Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Define Love

A few years after she came became apparent to me that our Girlie needed to hear truth from us about her early life.

She was not connecting with the whole concept of a "Mommy." (Nor a "Daddy" / "Family" for that matter)

I remember our first transparent & authentic conversation about this "mommy" thing well. It was intimate. It was loving. It was very, very difficult...for her and for me.

In Girlie's mind...the orphanage workers whom she grew up with.... loved her.

In her mind...her birth mother loved her (red flag red flag red flag!!!!!!!!!!!!before you have a heart attack about the birth mother thing....hear me out.)

In her mind....we....her parents....loved her.

Yet to her, we were no different than the orphanage workers. No different than her birth mother.

It hit me then and there....very a whisper.

She thinks you are just like them.

She thinks they loved her..... but then they either left her or let her go. We say we love her....but what's stopping us from leaving her too or.... from letting her go?

Here's the words I spoke to her....very carefully. With lots of tenderness.

The orphanage workers might have cared for you...maybe they even loved you on some level...but not like a mommy loves you. If they were not paid to care for you....they would not have. They did not take you into their own homes. They did not try to keep you for themselves when we came to get you. Therefore, they did not love you like a mommy loves you.

Your birth mother....we do not know her...therefore we do not know her heart. What we do that she cared enough about you to give you life. We do know that she cared enough about you to leave you in the care of a hospital the day you were born.

We also know that she did not come to the orphanage to inquire after you for 4.5 years. When ads were run in the local paper...telling the community of your pending adoption....she did not come. She might've loved you on some level...but she did not love you like a mommy loves you.

Mommies do not say, "I love you "....and watch as complete strangers take you away. Mommies scratch out the eye balls of strangers who try to take their kids away because we love you.

She let all the info sink in. I saw her little mind processing. Her wheels were turning. After a while she started to cry...heartbroken. Utterly heartbroken.

"So who loved me, then?"

"Jesus loved you, Honey. The whole time you were in the orphanage...those long 4.5 years...Jesus loved you and He never left you or gave you away.

Girlie was wounded. And angry. And sad.

This is so important listen......

If our children do not grieve their losses....they will be stunted. They cannot grow in a healthy manner without working through their grief.

We do not help them by ignoring their losses or by glossing over them. We help them by acknowledging and processing through their losses with them.

I went on....

"As soon as Mommy and Daddy knew about you....we started the paperwork the very next day and came to get you the minute we were allowed. We flew all the way across the world...just to get you. To bring you home. Our daughter."

Believe me when I was as if a huge burden was lifted from my little girlie's shoulders that day.

Without being able to articulate it...she had been walking around with a warped idea of what love is.

In her didn't mean much. So WHAT!?!?!?!?!? love me? Big flippin deal!

Parents.........define love.


BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

This is very good and profound. Thanks for sharing it. My application of it will be different but I'm interested to see how my kids receive the redefinition.

Bill and Christina said...

Thank you Dawn for posting this! I have learned from this. It is so hard to anticipate what you will be dealing with once your children are home. Our girls are older and I know that they have been through a lot and at times that makes me feel inadequate to parent them in a way that they deserve. But I know that the Lord has placed us together so I am going to do my best to be faithful and lean on Him and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide me through it all. But it is also good to get wise counsil. So again thank you for sharing this very personal moment.


Kathy C. said...

Good thoughts.

Suzy Bell said...

Thank you Dawn !
God Bless all ya'lls always.
This blog helps me so...

The Gang's Momma said...

Good stuff. Thank you so much! I'm sharing this site with friends!

Simply Moms said...

Christina-I will be praying for you. You have stepped up to a huge task. I know He will equip you, but I also want to be faithful to be praying for their hearts even now! It will take lots of repetition before they understand you will not leave them like everyone else.

amy H WHITEHOUSE said...

thank you, Dawn, this is indeed helpful; I will continue...