Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reading Update: Twenty Things

It was required reading several years ago while pursuing one of our adoptions. I picked it up, skimmed it, put it down. And then repeated this scenario numerous times over the years. This book isn't an "easy" read; it isn't for the most part enjoyable. Yet having finally completed it from cover to cover I can say with certainty that any parent who has experienced the blessing of adoption needs to accept the responsibility of reading what Sherrie has to say.

While not every scenario will apply to every child and family, I am positive that one or two (or more) will someday appear, even if only for a season. It has been almost eleven years since we received our first beautiful child through adoption and five kids later, I can attest that adoption issues and conversations ebb and flow through our family life. Occasionally there is a peak where our children really need to talk some things out. This book helps us as parents to be sensitive to those times, be aware of the signals, and better prepared to know what to say.

Just as an example, we have personally found number seven of the "Twenty Things" to be very important. It simply states, "I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family." Just prior to this, number six is, "Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean that I don't think about them." As I've mentioned in prior posts, adoption conversations happen when we least expect them! But there are other times when we can take the lead and help our children feel free to verbalize what they are feeling inside.

The one thing I would add is that while I believe as wise and caring parents we need to educate ourselves about these possible needs, as Christian parents we need to remind our kids that any special need - be it related to adoption or otherwise - does not define them. My prayer has always been that my children will not find their identity in their adoption stories, nor in their MK experience, nor being part of a transracial family (though all of these will influence who they become) but that they will find their true identity as children of God through salvation in Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

Brad and Carrie said...

I'll have to take a look at this one. It's good for me to think through these things more and more as Makaria gets older. I feel really humbled at trying to answer these questions. So thankful that we have a God who will fold us in and keep us. Thanks for pushing me think through some of the issues that might pop up even in the next year or so.