Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Our Turn to Help a HURTING Mother, Family and Friends

My Sweet Family and Friends, I have a friend who has written to me and given me permission to share her letter anonymously with you all. This dear friend is really hurting and struggling and we have the opportunity in the blog community to encourage, support and "just be with" her as she mothers and helps her new daughter. Here is her note to me.

Hi Shonni-

Did you attach immediately to all of your kids??  If not, how long did it take? 

We have three biological kids, and just brought home a little girl who will, supposedly, be two on Sunday.  We think she’s older, which puts her in very close proximity to our three year old daughter.  She has adjusted very well, is cute, charming, has a beautiful smile, loves us, fits in fairly well with our family, and has no apparent trauma or attachment issues.  On paper, it has been perfect.  She has no sleep issues, is overcoming her food issues, and is learning how things run around here and seems to accept it all in stride.  She is a horrible two year old with the temper tantrums and possessiveness and defiance, but even that we know will be okay with time. 

But I feel nothing for her.  Well, nothing but dislike.  I feel like she has come in and taken over our home.  She is LOUD, aggressive, bossy, and stubborn, and most of the time I feel like I’m trying to protect my three year old from her.  I still don’t think of her as mine, I have to force myself to love on her at all, and I find myself doing nothing but training and correcting her all day long.  I am asking God daily for that motherly love to kick in, but as of yet, it’s just not there.  No where close.  I dread her waking up from her nap.  I dread every meal.  I dread her wanting to be held.  I know she’s just a toddler (again, I think she’s much closer to three than to two) but it is so difficult to face the day knowing she’s here.  I thought it would be better by now (we’ve had her home for four months) but I will have days where I’m neutral (those are considered good days!) but then I’ll have another day like today where I just am overcome with sadness that she is here.

I KNOW that God can redeem this.  We know that He asked us to do this and therefore, I know that He will equip us.  I can love her by doing all the right stuff, but I dread the future if I never have those feelings like I do for my biological kids.  I don’t want her growing up in a home where she feels separate, and unloved!  It’s so not fair to her. 

So, I’m just wondering if you have felt like this about any of your kids??  My new motto is “fake it til you make it” but that is so tiring.  I don’t want to fake it.  I want it to be real, and whole, and beautiful.  I don’t want either of us to be robbed of what could be. 

Thanks for any insight you have for me.  I just need to know that I’m not the only one out here that dislikes my child so much.  Surely someone else has experienced this!!

I feel so much for her. I did have a few that took me some time to "feel the love" for and it can be emotionally exhausting. 
If you would like to respond to this mother you can either leave a comment below, or
email me at and I will forward it to her.
Let's get around this mother and encourage her.
Romans 1:12 "...that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith..."


  1. We adopted our 4th child and I seemed to bond instantly with the photo of him, but after weeks of looking forward to holding him, I found that when we met I didn't have that instant connection. He was sickly and pale and didn't look much like the picture we had all been dreaming over. We visited him daily in country as part of the bonding period, but it felt like babysitting. He puked after every bottle. I was concerned and regretted the whole thing until my husband reminded me that love is not a feeling- basically he advised the fake it til you make it that you mentioned. He's been with us for 3 years now and we all love him dearly. He, too, has a strong personality and can be quite volatile emotionally. The first day he was home with us, at 11 months of age, he shook his finger at me and yelled something at me in a combination of babytalk and Russian. I knew from that moment that I was in for it:) We have had to teach him to control his emotions and it does take daily reminders. He is just precious with his baby sister and I think that really helped with my bonding to him- seeing him dote on the baby. It's really brought out a different side in him. I wonder if my pregnancy/nursing hormones helped me with my attachment issues, too. Our sweet boy has such a charming personality and everyone falls instantly in love with him- I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I didn't feel it right away. My advice is hang in there for the long haul. Know that there's nothing wrong with you- many moms struggle with attachment. I read an article by Melissa Faye Green that made me laugh and cry and feel like I was normal and ok. It just takes time. Four months is not very long in the greater scheme of things. You were pregnant with your others 9 months before you met them! I love my son now and can't imagine life without him. He is a special gift to our family and though it may not be exactly the same as a baby you nursed at your breast, it is genuine love that will last a lifetime. I've been married to my husband for 12 years. We had a kind of rocky start, but our love for one another just keeps growing. I love him so much more now than I did when we first married. I think it will be the same for my son. He's been with me 3 years and I love him, but I think I'll love him even more when he's been mine for 4 years and so on. I think you're very brave for broaching a kind of taboo subject, but again, know that you're not alone and that your love for your daughter will grow. You're doing all the right things like loving her in deed and praying that God will give you those feelings. Just give yourself more time and remember that 4 months isn't that long for her either. She survived the orphanage by being strong and aggressive. It will take her time to relax and find her place in the family. It will be ok. It really will. God will use this trial to make you more like Christ and holiness is better than hapiness anyway, right? Just keep loving that little girl and the Lord will change you through it.

  2. Shonni - bless her heart!

    Please tell her she is NOT alone and share my adoption blog with her. The link is on my family blog if you dont' have it. She will find comfort in the man stories already there.

    I'm here to help in any way I can. I understand her emotions (lack of them too).

    Hugs and love,
    Who will be praying for God to build the bridge between their hearts!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Thanks for loving this woman enough to reach out to your Bloggy Friends.

    Some adoptive parents seem to have an immediate bond; while others don't. Some adoptive parents, it takes weeks or months to feel the same love as they have for their bio. children ... some it takes even longer.

    After bringing our children home, I read several places that sometimes you just have to "fake it until you make it". That may be just what this mother needs to continue doing, while seeking the Lord for a truly unconditional love and bonding with this little one. I do believe that the Lord hears her prayers, and that He is able to change her heart for this new child. It may just take more time ...

    I'll be praying for her!


  4. I dont have any advice on the attachment processs since ours has went well. One thing I can tell you...God called you to adopted this little girl and you listened! He will bless you and bring your family together in His time. I dont know why some go through this but our God is always faithful. I know with our adoption, it took a good 6 months for our daughter to really start to settle in. She has been home for 1 1/2 years now and we just started the horrible 2.5-3 yr old behavior. It has been very hard. I would imageine if your daughter is in this age and stage you are probably dealing with a lot. I would recommend Families by Design, Ph# 970-524-4114 or We used this group when we came home because our daughter had attachment issues that we delt with right away. They are awesome and so kind. Attachment isnt just for the child its for us to! I pray that you will be blessed with love for your daughter and that Gods peace will permiate your mind and heart.

  5. Oh my goodness gracious--adoption sure is NOT for the faint of heart! Your friend needs to know that she is NOT alone! This is so much more common in adoption that most are even willing to acknowledge.

    Does she know about Jill's adoption blog? I think she addresses attachment there quite a lot.

    It helps to know that we never journey this road alone.

  6. I too would love to encourage her! You are welcome to lead her to my blog and give her my email,


  7. Know you are not alone in this, dear friend. I venture to guess that most parents with children through adoption have gone through this more than not. I read a wonderful book called AFTER THE DREAM COMES TRUE by Michelle Gardner. It's a book of post-adoption support for Christian families. You may find some insight and comfort.

  8. I have no advice...but I thank her for her honesty and openness. I am venturing into foster care and I can only imaging this to be a part of my future.

    I am praying for her and her family.

    Thank you friend for being there for her!

  9. We have struggled in the past and some days are better than others, but through it all, HE is faithful and when I feel my tears well and my patience deplete, I simply take a few minutes by myself and step out of the situation. And then I forgive the kid's behavior and myself. It doesn't always work, but every little bit helps.

  10. Shonni,
    Thank you for taking your friend into your heart and allowing us to come along side and pray for her.
    I am the adoptive mother of twins, they came to me when they were 4 1/2 I loved them but often did not feel that I had attached like I needed to, I talked to my husband about this and felt that somehow I was lacking. Just meeting their daily needs and addressing their ADHD seemed to be all comsuming. It was not until I dropped them off for their first day of Kindergarten that and I felt alone and frightened about who was looking after them and who would meet their needs should they be afraid to speak up that I realized my heart had been opened and my love and attachment to them was all consuming. Life is still not easy but I know that they are mine and that God has worked a mircle in uniting our family into a family serving him. I can not do this alone but with daily prayer and the love of family we grow and flourish.

  11. Oh sweet girl, I have been there. It's so hard. So exhausting to fake it until you make it. We experienced the lack of bonding with several of our adoptions and it was so hard. I beat myself up constantly which was not helpful. I think it would have helped to know that many experience the same thing. My only advice it to just keep begging God for His love to flow through you to your daughter. I remember one day when I realized it had been a long time since I had felt that dread. I was so happy to see that God had slowly answered my prayers and that bonding had occurred. Big hugs!!


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