Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attachment and Bonding

Beware. Brutal honesty is about to follow...

Things are s l o w l y getting better with our little firecracker. Each day brings a few more smiles, a few less frowns, a little more understanding. I have been surprised at myself, though. How even though I've been through this before, I find myself feeling at times as though this is not going to work. Or at least not work well.

Even though that was how I felt with Amelia in the beginning too.

I am not one of those people who bonds instantly with their children. Even with Ava it was not an instant bond at birth. Of course I love her deeply now but I hear some people talk about how when their baby is first placed in their arms they fell instantly in love. This was not my experience and I really don't understand that, I guess.

I cared for her, of course. I worried about her, and wanted everything to be good for her. I felt responsible for her. But to truly love her took time.

And that's how it was with Amelia.

And that's how it is with Audrey.

It's very strange to travel half way around the world, have a toddler thrust into your arms and be instantly made a family. When really, this person is a stranger.

They look different. Smell different. Sound different. Act different.

I can only imagine how strange we seem to her!

Now add to that several years of institutional care, no matter how good that care is, a revolving door of primary caregivers in a short period of time, a physical disability, and you have a difficult road to go down no matter how good the circumstances may be.


We've discovered that Audrey has quite the temper and fiery personality! There have honestly been times, during a particularly loud, public fit throwing episode, that I find it a challenge to like her. I feel responsible for her. I care about her welfare. But those lovey-dovey feelings are slow to come when the transition is difficult.

Yes, progress is coming. But it feels like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Or like yesterday, when she screamed and threw fit after fit for 3 1/2 hours of the 4 1/2 hour flight to Guangzhou, it feels like 5 steps back. And then, while we are waiting for luggage and she is throwing another full blown, laying on the ground, thrashing fit with crowds of Chinese people standing around staring & seeming to ask me WHY I don't do something to help her so I finally pick her up & she bites me hard on the shoulder....those times? Well those times feel like 10 steps back.




My head tells me that this will work itself out eventually. That she will learn to trust us and feel safe and recognize boundaries and respect authority. But right now my heart is having a hard time believing my head...


Adoption is h a r d. It is wonderful and rewarding and a blessing but it is also hard. And I have wondered, as Audrey is thrashing around on the floor, biting me and rejecting the ones who have come to love her & make her part of our family, if that is how we look to Christ in our sin. So unlovable. Rejecting the One who gave His life out of love for us to make us a part of His family.


And I realize how weak I am. How easily swayed by my emotions, I am. And I pray daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute for God to give me the strength to see and love Audrey as He He sees and loves me...


2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.







  1. I was in the same place our second time around. I never could have imagined how much I could love her during those meltdowns in China, but God changed both of us. It just took longer for me to get there than for Lydia. ;-)

    You have such a good understanding of the reality of what is happening now. You also have the hope of Christ changing it for His glory. Hold fast to that and get home soon. No one wants to have meltdowns in public! ;-)

  2. Praying hard for you and Jason, dear friend....praying for God to give you the peace and patience within yourself to deal with Audrey's tantrums, and that she will come to understand a sense of security with the two of you...stay strong in your faith Chanda-remember, God is with you, always.

  3. Chanda, my heart if so full for you right now. I can really feel your frustration. Know that I will be praying for you all as you go through this process.. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
    Lisa Friesen

  4. Chanda
    Jay and I have recently taken in a 17 year old boy and this post describes us as well! I could have written your same step forward, two steps back...or ten! We also are hoping that he understand authority and respect and that we will love him as Christ loves us. It has been a roller coaster and we are only 3 weeks in!
    I am praying for you guys!! Be glad you have so many years with her. I am feeling the burden of trying to rewire 17 years of crossed wires!
    Jana Bearden

  5. Love the sincerity in this post. And your heart. Hugs my friend!!!

  6. oh Chanda! I so understand!!!!!!! That is exactly how I felt with Elaina! I am so happy that you had a wonderful guide though, just glancing through your posts for the first time...been home 6 days, had company and extra dogs since coming home..had a flight home cancelled and spent 24 hours extra in NJ...ugh! Still battling jet lag and honestly, our experience in Urumqi STUNK. No guide and horrible reactions to Gwendolyn. We had NO walks to the park, no Muslim restuarant. I was glad to leave and never want to return. One day at a time...that is all you can do and sometimes it is minute by minute. I am never an instant bonder either. Hugs to you. So glad to have met you for a few minutes before we left! blessings, Holly (


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