When we first met our son in China, he thought it was HILARIOUS to slap my husband in the face. As first time parents, we didn’t have any friends whose experiences as first-time parents included their newborn slapping them with glee, so this was new territory. Furthermore, he despised my very presence, which created some steep challenges with attachment between us. I’m not gonna lie: adoption and parenting a child with medical needs have been the most difficult things I’ve ever done. They have broken me. They have wounded me. They have made me feel like a crazy person on more days than not.
People sometimes ask me, “Would you do it again? The answer is quick but the journey behind it was not all rainbows and butterflies.
During Kids Camp this past March, children and adults from Chongqing, China came to experience culture and Love, and gave Lifeline a chance to know and advocate for these precious children. Our son was adopted from Chongqing, so the chance to attend the China family reunion during Kids Camp, was priceless for us.
While we were at Kids Camp, we were able to interact with many of the children who had flown all the way from China to be there. There are a lot of adjectives that I could use to describe them: funny, mischievous, cute, joyful. But, those wouldn’t give a full picture of these children. There was a small boy there who only had one arm. Yet, he opened a pack of crackers using his one arm and his teeth. He then poured the crackers on a napkin and ate them. His lack of an arm did not slow him down. And, while that’s inspiring, oh, how I wish he had a mom that could help this small child understand that he doesn’t have to attempt life on his own—that he has someone in his corner to help open the crackers and to cheer him on as he learns to succeed in this world.
I also saw a smiley girl who enjoyed giving others a swift kick in the pants, literally. She surprised me with an impressive kick to my backside (which, by the way, drew the ire of my protective young son, who had once wanted to kick me himself). I explained to my son that she was excited and wanted attention from others but didn’t understand the difference between good and bad attention yet. This precious girl needs a mom and dad to show that she is valuable as she is and doesn’t need to seek out attention in destructive ways. She needs to be shown that people are not for hurting. She needs a family to walk the long road of developing her confidence.
And, then there’s Randall. Randall is an older child who is close to aging out and losing the option of a forever family. He was such an older brother figure to the younger kids, holding and caring for them. But, he is still a kid. I saw him attempt a practical joke handshake (with ice in his hand) with a volunteer. He needs a dad to teach him about hand buzzers. He needs a mom and dad to affirm his brotherly love toward others while allowing Randall to be a kid who gets taken care of—not the other way around.
These kids have come from difficult situations, and their lives are a reflection of the pain that comes from the lack of a caring, permanent family. They can be immature. They can be difficult. They can find joy in slapping.
And that’s why we do Kids Camp. Kids need love. They need families. We believe in the power of God to transform lives and to work miracles through the hard work of families who believe that children are worth fighting for.
These kids are worth fighting for. Their Creator already made that clear when He died for their souls.
So, would I walk this journey again? In a heartbeat.
Because he’s my son. And, he’s worth fighting for. My son and I may have been broken, but God is rebuilding; my son and I may have been wounded, but God is redeeming. He is molding me and transforming me into His image through this journey, and He is creating beauty in our relationships. God places the lonely in families and never leaves them.
Are you ready to join the fight for vulnerable children?
Find more information about International Adoption here on our website.
P.S. For those of you wondering, our son stopped slapping, and it has been a beautiful journey to watch God knit our hearts together in attachment over our four years home. And, these days we have lots of rainbows and butterflies.
Written by Jenny Riddle, Lifeline Adoptive Mom & Communications Coordinator