We at Project Hopeful believe in the power of prayer. And not just a little bit. We pray for things like the complete eradication of HIV in our lifetime, as we did last month. We know that we serve a mighty God who is able to do all things, in His will. So we pray, and pray a lot.
In addition to prayer, however, we also encourage adoptive parents to take advantage of the many God-given resources that are available when the difficulties of parenting children who were adopted arise. Just like we would never tell scientists to stop searching for the cure to HIV because we are praying, neither would we suggest that someone who is in the valley with their child “just pray” and fail to take advantage of the lifeboat that God may have sent to them. Last week this point was driven home for me as I was speaking to a friend of Project Hopeful. She was just finishing her first Empowered to Connect conference with Karen Purvis and was sharing some of her learnings with me. She wrote:
[Purvis] believes that the neuroplasticity of the brain makes it possible for the brain to overcome almost any prior insult with purposeful parenting. But simple prayer and love . . . will not be enough. [Purvis believes] reprogramming WILL NOT happen unless parents approach it knowing the science and how to use injured brain areas to get to ones that are currently offline. That was sobering for me. I feel a new responsibility to approach my kids mindfully, purposefully.
As I read my friend’s email, I was convicted about how often I choose to overlook warning signs that my children’s brains may be experiencing or unwrapping some sort of trauma. I also tend to ignore obvious signs that my own parenting style needs to be more attachment based in order to effectively reach my children who have all come from hard places. I can do better! I want to invite God to walk into that journey with us, and I want to seek professional assistance and available resources in doing so. Purvis (a believer) stands with us as one fantastic resource for adoptive families.
Another important resource we have is fellow adoptive families who may have walked a similar journey. Here’s one example: When Seth was diagnosed with Septo Optic Dysplasia (“SOD”) I remember thinking (1) I’d never heard of it and (2) I’d never meet another person with it. Not so. A couple of years later I connected with a family who had adopted a boy with SOD. What a blessing to be able to talk to someone who was experiencing the same issues we were!
Which raises the question, what issues are you facing today? Where do you need to find support on the journey? Has your child acted out sexually? Is your child prone to stealing and/or cheating? How about depression? Are you or your child suicidal? Is your child able to understand healthy attachment with her parents? Do you need to adjust your parenting style to more effectively minister to your children? Does your child tantrum uncontrollably? Is your child manipulative? Has your son run away? Is your daughter promiscuous? Do you have questions about something related to your child’s medical diagnoses? As one of our board members recently said to me, “It is time that we bring the light of day to issues facing children who were adopted and their families. Otherwise, the enemy will continue to have a field day in the darkness.” Amen to that sentiment!
How can we serve you today? If you need to be connected with a family experiencing some of the same trials you are, please email us and we’ll do our best to connect you with another family who is walking the same road. If it’s time for professional intervention (and we believe all of us need a little or a lot of intervention) we may be able to help connect you with a professional in your area. Whatever the issue, let’s continue to speak openly about the challenges of adoption so that we, as a community, can be stronger together and in the Light.
To get connected around an area of concern, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org