Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Regarding Attachment

Following is a post that I wrote for a local ministry in which we are involved.  I wanted to share it with you:

Attachment is a word that was really foreign to me in our first four adoptions. Since they came home at 2-3 days old, our first days and years as parents were nearly identical to the first days and years of a family with biological children. Aside from our racial differences, life at home was...well, normal.
Bring on child #5.
She came home at 3 years old. And she not only had an opinion, she had attitude! We figured out early on that she was ultra charming because she was literally scared to death of being left alone. She was willing to attach to just about anyone just in case this "forever" thing didn't work out. We had to be very careful when friends came to visit, to be sure we were the ones to hold her, rock her, and reassure her that when the friends left she would not. We had to demonstrate over and over that she was here to stay, for better or worse.
One year later our dance has become more in sync. One year later I know to preemptively scoop her up in my arms when a new visitor arrives in order to head off attention-seeking behaviors at the pass. It works like a charm. I know that she thrives with rock-solid boundaries and is reassured when the rules stay the same no matter who is watching. She knows we mean what we say and say what we mean and she knows she is loved.
In the book "The Connected Child" by Karyn Purvis, attachment is referred to as a dance. And I see that now. I have not always danced well, but I have learned much. When my little girl bursts into a grin as I enter her line of sight, my heart swells with joy because I can feel the love growing between us.
Just yesterday, she had to have her 5 year immunizations. She hesitantly let the nurse draw blood and repeat that TB test with not a single tear. But the two shots in the leg? Well, they hurt. She started to sob and turned her little face into my neck for comfort.
What a sweet feeling, to hold her and rub her back and remind her of just how brave she was. As the tears subsided, she basked in the knowledge that mommy thought she was brave. Over the course of the day, she would ask me to repeat why she was brave over and over just so she could savor the feeling once again.
Attachment is a long process. It can take years to accomplish. But I see how far we have come, and how well attached she really is, and I rejoice. It is God who knits hearts together. It is God who builds our families. And it is God who turns the hearts of children to their fathers, and the hearts of fathers to their children. I am so grateful for the opportunity to, once again, see Him at live out the truths of His kingdom as I prayerfully mother these five sweet gifts He has given me.
Adoption is an amazing experience...a gift that truly keeps on giving, even in the hard times. We learn so much about God's heart as we learn to take up our cross and follow Him, things that I believe I may have never been able to learn any other way.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Simple, really.

My dishwasher broke a few weeks ago.  Actually, it started leaking on Christmas Eve...after we had just sunk a nice chunk of money into replacing the digital keypad the week before. We thought we fixed it, but just after New Years it started flooding the kitchen floor again.

This time, though, we were leaving town in the next few days, so we waited to shop for a replacement.

I bought this

for $8.50 at Tar-jay and proceeded to hand-wash everything like my mama did.
We have been back in town for almost a week now, and I am still using it.
Not that I don't want a new dishwasher.  But I think I am going to scale back, since the nice stainless steel tres chic model didn't last two years...and the $300 it would cost to fix it is more than the basic model that I used to have "back in the day"...that lasted for ten years.  Yes, I think I will go back to the basic wash-o-matic with knobs and mechanical parts and do more handwashing.

So you wonder why I am telling you this, right?

Because in two weeks of hand-washing dishes, I have had unforgettable conversations with DJ and Katie.  Conversations about life and dreams and why and how and chuckles that I would have missed if I had stuck them in the tres chic appliance and walked away while it did the dirty work.

In these years of the "tween," when hormones are cruel and emotions are volatile, I have stood side-by-side with my hands immersed in suds and my big kids rinsed and dried.  Who would have thought I would find eternal value in a sink full of soapy water?
But I have.
What else am I missing?
What else is slipping by quietly?

Simplify.  Yes, that is the nudge I have felt for so long.  And little-by-little we have simplified.  Turn the TV off.  Pull out a puzzle.  Sit down together with a good book.
Wash the dirty dishes.

I will replace the broken dishwasher soon.  But I plan to remember and choose to use it less.  Save it for jobs bigger than my sink.  Maybe just when we have company.
But I am going to stand side by side with my son as much as possible because, today, he said to me as we worked "Mom, doing dishes by hand is kinda fun."
I smiled and rejoiced in my heart, because I know he was enjoying more than the dishes.