Forever. Adoption is forever. Forever and ever. Amen. Commitment, permanency, and forever seem to be fading ideals in our world, but adoption was meant to stick. Family is forever, no matter what. Having and keeping a forever adoptive family is not a difficult task, but it does require being intentional about a few things.
- Creative parenting is key.
Creative love, creative words, creative discipline, creative bonding experiences; creativity all the way around. Our house is a free for all, and that means we do what works. Some days it means time outs, some days it means time ins, some days it means wrestling with daddy before bed, some days it means a quiet book before bed, some days it means adventuring outside all day, some days it means making a tape road through the entire house and driving Hot wheel cars from one end to the other. As I am typing this, I am thinking that this doesn’t sound intentional at all, however, the intent lies in the creativity.
- You must know your child.
Study them, talk to them, get to know them, and remember what you learn. Our 5-year-old son is starting to recognize the fact that we love getting to know him, and it brings a smile to my heart when I see him figure that out. When I bring his favorite snack to preschool pick up or when his dad finds a job they can do together that he knows our son will enjoy, that is showing him how much he matters to us and how valuable he is to our family.
- Be available.
Continually. Every second of every day. Forever. Kids need to know you are there and always will be. Adopted kids need to know it just as much and sometimes, even more. Make it known, and if you ever fail, apologize and don’t fail again. Bedtime at our house is a nightmare, every single night. We have a 5-year-old adopted son with Sensory Processing Disorder, a 3-year-old adopted daughter and a 1-year old biological son. Bedtime is a nightmare. Did I say that already? Being available at bedtime is a necessity, and they want us right there, every single night. Read me a book mommy, lay with me daddy, sing a beautiful song to me mommy, tickle my back daddy, don’t leave until I’m asleep mommy. It is a challenge, but we have become very aware, after about four years of our own ignorance, that their little hearts and minds need to know that we will be there whenever they need us.
- Take every opportunity to bind your hearts together.
This past summer I read an article titled ‘Take the trip.’ I immediately sent it to my husband with pictures of beach resorts soon to follow. He came home from work and sighed a big, stressful sigh but then hugged me and said, “Of course, we will take the trip.” He’s awesome like that. We adopted our daughter in June and we took the trip in September. We had no money, seriously, but it was the best trip we have ever taken as a family. We stayed on the beach with my in-laws, and we relaxed, beached, pooled, and slept. We didn’t run to the aquarium, we didn’t eat out, we didn’t go to the gift shop every day. It was marvelous, and it was just another experience that imprinted our love on their little hearts and minds. Take the trip, friends, make memories that they will not forget.
- Be intentional.
Be intentional in your love, studying, availability and bonding. Intent. Give them your best and forever is sure to be yours.