When I think back over the trials and challenges our marriage has sustained over the past sixteen years of adoptive parenting, two things stand out as vital to the success of our marriage and family–prayer and fun. When things got tough and we could not figure out why our typical parenting strategies were not working, my husband and I started pointing fingers and blaming each other. I thought his strict disciplinary stance was the cause of our daughter’s behavioral issues. He thought my soft, caring heart was the problem. We quickly found ourselves on opposite sides of a boxing ring defending ourselves and our positions. Our marriage had never endured such a trial and we were miserable.
Thankfully, after a short period of opposition, we decided to take off our boxing mitts, join hands and fight for our family together. We sought the Lord and began to pray every evening for help and direction. We turned to a mentor couple and they prayed with us and shared how we had spiritual authority over our children. This was a turning point in our marriage, family and daughter’s healing. Two parents, united, plus the Lord, turned our frustration into hope.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)
Despite renewed hope, life did not turn around immediately. At the time, we were living in a foreign country with few resources. We did not know we had adopted a child who had endured trauma and came to us with an invisible suitcase filled with pain, memories and lies about herself and others. We sought help, changed many of our ways of thinking, learned new parenting tools and tweaked the way we were engaging our daughter.
Our situation got better, but there were still plenty of hard times, ups and downs and cycles of stability followed by challenges. Life was messy and imperfect, but after grieving for the life we had hoped for, we decided to have fun. What could it hurt to inject a little humor and fun into our life? When temper tantrums occurred, we made silly faces at each other. We exaggerated our responses, winked, and blew kisses to each other over the chaos. We had words with hidden meanings and a secret mom and dad language. In the midst of trauma we endured, and our faith and marriage grew stronger.
Do you need help getting on the same team, adjusting your parenting and finding tools, techniques and strategies that work with adopted children?
Contact me for a free consultation, to see if we can work together to bring fun and hope to your situation!