Attachment Wins

Today we got an unexpected last-minute impromptu appointment for Mary’s hair!

I can braid her hair, but our friend Shae can do it in half the time and tighter.  I am always grateful for her help!  The boys got their haircuts while we were at it.

Then we had a hilarious discovery to find out that Shae, who braids Mary’s hair when I cannot, was actually Kirk’s preschool teacher and babysitter ages ago!

How cool is that?  Moments like these are HUGE for attachment, and so critical especially for foster and adopted children.  We were so thrilled to make the connection, and Kirk positively lit up as they swapped stories!

I was able to connect with all their families while we waited, and though Anber’s grandparents were both working, everyone else was able to meet us at the library for a surprise visit.  We hadn’t seen any of their biological families since getting home from Ohio, and it was past time.  They need the visits, and their parents need he visits.

Alex’s biological parents came:

Kirk’s mom and baby sister came:

And we were even able to catch Mary’s mom:

Mary’s mom was high and speaking faster than anything, and I had to redirect a lot of conversation, and it really made the progress of the other parents so much more apparent.   We have all worked on our relationships, even beyond safety, and feel so close – as much as you can with such challenging dynamics and difficult circumstances.  It was a reminder of how far at the beginning Mary’s mom is still, even just from not participating, besides what choices she is making.  

But even then, it was an important moment for them.  Mary called her mom out on a bunch of stuff, and her mom actually apologized directly without making excuses.  I was impressed.  And Mary, without missing a beat, said, “I forgive you,” and hugged up her mom – but also had the boundaries to talk to her about not repeating those mistakes and the importance of trying again “because forgiveness doesn’t make it ok.  It just makes it your problem and not mine.”

I have never been so proud of any of my children, as I was of Mary in that moment.

All the children have had hard conversations with their parents, and those are conversations that are theirs and I don’t need to share here.

But watching Mary and her mom today showed me how much progress the other children have made, and their families have made, and I am glad they are doing that healing work now and not just starting when they are 18.

Everyone had such fun!

I am so grateful for these families that love these children – even loving the now adopted siblings that are not their own biological children – and I am so grateful they do the hard work of participating, even at a moment’s notice, because it means the world to these babies.

And it gives such hope for their relationships as they grow up, too.

It’s just love.  So much love.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 

God sets the lonely in families,he leads out the prisoners with singing…”

~ Psalm 68:5,6

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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