Bonding

Apr
2014
30

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Sunday night I went out for dinner with a few women from our Fellowship Group. A welcome break to relax and enjoy a meal with friends. A brief moment away from that exhausting 5-8 cycle of madness.

“Mommy’s going out to dinner with some friends,” I said as I grabbed my purse and headed toward the door. “Be good for daddy!” (I try to keep such information from my children until the last minute give as little time for histrionics as possible).

In spite of my efforts, Reagan and Titus both threw themselves at my legs and started kissing me dramatically, begging to come with. Charlotte was in her own world, totally oblivious to the conversation. And poor little Eva dropped her head in sadness and went and sat down at the table, looking as though life had come to an end. “Mommy, I don’t want you to leave.” She refused to say goodbye, even as the others recovered from their sadness at the prospect of the quesadillas that daddy was making. She just sat there staring into her lap with that forlorn little expression.

Eva has been VERY attached to me lately. Sometimes I think of Eva’s development in terms of how long she’s been with us rather than of how old she is. So even though she’s 5, she’s only been mine for 10 months. Separation anxiety at 10 months? That seems about right. A couple of days ago we went to a big birthday party at a park and she spent almost the entire time with an arm around my leg. I kept asking her to go play with the other kids and she looked at me like I was asking her to eat strawberries or something (she REALLY doesn’t like strawberries). She just wants to be with me as much as possible.

Shortly after I left I received this text from Josh.

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Talk about heartbreaking (and yes, I have hearts around Josh’s name in my phone. No mocking. We lurve each other). I mean, not heartbreaking enough for me to bail on dinner. Call me heartless but I was getting my Burger Fi on.

Still, that prayer is evidence of all the tiny miracles that have brought us to where we are. That prayer itself is full of miracles. A little girl, not even a year out of being an orphan, pouring her heart out to Jesus, loving her new mommy completely, speaking English so clearly. So many miracles in this house all the time. Oh, that I would stop and see them more.

I got home a few hours later and was informed that the kids were waiting for a goodnight from me. Reagan, Charlotte and Titus were all wide awake, jumping around, acting crazy as usual. And Eva, also as usual, was sound asleep. The girl wakes up at 6:30, goes and goes and goes with unrelenting energy, and basically shuts off the second her head hits the pillow. After I’d distributed kisses and “be quiet”s, I stood there and stared at Eva for a few minutes. So peaceful, little hands tucked under her cheek, knees curled up to her side. So beautiful. My heart full of love for this little orphan girl now mine.

I think a burning question people are afraid to ask is how you learn to love adopted children as your own. I know I wondered myself before we did this. How do you bond with a child who is suddenly yours at 5 years old? All those crucial developing years already behind them.

The Bible says that every good and perfect gift is from above. The love I have for Eva (and Titus) was given when God called me to go and adopt. The gift of maternal bonding with her, the affection I feel for her while looking at her innocent, slumbering face, it’s just a gift. Gift after gift. Grace upon grace. I think it comes quickly for some adoptive moms, slowly for others, and for some it feels like it will never come. I think it’s a joyful experience for certain mothers, but an exhausting and painful one for certain others. For me it’s been somewhere in between. Eva and I have struggled to grow close at times, but I’m seeing prayers answered, deeper love every day. No matter what the bonding process is like, I know one thing for sure, and that is that God is a Father who completely understands the desire for the love of one’s adopted children. We can go to our Father with these prayers and trust in His faithfulness and goodness. He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.

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