Verse of the Day

Friday, June 6, 2014

Attachment Issues Rear Their Ugly Heads

Most members of our family have gone through pretty normal ups and downs. Even with a good relationship with the Lord, everyone has gone through moments of anger, sadness, depression, or grief. It's just part of the process--- learning to live a new normal.

But for adopted children who were already having some puberty-triggered attachment issues, the grieving and adjusting process was pretty ugly. Life is pretty good now, 7 months post bleed. But those early weeks and months made every fear and anxiety come busting out. We had not experienced such negative behavior in our adopted kids since they came home. Stealing and lying again became common behavior. We had lots of yelling, fighting, bullying, and back talking. Fortunately, we were in family therapy already for attachment issues; this just gave the therapist more to work with.

In hindsight, it is very clear why our kids went ballistic for a few months. They had already lost so much: a mom and/or dad, a country, and everything they had ever known. Where they about to lose everything again? We tried to be sensitive about their fears, but in reality it is difficult to calm someone down if you are not calm yourself. My husband and I each had some really down times--- it is impossible to hide your deep struggles from your kids. They are much more perceptive than you give them credit for. So while they saw Mommy struggle, they pulled away. They didn't want to get hurt again; the thought of losing another mom was just too much to consider.

Unfortunately, the kids could never really talk about all that was going on. They mouthed that "Mom is sick; we are fine." The kids pretty much went back to trying to take care of themselves, as if preparing to be left again. We just prayed for healing and for patience,  and I tried to cry in private. I had to try and ignore the rejection and seemingly inconsiderate ways; I knew they were just trying to reject me first--- thinking that I would be rejecting them if I died. This was a very difficult time in our family. I truly felt attacked by the Enemy. The older kids were angry at the adoptive kids--- how could they treat Mom so meanly when she's sick? At least the older, bio kids could talk about all the issues and try to understand the root of all the negative behavior swirling around them.

I imagine that at every negative or challenging event in life, our adoptive kids will have a tendency to revert back to old behaviors. As if life weren't difficult enough--- then they become their own worst enemies.

Once the kids could see I was smiling again and that I was regaining my odd sense of humor, they began acting normally. Indeed, one of my kids is considerably more affectionate and loving now that we have all gone through this rough spot. (and this kid was the one with the worst behavior.) Pain does have a way of making you strong--- if you can just manage to endure the pain long enough to get to the good part.

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