“When people look at a four or five-and-a-half foot tall hardened, weathered soul in front of them, they generally see the chronological age of that child and all of the assumptions and stereotypes that go along with contemplating a child at that age. However, deep beneath the growing body, the developing face, the immense size in comparison to the infant, the worldly vocabulary, independent air and challenging behavior, is a child who is emotionally and spiritually an infant crying out for the same in-arms nurturance as the day he was born.” Not my words on forming attachments with older adopted children, though my heart could’ve written them.
I became a mom at 29. Back then, when Jack was a newborn, I had books, magazines & friends always at the ready with advice & suggestions on how to mother him. How to attach, how to swaddle, when I should let him “cry it out”, how often I should nurse him, etc. I remember crying just to keep myself awake as I rocked him for hours on end, then army-crawling out of his room to keep the floor-boards from creaking once I finally got him asleep in his crib. In the midst of that season, it felt exhausting, overwhelming and endless - but at least I had some back-up when I questioned my own instincts. This season is different. Yes, there are books and magazines and friends but this time my newborn is a 130 pound 13 year old. This time, healing from trauma & abandonment have replaced nighttime feedings & diaper changes. And this time, by the grace of God, I have a relationship with Holy Spirit, who I trust more than my instincts anyway.
So this is where you will find me every night around 8:45. This huge person curled up in my arms. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry and sometimes there are no words because they aren’t necessary, or because he is super tired. Oftentimes I am able to wiggle my way out once he’s asleep and sneak downstairs for a few minutes before my own bedtime. Frequently, the only thing that will loosen his grip on me is the 6:45am alarm. And that’s OK right now. This is my place and this is my purpose in this season and I’m humbled by that. (Cont’d in comments 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼)