From a Young Man Who Was Adopted As A Toddler: He’s a missionary now.

July 17, 2015
As I’ve written before, after little Charlene was adopted through the foster adopt program, several other families in our Black Forest Colorado Church family followed suit. The Duffins had three girls and one boy and had always wanted a larger family, preferably at least one more son to balance out the numbers. So one day when they showed up at Church with two little boys, one an infant and one a toddler, we all celebrated with them.
They were worried especially about the toddler’s attachment. The kids had been seriously abused and neglected, (which usually goes without saying when a pair of children go directly into the classification of likely being adoptable.) I remember carrying my youngest out of Sacrament meeting when he was making noise and hearing a child howling and screaming in such an alarming way that it warranted checking out. I’d open the classroom door to peek in and there’s be Matt Duffin with toddler Aaron on his lap, clutched tightly in his arms. Since we were foster parents in training too, I understood that he was employing “holding therapy.” When children have failed to attach to a caregiver in the earliest months of life, (up to two years), sometimes they benefit from a diligent adoptive parent holding them tightly enough that they can’t get away until they settle down and stop fighting. It is thought to teach them not only that the adult has authority over them, but that they will be protected and provided for by the adults.
Fast forward 16 years.
By a strange coincidence, the Duffins moved twice when the boys were still little. We moved once several years later and ended up in the same ward in Oklahoma. Our children reestablished their friendships and by then, the boys were in scouts and cub scouts. The older boy seemed happy and well adjusted but the younger was showing lots of behavioral issues. He has continued to struggle mightily through his teen years.
But Aaron has indeed thrived. He’s currently serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is a letter he wrote to his family with the intention that it would be forwarded to ChocolateCreamCenters for this series.
I’m taking the liberty of editing it for grammatical punctuation.

Hello everyone! This week was really good. We had a lot of stuff
happen, from meeting with a lot of people to being sworn at in the
parking lot. But it’s all good. We had a really good week this week.
Our neighbors have been fighting a lot and keeping us up at night but
hopefully that will stop. They’re still both super nice but I don’t know
if they get along with each other so that makes it kind of hard for
them.  I think they can get along if they just work at it.
 That is cool to hear but she wants to hear a little bit about my story. I
think that’s crazy to hear that a lot of kids that were adopted
struggle when they are teenagers. For me the reason why I tried so
hard in school was because I realized that it would be my own
future, even if I was struggling with feeling that I was loved at home.
I knew that it wasn’t my parents future at stake, it was my own future. If I
wanted to have a family of my own, I needed to have a good job to
support them. 
I think one of my biggest struggles in high school was I
wanted to feel accepted. I wanted to feel like I could hang out with
the people I wanted to and I wanted to be cool. But I came to realize
near the end of my high school that it didn’t matter what all those
kids thought about me because when I went away to college, half of them I
wouldn’t even see anymore.
 When I moved away from home after high school and started to have to take care myself, I  realized really how much of work it was.  I came to realize that my parents wanted
me to be able to succeed in life and learn how to take care of myself.   I would have people around all the time. I came to love them more
and came to realize really they wanted the best for me. It makes me
wish that I was better as a teenager and I should have been more respectful to my
parents as they probably had a really hard time with me. But I love
them so much and I realize that I could’ve been better. So that’s a
little bit about it.  I’m very grateful for everything you’ve done for me mom
and dad. Happy birthday to you Dad. I’m sorry I didn’t get your package
off last week. I’ll mail it today but I want you to know that I love love
you and I hope you had a great birthday. I hope everyone has a great
week. I love all of you so much and I look forward to talking to you
next week.

Elder Duffin

Hey, Friends, Thanks for reading! The AdoptUsKids website says there are 102,000 children in foster homes right now who are available for adoption. If you have any little grain of interest, here’s a link to the site  (you may need to cut and paste.)

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