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Attachment and Trauma

Part2

Today I bring part two of a  four part series from my guest, Sarah. When I published my post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, she wrote a comment so insightful and beautiful that I asked her to develop it into a guest post. That post was so rich that I asked her to expand it, and before we knew it, we had a four part series. I am very honored that she is entrusting her story to me – it is tender, raw, and hopeful.

[Be sure to read Part 1 first ]

The awkward dance with my new family continued for the next 11-years.  I belonged to them, and them to me, as much as we were all emotionally and spiritually able.  Given that a few of my universal truths had just been shattered – that my mom would always be there, that the world was a good and safe place, that God would take care of me – I wasn’t exactly entering my new family with much equity in my emotional & spiritual savings account. 

Part1

Today begins a four part series of guest posts from Sarah. When I published my post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, she wrote a comment so insightful and beautiful that I asked her to develop it into a guest post. That post was so rich that I asked her to expand it, and before we knew it, we had a four part series. I am very honored that she is entrusting her story to me – it is tender, raw, and hopeful.

The school bell rang and I skipped home alone under the warm September sun. Our apartment was dim and quiet when I arrived and I found my mom lying in bed, her grown niece, Caroline at her side. They looked as if they had been crying. They told me that we were moving to Caroline’s house that night.

My cheeks flushed a deep crimson. This was my fault.

sunshine and mimi

Sunshine and Mimi

“Mom, do you need a squeeze-y hug?”

Sunshine held her arms out to me and looked into my eyes.

“Well, maybe I do,” I replied, “What makes you ask?”

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Today marks two months since I made my last trip to Montana and brought Dimples back with me.

Since that day Dimples has moved home, transitioned to a new school, played a season of volleyball, joined the youth group, and made new friends. She has reconnected with special people who were part of her support team before she went to residential treatment. Most of all, she has settled into the family.

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Well, that was quite a surprise. I didn’t expect yesterday’s post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, to gain so much  attention; in fact when I clicked the “publish” button, I was nervous about how it would be received. Apparently it struck a chord with many of you who have pondered this as well.

I want to be clear about something. Secure attachment is beautiful – it is a good thing to desire for our children. God wired children’s brains to attach to their parents, but as we know, sometimes that wiring is damaged due to neglect, abuse, and trauma of all kinds.

Love my girls!

I spent last weekend with a small group of adoptive moms who are all ministry leaders; the time was deeply meaningfulOur conversations were rich, faith-filled, and honest. What a relief it was to know that we are not alone in our challenges, purposes, and joys.

One topic we wrestled with is attachment. We have all studied attachment theory and methods for facilitating its development. With some of our children, secure attachment has been achieved, while with others, it has not – all within one family. Among our children who came home at older ages, it has been more difficult to achieve.

Dimples - May 2007

Dimples – May 2007

It’s been ages since I’ve posted a Tuesday Topic and I’ve missed hearing from all of you. The accumulated wisdom here is remarkable and I love seeing us help one another. Today’s question should have been posted a few weeks ago when I received it, but it is so relevant that I’m going to share it now and look forward to hearing your thoughts, experiences, and encouragement. It comes from Natalia who writes,

We have two foster girls (3 and 5) who have been with us for about 5 months. Both of them will be starting preschool/pre-kindergarten in the next couple of weeks and as they enter into the school year I am anticipating a lot of “getting to know you” activities in their classrooms

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I pre-ordered this book, No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and it arrived a few days ago. I haven’t pre-ordered many books, but I’m a big fan of the authors’ earlier book, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and highly recommend it. I even wrote a series of posts on it, one for each of six chapters, which I invite you to read.

 

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In my last two posts I’ve written about three points of encouragement we are focusing on with Dimples. The first two are:

1. Fun to be around

2. Cooperation and Respect

The third is:

3. Handling hard feelings

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Monday I wrote that we are focusing on three points of encouragement with Dimples.

1. Fun to be around 

I wrote about that earlier this week in this post.

Our second point of encouragement is:

2. Cooperation and Respect