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Attachment and Trauma


On the afternoon of our visit, we gathered for a family group time. After a fun, “getting to know you and laugh a little” activity, we spread out for an activity with our own children. The therapist gave us instructions and we set to work.

Dimples - May 2007

Dimples – May 2007

My visit with Dimples was very good, and while I’m tempted to write about it in great detail, I’m pretty sure I won’t get it done, so today I’m going to share a few highlights.

1. She asked me to sit with her. When we arrived at the cottage, school was out and a few other parents were also there. One of the moms was tightening her daughter’s locs, and they planned to watch Frozen. Dimples asked if we wanted to watch, and then she pointed to a big, cushy rocking chair and casually said, “Do you want to sit with me?” Not too many months ago, she was assigned to sit in that chair with me for a specific number of minutes (I can’t recall how many at the moment), and she literally counted the seconds, keeping track of each 60 that passed, until the time was completed.


Last week Dimples began attending public school rather than the school on the campus of her program. This is huge for her and another leap of faith for me. It’s very hard for me to trust people to care for my children, and it’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable with the staff at her program. The thought of adding teachers and other staff, especially when I can’t be there, is tough. 


I’m having a hard week and can’t seem to write. I’ve canceled everything I intended to do. My heart is heavy and more than anything, I need God to show up. I need answers to big questions because I can’t come up with answers on my own.

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Today, I need to love like Jesus loves, with a heart that longs to be like him. I’m not feeling it, but this isn’t about my feelings, it’s about my obedience.

Dimples is coming for a visit this weekend, which is good, and also makes me feel uncertain.

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After a slow, snowy drive, we got home from Refresh at midnight last night. I’m still in re-entry shock, but had to share something amazing. I checked Facebook this morning, and this is what I found.


On Tuesday night Dimples went to the Toby Mac concert with three other girls and some staff members. The family of one of the children has connections with Toby Mac and was able to get them tickets. It was a big event for her and she was excited to tell me all about it in our Skype session.

She said, “Mom, it only costs $35 a month to sponsor a child  so they can have enough food and everything. I think we should do it.”

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Over the past two days we’ve had three meetings for Dimples. We’ve had loads of meetings this year, but there was a distinct shift this week. We’re beginning to talk about the gradual transition home.

We need to do everything we can to ensure that Dimples will be successful living in the midst of family.  Family has always been hard for her – always. Even before she came home from Ethiopia, family was difficult. Sadly, those early experiences set us up to be the hardest relationships for her. 


This fall I began taking Bee to a new therapist who has been very effective at helping Bee understand trauma and its effects on her thoughts and actions. I’ve seen Bee grasp things on a much deeper level and she is incredibly motivated to do the hard work of therapy.

I love the way God works. We chose this therapist because she was literally our only local option. As we spent time with her, she said small things that made me wonder if she might be a Christian. Then one day we were talking about suffering and how it can create bitterness that is harmful to us. She suggested that, for homework, Bee might like to read The Hiding Place. Now, that’s pretty unusual homework from a therapist!

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Last week I finally completed a pile of paperwork necessary for an evaluation for one of my children. The thick packet sat on my desk for over a month. Each time I pulled it out, held the color-coded pages in my hands, and thought about putting words to my thoughts, I couldn’t do it. From week to week, I moved this task to my new “to-do” list.

On Thursday I took the packet to a coffee shop and began to write. More than two hours later I found myself completing the last page. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, but only for this reason, I simply left pages blank. Why would I do that? Why wouldn’t I want to give these professionals every detail I possibly could in order to help my child?