Longing for Separation Anxiety

Six months ago today I looked into my daughter's eyes for the first time.  It was a brief glance.  Long gazing would take much longer to earn.  She smiled and laughed.  She loved playing with the toys we brought.  Especially the bubbles and a talking Elmo phone.  The social worker from her orphanage told us that she would adapt very well to being in a family... she was very good at adapting.  And they were right.  Her adaptation skills are remarkable.  Only six months home and she has accepted her new environment, learned a new language, and understands most of our rules/boundaries.

I stood in the hallway at the therapy office today right outside the door of the bathroom.  Eliana doesn't need me to go in with her, but appreciates if I stand by the door.  Down the hall a little toddler screamed as he pushed his walker down the hallway with his therapist.  His mother followed a distance behind.  The child complied with the therapy physically but emotionally he was terrified.  When the walk was over, his mother quickly picked him up.  At the moment of contact between mother and son, the child immediately stopped wailing.

The image was too much.  I turned and tried to compose myself as the realization hit me like a thousand bricks.  There is no, and has never been, any separation anxiety in my daughter.

Separation Anxiety.  It is such a difficult season of motherhood.  Both of my boys went through a time as infants and then again in toddlerhood when they would just scream if I tried to leave them.  It wasn't until age four that Tyler would actually play with other children at the playground instead of clinging to my leg.  Faith's season of separation anxiety was long and intense.  After coming home I could not even leave the room without her going into full out panic mode.  If I left her for any reason, she would grieve for days.  Going through those times I longed for my kids to be okay when I left.  I fought feelings of being trapped and wondering if they would ever independently walk away from me to a new situation.  I now realize how much those moments are needed.  How much those tears bond a mother's heart to her child and validate that  she is indeed that child's mother.  There is something sacred about being the only one who is able to console a child's tears.

Eliana is a charmer.  She is full of smiles when we are out.  She will hold your hand.  She will ask you question upon question.  Within minutes of meeting her, she can be in your lap snuggling you as if you had known her all your life.  She will do this with anyone who gives her attention.  Anyone.  The adoption world has a name for it, "indiscriminate attachment".  I'm sure that this coping mechanism served her well in China.  As her social worker said, "she will easily adjust to your family."  And so everyone who meets her loves her. But this mama's heart really desires to  be number one in her life.  It is heartbreaking to see your daughter snuggle into a doctor that she just met like she was the one who has rocked her since birth.

I have been praying for God to increase my own attachment to my daughter.  For my own heart to be intensely drawn to her.  I think today was an answer to that prayer.  Watching that baby scream for his mama, made me want to fight to earn her true affection.  It proved to myself that I do love her and long for her love in return.

Just like my Heavenly Father.  I could just hear Him crying out, "Stop running to all these other things and recognize that I AM YOUR DADDY and I love you like no one else ever can!"  We are just like the orphan.  But He loves us extravagantly and chases after us.  Never demanding that we love Him but always longing that we would make the decision to chose His love.

Eliana is such a gift to my life.  I believe with all my being that someday her heart will be healed.  

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