I know I have our Chinese New Year’s pictures to share but I thought I would discuss something else first. Something that has been on my mind now for a while.
I know this is a public blog and what I write about today may seem like the wrong place to discuss this… too public…too out in the open but this is as much as a personal journal for me as it is a blog for you all to read. Ted and I have been pretty open about our lives and our mistakes in hopes that in our failures we can show God’s love shining strong. We don’t always get it right, God is still working on us.
I was reading an article from Focus on the Family today about disciplining your adoptive child. I am not going to lie, it cut me like a knife straight to the heart. Anyone who spends time with me knows that I am constantly talking about my struggles to parent Jenna and Quinn. When do I push them? When do I back off? If I back off will they just give up like they have in the past? Or will a break today bring success tomorrow? It is hard because I expect them to be at Luke and Ryan’s level when they were that age but the truth is they are not. I know, they talk about it during the training sessions that are required before you adopt….but yet I seem to forget it when we’re in battle-mode, during the power struggles between me and Jenna. I can hear myself defending myself in front of Ted about how Jenna was purposely defying me and how unfortunately I acted out in anger. After we get through the power struggles we return back to our normal happy selves, she seems happy and content so no worries.
It is easy to see it that way but what if this article was right…what if Jenna is not trying to defy me, she is just trying to protect her small battered self. This torn little scared girl in front of me doesn’t want to get hurt again so she tries to push me away so when I (in her mind) leave it won’t hurt as much. I mean, how many times have I “tested” Ted to see if he was going to leave me too? Or will he go against the norm these days and fight for me? Will he stay and show me what unfailing love looks like? Can he love me the way Jesus wants him to love me? I can suddenly relate to Jenna when she is looking at me with her quivering lip screaming at me, when she is kicking, biting and hitting me and sadly to say I have not responded with love as God wanted me to…. I responded in anger, I got worked up, caught up in the raw emotions of the battle.
I know I have made my fair share of mistakes parenting my children, adoptive and biological…nobody is perfect. I have over-reacted, not had patience when needed, did not show grace and mercy during times when they needed.
I would love to hear Jesus tell me “Well done, good and faithful servant.” just as the master tells his servant in Matthew 25 but will I? I have a really good friend who always talks about how God has given us our children to guard, to protect, to raise, to teach them His ways. And every time she says that, I see my mistakes. I see my failures. I have prayed for patience more in these last 2 years than ever before. I know I am getting better because times where I know I would have over-reacted before I am able to show grace. I know I love my children unconditionally and no matter what happens I will always be there for them …BUT….. do they know that, do my actions show that. Looking at Jenna’s quivering little lip while her toes are curled and her feet rubbing against each other makes me think she is still “testing” me to see will I act out in anger, push her away, toss her aside for something better/easier or will I go against the norm and react with love as Jesus intended us to do? I pray that I can and will show this kind of love. I am sure I will screw up, I won’t get it right every time but in time, I will get better and hopefully with a lot of grace, Jenna and Quinn will learn to trust and feel safe with us.