An old story for a new friend

I sat on the beat up couch and told my mil the story that had just unfolded with heartbreaking force–years of sexual abuse perpetrated by our adopted son Charles. Stopped as soon as it was uncovered but not soon enough to obviate years of damage and pain.

She looked stunned (of course) and managed something about God blessing our family.

At the time I thought, does she see what I cannot?

God has blessed me. God has blessed my family. But she did not know what she was talking about. She was a woman on the mainland of “normal” and I was drifting in the dinghy of “messed up life.”

Attachment disorder will do that to ya. It will put you out to sea with issues so devastating that Richard Parker starts to look like a tabby cat.

Love, if you hear adults, professionals, “experts,” tell you things that do not make sense, learn from my lonely voice.

Your children all have an equal right to live in peace, safety, and love. If one of those children threatens the safety of the others…

Yell loud at anyone who will listen. And don’t stop until you get the help you need.

You have a right to live free from the constant threat of harm.

And so do your wee ones.

Attachment Parenting/attachment disorder

The descriptions are eerily familiar–children acting out violently and relentlessly, tearing at the fabric of the home they have been placed in. Making life hell for years on end.

No cure in sight.

I think about this–the things we find cures for: flabby skin, erectile dysfunction….

But I doubt anyone is even looking for a cure for RAD.

Anyone who matters, that is.

Sure, there are the people impacted by RAD children. But we are not exactly powerhouses of charitable financing.

It is hard to raise support over the din and chaos.

Like so many scourges the easiest, simplest cure is prevention–babies need to be held regularly, fed regularly, nurtured consistently.

There are places we say this out loud. But often we don’t. We don’t have the guts to break through the uncomfortable silence that surrounds the abuse and neglect of children.


Prayers for my reactive attachment disorder children

I face this story every day, every moment of every day:

Once upon a time there were two teens. They both came from stories of neglect and abuse. Someone had hurt them by not giving them safety. Others by transgressing the most basic law of love–don’t hurt a child.

They hooked up. Had kids. Wandered into ways to dull the pain and longing in their hearts.

The children were so young but they still remember hunger, watching their parents leave them locked alone with a single cupcake to share among them all.

Longing. We all long for something–love, truth, justice. But what if that longing is never heard? A child cries but no one holds him? A little girl lives with a gnawing ache for food.

What happens when the search for love and safety comes up empty before they are one or two or three?

I watch her face in each picture. She never smiles. I want to say to her mother–pick her up, snuggle with her, talk baby talk to her and feed her. That is why you get wic, so she can be full.

Break the cycle, girl, for God’s sake, break the cycle.

What is it like to be raised by wolves?

Better than this. Wolves are social animals, willing to hunt for their young.

I search for answers, but there are few that satisfy. I cringe at memory–my own exasperation, impatience, and exhaustion. So many things I would do better.

I say that ruefully knowing that the maxim I had at 27 was true and mattered–regardless of the raggedy look of things. You must hold on. They need years of you just being there.

I am here. I won’t ever leave you.

He asks if we can meet. I say yes, but only me. The others are not ready.

Ready is a placeholder for heartbroken. Reactive attachment disorder can seep into the lives of everything it meets. It takes no prisoners.

I pray. I pray all the time. I pray they do not hurt or kill or disfigure. I pray for safety. I cast about for anyone or anything I could enlist to save them…from themselves. The longing for mother’s love turns to drugs, alcohol and reckless touch. Wires in a machine all shorted or circuited wrong.

Nothing will work but love, and by love I mean compassion. And by compassion I mean Jesus. I do the only thing that makes sense when the disease at the heart of your child is terminal–I cling to the feet of God and say, Save these babies, resurrecting God.