This week our family is grateful for how God's plan has come together for our friend and we are thankful that he is headed home this weekend as his family takes a second step of faith.
Adoption isn't a clear-cut experience. Seeing photos and a small write-up of a child is one thing, but bringing this 'stranger' into your home and making him your son is a whole different thing. Most of the time the families that adopt through Reece's Rainbow come home and after a period of adjustment, the family and child experience their "happily ever after". Not without trials, since these children all have special needs and, well, they're KIDS :) But families find their 'rhythm' and their joy and their family makeup is a wonderful gift from God.
Occasionally, though, the child and family do struggle after coming home. Especially if the child has "hidden issues" such as additional syndromes, major medical issues, or attachment issues. Autism, another 'hidden' thing in institutionalized kids, is another kicker. And sometimes the going gets... well, TOUGH.
After a year home with their new son, our visitor's family knew that things were not falling into place as they should and that each day continued to be a struggle. Instead of throwing in the towel and saying "this isn't what we signed up for", they reached out for help from others that have "been there" and asked for help. I have the utmost respect for this family for asking for help when they needed it! Not that this family would turn to this... but a lot of abuse of adopted children comes from families not reaching out when they need help and simply trying to do it on their own. Reaching out when you need help is the best way to receive the help both the family and child need to work things out!
It's not easy to say "I can't do it" or to say "I need help" or even more so, to say "I'm scared." This family reached out and in response received the help that they needed to get some distance, some perspective, some training, some much needed rest, and an opportunity to have a fresh start with their son. When they may have thrown in the towel, they now have support set up for when he comes home and are prepared to deal with all those things that before were 'surprises' and instead are 'understood'.
During this month of respite our little guy's family has made their home into an environment that will better accommodate their son as well as help them in their daily lives to have less stress due to his special needs. They've sought counseling since before the respite time and will continue to do so once he is home. They've taken some time to be a husband and wife and some time to re-connect with their other children and set up their family environment knowing that their son will be returning to them just as he left them, struggles, trials, and all. And now they feel more adequately prepared to deal with it all.
What I want to make most clear here is that if someone needs help, there should be no shame or guilt in looking for and accepting that help. We all need reminders of this in our everyday lives. Whether it's in regard to our children, our habits, our lifestyles, whatever... when someone reaches out for help, don't turn them away saying they must have been wrong to be in that position, or that you wouldn't seek help in their shoes...
In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."