Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thank you & Have a Nice Day

With a multi-ethnic family, we get a lot of comments. Some kind, some overly kind and some, well... exhausting. I do feel that my children have been called to this place for this time. It is the aspect of adoption rarely touched upon by social workers. Often they make you feel as though your culture/country/family is something you are imposing upon your child. But from a biblical world view, we know this is far from the truth. We know that God chose these children to be our children. We did not choose adoption or our children. We followed where God led. We know that God is going to show His glory through our families. We are all called to be missionaries, to buck man's ideas and stand for His truth. I guess my family just sticks out more as such.

Knowing that, I try to prepare my heart when we go out. It is not some huge thing, but I do think, we may get some will I respond to glorify Christ and possibly redirect or educate when necessary. Without fail someone will pose something in such a way as to catch me off guard. The latest one-almost daily commented to me-is, "They are so well adjusted." Why do people say that? It is like "I've heard how those older kids can be and yours aren't caring on like banshees." Usually, they have spoken to them for a minute or observed them from a distance. What I want to say is umm, yeah right. Drop by some time and see if you don't catch screams bellowing from our house. But I don't. Depending on the person, I say everything from "thank you" to a full explanation of Mommy-shopping. I want to protect my children's privacy. I also want to protect them from people setting expectations that they are not ready to meet. (play dates, hugs, socially appropriate behavior). I also want to be honoring in my responses. As I thought about it tonight, I realized something God prepared my heart for. Our adoption was long. Very long. And people would always ask, when are they coming?? I would always say, "Everyday is a day closer. We are trusting God will bring them home." Now I know my response. "Not yet. But everyday is a day closer. We are trusting God will heal their hearts and bring them Home."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coffee Pot Lessons

Our girlie who has attachment struggles has broken 1/2 dozen coffee pots over the course of the last year. She doesn't break them least.....I don't think she does. They shatter when she is grumpy about doing her chore...the dishes. In her frustration....she loses focus....lacks intentionality and haphazardly tosses things around and slams them down. Inevitably...there's broken glass and no caffeine for Mama.

Here's the good news.

This last time....just a week ago....I was upstairs checking my e-mail when I heard a shatter from the kitchen. I did not react.... like usual......... but ignored it instead. I'd like to think I was practicing self control....but in all truth, it felt more like like apathy.

Within a few minutes....our girlie had climbed the staircase timidly and was standing at my bedroom door sheepishly. She made eye contact immediately and held it the entire time we spoke. She started with a quivering voice and I think I saw the beginnings of tears/genuine remorse..."Mom, you are not going to be happy about this," was what she said.

"You broke the coffee pot," I responded without emotion.

"Yes....(deep breath) because I wasn't being careful and intentional about what I was doing"....(then)...."I'm sorry."

No signs of a lurking angry outburst. No hint of the Blame Game.

Just.....sorrow. Plain old remorse.

I've tried everything. I've had her pay me back....clean up the glass herself...added chores....put to bed early.....hollered...given the silent treatment....broken down in tears....etc. This time I simply looked at her and said,
"This is ridiculous."

She nodded in agreement.

I never told her what to do in order to make amends. I offered no solution to the ongoing problem. On her own....with zero leading form me....she cleaned up the mess she had made and finished her chore without complaint. Since that day, she has offered to give me money towards a new coffee pot. She even searched one out while we were at Walmart buying "school" supplies....and then again....while we were at Walgreens. Obviously, this coffee pot problem is on her mind. She has a conscience! She wants to make it right!

Honestly....I'm thrilled. If it takes a half dozen broken coffee pots to somehow initiate growth....bring them on! If only we could look at each frustrating season in this light as we are living through them. Convicting.

Here's the second bit of good news. My darling hubby arrived home from the office with a new French Press and a bag of java for Mama. Our girlie with attachment struggles is not allowed to touch it. Never ever. She must still do her chore....washing the dishes...but my French Press is OFF limits. And just because we love our girlie....she gets to save her money and spend it on something a new Webkins or lip gloss.

RADical Dads

Just when I was about to post on the fact that there don't seem to be many Dad's discussing RAD out there (at least in Blog Land)........surprise!!!!!! We get comments from Steve :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i can do ALL things.....

Turn off Music Player first.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Cardboard Testimony

The Lord works miracles.

Front: Living independently.
Back: Living in dependence.

Turn off the Music Player first.

The Newborn Myth

Maybe you have stumbled upon us and are curious.  Maybe you are having challenges with your child and can't find answers.  Maybe you brought your baby home at day one and can't imagine the trouble you are facing now is related to attachment.  You may see a child that came home at 5 or 6 years old and assume the age or would be the greatest factor in attachment issues.  But this is what we know, attachment struggles are not specific to adoption (a biological child with trauma/neglect/divorce can show attachment issues, too), age of adoption or birth country.  There are certainly things that can happen/not happen to lessen the chances of issues.  In the end, though, there are too many variables to make boxes.  

As we posted before, the older child adoption is sometimes blessed with a honeymoon period.  Not so much for the child to bond to the parent, but the parent to the child.  With infant adoption, although there is no promise of secure healthy attachment, there is a unique blessing.  You are given this sweet beautiful baby that needs you and is adorable even when they wake you in the middle of the night with shrill screams.  You are living the attachment cycle over and over again each day.  Meeting your child's needs has hopefully attached your child to you as it has certainly attached YOU to your child.  Those are yummy moments to hold on to in the difficult moments.  However, don't let the precious memories God has allowed blind you to the possibility of a child's hurting heart.  There has been loss.  There has been trauma.  The behavior you are seeing now may be because of it.  Please hear me.  I am not trying to superimpose a label or problem on your child.  I just want you to consider what may be below the surface.  Visit for attachment symptoms in infants.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Throne Room

We all come with scars, wounds, baggage etc. Some carry heavier loads than others.  The Lord may be using our kids RAD to break them of themselves and draw them to Himself.  It's not without His knowledge that they have RAD, right? It has passed through the throne room....and He has said in so many words, "I will allow it."  And.... the kids who come home and adjust well...attaching and bonding deeply...and all of our bio kids who have had good starts....he might choose to draw them in different ways...according to His purposes and His will for their lives. Among other things....He used marriage trouble, the death of a close friend, relationship heartbreak, financial and career woes and miscarriages to get my attention. Maybe He's using RAD to get my daughter's attention?  RAD cannot be easy on these kids.  It must be a painful and lonely life....trying to live it all alone, constantly alienating those around her, and being afraid to trust.  

My problem is that I am a sinning human.  I am not always trustworthy.  In my own fear, frustration,  and disappointment...I falter.  I get off track.  I sometimes make it difficult for my daughter who has had trouble trusting... to trust me.  That's when I repent and say, "Oh, Lord...please take my repentance over my sinful reactions and use it for your glory."  Then, with absolute conviction and assurance I can rest because, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."  

The Lord is able to use all of it...

....our tender loving care....our consistency....our gentleness and our brokenness before our children after we yell, scream, and carry soften hearts.  

My job is to be a trustworthy mother who prays without ceasing  for the salvation of my children...and for wisdom & strength to accomplish the tasks placed before me each day with patience and compassion. 

Jesus is the Deliverer....the one who removes the chains that bind.  

He is the Great Physician...the one who heals wounded hearts.  

Even the the chains and wounded hearts which grew deep gnarled roots in the weed infested gardens of early childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect.   

Monday, July 21, 2008

Surprise Lovin'

Momma bumped into a little bit of surprise lovin' yesterday at the end of her asian salad.  Ladies, take it where you can get it :)


In the throws of the most difficult of days, be quite certain you will be attacked.  One of the enemy's favorites in adoptive families is:

This is Ishmael, not Isaac

But we know that is a lie.  Because the Lord creates families-on purpose.   He decided before the beginning of all time the children that would be in your family-biological or adopted.  It is hard, though, when the doubts creep in.  I am not saying don't search your heart. We always need to have a short list with the Lord.   What I am saying, is protect your heart from the lies that will prevent you from being the parent you need to be to this child.  My encouragement to you is to write down the love story of how you committed to your child.  What stirred your heart to know this child was yours?  What circumstances led to the perfect time of he or she coming home?  Hold on to those moments, beloved.  He has purpose for this child, in your home, in your family.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Unattached Parents

It sounds like a contradiction, I know....especially for those who prayed for...begged for....planned for....sacrificed for....and waited for their children to come home.

But attachment is a two way street. 

Never before or since have the inroads to my heart been so twisted and turned than they have been on this "attachment" journey.  We were completely unaware of RAD until it hit us smack in the face...months and months after placement.  The symptoms were there but we were in the dark as to what they pointed to.

I believe that the Lord...for His purposes.... gave us a "honeymoon" period with our daughter so that we...her parents, siblings and grandparents could attach to her on some level before all heck broke loose.  She was not attached to us.  But, thankfully...we had attached to her...somewhat.
An unattached child will find it very difficult to attach to unattached parents.   

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Here's what stinks big time!  I am able to cuddle, snuggle, smell, rock back and forth and touch cheeks with.... almost every newborn I know.  I'm able to whisper, "You are sooooo adorable and sooooooooo precious."  

I can give Mom a break for a few minutes...until she needs to nurse again.  

I can't get close to the ones I want so desperately to hold bestest girlfriend in the world's babies.  I want to know them.  To love them.  I want desperately for them to know me....the way my kids know her.   The other day, one of her daughters fell and bumped her chin. She came to me crying and all I could do was look at her briefly...because I didn't want to hold eye contact too long....and say, "I'm sorry that happened.  Sit right here.  Mommy will be back from the restroom in a minute."   This darling little girl wanted to be comforted and I felt like a big fat fat insensitive fart face.  What sort of woman ignores...for all intensive purposes...the cries of a wounded child?  ME!!!!!!  It went against every instinct in my body.  I knew why I couldn't sweep her up into my arms and smother her with kisses, but knowing why I was paralized didn't bring me any sort of comfort.  

I'm bummed.  

My kids know my girlfriend and her affectionate safe places...intimates they can turn to to get some lovin' needs met in Dad and Mom's absence...and sometimes even alongside Dad and Mom.  I'm sure my kids are missing the tickles and kisses and hugs that they used to receive.  They haven't verbalized the loss....but they must be feeling it.  I feel it for them.   But how can things stay the same as they were when we are dealing with fresh attachment issues? If my girlfriend continues on the way she used to...swooping up my kids when she sees them...kissing their necks and tickling their bellies when they are on her will confuse her children.  Why is my mommy so loving.....while she (ME!) never even looks at us or touches us?  Gee, she (ME) must be a "meany."

Sometimes I hate "attachment"...or more specifically, "non-attachment." I get I am a RAD parent myself... but sometimes I hate it very much.  And now I'm having trouble with it for a whole set of new reasons.  

This just stinks.

Take Courage

One of the most difficult jobs parents of RAD kids have is protecting...spiritually, emotionally, and possibly even physically....the other children in the home while maintaining soft hearts towards the one who seems to always be at the center of the constant fury.  It is so easy to feel sabotaged...used....abused and manipulated.  It's hurtful to see family members get caught in the crossfire and in our own is vertually impossible to stay in the battle.  Take courage!

A Saturday Prayer

A Saturday prayer for soft hearts, authenticity, depth, trust, truth, no hint of manipulation, no jockeying for position, reciprocation, and peace.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lovers of Our Children

agape love: feeling of being content or holding one in high regard...self sacrificing, giving love to all....both friend and enemy.

eros love:  a passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.

phileo love:  a virtuous love including loyalty to family and friends...requires familiarity.

Yes, we are commanded to love our children always with an agape love.  But we are also created to desire a reciprocal love....a phileo love.  One that shares laughter, tears, dreams, burdens, fears, tickles, kisses, hugs, touch, and....... the (ever elusive) eye contact.

Titus 2 Women are to be women who are lovers of (philoteknos) their children. 

Jesus shows us this kind of love in his relationship with his close friends, the Apostle John and Lazarus.  They were intimates.  There was emotion woven into the fabric of their relationships. They shared the sort of  love that was visible to those around them.  

God commands believers to live lives overflowing with agape love...a willful love.  

Eros and Phileo love cannot be commanded.  But that does not mean....unless He calls us to lives of complete isolation....that we are to be at peace without experiencing them.  We are created to love and be loved.