Sunday mornings are hectic. I scoot my child into your class with barely a "hello" (much less a potty training update or properly labeled sippy cup)... but I really do appreciate you. I'm scurrying off late to worship... but you've been in your classroom setting up all morning. The coloring pages and play-dough and Bible story are ready. While I'm enjoying worship... you are wiping noses, wiping bottoms, singing songs, building with blocks, serving goldfish, making crafts, and most importantly teaching my child about Christ. It's a big job, and I'm thankful you've chosen it.
But I need to ask more of you.
My child is adopted. She has been neglected and abused. She watched her parents violent brawls until one night the police came and took her away from the only home she'd ever known. She moved from place to place before finally landing in our home. And now she is here for good. We are her forever family... but she isn't like other kids. Her heart has been broken time and time again. She never really feels safe. She's afraid someone will come take her away again. So I need your help.
I need you to understand that many of her challenging behaviors are rooted in her past. If she's throwing blocks, don't assume she is just being naughty. She may be trying to win your attention. In a neglectful home, even negative attention is better than no attention at all.
I need you to help her set appropriate boundaries. She may try to kiss you or look through your purse or touch your earrings or play with your hair or rub your feet. Please don't take these actions lightly. She often puts herself in unsafe situations with strangers, so we need the help of trusted adults willing to tell her "Please don't give me a hug without asking".
I need you not to tell her she is "lucky to have us" or tell us we are "saints for taking her in". She knows she is adopted, but we don't want her to grow up feeling like a pity case. We want her to know that we choose her regardless of her past or her behavior.
I need you to be patient with the delays that leave her struggling to keep up with her peers. She may not be able to sit still for circle time, or keep her hands to herself, or make her requests with words like the other kids in class. Although this may be distracting at times, we firmly believe she belongs in a class where her peers can set a positive example and encourage her toward growth.
I need you to reassure her that we will be back to pick her up. Please don't ever joke about how you would love to take her home with you. She's been taken from her parents before. Every time we drop her off she is coping with a deep fear that we will not ever come back.
In the short time you spend with my child each week you have a chance to be part of her healing. You can help her learn to trust, understand boundaries and grow. You care deeply for our child, and I see it in all that you do. It's not fair that I have let so many weeks go by without thanking you, or asking how you're doing, or sharing the strategies we're trying at home. Thank you for giving your time to serve in my child's class.