The Well of Mother-Hunger

As the car drove up the driveway late Saturday night, Sunshine shouted, “They’re here!  They’re here!”  She and Ladybug ran out to meet them and greeted Dimples with big hugs.  She came right into my arms with a smile on her face and I squeezed her tight.

The girls hurried her up to their room where they revealed that she gets the special bed – and that I bought her a clock of her very own.  She was sweet and just the tiniest bit shy.

Honeybee was not so happy.  She didn’t get out of bed to greet Dimples, and when I went to kiss her good night she refused to speak or look in my eyes.  I reminded her that I couldn’t help her if she wouldn’t tell me what she was feeling.  She said, “Everybody is so happy that she is home and nobody cares about me.”

Often I’m overwhelmed at the deep, seemingly bottomless wells of need in my girls.  When a child has been unloved for many years, when she has been just one of many in an orphanage, or one more ragged child wandering the streets, her “mother-hunger” seems insatiable.  I absolutely cannot, by my own strength and effort, fill this void – it can only come from Jesus.

This is Dimples’ first day of school.  Fortunately, she is the only one starting today, so I can give her my full attention this morning.  Her backpack is ready by the door, her new lunch box is packed with all but the perishable things, her uniform is ready.  Honeybee is going to do her hair – and it all begins in 15 minutes when the clock says 7:00!  Time to wrap this up.

Today I need a heart that is willing to serve and love, that is not easily irritated, that will rejoice over every bit of sweetness.  I need to see past behavior and to the heart.

Happy Monday, friends.  I pray that your week is off to a great start; thanks so much for sharing mine.

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.

16 Comments

  1. Giann
    August 27, 2012

    Praying for you and Dimples! Have a wonderful week! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Barb Horst
    August 27, 2012

    "Today I need a heart that is willing to serve and love, that is not easily irritated, that will rejoice over every bit of sweetness. I need to see past behavior and to the heart."
    Another mom who needed to hear this today. Blessings!

    Reply
  3. Paula Miles Spears
    August 27, 2012

    We saw a surge of mother-hunger right after we brought Thomas home last spring. Both of the twins were very envious of the attention he was getting and wanted me to pay attention to them constantly. It ebbs and flows, doesn't it? I always find it a bit draining, and then I feel guilty for feeling that way… sigh, it truly is a let go and let Jesus situation.

    Reply
  4. Whitney
    August 27, 2012

    I'll be thinking of you today. We are dealing with our own, different, struggles lately and the same lessons apply. Thank you for your post.

    Reply
  5. Tricia
    August 27, 2012

    mother hunger – what a beautifully, perfect descriptive word. Prayers for you and yours on this day.

    Reply
  6. Michelle
    August 27, 2012

    "Today I need a heart that is willing to serve and love, that is not easily irritated, that will rejoice over every bit of sweetness. I need to see past behavior and to the heart." I need to hear that daily. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Anna
      August 27, 2012

      Me too, Michelle! Thank you, Lisa!! 🙂 Happy Monday to you, also!

      Reply
  7. Tricia
    August 27, 2012

    I can really relate to your comment about the "insatiable mother-hunger" in kids from trauma backgrounds. We just adopted twin 8 year old girls from foster care and their need for affection and attention is insatiable and I always wonder when it won't feel like they're starving and desperate for it. I'm at home with all of my children all day and homeschool them all, am always making myself available for affection and yet, like you feel, it never seems to be enough! Thanks for the reminder that, while I can give all of myself to them, ultimately Jesus is the only One who can truly satisfy and fill that emptiness…. awesome!

    Reply
  8. Debbie Delulio Jones
    August 27, 2012

    Beautiful. I often pray to see the need beneath the behavior. May God give us discernment as we love kids from "hard places."
    Yours in the journey,
    Deb

    Reply
  9. Teresa
    August 27, 2012

    Your Honeybee's comment stuck a cord with me today. One of our boys (for whom we really need respite) has spent some weekends away with family friends this summer. They have a lake lot and today he has gone for 3 days again, this time with other activities planned for his time away. As I was doing a little research on the internet to see how much money I should send to cover these events, one of the other children expressed upset that this particular child gets to do all these things. We have really appreciated the respite this summer – it has been a blessing provided by good friends and although the younger 3 children don't realize it, the time without this sibling has been a break for them as well. It is hard to keep a balance, so that others don't get their noses out of joint. Now I need to figure out how best to meet their needs so that they feel they are getting a special privilege as well – just a different one. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

    PS I have made your second last paragraph my prayer as I deal with my children today.

    Reply
  10. Beth
    August 27, 2012

    Thank you for recognizing the insatiable need for mother-love that some of our children have and the myriad of emotions that come with it.

    Reply
  11. Amy D
    August 28, 2012

    I get it now. I've been following your blog for probably close to two years while we went through the adoption process, and now we are two weeks into being a forever family. My newest little one gets most of my attention, holding, etc., while my other two young children get leftovers right now. But if my newest child sees me holding them (rarely right now!) she becomes extremely jealous, and it would seem from the surface that she has the least right to be jealous, since she has the vast majority of my time right now. Seems like she wants to be an only child, which grieves me! But deeper at the heart, there's a momma-hunger that runs deep. Thank you for putting that to words, I hope that helps me to be more understanding!

    Reply
  12. gobbelcounseling
    August 28, 2012

    What a beautiful post…thank you!

    Reply
  13. karen
    August 28, 2012

    "mother hungry" – what a perfect description! I have three that seem to be "mother hungry" right now – maybe it's school starting, or maybe…I don't know. I guess it doesn't really matter. Here's the real heart of the issue for me – when they are mother hungry and I can't fill three empty wells at once, I get mad. I get mad because my inside little girl is mother hungry. I know how they feel. I know what it's like.

    I want to be enough for them because I know what it's like. But I can't – but Jesus can. Jesus can help me satiate their "mother hunger" and He can help with mine too!

    Once again – thanks for an amazing insightful and spot on post!

    Reply
  14. Courtney
    September 10, 2012

    i am catching up…i'm a couple weeks behind on you! i "save" you for sweet quiet moments, and they've been so few lately!

    thank you for this:
    Today I need a heart that is willing to serve and love, that is not easily irritated, that will rejoice over every bit of sweetness. I need to see past behavior and to the heart.

    i so needed those words. it's so much about how I choose to behave/react. convicting. and true. thank you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      September 10, 2012

      Courtney, I always love and appreciate your comments! thank you.

      Reply

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