Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Learning to want the good stuff

The parallels just keep coming. There’s a small voice inside me that tells me I’m stretching, reaching too much. But there’s another voice that I’m going to listen to that says, If you’re not going to stop and learn the lessons, why bother?

There are about a billion reasons we decided to adopt: some spiritual, some altruistic, some common sense, some personality-based, some lifestyle, all mysteriously rooted in my heart.

As we’ve gotten closer, I’ve been soaking up the Truth that’s cloaked in Process. Process is annoying, but when it houses truth, it’s so worth digging through.

You hear a lot about attachment – how important it is, and how difficult it can be to achieve in adoptive families. You want to believe that Love is enough to solve all problems, but in our broken world, it’s just not sometimes – not on this side of eternity.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and thinking about other things and how they relate: nursing, feeding, weaning, baby-wearing, etc. In my quest to educate myself on adoptive nursing, I spoke with a wonderful mom who tried to nurse her baby boy adopted from a similar situation as Charlie.

As she told me her story, I was surprised with how much I hadn’t thought of. She told me that she abandoned the nursing when it became clear that it was a big enough job just to teach her baby to be full. Just to teach him that he could eat a whole bottle, undiluted, full of goodness, and that it would take away that nagging hunger.

I have grown in awe of my coming responsibility: to teach a child to crave the good things I can give him – food, love, comfort, things that he has had doses of, but hasn’t experienced in the consistent waves of a family.

I haven’t had to teach my other kids these things. They were born knowing I would feed them, that every three hours there would be a whole tummy-full of milk available for them, that they could drink until they spit up and then drink some more. They were born knowing that I would obsess over their intake, diapers, tummy time, soothing, routines, temperature and cute baby clothes.

But with adoption it’s different. In adoption, the cycle of dependence is (generally) interrupted. Kids have been taught that these things aren’t true, and so they need to learn or re-learn, which is what we refer to as attachment.


Here’s the point, the parallel that has been making itself known to me.

I can identify a bit with these kids – who need to relearn love, consistency, security, and full-ness. I’m adopted too, spiritually. As a once-orphan, now treasured, favored daughter, I am given an inheritance, access to a Father who will pull strings for me, a legacy of family to which I have no blood relation but can still call mine. I am offered full-ness. Over, and over again, it is offered to me. Sometimes I take it. But sometimes, I resist. I revert back to patterns learned in the orphanage, coping mechanisms that maintain my control, even if they do leave me dry and hungry.

I do this because I am adopted – the relationship has had to be learned. I was a stranger to God, and He made me His own, but that doesn’t automatically take away the scars, wounds, and patterns of destruction I learned as an orphan. So, I fight it – the fullness and the good stuff.

There was more to the story told to me by my fellow adopted mom. She told me that once her baby learned what it was like to be full, he started waking up ravished in the middle of the night, craving FOOD like a newborn. He gave into his hunger, over and over again, and found full-ness.

Oooooh, I so want to be like that, and I am sooooo excited to teach my baby to crave the good stuff.


Luke said...

Seriously one of the best posts I've ever read. You have a gift for writing my friend! Thank you for this!

Kristin said...

I don't think there is any stretch in parallel's there...it makes perfect sense when you write it like that. Thanks for the reminder of how much God loves us and wants to do for us....even more than we could ever want to do for our children!

Erika Duke said...

Brought tears to my eyes! So good!!!
I talked to my college roommate last night and she told me this summer she is leading a missions trip with her church to Rwanda...I believe she said Kigali. Anyway I am excited for you guys and am praying!!!

Jim and April said...

Hey! Just wanted to let you know we have our new official adoption blog up and running! Feel free to subscribe and follow along with us on our journey of bringing home our first child from Uganda, Africa! http://www.starkeyadoption.blogspot.com/