I might have mentioned a while back I saw someone had asked the question, "What books would constitute a good reading list for parenting a child from hard places?" I have lots of books about the why and some about the how, but what I felt was missing was the hope. I wasn't aware of any books that told the story of a family with a child from a hard place, who had been through the mess and ugliness, and had come out on the other side successfully.
Well, I have finally found that book! It is called God, Are You Nice or Mean? Trusting God... After the Orphanage by Debra Delulio Jones. Oh, how I wish I had come across this book two years ago, it could have offered me a little glimmer of hope when I was feeling fresh out of the commodity. It tells the story of a family who brings home a little two year old from a Romanian orphanage. Things start out fine, with the child exhibiting some difficult behaviors, but two and three year olds can have their difficult moments. The difficulties don't go away as the boy grows, but get bigger and more difficult to manage, finally coming to a head when their older daughter throws out the ultimatum that she can't live like this and it's her or her brother. The family then enters into an intense home therapy regime directed by Dr. Karyn Purvis (though at this point, she was still working on that doctorate). The ending of the book, with the boy addressing when she recounts he son standing in front of a group of adoptive parents at conference and telling them that he was there because his mother never gave up on him and urging the parents seated before him to never give up on their own children.
While the family in the book went through difficulties that exceeded what we have experienced, I could identify with everything described... the feelings of fear, hopelessness, frustration, anger, and feeling utterly abandoned by God. Any little bit of hope during those times was a priceless gift. If you are currently living in that pit, I urge you to get a copy of this book. It is short and can easily be read in just a few retreats to the bathroom. Let it be that little glimmer of hope to get you through the next moment or two.
I'll offer my own little glimmer of hope as well. We are in a much better place than some of those dark, dark days of last year. We have seen improvements. We have seen real hope that the future can be a brighter place than we thought it would. I would never call our life calm or easy, but things are better. Connecting with your child so that they are able to feel your love really does work.
Soli Deo Gloria