Friday, May 25, 2012

“God Help Me! ” or “How the Use of Faith Can Help Build a Stronger Relationship with your Child with RAD or Trust Disorders”

by  John and Diane

Concepts like “turning the other cheek,” showing compassion towards others, forgiveness and service are Christian concepts shared by many religions.  As a Christian foster father, I found that by talking about God to my foster kids “He” not only helps teach lessons about living well with others, but helps bond our family together, even with the most difficult children; those with trust disorders.

As a Christian man it came naturally to me to talk to my foster kids about God.  God is important in my life for many reasons, but the concept of God is also an important tool that I use with my foster kids.  Once the concept of an all-loving Father, God, is discussed, children with trust disorders sometimes begin to open up and feel more secure knowing that they can have faith in a presence that can never be taken away from them.  

I use God’s rules and laws when talking to the kids about the reasons for why I do what I do. It helps to explain why I can forgive them (“because God forgives us all, so, so must I forgive you,”) and why I can be nice to kids in the house even when they are being mean to me (turning the other cheek.) I can see the true healing power of God at work when I see children who have been hardened by life, or have attachment disorders begin to feel empathy towards me as they watch me work with their foster brothers or sisters or deal with difficult situations in the home.

The more the kids learn about God, the more they realize that God has rules that even I must follow (mirroring the house rules they all must follow,) making Him more real to the children.  I can then even use God as another set of eyes and ears to make sure the kids follow the house rules when I may be outside of earshot.  (Mind you, this is not done in threatening manner… because God must be seen as a parental figure. not as a threatening, angry God.)

Many of the kids I work with have not been exposed to religion of any kind, and have no idea how faith in a higher being can be helpful in their lives. I pray and invite them to pray with me if they choose. I teach them that prayer, like a meditation, can be helpful to calm them when they are angry or on the verge of saying or doing something that they will regret. Again, this is another way that religion can be a tool for a child with behavior or social issues.

Not everyone may be as religiously oriented as I am, but I do feel that if you can bring religion into the picture when working with trust and detachment disorder kids, it is a plus, Personally, I feel that I cannot work with kids with trust disorders without religion because trust is really about believing in something that you cannot see or feel.  Religion is a great way to show that.  

I find it really helpful working through the Lord with these type of children, actually I have to say it’s more the Lord working through me because I would not be able to do it without Him guiding me.  Whatever your faith, I hope that you can use God, religion, or faith in some form, to open doors and provide security for your foster or RAD kids. 

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  1. Love this! Thanks for posting. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without God and certainly wouldn't be 8 years into raising my 13 year old adopted daughter with RAD without God's help. It is beyond heart-breaking to see what it does to these kids and I can only hope that one day my daughter will be able to recover fully. I pray that God will continue to bless you as you take care of your kids and you can continue to guide all of us as well! Thanks again!

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  3. Thank you carol for your kind words. "God" I try to Keep him in my life and in the things I do. its not always easy to do . when I hear from someone like you, I can feel him with me, so thank you for this Blessing you sent to me. I guess we have to learn to trust in him and some days you must just let him have your pain and some how he will help us. I always pray for him to enlighten me so I will understand and through time I usually do understand why things work out the way it does. some times it my take years though... May the Lord help you through the hard time and show you His light .

    John, FPR
    via Diane (Web diva)

  4. Interesting post - things I have been thinking about lately. How do you explain to foster kids why God allowed those "bad" things (whatever may be their story) to happen to them? How else can you help foster kids have an accurate idea of the "Heavenly Father" when their earthly father or mother has done such bad things and been a huge disappointment?

  5. Does God let bad things happen to them? I don’t think so. If a child asks me this, I would say, “God is a father to us here on Earth, but sometimes we don’t listen to our father… just like sometimes you don’t listen to me (or to whomever they have been with—even the bad dad they have been with.) Bad things happen because your parents were not listening to God’s instructions on how to love and take care of you.

    I find that even the worst parents did do some things that the child liked, and for that reason they still love them, even when they hate them. So, I just tell them that they (the parents) did not listen to God, they broke His rules. I tell the child that God didn’t want them to get hurt and that they were getting hurt only because their Mom and Dad (or whoever) was not following God’s rules. God gives us all choices and lets us live our lives the way we choose, but I try to do what God wants and I try to follow Him and His rules. I tell them that that is why I am with them now, that God is helping me and that I may be able to help them.

    That is basically the answer I say to anyone who blames God for the bad things that happen on this Earth. This is not heaven where His Will is done, it is Earth and we are still learning who we are…

    Thanks for writing... I love these kind of exchanges and always welcome comments.

    John - FPR
    (via Diane Web diva)