I've been writing this post for awhile and was unsure if it would ever actually make it on our blog. It's one of those lessons that God's been teaching me that I just needed to get written down somewhere. But, after some thought, I decided to post it. This has been MY experience and I'm in no way saying how God led me is for everyone. But, I hope that maybe this testimony can encourage you today and Christ at work in your life.
It's been tempting for me since home with our kids, to want to read detail for detail everyone's post adoption journey, in an unhealthy way. When I first got home, I found myself scouring blogs for some sort of comfort in what I read. While some blogs were definitely helpful and encouraging...in my heart, I was really looking for the wrong reason. If I'm being really honest, most of the time I was looking to compare; comparison that led to condemnation and me falling short to others or led to pride and me feeling better than others. I also did a lot of reading and re-reading of books about attachment and bonding, which definitely have a place and are good...to a point. For me though, this almost led to obsession, striving to be the perfect parent to an adopted child. It gave me this sense of control that if I did everything right, attachment would magically happen in our family because of my own strivings. Attachment became my project, an equation to figure out, and something I could do on my own power.
Shortly after we got home, I was challenged by some discerning people in my life to seek and pursue wisdom from the scripture about adoption and to read parenting books from a kingdom perspective that weren't necessarily about "adoption". One of the best pieces of advice I got. Adoption specific books have a HUGE place and contain heaping amounts of helpful advice and wisdom. I am in no way saying to not read them. For me, they were most effective in the preparation stage. In my own personal experience, I found I needed a balance AND I needed to get these areas put in right perspective with God at the center.
You can read all the right books about attachment, have the perfect cocooning plan laid out, be prepared for the worst issues you can think of, and do all the "right" things. And yet, at the end of the night, when I kiss my kids goodnight and they slobber some of their own back, I know it's a work of God. When my son calls for mommy and runs to me with open arms, I know it's a work of God. When my daughter looks around the room until she finds me in a crowd, I recognize this attachment as a work of God. When Malachi screams daddy when he catches sight of Nate through the crack in his bedroom door, it's a work of God. When Hadassah melts into my arms like there's nowhere else she'd rather be, I know this is a work of my God.
It's been and continues to be a miraculous working of the Holy Spirit that's made us one. It's not The Connected Child, our 60+ hours of adoption education, or our general bonding efforts that have made us a family. God certainly has used all these adoption resources as tools to equip us and it's been a huge part of aiding in our ongoing bonding and attachment. But, that's all they are...tools...they're limited and can only take us so far. GOD is our Potter, Carpenter, Conductor, Author, Artist, Pilot...He's the one orchestrating our family and I am so grateful for this.
As my will began to yield to His (and will always be yielding) and I let go of all my plans, expectations, and desires for how our post adoption journey should look, a beautiful unfolding of attachment, bonding, and adjustment began in an amazingly natural way. All those adoption/attachment tools were put in their rightful place and I was actually able to very effectivley use these tools for their intended purpose. I am so thankful for books and blogs that contain experiences, advice, and tactics about attachment. But, for me, all the adoption/attachment education had become my guiding light instead of the TRUE LIGHT leading the way. I failed to put God in the middle of each chapter of attachment reading. I forgot to go to Him with my fears and instead went looking for peace of mind in blogs. I neglected to pray and trust for a miraculous unfolding of attachment and instead thought my control and gaining of knowledge would bring forth my desired result.
Now for the exciting part:). God was good enough to not let me control Him. He loved us too much to not be at the center of this pivotal stage of our family being brought together. He swept in and brought Himself back to the center of everything. He graciously has given me a wise husband who gently helped me see these things and adjust accordingly. For me, I took a total and complete break from attachment and adoption reading. This was what I felt like I needed to do. I opened up my heart to God and simply prayed to fully receive the gifts of my son and daughter and the amazing blessing of family. I've literally stood back and been amazed at what's taken place. It was so neat as I did this how God would naturally lead us in bonding activities and practices that were right for us and our children; everyone's different and what worked for someone else didn't always for us. But, now it wasn't burdensome, shrouded with my own striving. It brought freedom and has been life giving. I give all the glory to God for how He's molding our little family in this corner of the world. We fail, oh my do we fail, but now our failures drive us to the Lord asking for His grace to cover our sin intead of our own strivings. It's a battle, it's Christ at work in us, but it's so good when I can rest in the knowledge of Him in us and celebrate the good, bad, ugly, beautiful, and everything in between.
Another thing God's reminded me of is that attachment and bonding was HIS idea. He's the source of all this wisdom. I see the principles of adoption, bonding, and attachment all throughout His creation. The way a mother koala has an actual pouch for her baby (I call Haddie my koala:)), did you ever see a monkey clinging to it's mother's back, the way penguins know the song of their family members, how a mama bear fiercely protects her young and is the sole caregiver until that cub is secure enough on it's own, how mother's are the only ones who can naturally feed their newborn, and ultimately how God so lovingly attempts to bond with us, His children.
Everything around us is constantly whispering of His love and faithfulness.
The miracle of attachment and bonding belongs to Him.
The miracle of our family being brought together belongs to Him.
The glory belongs to Him!