You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Children are resilient.” I’ve heard naive adults, who have no concept of what pain a child carries when they are neglected and abused say this, but worse than that is when I hear an adoptive parent place this expectation on a hurting child. The latter shocks me the most. If adoptive parents are open to seeing their true child, they will observe that hurting children really aren’t resilient without our constant hyper-vigilance in helping them heal. Sometimes a child can look like they have made it out of a rough life unscathed, but it’s most likely a front if they haven’t had someone come along side them and help them through it. A healed child does not happen on their own.
One adoptive mother told me, “Children are resilient,” after I shared with her what our daughter had gone through before her adoption. This woman had adopted two children from another country only two years before. I disliked her comment. Number one, because my daughter has NOT been resilient. Without our constant love and endless work our daughter, Payton, would be much worse off than she is now.
Number two, because this woman’s adopted children had attempted on more than one occasion to run away from home, and engage in full on physical fights with each other and their siblings. This, to me, did not seem like the definition of resilient. There exists the possibility that her children are acting out in this way because she is standing on the idea that “children are resilient,” and not taking the steps needed to help them heal.
Children possess the capability to overcome much, but not without our heedful assistance. We are the avenues to promote healing, they can’t do it on their own. Simply, it’s called parenting, but with adopted children it requires more of us; compassionate parenting. I believe much compassion is lost when we allow ourselves to think our children are resilient.