February 9, 2015

My Child is Not Struggling Because...

Over the past few years, the following things have been offered to us as possible causes for what we are experiencing with Harper. Most of the time the suggestions have been made in love purely out of concern, and occasionally they have been "casually" dropped into a conversation in correction or judgement. Some are shoved down our throats via Facebook articles and blogs. So let's take a look at the disordered attachment cause d'jour. 

We are going through this...

- because we didn't spank him.
- because we spanked him too much.
- because he doesn't have enough structure.
- because we are too rigid with him.
- because he needs tough love.
- because we musn't love him as much as our biological kids.
- because he's the only black/adopted child. (Before Jay.)
- because Jay's adoption is open. (After Jay.)
- because it's genetic.
- because we don't have a nurturing environment.
- because we aren't consistent enough.
- because we are too firm.
- because we were too open with him about his adoption.
- because we weren't open enough with him about his adoption.
- because white couples shouldn't have black children.
- because you shouldn't "mix" adopted and biological children in the same family.
- because he needs to learn self-discipline/self-control.
- because he needs a physical outlet.
- because he doesn't get enough attention.
- because we've let him be the center of attention.
- because we don't follow through.
- because we don't show enough grace.
- because we have let him get away with things.
- because we never let him get away with anything.
- because he needs medication.
- because he needs play therapy.
- because he didn't get enough skin-to-skin contact.
- because we aren't on the same page as parents.
- because we didn't do the family bed. 
- because I didn't wear him in a sling enough.
- because I wore him too much and he got spoiled.
- because I used "separation" tools like strollers, bouncy seats, etc.
- because I didn't nurse him.
- because I did nurse him, and that's unnatural.
- because I let him cry it out.
- because I answered his cries too readily.
- because I am too uptight about what he eats and drinks.
- because I am too loosey goosey and don't have him on a specialized diet. 
- because we don't have a strong enough marriage.
- because we don't pray enough.
- because we've neglected the spiritual element of child-rearing.
- because we over-spiritualize everything.
- because we haven't trained him biblically.
- because I am too distracted.
- because he is too distracted (attention deficit).
- because we have too many kids.
- because we over-analyze.
- because we haven't analyzed enough.
- because we are making the adoption piece too big of a deal/love is enough.
- because we aren't giving the adoption piece enough weight.
- because we followed BabyWise.
- because we didn't follow BabyWise.
- because we eat healthy/he doesn't get enough treats and affection.
- because not local/paleo/organic/free-range/no red dyes/gluten-free/annato-free/preservative-free/dairy-free enough.
- because we aren't conscientious parents.
- because we are helicopter parents.
- because he wasn't taught responsibility.
- because he was given too much responsibility.
- because it's spiritual.
- because it's psychological.
- because it's emotional.
- because it's medicinal.
- because it's chemical. 
- because it's developmental.
- because it's neurological.
- because it's physiological.
- because he should spend more time outside.
- because I don't homeschool.
- because he rode the bus to school.
- because I pulled him out of school.
- because he's not in private school.
- because we aren't in a good school district.
- because our school district is too diverse/other black children are a bad example.
- because our school district isn't diverse enough.
- because we don't have enough black friends.
- because our black friends aren't playing a large enough role.
- because he needs a mentor.
- because he doesn't know enough adoptees.
- because he is too aware of his adoption story.
- because he doesn't know his whole adoption story.
- because he has a learning disability.
- because he's too smart for his own good.
- because he's bored.
- because he has anxiety.
- because we should ignore his behavior.
- because we should put him in a group home.
- because we weren't prepared for adoption.
- because we didn't know what to look for.
- because the adoption industry is crooked.
- because immunizations.
- because food allergies.
- because microwaved plastic.
- because he'll outgrow it.
- because boys will be boys.
- because hormones.
- because high-energy.
- because wheat.
- because....
- because...
- because...

Because, no. Because, shut up. Because... none of this. Or because, all of this. Because, I don't know yet... and because, neither do you. 

But what I do know this... attachment is attachment, sensory is sensory, fetal alcohol is fetal alcohol, autism is autism,  attention deficit is attention deficit. They are not all caused or treated the same way, and many cannot be prevented. Many present co-morbidly (at the same time as another) and so it is hard to distinguish between the two, or three, or four things going on at once. What might look like a parenting problem, may in fact be a neuropsychological disorder. 

There is no fast solve, and I know that is uncomfortable. There is no Facebook timeline article that can shame a mother into solving disorders or dysfunctions like these. There is not a vitamin for autism or  insecure attachment, nor a something-free/something-rich diet that repairs brain-damage caused in-utero. Being shamed into a pro- or anti-something parenting position is not going to be what heals my child.

"If one is sick and desires healing, it is of prime importance that the true cause of the sickness be discovered. This is always the first step toward recovery. If the particular cause is not recognized, and attention is directed to subordinate causes, or to supposed but not real causes, healing is out of the question." 
- David H. Kim (The Lord's Prayer Devotional)

I believe that Harper will be healed. But it will not be quickly, it will not be unexplained or mysterious, and it certainly will not be because I went wheat-free. Perhaps I am wrong, and I do believe that God can and does perform miracles, and perhaps He will choose not to perform an instant miracle healing solely because of my lack of faith here... But I really just believe that God is going to heal him over time. The miracle will be that we all still love each other on the other side of the process. 


  1. No words. Just in awe at the strength in your struggle. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you, very encouraging and fits my life perfectly. You put into words what I have felt too exhausted to even consider.

  3. Love your last sentence!! Hold on tight. Life is bumpy!!

  4. Keep holding on to the Voice of Truth. I pray God will quiet the 'noise' and give you peace and hope on the journey.

  5. You got this Girl and he's got your heart. He WILL Heal!!!!

  6. I'm on the verge of tears. Thank you.

  7. I'm on the verge of tears. Thank you.

  8. I have never even met Harper but I will say that his struggles are because he is a child from a "hard place". Period. Nothing else. Nothing that you have done or not done. The fact that you love and support him is why he is on the road to healing.

  9. perfect. BTDT, in the end.. it's not always the fault of Mom and Dad, or the rest of the family and sometimes it IS the fault of all the interfering noses poking into life.
    Enjoy what you have and whom you have it all with.

  10. perfect. BTDT, in the end.. it's not always the fault of Mom and Dad, or the rest of the family and sometimes it IS the fault of all the interfering noses poking into life.
    Enjoy what you have and whom you have it all with.