Monday, June 13, 2011

Reluctant Husband Syndrome: Question 9


What if we adopt someone who harms or abuses our other children?

None of the other questions in this series cuts my heart like this one.  Clearly there are some of you reading this post who have first-hand experience with this issue.  I do not. 

But for those who do, whether you are right in the middle of a situation or are dealing with the aftermath of a painful episode, I want to pray for you.

Precious and mighty Father, we place our entire trust into your hands.  Give great wisdom to the parents who have experienced their adopted child harming or abusing their other children.  Meet them where they are right now, in that place of hurt and pain.  Bring healing and wholeness in the areas where it’s needed.  Bring your presence into the situation.  Bring your hope and peace to the entire family.  Thank you, that when we throw our hands up in surrender, you catch us and act!  We love you and we trust you with our very lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

All four of our adopted children have not harmed or abused any of their siblings.  Of course, we adopted all of them while they were very young (except for Haven, whom we got just weeks before she turned eight).  I say this because those adopted children who act out hurtfully toward the other kids are usually older than the other children are, though that’s not always the case.

Why do some adopted kids behave this way?  Think of it this way.  Why don’t MORE adopted kids behave this way, in light of what they endure in orphanages or foster homes?  Things like sexual abuse (from fondling to repeated rape), orphan trafficking, drug abuse, severe neglect, emotional rejection, starvation, deprivation of proper shelter and clothing, mind games, institutional incarceration, slavery, battery, and even mutilation and torture.

Not to mention those who experience these things from their own parents before they are institutionalized.  For example, in one Eastern European country, only 10% of orphans are institutionalized because their parents are deceased.  All the rest suffer from their parents' abandonment, effects of alcoholism, and a wide range of domestic abuse.

In the very least, there is no telling how deep the wounds of a little heart run because they simply have no mommy or daddy. 

As such, it is extremely difficult to find data on what percentage of orphans worldwide have suffered some form of abuse compared to those who have not.  How can one possibly measure that? 

It’s the same as when you fly to a country to adopt, and you find out quickly there’s something wrong here—your new child has a medical or psychological condition that wasn’t on the doctor’s report!  Just as it’s next to impossible to gather statistics with these matters, so it is with abuse.

But you know what?  Yes, there can be issues.  But if you were to become involved in the adoption community through blogs, chat groups, and forums, you will find that in most cases, a child you bring home will not harm or abuse your other children.  And this absolutely amazes me. 

No person can fathom how far-reaching God’s arms are to these little ones who had no life before someone like you decided you would be their mommy or daddy.  That’s why it is so important that more believers answer the call from God to work WITH HIM. 

As we surrender our lives to our Lord, THIS is a very tangible way He puts us to work for His kingdom.

Do you hear the call?

Do you have what it takes, which is simply a willing heart?

Will you move headlong toward risk for the sake of His glorious kingdom?  


  1. Morning Anthony - yeah - this one was a tough one for us. No - we are Blessed that we have had no 'first hand' knowledge of sibling abuse - save the occasional 'bite' from the youngers to the olders...but it's something that we have looked at long and hard - and yes - even the 'bites'. Here's the deal....

    The 'experts' tell us that when kids 'act out' with violence it's because they are responding from one of two places - anger or fear.

    But I beg to differ with them - Anger - is fear. Or more correctly - it's a response to fear. If you think about that one for a minute - and then look at when you are angry - you'll see it's a response to fear. For example - you are afraid a child will get hurt doing something - running into traffic - and you 'bark at them'. You are afraid that a child will damage something - and you bark at them. You are afraid that a child will hurt a sibling doing something - and you bark at them. You are afraid that there won't be enough money at the end of the month to pay those bills and you bark at whoever just spent some money! It's all a response to fear.

    As a parent it's important for us to get in the kids perspective to see 'why' they did 'what' they did. (It took me a long time as a bio parent to learn this one.)

    That's more important for an adoptive parent - but the problem is - all the unknowns from our childs life 'before adoption'.

    And so - IMHO (and I'm NOT one of 'those experts') - if we can learn what our child is 'afraid' of - and respond to that in a way that meets their fear head on and eliminates (or at least lessens) that fear - then the 'acting out' behavior will stop on it's own.

    Tall order - and I can't tell you how to find yoour childs fear - but I can tell you that in my experience - once you look for it - you'll see it readily!

    Nice work bro -


  2. Amen. Listening and praying on our journey. We need a bigger house! Thank you for your words, encouragement and faithfulness and teaching.


  3. Having adopted a child that was physically and emotionally hurting their younger siblings I can tell you this situation does happen. When you see such a young child in this sort of pain and with such rage you do have to wonder what in the world happened to this child for such anger and rage to exist... how much pain this child endures and still holds in their own heart that makes them want to make all those that love them hurt the same way they hurt.
    However I would still love to adopt again given the opportunity... and we are grateful that we were able to help a child escape from that environment, even though we had to remove her from our home. We are glad that we listened to God's promptings and still feel that we did what we were supposed to do to help... though it was not the role we thought we would play... as of course we thought we would be forever as a family.

  4. Thank you, Anonymous, for this comment. God bless you for your role in that child's life.

  5. Thanks, Rach, for YOUR encouragement. You are a real blessing.

    And speaking of blessing, Aus, you've once again blessed me and so many out there who read your comments. Thank you for your sensitivity and your wisdom!

  6. Thank you, for all the comments, and the post.

  7. Anthony will you pray for my husband's heart to soften? I have been praying for the Lord to break my husband's heart for the orphan. My husband just turned 50 and thinks he's "too old" to start over. Our youngest just graduated from high school, we have a two year old granddaughter and my mama heart is not through raising and loving babies of my own.

    His name is PHil.

    Thank you so much!

    Blessings to you and ADeye

  8. FHF, it would be an honor to talk to the Father about your husband. Trust God, continue to wait patiently, and He'll come through with His will! Thank you for your honesty.

  9. Hi Anthony,
    This is a great post, hard for many parent's to read even if you've never had to experience this type of situation. My heart breaks for families that go through this.

    Thank you also for praying for my family.

  10. This was a biggie for us going into our second adoption, knowing that we'd be adopting an older child. Thankfully we turned the care over to our Father who heard our pleas and blessed us with a very caring big sister!

    I've been paging through your blog... love it. Now to go prod my husband with that broom you mentioned...


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