broken hearts

February 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Posted in adoption issues, Prayer, secure relationships | 1 Comment

When the cupboard is empty, I go to the grocery store and within minutes, I’ve fixed that problem.

When a kid needs their school uniform ready, I get it spinning in the machines and …. Voilà!…. it appears folded for them shortly.   Problem fixed.

When the teenager is running errands and realizes her bank account is empty, a few clicks online put her back in shape.   Problem fixed.

From rides to project-poster-boards, from bake sale brownies to late night counseling sessions, I’m the go-to person around here.   And, frankly…. I deliver just about all the time.

But I’m finding that there are some problems that I just can’t fix.   Specifically:  Broken, fearful little hearts.

Children who have experienced early childhood risk factors (such as neglect or living in an orphanage setting, etc)  sometimes come with lingering issues that are very present and real.   So real, in fact, that these kids are classified as ‘special needs kids’ by developmental experts.   They’ve been harmed by their early circumstances and they’ve suffered losses.   Even if a child was pre-verbal at the time of the harm, the impact of these risk factors is profound on his brain chemistry.

Tender hearts learn the unspoken rules about what it means to live on this planet very early on.

We see this often as tears and frustrations continue to be part of the daily rhythm of our son’s life.   Without being able to articulate why,  disappointment lands on him like an avalanche of pain and distress.   He wails and seemingly overreacts to almost every situation.   There’s a ‘sense’ of uncertainty in his experience, even though he IS secure now.     There’s a ‘sense’ of danger, even though he IS very safe and very loved.   There’s a ‘sense’ of helplessness that informs his perspectives and shapes his responses to the regular stimulus of daily life.   He gets these inaccurate, but powerful perspectives from a deeper place that imprinted on him long before we ever met.   It’s a message that repeatedly tells him, “Life is not safe.   Life = despair.   It’s hopeless.”

How great it would be if I could just go to a psychological ATM and withdraw the amount of security and confidence that he needs.  Or if I had the right pills or better yet, a time machine to go back and eliminate the issues to begin with!    How I wish I could fix what ails him.

What I can do, is coach and reassure and walk with him through it, praying that the ‘sense’ he has will eventually shift to one of peace.  I need to be reminded often that God:

“heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”  Ps 147:3

I can’t fix my little guy’s problems.   (and I’ve been trying for a while now..)   But my maternal heart rests more knowing that even as I type this, God is on the case.   He’s healing and He’s binding up the broken, cracked emotional and psychological places deep below the surface.    There’s hope in that.

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1 Comment »

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  1. Hello, Lisa. I had forgotten about your blog. So glad I found it again. I appreciated your honesty about your son. Our hearts, too, are broken for our children. Sometimes the weight of their pain overwhelms me. Then, God reminds me of his beautiful sovereign plan to bring these children into our family and that He will continue to be sufficient in our daily struggles. A friend who is also walking this difficult road of parenting hurt children told me to expect pain because we are doing kingdom work. Gone are the easy days and looking like a normal, healthy family. God had better plans for us! In our daily – no hourly – need of his strength and wisdom, He is drawing us closer to himself. Praying for your son to find security and trust in Jesus and praying for both of us to have hope!


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