Who saved who?

A while back, I saw a Humane Society bumper sticker that caught my eye – it said “who rescued who?”  Bumpers are a place where many philosophies, beliefs and theologies are proclaimed.  That one got me thinking – in particular about adoptive parents of children who come from difficult places.  Sometimes from fellow adoptive parents, I hear things that make me shudder inside  – things like, “we saved them from this terrible place”, “we can save one more”.  Pretty much any sentence with the word save and a child is extremely disturbing.

We are not asked to be saviors and our children should not be looked upon as charity cases who now owe us a huge debt.  Any child who ends up in foster care or living in an orphanage should be honored and admired.  The spirit and inner strength necessary to survive are admirable indeed.  They know a hardship deep down that most of us will never experience.  They are strong.

Anyone who has even stepped foot into an orphanage or looked into the face of a foster child quickly knows that a family is where children are meant to grow up and settle.  But those who invite these children into their homes and lives must be willing to walk alongside this child through the good and bad, happy and sad, and all the ups and downs of life.  If they expect a posture of gratitude from their child all along the way, there will be great disappointment and disillusionment.  We have to desire to parent and share all of life together.  We can’t set up a savior/grateful recipient kind of relationship.  If that is the expectation, then it will surely implode at some point.

As parents we must be mindful and thoughtful about the gifts and grace that our children bring to us.  Even, or maybe more accurately especially, on the most difficult days, there is a deep down exchange of life and hope.  Parenting calls us to reach way up to God, way down inside and to be better human beings.  One of my parenting mentors, Bryan Post, says it something like this – when your child triggers something in you, turn to them and say “thank you for forcing me to deal with my own issues”.  I am not going to say that is easy or that I am even remotely “there”, but my heart resonates with this truth.

So who saved who?  In my experience it is a mutual exchange of life giving and receiving.  We don’t need to be or see ourselves as saviors – that’s God’s business.  We need to walk alongside and embrace the full range of life together with our child.

About inpursuitofatoolbox

I am a God lover, wife of Mark and mom to 5 incredible children. Our 3 sons came to us by birth and our 2 daughters came through adoption.

Posted on July 6, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good post. I love this one. I have honestly had an adoptive parent who had just gotten an older child tell me that they were shocked that their child was not grateful (this was the first week after the adoption while still in GZ) that they had “rescued her”. I was so sad for the child. No matter the experience there at the orphanage, it was all she knew. Truly, the other children become like brothers and sisters with very deep relationships. Such self-centered parenting and unrealistic expectations of the child hurt my heart. God says that children are a gift from God. Whether birth or adopted, each of our children is a tremendous gift to us. Let’s cherish these moments together, regardless of the challenges we face together as families.

  2. So well said. Children are our gift from God. I have learned so much in parenting especially these past few years. I also know this is when I am closest to God. He is the one only Savior.
    Thank you for these posts. They are so encouraging and inspirational.

  3. Children are a gift and blessing, no matter how they come into the family. And I certainly agree that saving is God’s business, but on the other hand, I do believe that my B’s first adoptive family literally saved his life by bringing him here. That they were unable to parent him is irrelevant. I’ve seen the orphanages where kids with sn’s live in Guat… It certainly is complicated! But we try to explain to him how we believe God saved his life by sending his first adoptive family to get him in Guatemala. And we also believe that God had a hand in uniting him with us. I don’t think WE saved him – that was God orchestrating details of his plan. Does this mean that he allows painful, hard things? I think so. To shape us, draw us to him, sometimes for reasons that no one understands. He doesn’t promise a life without pain – in fact, if you read the bible, you see that the contrary is true! Anyway, I want B to be thankful to God for the way he has worked out all the details in his life. My favorite verse in the bible is the one B’s foster mom, who cared for him before we met him, gave to him. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

  4. Heidi Gullion

    My Mama and I were talking about how much we have been blessed by having our girls in our lives. They have taught me so much about my Heavenly Father’s love. I have been stretched to the point I thought I would break, however I am learning so much.They are helping to mold me into a better person. Thanks for all your wisdom.

  5. Amen to your posts…. it is sad to watch from the sidelines as families are clueless to there roles esp. the parents who need to set the standard for these children. God Saved us and He does not stand there demanding us to be grateful towards Him. I am just thankful he DID!

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