Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Other "D" Word

In our house, we never use the "D" word flippantly. Divorce. It's not funny. It's not an option. And we don't throw it around like it's nothing. When it must be spoken of, it is done with seriousness and sadness and grief, because it means the tearing apart of a family.

Well, in an adoptive family, there is another "D" word. Disruption. It carries the same weight as divorce. It means the parents choose to place the adoptive child with a different family or into the foster care system. A family is torn apart.

Recently, some close friends of ours disrupted after nearly 5 years. I'm still reeling from the reality of it. My own fears are heightened. My heart aches and aches for this family, for this girl. My thoughts are jumbled, but I have worked through some things.

This I know...

No one "accidentally" adopts a child. The act of adoption is a series of actions in which you deliberately subject yourself to hard things. You fill out mounds of paperwork, get fingerprinted multiple times, let your family and home be scrutinized by strangers, and pay gobs of money in the hope that someday you may be able to welcome a child into your family. For the Christian couple, there are hours spent in prayer, seeking God's will and His favor. Parents who disrupt an adoption love the child. She is their daughter. They want what is best for her.

Kids from hard places bring a host of issues with them, many of them overwhelming. They can take a normal, functioning family and turn it to chaos on steroids. Do not rush to judge a couple that disrupts unless you've walked a hundred miles in their shoes. Yes, it is possible to parent a child with every issue under the sun. No, not every person has the capacity to do that. Not everyone is equipped. Not every marriage can withstand that kind of pressure. Not every family can bring healing to a hurt child. Not every hurt child responds to a parent's best efforts.

Disruption is the last resort. Parents who disrupt have tried everything they know to bring this child healing. They have invested time, money, and tremendous effort into helping this kid. They've enlisted the help of doctors, specialists, and friends. They've searched, and read, and prayed... hoping to find something that would help.

This child has a better chance at accepting attachment now than she had 5 years ago. This family has taught her many things about love and family life. She's had years of consistent, Godly parenting that she didn't have before. They saw progress. It was good. I am sure there will be much heartache as she learns how to live in a new family, but this time she has a foundation to begin with.

Sometimes parents have to make hard choices as to what is best for the whole family. This decision is not only about one child, but about everyone in the family. Parents have a responsibility to protect everyone under their roof. That includes protecting kids from each other and sometimes from themselves. That makes things a bit more complicated.

Disruption is not an easy "out". This family is hurting, grieving, and reeling. The pain is raw. Guilt, shame, loss, and fear are mixed with a sense of relief. Worry for her future looms out there. Sleeplessness, nausea, and tears come easily. They need our prayers.

The child is not to blame. Kids who have lived through early trauma do the best they know how to survive. Those things that work so well to survive in an orphanage or on the street don't translate well to family life. Things they learned are nearly impossible to unlearn. None of that is her fault.

God loves orphans and has a special heart for them. I believe that God has not lost this one. He has His hand on her and He is waiting for her to look to Him for true healing. Even though this is hard, God can use it to draw her to Him. I pray that her new family would have the time, resources, and capacity to do the hard work that will be required of them to truly bring her healing. This child has a long road ahead. She needs our prayers.

With a heavy heart,


Jodi said...

Hey Julie,
We met in Antigua and have pm-ed on the Guatemala adoption board-I was 4boyssofar aka- Jodi.
Thanks for such a great post and this family and child will be in my prayers! I unfortunatley know that pain all to well.6 months ago our family went through the same thing. After 2 years of trying to parent our daughter,who we adopted at age 4,it became apparent to protect our other children we would need to disrupt.We knew she had to be in a home with no other children. After much prayer,and many, many tears and pain we placed with the parents she was meant to be with. As hard as it was I never believed in the miracle of adoption more than on that day. The pain was so deep,yet we felt a sense of joy to know God used us to get her where she needed to be!Please feel free to have your friend email if she needs to talk-I know all the emtions she is walking through. Your compassion is not the norm as many have harsh judgement and do not understand it because of your love for the child that you disrupt. It is the same sacrifice birthmothers who place their child make, because they know they can not give that child what they need. You post was right on key with all that is involved.
By the way I check your blog often and I enjoy your heartfelt-real life posts.
Many Blessings to you and your family!!
nicmom4boys @

Katie said...

Very eye opening .. thanks for sharing !