In my last post, I shared about the joy of giving birth to my first born child. I shared about the beauty of the biological bond. In the next few posts I plan to share about the beauty of the adoptive bond. It is true that there is a difference between these two bonds. Maybe someone will be offended at my honesty about such things, but I hope in my transparency others will actually be encouraged.
After giving birth to Tyler Ann, I was blessed to become pregnant again, and seventeen months after having Tyler, God blessed us with Rachel. Rachel was a tiny ball of fire from day one. She was more demanding and needy than Tyler had been. She didn’t sleep as well and she seemed to suffer from colic or something similar. I often felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to deal with this little one. But, just like Tyler there was a heart of compassion and understanding towards this little baby. She had grown in my body for nine months, she was connected to me. I knew her and she knew me. Even when she cried and cried, and I was unsure of how to help her, I never thought I should take this baby back to the hospital and give her back. No, I always even in my most frustrating times with her then and now, desired to build that bond between her and I. I knew that that bond would be the thing that would get us through any challenges of our life together.
After Rachel was born, Jeremy and I became licensed foster parents. It was exciting to take in these children that needed a home. Each child came with their own unique personality and experiences in life. Of course, each of these children no matter how old had experienced lose and pain. The way we handle life is based on who we are genetically and what we have already experienced in life. If I have a similar genetic personality to you and we go through similar life experiences, we most likely will handle them in a similar way. But, if my DNA make up is very different than yours, we could both experience the same things in life and cope in very different ways. With each child that came into our home, it was often easy to see those that were of similar mind sets. These children I could often easily communicate with, and relate well with, even if they were going through a tough time in life.
I have shared in past posts about my mental and physical make up. I am a unique person made up of the DNA of my parents. I am a strong willed person, I have very high and low emotional swings, I am very hyper and can’t always focus and sit still. I love a good conversation and working hard at menial tasks. So, when a child that is highly motivated, strong willed, busy, and even demanding comes into my home, I can relate to them well. But, when a child comes into my home that is slow moving, highly focused, and has a low emotional outlay, I do not respond as well to that child. Like most people, I am comfortable with what is familiar.
So, how do I care for and love a child I can’t relate to, that I find annoying or irritating. Is it even ok to admit I feel that way? Maybe the answer is, don’t keep the child. I mean, if the easy bond isn’t there, maybe I should just give the child back, and hope another family can better be matched with this child. I struggled with these things with various foster children that God brought into our home.
When the easy bond isn’t there, every little thing that person does begins to get on your nerves. The way they eat, the way they walk, the way they talk. As these little annoying things build up, the areas of discipline, training, and parenting become an issue too. When these issues grow with our biological children that deep seated bond of blood comes to the rescue.
I have been known to lose my temper and yell at my children. I have even in my young years of parenting been too physical with my children at times. When this happens with my biological children there is something deep inside them that holds them in bond with me. They hurt and may even be scared, but when it all comes to an end, they want to trust me and be with me. For each of the foster kids in our care, this same bond to their biological parents existed. No matter how bad their parents had treated them or even if they didn’t know their biological parent, deep inside they wanted to trust them and be with them.
It is often hard for us to understand the desire for an abused child to want to go back to an abusive parent. But, it is deep within. Every person is created by God to bond to Him. He created us in a way that we would desire to be with Him and Trust in Him. He designed the parent child relationship to be a picture of how we trust and grow in a relationship with Him. This design starts at conception with the beautiful creation of two human being’s DNA being joined together to create a new life that is an image of them. A reflection of who they are. In a perfect home, that life develops and grows in the safety of the mother’s womb. As he grows, he hears the mothers heart beat, feels the mother’s feelings, and even hears the sounds of his father. So, in this imaginary perfect world, when this baby is born he is already trusting of his parents. As the perfect parents feed and care for this little infant, meeting the babies basic needs, the baby continues develop his trust in these parents. Our inmost need is a desire to trust and bond to our creator, this desire is nurtured in a perfect home by the parents caring for and providing for our basic needs of life.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world with perfect homes. So very quickly a child’s sense of trust and security can become unstable. This unstable foundation can either be secured over time by the child’s parent, or by someone else. But if this foundation is never firmed up and made solid, a child will grow into an adult who will never be able to trust and bond to God or anyone else. It is a shaky and unstable foundation that foster children live with every day.
This instability leads a child to behave in insecure ways. Depending on that child’s personality and life experiences, as I said before, these behaviors will be different. Common behaviors and symptoms of a child who is insecure (often diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD) included manipulation, temper tantrums, passive aggressiveness, accident prone, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Constipation, vomiting, reflux, Asthma, hording, whining, crying, delay in speech, overly talkative, and so on. As you can see, some of these symptoms are exact opposites. That is again because each person’s unique personality will be displayed in their insecurity.
So, each child that entered our home as a foster placement brought with them their own unique needs and personality. In my next post, I will get personal with the story and share about a long term foster placement, and how this child grew and developed me, as a parent, and as a child of Abba.
Next post, the story of “Abel” a long term foster placement. (Name changed for child’s identity protection.)