Behind the scenes I see her: she is picking up the socks, pillows, and blankets, scattered from her three children. She hears the phone ringing with a pile in her hands; she wedges the phone between her ear and her shoulder to talk to her oldest child who is in college. She rushes to get the load of laundry in the washer and goes into the kitchen to put a kettle of water on the stove. She notices the dishes from breakfast and gets them washed and loaded in the dish rack. She rushes up the stairs to get the next load of laundry on deck and then hears the kettle begin to whistle. All the while, the phone is ringing with an update regarding her children’s school announcements for the week.
She sits down to put together the schedule of sports practices, counseling appointments, homework hours, and events for the week. She remembers her coffee, gathers a quick bite to eat, then begins her day of laundry folding and washing and somehow finds time to run errands while the kids are in school. Then her kids arrive.
Benjie Wallis is the mother of four beautiful children. Benjie and her husband, Robert, began with two children of their own and then opened their hearts and home to two more children they would call their own. Benjie’s adopted children came to join her family already being passed around between homes. They had experienced some neglect, resulting in the children having some behavioral and attachment difficulties that both Benjie and her husband work hard each day to give them support through. They are incredible parents doing a good job, providing stability and love to their children.
Often enough when children who are adopted have come out of hard situations, they will have issues connecting, attaching, and functioning on an average level in school and social aspects of life. Many times these families will lose friends, connections of support in their communities, because of judgments and fears from others. Yet, the strength of adoptive parents like Benjie and Robert say, no matter what, we will fight for our children—all of our children.
It is a powerful love and a tremendous amount of care that parents with adoptive children who come from trauma, neglect, or a lot of replacements give. These parents like Benjie and Robert wish their children didn’t have to deal with or face the heartbreak of their loss. They see the wounds of their children’s hearts lived out in their behaviors, and they walk with them through it each day. But the moments when an adoptive child gets it, perhaps sometimes in glimpses, moments, or even fully that they are loved and that they have stability and that they belong, are priceless.
So if you are an adoptive parent like Benjie, and each day you stand up to give your child all the love and support they need to grow and succeed in life, I want you to know you are doing a good job. If you are a parent who has faced loneliness and abandonment because of people’s judgments or fears I want to tell you, you get out there and find other families like yours because there is a community out there who knows what you are going through, and you are not alone. You have said yes to having your heart taken over by precious and wonderful kids who need you. Amazing parent, I want you to know this: you are doing an incredible, wonderfully good job.
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