I had no idea that when I adopted my daughters what path they would take me on. Although I did not birth them physically, they were birthed in my heart and I have never stopped loving them despite all the obstacles of pain and hurt that we have all gone through.
Sometimes people felt sorry for my circumstances and if I didn’t have God in my life, I would have probably agreed with those people and even cried some tears on their shoulders. However, since God is very much a part of my life, He has instilled in me a purpose way bigger than I had ever anticipated and given answers along the way to help me cope with the ups and downs of a teenager’s life. Continue reading
Having so many losses in a child’s life naturally alters their teenage years into adulthood. The need for love is so traumatic that it doesn’t matter the cost involved in getting that love even if it means deceiving themselves. Teens will crave attention, find themselves involved in addictive patterns, and create problems that can become a danger to their welfare. It doesn’t matter if they are adoptees, fostered or biological.
Before you know it, you are in the midst of a crisis. Is your teen having sex to have a child so that they can retrieve the love that they didn’t get when they were younger? Is your teen gravitating to older men or women for a relationship? Are they constantly on the internet finding and connecting with people to fill that hole of abandonment that they have struggled with for years? Do they show addictive behavior in order to achieve the goal of feeling loved? Or worse yet, crave attention so badly that they would hurt someone else to get it.
Such was the case of 12-year-old Jamarion of Michigan, who stabbed a friend and told a witness ‘I want to die. I don’t want to be on this earth anymore.’ He says Jamarion told him that he lashed out because he had ‘taken many pills’ and nobody loved him. The witness further said the first emergency personnel went to the playground to help the victim. This upset the boy. ‘Hello. I’m right here. You’re going the wrong way,’ Jamarion shouted as officers arrived. Continue reading
Many teens that are adopted or fostered have a huge sense of loss. This loss is a springboard to many other complex issues such as an identity crisis.
Not knowing where they originated from, as in cases where a child was left abandoned, leaves a teen with emotions and thoughts of being outcast and unwanted. Whether you are an adoptive or foster parent, you can give all the love in the world and they would still feel empty and lost and rejected. Those emotions are multiplied when that teen compares themselves to their family and other cultures and comes to the conclusion that they don’t belong with anyone.
Such was the case for my daughter who has dark hair, tan skin, and appearing as a mix of Arab, Asian, European, and Polynesian. Now add the fact that she has parents who are Irish/Swiss and white. Talk about standing out in a crowd.
With those very obvious differences, it came with some very strong feelings of being outside of the family instead of within. So what does a teen do? They go on an identity hunt looking for a place where they do fit in. Continue reading
They came from orphanages in a far off land. For one child, the back and forth motion helped stimulate her physical and emotional being as if she was rocking to the beat of a song. She cried after each 3 bottled meals a day at 9 months: One bottle of chicken broth, one bottle of tea, and lastly a bottle of bread floating in water.
There were twenty-five to thirty children per worker in a room who hardly touched them other than to change their soiled cloth diapers. This was the most attention they received for the entire day. After laying in the diaper for hours and hours, they would be stripped and rinsed off in ice cold water and left with what looked like cigarette burns below their waist and onto their bottoms from the dirty clothes.
Her sister at 27 months old, didn’t know any language or even how to crawl or walk. Tears would flow after every meal given to her. Her fears of not knowing if she would get more food frightened her and would cause her to hoard and steal if necessary. Continue reading
For the past 5 years our daughter’s relationship with her father was a strained one. Having been left behind in an orphanage at 27 months of age without being able to speak or walk, the toll on her emotions and attachment towards others, especially her father, was not what we expected.
We really noticed the changes when comments were made of how he wasn’t her “real” father and that she wouldn’t accept him as her “real” father until she met her birth father in another country. Only then would she make the decision as to whether or not to carry on a relationship with her adoptive and only father that she has ever known. Continue reading