"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The smallest of miracles. (Part I)

I'm just forewarning that this may be long. But wait! Before you go running off, I may break it up into 2 parts. Depending on how I'm moving along, how bad the rambling is, and well...how much of the Lord's grace I am feeling as I try to put my feelings into words. Some of you may not even bother reading this, but I need to journal not only for me, but to bring glory to my Savior.

The other day when I wrote the post about Anna Grace's surgery and I rambled a bit about our ongoing attachment struggles, you had no idea the depth of the feeling of being in the abyss that I was in at the time.

The past few months, I've felt so very far away from God. I feel like I know He wants me to go to Him. But, I've felt like, and again I know this is the enemy, that it's pretty much hopeless. Nothing will change, even with prayer. I also know that's a lie.

God has chosen me to parent this little girl and to love her unconditionally. To love her in the same manner that He loves me. I think about how many times a day I disappoint God, especially when it comes to Anna Grace. I find myself wrapped in a ball of guilt, shame and so unworthy of being loved by Him. I tell myself, How could I go to Him? How can I face Him with my head hanging low asking for forgiveness, when still after a year, I struggle with not having the same exact feelings that I have for my other children? Didn't He choose me to love her as He loves me? I've let Him down.

This is pretty bold of me to say publicly. But I prayed about it a lot before doing so and I asked God to give me the words that He wanted me to say. I am believing that He will do that. Those of you that don't understand and choose to judge, go ahead because I know in the end it will be for His glory and that's all that really matters, isn't it? I can only respond with (John 15:18) "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

As usual, I digress. I feel like I disgust Him. He's given me a treasure made by His own creation and I sometimes in the midst of my battle say, "Lord, thank you, but this is really not what I signed up for. I think you should've chosen someone else. I can't do this!" And I've meant it every time I've said it. Can you imagine saying "No" to God? Well, that's how bad it's been the past couple of months. So, what do you do when you feel alone and ashamed, you pull away from the one thing that can make you new again, because it's too painful to admit. Having to face my Father in shame for something I feel is so huge, well, it's been more than what I could handle lately. The funny thing is, that again, I know He knows my thoughts and feelings, so I'm hiding nothing from Him.

A couple of weeks ago, I called my sister for something. It was shortly after she had returned from a retreat and was flying high in the Spirit. She was filled with the grace that I so desperately needed and wanted, but had given up on.

She picked up the phone and said, "I was just going to call you. I thought about it first, and thought, Naaah...but then I decided that the Lord really wanted me to give you a message." I knew, I just knew that it pertained to Anna Grace. Part of me was bracing myself for the truth, the other part of me didn't want to hear it. Up to that moment, my sister had no idea of how bad it's been around here lately.

She proceeded to tell me that while in prayer, she felt a strong urge to pray for Anna Grace and myself. She wasn't sure why, but she was obedient to it. We spoke for about an hour and she quoted scripture to me about God's unconditional love and about Anna Grace being His masterpiece. Yep, everything I've thought about, but haven't wanted to hear.

I'm gonna go off track here a bit for those reading that haven't really experienced big attachment issues with their child, or in case you've never adopted. It's a whole other world how these children are hardwired. They have been hurt psychologically by the interruption of trust and nurturing that a child should receive, especially in the first few months of life. This is something crucial. We learn to love, bond and trust in the womb. In our earliest stages of life, when a newborn cries, a mother responds. This forms a cycle. When that cycle is broken, the child stops crying and begins to rely on themselves for self gratification since they know that their cries fall on deaf ears. Sometimes, they do bond, but for one reason or another (i.e. moving from orphanage nanny to foster home, then foster home to adopted parent) that bond again has been broken. The person they love, and whom they feel love them, has been ripped away. It's so difficult for a baby or a toddler to understand the whys of it all.

As a result, they begin to guard their heart. They associate loving someone that deeply with pain. Pain of abandonment and pain of feeling like they were not loved. Betrayal. When you've been hurt that badly, without understanding why, who would want to feel that pain again? Their natural response is to hurt/reject their new caretaker (i.e. adoptive Mother) in order for them to prevent themselves from loving that person. Their brain is consistently (and I mean consistently!) telling them that if they love, truly fall in love, with this person, they will again be hurt to the likes of their previous abandonment. The cycle begins. That's where we/I am at now with Anna Grace. We've come a long way. No more rages. No more lack of eye contact unless she really feels threatened that she's getting too close to me. For instance, when we are playing and I am carrying her like a baby tickling her. If I stop in mid play and look her in the eyes and tell her softly that I love her. Her world crumbles. Her face changes, the laughter and giggles cease and she begins slowly (much better than in the past) pulling away. She then wants down and tells me she wants to play with Kai or AJ. There is no turning back after that point. I've crossed the line. She feels the slightest twinge of love towards me and immediately needs to put the wall up. I, in turn feel crushed again that I could never show her how much I love, or want to love her, without having to feel the constant rejection. I HATE it! It literally kills me inside and in turn, makes me not want to be close to her. It's a vicious cycle for both of us now. At that point, I usually go along with the request of putting her down, although in my heart I know I shouldn't, but when that occurs and it is quite often lately, it emotionally drains me and don't want another battle to ensue.

Going back to my story. After speaking to my sister, I hung up the phone and thought about opening my bible. No, I decided. My heart hurt. My head ached. I just wanted to put it off....again. This was a Friday. The next day we were going to my sister's house for her birthday. She had suggested that while we were there she would lay hands on me and Anna Grace and pray over us. I said, "Sure."

The next morning as we prepared to go to my sister's house. I thought I would pray on my own first. I initially thought about praying over all of the little ones, but then thought, "Naah...I'll just pray for me." Lord knows I need it.

I prayed that Jesus would open my heart and allow me to see Anna Grace like He sees her, the magnificent, perfect creation that He formed. I prayed that he mold me and use me to be the person He created me to be. Then I held my bible tight to my chest and asked the Lord to reveal to me His desires. To speak to me through His word. As I was praying, the words "Matthew 19" came to mind. I thought to myself immediately. "No, that's me thinking to open to Matthew 19. I again said, "Lord, please lead me to what You want me to read." I then slowly opened up my bible and looked down. It was the book of Kings. I scanned the pages seeking for something that might speak to me. Nothing. Again. I was disappointed. I was going to close the bible, but curiousity got the best of me (actually God did!). I said to myself, "Ok. Let me see what Matthew 19 was". I opened up to Matthew 19 and glanced down at the page. My heart raced and my eyes welled up. He was speaking to me. The first words on the page that jumped out at me were:

The Little Children and Jesus

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Do you remember that I had mentioned before I began praying that I wanted to pray over the children and decided not to? Well. There was my answer. Bright as a neon sign. I called Anna Grace into the room. I explained to her that I wanted to pray with her. We knelt down and as her little head was bowed and I begged God for help, for both of us. I asked His Blessed Mother to intercede for us. To always be a reminder and and example to me of what a Mother should be and how her children should be loved. As I wiped the tears from my face, I kissed Anna Grace and told her to go back with the boys. I thanked the Lord for revealing His word to me and then I went on about my business of getting myself and the kids ready to head to my sister's house.

To be continued......


Jill said...

Good Afternoon,

What a wonderful post!

I wanted to let you know you are a winner of my give-away.

I also would like to give you an award. So please stop by to pick it up :-)

I will need you to email me your address so I can mail out your book tomorrow.

God bless!

Nicole said...

OHILDA, sending you a hug.... I am praying for you. We are both trudging through this attachment thing together... we are on different "paths" but still walking side by side.

Jennifer said...

I hear you...I understand...I'm right there with you in so many ways. Sometimes it's too easy to put on a "good front" and just keep moving. This post is encouraging!!

Feeling very much the failure many days,


Lisa L said...

Ohilda, there is no judgement here because I could have written this post myself. I am so weary and so tired of being pushed away and hurt by my own child. I am also so full of guilt because of my thoughts and actions towards him. I hang onto the fact that God chose me to be Brady's mother and that He can give me what I need to do the job. I am anxious to hear the rest of the story. God bless you friend.

Holly said...

I understand just a little bit better how much this must hurt your heart. I remember reading about some attachment problems before our last child entered our family and I just really didn't get it. I mean I got it with my head, but I didn't get it with my heart. Now that we have been through what we have been through with a child who suffers from RAD, I get it more now. I know that our circumstances are vastly different, but I want you to know that I so understand holding God at arm's length, knowing that He is the answer and yet not having enough strength, faith, whatever to run to Him in your suffering.
I won't pretend to have any easy answers. You know the answers in your heart already, it's just that they don't necessarily change the way you FEEL.
I believe for RESTORATION and REDEMPTION in Anna Grace's little heart and in yours.
HE will be glorified Ohilda. He already has been.
Remember that it is in your weakness that His power is made perfect. You are such a perfect vessel my friend. You have persevered day after day in HIS strength, not your own.
I love you Ohilda. We may have never met face to face, but I count you a sister.

The Byrd's Nest said...

My dear friend Ohilda,
I don't even know where to begin so I will begin with an Emma Jane story. The other night she would not get in bed, so I picked her up and put her in the bed. She through an absolute fit, screaming, crying. So she quieted down and I told her to turn over on her tummy and put her head on her pillow and go to sleep. She wouldn't. I pushed (gently) on her head to touch the pillow and it popped back up about an inch from the pillow. I did this a couple of times and then layed there beside her and timed her. She layed there for over 15 minutes before she passed out asleep with her head ABOVE the pillow! I e-mailed Michelle at Day by Day and said WHY? WHY? WHY? I know why in my head, I understand completely about attachment and all she is trying to control but what I don't understand is WHY do I let this upset me so much? Why does she get on my last nerve most of the day? I feel like the most ungrateful mother as I prayed and prayed for Emma Jane to come home and look how I am so frustrated with God's gift to me. I know how you feel girlfriend and don't you feel bad for the way you are! This is a very tough life to live every day....people can read about it all they want but it is another thing to live it! You have made the top of my prayer list my friend and I will not cease in prayer for you and your precious daughter!

(Isaiah 43:2-3) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the HOly One of Israel, your Savior!

Do not let the enemy steal one bit of the victory God has for you! We must not allow intimidation or fear to imprison us ever! Remember, Satan can presume no authority in your life. He will do his best to bluff you but don't let him! "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1John 4:4)

I love you Ohilda!

Sherri said...


I can share with you MY experience with attachment. I had a very rough start with one of my bio kids. He was so difficult to please...had colic, etc. I can remember holding him in my arms and pleading with God to help me love him the way I was supposed to love him. Fast forward several years, and we have the closest relationship now.

You are correct....there is no use in hiding how you feel because God already knows it anyway. Thank you for your honesty.

I can't wait to read part 2 of the story! So far, it's amazing!


Ladyblog said...

What a beuatiful post! You can always share a mothers heart with true friend and not fear judgement. I can totally understand yoru situation, except for the fact that I have realized I am the one with an attachment problem from a childhood filled with abandonment and abuse. I shower my children with love, but I freeze when my poor husband or any adult is affectionate. It's definitely self-preservation. It can't be rationally explained, it just is. You are such a wonderful mom for seeking the guidance from Him and accepting it. You're doing a great job. Don't beat yourself up.
Take care,

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