Saturday, March 20, 2010

Explaining Attachment

Felt the need to repost this. There are lots of moms coming forward who are just realizing their child has RAD or have a new baby home. I know for me a lot of my weariness came from try to explain what we were struggling with to people that had previously had no exposure to wounded children. I hope in a small way to say, we've been there. You are not alone. Here are some words that helped us. I originally wrote it on my personal blog in 2008. . .

I am tired and frustrated beyond tears. Loving a child that doesn't want to be loved is the hardest thing in the entire world. I know at the heart of it, she wants desperately to be loved and the rejection has more to do with my position-not me personally. But her actions all day long say, 'you are horrible, I don't like you, I will not do what you say, I don't like my siblings and I hate this house.' It is sometimes disobedience done with a smile or quiet manipulation. But even the parts that look happy are fake! And by God's grace, He prompts me to ask questions and reveal her sin. And yes, it is sin. But there is no breaking. And when there are tears, I have learned it is usually something selfish like she has to pee and not because her heart has really softened to repentance. And then comes the stillness. It is the cold, hard, apathetic, self-protective stare that scares me the most. It says to me, I need to save her from this moment or it will only get worse. Next time, will she resort to something harder or harsher? Every day, I am balancing consistent discipline-usually not in my flesh-of the one while not ruining the day of the others. It is exhausting and depressing. It is isolating. Explaining it to others and having to explain why you aren't crazy really prevents you from talking about it. Please. Please. If you know someone that is struggling with their child-traumatize bio or adopted, please do not tell them it is just like your kid. It isn't. It is not a strong willed child It is not what all kids go through.
You can research and read if you really want to learn more. But I have found telling people to research something they are not affected by won't happen. I get it. So I have been trying to think through how to explain it to others without the science and psychology. Most people think we are dealing with a strong-willed child. But it is so not like that. When a strong willed child is hurt-say a gash on the knee-they still cry. They still want Mommy to comfort them. They may be the most independent, sassy kid on the block, but they know their parents will meet their needs. They know they really can't do life without their parents. They communicate their needs-down to I am thirsty, I am hungry, I am bored. They don't flail around, pick at their fingers, take deep breaths, twitch and shake before they can look you in the eye. They show their desire for control because they want their way. It is not to communicate clearly to their caretaker you are not in control, you are not doing a good job, so I feel the need to take over. And most of all....YOU are attached to your child. That is the hardest part of the equation. As a mom, I want to connect, gush, and be moved by my child. When a naughty, independent, strong-willed child is giving you a go, you are still passionately in love with your child. I love her in the she- is- my- child- given- by- God and I will do my best for her, but quite honestly, there are not warm fuzzies right now. And that is really really hard. I know I am a good Mommy. But I don't feel like it right now. Love is an action and I submit my heart to what He is calling me to do. We struggle to attach to the Lord who loves us sacrificially. I want that joy in the sacrificial love. But He also loves us as children and friends..... and I long for that, too. Please pray for us as parents to have wisdom and for our girls as they learn to trust, to obey and to feel safe.

You are not alone. It is a long, hard marathon. But God wants to redeem this child for His glory. And He wants you to help Him do it. You are not up to the task, but turn towards Him. He will equip you.


BeckyJoie said...

Very good. I will provide a link from my blog for this.