I know what you want to do, dear parent.
I know because I’ve sustained the same cold blows from this journey.
You want to hide.
You want to pull long sleeves over your arms, throw the shades down in the house, turn your phone off, ditch social media, stay out of the neighborhood (forever), keep a ball cap and sunglasses handy for the school pick up line, and fake a smile when you’re around others who don’t get it.
You’re ashamed of the deep wounds you’ve sustained. Both emotionally and physically. It’s been so hard that you don’t know how you’ll recover. You’re exhausted from the constant fight with your child, and for your child. His special needs are not his fault (nor yours) but you bear the brunt. Your once close friends have distanced themselves from you because they don’t understand why your daughter is un-provokingly aggressive toward you and your younger children. They constantly tell you their kids are too busy for a play date anymore. You avoid honesty with your mother because you’ll hear her speak those dreaded words…. “I told you not to adopt! I told you this would happen.”
You’re ashamed of your wounds. You’re at a loss over what to do to help your child. God almighty do you love them deeper than deep, but it’s a constant battle. You don’t know how you’ll make it through this crippling exhaustion you feel.
I know you, I see you….because I am you.
I too have felt the cold sting of people’s judgement on me and my child. I have heard those deafening words, “I told you so,” when I finally decided to get vulnerable and open up about my struggles on the adoptive journey. I have held my son tightly as he screamed horrible vulgar words at me and my wife, while trying to kick her and head-butt me. I’ve begged God to remind me that this is a result of the trauma he sustained long before he came to live with us. I have had to rush out of a grocery store because my child decided to flip out and pull stuff off the shelves, uncaring of the glares of other shoppers. I’ve had to face other parents who’s child was victimized by mine, apologize for the broken laptop, stolen cell phone, or field trip money. I’ve sat alone in a dark room searching for answers to questions only I am asking, while I’m certain the therapist who’s supposed to understand us thinks we’re crazy. I’m on a first-name basis with police officers in my hometown because they’ve been to my house too many times to count, to help us with a raging child.
I’ve wanted to give up, call the case manager back, suspend our license, move to a new city, and change schools. I’ve fiercely defended and loved my kid even when they’ve constantly push me away. I’ve felt the prison sentence-feeling of a diagnosis like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and worried that I will never see my child become a productive member of society.
I’m wounded too. Deeply wounded, in fact. And just like you, I’ve been ashamed of these wounds because I’ve convinced myself they are the definition of failure. They are the definition of me.
But they’re not.
Listen to me. They’re not. Dear friend, if I could sit kneecap to kneecap, eyeball to eyeball with you, I’d stare deeply into those moist eyes of yours and whisper to you how your wounds are NOT a reflection of you. I would reassure you through my own shared tears that you and I are NOT failures, and the wounds we’ve sustained are not evidence of us not being good enough, or sucking as a parent, or being useless as a human. Not….at…..all.
I’ve discovered something liberating about our wounds. But not just our wounds, our kiddos’ wounds too. You ready for it? Here goes….
Our wounds are allowing light to get in. That’s right my friend….these wounds we’ve sustained can actually be used for something powerful…transformational…and healing. It may take a minute for you to change your perspective on your journey, and the trauma your child has gone through. You may have to sit and process this for a minute and work to stop being so angry at a birth parent, or your teenage son, or the case manager, or your spouse, or a judge, or your next door neighbor, or the teacher, or a coach who thinks there’s nothing wrong with your kid and you’re just making stuff up to make your precious child look bad.
You will have to stop believing lies about you that you’ve freely believed for a long time.
But get this….
Your wounds let the light in.
Your wounds let the light in.
And here’s the best part. Once you allow light in, to flood your body, heart, and mind….healing begins. You start to see this journey in a whole new light. You see your wounds, not as failures, but as vessels. The journey you signed up for with the utmost excitement, but then turned hopeless, starts to look hopeful again.
I have hope even though I’m wounded. I’m no longer ashamed of my wounds. As a Jesus guy, my hope is found through the One who willingly steps into this complete and utter mess and, being crazy in love with me, AND my kids (get that…cuz it’s true!), brings us hope and healing for tomorrow, and then the day after that, and then the day after that. Sometimes you’re just crawling into the next day and that’s all you can do, right?
Your wounds and mine are not evidence of failure, they’re gateways that allow light in. They’re vessels that carry hope into the deepest parts of your soul. The greatest hope. The brightest light. Not just for you, but for your beautiful, precious, worth-it all kiddos!
Dear precious parent…uncover your arms, raise the shades, come out of hiding, step into the light, hold your babies close, and allow those wounds to let the light in.
How have you viewed your wounds? Share with us in the comment section below.