He Sets the Lonely in Family
Please tell me u realize that a kid latching onto u like this boy has - immediately upon meeting u, who r strangers -- is a gigantic red flag 4 attachment disorders.
It's not cute, it's not sweet, it's indiscriminate affection!
I knew that being public opened us up to all kinds of critiques and I have decided to use all of them to respond honestly and with sincerity. I know we don't have to reply and most of the time it will not benefit the original critic, but I believe it blesses those who walk with us and for those who are about to take a leap into adoption.
Cephas wasn't a complete stranger, but you are right. I am certain if it were not us who came to call him son, he would have reacted the same. It's not that Randy and I are so very special to Cephas at this moment. He hasn't built up experience with us to bond. Bonding takes time and attachment is a process. But we are his answered prayer and his capacity to love is huge.
I have three others at home who were adopted. One of them took years to attach after slowly coming out her shell of counterfeit coping by eye poking, feces smearing, cramming her fingers up her nose, "zoning out" on metal amongst other things. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and isolated time in the baby house while she could not keep down food took her there to that false sense of security that only promised to harm her. Intensive time, prayer, work, and lots of tears were poured out for her as she continued to reach for strangers who didn't require any kind of effort from her. She didn't get to experience a mother to soothe and when I came along my efforts to soothe felt threatening.
Yet, today this same girl sings to me, cuddles up, calls for me because she knows that Mom is for her. She knows mom makes things better or atleast tries too. It broke my heart not to be close to her. It was an ache unlike any I had ever known to pour out and not have a return on my investment for so long. But she was worth the wait, she is worth battle in prayer. She no longer runs up to just anyone and kisses and hugs them and she wouldn't trade me in for the next lady she comes upon.
Family means something to her. It's proven itself reliable.
And Maxim after spending several years in a level 4 institution in Ukraine came home wanting to hug everyone too. Starvation of meaningful contact will unleash a most desperate cling in some children who haven't given up yet and curled into themselves. In his case, he just wanted one mom and one dad but because he was surrounded by children left to themselves to figure out how to entertain themselves in a shut room with benches and a window they often gnawed on eachothers hands, banged their heads on the walls, and rolled around on the floor. And children who kept their minds, like my son, sat and stared at the door waiting for the knob to turn. Without any concept of time, he stretched his ear to hear for any sign that food would be coming or an opportunity to get out might arrive. He still describes one of his greatest aches being the sound of the key going into the door and hearing the lock turn.
Without any relational teaching and no idea of ettiquette when he first came home he wanted to rub everyone's hands and put his mouth on them. It's what he always saw. And as soon as we taught him that was not how to make friends and that families are something special and different than anyone else he would ever meet he began to change. For him it wasn't brain damage and neurological damage as my daughter Grace. For him it was training. Lots of reminders and his check ins over time on what to do has done wonders. He's deeply attached to his family and still is very warm and kind to others.
And then there is my daughter who was adopted at 4. She came from a loving orphanage and was given constant attention, affection and her every need was met on demand. She had a rotation of caregivers and missionaries that came in. She lacked nothing.... except the kind of love that comes from having discipline and gifts come from the same person. She learned that if someone gives me what I want, they are good and if they don't give me what I want I will not like them and I will scream. And when she did scream at the orphanage they gave her something or distracted her or put her in time out and she never had to follow through. There wasn't consistency in place. She feels she needs to control everything around her and is always looking for a way to manipulate any situation to fit her.
She is behaving in ways to try and protect herself. She is still grieving loss of the world she once knew when her fits were met. She is most definitely insecure and yet she is in the same home with all of my other children. She will lie to strangers and try to hug or touch them. We are in the thick of it. There are some very hard days but God has built our endurance and our faith. I have the faith that the day will come when I can report the breakthough for her too. She carries great gifts inside of her that we can't wait to see her use for His glory.
Do I recognize indiscriminate friendliness? Yes I do. You are right. There isn't anything cute or sweet about it. It's a behavior created from LOSS. Like each of my children, their situations were different and the result was not exactly the same but attachment issues were there with each of them.
All of us have an attachment disorder when we find a way to meet our spirit need with material. We experience attachment disorder when we live a life apart from our heavenly Father. When trust is compromised, there is great separation and pain. Orphaned by parent or orphaned in our spirit.
So when I write of Cephas, I have all of the histories of these journeys with me. And while the many "holes" in development and the great suffering his body has experienced over time are not sweet, truly I cannot think of anything sweeter than the feeling of hope and joy he is experiencing right now. Soon he will work through new discoveries and feelings and we will walk with him through disappointments and frustrations and surely behaviors will arise that will not be appropriate for the everyday world we live in.
The truth is that while God's love is pure, our love is not. Man cannot live by bread alone. We need the living water running through our veins. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 We did not become lovable first, and then God loved us. It was because he first loved us, that we came to know His love. He takes the lonely and puts them in family.