Monday, April 9, 2012


It's really Susan's fault that I felt like crying repeatedly while at Disney World last week during Spring Break. Like you, I read Susan's post, Love + Half A Brain = A Whole Life (if you haven't yet, please do; it's fascinating!), and my thoughts were full of the realities she spoke of-- both the effects of the scientific realities as well as the effects of the spiritual reality of HOPE. So full that The Mouse had to take a back seat as my emotions took in the contrast between what I saw all around me and what I know was the past experience of so many of our adopted children. I love Susan's insight and ability to take scientific research and make it accessible for people like me; and I found what she shared absolutely fascinating, especially in the context of my surroundings.

Normal Family Life
I was surrounded by families with young children, and the accompanying sounds of little ones asking questions, holding hands, demanding attention, throwing fits, being carried, being disciplined-- you know, all the regular stuff of family life. I thought how great it would be to have a dime for every time I heard, "Daddy, daddy, daddy, DAAAAADDDYYYYYYYY......LOOK AT THAT!!!!" Or, "Mommy, did you see Mickey! Let's go see him. Can we, can we, can we go nooooowwww?! Mommmmmmyyyyyyy!" 

It was such fun to have the leisure to watch all of this interaction, but I felt a sense of sadness as I realized afresh that for some of our adopted children this kind of normal parent/child communication and interplay was completely and utterly nonexistent. I imagined one our our precious treasures at that age saying, "Mom, look at me! Look what I can do! See? See?" while she jumped from one stair to the other. And no one, NO ONE, saying anything. No, "Wow sweetie, that's awesome. Man, you sure can jump high! Do it again!"

While standing in line to get a drink the little girl in front of me asked, "Daddy, what does carbonation mean?" Immediately both her mom and dad replied, "It means bubbly." So completely unremarkable. So normal. But (thanks to Susan!) my eyes filled with tears thinking of my children asking a question, one of thousands that children ask growing up, and hearing the deafening response of SILENCE.

No Response
If you spend much time in a place like Disney World you are going to see some sad interactions too. Parents at the end of their patience "rope" and children purely exhausted and over stimulated. Lot's of irritated and harsh responses to observe for sure! While I watched one little boy repeat over and over (even to the point where I was getting irritated!) 
"Mommy can I get a toyyyyy? Can I canIcanIcanIcanI pleeeeaase? Please Mommyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!"
--only to be completely ignored until finally the mother turned in what sounded like desperation to me and said, "NO! We are not getting you a toy. Now stop whining. You are driving me crazy!" (You moms out there can relate, can't you? Or is it just me?!) I realized that even that harsh response was better than nothing. I imagined what it was like for my own children at that age to ask over and over for something and not once, NOT ONCE, hear a response, not even an irritated one. How sad. How devastating for the growth of a person, an identity, a brain. No wonder the science shows that the impact of stress on the brain is significant and far-reaching.

The Effects of Faith
I think the Lord was re-filling my heart with compassion for my children that day at Disney World. Compassion that grows from understanding changes the way I think and the way I feel about my children. It has a significant effect on me I find. Once again, my heart was full with the realities that such a void leaves in a person.
But not full without HOPE. I sense the Holy Spirit stirring up FAITH in my spirit. The scientific realities are trumped by the spiritual reality of Faith that says

"with God, nothing is impossible" (Luke 1:37)
"All things are possible with God." (Matthew 19:26)

For although compassion helps me respond better as a parent, it does not have the power to heal my child. For that, we look to God.

 Where there was NO ONE in their past, our children will see JESUS.

Where there was SILENCE, they will hear His VOICE.

Where there was no reply, NOT ONCE, to their questions, they will be satisfied with MANY RESPONSES.

I'd like to close by repeating the prayer Susan ended her last post with. It is a prayer worth praying over and over. Let us join in faith for God to do what only He can do in and for our children.

So we pray that You, Lord, the One who is all powerful, will take any of those brain connections in our children that are weak, and still bearing the effects of toxic stress in their early years, and use God's love and our love to rewire them.  We pray with Paul:
"May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ." (I Thessalonians 5:23 MSG) 
 For your glory and for their healing!

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