Are we ripping them open again?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled “Adoption Season for Evangelicals”. I was thrilled to see this topic discussed in a positive and active light. Theology is giving birth to reality in many churches.

– “In Colorado alone, Focus has moved about 500 of the 800 kids is foster care into permanent homes over the course of less than two years.”

Thankfully well-known persons such as Pastor Rick Warren, John Piper and Russell Moore are using their talents and teaching abilities to promote adoption and explain the Biblical perspective on the issue. Visit Russell Moore’s site for more info on his book, “Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches”. Scroll down my blog for an educational clip by John Piper.

Almost eleven years ago, my husband Jerry and I traveled to Poland to adopt a sibling group of four. At that time, the information on adoption seemed to be limited and the media had tinted the subject negatively. I don’t remember any world-wide church messages on the subject. So, I am so excited that this generation of adoptable children is getting some positive media time.

As the church body fills with beautiful children adopted domestically or internationally, some considerations must be made for these families. Although, I speak from experience in the fact that I love all of my children as my own (because they are), some have come from a hard place and have needed extra help. The church as a whole must be prepared to minister to these hurt children and love them to Christ, not to expect them to be thankful robots, just because they were rescued. In fact these hurt children may act out or be in survival mode. The behaviors displayed are not necessarily the heart of the child, but the wounds of the child issuing forth in actions such as: extreme fear, lying, stealing, controlling, hyperactivity, violence, over reactions to touch or other stimuli. What these kids need is unconditional love and firm boundaries, not judgment and harsh punishment.

Imagine spending the first five years of your life in an orphanage. Getting enough to eat on a daily basis was a struggle, so you stole. Older teens sneaked into your room at night to sexually molest you, so you tried not to fall asleep. In order to have the proper clothes to wear to school, you had to wake early enough to be first to pick from the communal closet. Then some nice couple comes and takes you home. These new parents love you, feed you, clothe you and don’t molest you in the middle of night. You love your new home, but you just can’t kick the survival mode. Fear is your constant companion. You are edgy, jumpy and out of control in Sunday school class. The teacher talks to your parents. You steal cookies, candy, whenever you want, that’s what you are used to. Parents get called in again. People begin to talk about the bad adopted kid and the parents who obviously don’t know what they are doing.

Get the picture? Adopted kids often come from difficult places and it takes years of prayer, love, and positive connection with family for healing to come. What is the church doing to equip itself to minster the love of Christ to these children? What kind of education is being supplied to Sunday school teachers, Pastors and Youth leaders? How can we help these kids heal without exposing their wounds or ripping them open again?

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