a dirty secret in adoption

May 14, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, parent-to-child attachment, Stefanie 36 Comments

My heart is naturally bent toward encouragement. Focusing on the good stuff. And as an adoptive mama, I can’t even begin to put into words all the ways that the Lord has blessed me through my children. The work He has done in them, and in me… good stuff.

But I have learned that sometimes the best way to encourage is to go beyond the warm fuzzies. To be a truth-teller… a person who loves by sharing the harder things – the things we don’t like to talk about – in order to enlighten and encourage those who are on a similar, difficult path. It’s no fun to go there, but sometimes it’s the only way to bring the real healing we so desperately need. 

As a truth-teller, it’s been on my heart to share about a dirty secret, only whispered about in the adoption world. Dirty because of the guilty and shameful feelings it inspires. And secret because, well, who wants to share that kind of stuff? But the purpose of sharing – of bringing this yuck out into the light – is that it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, God wants to take what is at the root of this dirty secret and redeem it for your joy and His glory.

…..

First a bit of background. The Lord laid adoption on our hearts, truly out of the blue, almost 11 years ago. One day we were an average-joe mom and dad to four biological kids (who had taken necessary steps to ensure there would be no more, thankyouverymuch) with our eyes trained on the future. Middle-of-the-night feedings were nothing more than a distant memory. Diapers were (almost!) in our rear view mirror. But all that changed one day in June 2004 when my husband, with shaking hands and a quivering voice, told me the Lord had called us to adopt a little girl from China. My initial reaction? He was as crazy as he’d feared. Crazier, even. But as soon as the dust settled, it was clear… this was what God wanted.

Adoption was His perfect plan for us.


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Fast forward 11 months and we were in China adopting a little girl, 11 months. (Yes, we did the math, too.) And she rocked our world. I had read the books, surfed the net, asked the questions, and taken the classes. I was ready. And that was a really good thing because she and I both desperately needed it – our daughter suffered from neglect, her most significant special need. The half-dollar sized hole in her heart was secondary. We got home and cocooned for months, continued the on-demand bottle feedings, baby-wearing, purposeful eye-to-eye contact, baby massage, sign language. Attachment, at least on my end, was natural. She wasn’t born to me, but she was my girl.

Since then we’ve followed the Lord to bring home seven more precious children from China, all special needs. (Our daughter Esther passed away at 22 months, just a few months before we were able to bring her home.) And out of those eight adoptions, each has been incredibly unique. As in, absolutely and completely different. Each China trip, each child, each transition, each temperament, each personality, each response to their trauma-filled past… different. And it all colored their ability to attach and it all colored my ability to attach. For some it was as easy and effortless as it had been with Isabelle. For some it took an adjustment period but eventually evened out. But for some it just wasn’t natural. At all.

And that’s the dirty secret. Sometimes we mamas don’t feel like the mama. We feel like the baby sitter. Except we don’t get paid and we never get a break.

When this happened to me, it caught me by surprise because almost everything I’d read focused on the baby-to-caretaker attachment – and how to foster that attachment. And I was doing all that. But attachment goes two ways and, not-so-surprisingly, when the two people are both human (read: flawed) imperfect situations can erupt. Add to that the fact that in adoption there is no genetic or cultural connection, and then add the months of waiting that invariably generate an impossibly perfect *dream child* and you’ve got some serious potential for messy, messy, messy.

I confess, before I struggled with attaching to my child, I thought I was just too maternal for that to happen. But suddenly, I felt anything but maternal towards this child. *My* child. And so – ashamed, emotionally unprepared and not-so-ready to admit to myself much less anyone else – I ignored it. Made excuses to myself about myself. But it just got worse.

When we close off parts of our heart they have a tendency to get stinky.

Thankfully, along this journey of adoption, I’ve made some mighty good friends. In fact, the best kind of friends. The kind you feel safe to share even this kind of yuck with. And to my relief, I found that there are other mamas who feel the same way, for at least a season (or three). Once we all shared openly, we all felt a great sense of relief. We weren’t alone.

But we all felt pretty brokenhearted, too. For our children, and for ourselves.


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But that’s not where it ends. In fact, this is where the real story begins.

This is where the Lord wants to do a mighty work – as long as you are willing to reveal and surrender those broken, stinky places in your heart. Because guess what? God knew those dark places were there a long time ago. And His plans for redemption, healing and wholeness are for your new child, and for you. Allow Him in. Heck, welcome Him in. We need rescuing from ourselves, don’t we? And we can trust that not only can He do it, but He will do it.

And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

…..

 

Here are a few things I would say to encourage and equip my fellow adopting sojourners…

 

1. Know that attachment struggles are always a possibility. No matter how long you’ve dreamed of mothering this child, until they are in your arms, it is just a dream. Reality sets in, and sometimes it’s painful. If you are feeling less than loving, know that it does happen, especially in the first few months. So address it, confess it and pray about it. Get an accountability partner (preferably your husband or fellow adoptive mama who understands the complexities of this journey), set and stick to realistic attachment goals, and hold yourself accountable as the adult in the relationship.

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12


2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Before you travel, read it all. Then read it again. Talk to other parents with differing experiences and, if possible, those who have kiddos with special needs similar to yours. (This FB group is a great place to meet other special needs mamas!) Make contacts, prepare extended family and create a community for yourself and your new child. And, in the future, you can use this network as a support to help those mamas who will come after you. It’s so much easier to endure hardships knowing God can use you to come alongside and bless others when they are enduring similar struggles.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4


3. Do all you can to foster attachment, whether you feel like it or not. I am not crunchy at all. But I am one crazy baby-wearer and co-sleeper. And I encourage you, unless your child’s size simply prohibits it, to wear that baby all you can. Forget the stroller, mama. From the moment you put your arms around your child in China – carry, tote, swaddle, feed, massage, snuggle up to, sleep with, and just love on that child. As much as they’ll tolerate. Regardless of age, treat them like the emotional newborn they are.

And once home, if possible, try to have only one caretaker (one who feeds, bathes, changes, etc.) in order to foster that initial, fragile bond. For us, since I stay home with our kids, it’s an easy transition from China to home, with me being primary caregiver and baba being the “fun” one. Over the last 10 years he has been sometimes tolerated, sometimes adored, sometimes preferred and sometimes flat-out rejected. But we have just followed our children’s lead in how long they needed to emotionally establish the initial mother-child bond. It might take only a month or two (like our Tallula) or it might take more than a year (like our Poppy), but eventually they will show you that they are ready to comfortably let the other parent in. And when they do, it’s amazingly sweet.


4. Do all you can to get under the faucet of God’s grace. When the Lord reveals this dark part of your heart, His goal is to change you, not shame you. Allow Him full access and He will do a transformative work in your heart. But it it’s going to take work on your part. As we surrender territory in our hearts to Him, the more aware of our un-Christ-likeness we become. And grief is sure to surface. But immediately upon recognizing our need for Him as our Savior, He heals. He transforms. So be purposeful – set aside a quiet time, dig into Scripture, listen to podcasts, read sermons online. Even if you can’t go to church because baby is newly home, be purposeful to sit at Jesus’ feet. There is no time better spent than remembering the grace He has lavished upon you.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16


5. It’s not your fault. I’m pretty confident you didn’t go into this adoption hoping to not feel loving toward the little one you’ve worked so tirelessly to bring home. So if you’re feeling ashamed and overwrought with guilt, know that’s not coming from the Lord. He brings conviction of sin, yes. But condemnation, no. So do all you can to reject those feelings and replace them with Truth. And this is where the support hopefully comes in – reach out to those who have walked the road before you. If you’re already home and struggling, and don’t have anyone for support, feel free to contact us and we will do all we can to put you in touch with a mama who would be willing to be a shoulder. The Lord can and will do an amazing work, but you need to find support to help point your feet in His direction on a regular basis.


6. It’s not your child’s fault. In our flesh, it can be a struggle not to blame the child. “If he/she would only sleep through the night/give me some space/make an effort/stop being so difficult…” – the possibilities are endless for the thoughts that run through a struggling mama’s mind. But all these thoughts lead to the same place – the wrong place. Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself and resist the desire to blame. Remind yourself that your child has endured neglect, trauma and lost everything they have ever known.

To keep my perspective I try to think of my child – the one that’s making me so angry/irritated/frustrated at the moment – as that tiny, helpless, traumatized child. The one that was left in a back alley. The one that had to stay in a hospital, alone, for a month. The one who went to bed without love, food, or comfort, way too many times to count. In the present we just see a child who is acting defensively – in response to those traumas – and it’s easy to get defensive right back. But when we are reminded of who they were when they endured these traumas, who they still are inside, it’s much easier to feel compassion. And they so desperately need their mama’s compassion. Empowered to Connect has some excellent resources for understanding the impact of trauma experienced by adopted children. And digging into the losses your child has suffered will not only stir compassion in you for your child, but will help to put your own struggles into perspective.


7. Know that God doesn’t change His mind. Adoption is God’s idea. And if He has called you to it, and called you to this child, He hasn’t changed His mind. No matter how difficult it might seem in the valleys, no matter what outsiders might say, no matter how much your own doubts cloud your mind, cling to the truth that God’s plans are perfect and God’s plans are immutable. This has been an incredible comfort to me over the years. In my darkest moments, when everything else seemed to give way under the weight of my struggle, He was, and is, unchanging.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19


8. Trust that it will get better, in His timing. If you allow God into the middle of it, it will get better. This trial you are enduring might be the best way for the Lord to get into those dark places. God loves you so much, He doesn’t want to leave you where you are. In fact, He wants to make you like His Son. And don’t think He won’t use an unloveable, snot-blowing, tantruming toddler (0r teenager) to do it. But we have to cling to His promises and trust His Word in the process.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 3:18


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I truly hope that you will never struggle with attachment issues. That your relationship with your little one will be as natural and easy-going as you imagined in all those months of waiting. But if it isn’t, I hope that you will be encouraged to know that you are not alone. Many have been and are still struggling. But hearts are being mended. And dark places are being surrendered. So don’t give up.

The Lord, the All in All, will prevail. And in the end, you will be so very grateful for it. Promise.

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” C.H. Spurgeon



36 responses to “a dirty secret in adoption”

  1. Sarah says:

    YES! I love this. I need this. Everyday. I am RIGHT THERE. We’ve been home for 2 months and I’m still choosing to love my daughter. She still doesn’t “feel” like my daughter. She still has things that drive me up the WALL. But slowly….over time….I’m seeing Him change my heart. I am undone with how much God has changed my heart toward my adoptive daughter. And so very thankful.

  2. Christine says:

    As a friend to many who are walking this adoption path, and just someone who walks alongside others in it, I so appreciate everything you wrote here. One of my friends in particular has so vulnerably shared HER struggles with attachment and I love your words for her here. And as Truth does, it applies actually to realities in our hearts that aren’t specifically dealing with attachment in adoption. I was challenged in some of my own closing-off-my-heart struggles and how to work through those in reading this as well. Thank you Stefanie for sharing.

  3. Luanne says:

    Thank you so much for this. I copied and pasted almost the whole article and sent it via text to my husband at work! I guess it would have been easier to just send the whole article- but at first I was just sending a snippet here and there- and then just got carried away with its relevance!! We adopted our son three years ago, and he is now 14. Our struggles have been huge, and at the same time, have exposed some very ugly corners of my heart. So thankful for our boy, the sweetest and best to expose our sinfulness, and thus, saturate us in the grace of Jesus. It is not about how my son needs to improve, but the need for all of us to know how deeply we are loved by our Abba Daddy. Thank you for your words!

  4. Angela says:

    Thank you for this! Not attaching is my worst fear, especially since we will be adopting older kids. But it is nice to know that it is completely normal for parents. I truly am putting my faith in God that this will work out.

  5. J says:

    I called my agency on our third day home and told them I could not keep this child. I didn’t like her, I certainly didn’t love her, and I knew I’d made a terrible mistake. There was a large family in our DTC yahoo group that had been denied a child because of their family size, and I seriously considered calling them. I thought maybe that’s what God had intended all along – I was supposed to bring home this child for THEM. My agency told me to just give it 90 days. 90 days seemed like a lifetime. I went back to work almost immediately because I couldn’t be home with this child who so obviously hated me. We were both miserable, so off to daycare she went. While it seems cruel, that’s the best thing I could have done. It started to put some normalcy back in my life.

    About 4 or 5 months later I was holding her out in our front yard and my neighbor came over and held her arms up to take her and my daughter leaned into me, thumped her hand on my shoulder and said “my mama!”. That was probably the first time I realized that things had improved so much. We had been making such small steps toward each other up until then that it was almost unnoticable to me.

    Here we are 13 years later. She’ll be a sophomore in high school this fall, and this funny, smart, athletic, beautiful, amazing girl is someone I could never imagine my life without.

    It’s easy to remember the trauma of the first months and even first few years. We went through so much together, and I guess all of that has made our bond even stronger on this end. She is such a mama’s girl now, and I am all hers.

    • Jerusha says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this. It fills me with hope. 🙂

    • J says:

      For what it’s worth, I just got a text from my daughter (wish I could post a picture of it), but it says: “Thank you for being my mom and adopting me #blessed”

      I asked her if someone stole her phone again (as a joke) and she said “no, me and bentley were talking about adoption and I’m just really glad you’re my mom”

      It took us years to get here – so I read these other comments about people who are in the throws of this. Five years after she came home I still told my mom if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have adopted her. I can’t remember when it was that I stopped feeling that way. I feel like we went through hell together and came out on the other side.

      Please know that you all can get through this too. Prayers for everyone working through there own journey.

  6. emily says:

    amen three times over— i have struggled so much with one of our kiddos– and it’s been 8 years since she came home– i was woefully unprepared for what neglect had done to her and had no idea what to do- so when she closed off to me- i retaliated with closing off my heart to her– the two of us are just now negotiating new territory where we are learning to love the other and trust them.. and your #4 and #5– so needed that- because i condemned myself for years and hated myself- God has shown me so much about who HE is through this, and who I am to Him. it is a daily walk and a daily choice to love her– love is a choice, not a feeling 🙂

  7. Annie says:

    Amen sweet friend! I find myself having this exact conversation with new adoptive Mamas a lot lately. We are in the midst of the deep kind of bonding process right now but have been through and come out on the other beautiful side with Lizzie so I know how sweet it is if you just hang in there and trust in the Lord to walk you through it all! Thanks for this post!

  8. Amy says:

    I have been here. It.was.so.hard. I had to choose to love my child every day…every hour…sometimes, every minute.

    But God…
    4 years later, that child and I are so attached! She says “I love you, mommy!” all on her own all the time! Attachment comes. God heals. Hearts are knit together.

    Hold on,
    Amy

  9. Teresa C says:

    If only I’d had people to talk to 5 years ago when we came home from China. I could not like our son and he couldn’t like me either. For months I considered leaving my husband because while he could attach to him, I felt nothing but disdain. We ended up disrupting the adoption to save our marriage and to give him an opportunity that I just couldn’t give. We would love to adopt again but have been so reluctant because of that experience. Our daughter wants a little sister so badly but I just don’t think adoption is available to us after the disruption. We are so much more prepared for situations now than before but just don’t think our dream of another daughter is realistic.

    Thanks for sharing your pain. It is such a “dirty little secret” and 5 years ago much less 10 when we adopted our daughter, no one talked about it. Our agency did absolutely nothing to help or support us. I think they were truly scared and uncertain how to help. I certainly hope agencies have become more educated about this issue.

  10. Vickie H. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the truth. I have felt alone in my feelings for so long. We brought our son home from Taiwan when he was 3. He is now 9. Attachment has been an ongoing struggle. I have felt so guilty. The beginning was horrible. It has gotten better over the years, but we still struggle to have the mother/son connection that I long for. He is our second adopted child. Our daughter adopted from China, came home at 11 months. She is now 11. She was very traumatized at first but we have bonded very well. We are now so close. We also have a 17 month old foster baby we are trying to adopt. He has been with us since 4 months and he is very attached to us. I just wish I could have the same with my other adopted son.

  11. jerri says:

    Amen and thank you so much for speaking the truth in love. 17 years later and one gorgeous Hunan girl of ours is heading to college and a life filled with hope. My attachment to her which seemed so impossible at the beginning, is a picture today of God’s AMAZING GRACE.

  12. Gin says:

    Stefanie, I cannot thank you enough for writing this. I’ve been trying to compose a post about this in my head for months, but unfortunately being stuck in the middle of it doesn’t seem to qualify me to write about it. I wish I was at the other end of the tunnel; after 2 years, we are still struggling, and deep self-condemndation (#5) has made it so much worse and so much harder.

    I still can’t understand why agencies aren’t preparing parents for this possibility. I feel like I was prepared for everything BUT this. Thank you for having the courage to write about it and encourage the rest of us who want to but are too afraid. I’ve had NO luck finding counselors to help with this, so I truly hope if adoptive parents begin to speak openly, more resources will become available.

  13. Shannon says:

    Sigh…Stephanie, this is so right on. Thank you so much for articulating all of this with compassion, transparency, and His truth.

  14. Leah says:

    Thank you for sharing. Such important reminders.

  15. Heather says:

    Amen & Thank you! Probably all I can utter at this moment since I am STUCK in this place. Thank you for the reminder to go back to the Lord even with thus stuff!!

  16. Cindy says:

    Thank you for sharing this. We brought home our 2nd adopted boy 2 1/2 years ago and I am still struggling terribly. I have definitely closed off my heart to him. The shame, the guilt I feel over not being the mom this little guy needs/deserves. I can barely stand myself. The dark places God has revealed, terrible. I keep praying….

    • Charlene says:

      Cindy, no words of wisdom. I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. We adopted our 3rd daughter almost 3 years ago and I am right where you are. You wrote my life. She’s 9 now. Our first 2 adoptions were amazing, tough but amazing. I know I’ve closed my heart to this daughter and I have no idea how to reopen it.

    • Tammy says:

      No real words except give it a little more time. With our second adopted son, it took 36 months for me to find an ounce of joy in his presence. I had not closed my heart to him, but he only made his needs known through rages and that was unnerving. When his expressive speech took off, he could make his needs known with words, I could then satisfy his needs, and then we begin to feel mutual love and trust with each other. See if he can get some speech therapy with concentration in social skills at school. That really helped my son.

  17. Allison says:

    You’re spot on here. We adopted thru foster care and while I knew I would die for my son, it was almost a year before I liked him or loved him. A year! I remember thinking we had ruined our family by bringing him in. Of course now, six years later, he’s just a precious and precocious child we all love. But I certainly felt guilt that first year for not liking my own child, especially after how hard we worked to get him!

  18. connie says:

    Thank you, dear friend, for so beautifully sharing this truth and offering encouragement for so many walking in the valley of isolation, shame and guilt.

  19. Kay Bratt says:

    I’m sure many will benefit from you sharing such raw feelings that some feel they have to hide. Your honesty is appreciated and acknowledged.

  20. Debbie says:

    Great post. There are still people who can’t hear about the “bad” stuff….they simply don’t hear it, don’t understand, don’t comprephend the situation because their experience has been near perfect. I recently shared some very deep and honest feelings with a close (or so I thought) friend, and it didn’t set well.

  21. Tammy says:

    times lines to attachment in our family: mom to child
    adoption # 1 – 6 months
    adoption #2 – 28 months
    adoption #3 – going on 6 years
    adoption #4 – 37 months
    adoption #5 – 11 months

    I post this so families know that it takes DIFFERENT amounts of time as well. This is a wonderful post! Thank you!

  22. Kristi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. So very encouraging! Needed these words of truth.

  23. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for this. It has been nearly eight years since we brought home our first adopted daughter from China and I’m still struggling. Everyone, family, friends, my husband, our biological daughter, bonded with her immediately. And she had no problems attaching to them. And after praying for her for five years, I thought I would fall in love immediately too. But instead it was just the opposite. And even a year later, I felt like we had made a huge mistake and that if I had a choice, I would send her back. Not because of who she was, but because I wanted her to know the love of a mama who loved her with her whole heart. Sometimes I still feel this way. Since bringing her home, we’ve gone on to adopt two other children and it’s as if I birthed them. Sometimes I forget that I didn’t. But with her it’s still different. And the guilt and shame I feel consumes me.

  24. Angel says:

    We have biological and adopted children…. it was harder for me to bond with my second bio child then it was for me to bond to our adopted son. Just wanted to put that out there. Adopted or bio, personalities play the biggest role. Pushing through has been hard but God’s grace is sufficient…. I think this has been a gentle reminder of God’s commitment to me.

  25. A Friend says:

    This issue is more talked about now. That is a very good thing, because back in the mid-2000’s, when China adoption was hot and many thousands of children were adopted every year, this issue was still in the shadows. I didn’t know this was a common, survivable situation. All I had seen were the ubiquitous “sunshine and roses” blogs – every one I read had the parents madly in love with their new child. So when my new child, whom I was beyond excited for, was placed in my arms, and a wall of disconnect fell between us, I thought I was broken (I was). I thought I was a failure. I thought there was something very, very wrong with me, that I wasn’t head over heels for this child screaming in my arms. It took not days, or weeks, but months, probably close to a year, before I started to feel that way. It was hard beyond description – probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I found some quiet people in dark corners who were blessedly willing to share that they had felt the same way. Some had overcome – and some had not. I think if I had gone into the adoption knowing it was a possibility, I would have been prepared to feel that way, and had a bucket of tools to use to help me bond to my child. But I was blindsided since it was such a dark secret. And the shame that came with it nearly overtook me. It was all I could do on a day-to-day basis to put one foot in front of the other. I prayed desperate prayers. Thank you for being transparent. Your adoptions, in pictures, all look blissful and perfect. Thank you for using words to share that it isn’t always that way.

  26. Elisha says:

    There should be a FB support page set up for this topic (if there isn’t already). The support and help from parents that have been through it would have been greatly accepted here ten years ago.

  27. Dody says:

    This totally happened to me and it threw my for a loop! I never expected it. I felt horribly guilty but reached out to other adoptive moms to find out it was not all that uncommon. When I got home I was desperate so got on my face and pleaded with the Lord to give me a mother’s love for this child. He did! Oh my, how He did! I see it as a total miracle! I love this kid so much!

  28. Sherri says:

    Beautiful….I’m a mommy of three adopted children…*with no boo children. My adoptive children are my real children but the struggles you share are real…thand you for sharing and God Bless you and your family.

  29. Naomi says:

    I have just stumbled upon your blog again Stefanie. I used to read it all the time and have always admired your heart to adopt so many children with special needs. I would never have thought that you would have struggled with attachment. Both my husband and I are still praying for love for one of our adopted children. She was five when we met her in Uganda and adopted another little boy at the same time whom we immediately bonded with because he was a baby. But our daughter has been a nightmare and we have been in that dark place for a long time with no one to turn to. (We just passed four years from when we met her). Our first adopted daughter from China was so perfect in so many ways and we had no problem bonding with her. But this one has been so difficult and most days I have regretted bringing her home and wished to just be able to turn back the clock and make a different choice. Our family has been in such a long time of transition also which has not helped. We were living in the US at the time of adoption but after a year, we left the US and for two years, we lived in several places before finally moving back to the UK in 2016 where I am from. Now we are settled, we hope that we shall gain a deep love for this child but I often struggle with fears that my feelings may never change. (I met you back in 2012 at a Created for Care conference when you were standing at your table with Colleen and it was such a pleasure to meet you then). Thank you so much for this post which gives me hope. Finding help in the UK is impossible and sometimes you just want to talk to someone who understands. This blog post is indeed good news from a far country!!!

    • nohandsbutours says:

      Thank you for sharing, Naomi! That was my hope, when I wrote this, to be an encouragement to press on for those struggling to feel connected. I think attachment challenges feel all the more difficult when we have other children close in age with whom attachment is so natural. I’d encourage you to read (or re-read if you’ve already read it) The Connected Child as it’s so helpful to re-fix our perspective on our children from hard places… I grab mine off my bookshelf regularly 😉 Sending big hugs and a prayer for the Lord to be so very near to you and your family. – Stefanie

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