Children are some of the most resilient things I know. When people abuse children I believe God’s heart truly breaks. Sometimes when I consider what we are going through as it relates to our children, I want to excuse it away with, “…well, they’re adopted!” Sometimes, we don’t know what to do! How do you help a child believe that you won’t send them away or hurt them like the other adults have in their life?
Before we completed our adoption, I used to think that adopting a 5 or 6 year old child would be the same as adopting a 0-3 year old. Now, not so much. The 5 or 6 year old, although it’s only 3 years difference, has had 3 more years of hurt and confusion and uncertainty in their lives. They may not be able to verbalize what it is, but I see it, it is there. Now compound that with the adoption of a 7-10 year old and you would think there is not much difference from the 5-6 year old, but there is, and it IS significant.
The hurt is so much more internalized and the survival methods, whatever they may be, from “fits of rage” to “infantile whailing,” are more evident at this stage. I have come to the conclusion that little Orphan Annie with the ever present optimistic mind is a myth. I think the hurt of being “abandoned or abused” is too great for a little mind to reconcile and God, through his Grace and people, is the only one that can truly heal. Don’t get me wrong, many children waiting to be adopted are hopeful and prayerful for a forever family, and Annie’s adventure filled story helps give children hope. From my experience, just having a forever family doesn’t “immediately” wash away the years of hurt.