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Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton

Additional Catholic Mom Columns


Let’s Hear It For Resilience

Last week an adoptive “online buddy” of mine blogged about how much she hates it when kids are called “resilient.” She said in part, “There are some things no kid should have to deal with, and saying they are ‘resilient’ doesn’t make it any better…. They may bounce, but they bruise.”

While I can appreciate her empathetic perspective – and, to be honest, I share it most of the time – there is also a part of me that will always be grateful that my kids inherited the “bounce” gene. Yes, they bruise as well – and those bruises took a good long time and a lot of loving to start healing. But as a foster mom I had no choice but to believe that they would not always be the angry, scared, fearful little urchins they were when they came to us. I could not have gotten through that first six months if I had thought the next eighteen years would be more of the same.

Happily, the little boy with the wild eyes and the roundhouse punch that once caught Father’s midsection when he stretched out a hand to bless our son, is now an amiable, imaginative, affectionate child. He still cries about once a day – I’m told it’s not unheard of, for this age – when life overwhelms him. But he also colors wonderfully detailed pictures of animals, and does the best dinosaur impression this side of Jurassic Park. He also asks about his siblings and birth parents fairly regularly, which reminds me that while his “forever family” connection is strong, it does not – may never – replace the biological one.

Yes, Christopher’s resilience has challenged me to take a good, hard look at my own. During the three years we were perpetually in a holding pattern, we got through it by looking straight ahead of us and not letting our hopes wander too far afield. Now that the situation is resolved, we are more secure in the permanency of our family – and yet, there will be plenty of opportunity to “bounce” ahead of us. During those times we can hold on to each other for balance – or let go to rub our own bruises.

Dear Lord, when the ground beneath me is unsteady, You alone are my Rock. When I am bruised and sore, You alone are the Great Physician who binds up all my wounds. You are the great “Forever Father” who has given me the gift of resilience – to use, and to pass on to the children you have entrusted to me. Make me worthy of that trust. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Heidi Hess Saxton and her husband Craig are adoptive parents of two children Christopher (6) and Sarah (4). is the editor of Canticle magazine, the “voice” of  "Women of Grace". A convert to the faith since 1994, Heidi is also a graduate student of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a frequent contributor to  Read more of Heidi’s writing through her website or visit Heidi's blog at

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