Saturday, March 8, 2008

Speaking of adoption issues...

A couple of weeks ago T and I were asked at the last minute to help out with an adoption “hot topics” class at church for families that are considering adoption.

The topic of the week: "Bonding and Attachment” is one that has been intimately woven through our lives the past 10 years. In fact, truth be known, we are only speaking about it now, because of God’s faithfulness to us. I wish I could say it was the other way around, but we haven’t always been full of faith in our parenting. Thank goodness for his perfection in using “broken tools” to create priceless works of art from individual lives.

Attachment and Bonding are basic components of human life--

an art medium in which God is the Master Creator. He designed us as free beings and set us in motion as reflections of his own image. With "the fall” our relationships were broken and disconnected. Life became less than the “ideal plan”. Separated from our source of life, we became fearful, self-centered creatures, craving some sort of control over the situation. 

Then he came along…offering unconditional love and “adoption”.

It wasn’t long after our first adoption that the connection between the relationship dynamics I had with my adoptive children and my own relationship with God was revealed. It just about knocked me off my feet! 

Me?? Attachment disorder with God? But I "LOVE” God! 
Do you trust him? 
I try. 
Do you give him control or make a mess of things on your own? Hmmm. Good point. 

Typical attachment begins at birth and the process unfolds throughout a child’s first few years. This unique period where an infant learns to trust and rely and relate to a “primary caregiver” is integral. In order to be healthy, an infant must internalize that initial relationship at the core of their being. 

The way a child learns to deal with everything else in life is based on that initial reassurance of love, security, safety, and well-being.

It can be broken though, just as ours was when sin entered in. According to Dr. Walter D. Buenning:

“…bonding is a two step process. First, the parents must give the child love. Secondly, the child must accept it. The problem arises in the second step or phase. Because of past loss, some children are unable to trust.... It is difficult for most parents and many clinicians to believe that this could happen with children and even infants. In adoptive homes, love is like a gift given to the child. The core problem is that the child does not, indeed cannot, accept the gift. In the end, the result is that the child looks and acts as if he has not been loved.”

Is this reminiscent at all, of your own Christian walk?? I know it has been of mine. There are varying degrees to everything, but our own adoption parenting reminds me again and again to fully accept God’s grace in my life. Accepting the love he has for me is the freedom and security I need to survive. Continuously placing him at the center of my being, allows me to reflect his image once more.

What a work of art our adoptions have been in his hands. Any obvious flaws, were our own unskilled additions to the canvas. Many, he has even graciously touched up. 

Last week, at a particularly strained period in life, he brought us together with a request to serve others, only to remind us of his continual presence and goodness. As we shared our experiences and lessons, a sense of his faithfulness filled me. 

Unaware of my own need for refreshment until that very moment, I marveled "Here he is, drawing us near, even as he sets us to doing his work!"

1 comment:

realworldmartha said...

I have an adopted child who came to us at 3. He is now 7 and is still fighting to trust us. It is almost an everyday struggle and I know I am learning so much from it that it won't kill me but will feel like it sometimes. I would love to know more about your story if you can. Where do you speak at (part of country?)
Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)