Welcome to those of you who are visiting my blog after reading the Proverbs 31 devotion for today, "I'm Not Good as New."
I wrote that devotion after breaking electric clippers. But there's something else that's "broken" in my life, and I've haven't written about it ... until today.
Recently I've acknowledged I've been hurt and changed by something. I didn't admit it for years because, honestly, I thought it shouldn't have bothered me. I thought I should have been strong enough to handle this situation. Especially being a mature Christian. I'm now ready to admit I've been damaged, and need healing.
Five years ago, my husband and I adopted two little girls from Liberia, Africa. We knew it would be difficult We expected our daughters to have significant challenges and thought we were ready to deal with them. We knew our precious girls would be damaged, we just didn't expect we would be too as a result of helping them.
Our oldest daughter has a cognitive disability. It took four years of helping her in every way we knew to help. Finally, with professional testing, we identified that her learning and language challenges went deeper than just needing to "catch up." That was an uphill climb, and hearing your daughter is mildly retarded was hard. We never expected to be the parents of a special needs child.
Yet that experience was easy compared to what we are going through with our youngest daughter. After five years of dealing with frustrating behavior that doesn't make sense and symptoms that didn't seem connected, she has just been diagnosed with something called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She doesn't have some of the most dramatic symptoms, which is why it took so long to diagnose. The "problem" isn't all with our daughter. The therapist said that parents of children with RAD show symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
We can understand. We've had five years of not knowing what she was going to do next, always being on edge, and on top of it all, feeling guilty because of our reactions and our seeming inability to emotionally help this child entrusted to us.
I understand why people don't talk about what has hurt them. Although we've shared bits and pieces of our challenges, we never shared the depth. It's embarrassing to admit you can't handle something on your own. People can be judgemental - especially about parents and children. I had a friend adopting from Africa and I didn't want her to worry about her adoption. My reasons for keeping this to myself were varied.
I'm choosing today to write about it because of this devotion. And I'm actually happy to say we just started therapy this week. We'll start with me, my husband and daughter, and expand it to include the rest of the family. We've also discovered a support group for parents of children with RAD.
This experience has changed me. And I know I need help to recover. But in reality, we waited too long to deal with it. We just kept thinking we could figure it out on our own. We felt overwhelmed by circumstances and unable to think straight at times. Believe me when I say we've been praying desperate prayers for years.
Even though God hasn't miraculously healed our daugthers (or us), I believe with all my heart that He wants to bring emotional healing to every member of our family. I don't believe we'll be totally healed until heaven, but God will not leave us broken until then. I'm not sure how He'll do it, but I trust Him. I'm just at the start of my healing journey and I would appreciate your prayers for both my daughters and my family.
Today, I'd also like to pray for you. My guess is you've been carrying a burden and a brokenness you've never shared. Perhaps you've shared a bit of your problem but not the emotional damage it's done to you. I'm finding freedom in being honest about how hard this is. And I want to extend that invitation to you.
Please post anonymously if you would rather not share your name, but please leave a prayer request. How can I pray for you?
I'm standing on James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
In His Love,