In 2005, I adopted two older boys from Poland. A joyous event for sure, but sometimes I felt at a loss about how to help them. During those early years, their behaviors were often out of control and solutions were hard to find. I struggled daily, trying to find ways to understand their needs and help them understand our love, rules, and way of life. My hope was that we could connect them with someone who had knowledge of their culture, their feelings of abandonment, their loss of trust, and the many emotions I could never truly know myself; but at first, that was not meant to be.
A mentor— someone who could help them gain control of their new lives by easing them into it, without the boys even realizing it—would have been ideal. Yet every time I tried to make a connection with someone who seemed to have potential, something went wrong; however, I never stopped trying.
Sadly, my middle son fell into a very lonely place; the blessing was that he was ready to reach out—and to listen. He made a heart wrenching phone call to a good friend of mine, and she came running to his rescue. Fortunately, he grabbed on to her and let her help him shine.
Now, after two and a half years, anytime he falls on his face and needs a pick me up, he calls her and they talk. They may go to the mall; he may drive around with her while she picks up her kids; but either way, he is getting knowledge from a mentor and doesn’t fight it. My friend is not herself adopted, but she really connects with kids and has been a good friend to the whole family. And my son is not the only child she mentors; she has a gift!
You know, whenever an adult can connect with a child, whether it’s by playing basketball, hopscotch, jump rope or whatever, it’s a great thing! My hope for the future is that more mentoring groups for all children, adopted or not, develop and grow.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For information about available mentoring programs in your area, or if you are interested in finding out more about mentoring a child yourself, contacting the 211 Helpline could be a good place to start. The 211 Helpline is an information and referral service which connects people with resources and services in their community. You can reach them by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting www.211.org in the US. In Canada, you can contact the 211 Helpline by calling 1-800-836-3238 or by visiting www.211.ca