Orphan Parenting 101

At this stage in the adoption game Alex and I are completing the required parent training hours mandatory for a China adoption. In addition, I’m devouring every book I can get my hands on about “Attachment Parenting”, Orphans, China, and every topic in between. I am SO thankful for the abundance of resources available to adoptive parents these days, because let’s be honest: you can throw out the fact that we have been parents for nearly 8 years now. When it comes to parenting a former orphan, things are different.

flowerfromdirtThe techniques we’re learning have been insightful. For example, time outs are not encouraged as a form of discipline. Children who have spent any amount of time without sufficient nurturing and affection in an orphanage do NOT benefit from isolation for correction. Duh, right? But I wouldn’t have thought of that if left to my own instincts. Most sources teach parenting tactics focused on developing trust, fostering confidence/independence and championing the child’s efforts (no matter how small) with enthusiastic encouragement. Already, we’re gleaning a lot from the training and enjoying trying it out on our guinea pigs girls.

We are eager students because we realize we are not perfect parents. We are not a perfect family and we’re not perfect individuals. I go to my kids and ask for forgiveness all. the. time. Remember… we were made out of dust. Out of dirt! (Genesis 2:7) If you have known us for any length of time you probably also know of some of our bigger missteps in life. We aren’t adopting because we think an orphan will hit the adoptive jackpot when they enter our home. Far from it. These days we find ourselves thankful for the trials we have faced- individually, as a couple, and as a family- that God has used to shape us. He has redeemed us from many hurts and facilitated healing as we’ve overcome obstacles in our lives. WE are not perfect, but GOD is. We know from firsthand experience that He can heal the hurts of our new child, whatever they may be. We don’t intend to save our children, but rather  introduce them to Jesus, who can. God makes “beauty from ashes” (Isaiah 61:3) and my hunch is that He placed this desire to adopt in our hearts because He knows that we might identify with whatever hurts and losses our new child may also carry. “To whom much is given, much has been required.” (Luke 12:48)

Do me a favor and watch this video of a song that reminds me of this truth…