Home, what is home you might ask? For many people there are different definitions of what home means to them. For some, home could mean the house you live in, or home meaning a place to go to after being away for awhile. There are many different meanings of home for many different people. But for me, home means one thing.
At this time in my life, my family and I are getting to experience what it is like to move. We sold our house and now we are looking into having to buy a new one. There are many emotions that we did not realize we were going to feel having gotten into this. Throughout the whole situation, we have dealt with happiness, stress, sadness, and much more. But, through it all we have decided to stick together, and lean on one another.
When looking for a new home it can be exciting. You get to pick out your room and decorate it. You get to furnish it and put everything in its proper place. You also get to envision what it will be like when you have friends and family over. Sitting near the fire or having a nice dinner all together talking about the many joys that happened that day.
Once all that excitement is settled and you have to start packing up your old house, you realize that you have to leave some things behind. Like, memories and laughter that you have shared for so long in a home. For me I grew up in this house. I have never really experienced what it is like to leave things behind. After a while the happiness starts to fade away as you realize you have to move on.
But over the time of packing and spending these last few months in my home, I realized that the house is not what makes it my home. It’s the things beneath the brick and stone that leave marks and memories that will last a life time. It’s the time you spend together with your family and enjoy their company. So for me it is not the house that makes it my home, it is the people that I share life with everyday. It’s the memories, through the happy and the sad. Home for me is not a house, home is my family.
“What is different about parenting children that have been adopted as opposed to biological children?”
My wife and I are the parents of two wonderful, incredible children who we adopted internationally. Our 12 year old son was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia at the age of 21 months, and our 4 year old daughter was adopted from Guatemala City, Guatemala at the age of 7 months. I have often been asked, “What is different about parenting children that have been adopted as opposed to biological children?” It’s a question that, to be perfectly honest, I have struggled to answer myself on many occasions. Since my wife and I don’t have any biological children, we can’t really provide a first-hand comparison, but can only compare our parenting experiences to those of our friends who have biological children.
Often, when dealing with behavioral , emotional, or spiritual issues with our children, I have to stop and ask myself, “Is this an issue that has its roots in the emotional and spiritual effects of being adopted, or is it simply the normal, challenging behavior of ANY child of this age?” With over 10 years of experience in raising adopted children, some things are fairly easy to determine which category they fall into, but there are many more times when it is NOT so obvious. So in some ways, raising adopted children is no different than raising your own biological children – much of the time, we as parents are clueless and somewhat at a loss for answers!! Seriously though, regardless of the birth origin of your children, we have to pray and seek God for the wisdom we need to deal with each specific challenge that we face.
With that said, there are a few things that from our experience, we can say for certain are unique challenges faced by adoptive parents. On a very practical level, if you have ANY information on the health profile of one or both of the birth parents, it is usually very limited. So those annual child visits to the doctor become interesting, because you just don’t know you child’s family medical history. From an emotional and spiritual perspective, adoptive parents will certainly have to deal with some abandonment and mistrust issues along the way. We’ve heard from numerous adult adoptees, who all say that there has not been a single day in their life that they haven’t had at least a passing thought of wondering who their birth parents were, and why their parent(s) gave them up for adoption. This is an issue that requires constant attention, and as a result, adoptive children need constant and consistent affirmation that they are loved, valued and important. ALL children need that of course, but adopted children need it 10x more, because of the sense of abandonment and loss that they already feel due to their history. The last unique challenge I will mention for adoptive parents, is one that is near to our hearts – neurotransmitter and sensory issues. This is an entire field of study in the adoption community, because it is so prevalent in children that are adopted out of orphanages or are removed from their birth parents due to abuse or neglect. Children with these issues are FAR too often mis-diagnosed by the educational and medical communities as being children with ADD/ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), and a host of other “conditions”, OR as just being rebellious, difficult children. In fact, many times, it’s simply that the chemical levels in their brain and/or the functioning of their sensory systems are out of whack. There are numerous clinics that offer specialized treatment for neurotransmitter and sensory issues, often involving nutritional supplements and altered or special diets. We have had firsthand experience with this subject, and can tell you that finding one of these clinics has saved us untold grief and suffering in raising our two children.
So, in conclusion, what’s so different about raising adopted children? In some ways, parenting doesn’t change – children need love, security, consistent discipline, and parents that model through their own lives what they teach and expect. However, there are a few, but very critical areas that require special attention and awareness, and can present some unique challenges – emotional insecurity and distrust, abandonment issues, and neurotransmitter/sensory issues. For any adoptive parents wanting more information on any of these subjects, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to introduce you to Paul and Diane Anderson.
They are leaders of a parenting LifeTeam for adopted children in Family Life ministries at Covenant Church. Paul and Diane have two beautiful adopted children. Their 12 year old son Alex was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia at the age of 21 months. Their 4 year old daughter Mandy was adopted from Guatemala City, Guatemala at the age of 7 months.
Paul and Diane have a deep passion in connecting orphan children with Christian families. Because of this passion, they created a ministry called H.E.R.O. (Helping Every Rescued Orphan)
H.E.R.O.’s vision is to see every orphaned child find a Christian family to call their own, and to support, train and encourage foster and adoptive families through the unique challenges they face.
H.E.R.O.’s mission is to:
(1) Raise awareness of the God given mandate to “care for the orphans”
(2) Provide information and resources to couples and individuals interested in fostering or adopting
(3) Provide support and encouragement to couples and individuals as they walk through the fostering and/or adoption process
(4) Provide support, training, and encouragement to help couples and individuals through the lifelong journey of foster/adoptive parenting.
We are excited to announce Paul and Diane will be guest post writers for Effective Parenting. Their articles will address many of the H.E.R.O.’s mission topics listed above. For those of you who’ve adopted children, you will benefit greatly from Paul and Diane’s experience and extensive research in behavioral, emotional, and spiritual challenges.
Please welcome Paul and Diane to Effective Parenting.
Blooper…never knew it would be so tough to do an introductory video! We strive to have a great time together. Family can be fun!
Words: Placide Cappeau
Music: Adolphe-Charles Adam
- O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
- It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
- Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
- ‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
- A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
- For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
- Fall on your knees! O hears the angels’ voices!
- O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
- O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
- Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
- With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
- So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
- Here come the wise men from Orient land.
- The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
- In all our trials born to be our friend.
- He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
- Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
- Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
- Truly He taught us to love one another;
- His law is love and His gospel is peace.
- Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
- And in His name all oppression shall cease.
- Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise us,
- Let all within us praise His holy name.
- Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
- His power and glory evermore proclaim.
- His power and glory evermore proclaim.
Merry Christmas from the Cheek family