Sunday, January 5, 2014

When our children come home

When are children come home they will be hurting.  They will be traumatized.  They will be fragile.  They will lose their culture, their language, their "home".  They will lose all the important people in their lives.

They will be feeling intense fear and grief.

And most of the time we show our grief and fear in ANGER.  So Nellie and Marin might be very angry.
They might lash out.
They might act like "perfect" children.
They might cry when they smell a smell that reminds them of their hurt or their people in Bulgaria.
They might bite their hand.
They might rock themselves for comfort.
They might plop into anyone's lap for soothing.
They might tell us daily that they hate us in their actions and words.
They might throw things.
They might have fits in the middle of the grocery store for seemingly no reason.
They might demand things to fill the hole inside.
They might fight with their siblings.
They might look out of control.

All of this is FEAR and GRIEF.  And it is our responsibility to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY and WORK ON OURSELVES.

We are the ones that are mostly responsible for the "attaching" that needs to be done.  And that is done by dying to ourSELVES and allowing God to fill us with LOVE.

Because the antidote to grief is LOVE.

LOVE that is unconditional.  LOVED because they just are.  LOVE that heals their hearts and gives them a safe space to feel ALL their feelings.

We will have boundaries and limits but our focus will be ON THE RELATIONSHIP.

We ask that those of you who love our family (and live close) please DO NOT pick up Nellie and Marin (they must learn that Mama and Papa are for comfort and what "Mama" and "Papa" really mean).
We ask that you DO NOT take their behavior (or ours :) ) personally.  We might have to do some seemingly strange things to help our children heal.
We ask that you support us while we FOCUS ON THE RELATIONSHIP.
And please pray extra for us when we screw up.  :)

All of you that thought we were "messing up" our family by adoption please open your hearts.
We have NO DOUBTS that their hearts (and ours!) can be healed.

We can't wait for the work to get started!

Our church is so pretty.


  1. Kim, can you elaborate on your request that no one else pick up Nellie and Marin? I am curious about the whole process. Looking forward to watching the whole adoption unfold and expecting that you will handle the whole thing with love and grace :)

    1. Sure! Attachment is so important to their future relationships, their ability to learn, their ability to express their grief and loss (as well as multiple other things). Orphanage life insists that you don't "bond" with one caregiver since their shift will end or they might leave their job (or you might be transferred). The idea of a "mama" and "papa" mean very little to our newest children. In order to facilitate the understanding of "family" we are keeping their world very small (like a newborn) and helping them bond with us like a newborn would. Having needs - being held - feeling sad - being held and validated - being fed - being "changed" - being bathed all contribute to attachment. And we (mostly me but Nate and siblings also) will be doing all of this. Later (much), we will introduce the concept of "friends" and "aunties" and such. Once OUR attachment has the roots of deep security.
      And thank you Nisha, as always, for the kinds words!

    2. Makes a lot of sense :)

  2. Kimberly, I think that's an awesome, graceful way to explain things.

  3. As a mother with an adopted child who experienced trauma, I have to say I LOVE this post. It is gentle but very clear. My daughter acts all charming and cute and goes to anybody for attention, so it really confuses people to tell them that her behavior is scary, inappropriate and harmful. It has been so hard to try to get across to the friendly grandmas at church that they are NOT helping us by making friends with her, because what it actually does in her little insecure brain is make her wonder if they are going to take her with them.

    It is hard to educate people that family bonding takes years of intense togetherness, to the exclusion of casual social acquaintanceship before they can really truly "get" what a family means to them.

    Church grandmas, we know our kids are cute. We know you want to hold them and pinch their cheeks and tell them their dresses look pretty. But with these special, precious, hurting kids, will you please, please give us a smile and a wave and say a prayer for grace and strength? Please do this for us while we give God the time He needs to forge a new bond of family that did not exist before.

    1. Erin - yes! With grace, I hope we can help others understand.