If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Feast of St Joseph.

Today is the Feast of St Joseph, for me a perfect patron for adoptive parents. In a time where to marry a young girl carrying a baby that was not yours was a brave if not fool hardy thing to do. That is exactly what he did and I believe that he went onto love Jesus as if he were his own, teaching him to become a carpenter no doubt as his father taught him. I am a woman of faith, I don't shout about, I am not really the evangelising type, I just try to live my faith -of course I keep my expectations low so that I don't fail on a daily basis.  I enjoy being part of our community and all the support it brings. But my faith doesn't define me, any more than me working part time, being a mother of 4 or being a wife.

However my faith must be part of why I wanted to adopt, for many adoption is the only way they can create a family but for some there is an altruistic reason. We can't necessarily explain why adoption is right for us and do we really need to?? On Sunday as part of the Mothers Day celebration Songs of Praise spoke to Home for Good a charity that aims to make adoption and fostering a significant part of the life and ministry of the Church in the UK. This charity is spreading the word through upto 15000 churches hoping that if just one family in each church adopted that would mean that all those in the system waiting for a "forever" family would have one. A fantastic aim. But the message that is often heard from people of faith is the saving of people. I do sometimes wonder that we are attempting to save these children and that is NOT a reason to adopt. What traumatised children need is security, boundaries and unconditional love not saving. I view God like a loving father, someone who unconditionally loves his children. Even on days that he is cross or disappointed love would still permeate everything that he stands for. But how does this work for children who have been taken into care, they have never received this unconditional love from a parent so how could they comprehend that, that is what God is about. It's possible that they see a wrathful or indifferent God so how can they rely on that to support them when they need help. This is really highlighted in the following paragraph from Donal Neary -  A Lenten Journey

Reflection : No Good News

Some young people knew only pain and meaninglessness. ‘God put me in this world to suffer’ one of them used to say to me regularly. That was the only reasonable explanation for his situation that he could come up with. How could I talk to him about God? Many of them didn’t want to believe in God. The message they got all the time from the society in which they lived, was that they were no good, useless, trouble, unwanted. After a while, a very short while, you come to believe it’s true what they say and think you are no good, useless, unwanted. So, if there is a God, then God too sees them as no good, useless, and unlovable. It’s bad enough to have to go through life being made to feel no good and unwanted, but to have to go through eternity being made to feel no good an unwanted was too much to bear. So the Good News for these young people was that there is no God.

When I read this I was shocked, my experience is so different than the children Donal Neary spoke of and understandably so. I have received unconditional love from my parents, how do we explain what unconditional love is to traumatised children, when they have never experienced it. Not only that but how can we expect them to trust us as adoptive parents when their own parents couldn't love them or take care of them. This is another reminder of how we must always think of the child's perspective and experience.

I really want child 4 to have the same positive experience with God as I have, I want him to be able to question his faith but always rely on it to help him when he needs it. I guess time and experience is what will help. We have a lifetime ahead of us and enough love and understanding within our family and our parish community to provide him with the continuity he needs. I guess I just have to trust in God.

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