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Monday, February 16, 2009

Tenacious Like My Father



My last posts on attachment and bonding have been pretty positive because, well, things overall have been very positive. This post isn't a negative per se. It's more like well rounded :-) While progress is being made every day that's not to say we don't have our share of hurdles to jump and bridges to cross.

I've been keeping some pretty late hours with Jonas recently. It's been trial and error for me to figure out what he wants and what his true needs are. He's back to wanting to comfort eat through the night. He sleeping fitfully and waking up demanding a full tummy even though he will spit up all that food. It's just not good for him. I have come to believe through prayer and observation what Jonas is truly desirous of is deep comfort. Not the kind that comes from food, but the kind that comes from attachment. And I'm working on it. Though, attachment is not something I can say that Jonas feels toward me. Not yet anyway.

He's further ahead in the attachment process with Dustin. That isn't a bad thing. In fact, I am happy about it in many ways. It's so important for him to identify with His father. I am glad to see their special relationship being built. It's a joy to witness. But, it's a twist from my previous parenting experiences. I've always had that instant connection with the girls. I've been the sunshine of their infant lives and, while sure, I had to "work" to meet their needs I never had to work to gain their acceptance. Not in the way I'm working right now.

It's so very hard to explain. And, I wish I could do a better job of it. It's just that Jonas is hurt. As charming and funny, bright and cheerful, playful and resilient as he is there's a darker side there. Nothing freaky or alarming be assured. Only all that is natural from sustaining such deep losses as he has. He wants love and comfort but he's not sure he wants it from me. Sometimes he's more than willing to allow me to bring him comfort and satisfaction and other times he flat out rejects it from me. Like tonight as I was trying to soothe him to sleep, while he was crying he saw a long strand of my hair hanging down. His hand went up to reach for it but it was just outside his grasp. Oooh he kept a reachin' and a reachin' with all his angry might for that hair. It wasn't a 'just let me get a piece of her to love on, any 'ole piece will do' kind of reach he was makin'. No, he wanted to ring my bell and if he could have given a big yank on that strand of hair he would have. What I had to offer just wan't what he wanted. Not because it's me personally. I think it's just humanity.

Oh I could so identify with my son in that moment. How many times have I had a need, a deep seeded need, that could not or would not be fulfilled? Maybe I wanted something more than any human could offer me and refused to go to the Lord for His provision instead. And, because of the anger over not having that need met, how many times have I lashed out to those closest to me? Too many times to count I'm afraid. How many times has my heavenly Father been standing over me offering comfort and love while I struggled to accept it from Him?

A long time ago God spoke something into my heart. He spoke to me about my own personal adoption as His child. As his adopted daughter I need to learn how to function within the family of God. God has always taught me but I haven't always made the choice to accept what He's offered me. It's my choice whether I accept or reject my place in His family. From time to time I may or may not feel like I belong to Him, that He loves me or that His methods of raising me as His own are effective. At times I feel like rejecting the Lord's brand of parenting and other times I do reject his parenting. That doesn't mean I don't still have a place in His home, or that God isn't loving me just the way I actually need to be loved. The problem is sometimes I don't even understand what my needs are. It becomes a battle of the wills at that point. Then, the question begs to be answered: Will I be stubborn and push Him away or will I relax my arched back into the embrace of my Heavenly Father just like I'm asking Jonas to do with me?

Yes, I can identify in some small way with how my son feels because we're not so different, the two of us. My prayer for him is that he will see the loving arms of his Heavenly Father extending to him through my imperfect embrace. I pray that Jonas will learn to accept my love for Him and be comforted by it and that he grow to find security and satisfaction in his place in this family as well as in the House of the Lord.

As far as my prayers for myself, I am so thankful for the comfort that comes from knowing that my God is a loving God and a tenacious Father. If He wasn't so awesome I'd be tempted to feel I could use up all the tenacity and patience He's got. I'm so thankful that can never be the case. I need to learn from my Daddy well so I can follow in His footsteps. I've got a son who's just like me and I'm going to need all the tenacity I can get!

9 comments:

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a rugged challenge! Here's one heart filled to overflowing with a mother's love, while there is that other heart so in need of it yet not very willing to accept it. It's as if the conduit is mis-aligned.

It will align! And until it does I'll be praying for you and that little guy whose need is greater than even he knows or understands.

Way to hang in there, mommy!

Kathleen

E said...

Mmm...I'm working on a very similar post myself right now...I've been stewing on it for a few weeks. Really, I've been stewing on it the last 11 months! However, I've awakened to some new things that I had not noticed or, perhaps, didn't want to recognize before now.

Anyway, in the early days Abel bonded with Kevin sooner than me and I feel our attachment process has - for whatever reason - been much more complex (the attachment between me & Abel). Though Abel expresses a distinct preference for his mama these days...and has for some months. :) The most straightforward, pure & simple attachment has been between my boys. Their brotherhood seems so true & very, very real and natural. This isn't to say it's shallow (by writing straightforward & simple), but there aren't adoption undercurrents there like there are with Abel's relationship with me & Kevin...though I'd say there are more undercurrents with me...and I'm not entirely sure why. I have some theories. However, it was something of a rude awakening in the very early days when I expected if not an instant bond from him, then at least for me to feel that connection/bond which would grow to true attachment. I didn't feel that, nor did he. Anyway,the mama/son thing has been a lot different than the instantaneous trust & the sweet (deep) connection I've always felt with Eben. However, the love and the trust and the bonds grow all the time. The attachment...we're still working on that one, I think...which is what I'll be posting about soon.

Thanks for sharing this. Anyone who has experienced adoption will see that this is, indeed, balanced and I didn't think it was at all negative. I know I really appreciate it, especially in light of some of the things I've been processing lately! And - how true - we must love tenaciously!!!

Erica

Technonana said...

Sweet One, I am praying for you and this sweet child in the challenging days ahead. It takes Time, Love, and Tenderness to calm our fears. I pray that the Lord will give you all you need.
I read somewhere that there were children in refugee camps during WWII that would wake in the night and nothing would calm them but giving them a piece of bread. So the workers in the camp each night would give the children a piece of bread to sleep with.
I'm sure it had much to do with what their lives were like before.
They were fearful of not having enough to eat. Giving them the bread to sleep with, helped to calm their fears.
How awesome is that, God gives us Living bread, that calms our fears!
In Him,
Sharon

the Steiger's said...

Jen,
I am praying for you and Jonas!!!
Jordan bonded with Fil much sooner then me. Like Erica I have my theories as well. I still remember the day when Jordan somehow molded into my arms. It was the warmest hug I ever had. Every since she just feels 'right'.
It all takes time and lots of work. I remember explaining to many people about attachment and how I have to work on it and they did not get it.
Isn't it interesting how we can see from this that we too want the love from God and we have no idea how to get it? We want to be independent yet we know we need him so much. I am learning so much about my own personal relationship with God since we got Jordan (and before as well but somehow I see it in a new light this time around).
Love, Lenka

Stacey said...

Honestly Jen, I can't say that I completely understand because I've never had to deal with it. Julie has explained to me some of the attachment issues along with adoption. I know it takes a lot of work and there can be struggles in the process. The two of you have researched so much of this and that's great. One thing I do know you need is prayer so I continue to pray each day for you and Jonas and the whole family. You are an amazing Mommy and I know the bond will eventually be so strong there will be no question in anyone's mind who Jonas adores and calls Mommy!

Holly said...

Wow! Beautiful post, Jen!
Thanks!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

I loved your post on adoption. Jonas is blessed to have a loving mommy.

Thanks for becoming a follower at my blog. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Stacey said...

Tagged you on my blog...

Kasie West said...

What an amazing story. I can only imagine the heartfelt pleas that must go out to God in moments like that. Thank you for sharing your faith and love with us through these stories. I am surrounded by adoption. My brother adopted a baby girl and on my husband's side, my sister in law adopted a baby boy, and then my very best friend adopted as well. I don't think that leads me to understand the trials you are facing more, but I am amazed at the way that special children are brought into the lives of those around me. Thanks again for sharing.