Sunday, February 21, 2010

The hard truth about bonding and attachment

Ephesians 6

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Well, some of you may not like this post, or may not agree. That's really okay. I have never been very good at "faking it" or pretending. I feel so compelled to be REAL about all that I have experienced since we have had the rich blessing of Haddie's arrival to our family.

Yes, it has been a rich blessing. Yes, she is a joy and adjusting well. YES, I DO love her. Do I "feel" all of the feelings that normally accompany those sentiments? No. Sadly, I do not. I know that I am not alone in this, and that what we are experiencing is normal. Though I did not know it before we left for China. I read books and knew there could be issues with bonding and attachment, but until it becomes your experience you can't understand it. I have never had this experience, nothing even close to it.

So you may wonder why I talk about it. I put it out there, because I feel that it may help someone else. I also know that it is just part of the story that God is writing. I also know that what stays in the darkness is the enemies playground and when brought to the light God will bring victory. It is very much a battle against the I think there are probably adoptions that are "disrupted" (people that don't finish the adoption, or finish it only to abandon the child a second time) or people that give up on bonding.

I will tell you that I have never struggled to have feelings in my heart toward any child ever. I know that seems like a pretty bold statement, but it is true. You know the rotten kids everyone has taught in Sunday School or tolerating for an afternoon playdate? I have never had one of those kids. I have always been able to feel love for a child and act out of that feeling in my heart. Here is where the post gets difficult. Yes, I can have the action with Haddie, but I don't always have the feeling. It is the most empty and strange experience that comes with an enormous load of guilt. I literally felt more in my heart when I would look at her pictures before she was in my arms. Is that because I romanticized or imagined something that is not my reality. For some, the answer to that question may be yes. For me, the answer is no. Haddie truly is more than we could have asked for or imagined. She is delightful! She is a perfect fit in our home. What, then, is the problem? The problem is simple, you cannot force your heart to bond. Sometimes it may happen in an instant, and other times it may take years. I don't have all the answers, but I know the horrible feelings of the process.

What do you feel when you don't have the "feelings"?








like your in a battle


Yes, I am hopeful. I KNOW the feelings will come. I see it happening little by little. I also know that God will finish this work that He has started. I have seen and heard testimony of those who walk on the other side of it. So, we are not there yet, but we will be!

Psalm 73

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

27 Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.


  1. I think most of us appreciate honesty over sugar-coating. I agree it is good to talk about it, so that others know what and how to pray for you. Plus, YOU need the support of others! I don't believe anyone should make a judgement towards you for being so candid, because unless any one of us have experienced what you are going through, we truly have no room for judgement.

    Keep focusing on the Word, boldly approach the Throne of Grace and lay this burden at His feet... He will meet you where you are. Our Father knows your heart and the feelings (or lack there of) that you are dealing with...and He alone can change them. Just ask Him to. The Bible says that we have not, because we ask not. Ask for His spirit of love to fall upon you and help you through this time. I truly believe that there will be a time that you can tell us how God seen you through. Use this as a time of growth and stand firm on His promises, allowing yourself to be a vessel that He works through to show your daughter this love, all while asking Him to give you His love and feelings in your own heart.

    Sending big hugs your way and KNOW you will be in my prayers! <><

    ~ Tanya
    (*adopting Khloe from NewDay)

  2. Amy,

    I liked your statement that bringing things to the light allows God to work in a powerful way and satan to cripple. Your honesty will be blessed.

    Also, I've heard experts say that attachment is a process that takes years, it's not just a moment in time.

    I know you'll be helping others with your story down the road, I'm sure you already are.