Strengthening the strong

Monday, May 10, 2010

Many adoptive parents (myself included) spend hours praying for, talking about and researching ways that they can best help the children who have come to them through adoption.  So many of these children have had traumatic pasts and are hurting emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.  It is appropriate and right to pray, seek counsel and pour one's self into the training and up-bringing of these precious little ones.

But, I have also realized that I need to be attentive to the one(s) who does not seem to be so needy, who has not had a traumatic past and who is strong emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.

In our family, Adam is a precious gift of strength to every member.  He is kind, generous, giving, thoughtful, and mature in His love for the Lord and others.  When asked if there is anything that he needs, he will honestly say that he truly doesn't need the attention that some of the other children need.  He is happy, grateful and content.

Now, I am extremely grateful for Adam's maturity in this response.  But, I don't fully accept his answer.  And it's not because it isn't true.  Actually, I think that it is.  He was our first child and was given oodles of attention!  He's got lots of it stored up inside of him. 

But, I also know that in order for Adam to stay strong, he must continually be nurtured, encouraged, and shown that he is loved and valued for who he is.  The most important way that this will happen is for us to continue to teach Adam that his value comes from who he is in the Lord.  He is a treasure in God's eyes, and as Adam daily comes to Jesus for refreshment and love, he truly doesn't need the same sort of attention from others (even his parents~!).

But, because we are his parents, and because we represent the Father in his life, we WANT to show Adam how much he is valued and loved by us.  He is just so much fun, and we love him with all of our hearts, so we want to do special things for him even if he doesn't appear to be particularly needy.

One of the fun things that we have done for the past couple of years is to have a Friday night party with Adam (thank you Meredith for this great idea).  When all of the other children are asleep, we get Adam up out of bed (sometimes this is quite a process, as he is a heavy sleeper!), and we bring him into our room.  We chat, and often have fun snacks.  We spend a half-an-hour or so simply loving on this boy who is constantly showing so much love to others.  It is a blast!  And Adam is so grateful to have this special time together.

This time, Adam's eyes were open, but sometimes we have to wake him up with chocolate!

There was a lot of laughing on this particular night.

Oh, how I love that smile!

Are there things that you have done to encourage your children when they are doing great?!  What are ways that you strengthen your children who are already strong?  I'd love to hear them!

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Gwen said...

This is something I think about a lot. Like you, I have some kids who are not as needy and are typically more content.
Something that we try to do is to give each of our kids one on one time (like you mentioned).
For awhile we were planning individual weekend "dates" with our kids.
Each Saturday, we would go out to lunch (with a different child) and let the child choose where to go, etc. This was great!
But there are also many cheaper ways to spend quality time together-- our boys love playing catch in the backyard or just going for a ride with mom and dad.
This one on one time is precious! We need to get back into that routine!
Thanks for the post! I'm interested to hear what other people have to say!

Cari said...

awe what sweet memories you all will have! you're right about not neglecting the ones that are not as needy. spending quality and quantity time with our children on an individual basis and as the entire family is something my husband and i are always to do it better and more consistent.

Difference2This1 said...

What a great (and fun!) idea to make him feel special!! Morgan being the only non-adopted one seems to get a bit less attn in public by others no therapies, no gushes over cuteness, no questions about heritage, etc, etc), but she is a pretty "needy" girl; it doesn't make her older sister happy, but we mandate bedtimes by "grade" not age to give Morgan a few minutes of individual time with us. 5th graders go to bed at 9:30, 3rd graders at 9:00 and K'ers at 8:00. It works for now anyway :)

Anonymous said...

You are too cute, Adam! Well, the biggest thing I do with the kiddos is encouraging them. I love the prophetic encouragement....speaking what I see them to be in the future. So, with Elijah I am always telling him he is a warrior for God, like David was in the Bible. And then when he does something that IS warrior like I encourage him in it..and when he does something not so warrior like, I can remind him that maybe that wasn't how a warrior for God would act, and I know that that is who he wants to be. I think it really encourages him to live up that image! For Caleb, I am encouraging him to be a leader in the Lord....that is difficult for him, but I think if I speak it over him, it helps encourage him to be courageous, even when it might be hard for him.

Also, anytime the boys do something that is praiseworthy, noble, difficult etc....I totally praise them for it, and tell them how I can see them responding to the Lord, because of the way they were acting. Like tonight, Caleb did SO many dishes with such a great I told him I could really see that the time at the prayer house was affecting his heart...that it was obvious, because of his actions!

Wow..this is long, and I'm not going to re-read it and check for hopefully it's understandable.

The Wednesday Poet said...

I worry about this same thing with Ethan. At least for now (and in the recent past), he's been the least needy of the kids. When it was just Hannah and Ethan, I felt that the neediness seemed to rotate between the two about every 6 months. This past year, Hannah (although in Japan), has definitely been needy. And of course Joshua, being a baby and with special needs--is absolutely needy. Ethan has just sort of self-maintained in all of this. I even feel like Ethan might get less prayers (if not from us, then certainly from friends and family). I find that it is hard to manage even my mental concerns for three children (I marvel at how you do it with 5!). I think that the one thing that has always really helped Ethan is that gymnastics has always been important to him. It keeps him mentally well-balanced and he is surrounded by a great group of young men, who he has known since he was about 6 years old. His gymnastics coach is like a third parent. So as long as Ethan knows that we will keep his gym time a priority, then he is happy. And the commute to and from gymnastics always provides a good time for one on one discussions with Ethan. He is a deep thinker and tends to open up on car rides. We also both like to hike and I try to still go on hikes with Ethan. He really likes to have deep discussions on walks.

It is really hard to stay in touch with teens in general. Someone once told me that when your teen talks to you (even if it is at 3:00 am), you should take the time to listen. So I do that as much as i can.

I like your idea of waking up Adam for special time on Fridays. I am certain Adam knows how very much he is loved. I bet he also enjoys how much the other kids must look up to him. I know that Ethan really just glows from how little Josh looks up to him now. When Ethan comes how from school, Josh lights up and he is just content to sit at Ethan's feet while Ethan eats a snack. I never knew before how Ethan would benefit from the love of a brother!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh I learn so much from you. What a very special idea. My son was this way also and he is 26 years old now and is still this way. His saying to me for many years has been,"It's all good Momma". I don't always buy it either......he will remember these special times always.

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