Author Archives: Beth Templeton

Adoption: As it was in the Beginning

It all started with prayer really, now that I think back on it. Adoption was not even on my radar that spring night, never had been. Even so, God broke into our world with the call to adoption, despite the fact that we had never even talked about adoption, much less prayed about it. We had actually been praying over the last year about something else. We were asking God to use our family in His kingdom. We wanted more than a Sunday morning faith; we wanted to serve Him—to make a difference.

Looking back I see that those prayers were the womb to receive the seed of adoption; those prayers prepared us not only to hear the call, but also they gave us the courage to say yes.

After that night in 1999 our prayers shifted in a big way. Like an umbilical cord connecting a mother to her child, our prayers attached us in a profound and supernatural way to our new children, creating a conduit for the life source to flow before we even knew boy or girl, one or siblings, domestic or foreign. Long before they came into our arms, our prayers linked us to them.

And over the 16 years since our children came home (turned out there were 4 of them!) the role of prayer it seems to me is even more important than ever. It has morphed from being a womb to receive the call or an umbilical cord to connect and nourish to a weapon to fight battles and a pillow to find rest. For as much as I love and appreciate good parenting, I have found that my prayer life is as practical a parenting tool as any other, and far more powerful!
Likewise, as much as I value “self care” in this long-haul journey we are on, I have recognized that my connection with God through prayer brings more rest and peace to me than I can get anywhere else.

There are also those times when I absolutely need to grab a trusted friend to pray, believing God with me for breakthrough. And in those really tough seasons when I am too exhausted or discouraged to do it myself, I have relied on friends to pray for me.

Most of us began our adoptions in prayer, and I want to encourage us all today to continue on in that same way, “as it was in the beginning…” I love this verse from Galatians:

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! (Galatians 3:1-4 MSG)

When we began our adoption story prayer played an obvious and key role. We rarely turned a page or started a new chapter without it!

So may it be for us in the years after that first trembling decision to adopt. The same God who brought your child home to you and took you through all the obstacles you faced is the very same One who is with you in the car pool line, at the therapist, in the kitchen and bedroom and bath, on the soccer field and at the doctor’s office…. and in those deep deep places of your child’s heart that bear the wounds of relinquishment.

Oh what goodness God has in His heart for us and our families just waiting to be birthed in prayer!!
___________________________________________

Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

You’ve Been Framed

Stephen recently went to the optometrist and came back with new glasses.
His eyes are pretty bad and if it weren’t for new technology he would
totally have the “coke bottle” look. But even so, he ended up returning
the new frames because he found they limited his peripheral vision.

Does that ever happen to you? I mean, you put on a pair of glasses through
which you will view your children, their trauma and adoption story, and
find you cannot see accurately, or you realize your focus is “off”–yeah,
I’m actually talking about me, but I figure you know that!

I am aware that sometimes I pick up unhelpful frames when I look at my
children. If I pick put the frames of criticism, I see that which
disappoints. If I look at my children through the frames of their behavior
in the moment that so often stems from their past traumas, it is easy to
lose my peripheral vision of the truly amazing things God has done in
their lives, and in mine.

But I have these grace frames that I prefer to wear. They are wonderful!

With my grace frames on, I can see accurately and move about freely
without stubbing my toe on some offense or spraining my ankle in some area
of lack.

In grace, I see my child as God sees him. I see with lenses that focus on
what God is doing and has done, rather than what still needs to be done.
My eyes begin to catch the lines of definition in his spirit, enjoying
what God enjoys about this treasured child.

And then I am able to say, “I see you!”–not to call out what is wrong or
missing, but to define and declare what is true. I have the privilege to
define my child, not by his current behavior, nor by his past orphan
status, or even by his present adopted status, but by his identity and
calling.

It is the nature of the enemy to want to capture you in the worst and
weakest moments of your life and then suspend you with that view of
yourself, and to constantly remind you “This is who you are!”–that is why
he is called the accuser.

It is the nature of God to capture you in the victory won by Jesus in His
death, burial and resurrection and suspend you in that view of yourself,
and to constantly remind you “This is who you are!”–that is why He is
called the comforter. (Greg Haswell)

You and I have the unique opportunity to be ones who speak into the
identity and calling of our sons and daughters. That is, we get to
constantly remind them who they are.

We pick out the frames of grace and start our own name-calling campaign!
We refuse to wear the glasses that can only see best what is wrong, what
is weak, what needs ‘fixing.’ Instead, we don those frames that catch each
one in his or her identity in Christ, viewing them as their heavenly
Father views them.

This is powerful parenting.
This is parenting in grace.
This is what love looks like.

___________________________________

Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

Enlarged in the Waiting

I love the Advent season. Advent is all about waiting in anticipation, not just for the presents of Christmas morning, but for the manifestation of God’s presence—the increase of His kingdom, in this world, in our situations, in our hearts, in our homes.

We have done a good bit of waiting over the last 15 years of adoptive parenting.  We have waited for paperwork to be approved, for our children to come home, for proficiency in English, for a new normal for our family, for attachment, for healing, for wholeness, for the replacing of an orphan spirit for the Spirit of Adoption that speaks of sonship.

Our spirits are often full with the promises God has spoken to us. Even as I write, I am filled with the satisfaction of a promise already come to pass as I live out the dream in real life! For, like many of you, our children are home and they are no longer orphans. Oh how wonderful that is!

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But there are some of you reading this who are in the waiting- for-your-child-to-come-home stage; you are facing significant obstacles between you and your child being home. I just want to pause this post to add our faith to yours in prayer:

Father God, in faith we believe You for these precious families. We call these children HOME. And we speak to the mountains that would hinder that homecoming and say, Be Moved. Comfort the hearts of our friends who are waiting, and protect these precious treasures who are waiting to come home. Amen. 

 For a few other things that are very dear to my heart though, I am still waiting, feeling the weight of the wait! I am waiting for some promises that have yet to be delivered safe and sound into the arms of our lives. Sometimes the weight feels heavy and wearisome. When it does, I find I must be careful not to allow disappointment to sicken my heart.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 AMP)

Do you ever hear those whispers like I do–the ones that say “give up; it’s not going to happen; it is just too hard to continue in hope; the weight of the wait is too burdensome; it would be much easier to quit believing, maybe this is all there is and I should just settle …..”

I am pregnant with a promise from God, and I suspect you are too. For me it is the Promise of Adoption and all that is hidden in the meaning of that word. The promise of deep inner healing for my children, and their wholeness in all areas of their lives–healthy attachment, freedom from the residue of rejection, intimacy with the One who is The Spirit of Adoption.

And in the wait to see the promise delivered I sometimes feel cumbersome, waddling through some days with the weight of it all.

And it is clear to me that the enemy is always after the unborn life, tempting me to abort that unborn promise–to settle for less.

And I recognize the temptation to defer hope–to postpone hope for some other time, for some other promise. The sacrifice of bearing the unborn promise, nurturing it with the food of faith in what seems like a past term pregnancy, sometimes makes me weary.

BUT then I am reminded that

God’s Love Endures Forever.
Love, God’s Love In Me, is Patient.

The enemy would kill the child. It has always been his way.

But Father God responds with a shout, “LIVE!”

And so I choose to agree with LIFE.

And like a pregnant woman, I am enlarged with the promise rather than diminished by its weight.

And I see that God is changing me and my children with His promises, and once again I recognize the honor it is to bear such a weight. The stretch marks of the growth process haven’t faded, but they speak a good word to me. They speak to the expansion required by adoption, the shape change in our family and in our hearts. They speak to the pain that comes with growth— the “more” of increase. They are marks of growth in compassion, understanding, patience grace, mercy, and warfare. They are marks that speak to me about who I am becoming in the process.

And I am learning to enjoy His presence with me and in me along the way.

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.(Romans 8:24-28 MSG)

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

“Dad, I’ve Gotten Myself into a Little Trouble”

It happened almost every weekday around 6:30 and it was one of the most touching things I have had the privilege to witness. It is a picture of adoption really—simple, deeply moving, and truly beautiful.

Our three boys, all recently home from a Russian orphanage, would climb up on the wooden fence in front of our house and just look down the road. I remember the first time they did it I wondered what they were up to. (Back in those early days of adoption I wondered that a whole lot!!)

And the oldest, still speaking only Russian, pointed down the road and said something about “Papa”—being super bright I was able to translate that right away!  And I recognized “waiting,” a Russian word I had learned, along with lots of other mommy vocabulary like “brush your teeth,” “I love you,” “be careful,” “time for bed,” “don’t do that!” ……. not to mention a few cuss words that our children would repeat when angry. Wondering what in the world they were saying, I asked a Russian speaking friend to translate. Yikes!

Over the years there have been many moments like that one, the kind of moments that compel you to reach for your camera in hopes that you can somehow hold on to the warmth and beauty of it all. I didn’t get a photo of my boys waiting for their Papa back then, but I see them still and think, “That right there is what adoption is all about— that child has a Daddy to wait for at the end of the day.”
scanned orphanage photos004_2

And when I think about these children, who once were orphans standing at a different fence watching people who weren’t their parents drive away, I am overwhelmed.

But my understanding about what is beautiful has changed, or more accurately has expanded, since those early days of the Papa-lookout. God has been teaching me to see the beauty and power of adoption in what at first look (and even second and third look!) appears to be only ugly.

Let me explain by telling you another adoption story, although if you are like me you may not recognize it as beautiful.

A few years ago my husband and I traveled to Texas to be with his mother, who was having surgery. Leaving our seven children, all older teens and young adults by this time, made us a bit nervous since a few of them were not doing too well. Just as Stephen’s mother was being wheeled back into her hospital room after surgery his phone rang. Such bad timing, as so many parenting moments are!

As soon as I saw his face I knew two things: it was one of our children, and it wasn’t good.

I was right.

“Dad, it looks like I’ve gotten myself into a little bit of trouble,” he says.

He was making this call from jail.

The details aren’t necessary, but I will tell you I was so angry. I felt deeply disappointed, deeply discouraged, and deeply weary of the battle.

And I could only see the ugly in this.

A few hours later I was able to take the time to pray, which began with me complaining to The Lord, and then asking Him once again to please tell us what to do to help our son heal and live in the freedom of sonship.

And as is always the way with God, He answered my desperate question with a life-giving response, so different from what I was looking for.

“But Beth, this is a SON who has a DADDY to call when he has ‘gotten himself into a little bit of trouble.’”

Just that.

One sentence that completely changed my perspective and transformed what was ugly into something truly moving.

What felt like yet another failure, of my son and of our parenting, became a powerful picture of adoption.

For this was no orphan.

This was a SON.

Who had a FATHER.

This was simple, deeply moving, and truly beautiful.

This, my fellow adopters, is what adoption is all about. It isn’t what I had dreamed of when we brought our children home 17 years ago, and it has cost us more than we ever imagined, but it is the work of the Father’s love played out in all of our lives.

It is what adoption is all about.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

Our Weighted Blanket {Summer Flashback}

Stephen and I were not as prepared as we thought we were for parenting our new children. Truthfully, we thought we had this parenting gig down. We didn’t know that our adopted treasures would need something different from us. But, as with many of us who adopted before all the trauma and adoption education was so wide-spread, we figured it out pretty quickly! Yikes!

Our first clue came in those early days after coming home from Russia with our new son and daughter. Huge HUGE transitions for us all! We were constantly asking the question, “Is this behavior adoption related? (We didn’t even know to ask if was trauma related!) Or is this normal for this child? Or maybe it’s just the stress of travel and jet lag, or frustration at not being understood, or…..?”

It reminded me of caring for our three newborns, actually. “Is she crying because she’s hungry? Tired? Needs a diaper change? Sick?…..” But, our children who came home to us through adoption were older, years beyond diapers and midnight bottle feedings.

 bethpost

Once the honeymoon stage was over, the rages began. It became clear that our son’s fits were actually not fits at all. There was an intensity, a deep place of anger and fear, that I soon realized was more like rage than any childhood fit I had ever seen.

I remember times when I would literally lay the weight of my body over my son’s raging little form– praying that he would know that he was safe, desiring that my embrace would keep him from hurting me or himself, hoping that maybe the strong physical presence of his loving mother would somehow communicate to him that no anger need ever overcome him, that peace would replace fear. The weight of my love was the beginning of the miraculous process of displacement that is adoption.

Whirling fear is displaced with love

Raging anger with an anchored peace

Dark hopelessness with a bright future

Over the years I have found that the trauma my son experienced before he came home requires this action of displacement quite often. Like a weighted blanket, I still cover him. Of course, I don’t cover him with my body any more for he has grown into a strong young man, but with my love, through prayer and words of hope.

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 It is so clear to me that as surely as my husband and I are creating a legacy of love and security and hope for our children, that there exists also an orphan legacy–things handed down to a child from a past marred by relinquishment, fear and lack. But in those long moments of struggle with my son, and all through the years when the legacy of fear would burst to the surface despite the weight of our love, I have known that when God’s peace rules, the orphan legacy is nullified. It must make way for life-giving peace.For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)And it has not stayed hidden from me for long that I am not so unlike my son. His trauma has traumatized me. His pain has become my pain.And I am desperately in need of the weighted blanket of my Father’s love.

And I must choose, once again, to allow His legacy of love, peace and hope, displace my fears and heal my wounds.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

My Gardening Life.

I am not a gardener, but if I were my garden would look something like this.

 Chateau_de_Bouges_Flower_Garden_1


Pretty, right? Everything in its place, ordered, organized, contained and thriving. Beautiful and fruitful. Yep, that is it right there. 

And that is a pretty good picture of what I was going for with our family. Each child organized, contained within the life-giving boundaries we set up, and thriving, etc. Sounds good doesn’t it? 

But as our family grew through adoption my neat rows of seasonally appropriate lettuce and tomatoes, and those lovely flowers intentionally planted to catch just the right amount of sun, changed into a whole other garden.

Our family metamorphosed overnight into a crazy out of control mess of a garden. A beautiful, willy-nilly kind of place, full of surprising varieties and diversity. 

It has been a great adventure to discover and appreciate all that our adopted children have introduced into our lives. They brought with them so much that is lovely, fascinating, strong, creative and exciting from their birth families, country, and culture that have made our garden gloriously unique. Like an heirloom tomato imported from a far away place, I haven’t always immediately recognized the special qualities introduced to our family through adoption. But as the years have gone by, 15 now since our first two treasures came home, I have identified so much that I might have at first mistaken as a weed. 

I have learned to not to try to pull up something because I didn’t plant it, but rather clear a space for it in my heart and in the culture of our family. Let it grow and enjoy its fruit and beauty, and make it my own.

And where weeds have come in (to join the ones already there!)–the unwanted and unwelcome residue of rejection, abandonment, trauma and orphanage life–then I have learned to carefully remove them. Not all at once with a hoe of shame, but gently dig them out with the trowel of prayer and love and identity. Some of these weeds continue to sprout up over the years, the lies that threaten to choke out sonship, so I continue to maintain this special plot of land God has given us. 

And I have learned that some plants just need some time to grow before they can set themselves apart from the look-alike weeds. So I garden with care and nurture, waiting for the season of flowering and fruit.  

And I have learned to be at peace with the process of being a care-taker of such a crazy garden. As tempting as it was to take our new transplants and try to force them into my perfect rows, it proved to be destructive to us all whenever I tried it! 

So instead I focus on enjoying the beauty and surprise of it all, and the honor of being a part of such a family. 

                         _________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

_____________________________________

We’re building the nest this month!

Head right on over HERE to find out more and learn about the 40+ businesses that support adoption and the work of The Sparrow Fund!

 

My Gardening Life

I am not a gardener, but if I were my garden would look something like this.

 Chateau_de_Bouges_Flower_Garden_1


Pretty, right? Everything in its place, ordered, organized, contained and thriving. Beautiful and fruitful. Yep, that is it right there. 

And that is a pretty good picture of what I was going for with our family. Each child organized, contained within the life-giving boundaries we set up, and thriving, etc. Sounds good doesn’t it? 

But as our family grew through adoption my neat rows of seasonally appropriate lettuce and tomatoes, and those lovely flowers intentionally planted to catch just the right amount of sun, changed into a whole other garden.

Our family metamorphosed overnight into a crazy out of control mess of a garden. A beautiful, willy-nilly kind of place, full of surprising varieties and diversity. 

It has been a great adventure to discover and appreciate all that our adopted children have introduced into our lives. They brought with them so much that is lovely, fascinating, strong, creative and exciting from their birth families, country, and culture that have made our garden gloriously unique. Like an heirloom tomato imported from a far away place, I haven’t always immediately recognized the special qualities introduced to our family through adoption. But as the years have gone by, 15 now since our first two treasures came home, I have identified so much that I might have at first mistaken as a weed. 

I have learned to not to try to pull up something because I didn’t plant it, but rather clear a space for it in my heart and in the culture of our family. Let it grow and enjoy its fruit and beauty, and make it my own.

And where weeds have come in (to join the ones already there!)–the unwanted and unwelcome residue of rejection, abandonment, trauma and orphanage life–then I have learned to carefully remove them. Not all at once with a hoe of shame, but gently dig them out with the trowel of prayer and love and identity. Some of these weeds continue to sprout up over the years, the lies that threaten to choke out sonship, so I continue to maintain this special plot of land God has given us. 

And I have learned that some plants just need some time to grow before they can set themselves apart from the look-alike weeds. So I garden with care and nurture, waiting for the season of flowering and fruit.  

And I have learned to be at peace with the process of being a care-taker of such a crazy garden. As tempting as it was to take our new transplants and try to force them into my perfect rows, it proved to be destructive to us all whenever I tried it! 

So instead I focus on enjoying the beauty and surprise of it all, and the honor of being a part of such a family. 

                         _________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

 

What You Say Is Not What They Hear

I recently heard William Paul Young, author of The Shack, say something
that so perfectly describes what I have seen in some of our children. He
said, “Shame destroys your ability to distinguish between a value statement and
an observation.”

As soon as I heard this I thought, “That’s it. That perfectly describes
countless parenting moments in our home.”

I would make a statement, completely reasonable and normal, the kind
parents all over the world make as part of the loving raising of a child.
And my child would respond as if I had just asked them to do something
horrible, something no parent would ever require.

There have been times over the years when it felt like my parenting seemed
to always and only affirm their shame.
No matter what I said, or what tone of voice I used, the push back from my
parenting efforts was massive. To the point where many times I would
almost despair of it all.

I would offer, “Let me help you with your vocabulary so you can be ready
for you test tomorrow.”

What I hear myself saying is, “I am here to help you. I know you can do
this. You are not alone. I am proud of you and want to be a part of your
life!”

What they heard was a harsh value statement, “You are such a loser. You
are not smart and you can’t do anything right. You are a disappointment to
me.”

I would observe, “That outfit is probably not appropriate for this event.
Maybe you could wear that nice outfit we bought last month.”

What they heard was, “You are ugly. You aren’t meeting my standards. I
don’t accept you the way you are.”

It is the voice of shame.

If you think this sounds extreme then that is truly wonderful, because
that probably means that shame is not a big part of your child’s
foundations. For many adopted children however, the facts of their early
years have been masquerading in their minds and emotions as truth. Shame
takes the facts of abandonment, neglect, abuse, relinquishment, orphanage
life, and anything else it can wrap it’s tentacles around, and disguises
it my precious child’s mind as a deep truth about his/her identity.

Shame speaks words like rejected, never enough, alone, unwanted, failure,
weak, too much to handle, unsuccessful….

And when those horrifying words are spoken a child may shut down
completely, totally disengaging.
Frozen.
No eye contact. No verbal replies.

Or there might be yelling. “I hate you. You are a horrible mother. I wish
I were never adopted. My life would be much better without you. Get off my
back and just leave me alone. You make me want to die…..”

We have heard all of these words, and more, in our home.

It is the voice of shame.

Or, you might see your child put even more pressure on him/herself to
please, to do everything just right. But the anxiety and anger levels
build over time and at some point you will experience the inevitable blow
up from so much self-imposed pressure.

I am overwhelmed with the reality that my Father God has allowed me to be
a part of His healing work in my children through adoption. For it is in
the context of family that our children have heard, over and over, that
they are no longer orphans, but true and beloved sons and daughters.

It is so easy to allow shame to bait me into an unloving, shame-based
response. And so unhelpful!
So I decided a long time ago to respond with the Truth–to counteract the
shame with the antidotes of love, belonging, identity, understanding.
Over and over again, in so many varying forms of my maternal love I have
the opportunity to speak truth into the lie.
Speak it in season and out of season.
Speak it when your child embraces their identity as the beloved, and speak
it when your child denies the truth of it, either through their words or
through their actions.
Speak it when they are in front of you listening, and speak it when they
have gone to bed and only you and God can hear.
Speak it when your heart is full of the truth of it, and speak it when the
words seem like a lie even to you.

Speak it–
over and over and over and over,
day after day after day after day,
year after year after year after year.

I am seeing the fruit of this in our family. That inner voice of shame is
being drowned out by truth, unmasked by love without conditions and
limits. And where shame is still successful in its ugly masquerade, I am
even more determined than ever to speak truth, for this is what adoption
is all about, right? It is about radical rooted love, both for me and for
my child.
It unmasks us all and reveals the beautiful truth that we are His beloved
ones.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

Is Love Enough?

 I hear the Lord saying, ‘I will stay close to you, as I instruct and guide you along the pathway of your life. I WILL COUNSEL YOU along the way, and lead you forth with My eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult, don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make Me have to tug you and pull you along. JUST COME WITH ME!’ (Psalm 32:8-9, The Passion Translation)

Do you hear echoes of your own parental voice in these words? I know I do! Look how our Father starts with connection–oh how I love that about Him!

When my eyes are on Him, I see the way forward, because I see it in His eyes.

So often we parents don’t know what to do to help our child, to parent well and wisely. The options either seem too many, or they seem to have disappeared altogether! We busy ourselves scanning all the possibilities, but sometimes we forget to simply look at Jesus to see what direction He is going.We are so quick to run to counselors when we recognize the effects of trauma and all that surrounds our adoptions and fostering. Stephen and I are so very thankful for the therapists that have helped us and our children. We have received significant help and guidance, and God has used these counselors to help our children. But as my dear friend Susan Hillis says, there is a difference between a counselor with a small ‘c’ and THE COUNSELOR! The One who promises, “I will counsel you along the way…”

His love for you and your child goes beyond–deeper and higher than your child’s need.
Deeper and higher than the limits of your parenting abilities.

I have found Him to be so practical in His guidance as Stephen and I make tough parenting decisions. Certainly adoption is constantly taking me “places I have not been before”–I often find myself on unfamiliar ground as a parent.
I suspect you know exactly what I mean!

So today, I just want to encourage you my fellow parents that you do hear God’s voice– you are created for it! God would not promise His counsel if we were incapable of receiving.

For all the counselors in the world, and all the best parenting practices you can put in place, will not heal your child. We co-labor with God for our child’s healing, but in the end, each one will walk in wholeness not by our own effort, but by His!

I used to think that the love of our family would be “enough” to carry our children into healing and freedom.

Is love enough? If we are talking about my love, then I will have to say NO.

But, if we are talking about God’s love for my child, and for me, then a resounding YES is my response to that question. YES YES YES! Greater than hope, Greater than faith– LOVE IS GREATER than any loss your child has faced.Even if a king has the best equipped army, it would never be enough to save him. Even if the best warrior went to battle, he could not be saved simply by his strength alone. Human strength and the weapons of man are such false hopes for victory. They may seem mighty, but they will always disappoint…. The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. (Psalm 33:16-17, 20)

So, wherever you are in this parenting journey, remember you have a Wonderful Counselor, free of charge and available for home visits 24/7. And remember that you always have hope, a radiant hope, that comfortably surpasses your own parenting abilities and far outstrips your child’s needs.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.

Our Weighted Blanket

Stephen and I were not as prepared as we thought we were for parenting our new children. Truthfully, we thought we had this parenting gig down. We didn’t know that our adopted treasures would need something different from us. But, as with many of us who adopted before all the trauma and adoption education was so wide-spread, we figured it out pretty quickly! Yikes!

Our first clue came in those early days after coming home from Russia with our new son and daughter. Huge HUGE transitions for us all! We were constantly asking the question, “Is this behavior adoption related? (We didn’t even know to ask if was trauma related!) Or is this normal for this child? Or maybe it’s just the stress of travel and jet lag, or frustration at not being understood, or…..?”

It reminded me of caring for our three newborns, actually. “Is she crying because she’s hungry? Tired? Needs a diaper change? Sick?…..” But, our children who came home to us through adoption were older, years beyond diapers and midnight bottle feedings.

 bethpost

Once the honeymoon stage was over, the rages began. It became clear that our son’s fits were actually not fits at all. There was an intensity, a deep place of anger and fear, that I soon realized was more like rage than any childhood fit I had ever seen.

I remember times when I would literally lay the weight of my body over my son’s raging little form– praying that he would know that he was safe, desiring that my embrace would keep him from hurting me or himself, hoping that maybe the strong physical presence of his loving mother would somehow communicate to him that no anger need ever overcome him, that peace would replace fear. The weight of my love was the beginning of the miraculous process of displacement that is adoption.

Whirling fear is displaced with love

Raging anger with an anchored peace

Dark hopelessness with a bright future

Over the years I have found that the trauma my son experienced before he came home requires this action of displacement quite often. Like a weighted blanket, I still cover him. Of course, I don’t cover him with my body any more for he has grown into a strong young man, but with my love, through prayer and words of hope.

jan21pic

 It is so clear to me that as surely as my husband and I are creating a legacy of love and security and hope for our children, that there exists also an orphan legacy–things handed down to a child from a past marred by relinquishment, fear and lack. But in those long moments of struggle with my son, and all through the years when the legacy of fear would burst to the surface despite the weight of our love, I have known that when God’s peace rules, the orphan legacy is nullified. It must make way for life-giving peace.For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)And it has not stayed hidden from me for long that I am not so unlike my son. His trauma has traumatized me. His pain has become my pain.

And I am desperately in need of the weighted blanket of my Father’s love.

And I must choose, once again, to allow His legacy of love, peace and hope, displace my fears and heal my wounds.

                                        ___________________________________________
Beth Templeton

Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband Stephen for 27 years. They have seven children, ages 18-24. Several years after giving birth to three girls God called their family to the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Beth’s heart has been deeply and forever changed as she has watched the love of Father God poured out on her whole family through adoption. She leads Hope at Home, a ministry dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord, go to Hope at Home.