An Adoption Story: Chapter 3 The Hard Years
November is National Adoption Month. God tells us we are to care for orphans. He set an amazing example: He adopted us. Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November. This is Chapter 3. You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here. And Chapter 2: The Road to Adoption here.So we all said I do and Josh became our son.The next week he entered middle school. At almost 13 and a big boy, he towered over most of the sixth graders…and discovered there was power in size. Read: bully. Hard years lay ahead.School was a challenge. Sitting still all day in a classroom was not possible. Teachers couldn’t teach with him in the room, so he spent most days in alternative classroom. Grades suffered. I became friends with his counselor, the vice principal and even the principal. Seventh grade was worse. He was banned from the bus, and he joined a gang.We tried so many ways to help Josh: with school work, creative parenting approaches, counseling, youth group, sports, camp. Nothing seemed to work—he wouldn’t let us help him. When the school threatened to expel him, we took a desperate step.
A residential program
We placed Josh in a nearby residential program for troubled teens. It was a lifesaver, though very difficult for him and for us.Josh was safe, living with strict rules and consequences. He studied at his own pace, filled his head with Scriptures, did many chores, received counseling—and even had fun. And he was forced to relate to us—to the whole family.The high point of his 1 ½ years there was the night he committed his life to Christ.It was also the night Josh was truly born in my heart as my son.I had loved Josh over the years. I had given him abundant time and attention. But that night, as I thanked God for Josh’s decision, I had a dramatic experience.I felt as though God were hovering over me with a giant vat overflowing with something he was pouring into me. That vat was filled with God’s love for Josh, and He was giving it to me.Oh, how I would need that love in the years ahead!
Back with old friends
Josh came home and did well for six months. We continued at home the school program he had been doing and caught him up to grade level. He begged to return to school. With trepidation and many requirements, we said yes. In only a few weeks he was back with his old friends. Only now he had a driver’s license.We returned to homeschooling, which meant he eventually graduated. But the next six years were nightmarish. Summarizing: cars, girls, internet, drugs, alcohol, traffic tickets, juvenile detention, criminal mischief, job hopping, stealing, serious accidents, gang fights.I lived in dread of late night calls: Would it be the hospital or the jail? We got both.Three times his actions in our home meant he had made a choice to move out. Each time he came back repentant and reformed. For awhile. God repeatedly brought special men into his life. Their influence continues today. But changes then were short lived and the old lifestyle beckoned.Be assured, we were not perfect parents through this. We made many mistakes.The amazing thing is that he stayed in relationship with us. But the question remained:Would he survive, or was death or jail his likely future?Next week: Chapter 4 A Future and HopeWhat do you do when everything seems hopeless? Share it in Comments.C 2011 Judy DouglassBy the way, when I asked Josh if what I was saying was okay, he replied:Tell them: Kids, listen to your parents when they tell you not to get involved in doing bad things because it will come back and mess you up. I have been to the court house two times this week and the juvenile detention center, trying to get my arrest record cleared.<< First < Prev Next >