to be during the long haul of rearing children into adulthood.  Kids with lots of ‘baggage’ from their early years before adoption, indeed need a lifetime of our ‘slow and steady’ consistent parenting.

 After 9 long years in our home, my 15 y.o. son finally ‘gets it’ about:

  • Doing chores when, and as expected, with few reminders
  • Staying on-task with daily school work, including music practice
  • Responding cheerfully to correction, even if eye-contact is not yet perfect
  • Answering questions in a complete sentence (at least one noun and verb, please)
  • Choosing to enjoy age-appropriate social interaction with his bio and adopted siblings
  • Saying ‘Love you’ after I tell him “I love you”, and meaning it
  • Accepting familial physical affection in the form of bear hugs, cheek kisses, and rib tickles, and actually smiling about it
  • Being able to discuss a situation when he is confronted with a recurring sin, instead of  going into a freeze mode
  • Being able to cope with disappointment, the word ‘no’, and delayed gratification, without going in to a fight mode
  • Accepting parental authority instead of rebelling by running away in a flight mode

With God’s merciful intervention and leading, these landmark accomplishments have come as a result of consistent parenting:

  1. unconditional love
  2. extreme patience
  3. self-control to avoid ‘knee jerk reactions’ that might lead to violence 
  4. calm voices without angry words
  5. enjoyable bedtime rituals including good-night kisses and prayers
  6. well structured home-life with healthy routine choices
  7. quality and quantity family time
  8. frequent one-on-one time
  9. dealing with minor and serious besetting sins
  10. appropriate discipline and consequences
  11. safe physical restraint when called for
  12. isolation when needed
  13. family confrontation when appropriate
  14. prayer without ceasing

I am exhausted just writing this list!  I know there will be many days coming when regression will rear its ugly head, but I will remain encouraged with the evidence of progress.

Consistency has paid off.  I just went out to the kitchen to find the clean dishes were put away (his daily job) without a reminder, and most were in the appropriate place and correct position.  I just got a cheerful response when mentioning something that needed to happen.  I got a complete sentence answer (of more than 2 words!) when I asked a question.  Just amazing!  Just God’s mercy and grace.  Praise Him!

I’d better quit for today while I’m ahead.

WANTED:  Loving home for healthy infant.  Parenting experience not required. Reply ASAP for immediate placement without substantial cost.

Years ago when we first started considering adoption, this is the type of ad to which we would have gladly responded.  For young couples just starting out in their adoption experience, this is very appealing.  First, an infant is so adorable, and your heart just melts for one without a pair of loving arms to hold and love it forever.  Second, healthy means birth mom didn’t use drugs, wasn’t stressed by domestic violence or lack of economic stability, and the baby got pre-natal care and proper nourishment.  Third, such an infant doesn’t need experienced parents, just those with a  loving, stable family background to have learned from themselves.  Fourth, immediate placement means not waiting for years.  Finally, the adoption is affordable!

Well, perhaps this ad could be real, and perhaps some fortunate family really could get this dream adoption.  The odds are against it.  Few babies are available.  Fewer still are without health problems.  It does take time.  And, it is expensive if you are going to adopt privately.

A more realistic ad might be:

WANTED: Loving home for neglected, possibly abused infant.  Health status fair, history mostly unknown. Seeking parents experienced (or willing to become) with developmental delays, failure to thrive, fetal alcohol syndrome and/or infant crack addiction.  Other suggested skills are ability to cope with long periods of crying, a willingness to deal with invasive social  workers, and extreme patience for inconvenient birth parent visitations until rights are terminated.  Fortitude also required to deal with overwhelming frustration of the ‘system’.  Reply immediately to nearest county office for lengthy paperwork, criminal background check, and home study.  Case  will be ‘hurry up, and wait’ status.  Low upfront cost involved.

For a family who decides to do foster/adopt through the child welfare system, this is truthfully what the ad should say.  The good news:  there really is very little upfront cost.  Further, if you income qualify and the county has the means, the baby will come with a modest subsidy and Medicaid to help deal with special needs until 18 y.o. or high school graduation.

The most honest ad would read: 

WANTED:  Loving homes with experienced parents desperately needed to adopt school-age children, especially sibling groups, of all races and beliefs.  Lots of courage, time, unconditional love, and ‘out of the box’ parenting skills are the suggested minimum requirement. Potential issues include Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, developmental delays in all areas, and chaotic out-of-control hyperactive behavior. Biological children should be older than children being considered for adoption.  Seeking happily married husband and wife Christian couple with very thick skin, willing to lose friends and family relationships over adoption decision, to take on kids with the most problematic behavior.  Financial assistance limited, but efforts well rewarded in Heaven.

Now that’s an ad I’d like to see in every U.S. newspaper!  And, I would like to see families responding in droves! 

With Christ, all things are possible….

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