November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I’m the mother of seven adopted children, five of whom are presently teens. So, let’s talk about adopted teens. Surely that can’t be as simple as ABC. You’re so right.
They test you and rebel against boundaries and are stubborn and have emotional outbursts sometimes…just like any other teen, adopted or not. And that’s the truth.
But it isn’t necessarily because they are adopted, it’s more likely because they are trying to figure out growing up…just like any other teen.
As parents, we hold on tight to the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’ and we buckle in for the ride, praying all the while.
Can adopted teens have unique challenges and special issues. Yes, just like any other teen can. Will some of these issues result from past hurts and disappointments? Yes, just like any other teen, or any other human being, they will need to learn to forgive, move on and heal.
I think sometimes we are too quick to attribute a teen’s struggles to his or her adopted status. Raising teens is about as complicated a task as you can tackle. About the time you think you’ve figured it out, a curve ball reminds you that you haven’t.
Too many times, we over scrutinize our children and ourselves because our family was formed through adoption. We might feel that we have something to prove to the world of onlookers, perhaps people who didn’t approve of our decision to adopt in the first place.
If you are determined to get it all right all the time, as a parent, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you think you have control over choices other people make, including your teens, you are bound to be sorely disappointed.
Whether your child is a toddler in the midst of potty-training, a sassy-mouthed young child, a teen with an attitude or a young adult struggling to find their place in the world, don’t take the delays, the stumbles, the carelessly flung words personally.
We all want the very best for our children and hopefully we’ve done our best to give them every opportunity. But the bottom line is they get to choose whether they will take those opportunities or take a more difficult path. It doesn’t mean we have failed as parents or that ultimately, they will fail when all is said and done.
Take courage, keep trying and cling to hope. Don’t let moments of confusion, angst and upset define your relationship with your teen. There are far more good moments than bad. Do your best and trust God with the rest. Take advantage of every tool and resource available. And don’t give up, whatever you do, don’t quit trying.
So, yes, I guess it actually is as simple as ABC. Actions, Bravery and Consistency. That’s the ABC’s of parenting adopted teens.