Friday, January 30, 2009

Attachment Update...

For those of you who have been following for a while, you know that Abby has had the hardest time attaching with me. For 6 months I have felt like a human yo-yo… ‘come close…go away,’ back and forth she has pulled and pushed me. But I have always allowed her the freedom and the control to do that… I realized early on that earning her trust was going to be a long and possibly difficult process.

But the most important thing is that we have seen progress… More and more Abby is clearly beginning to trust me. She asks me to wash her hair and the other night, for the first time, her back… She sits with me and doesn’t pull away when our arms bump and she’ll often put her legs across mine. She’s still funny about hugs though, but I believe that that will come with more time.

She is an incredibly obedient child… All it takes is a firm tone of voice and she will do as she’s asked (I really hope that quality will last forever!)… She loves to help me in the kitchen, she almost always sits on a stool at our kitchen counter and talks to me when I’m cooking dinner and she doesn’t mind doing chores when everyone else is doing theirs.

One of the most striking things about her, that I know I’ve mentioned before, is her generosity. She will always offer what she has to someone else before she takes it for herself. And the other day, she drew and colored a heart shape, cut it out and brought it to me… “Love, mommy.” Every time she sees a heart, she calls it love!

A funny thing about Abby is how talkative she is… She can pretty much out talk all three of our other children, put together. It doesn’t even matter that I still don’t understand a good bit of what she says. Her ability to grasp the language is AMAZING, but as another blog buddy said a while back, it’s ‘Ching-lish.’ She often pronounces English words with a Chinese pronunciation or, she will mix Chinese words in with her English… But it doesn’t slow her down a bit…she just chatters on! Incredible since her tutor in China was afraid that she had a developmental delay because she wouldn’t talk!

Abby continues to remind me so much of myself, in a spiritual sense. Whenever I do something nice for her, she is much more affectionate with me. In the normal course of the day, she can take me or leave me and when I don’t do things her way, she can definitely leave me!

But isn’t that just how we are with our Heavenly Father… When He blesses us (in the way we want to be blessed) we’re just full of praises and telling Him how wonderful He is! In the normal course of life, we act like we can take Him or leave Him… sometimes we pay attention to Him and sometimes we don’t. And then, when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do, we get angry and push Him away. I am just way too much like Abby.

But something else has occurred to me as we’ve been studying Daniel, in Bible study. The people of Judah had fallen into serious idolatry, they were seeking fulfillment, purpose, satisfaction from every source, other than God… So God brings judgment on them and allows Babylon to take them captive.

What occurred to me though, is that God just wants His children to love Him above all…to be completely dependent on Him… to come to Him for everything. So, He takes the steps that are necessary to turn their hearts to Him. And then it hit me, that’s what attachment is all about…

We want our children to love us first…they can love others, but we want their hearts to belong to us… not running here and there to every possible parent, ‘parent-shopping’ as some call it. And we want them to be dependent on us, to come to us to have their needs met. I think about early on how I wouldn’t allow anyone to do anything for Abby except me so she would learn to trust me and depend on me, so she would attach to me.

I mentioned once that a friend of ours, who is a psychologist, told me, when I was fretting about the attachment process, to not worry. He told me, in the end (after all the reading and preparation) to just look to my Heavenly Father who is the Master of attachment… He said, the Bible is one long story of attachment. At the time, I didn’t fully understand that…but I do now!

This continues to be an amazing journey!


Denise said...

Wow, I had never thought about it like that before, but what a beautiful analogy!

Have a wonderful weekend~

trina said...

I always get teary when I read stories about Abby. She will always be special to me (our family). I can just imagine her chatting away in the kitchen while you are cooking (and wiping your hands on your pants..ha).

Anonymous said...

Oh Sharla: "the master of attachment" oh how true. I agree, I love this amazing journey. Heavenly Father, thank you for this journey! I can just imagine Abby sitting watching you prepare dinner for your family. Very precious. I love that she knows "Ching-lish". I love ya'll - Cindy

April Isaacs said...

I always love how you talk about Abby... and your other children too. I know it has been tough with Abby but she continues to sound like an amazing little girl to me. SHe will be so proud to read this blog one day.

It's funny, there are so many things I could have never understood about God without my children. When I think about how deeply I love them, I can not imagine how much God loves us, his children. I always love your parallels.

Thanks Sharla!