Tuesday, December 3, 2013

RAPT II

Today I finished Resource and Adoptive Parent Training 2.  This is the second of four required trainings to adopt from foster care, and the only one that is completed online.  You can read about our first training here.

RAPT II is about childhood abuse and neglect.  I was thankful that this training could be done in the privacy of my own home because it was overwhelming and emotional and I needed to pause it multiple times in order to let myself process.  The hardest part of this training was the section dedicated to recognizing abuse.  There were images and descriptions of various types of physical abuse.  Most of the images were of very young children and infants.  I've known this type of abuse happens.  Some of my former high school students have experienced it and talked to me about it.  But seeing it on a two-year-old took it to a whole new level for me.

Part of me wants to scream, "how could you do that to your own child?".  But if I'm honest with myself, I know some of the answer.  I've suffered through postpartum depression.  I know the anger at a child who just will not stop crying.  I know the intense frustration that comes from a toddler testing the limits over and over and over again, laughing hysterically while you try to discipline them calmly and lovingly.  I can keep my cool because I was raised in a home where violence wasn't the answer.  I can keep my cool because I have a support structure of family and friends who will step in immediately to help out.  I can keep my cool because I've had education and read books about positive child rearing strategies.  Ultimately, I can keep my cool because of all the many resources I possess.  A lot of people have abusive backgrounds, no support structure, no education and resources and understanding of how to do things better.  That's not an excuse or a justification for their actions.  It's just one of the many unfair things about the world we  live in.

An estimated 900,000 kids are maltreated each year.  That is a scary high figure.  I'm not quite sure what to do about it.  Clearly something needs to be done.  Clearly we need to be investing more resources into education and prevention.  That's not my calling.  But maybe it's yours?  There is a clear Biblical imperative to care for orphans and "the least of these".  My calling in this area is to adoption.  What is yours?  Maybe it's foster care.  Maybe it's giving money or volunteering time to worthy organizations.  Maybe it's educating others.  Maybe it's befriending someone less fortunate than yourself.  The list is endless.

I don't have the answers.  But I trust in a God who is bigger than all this.  Who is loving and compassionate and has power to change people and lives.  I know this path that God is leading us on will be challenging, but I trust in a future that I cannot see.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.  ~Proverbs 3:5-6

2 comments:

  1. We went through a similar training to foster. The worst part (other than the reality of abused children) was that the girl in the film had the same name as me (Annie) and whenever the teacher talked about it, she couldn't help but look at me. By the end of the three hour session, I wanted to scream, "I'm not abused!!!"

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