"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 II)

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post, but I wanted it as detailed as possible so that hopefully in ten years when I look back at it with Anna Grace, we'll both laugh and she'll say, "I did that, Mama?" I can then reply, "Oh yeah! You sure did! But look at what Jesus did!"


We arrived at my sister’s house and after a few minutes, we went into a small room she created as her little sanctuary. It’s a beautiful room filled with pictures of a smiling Jesus, our crucified Lord and the resurrected Christ, along with pictures of His blessed Mother. As I sat there, I prayed to myself that he break me. That He completely empty me out so I could start anew. She put on some praise and worship music and I quietly wept as we sang, I Could Only Imagine. A song that without fail brings me close to the cross.

We called Anna Grace in and as I sat on the floor with my little girl on my lap, my sister and I prayed over her. We asked the Lord to heal her heart. To make her whole. After we were finished, she went back out to the living room to play with the other kids.

My sister then prayed over me. I cried. I cried hard as I heard her asking Jesus to fill me with His spirit and to remove anything from within me that wasn't of Him. I know in my heart that guilt and shame are feelings that don’t come from our Savior. I know that He is pure love. I sat there with my eyes closed listening to her words as she emphatically told me to carry all of my burdens to the cross and lay it at the feet of Jesus. Oh, how I wanted to.

When we were done, she left me sitting there for a while as she returned to what now was a household full of people. I cried some more as I sat there praying that this would be the miracle I’ve been waiting for. But, as we know, miracles occur when you truly believe they will. I still felt that hopelessness. Although I felt somewhat freed and closer to Christ, I hadn’t been broken. After a few minutes, I went to the bathroom, washed my face and joined the family for her birthday celebration. The next day was Sunday. It was non-eventful and life returned to normal.

A week went by and now we are looking at Monday of this week. Anna Grace had a horrible week at school the prior week. She refused to nap and sat at the dreaded “table” almost on a daily basis. The “table” is their time-out area. You must receive 3 warnings before going to the table. On some days, she was at the table 4 times.

Back to Monday. I was very excited about Monday morning. It was picture day at school. The kids were told to come wearing their Sunday best! If any of you know me personally, I really enjoy my kids going out looking cute. Not necessarily in expensive clothing, but just hair nicely combed and dressed up when the occasion calls for it.

I awoke extra early and pulled out a pair of dress slacks, dress shirt and vest for Kai. Anna Grace was going to wear a beautiful hand made dress I had bought for her while in China. She usually wears bows to school on a regular basis, but this morning, I had taken the time to braid sections of her hair and had 2 matching bows holding the pattern of braids that I had made. It probably took me 25 minutes between the squirming and her fidgeting to watch Pinky Dinky Doo while I was working on her hair. When I was finished, I asked her to stand back. She truly looked stunning. Her black hair against her very light skin made her almond-shaped eyes stand out even more. I told her how she looked like Snow White. I also told her she was a princess and that she was the most beautiful girl in the world. She beamed with pride and asked me why was she the most beautiful girl in the world. I responded with “because Mama loves you so much and is so happy that you are her baby girl that there’s just no other little girl in the world as beautiful as you.” She gave me a half-smile. I hugged and kissed her and told her to sit and watch TV on the couch with the boys while I finished dressing.

Ten minutes later, I walk outside to tell them to get ready to go and I almost fell over when I looked at Anna Grace. She had not only pulled out both bows, but had completely dismantled every braid and her hair looked as if someone had tangled it up with a toothbrush. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started to cry and I all I could muster was asking her, “Why? Why, Anna Grace? Why?” She didn’t respond. She didn’t have to. The answer was quite clear. I had told her that she was beautiful because I loved her so much. She figured if she wasn’t beautiful, I wouldn’t love her. That plain. That simple. She has never taken bows out of her hair.

I quickly brushed out her hair, put a plain bow in on the side as I do every morning and tossed the three kids into the van. She was silent the whole trip to school. She knew what she had done. I was angry, hurt and again, not wanting to have anything to do with her. I walked them both into school kissed them goodbye and headed back home. My “grace” from the previous week was gone.

One of the big things about children with attachment issues is their need for control. In an ideal world, had I walked into that scenario, I should have said “Anna Grace. You decided to change your hairstyle. I love it! Wow….Mama loves you so much. It doesn’t matter how your hair looks. Mama will never stop loving you.” Well, you can do this once, ten times, fifty times, a hundred times, three hundred times, but day after day and month after month, it wears you down. It’s so hard to “fake it until you make it”. You feel trampled and crushed. It gets to a point where you want to throw up your arms and say, “Ok! You win!”

In the afternoon, I picked her up from school. She had a good day. She napped. No table time. I was afraid to praise her. So, I calmly responded with “Good girl, Anna Grace!” I knew that anything more would be cause for her to act out more.

Throughout the afternoon, she tried several times to be mean to me, only to get the “fake” responses followed by an “I love you.” I could see in her eyes confusion and defeat. I sat next to her on the couch while she was watching something on TV. I could feel her inching away so that I wouldn’t touch her. I asked her, “Anna Grace, you don’t want Mama to sit next to you?” (Remember, this was not play time. It was quiet, therefore an opportunity to be close). She said, “I watching TV, Mama.” without looking up. I got up and walked away.

About an hour later, Scott came home from work. She greeted him with her usual hugs and kisses and they talked about what a good girl she was at school. I stood as a bystander precluded from the conversation. Part of me hurting that I don’t get those responses, the other half telling myself I didn’t want to be a part of it anyway. (Can you read some enemy fire in there?)

Scott then walked into the kitchen and we were talking when I heard Anna Grace yell out to him, “Daddy?” just as he had headed to the bedroom. I went over and said “Daddy went to change, what do you need?” She looked me dead in the eye and said in a loud, stern voice, “I no talk to YOU about it. I talk to Daddy.” Then stood there. Waiting. Challenging me to blow up. I turned without saying a word. Minutes later Scott walked back into the room. She ran up and said, “Daddy, can I have water?” Something that she could have easily asked me to get for her. But she wanted to make sure, since she had seen us together, that I realized she was going to him for her needs. Another thing she does quite often.

A couple of other minor incidents occurred before dinnertime that I completely ignored. I was already angry and hurt immensely. I just wanted her to have dinner and go to bed. I wanted the day to end.

We sat down to dinner. Anna Grace sits in a chair right next to mine and I usually feed her because otherwise she’d fool around and not eat anything and the food would be all over the table and/or floor. As I began feeding her, she ensued with the usual holding food in her mouth and not chewing. This is one of the few things that I have no control over. I’ve learned that if I take the chair away and she has to eat standing, she chews and I win. I have control over whether she sits or stands. So, after about 15 minutes with the first bite still in her mouth and everyone almost done with dinner, I say, “Ok. Time to stand up and eat.” She pouts a bit and stands up. She begins to chew. I glance at her and she gives me probably the meanest look, eye roll included, that a 3 year old could muster. Then all of a sudden she pretends to cough and spits food all over me, all over my face and all over my food. (This was the 4th time this week that she has accidentally coughed or sneezed food at me.) At that point, I completely lost it! I pushed my chair back and screamed to Scott, “I can’t do this anymore! I can't!” I remember turning to look at her stoic face and yelling at her that she had to stop being mean to Mama, then running into my room and curling up into a fetal position crying hysterically. Begging God to please heal her.

At times, I don’t have the strength to continue. I understand her issues. I swear I do. I know she’s come a very long way. We both have. I can’t explain in words the feeling of desperation when you try so hard and you take one step forward and three back. Consistently. I want to love her so desperately. I want to tell her she's beautiful, inside and out, without repercussions. I want to live without having to think before I speak. I want to be able to pick her up and carry her and smother her in love, as I do the boys. But most of all, I want her to be able to love freely like that. Without reservations. Without fears. Oh, Lord. How I want that!

I laid there for about 20 minutes until there was nothing left inside of me. I then thought about the boys and what they had seen. I felt horrible. They are caught up in the middle of this mess. I went back outside. Anna Grace appeared to not have been phased by the episode. The boys were happy to see me. Everyone was already in PJs. Scott took Anna Grace with him and I sat on the rocking chair in a different room with the boys. I read them a story, said prayers and put them to bed. A few minutes later I went to bed. The day was finally over. The following day all was back to normal.

At last, now I get to my small miracle. This morning, as customary, before taking the kids to school I read my email. There was an email from one of my readers mentioning that she had “stolen” the song I have on my player now, “Go light your world” and put it on her blog. This was planned by God.

I love this song. Yet, as much as I love it, I don’t know the words. So, you usually hear me singing, “Take your candle and go light your world”. Over and over.

The kids were dressed and Anna Grace had ventured into the office where I was looking up the lyrics. She said, “What you doing, Mama.” I said, “I’m listening to a song. Do you want to listen?” She nodded and stood next to me as I sat on my chair. I started reading the lyrics and it hit me that each and every one of us has a candle inside of us. The Lord is the only one that can light it and we are the only ones that can share that light. I refreshed my blog page so that the song would start over and I stood up. I said to Anna Grace, “You want to dance?” She smiled. We dance often but always to upbeat songs where she is dancing on the floor in front of me and we clown around. This song was different. I bend down and scoop her up. She sensed something was coming and I feel her becoming a little rigid. I ignored it and was reading the lyrics as I danced around the room with her. About mid-way through the song, she put her head on my shoulder and relaxed. I could hear a tiny voice in my ear humming and every once in a while the words, “take your candle”. My heart felt so darn good! Tears rolled as I read the words,

“Cause We are a family whose hearts are blazing.
So let's raise our candles and light up the sky,
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times,”

But then, the most miraculous thing occurred. This has only happened maybe two or three times since she’s been home. As the song was finishing, she picked up her head from my shoulder, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I love you, Mama!”

I will leave you with that because I know that every mother out there knows how powerful those words are coming from your child, especially one that rarely says it. I thank God for giving me that glimmer of hope at a time when I’ve been thinking there is none.

I also wanted to say thank you to all of you that have supported me with my struggles with Anna Grace and her attachment issues. You indeed DO carry that candle in your hearts and it is burning bright. Many times you have lit up my world and I have been blessed by so many of you. Thank you for your support and your prayers. You’ll never know how much it means.

Lastly, but so very important for everyone to know. In case you are wondering or want to ask, "Would you ever adopt again? Our answer is a loud, resounding, "ABSOLUTELY!!!!!"


Michelle said...


I did not read Part 1 yet....but after reading Part 2...I am sending a big ((hug )) your way and am going right now to send you an e-mail...

Michelle said...

Oh Ohilda,
You have me in tears - happy tears that your Anna Grace said "I love you" in the most perfect moment, but sad tears that you are going through this. I just went back and read part 1. Thank you for your honesty. I am praying for you and Anna Grace and sending big hugs your way.


Sally- That Girl! said...

From the blog song thief herself, I have to say your post moved me today like no other on any blog I have read before. First for your honesty and candor about what it is like to parent a child with attachment issues (BTDT) and second, knowing that somehow God used me to help reveal His presence to you through this difficult attachment process. The miracle of it all is that I rarely ever post on someone's blog that I do not know. I do not know your story as I had just found your blog and then immediately stole your song, but your authenticity begs me to come back for more! Thank you for the post!

Sherri said...

I'm so thankful for your miracle!

I'm praying for you and Anna Grace...

Thanks again for your honesty. I appreciate it.


mom2-4boys said...

I am so sorry you are going thru such a heartbreaking time.

We will keep you family in our prayers.

Love to all,


Nicole said...

Ohilda, BEAUTIFUL post! So glad there is a little breakthrough!

Jennifer said...

So beautiful Ohilda! You are so strong to take on the tasks at hand! I respect you for admitting the struggles and striving to get through them! Stay strong and keep praying and one day you'll look back and be thankful for the struggles! Take Care and I'll continue to pray for you and little Anna Grace! God Bless!

Barbie said...


I am so sorry for the pain you experience. I am so thankful that you trust that God will heal Anna Grace and that one day you will be hearing many I love you's. This poor little girl is so scared and seems to not be able to control that she is controlling you. Does that make sense? What is she to do with all of those sad feelings? But I am thankful that she can dig her way out and give you a sample of what is to come when she heals. You are a wonderful mommy. :-)

Doug and Terrye said...

My Sister IN Christ, my heart goes out to you...and my prayers lift you before our Heavenly Father. "We know that all things work together for good..." I am praying this for you daily!

Terrye in FL

Blog Widget by LinkWithin