I have often thought of all a parent has to do. Since I am not a father…I am only going to comment on the mother side of things.
There is a depth of emotional commitment that is soul wrenching. Now, I would like to up this level of commitment a notch and talk about adopting children from foster care.
I am proud to be able to take children who need a home. I am grateful that my husband and I have been united in parenting children who needed our family.
We agreed to help children. We agreed to comfort children. We agreed to love, nurture and support families as they struggle through their trials.
What we didn’t agree to all of the baggage that comes with having these beautiful children in our lives. Some of the trials we have faced with these children have been gut wrenchingly hard. They have started with feelings of abandonment. They have continued with fear, anger and questions. Questions like…”what am I not good enough for my (insert birth parents name)?” “what did I do wrong?” “Why couldn’t they love me enough?”
Think about that for a second. How do you ever “get over” feelings like this? How can you (as a parent) ever make this right for them?
Well, many people will tell you to just love them. Just love the mess out of them and it will work out. I don’t mean to burst any bubbles but you are so wrong. Loving these children is the easy part. Dealing with their baggage is the hard part.
Now, I am going to continue on with some of there baggage. This list is not everything we face and endure but it is some of it:
- running away
- sexual reactivity
- perpetrating on others
- stealing (money, clothes, anything you have that they may want)
- hoarding (clothes, FOOD, trash…you name it)
- Urinating but not in the bathroom
- issues with feces and yeah…I am sure you get the idea
- mental health issues
- drug / alcohol related brain injuries
- secondary trauma
- reactive attachment disorder (oh man, this one is huge. look it up)
These are a handful of issues that we have dealt with multiple children some at the same time. If you think only love will fix this I have a house full of children you can come and try your strategy on. 🙂
These issues take time. They take repetition. They take therapy. They take love, compassion, and clear rules and boundaries. They take work.
But, you know what? Everyone one of these children are worth it and more. Each one of them have infinite worth and value. They deserve the very best life has to offer.
Some days, I have a hard time going from Step A to Step B. I forget what I have been taught. I react instead of respond. I can meet the needs of one or two kiddos but struggle to meet the needs of 17+ people.
Keep in mind, we also have full time jobs outside of the home.
Now, do I tell you this to try and gain your pity? NO WAY! (Although, a Go Fund OUR FAMILY would be nice sometimes) Haha
I tell you this to let you know we have chosen to open our hearts and home to those who need us. But more importantly, we need them. We need them to teach us about another aspect of life. We need them to show us the amount of strength it takes to do more than just survive this life. We need them to teach us how to grow and learn. We need them just as much as they need us.
That is the same for all children. We need them to show us the joy in life. To remind us of the simple pleasures. I will never forget the first time I got genuine smile from each of my children. Whether I gave birth to them or not. That moment is imprinted on my heart. These are the moments I fight for as a mom.
I fight for my children to experience true unadu
lterated joy. I fight for them to see that can be successful. I fight for them to realize they have infinite worth and value. I fight for them to see they can be loved by many people. I fight for them to know they always have a home here, anytime.
A mother’s role is divine. A mother’s love is unique. It is amazing how I can still love children that constantly berate me, “hate” me and push me away. But I do. I do love them. I listen to them and I hurt for them.
I also hurt for me sometimes.
Why do I do it, you may ask yourself. Why would someone put themselves through this kind of pain and angst over and over again?
Because I have realized that Heavenly Father never gives up on me. He is always there for me. This is crucial as I realize He recognizes the importance of being a parent. He is the ultimate parent. I want to strive to be like Him.
So, I do my best to fight a good fight. I do my best to be the parent I need to be. That doesn’t always happen. I am not always my best but I strive to be each and every day. I am confident that I have always done my very best.
It is a crazy road we each take to get where we need to be. It is hard to be molded into who He needs us to be. But I am willing. I am willing to give it my all
and help as many children as need me. I am willing to be molded and shaped to become a strong mother in Zion.
A mother’ heart is deep and vast. It is meant to give love unconditionally over and over and over again. I am so glad to be a mother to so many beautiful children
who had some rough challenges in their early developmental years. I ache of them to feel that divine love that is available to all of us through the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I look forward to the day that they are received in His arms and all of their past hurts, trials and struggles are gone.
Meanwhile, I will keep holding them tight. I will try my best to support them. I will love them through their tears. I will be the mom they need.