He Sets the Lonely in Family

Today I found this comment to a recent post about Cephas:

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. 



Milena said…
Such a beautifully written informative reply, filled with insight. Indeed very helpful for those of us considering adoption! Thank you!

As much as I like your updates about Cephas (please keep them coming!) I still wish to ask if you have any piece of news about the family adopting Victoria and Gillian? I would so much like to know how they are doing too!
Tina Kacirek said…
Milena, They are doing beautifully! If you will message me privately at gracehavenministries@gmail.com I will be happy to send your info on to them to see about having you follow their journey!! Blessings and thank you for the encouraging note. I look forward to hearing from you!!
Christie Minich said…
This was an excellent and informative response! I am so thankful for your gracious answer.

Kelly said…
Very thoughtful response. It is indicative of attachment issues. But you are on top of things, you have the knowledge. I will tell you, going through HUGE attachment issues with my newly adopted (in process) 16 year old son who just came out of 5 years in foster care, it is beyond rough when from the start every hug and sign of affection and love is rejected.

I find the indiscriminate clinging a sign of the longing of his heart, and a sign that things will progress in positive directions!

His heart shines in his face. How could his abundance of joy at this moment not make him CLING to the ones he sees as saving and coming for HIM?!! Answered prayers! Hope renewed!! It is a beautiful thing!
AmericanMum said…
Why do strangers on the internet think they have the right to question and criticize you and your children? I don't get it and I really hope you don't take the negative comments to heart, Tina.

All I can think is they are jeaous. Jealous of your beautiful loving and giving spirit. Jealous of your beautiful children whose love for their parents, family and life shines through every ounce of their being. I just have to look at the smiles on your children's faces and the life and vibrancy shining through their eyes to know they are in the right place!

If people want to criticize and negatively comment, I say let them go do what you're doing and just try to do it better! (which would be difficult!) Until then, keep the negativity to themselves and focus on buiding you up and giving you more strength and encouragement to do what you're doing!
Lisa L. said…
What a beautiful response. Thank you for taking the opportunity to teach through your experiences. And no matter, the picture of you with this beautiful child is full of hope and love and compassion. Real love, hope and compassion. Hugs.
candabaldwin said…
Thank you for your updates. I enjoy reading your blog. I thought your response was well thought out and although I am not a critic, I was educated by your post. I am looking forward to the future posts sharing about bringing home this precious child. :)
Keely said…
This is the first time I have read your blog, and I normally would not comment but wow - what a beautifully written answer. Thank you for being so gracious in sharing this gentle wisdom in response to a very patronizing comment that smacked of judgement and hostility and would have set my hair on end, if this was my blog. The light of God in your heart really shines through your words; I don't think a better response could have been had :)
Anonymous said…
Beautiful post. It shows your love AND your knowledge. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. But giving your true love and attention to these truly needy children will be rewarded. Perhaps not in this life, but by God in heaven.
I'm in an odd place. US born, family had far more money than honest love, and I'm forever damaged - from 5th to 12th grade, I saw my mother and step father 24 days, from 10th - 12th, I saw my dad 98 days - has left me wondering about attachment disorders. The majority of ours have issues, no doubt. A lot I can recognize as the bitter uncertainty if any person loved you, would care if you're gone or even notice that.

I know my kids do better than I've done on that.

But, our 14 year old. She's a delight every day. She enjoys being a teenager. But, there is no denial that while she's friendly, she doesn't bond with others. In two years with our family, she's improved, yet normal relationships are not improving.

All we can do is make sure she has access to needed services, teaching on independent living, teaching her to guard her value and worth and most importantly, pray.

She's a joy to raise. She's a nightmare. She's giggles and smiles. She's screaming fits and tears. She's her Daddy's princess. She ties her Daddy in knots of fear.

I wouldn't trade her for anything. She'll turn into a good and responsible adult, and that's enough.

Our only hugger? He hugged because the seizures felt better after a hug. Right medication, he still runs to hug Daddy when he gets home, but no indiscriminate hugging. Seizure activity still leads to the needed comfort, but that's what the alert dog, cuddled up to him offers freely. Two unwanted boys found exactly what they needed in each other.

In the end - these children are in our home because that is what God told us. Pretty sure that may be the only advice to be sure to follow. Plus, no matter how rotten a day was, it sure is better than a quiet, immaculate house for DH and me and children left to die for being different. Because tomorrow can always be better now, there was no better before.

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