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At this time of year, hospitality features prominently. We ponder the message of “No room at the inn.” As adoptive parents, we could assert that we daily live a positive response; we welcomed children into hearts, our families, our homes. Not only did we welcome our children, but we also sought them with unsurpassed intensity and yearning. (Honesty compels us to admit that our decision was as much for our benefit as for theirs.) Our commitment to our children drives us to constantly seek ways to improve our efforts to parent them well and to maximize our ability to be loving, competent, Adoption-attuned parents. (Reread last week’s blog that reveals how we can unwittingly be sending messages of “No room,” of rejection, closed hearts, and division.)
In his book, A Bigger Table, pastor John Pavlovitz challenges us to examine the criteria that guide our responses so we can offer genuine welcome within our families, homes, and communities. Pavlovitz asserts that a sense of belonging arises out of our acceptance which “simply allows them to be fully authentic…to feel loved as they are…and make sure that was the loudest thing [we speak.]
How might this process of full acceptance operate within the context of an adopted family? Consider the information presented in recent blogs. Some of the ways we can demonstrate “welcome” to our children in many ways, e.g.
When we gather as much data about their health histories
When we acknowledge their need for information and connection to their bio families
When we embrace the child of our hearth and surrender the child of our fantasies
When we listen without refutation to all of their feelings about adoption
When we love them for themselves without expectation of who and how they must be
Pavlovitz describes the joy of feeling genuinely welcomed: “We felt seen and known and loved without needing to prove ourselves worthy. There’s nothing like that feeling.” Isn’t that the goal for all parents— for our children to feel and know that they are loved?
Take time to consider how you are challenged in your efforts to demonstrate acceptance to each member of your family. What are the sticking points? What other people press this same hot button? How do your responses vary from person to person? What factors make it easier with one person and harder with another? What can you do or say differently? What conversations might you want to initiate to help improve your relationship?
As Intentional Parents, we flip the “no vacancy” sign and expand our hospitality outreach beyond our families into the larger community? How can our families embody welcome in the world? What one act of hospitality will you take as an individual, as a parent, as a coworker, as a friend, as a citizen?
Read Adoption-attuned book reviews
by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift, on her blog,
"Writing to Connect"