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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attachment Revisited

It has been many months since I began to suspect the Lord was healing our sweet Lemuel of his symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was with great reservation that I blogged about my suspicions of lasting healing because ....well...because I doubted. And because I have, at one time or another in my life, been convinced of something I felt the Lord was doing only to be mistaken.
I didn't want to make a fool of myself.

I no longer doubt this healing. I am not mistaken.

I see, in Lemuel, such a sweet portrait of redemption, healing, of the tender love of our Heavenly Father that I can not deny that our boy has been made whole!

Sometimes, in my mind's eye, I notice myself short changing this gift of healing.
I say to myself
"He probably only had a mild case of RAD. It may have been coincidental that he fit the profile so well."
"I don't want to give other parents false hope. God doesn't always choose to heal. Maybe I should keep this quiet."
"Maybe RAD really isn't real or is so over diagnosed that I simply saw a slow bonding process instead of a miracle."

But the Mother's heart in me wants to shout from the mountaintops that my son is a caring, loving, TRUSTING young man who is a positive part of this family and a joy to parent.

And he is!!

He still struggles with logic skills. He still needs resource class for math and will probably always have an Individualized Education Plan at school.
But he loves me. He says it now with absolute certainty and no ulterior motive.
He catches me alone in the kitchen every now and then and says "I'm so glad you adopted me and you never gave up."
And I believe him.
And I say "me,too." And I mean it.

He went with his youth group to volunteer at the Special Olympics on Saturday. Upon his return, I received such wonderful reports from the leadership (who also received stellar comments from the volunteer organizers) about Lemuel's care of the special needs adults he was charged with that I could not help but brag about him just a little. This is a child I literally did not trust to walk the dog just a year ago! He is now completely trustworthy in every aspect.
He has internalized the notion that even if nobody is watching, his Heavenly Father sees his actions.
He understands a little better the scripture about putting others before ourselves.
He lives them out.
Sure, he messes up from time to time but in a NORMAL way, with TRUTHFUL admission of guilt and HUMBLE receiving of consequences!
This is more than I would have hoped for a year ago. More than I thought possible.

I was exhausted and sadly resigned to parenting him the best we could until he was old enough to either join the military or become incarcerated. I figured the latter would eliminate the former.

Lord, help my unbelief!

I now see the fingerprints of God on this child in a way that was not evident when we were in the throes of the chaos. I see the sculpting and refining the Father is doing and, as the excess falls away, something so beautiful emerges.

Worth the pain. Worth the wait. More than we asked or imagined. That's our theme.


  1. Nikki, this is such wonderful news. I have to tell you that we are seeing some similar things with our Dan...slowly, slowly, but since we have brought him back home from school, he is doing so much better. I have more hope now than ever before and your posts are giving me a boldness to hope. I find it ironic, sad, whatever, that most of the books say a year or two for adjustment and here we both are with our children home 6+ years and finally seeing the miracles taking place. Again, I know that Dan was/is no where near where Lem was, but the difficulties were so real, so painful and raw so many days. God is faithful and yes, I'm sure there are cases where nothing helps, but it brings me such joy to see the changes in Dan and hear of those in Lem. Praise to the God of all creation that he is merciful and loving.

    1. Praise God, Debbie! I am encouraged to hear of your progress with Little Dan (although not so "little" anymore!). Yes, the books should give a much wider range like "bonding might take ten years" . . .maybe fewer families would take the leap but at least we'd feel more prepared to hunker down for the wait!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of redemption. Love sent to your family!

  3. Nikki, this is so wonderful and encouraging to hear! It gives me hope! We are in the midst of the "continuous cycle" and the "bad" phase just started again yesterday with bad reports from summer school teachers and the unearthing of things we thought were under control. All of this coming to light the week after we've been rejoicing Joy's decision to follow Jesus and her baptism. I know she hasn't been home a year yet, but getting very close and I know that's not the magic number though, right? ;) However, your blog is a HUGE encouragement to me. With our Lord, all things are possible! Thanks for sharing! I am SO happy for your family!!!

  4. SOOOOO very happy! I recognize this change too. I was just thinking the other night after my son had failed to show empathy for his little brother...maybe when he gets older, maybe they "just get it" when they turn 14ish, like Lem has. Ha I know it has taken much prayer and patience too, but the fact that I want him to be like Lem should make you proud. He is a great boy. I really do love him and have prayed for him. Enjoy this new life and set back and see what God will do:) God is GOOD!

  5. i agree with many of the experts when they say it takes as many years to bond as the age of the child when you "gotcha'd" him. in other words, if the child was ten, it will take a full ten years. this has been my observation too. why should a child who's been so wounded learn to trust quickly? we don't. we adults take years to 'get over' things that hurt us. damaged children have the right to find their way into love at their own pace, with unconditional acceptance and a safe place to be angry. Lord knows they have a right to their anger. I rejoice with you in Lem's healing, and you have my admiration for your persistence and stubborn love and courage.

  6. Hi Nikki,

    As always, I am encouraged by your words. We, too, have seen steps forward, and steps back. Recently ... back. And I agree so wholeheartedly with the above post: "why should a child who's been so wounded learn to trust quickly?" Mike and I were *just* discussing this the other day. I know this, and yet, I find myself still angry. Still not trusting. Still doubting.

    Thank you again for your obedience and your example.

    With love,

  7. Praise the Lord and Amen! God is amazing and truly the healer of our souls. Debbie, it's such wonderful news, too, about Dan. We also see steps forward with Brian. He is going on a mission trip at the end of this week and gave such a beautiful testimony in church on Sunday night. Oh, how I weep for joy for the healing God is bringing about in our children and how He has touched them. Brian now recognizes his strengths and weaknesses and fully admits to the things he needs to improve.

  8. How beautiful! I so appreciate your honesty! The Lord is so faithful! It just blesses me so much to be reminded that nothing he calls us to is easy but he is faithful and he is on our side.

  9. Just read this today. God is so mighty to save! yes!So happy and excited for you and your family. I know it's been a struggle, but so glad to see you are reaping your prayers and love now.