David and I received the final copy of our home study last week! This is huge because the next two chunks of paperwork can’t be submitted without it. At the moment the ball is in our court to compile the home study with the other required documents and submit them to the appropriate places. It’s slow, but it’s progress!
David and I are continuing to read books to fulfill required hours of training, but there is one thing that we learned at our first full-day pre-adoption education class that I keep thinking about. We learned about attachment, which is a huge deal in adoption. If you have never heard of the importance of attachment, it’s probably because it happens more naturally with biological parents and children. Our training materials describe that attachment “creates a safe home base for a child to explore the world, builds trust between child and caregiver and creates a foundation for all future relationships” (but no pressure…).
The cycle of healthy attachment looks like this: the child has a need (hunger, diaper, etc.), they express the need (crying), the caregiver meets the need and helps them regulate their need, and then later they have another need and the cycle continues. At the center of this cycle is the formation of trust. At the training when this cycle was described to us, I got teary because I thought of a verse from one of my favorite psalms:
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6
We cry out for help and our Caregiver (God) meets our needs. In doing so he teaches us that we can trust him.
But where did we learn this first? We learned first to trust our caregivers who fed us, changed us and kept us warm. As they met our needs we learned that someone cared and that there was someone we could trust. So for the mama who is tired of midnight feedings or of changing another diaper, you are teaching your little one that someone cares and that there is someone who can be trusted to meet their needs. In each feeding and changing you are teaching them about God.
“Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.”
Children coming from the places we are working with often need special attention and intentional practices to build attachment because they did not have a dedicated caregiver or there were not enough caregivers to give them the attention that they needed when they had a need. We were shown videos of strangely silent orphanage nurseries because the babies have learned that there is no point to crying because no one comes to meet their need. We are being taught to hold and feed our little one like you would an infant at first because you can retrain them to believe that their needs will be met and that there is someone who cares about them who they can trust. Our social workers have told us that it’s a really good developmental sign when an adopted child cries through the night because it means they have learned that someone cares and will come to them. As they learn they can trust us, we pray that they will learn they can trust God who will meet their needs more deeply and fully than we ever can.
Remind me of this when I show up somewhere with only two hours of sleep.
Upcoming Fundraising Event
July 21 - Pasta Making Class