Adoption is Hard
Children from hard places who have experienced trauma
(and I would argue that losing your birth family is always traumatic)
are going to have attachment issues.
Their trust has been broken
by the very people who were
supposed to be the most trustworthy.
Your words mean nothing to them. They have no reason to trust what you say and they have every reason to doubt. They have been hurt, they have had to learn to protect themselves, they lack the ability to empathize, and they are scared to death, they are master manipulators and they want to be in control.
WARNING: Their behavior is going to reflect this.
And it is going to make you feel crazy.
And parenting them is hard CRAZY HARD.
Even if you fell in love with their referral pictures, chances are that once you enter this crazy hard world of loving a child with attachment issues, you are not going to FEEL like you love them. No, it does not FEEL the same as parenting a healthy attached child. Not the PC thing to say, but true. It’s hard to feel love for a child who tries to sabotage you at every turn.
But, you see, you DO love them:
You love them by doing the loving thing over and over and over.
You love them by parenting them in the way they need to be parented with high nurture and high structure (despite how you parented your other kids or how your church friends parent).
You love them by holding them when they are raging and telling them that you aren’t going anywhere.
You love them by praying for them and fighting the spiritual battle on their behalf.
You love them by not being easily offended.
You love them by not being easily manipulated.
You love them by not giving up, by not confirming their suspicions that you are just like all of the others who abandoned them and broke their trust.
You love them by laying down your life, picking up your cross, and dying to yourself
Yes, you love them. . . and by the grace of God, someday, yes someday, you will wake up and realize that they believe you and they trust you and both of you FEEL, truly feel that phileo (friendship) love that you have both been longing for.
Dear “trauma mama” if you are in the trenches today, lovingly parenting through the crazy-hard, please do not lose heart! Do not give up or be easily discouraged. Fight the battle by dying. Just for today, lay down your life and choose love.
Blessed beyond measure to be a child of God, wife of Disco Man, mother of ten awesome children (9 adopted from “hard places”), and friend of many. Messed up in most ways and so thankful for His saving grace in my life. Trying to be thankful for His refining fire as well. Desiring to live fully, every day, for His glory alone. You can follow their life at Grace and Glory.