Maybe Dimples Wants a Family

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Last week I wrote a post about seeming interchangeable to Dimples. On our recent visit, I came away feeling that while she enjoyed having a family at her Christmas gathering, it could have been nearly any family at all. As long as somebody she knew showed up, she would have been satisfied.

While we may or may not be special to her, there were perks to having a family present. She got out of class early, sat with her family at lunch rather than with her classmates, went off campus to a hotel, swam in the hotel pool, ate snacks and played a game with her sister, and then went to the party with us, rather than riding in one of the campus vans. She got presents under the tree that were purchased by her family, and not by campus staff. She had memories of favorite recipes and family traditions from the past seven Christmases to share.

I grumbled to myself that she doesn’t really want us, she only likes the benefits of having a family. And then the light bulb clicked on and I realized, “Wait a minute, she  likes the benefits of having a family!” I don’t know why I missed it before, or maybe it’s just hitting me differently now.

Dimples may not have deep attachment to me or Russ, she may not have warm feelings toward her siblings, but she wants to belong to something greater than herself. She wants someone to claim her and call her their own. Dimples knows that in spite of everything, she is a Qualls, and while that may not seem very awesome, she knows it’s better than not having a family at all.

She wouldn’t have chosen us. Sometimes it seems that she is nearly allergic to us and can hardly stand our presence. But perhaps she is gaining antihistamine-like skills that will help her tolerate life in a family just a little bit better.

Today, that is enough.

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.

17 Comments

  1. Karen NumberTwo Hannaford
    December 30, 2013

    🙂

    Reply
  2. Luann Yarrow Doman
    December 30, 2013

    What a wonderful a-ha moment for you! We continue to pray for Dimples. I still believe God has great things in store for her. Hers will be a story of redemption, overcoming impossible odds, and the great love of God and family.

    And btw, if another slot ever opens up in your family, I'd love to be adopted by your family! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Joelle
    December 30, 2013

    Powerful.

    Reply
  4. Tracy
    December 30, 2013

    Amen. belonging to something bigger than herself. I needed that today as I go to a staffing for our dear daughter. Peace be with you today and all your days.

    Reply
  5. Donna
    December 30, 2013

    Seeing through new lenses! Becoming part of our daily life as well, but I am learning with you that it is part of the journey.

    Reply
  6. Laine
    December 30, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this insight. I think it is beautiful. It gives hope. I have been thinking along those lines re my kids with attachment issues. It lessens the pain of my lost dreams and helps me remember that God's plan has always been in place and I need to trust it, and embrace it, for He knows much more than I what we need.

    Reply
  7. Anita
    December 30, 2013

    I'm so glad to read this. Yes, it is enough. Right now, this is Dimples' definition of family…it's where she's at on her journey.

    Reply
  8. Mary (Owlhaven)
    December 30, 2013

    So good to be able to see the victory there. One of mine has a sibling with whom she has a strong relationship. I still long for a better relationship with her myself, but we are working on it, and in the meantime I am grateful there is someone in the family whom she adores and feels a connection with.

    Reply
  9. blesseday
    December 30, 2013

    Yes. Thank you, Lord, for each glimmer of insight you give us, each glimpse of hope & deeper meaning.

    I am praying, Lisa, that this insight helps you release any guilt you may feel over not being "enough."

    much love to you this day!

    Reply
  10. Melissa
    December 30, 2013

    Made me cry. You guys are great at hanging in there. You are giving her what she needs from you, and asking God to give her what she needs from him. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    Reply
  11. Alex
    December 30, 2013

    Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing. Recently, I was thrilled because my son ran out of the doors of respite for the first time. Usually, he doesn't want to leave that place. We are so thankful, he can somewhat enjoy something about being in a family now. I like to think it means he isn't scared of us anymore.

    Reply
  12. Kathleen
    December 30, 2013

    I am learning a lot from reading your posts and digesting what it means to adopt children from "hard places". I don't face the same challenges, but there are important things I am learning for my own challenges. I see that expectations can be our enemies, because we feel such pain when they are not met and we feel rejected. When we lower our expectations of others we can enjoy what we do have from them and see things differently.

    Reply
  13. Chris
    December 30, 2013

    Wow, do I love and appreciate your insightful post!!
    I would suspect, if my nearly 16 yr old, only home 2 years had the vocabulary, comprehension, that may be what she is feeling too, although maybe not there yet with the "tolerating us" thoughts, as she seems pretty distant most of the time.
    thanks for giving me something new to ponder and share with our new therapist!
    Happy new year
    Chris

    Reply
  14. Tisha
    December 30, 2013

    You put to words exactly what I believe our kids feel too — they like the benefits of a family — and though they don't feel much of an individual connection to their parents, they like being part of the group as a whole. Most of the time anymore, I feel like that's good enough! Thank you for sharing your story with such wisdom and humility.

    Reply
  15. Margaret
    December 30, 2013

    Wow…I love how this follows on the other post…so many parenting moments are like that, disappointment/discouragement and then a new way of looking at things. Reading your blog helps me have some of those aha moments too. Thanks and happy new year!

    Reply
  16. Elizabeth
    December 30, 2013

    It is a good point. Actually recognizing the need of a family and wanting one is a baseline concept many of us take for granted. This was something one of my siblings had to come face to face with in therapy. Her therapists basically "called her out" and told her she needed to decide if she was going to even try to be a part of the family. It showed her that her actions were noticed (her reactions are extremely introverted, especially for a child with attachment pain) and handed her what her behavior was communicating. (I know that this is not always an option and it is only appropriate in certain situations) It made a remarkable change in the way she was thinking. (and in turn behaving) I no longer sense from her a constant all out effort to shove our family away.

    Reply
  17. Anon
    December 31, 2013

    I remember reading a bittersweet comment from an 18 year old girl who, when asked if she would still want to be adopted at her age, replied "Of course, I would like someone to walk me down the aisle when I get married. And I would like someone to be grandparents to my children." Wow! It was powerful to realize that parents still play a big role in our childrens' lives as they grow older.

    Reply

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