I have been thinking about "attachment" a lot lately. Partly because it is a word used a lot in the adoption community, partly because there was a blog carnival on the topic so I recently read a lot of posts on it, but mostly because it is such a scary word in the adoption community especially if sandwiched between Reactive and Disorder.
I am not worried about adopting a child who ends up being labeled with RAD--it might happen and if it does we will deal--I am more concerned about all the more common issues that will happen because no child, no matter how young, can go from one lifestyle, culture, language, and people to another set completely different without having attachment issues which cover a whole range of stuff and a whole gamut of seriousness. I have NO control over with which of these issues our child will struggle and I cannot even know how these issues will manifest themselves so they can be identified quickly because each child is unique. What I can control is how prepared I am and how I react to my child to provide her with the best chance of "attaching."
And I feel completely inadequate.
When I read the stories of adults who survived the foster care system I wonder if I would have offered her the unconditional love she clearly craved and needed or would I have been focused on her outward behavior and how it impacted me.
When I read the stories of families who did everything the books said, tried every therapy, and persevered until the new norm gives them hope for their child's future, I am in awe of their love and persistence, and I wonder how long my endurance will last. Will I keep loving even when rejected? Will I keep going to therapy after therapy when it is impacting my other children; is it my right to make them make these sacrifices? I believe it is my right, but how will I feel when it reaches one, two, or three or more years? How do I balance all of my children's needs? Will I start resenting the child?
When I read of a family who dissolved their adoption after those one, two, or three years, a part of me judges because Adoption is For LIFE, but a part of me wonders what would bring me to the same place. How can I claim to be any better when I don't know the whole story and I have never adopted? How much of it is the child and RAD and how much it is the parents inadequacies--inadequacies that I probably share?
But then I stop looking at it from the parents' perspective and worrying about how I compare. I start looking at the child. The child who is lying and biting and crying and throwing tantrums and rejecting every overture and so on and so on, and I start to cry. I am filled with compassion and sorrow and love for the child, a child I have never met. I know these feelings are stronger than what can I feel on my own--this is compassion, sorrow and love that comes from God.
And I still worry and feel inadequate, but I feel hope. I am inadequate. It will not be an easy road. But as everything in life, it is not dependent on me. Already I see ways God is preparing me (one of which I will share in another post) and I remember that this is only one more way that "Apart from Him, I can do nothing."