We truly thought the adoption process was going to be a challenge, but it pales in comparison to the adjustment and challenge of new children living in the home. We knew going in, there would be behavior problems and challenges. We knew God was calling us to adopt. We read books and articles. We spoke with friends who adopted or were fostering. We prayed and thought about "worst-case scenarios" to prepare. But there is nothing like experience and some experiences cannot be prepared for...or can they?
Hollywood and literature often portray orphans as basically well-adjusted kids who are thankful and joyful once they have a forever family. This is fiction. The reality is children from abusive and/or neglected backgrounds have built in resistance to relationships. They have a hard time forming healthy and appropriate relationships. It is very exhausting and frustrating for parents trying to adjust to the worldview and thinking of these children. It is exhausting and frustrating for the kids to conform to the new family also. There have been days that I have asked if there was another way or another family for these children. It makes you feel awful to think those things. The temptation to stop the adoption is greater than we imagined.
These kids' needs are, in fact, special needs. They may not be diagnosed with the kind of special needs we are accustomed to, such as CP, Battens, etc. They are, however, struggling with damage beyond their control which was no fault of their own. Even though we feel very unprepared, there are many ways in which God has prepared our family for this adoption.
Scripture bears out repeatedly by both precept and example that God calls His people to tasks and equips us to carry out those tasks. Most often the equipping is not something we are aware of until after we have responded in obedience to the calling. Some of the equipping never happens until we respond in obedience. In other words, we can't wait until we "feel" equipped; we must simply obey.
Certainly, our experience with Macayla has equipped us in various ways for adoption. Dealing with multiple therapists, disciplines, and medicines is relevant to caring for children with abusive backgrounds. Yet, there is new equipping going on in our family, equipping we did not expect. The right people have gotten involved at the right time to assist us. Staying in God's Word has provided insight and wisdom that is fresh and timely; insight and wisdom that is not our own. Resources and provision have come at the right moments. God has been immeasurably gracious, preserving us from making some bad choices that would not have helped the children in discipline issues and I must emphasize that this was only by God's grace!
It is at once sad and funny that we find this so unexpected. For we are promised that "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire." (2 Peter 1:3-5 ESV emphasis added)