Critical Words That No One Tells You About Amazing Adoptions.
Today is National Adoption Day.
Yesterday, a new friend asked me about our adoption. Her good friend has been trying to adopt for awhile now and she was hoping to give her some insight.
I shared that our adoption experience would not have been considered normal, if there is a “normal.” Our timeline was short, seven months to be exact. Relatives in our family had been fostering the same two children for 2.5 years and the children needed a permanent home. We had been blessed with three biological children and had not thought of a larger family.
God’s plan for us was different than our plans. How do I know that? When God calls you to do something, He relentlessly places it on your heart. There is no question and no turning back. You will know and most likely it will NOT be easy.
Preparing for our expanding family, we purchased a larger vehicle, moved rooms around to make sure they had their space and made gifts to welcome them. We purchased bunk beds because kids would now be sharing rooms. God provided the means for all of this. In my mind, it was a wonderful new adventure with huge possibilities of happiness. It felt like Christmas morning.
When we reached the DCFS office, our family met with a room full of people signing stacks of documents. We left with the blessing of being foster parents, with intent to adopt and a large file with their only known history. We were gathering the children the next morning.
The extensive file had been collected in five and seven short years. It represented the tracking of state funded medical visits. Just a bit of what they had endured. That evening, I sat in a hotel room carefully digesting each written word in the file. I looked up to see our three children sitting together, watching TV, in a comfortable hotel room. We had no idea what we were doing, we only knew that God was guiding.
Today, I read an article a passionate friend re-posted about the treatment of a dog surrendered by owners that did not know how or have the desire to care for it. I respect her and her passion. She is a relentless advocate for animal welfare.
The story told of a cute dog named Marley who was treated like a stuffed toy, by an unsupervised, young child. Marley began to defend himself in the only way a dog knows, his teeth. At ten months old, covered in mats, he was surrendered. The author asked us to imagine not washing your hair for months and being drug around like a teddy bear. She asked what do you do with a dog that’s been traumatized and is fighting back? Many would lock the dog in a cage, so now the dog fears cages.
Marley was sent to a training facility that deals with aggressive dogs. Marley was not an aggressive dog. Marley had no trust in people because all they had ever done to him, was wrong. Marley did not want to be touched because he knew that touch only led to pain and hurt.
The trainers said he had no respect and that he was unfixable and unadoptable. He wrote that dogs don’t have a voice, but now Marley had his. He has taken Marley and is teaching him to trust people again, working at his own pace towards recovery. Marley did not need training, he could sit, stay, and give a high five. His point was that a dog is a commitment and not the responsibility of a child, nor an impulsive gift for Christmas.
He adopted this dog just as the pandemic hit. Lying at his feet, Marley is now an obedience master working towards his intermediate agility and helps him train other broken dogs.
Unfortunately, this happens to children as well as dogs. The results are the same. The healing time in children may be much longer. Our children are now teenagers. Everyday is challenging. They do not understand that their history is still alive and driving their actions.
I pray for healing. I pray that someday our children will help others with their brokenness. I pray that the words shared will allow light to shine through all the cracks. I pray that people will consider adopting in some form and know that God provides for willing hearts.
Peace & Blessings,
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8
P.S. You can follow Marley’s story @john.is.for.the.dogs