Learning to communicate is hard work. Coming into a family with no social cues…none…zip…nada, no understanding of proper emotional expressions (laughing when your hurt or others are sad, etc…), no understanding of responding to people only mimicking and reacting, no vocabulary to express words even if you were able…this and so much more has been an on-going battle, battle, battle, victory, battle, loss, battle, battle, slight victory, loss, battle, victory cycle.

Last night, K refused to obey and had to go to bed with Mama earlier than usual. This morning, she again refused to obey, but she used words instead of screams…HUGE VICTORY…even though her words were, “No, no ‘bey!” (Translation: No obey!) Yes, this parenting thing is HARD, but oh so worth it.

Little by little her true self is unlocking. While I may never know everything hidden in her heart and mind, I am a student of her, one desperate to learn what I need to know to parent her well.

God has taught me so many lessons throughout our adoption journey. Today as I reflect on how much time goes into learning and teaching children, I recognize that my Heavenly Father has already invested everything in me. He knows me intimately. My thoughts before they are spoken, my needs before they arise.

The gaping hole in our relationship isn’t on His part. He has provided everything I need for me to know Him and know Him well. Too often, I am that adopted child who is happy to be a part of a family that feeds me, but I want to keep a part of me separate. I don’t even understand what my needs are, but I want to meet them. I don’t want to have to rely on or trust in anyone else. Others bring disappointment and pain, so I will build a wall and protect myself.

I see it in my children all the time. The adoptive phrase that keeps replaying in my mind is “felt safety.” A child won’t trust you to meet their needs (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual) unless they feel safe in your presence. And it isn’t about REAL safety, but what is perceived safe by that child.

Unfortunately, I see this in myself as well. Ultimately, I fail to seek out and really know God, because I am so used to what my eyes tell me, what I perceive to be true, that I don’t trust Him to care for me completely. I don’t trust that He will really do what is best for me. I have a picture of what safety looks like and I am not confident that He’s picture is the same. And, if it isn’t the same, is it really good, is it safe? Lack of trust, lack of faith, lack of intimacy.

As I watch my daughters learn to trust us more, to feel safe in our presence, I am reminded that my Heavenly Father desires the same from me. It turns out that communication isn’t nearly as hard to learn as trust. I want my girls to learn to trust us as parents, as those who know how best to meet their needs. Am I demonstrating that same level of trust when it comes to God?

~ Regina

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