Most people when they think of adopting, they hardly think of adopting teens. They want cute babies, or toddlers with “less” (ha if only they knew) problems, to adjust quickly and easily into their family. Most people don’t want a damaged teenager with “problems”. Of course we don’t see it that way but it’s not like we planned it either. It just happened. When I fell in love with Moises, he was 2, and I wanted to be his Mommy. I never imagined it would be 11 years before that became a reality and he was in our home full time. Or who would have thought I would be a Mom to a girl who could in reality be my sister. When the dream came true age didn’t matter, 2 or 13 he needed a family, and Gloria did even more, even if she was 19. We saw an opportunity to provide 2 teens with something they have never had before, a loving stable forever family, even if it was going to be a challenge. Maybe you have wondered…
What is it like parenting adopted teens?
The truth… Hard. Very Hard.
But before I go on I want you to know we have never, ever, not once, regretted or second guessed the choice we made to bring them into our family. And even if we had, that would be ok too, because it is anything but easy!
The truth is, most of the problems they have are not their fault. It’s not about bad choices, or bad attitudes or being ungrateful. They are simply hurting kids. They have never been in a family that has fully, completely loved and accepted them for who they are. The majority of their lives they have had people who “loved” them come in and out, none of them sticking around for more than a year or two. On top of that they have been rejected, neglected and abused. Therefore, naturally, they don’t know how to love or be loved, trust, or to forgive. They learned the best they could to survive in a place that was all they knew as “home” but far from what it should be. Don’t get me wrong, the orphanage they lived in was much better than most. They were rescued from a life that would have been much more painful and difficult, but that does not change the fact that their “home” was an orphanage. So coming into our home, the complete opposite of what they know, their lives have been turned upside down…. in a good way of course, but this is new, different, and nothing like they have ever experienced. So they question and fight it even. Probably believing it’s not going to last, because it never has before.
Adoption is hard.
We watch our kids trying to get through heart ache we can not imagine.
Pain we could not protect them from, that had nothing to do with us…
and here we stand trying to pick up the broken hearts of our children wishing we could have saved them from the past that they did not deserve, knowing we can not “fix” them and praying that some day they will be whole again.
So hard but so good.
Looking at us, their is nothing that makes us more fit the job than anyone else except that we said “yes”. We are young and ill equiped, just learning how to parent little kids, not teenagers. We are far from hero’s or experts and our mistakes are many. Thankfully God specializes in using inexperienced, unqualified people to do His work. With His strength and guidance, the impossible can happen and miracles take place.
So if you look at my photos and we look picture perfect, we are not. It’s chaotic, loud and crazy as we learn to be a family. There are days when I am so frustrated I have to send myself to my room, for a needed time out, before things get ugly. When my patience is worn thin and the tears are many. Moments when I am so overwhelmed that I all I can do is cry out to God for help, feeling like “I can’t do this” but knowing I am called to.
These are NOT moments of regret.
They are moments of determination, rooted deep in love.
Determination to love them no matter what.
To not give up on them like so many before them have. To do whatever it takes to learn new ways to reach and teach them that this is real, we really do love them, and want to keep them for always.
It is challenging.
Probably the hardest thing we have ever done, but by far the most rewarding. To see how love can heal and transform and bring life into hearts who have been broken, hurt and forgotten. To see before your very eyes a child transform when he realizes he has worth and he is valued and wanted, when he thought he was a piece of garbage (his words). To see a shy girl with little confidence stand straighter, laugh more often, worry less and grow into the confident women God made her to be… and this is this just the beginning! We are so thankful that God chose us to be a part of the process in these kids lives.
Only by His strength can we do this, and only with His love can they be healed. It’s not about us.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory.” Eph 3:20-21