Have you ever been watching a movie and someone comes into the room when you're in the middle? They don't understand why the characters are doing what they are doing and want to know what is happening. So they ask question after question while you are wishing they would leave you alone so that you don't miss the last half...right? We know they aren't going to "get it" anyway, they're coming in at the middle!
As an adoptive parent, there is a temptation to come in with a lot of expectations. I can be tempted to think of the adoption in terms of my part of the equation. I am "saving them," "giving them a better life," "offering the smiling happy family." I can be tempted to think the child or children will come on in and drop their past at the door, eager to pick up in this happy family where WE left off, just thankful to be in a family.
When that happy pattern doesn't come to fruition, can't I be tempted to be at the least be confused and at the most, left feeling unappreciated?
I've been thinking about this the past couple of days and reminding myself that I am coming in at the middle of their story and not the beginning.
The orphaned child has suffered a trauma, that of losing their parents and home and past belongings and control and choice. Many have suffered neglect, or have been malnourished, or abused, or have suffered through the death of their family, or more.
On top of that there is a tremendous stress involved with coming into a new family. Even if they are completely excited to have a new family, it is still very stressful.
For our children, and I'll not share their past story as it is not mine to tell, but in the present they are coming into a family that is from another country and culture and who speaks a different language. I've tried to put myself in their place and imagine what that is like for them. I know they need extra measures of patience and gentleness and extra consistent schedules and parenting as they adjust. I pray for God to fill in my lack and overflow my capacity to love with His unending capacity.
I am trusting God that my family coming into their family and becoming one family is all part of God's plan for all of us. It is best for them. It is best for us. I am expecting it to be the hardest thing we've ever done and they've ever done, but I am expecting that none of us will ever regret it but that we will find more love and more of God in it all. We're all coming in at the middle. But God, He is the one who will guide us, He is the One who sees the beginning and the middle and knows the end. He has brought us together and He will bring us together in a beautiful unity named: FAMILY.
"But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks." Psalm 107:41