Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This Sunday, the pastor led us in a study in 1Peter 2:1-6. There was a strong reminder of the narrow path... the one way to the Lord. My mind could not help but drift to the passage of Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven."
Then, of course, my mind was led to the emptiness in my daughter's voice most times when she says, "Mommy, mommy." It feels so fake, so forced. Often when I bring up attachment in adoption circles, I hear oh, he knows I'm his mom. Or she knows who she goes home to. Hmm, I wonder if the child thinks that is her name-Like Nanny Mary or Mrs. Smith. Does she have a concept of what a mother is or who that is to be? A child struggling to attach certainly doesn't understand the way you pursue him or nurture him or want his best. He doesn't understand what a mommy is. I just don't want to assume the calling of a name really equals a relationship. Some of us have the raging, overt kiddos. Others, the subtle manipulative ones that may not be as far along as they appear to be.
Oh, Lord, my Lord, tonight please prick our hearts, lay bare the motives and reveal the truth in the relationships we are striving to have with our children. We want authenticity in everything, Lord, not just in the actions.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Almost everything that could possibly hit the fan..... hit the fan today. I covet your prayers.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
My girlie struggling with Rad likes to go into my closet. I find her in there all the time. Browsing through things. Trying things on. She's rather petite but fits into a few of my "t" shirts......and sometimes I let her wear pieces of my daintier jewelry. Lately, she's been trying on my shoes. Her feet and her voice are the only LARGE things about her :) It looks as if she's got about a 1/2 size to go....which means I'd better not develop a "hands off" policy anytime soon.
Sharing my "stuff."
It's one of the ways of "connecting" and "bonding" that seems to touch her heart.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
We have a "family whistle." My father learned it from his father. It was passed down to me....and picked up by my hubby. We have used it with all of our kids. At sporting events....at the park, at the video store....
When we are in the market...shopping for groceries in different aisles and I need help.... or the cart..... or to know where each and everyone is....I whistle. I get a whistle/s back and we reconnect.
We have used the whistle for years and years....long before attachment issues popped up in our lives...but I think "The Whistle" helps my girlie who struggles with RAD feel as if she is part of something set apart and special....a family. Part of an identifiable group of connected people who have their own "inside language."
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
In our family....we hold hands all the time. When we are driving in the car....walking about town to and fro....sitting on the couch...or in the pew. It doesn't matter who's around...it makes no difference if we are in a public place like Home Depot or Chipotle (even w/the teens :) ....we hold hands.
I like to give the kids a special, private message...three quick squeezes....I.....Love....You.
It's so sweet when the only response is..... three quick squeezes back....I....Love....You.
Or even when the "I Love You" gesture is initiated by them. And then I get to respond.
No words. Nothing embarrassing. Just private squeezes shared between hearts.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Having trouble with eye contact?
Whenever we did....I would take my girlie struggling w/RAD into the bathroom and we would face the mirror together. Her trouble was greatly reduced and we could talk "eye to eye." It's as if the mirror gave her some sort of protection....some sort of security.
After a while.....we didn't need the mirror as much....and now, no more.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
"What a journey. I love that the Lord doesn't reveal everything at once. I think if He did we would all just fall down and die. He is so good to us in that He gives us blinders when we need it and removes them when we are ready. What would we hesitate to do...or even fail to do if we knew it all up front?"
Listen. Listen. Listen. The Lord has given us our particular children intentionally....for very specific...and particular reasons. If we are Spirit led...and seek His wisdom...He will reveal to us what is best for our families. Not all advice/information/techniques to assist in our parenting or offered to foster healing will feel right. Use what does. Do what works. We rocked in a rocking chair...went back to bottle feeding...went back to diapers....etc....before we even knew what RAD was. Had never read a word.....but knew deep down what was needed. He will whisper to your heart...what must be done.
There is so much info on RAD out there. A caution to Christians...we want to make sure we are building our homes on strong foundations while not tearing them down at the same time with worldly methods. Seek Him first....and red flags will begin to pop up. He will show us what is not lasting and what is. And if you get off track for a season......turn and get on track again. Don't cry over the bunny trails.
I'm off to the pool w/the kiddos...but I have one lingering thought...What might the Lord who loves us be trying to teach us through RAD trials? Could we possibly be unattached/struggling to attach children ourselves?
Our Father wants desperately for us to look full in His wonderful face.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Attachment disciplining very often goes against the natural instinct for what you would do. For example, a disregulated child needs a time-in in the same room as mom, not a time-out isolated in their own room. This is when staying focused on the Lord is so necessary. You need the prompting of the Holy Spirit to really know what the child needs in the moment. Take yesterday:
I gave two of my kiddos the chore of unloading the dishwasher. (One struggling with attachment, one not). I then went into another room with another child. The two joined us a few minutes later. "Is the dishwasher empty?" Struggling to Attach says, " "yes, it is finished." Her sister is too young to take responsibility for this or to know what is needed to be done. About 20 minutes later, I went into the kitchen to find the dishwasher empty EXCEPT the silverware. Child is questioned and she stammers and ums until she admits she lied and wanted control. (boo for the action, yay for identifying it). I then said, "Oh, that makes mommy sad that you do not trust mommy and wanted control. (HS prompts my heart and I call her sister in) Now, your sister GETS to finish helping mommy by putting the silverware away. Sister still thinks this is the greatest thing ever (yes she is little!) and is happy dancing. Older sister stands wounded watching her sister finish the chore. She then says, Mommy, I am sad because I lied to you. I am sorry, Mommy. WOW! In tears, in my arms, repenting. Thank you, Lord!! I know that my reaction would typically be to put her in the corner and probably spiral her for the day. But the response in the Lord was not typical and curbed her behavior faster than anything I have seen before!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Don't forget to click PAUSE on our Music Player.
It's been so long since
You felt like you were loved
So what went wrong
But do you know
There's a place where you belong
Here in My Arms
When you feel like you're alone in your sadness
It seems like no one else in this whole world cares
And you want to get away from the madness
You just call My name and I'll be there
You just call My name and I'll be there
The pain inside
Has erased your hope for love
Soon you will find
That I'll give you all
That your heart could ever want
And so much more
You just call My name, say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive
Call My name say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive
Welcome to Holland"
By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987. All rights reserved.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
This post was originally sent out over a month ago. It's evidence of the highs and lows that come w/RAD territory....given my last post....during the whole bangs meltdown/lying about a pinch.... episode. Can anyone say....emotional whiplash???????????????????
Major praise over here! We went away for 8 days and had maaaaaybe
3-4?????? very minor incidents. Very, very minor....predictable things like brief lapses in eye contact etc.
This time.....no dramatic hissy fits over seemingly ridiculous things..... no center of attention stuff...no dining room timeouts in front of hundreds of strangers...no Mexican ambulance rides to take care of centipede-like creature of mysterious origin stings (she was told not to touch and of course...ignored the warning.)
Hopefully...it's more evidence of healing.
While we were away....when she chose sassiness.....it was no more sassy than the others.
We currently have a lovely, age-appropriately obedient, submissive more times than not, somewhat self-controlled, teachable, responsive, pre-teen daughter..... who seems to have decided for some unknown reason that she likes the looks of us and desires to keep us around. Could this change within the next hour? Sure. My head is not in the clouds. Even so.........
Maybe it's the prayers....
Maybe it's the consistency and hard work....
Maybe it's the timing......
Maybe it's everything working together for the good......
All I know is that with each of my children.....without submission to the Lord there will be no forever fruit. Please pray that He will reveal himself...that His love would be recognized...that there would be a turning from self reliance...an acceptance of His provision...and growth in knowledge and grace.
We need prayer for the healing of all the hearts in the home wounded by RAD.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
My girlie w/ RAD issues had a meltdown today over the task of styling her
"STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whispy bangs." Seeing that she needed help in the self control area of life I located the scissors and snipped away....creating a very cute, heavy fringe across her forehead. Obviously when she needs to learn how to deal w/ordinary, every day things like bangs I will provide her with an opportunity to do so....because I am a loving mother who desires only the best for her.
Today, she also claimed her brother pinched her when he didn't and stood in a corner for 45 minutes (in a church meeting w/ a roomful of witnesses) before admitting that it was a lie. At least there was no foaming at the mouth and the episode was relatively short.....in comparison to the 5-12 hour battles we used to deal with.
And more good news.....wounded brother did not react as inappropriately as he used to...and Mom didn't break a sweat. GROWTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so encouraged to see how many parents are fighting for their children. Fighting for depth in relationships and fighting for discipleship. I'm posting a few things that have been brought to mind...which we've chosen...sometimes by instinct....sometimes by trial and error...which I believe have worked well.... so far....... with all 5 of our kids
Home-Education (w/ co-ops)
Pulling out of Sunday School (thru jr. high)
Multi generational corporate worship
co-sleeping (always in early childhood & off and on as desired)
co-bathing w/Mom (boys early childhood / girls indefinitely)
no baby sitters (besides grandparents)
close circle of friendships with lots of like-minded supervision and accountability
consistent , firm, loving discipline (not punishment....we continue to learn this the hard way)
lots of repentance
lots of forgiveness
It is obviously by the Lord's design that what makes sense for our family....these parenting techniques which feel correct for us....also make a world of difference in dealing with RAD stuff. Now there are many RAD specific tools we have used....but that's for another post.
I hope you have a blessed day of rest with your families.
Monday, August 11, 2008
As an adult, if you think you are struggling with attachment issues from your childhood, there is hope. There is always hope. Healing will be a long road, a hard road of difficult choices. It may be that doing the right thing in relationships around you will never FEEL natural. But God and His Word can take us from the deepest pit and set our feet on solid ground. In many ways, the way you may have learned to relate to others is like an addiction. In an uncomfortable moment how do you overcome? Sometimes, just like an addict, you must moment by moment, submit and trust that the Lord will give you the way out, heal your heart and help you overcome!
In the hard moments have committed to memory scripture that will refocus your heart in those moments.
Philippians 3:12-14... no matter where you have come from, what has been done to you or what you have chosen, today's mercies are new, press in!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Attachment speaking we've had a pretty good couple of days and then BAM! Out of nowhere, being trailed by some emotional whiplash for mom, is a rad-tastic morning. Let's just say I was woken at 5 and the morning is only 1/2 over. UGH.
I want to curl up with the Word at my Savior's feet, but there 4 hours til rest time. Until then, I'll catch my quick moments in my mind and fight my flesh that wants to push her away.
Friday, August 8, 2008
This will be controversial but, WOW! Reading up on the many families.... including RAD families who have been at the best side-tracked....and at the worst traumatized by Dr. Ezzo's (Growing Kids God's Way) teachings.
It simply does not make sense to me to allow any..... BABY...... to cry for any lengthy period of time. But keep in mind, we have always been an on demand feeding, co-bathing, co-sleeping sort of clan. You can take the Christians out of the hippie but you can't take the hippie out of the Christians :)
If you are anything like Bradley and I....you fail often in your parenting choices.
You have sinned and punished your children rather than disciplined them...or failed to do anything at all when called to soothe them.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I am breathless ....genuinely breathless...with the knowledge of how intimately our Lord walks with us. I promise you....without being able to see him physically or hear Him audibly....He is at my side today whispering to me. Maybe more like talking in a normal voice.... for I'm not straining at all to hear Him. He is being very, very clear.
Lately...over the last month...I have been more deeply processing the lessons I am being taught while dealing with multiple attachment challenged relationships in my life...and maybe being given new passion for the battlefield... or simply fresh articulation skills.
After a long conversation with my husband this morning... and the recent turning over in our brains of the very same ideas again and again with ----, I am convinced more than ever that the world would have us deal with attachment challenges in a worldly way but that the Lord would have us deal with it in an entirely different manner.
We are all scarred individuals. Each and every one of us. We all haul baggage around with us ...granted some drag heavier loads than others...but it's baggage just the same...until the burdens are lifted. I think of John Bunyan's fair young pilgrim, Christian and am reminded of this very truth.
Pavlov's Theory. In a nutshell....behaviorists would have us believe that if you change the environment...you change the behavior. For instance, a neglected child can be taken from a non ideal environment and placed into an ideal environment and because of the change....we can expect to see true and lasting change. We all know that this theory does not always pan out. There are many people who are confronted with love....true love...and never accept it or reciprocate.
We are not after behavior modification. The Bible tells us that the only true change grows out of a heart change. We are after heart change.
As parents of children w/attachment struggles......we can try until we are blue in the face to provide safety....provide security....to be present... (all good things) but it's not until the Lord softens the heart of a hurting individual...that any of it it will add up to a hill of beans.
The problem with the enemy is that He is skilled at using our wounds, weaknesses, struggles & challenges against us.
Sad, lonely, frightening, abusive, highly dysfunctional childhoods.....not easy or pretty...I agree.
Add that to our problem of being wretched sinners who follow after the evil desires of our own hearts...and we have a greenhouse with perfect soil conditions and temperature..... for trust and control issues to thrive.
Parents, as the stewards of the flowers in our particular garden ...we must consistently work at removing the weeds which threaten our buds. Digging them out at the roots....cutting off their supply of nourishment and focusing on the health of the young shoot before us. But if we think we can grow those young shoots...we are mistaken. We do not have that kind of power.
It is the Lord who breaks through a non-trusting, fearful, disobedient, self serving, self protecting heart. Not Mommy. Not Daddy. Not siblings. Not grandparents. Not a therapist. Not a pastor. Not a teacher or a friend or a doctor. He can use people to prepare the soil, plant, and water the seeds...but ultimately, He must be the Surgeon who performs the surgery and the Physician who heals the wounds.
Point hearts to the Lord. I'm convinced all else is vanity.
By the way, this stuff translates to every believer's life. At one time or another we were all unattached children...estranged from our Father in Heaven...who was every step of the way waiting patiently while running towards us with outstretched arms.
I think the most difficult part of living with RAD is fighting the instinct to react against the manipulations that come with the territory. Relationships scarred by RAD often feel unnatural and forced. There seems to be no casual, relaxed trust. Everything seems like a test. A pushing of a boundary. It's a power play....a jockeying for position that is the heart of the problem.
As extended family/friends/acquaintances of individuals w/ RAD we need to evaluate the relationships...set boundaries and count the cost. Sometimes, we are not the ones who can or should be helping. It would be prideful to think otherwise. Also, we must realize that not every relationship is purposed for intimacy.
Parents of kids w/ RAD....there's no option. We must work through the hard times. Always. Never, ever giving up....forever. We must fight the urges to retreat and be quick to forgive. Quick to forget. Quick to embrace. We must fight for intimacy till the death. INTIMACY. INTIMACY. INTIMACY.
Always speak the truth in love though and remember.....we are called to CHRIST centered homes not CHILD centered homes. Individuals w/RAD have a way of stealing the spotlight and can often become idols in our lives.
We've been posting about RAD on our personal blogs for a while now. For those of you who did not meet us until attachinghearts.blogspot.com...we're making earlier posts easier to locate by including them here.
Reactive Attachment Disorder...if left unaddressed....can leave a person with a lifelong inability to form healthy, deep, and meaningful relationships. Adults suffering with this disorder keep those whom they cannot control at a distance, manipulate, perceive themselves to be victims in situations, seem to have justifications for everything, operate passive aggressively, and appear to be addicted to drama. They set up "straw dog" situations which place others in positions that validate what they "knew to be true" all along..."I'm, on my own. The only one I can rely on is myself. I can only trust Me." Really these individuals are lonely and frightened....although it takes looking past their "tough-pull myself up by my bootstraps-take me or leave me" exteriors...and into their hearts. Lifelong patterns of dysfunction have taken hold and the mazes their lives have become....serve as traps of their own making. Often, they feel as if something is wrong but don't connect the dots with the fact that they themselves are the root cause of their own misery. They are in danger of alienating those close to them...and continuing their never ending ride on the "victim" cycle. The most difficult aspect for intimates to deal with is the non-reciprocal nature of their "love" which does not translate to love at all....but instead screams of control issues. Heartbreaking but true, these wounded adults begin life as wounded children.
Usually, children with RAD are usually fiercely independent. Because they have not been able to rely on the adults around them to meet their needs...they develop coping mechanisms which cause them to rely on nobody but themselves. RAD pops up in many children who are neglected, abandoned, or institutionalized...in children who have either themselves had an illness where they were separated from a primary caregiver...or who have sickly caregivers who "tune out." Many times children of depressed, overwhelmed, disengaged, drug addicted. or alcoholic parents show signs of struggling with RAD...as well as children who are raised with multiple caregivers (nannies, childcare etc.)
These children have a need to maintain control of their environments and their relationships. They are either loud, have no edit button, and poor impulse control...doing and saying whatever comes to mind... or are methodical and conniving...always jockeying for position, the last word, and the upper hand. They are often times charming, chatty, friendly and seemingly well adjusted as far as the outside world is concerned. Only those intimate with the suffering child...know that they are living a lie. Intimates see the manipulations and battles...sometimes subtle and barely perceivable.... for maintaining control. The key word is SUPERFICIAL. In a nutshell, a child with RAD cannot rely on the adults around him/her to provide security because that feels too unsafe...therefore they keep those adults and sadly, everyone else at a distance. Deep down....they are crying for rest. They are exhausted.
As we've travelled this road over the past 8 years...we've learned so much. It is our desire that the Lord use our experiences in the lives of others if He sees fit. Our biggest heartache is this...if a person does not bond in a healthy way to a caregiver or others...they will not only have difficulty maintaining relationships.... but difficulty accepting the love of and bonding with their Heavenly Father. Please know that with us...there is an understanding ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and no judgment. For those of you who are dealing with RAD and feel all alone...please be reassured that you are not. There is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It takes truth, time, commitment, consistency, transparency, persistence, repentance, selflessness, and supernatural love. If you are a parent of a child with RAD you may never, never give up...even on those days when you feel like doing so. If you are dealing with an adult with RAD...you have the option of either counting the cost, setting boundaries, and attempting to go deeper...or not. It will be determined by the role you are willing to play and the role you will be allowed to play.
To see a child blossom is one thing. To see her blossom...knowing the work which went into planting the seed...watching it wither...planting another...watering...trusting a root system would grow...tearing it out months later because the tender shoot was being strangled by weeds...beginning again...another seed....more water....this time in more fertile soil...healthier, deeper, stronger roots...a little pruning...food...SONlight...protection from the cold...dead leaves....dead leaves with no appearance of life at all...not a single hint of life...only to have the shoots spring forth with new growth when least expected....then overflowing blooms....and even butterflies fluttering by! Now, that's....... quite another thing.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Update: She had dinner, but still went to bed early. Her reason for the hellish two hours this morning....."I was tired."
Kisses....hugs....eye contact and to bed.
Here's the good news.....it was only two hours of drama this morning....and it wasn't two hours straight. There were breaks in between....where catching "fresh breaths of air moments" were possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Growth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My girlie with RAD is NOWHERE near where she was 8 long years ago.
If you were praying for me during my time of need....I thank you.
Me: You have already had two disciplines today which is ridiculous because you woke up less than two hours ago. If you do not turn from this behavior (grumpy/sassy/selfish/LOUD)... and choose to continue on this path....you will go to bed early without dinner. Do you understand?
Girlie w/RAD: Yes.
Now, I must go get ready for a brunch.... thrown by us for out of town guests...while finding the heart/motivation/desire/time..... for figuring our what's bothering her since she went to bed last night happy as a clam. I really want to ignore her....or push her away even....but I know I MUST draw close.
This is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Don't forget to click off the Music Player first.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Your comments reminded me of a favorite quote. I wanted to share it tonight with you as it actually comes to mind often in these moments:
"They mean sympathy, however awkwardly they express it." ~Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss