How Adoption (mine and his) Redefined My Parenting…

In the last couple of years,
God has completely turned my view of parenting upside down.
You see, with adoption, you have to be very intentional about the way you parent.
Right from the start, you are parenting a broken child.
For them to be in the situation to be adopted, there is hurt, loss, and pain.
And depending on their specific situation, they could be extremely fragile.

Littles that come from hard places will have a much more difficult time if you are not willing to adjust your parenting style for the purpose of attaching and healing.

Attachment may not be something you have had to think about in your parenting,
but it is something that I think about everyday.
Every. Single. Day.

Attachment simply means how my heart attaches to your heart.

My desire to understand attachment started with our adoption, then we saw the benefits of it as we sought wisdom to better disciple Alex, and even our marriage counselor has taught Keith and I ways to protect our own hearts and each others hearts.  Heart connection consumes my thinking.  (Just ask my friends.)

The more I learn to parent Miles through the filter of attaching my heart to his heart, the more God reveals to me about the way He parents me.

Just as Miles came to me with hurts, sickness and a heart longing
to be loved, to be chosen, to be part of a forever family,
I come to God the exact same way.

I am a complete mess.
I am broken, selfish, sinful and in desperate need of someone to heal my hurts.
And it was God’s plan all along to do just that.

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family
by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  That is what He wanted to do,
and it gave Him great pleasure
{Ephesians 1:5}

What better person to learn how to parent an adopted child than from the One who created me, pursues me, loves me and adopted me?

I am watching God pick up all the pieces of the last several years and literally fit them together like a puzzle.  And I am overwhelmed.  He is so good!

A few months ago, I was in a meeting and the question was asked,
“Do you want to go to the Father after you’ve sinned? If not, why?”
God immediately connected this question with a simple correction strategy that I learned in my adoption training 5 years ago.

Dr. Karyn Purvis taught us the importance of drawing your children closer to you when they misbehave or are simply struggling.  When my kids mess up, if my first reaction is to send them away (go to your room, go sit in time-out), that could communicate that they need to leave my presence until they can behave.  But, if I draw them close so I can be near them (come sit by me, come here), I can better help them correct the behavior and they leave without feeling shame and better connected.  To think that the way I parent my boys gives them a glimpse into the character of God is amazing and heavy all at the same time.

This has me sifting all my parenting ‘instincts’ through scripture and really evaluating what it communicates about God’s character.  God is redefining my role as a parent.  I want to parent my children the way God parents me.  

God’s Word, from beginning to end, is the story of His pursuit of us and His love for us.  He has always desired to dwell with us, to have a relationship with us, to have our hearts.

My desire is that both of my boys will know that God is crazy about them, that He deeply loves them, and there is absolutely nothing they can do to keep God from pursuing their hearts.


Published October 30, 2014