My Adopted Child is Challenging . . . And That’s Okay

Life doesn't always look the way we planned it to be . . . but when the going gets tough? You know what to do.

Denalee Chapman September 02, 2016
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Funny, isn’t it, how our lives are nothing like we planned them to be?

Well, maybe “funny” isn’t the best word.

But you know what I mean.

I’m a planner. That’s manifest in the multitude of lists all over my home.

But a few decades have taught me that, while it’s great to plan, flexibility is required to live a happy life.

And so, as I look at my life now and remember what I imagined it would be, I choose to laugh. It’s become “funny” to me instead of pathetic.

Take, for instance, my years of battling infertility and contested adoption. Sheesh. Not in the plan!

I could go on, but there’s no reason. You know what I’m talking about and you’re probably thinking about your own visions of life vs. your reality.

In fact, we don’t even have to look back to childhood dreams to see that our reality is different than our dreams.

Like when we first decided adoption was for us. Remember that excitement?! And the vision of sugar plums, blah – blah- blah. We’d bring home this bundle of perfection and life would be like a fairytale. Finally!

What? Isn’t this your reality either?

Seriously . . . your adopted child doesn’t walk around with a perpetual smile, always say please and thank you, and obediently respond to every request with respect? What a surprise!

Kidding.

So your adopted child is challenging. That’s okay! You’re not alone. And even if you were, it would still be okay.

You see, in retrospect, my damaged reality is honestly better than my plans of perfection. What I’ve learned! And how much more deeply I love, with all the hardship and surprises that have littered my life. Truly, the pendulum swings both ways.

The harder I have to work at something, and the more effort I put in, and the more I serve, the greater my joy. It’s trite but true. Just because my child is pushing my buttons in all the ways that really hurt and frustrate me, that doesn’t mean my child isn’t good, or that I’m not good. It means that there’s opportunity for growth and learning and maturing.

For both of us.

I’m not talking about children with extreme R.A.D. or other issues that need professional help. That’s a different story. I’m talking about the adopted child who is testing his limits, acting out for a reaction, and engaging in other challenging behaviors.

That’s all it is: a challenge.

And who, among us, will back down from a challenge?

C’mon!

We’ve trudged through lost dreams, difficult relationships, medical treatments, infant loss, infertility, and more. Are we going to let a little challenge push us over the edge?

NO!

We are going to see it for what it is . . . a challenge that we are up for and that we will overcome.

And in the end, we’ll remember that anything worthwhile is worth fighting against . . . errrr . . . fighting FOR, I mean.

So pull up those bootstraps, bite the bullet, buck up, and every other cowboy term you can think of.

Slap that smile back on your face and love the moments you have. “This too shall pass.”

And soon, your angel will emerge from the challenging child she once was. Your persistence will pay off and there will be joy in the morning!

If you’re ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption, there is support available to you! Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime. 

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at DenaleeChapman.com.


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