Once an Orphan: The Journey to Secure Attachment [Part 2]

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. 

I needed a brilliantly patient and kind dance instructor to show me the new dance steps – the rules of living with a fractured worldview and for living amongst this new family.   Instead I bumbled along aimlessly and alone – sometimes stepping gently on their toes, often stomping harshly, sometimes quitting before the final note, many times returning to try it again.  We had moments of easy rhythm but mostly it felt like we were all just hoping to get through to the next song.

I remember feeling scared and confused a lot of the time – like I was continuously walking on eggshells. My new family did everything differently – they were loud, emotionally reserved and stoic – they ate, talked, fought, shared and loved differently than I was used to.

I was acutely aware that I was not the daughter of their dreams. My new mom had told me that she had always wanted a little girl.   I knew I was nothing like that sweet little red-headed Leigh of her dreams   I was troubled and tomboyish with mousy brown hair and a streak of hotheadedness. I also carried around a heavy pack of guilt and shame – always feeling like I was a burden to my new family.

They had not asked for, nor wanted me, I was with them because of a crisis  – thankfully my Plan B was kinship care over foster care.  To lessen my feelings of guilt I became an A-student, an athlete, a people-pleaser – a good girl.  I didn’t have boyfriends (they seemed impossibly young and immature), I didn’t smoke pot or drink – I didn’t rebel (in retrospect, my adolescence might have been more fun if I had).

I was also resilient – a determined planner and savvy strategizer.  I studied families who seemed happy.  I watched what they did, who they were, how they did it – and I was determined that when the time came I would build that for myself.  I decided that my ticket to that future was to go to university.  So when I graduated high school I promptly moved 4000 km away to begin my new adventure in a city on the edge of an ocean – a coast rimmed with the tallest emerald trees and air filled with salt and earth.  I breathed deeply for the first time in years.

A special thank you to Sarah, for sharing her heart and life with us. Comments are welcome.

[Don’t miss Part 3, and Part 4]

Encourage one another,

Lisa

 

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

13 Comments

  1. Heather Snyder
    November 20, 2014

    These posts are beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. As an adoptive mom I am treasuring them.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 20, 2014

      I'm sure that Sarah will appreciate hearing that from you, Heather. Thank you.

      Reply
    2. Sarah
      November 20, 2014

      So happy to hear that there is some beauty shining through here. Thanks for your kind words.

      Reply
  2. Paula Miles Spears
    November 20, 2014

    I'm so glad Sarah is sharing her story.

    Reply
  3. Luann Yarrow Doman
    November 20, 2014

    I really appreciate Sarah for sharing this. And her writing is superb. Brilliant. This should be submitted to a publisher b/c it would make a great book.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 20, 2014

      I agree, Luann, I told her I think she has a book to write.

      Reply
      1. Alisa
        November 20, 2014

        Yes!

        Reply
        1. Sarah
          November 20, 2014

          🙂

          Reply
      2. Sarah
        November 20, 2014

        Lisa – only if you are prompting me with what to write (so I can structure my wandering mind) and giving me such gracious deadlines 😉 I'm not so sure about the book idea but the writing of this bit of my story has certainly been very therapeutic. Thank you!

        Reply
    2. Sarah
      November 20, 2014

      Thank you Luann – that is such a sweet compliment!

      Reply
  4. Maureen Reagan Shear
    November 20, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is always an honor and a privilege to catch a glimpse of someone else's life.

    Reply
    1. Sarah
      November 20, 2014

      Thanks for your kind words Maureen.

      Reply
  5. Ann
    November 23, 2014

    Sarah, thank you for taking the time and courage to write these posts. I have read so many books on trauma and attachment but your words are helping me understand my child's struggles in a new light. Thank you. And yes, as I was reading I was thinking that you need to write a book.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy