Thursday, February 3, 2011


Someone emailed me this. I don't know what blog it came from - but oh, my. My heart stopped as I read this! This is George these days! So, so angry. But, what I learned is that he is really sad. Understanding my son...that is love.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not fond of those moments when my child stomps away in a huff, or crosses her arms as she looks at me. She is mad, and my initial response is to be irritated. As she setttles deeper into ”mad,” I can feel myself pull away from her. I get short with her and find I don’t want to look in her eyes.

I need to stop.

This is the crucial moment when I need to stop the “mad cycle” and see it for what it really is.

She is sad.

Sadness has woven its way into her life in ways you and I can hardly imagine. Imagine her in an orphanage as a small child feeling sad; there is no mommy to say, “Honey, come sit with me. Let me hold you.” No, when she was sad, she learned that it felt much better to be mad. Mad felt good, sad felt overwhelming and unending.

She lived where there were few adults to carefully watch over her and guide her through her feelings, so she protected herself by being mad. How did she cope? She turned away from the adults and became bossy toward the other children. She felt some relief from the sorrow that had been building up in her heart. She was in control once again; nobody could hurt her.

She kept account of wrong doings, slights, and disappointments, which she carefully filed in her brain. She could hold a grudge like nobody’s business. Stories of days of refusing to speak to a certain teacher or nanny were told to us. Refusal to eat, work, or make eye contact were not uncommon for her.

Then she joined our family and we saw a child who was easily angered, tried to control the other children, and was stubborn beyond reason. And disrespect? We weren’t sure she even knew she was supposed to respect us because she sure didn’t act like it.

When I remember where she has come from, I can and see past her “mad” to the real “sad,” I can hold myself in a nurturing mode and keep building those bonds of attachment. I can speak the truth to her: “Honey, you look angry, but I can see that your heart is actually feeling sad.” This is often all it takes to break through the mad.

Saturday we had a moment just like this. I talked frankly with her about my love for her, the love of Jesus, and His power to heal her sadness. I encouraged her to let go of her “mad,” even if it meant feeling those deep sad feelings. She turned her eyes from me and I waited. It wasn’t long before she said, “Mommy, I’m sorry. Please forgive me for being so naughty. I know you love me. I’m just sad that my Mom died and you never had your Mom die so you don’t know how bad it feels.”

Her “mad” turned to “sad” – we’re making progress.



Lisa said...

Hi! Here's where it's from...
I know those days too!

Traci Weldie said...

Lisa - thank you for sharing the link!

Anonymous said...

Hi Traci!
I was given your blog address by Debbie Dilley, as my husband and I are in the process of adopting twins from Ethiopia and working with America World Adoption Association. We are waiting for our I-171H as of now, and look forward to getting our dossier to Ethiopia!!
I must say I am so grateful to read you real life experiences in regard to George and his anger/sadness. So many times we only hear positives on adoption blogs, but it's a gift to know "reality" through your discussions.
We were given the awesome book "The Connected Child" written by Karen Purvis regarding bonding and attachment. It also has a biblical study guide online at Empowered to Connect (dot) com. Not sure if you're familiar with it, but it might be a great resource for you(?).
Be blessed!
Faith Gingerich

Traci Weldie said...


I have read a lot of Karen Purvis' works - I even sat in on a wonderful teaching session she gave at last year's Orphan Summit - amazing!

I have struggled with whether or not to be honest in my writing, because it is more often NOT easy or nice. But, I know that the Lord is still in this with us, and that He will see beauty from the dust.

Thanks for reading!