Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis and Michael Monroe talk about the importance of meeting your child’s needs with an appropriate balance of nurture and structure in order to prepare them for success later in life.
“Who are you?” I remember thinking this unthinkable thought as I looked into the face of my young son only a few years into our life together as an adoptive family. He did not share my DNA but he was every bit ‘mine.’ Yet while we were both made in the image of the same God, I was becoming aware that we were two very different reflections.
In that moment I began to be confronted by much of what I had brought into the journey of adoptive parenting – most significantly my expectations about my child and how this journey would unfold. In reality I hardly knew my son, still that did not stop me from creating expectations about the things he would like and how he would act and think. On top of that, I expected that the adoption path God had led us down would be relatively easy and straightforward once we were home. I convinced myself that adoption was little more than a historical fact of how we came to be, rather than an ongoing reality of the journey that lay ahead.
When most children get hurt or become afraid, they go to a parent. After all, parents are the ones who protect children and keep them safe from danger. They are the ones who comfort children when they are afraid. For these children it’s a simple equation: mom and dad are safe and I can trust them to help me so I will go to them.
But things aren’t always that simple for children with histories of early harm such as trauma, abuse, neglect, or relinquishment. Their life experiences impact them in any number of important ways, often making them prone to prolonged states of fear and a limited ability to trust. Instead of going to their parents for help or comfort, these children often run from them, push them away, or shut them out.