As anyone who has adopted, especially the older child, you know there are times when the child shuts down or has a period of immense crying or an even accelerated meltdown (trying to keep my words gentle here and not sound harsh...but you know what I mean!). This is where the rubber meets the road. This is what keeps me praying that I will display the fruits of the spirit. The goal is to keep MY calm in these times and to keep MY head and to remember that someone has to be the grown up and since I AM a grown up, well you can finish that thought... I spend a good deal of my prayer life praying over this.
Recently I had a picture come to mind that seemed heaven sent. As a family we are learning to run this race called "life" together. My 4 littles are new to family life. They come with hurts and fears, many of which I know nothing about as of yet. As we run together and seem to get into a good pace, a child or children fall and stumble. Being new to "family" they cannot keep our pace. Those behaviors and meltdowns? I consider those: "RUNNER DOWN."
The behaviors and meltdowns seem to come out of the blue and often do not make sense. It could be mourning or sorrow or fear or a lack of understanding what is happening. It could be rebellion and anger and a falling to deception that the present behavior will give them something they perceive they need.
Love, patience, calm, and consistency is what I strive for. As I keep my calm and my emotions intact...and understand that I am waiting for the running to get back up and walk off their injury so they can run again...we are able to move through a tough day much easier. If I let my emotions go with theirs, it takes much longer to move ahead (since I have fallen in the same hole as them and must spend some time getting myself up and brushing myself off).
Am I saying my biological children do not trip and fall? Of course I am not saying that. But because of our shared history I know what makes them tick. It is not a mystery to me of why they are "down." It is easier to help them get back up and get back to the life race. And if not easier, than a journey we have traveled together for quite some time. It is not new.
The children that have recently joined our family are in need of healing for the hurts and losses they have suffered. They do not understand all of their past and their present and future is not yet comfortable. They have come so far! And like the rest of us, they have far to go.
We are a family. We are running this race together. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one trips and falls we all try to help them up and patch them up and help them to start running again. As I remember this, it is much easier to lovingly do my part in keeping us all on the right path!
"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12