Learning to love
On her seventh birthday, Sally* had a party. The next day she came to Miracle Meadows School, an Oci ministry in West Virginia for troubled, at-risk students. Her mother would have enrolled her earlier, but 7 years old is the earliest age for admission.
Sally was not an average, carefree 7-year-old. Her behaviors included skillful lying, extreme rages, stealing, severe hatred for her adoptive mother, power struggles, pitting adults against one another, and acts of violence. Many of these traits are typical of children with Reactive attachment Disorder. They do not respond to standard parenting or therapy. Love is not enough; they reject it.
Like Sally, most of the students at Miracle Meadows look like cherubs but are deeply damaged. abuse, abandonment, or lack of a dependable, loving mother figure during the first three years of life has stunted their emotional growth. For a large portion of these children, the first few years of their lives were spent in an orphanage, multiple foster homes, or with mothers incapacitated by drugs or entrenched in domestic violence.
Loving parents who adopt these children are soon exhausted and overwhelmed. They seek a christian institution as a solution to their challenges. Miracle Meadows provides such a place. The circle of committed staff provides a safety net, allowing students with this disorder to learn to trust and to eventually risk responding to love.
Through ongoing training, the staff at Miracle Meadows is learning how to minister to these special students. By creating a consistent and structured environment, the staff teaches the students boundaries. Though it’s often easier to focus on the negative traits of a troubled child, the team strives to emphasize their progress and good behavior while still holding them accountable for poor choices. Helping the children see their value through stories about Jesus and His love has a great impact.
Despite the challenges, the team is rewarded when they witness the transformation of an angry and damaged child. They praise God for the miracles He is able to work in these children’s lives and ask for your prayers for their team and students.
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