An Unopened Letter

I was packing her books and treasures into a box to take to Montana.  Searching her bookcase, I couldn’t find Dimples’ Bible, so I ran downstairs to my homeschool books and grabbed an extra one off the shelf.  There was an envelope sticking out of the top; I opened the Bible to see what it was.  

It was a letter I wrote to Dimples when she went to camp last summer.

On the outside it said, “Dimples, we love you!  I hope you have a wonderful time at camp! Love, Mom.”  I turned it over, curious to read the letter inside. Then I saw it; the envelope was unopened.

It is very sad to admit, even to myself, that when my daughter is away from me, she does not miss me.  Without  attachment she does not long for me.  I am interchangeable.

I ponder this, and I’ll admit, it does not feel good. Fear can overwhelm me and I struggle to maintain peace in my heart.  I read about theories and treatments and it unsettles me even more.  We pray that this therapeutic program will be the turning point – and plead with God for his mercy, grace, and incredible healing power.   Maybe one day in the future, Dimples will begin to attach – to need us and want us. Until then, we’ll keep loving her and believing that God’s plans for her are good.

We hope one day to trade these ashes for beauty. (Isaiah 61: 1-3)

I want to add that we are beginning to feel better around here and figuring out what it means to have Dimples away from home.  Your prayers are a huge blessing to us – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I would like to do a Tuesday Topic tomorrow and wonder, with all that has been going on with us, if you have a question for me.  I would love to answer a few.  If you have a question, please email it to me at lisa@onethankfulmom.com and put Tuesday Topic in the subject line.  If I don’t get any emails, I’ll dig up a question in my Tuesday Topic queue and we’ll go with that.

Have a good start to your week, friends.

Lisa

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. AmyE
    January 21, 2013

    The lack of attachment … such a painful reality, as the teacher on the first day of 1st grade says, "Oh, look at what a good job he's doing sitting down and working independently." sigh … he would not have cared if I was there to say good-bye or not. Praying today for all of the families on this difficult journey.

    Reply
    1. Chantelle
      January 21, 2013

      I hear ya Amy. I hear ya.

      Reply
  2. Bramfam
    January 21, 2013

    For years, I felt a sense of failure for my daughter's inability to bond in the same way as my bio kids. When God showed me that her "mother wounds" create "this space" that won't completely close – I began to stop blaming myself. I had worked so hard to close that gap. And it is closing with Healing Prayer, but I have to keep laying it down. Praying today that you will sense His pleasure over you and all you've done. You are a GREAT
    mother!!! Don't believe the lies if the enemy. There will be more letters to write, and God will someday change her heart to receive your love and finally attach:)

    So glad to hear that your home is becoming peaceful again!

    Reply
  3. Chantelle
    January 21, 2013

    You are such a wonderful, loving mom. Keeping you in my prayers.

    Reply
  4. Lori
    January 21, 2013

    Attachment issues are so very devastating! We have been told to consider ourselves fortunate that our son does not exhibit the usual behavioral issues that most kids with attachment do. However, the pain of not feeling any heart connection with your child is extremely painful – even if they are not throwing tantrums and acting out violently. Our son causes unrest in our family in other ways. Honestly, there are days when I do not know if I can keep believing that we will ever make real progress. And, here you are many more years into it than we are! Just know that you are in my prayers. Because I think of you when struggling with our son, you are prayed for a lot!

    I want to say again that I really appreciate your being honest with what is going on and with all the ways you have attempted to get help for your daughter. There are times when you think there isn't really help out there, but it has been a blessing to see God provide which gives me confidence that He will continue to do so – for your family and for ours.

    Lori

    Reply
    1. Jeannette
      January 21, 2013

      My husband and I, for the first time in 3 years (since our son was home) took a night away together for our anniversary. Our adopted son was happy to see us go and a little annoyed that we came back. Our bio son was actually so sad I was gone he developed a little fever. No, my adopted son doesn't throw outward rages, and he knows how to act like a model citizen. But there is no attachment and the modeling wonderful behaviors is a sham for outsiders. At home he is passive-aggressively defiant and it hurts to know that he just doesn't want a real relationship with us.
      What does help keep me going are personal accounts of friends and relatives who adopted (or were adopted themselves) and eventually (sometimes 15+ years) realized that love for their parents (and thus the changing behavior) snuck up on them but now they have a loving relationship with their family.

      Reply
      1. Lori
        January 22, 2013

        Thank you for the encouragement Jeannette.

        Reply
  5. Mentor Mom
    January 21, 2013

    "It is very sad to admit, even to myself, that when my daughter is away from me, she does not miss me. Without attachment she does not long for me. I am interchangeable."

    Oh. how. I. understand. I, too, have walked this path.

    But . . . our daughter has been in a Residential Care Facility for 6 months, and she just wrote to us this weekend asking if we would come see her. (Up until this point the director said that she was not ready for us to come for a visit.) I don't think she misses us, but am glad that she may at least be willing to spend a couple of hours with us.

    Now . . . a 600 mile drive each way is quite a trip just to see if she is willing to visit with us. But, we will be putting it on the calendar soon.

    So sorry that you found this painful reminder of her lack of attachment, but the timing is quite interesting. Only God knows the purpose of you finding this letter now. He is with you each step of this difficult journey.

    Laurel

    Reply
  6. nancileamarie
    January 21, 2013

    Continuing to pray for your family.

    Reply
  7. Kirstine
    January 21, 2013

    You are still a wonderful, loving, wise and experienced mom – you are just treading a road that is way harder than most!!
    I'd love to ask you all my Tuesday-like-questions and what you are going through right now does not change that one bit.
    Hugs from a young mom who has followed your blog for three years

    Reply
  8. Sadee
    January 21, 2013

    Just prayed for you guys and for Dimples….thank you so much for sharing your journey.

    Reply
  9. SleepyKnitter
    January 21, 2013

    continuing in prayer for you and Dimples and your whole family. We feel your pain in such intense ways. May God bring healing to all of you.

    Reply
  10. Dawn Wright
    January 21, 2013

    Definitely praying for Dimples and for your family……that is so hard to take……so sorry, but lifting you up to the Creator!

    Reply
  11. barbershoppe
    January 21, 2013

    Still praying for you and hope your entire family is healing and recovering. This is so hard. Thank you for allowing your story to be read by others that they may be helped. Love, Anna

    Reply
  12. Scooping it Up
    January 21, 2013

    that unopened letter would have made me so sad, too. confirmation of hard feelings is heartbreaking. praying for you.

    Reply
  13. Carrie
    January 22, 2013

    Praying each day that God somehow makes his presence known to you and brings you comfort. Am hoping my sharing this may make you feel a little better…

    I can understand how this is hard given your history with her. I do have to say though, that both my adult bio kids, with whom I have great relationships, often didn't open their letters that I mailed to them at camp – particularly my son. I realize it was probably for different reasons than Dimples, but and I just shrugged it off as being too busy with activities to want to bother with stopping to read a letter.

    Now as they matured, they have come to treasure the care packages I sent/send them in college. Praying that will be the case with Dimples – that someday she will treasure your tokens of affection.

    Reply
  14. dawnmonahan
    January 22, 2013

    It would be interesting to ask Dimples why she didn't open the letter. I have a bio son with sensory disorders who doesn't open letters or presents because he wants to keep them special. New = special to him. My heart aches for your loss.

    Reply
  15. Kate in NY
    January 24, 2013

    I can easily see my son leaving such a letter unopened, and my first instinct would naturally be the same as yours – confirmation that he really feels no attachment to us. But thinking about it some more, it is interesting to me that your daughter kept the letter, unopened, in her bible – of all places. If she really didn't care, she would have thrown it out – or ripped it up, even. But she did keep it. Perhaps it was enough for her to read the kind words you had written on the outside – maybe opening it, letting herself feel the intimacy and love inside, was too much for her at that point. Perhaps with time, faith, patience – and with the help of the healing place she is now – she will be able to get there. But I would not read the unopened letter as a sign that there is no longing or connection there – just as a sign that she is still so very wounded.

    I checked in with your blog yesterday, after a long hiatus from reading any adoption blogs and participating in any adoption groups – I think I needed a break from my own constant obsessing. But it feels good to be among others on this same journey. Sending you love and prayers . . .

    Reply

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