Hope for Adoptive Moms: Day Six
hope in trauma
By Laura Zimmerman
READ: Romans 5:8, Galatians 6:9, Ephesians 3:14-21
The night before our daughters were coming to live with us, I received an email from their foster mom-the one who they were currently living with. I had asked her for any insight into what would trigger the meltdowns of one of the girls, asked for any help she could offer. We were going to be the third placement for these two girls, and my husband and I decided the moves would end with us. Either reunification or adoption, but no more moves through foster care. When I opened the email, my heart sank. It was not helpful, merely a listing of all of the wrongs (many) that had been committed by this child and a warning that we couldn’t go back now. I shared this email with my husband, fear and anxiety growing in my gut, and he said, “Don’t look at it again.” We forwarded it to our caseworkers, then deleted it. That email, as much as it scared me, galvanized me. No more would grown-ups walk out on this child. The years since that email have been hard, rewarding, bone-deep exhausting, beautiful, and messy. What carried us through it - what can carry you through it - is the unchanging goodness of God and the example of love He set before us.
Remember- God came after us when we were at our worst. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Unlovely, full of behavioral issues, often lashing out at the one who loves us most? This is the human race. We were born into sin and are in need of redemption and rehabilitation. Our God who is rich in love and slow to anger came for us. We need only to look to Him for how to love hurt children. I often had to remind myself that our child did not ask for the life she was given. She had no say in her first 5 years, but she could have a say in what happened next. Remember on your hardest days that you are neck-deep in the redemptive work of Christ in your child’s life. When we were at are least loveable is when we needed love the most. This is no different for our children.
Be encouraged. “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9) The enemy would love for nothing more than to discourage you. The day in and day out of parenting a hurt child is exhausting! You avoid a certain street because a car parked there reminds your child of someone who has traumatized them. Maybe it’s a certain scent or season that sends them into a tailspin. Living with trauma means expecting the unexpected, and sometimes your child won’t even be able to tell you what is triggering them. Some days the battle starts before he or she is out of bed, and some days it may have lasted all night. God sees you. He placed your child in your family for a purpose. He has something to accomplish in your life, and in the life of the one He has entrusted to you. Mama, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Believe God. He is able to do far more than anything we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). He is with you, mama. He is for you, and He is for your child. Parenting a child through healing from trauma is a spiritual battleground. Being rooted in Him is where we need to start. Cry out to Him, when you’re falling into bed at night or when you’re sitting in a room as your child falls apart. He hears you. And praise God that when we have no words, the Spirit can intercede for us. You are never alone or without a Helper.
“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
What is one way you could choose to have fun with your child this week, even when it feels hard?
What is one kind thing you can promise to do for yourself this week, a way you can give yourself some breathing room?
Which one of these scriptures resounded the most with you? Why? Commit it to memory or display it in a spot where you will see it often and be encouraged.