As parents, we are entrusted to care for, lead, and shape the lives of our youngsters. At times, it can be really tough work and we can be tempted to think their future and fate rests solely on our own shoulders. Even if we know the right answers, there are lies we can unwittingly start believing. I hope that by confronting them and reminding ourselves of what’s really true, we can be freshly equipped and inspired to parent with love and grace.
1. My kid will think and act like I do
We can’t assume that our kids will think and act in the same ways that we do, especially when they are exposed to different situations than we were.
Even if they were adopted as newborns, your adopted or foster child’s prenatal environment was different than yours was. They were exposed to different chemicals, different stressors, different situations.
If they were adopted as infants or toddlers, how was their life before they joined your family? When they were dirty, did someone clean them up? Did someone care for them when they cried? Did someone talk around them or interact with them?
All of these things shape how our children think, respond, and interact today. They aren’t the end of the story, but they do powerfully shape the story’s beginning.
2. My kid is acting like this because he or she hates me
They might be acting like that because they need to know that you love them. In the 6th session of ROOTED, Dr. Larry Bergstrom notes one of the basic questions in life: “Do you really love me?”
This question can be especially challenging for adopted or foster kids to answer. While your biological kids can just assume you will always be there, the ruptured relationships adopted and foster kids have experienced can make them struggle to believe you will be there for them.
Dr. Bergstrom tells the story of his adopted son, who had fits of inconsolable crying as a toddler. He just needed to be held—he needed to know that they were there, that they loved him, and that they were in control.
3. God’s grace is not enough for me or my kid
We don’t say this one out loud, but it’s easy to live like it’s true.
We can live like God can’t powerfully work to heal the effects of neglect and abuse, but God raised people from the dead and made the blind see (Matthew 11:4-5).
We can live like God’s redemptive plan can’t include the disabilities plaguing our child, when he creates every life with loving foreknowledge (Psalm 139:13-16).
We live like God’s grace isn’t enough for this fight or this disability or this relationship, but God promises that the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8:11) and that He can make all grace abound to you to equip you for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
These lies aren’t listed here to discourage you, but to remind you how good the truth really is. God really does see your situation today, and his grace really is sufficient for you and for your family.