“My Kids” Therapeutic Parent Coaching Program and Community
So I was sitting there looking at this woman trying to figure out what to say to such an absurd question…then it hit me, it wasn’t an absurd question to her and probably wasn’t to most of the people she had asked it to previously. We were in the process of adopting two of our kids who had been with us as foster children for almost two years and this woman was asking questions for our home study to see if we could adopt these children. The question she asked was why do you want to adopt “these kids?” After staring at her confused for a few seconds thinking “well which ones do you think I would want to adopt” I simply replied “because they are the ones they gave us.” Now SHE looked confused. She said “yeah but what about them makes you want to adopt them.” Ah, yes, there it is. She was looking for something conditional about these kids that makes me want to adopt them. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, kids change! If I want to adopt them because I like certain things about them, then what happens when that changes? This is how we pick puppies from the pound but shouldn’t be how we adopt kids. So my next response was a defiant “because they are my kids!” I wanted to ask why she wanted to keep her kids but I didn’t. You see, when a child is born into a family, the parents already decided to love that child long before he or she was born and no matter what the child’s attributes are, they love them. You don’t see parents at the hospital looking at their child and deciding if they are going to keep them or not, do you? No! So when a foster child comes into our home we have already been praying for that child and loving that child no matter what they are like or what is wrong with them. They are our kids!
As a licensed counselor and therapeutic parent coach who specializes in working with foster, adopted, traumatized and difficult children I work with a lot of parents on this concept of unconditional love. Not only do we have to unconditionally love our kids, but they have to feel and believe that we do. This is where it gets hard. Every child needs someone to say “that’s my kid” and mean it with every fiber of their being no matter what happens or what the child does. But beyond that, the child has to take a risk and believe it. Hurt kids have a hard time doing this and often push parents away and even make parents act in ways that the child uses to confirm that they aren’t loved. Really bad and destructive patterns emerge when we don’t know how to handle situations with “hurt kids.” Notice I say “hurt kids” and not “bad kids.” These kids are hurting and they need someone to love them in a way that the child can believe them.
There was a point in time when I decided to be God’s child. I decided to let him adopt me into his family. Maybe you have as well? When we do that God reaches down, takes us in his arms and says “my kid” and it’s done. You are his kid unconditionally, no matter what you have done or how damaged you are. This is the model we have for adoption and for parenting, but it is hard to live. The “My Kids” program was started to help make this a reality. Our passion is for every child to have someone say “My Kid” and mean it and for every child to have the chance to take the risk and believe it.
My wife and I currently have 10 children in our home. Some are our biological children, others are adopted and others are foster children. But they are all our kids, period. People often ask “which ones are ours” to which we give a really confused look and say, “well all of them are ours.” James 1:27 commands us to look after the orphans. The My Kids program is committed to fulfilling this command and pursuing the goal of every child having someone say “my kid” and mean it.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
We are your community…
By Stephen Luther
Licensed Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and founder of the My Kids Program and online Community
My Kid’s Therapeutic parent coaching group on Facebook: