Loving Children… That Are Hard to Love

November 15, 2013 Attachment, Jean, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 6 Comments

Many adopted children are so easy to love. They may have a vibrant personality, a good sense of humor, a smile that lights up the room, a positive attitude or other characteristics that attractive! They may remind you of yourself, your beloved husband or siblings or someone else you love. It is easy to love what is familiar.

But what about the adopted child that comes to your home and has characteristics that are “hard to love”. A whiny voice, a negative attitude, doesn’t follow directions, seems lazy and doesn’t return love. The list could go on and on. In fact we each have our own list of characteristic that we find difficult to live with and difficult to love… What bothers me may not bother you and vice versa.

I am writing about this because I have received many emails asking for help! What should I do and how do I love a “hard to love child”?

Do we personally have “hard to love children”? Yes, we do and if we are all honest everyone should answer that question with a “yes.” Hopefully they are not hard to love all… the… time…

However, if your child is newly adopted you may feel like he/she is hard to love all of the time. And you haven’t had that moment of “whew” things are finally getting better. Adoption isn’t easy and sometimes it’s really, really hard and it challenges us in ways that we don’t want to be challenged.

Hubby and I have had many of the same feelings that you are feeling. We wondered if we would ever get to the point of really loving our new child. I wasn’t feeling very hopeful. It was the one special need we said “NO” to. The one we didn’t think we could do and the one we didn’t want to do. I was concerned about my feelings and even more so about my husband’s feelings. I felt like I was to blame for this “mistake.”

Or was it a mistake? God orchestrated the whole thing… Hubby and I knew all the risks and we jointly answered with a “YES.” Together we prayed about it before, during and once we were home. We knew HE was near to us the whole time…

God doesn’t make mistakes…

So since this wasn’t our plan, it must have been God’s plan. Even if you did not pray about it I am pretty certain it was God’s plan for your family too!

Nothing in the way this child acted was familiar to me. Or another child that has a shrill and whiny voice that is unpleasant to continually listen too. Or another child that forgets everything I say and I have to repeat, repeat, repeat myself on a daily basis. Okay I could go on and so could you, wink, wink!

Yikes! So what do I do? What should you do?

I did the only thing I could do… I gave it too HIM! I prayed, I visualized giving it to him and I asked HIM to help me, I mean us. I asked HIM to help me to LOVE.

My personal imperfections became clear and the fact that HE loves me despite that was eye opening. Unconditional love, that is what HE has given to me. That is what HE wants me to try to give this child or children, whatever the case may be.

So maybe this child was meant to be ours so that we could grow closer to HIM. Maybe I needed to fix a few of my many flaws. Maybe my list of undesirable characteristics was too long… And maybe, just maybe, I could love someone that is completely different than me (or what and who I think I am)…
Maybe I could be more patient.
Maybe I could instruct more tenderly and then help the child do what I ask.
Maybe I could look past a special need that previously bothered me.
Maybe I could give love even if I don’t get love back.
Maybe I could be an example to the other children and they could learn to love a sibling that is hard to love.

So many beautiful maybes…
So many interesting challenges ahead of me… and you…
So much continuous support from our Maker. He is there ALWAYS, ready and waiting for us to call on HIM.

It’s possible. I can do this because HE can do this! You can do this because HE can do this.

I have seen our older children grow immensely from this exact situation. If I would have tried to change anything about it, I would have robbed them and us the opportunity to grow in our compassion for others and in our faith.

Look at this situation as an “opportunity” and embrace it.



6 responses to “Loving Children… That Are Hard to Love”

  1. Jill says:

    Jean, it is uncanny how you and Stef were thinking alike when you each wrote your posts and shared them with us yesterday. It’s so obvious the Lord has laid this on your hearts and I am deeply thankful for Him doing that, because you have both encouraged me in a big way.

    We brought our second daughter home just over a year ago, it was a rough start for her and I, but we really came together and fell in love with one another over the past year, which I am so thankful for. However, about 2 weeks ago she started pushing me away again… I needed this encouragement, thank you.

  2. Stefanie says:

    Love your heart, Jean! I completely agree, if we let Him He will lovingly deal with US as we parent those He has blessed us with 🙂

  3. Amy Murphy says:

    Great post! Thank you! 3 years ago, we took in a 16 year old girl. She was not like me AT ALL! She annoyed me in so many ways. She was sensitive, and I had to “walk on eggshells” around her. She was never taught many of the things that I felt a child should have been taught growing up. We tried to make her feel a part of our family, but it seemed she never knew what a real family was and didn’t accept us as we accepted her. It was probably at least the 2nd hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Though we totally believe it was God’s will for us to take her in, I still to this day do not know if I would ever do it again given the choice. It was hard (on me, my husband and our son;) it was emotionally draining; it was inconvenient; I whined to God for the entire 2 years she lived with us. But it’s not for me to say what kind of result comes from obeying God. He had a plan in all of it, and the fruit may never be seen by me, but He will use it for good. Thank you for your perspective in this post; it humbles me a little. 🙂

  4. blstmama11 says:

    So true…all of it! I don’t know how many times I have thought WOW that had to have been God reacting to that behavior, because I would not have reacted that way!

  5. Lauren says:

    Thank you. You wrote this ages ago but this is what I need now. We are foster parents of three kids, two I have grown to love immensely and the third is seems to bring with her a massive artillery ready to fight. I hate that we end our days feeling like we survived parenting her rather than loving her. I need constant reminders that there is ONE person who REALLY knows her and wants us all to find joy in this life. I need to turn to Him.

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