Love…Does it Make the World Go Round?

Love doesn’t make the  world go round; love is  what makes the  ride worthwhile   Franklin Jones

Today I am sharing a lengthy story. I hope you will take time to read it. I have two children with attachment issues. Over the next few months, I will be addressing some of the issues that children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and their families deal with.

Some believe that love overcomes everything. I truly wish it did. What I do know is that love is essential and needs to be sought. However, with the knowledge that love alone cannot help children with RAD, more knowledge needs to be shared with the world about the needs and care that an infant needs and the life long issues that lack of appropriate care creates.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

My Battle with Attachment After Adoption

Over the years, I’ve written many articles about adoption. Those articles have often taken a passionate stance for the orphan, especially those whom experts dub the “functional orphan,” ones who may technically have a parent somewhere but remain unparented and empty. My passion is  twofold. The first is practical, in that if we as pro-lifers are successful, we will be left with 3500 orphans a day. I’m not okay with that.

But my second reason is personal, a story I only shared publicly for the first time on Orphan Sunday, and which I share here now because I am learning my story is less uncommon than I thought, despite my unique circumstances. I’m learning that as a group of pro-lifers, unless we are prepared to deal with the reality of the problems that may come our way, we will have little reason to argue against abortion, for we must be willing to nurture and love, at personal sacrifice, what we claim should not die.

My story begins in a manger in Bethlehem, but that’s where most of the similarity with a more famous Bethlehem manger birth ends. I was an orphan, abandoned on the city streets. There I was found and taken to the Holy Family Hospital, which calls itself The Crèche, another word for manger.  When I would speak publicly about my story, saying I was born in a manger in Bethlehem was a captivating opening line– a lighthearted quip, masking the darkness on the other side of that adoption, my dark secret.

It’s that side people today need to understand, both to reduce the fear of adopting “unknown” kids as well as to empower them to deal with it and eschew the internet horror stories, which are often written by people who overgeneralize.

My mom died with the secret of how she acquired me, the lies on my adoption papers, and her real reasons for taking me.  I was likely a child to an unwed Palestinian woman. I was found in the West Bank/Gaza Strip, the wrong side of the tracks from birth. I don’t know if I was left literally on the street or left on the doorstep of the hospital/orphanage like a cheesy orphan movie, but Fr. Emil, the head of the court that facilitated my adoption simply said in 2011, “you were collected from the street.”

My adoption papers, which call me “Catherine,” say, “The name and whereabouts of Catherine’s father are completely unknown.” I didn’t believe that for a long time. In 2011 the court officials, the Latin Patriarchate in Jordan, told me they likely lied to push the adoption through. At 6 months old my adoption was complete and I went home with her, in Jerusalem.

And never, ever in my life, not one day, did I feel loved.

If you have children, you know what happens with newborns. They cry: they get fed; they get held. You stare in each other’s eyes and fall in love. Parents bond. Children attach. The first few months of  babies lives with their parents are probably some of the most precious. That bonding/attachment happens at the deepest level then.

The first 6 months of my life my mom apparently came to visit me, but not enough to establish a primary connection. Whether or not the frequency of her visits was her fault or not is irrelevant; the only question was, to whom did I attach? I wasn’t abused that I know of. I have no information on my in-utero development. Science tells us that matters. Palestinian culture tells us a woman pregnant out of wedlock may be killed to avenge family honor. All I know is I never attached to a primary caregiver, and it made life difficult.

Usually the stories are about crack addicts and promiscuity. Kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) who never get a family, never get to attach in the right ways, seeking all the wrong ways, doomed to destruction. Your local prison population houses many poorly attached folks. Few adults really live well enough to analyze it, to overcome it. Some of us make it, but the ache lingers, indescribable.

My life was a tale of trying to fill a hole. I grew up wild and free, did anything I wanted to, dropped out of almost every year of school and conned my way into the next year (except 7th grade where they had truant officers). I shoplifted from Sears at 14, got arrested, thrown in juvenile hall because no one could come get me from the police station, started smoking then—a habit which continued to over a decade until I had a vision of Jesus and never smoked again.

In between were a couple homeless shelters and drug overdoses, not because I wanted to die, but I wanted to live and didn’t know how. I was kicked out of my conservative church at 13 for being too wild, and took a proficiency test at 15 to get done with high school so I would stop getting beat up by bullies. In college at 15, I dabbled in everything that looked interesting. It’s how I lived all of my life. I floated until something looked good, then honed in like a hunter finding her prey. I’d take anything that would satisfy for a season, whether school or work or friends or food. But if that something looked like a mom, then my life was reordered because maybe she would love me, want me, emotionally adopt me. Maybe then, the torment would end. Maybe then I would be safe.

I’m not unlike many adopted late or to families who didn’t know how to love them. Most of us never had words for it; no one would talk about it. When I was growing up, people said adoption screws you up. Lots of adoptees I knew were a mess in all the ways we describe someone as messy, from anger to rebellion to drug abuse to promiscuity.

I grew up with the idea that adoption was bad. At 15, I was against adoption. I just knew a bunch a screwed up kids. We were adopted; we were a mess. Therefore, adoption was bad. As a syllogism it failed. In my broken mind, it was the only answer I had. My own adoption had cost me a family, something from which I never recovered. I wanted to, but my brain and my heart could never connect. Attachment, the joy of the parent-child relationship, seemed my curse. The truth is, adoption is good, adopting kids with attachment issues is really good, but it must be informed and deliberate because adoptive parents need to address the holes. The prognosis is good when it’s addressed, even in older adoptees.

When you aren’t attached to anyone you never feel safe. I could handle not having a family like all the kids I knew, but I couldn’t handle the hole that seemed to be hollowed out inside me. It’s the worst kind of orphan mentality because it feels floundering, detached from everything, a state of living so vulnerably that the only survival mode is to erect permanent walls because anything that flies by might hit you. Might kill you.

And ironically, while I couldn’t attach, detaching was easy. I could make anything disappear if it was out of sight.  With attachment disorders the actual part of the brain affected is the orbital prefrontal cortex That is the part that regulates images. Faces. There is a phrase I use a lot: Faces and voices. Without consistent faces and voices, it was easy to make things go away. Unfortunately, that also meant I could never internalize the good. Later I met people who loved me, who expressed it, but unless they were reminding me often, it faded. Every time I saw them again, I needed them to speak first, needed to be sure they had not changed their mind. Internalization was my greatest desire and more elusive than a unicorn.

Nothing I could ever explain helped anyone to understand. I am highly educated; I spent years writing and speaking publicly, but I couldn’t explain what it felt like to be in a prison of RAD. I got a lot of canned answers the few times I did tell. “You need to attach to Jesus,” some said, conveniently ignoring the part of the Bible where God says it’s not good for man to be alone—before there was any record of sin. So the religious comments didn’t work. “You need to make a decision to act in spite of your feelings” said the amateur psychologists. They didn’t understand it was beyond feelings. It was more like cancer, destroying cells that give life; it was like telling me to out-will cancer.

Theoretically, a child at 6 months could pretty easily attach to a single caregiver once adopted. Why that didn’t happen is not clear, but my mom wasn’t affectionate or loving, not ever; she simply didn’t know how to be, and we had no resources. I have no memories of her looking me in the eyes with love, of embracing me, of tenderness. So the only conclusion I can offer as grown-up-Susan is that I went from multiple caregivers in the orphanage setting, who probably were very good to me, helping my mind stabilize to some degree as an infant, to one caregiver who didn’t give care. This happens often with foster children who arrive to homes this way.

At first when I learned more about attachment and even had a professional confirm it, I told others thinking that this would help them understand. What ensued was one of two things. I’m still not sure which was worse. Either people got scared and suddenly pulled away and/or passed me along—or they tried to deliver me from some demonic power. And because I wanted to be wanted, I didn’t chase the former—and I always gave into the latter. A friend once likened me to an abused wife, who kept going back for more out of a desperate need to be loved. He was probably accurate in his assessment, and my intelligence told me to stop. But my heart I was captive to a curse. I knew nothing else.

This is the (preventable) story of so many orphans, unidentified, labeled as difficult, and research tells us, often mistaken for having ADHD. It’s the story of the somewhat trendy phase of adoption that glamorizes the sweet baby, but forgets the older child. And it’s probably the story of many of the 100,000 plus kids in foster care today who need to be adopted. It’s a hard story. We like simple answers. Pithy tweets make us feel profound. But the fact is that there isn’t an easy answer for these kids, whether they are victims in the womb, or they are traumatized by life after that, from badly screened adoptions, bumping from foster home to foster home, or simply from those who don’t understand.

If being pro-life is being pro-child, then we have to recognize that in a fractured society where thousands exist as at least functional orphans that many will have issues with attachment and their lives matter. Some will have problems with it, and some, like me, will have RAD and believe they are not worth fighting for. For multitudes of kids, they are aware they are not the first choice, not the one people want because maybe they have a notation of “Reactive Attachment Disorder” in their files. Or perhaps worse, there is no notion since it often goes undiagnosed, and then stunned parents feel trapped, or worse yet, send a child back. None of this furthers the reality of being pro-life. We must walk out of fear and into the hearts of these children.

I don’t know what it feels like to be connected in a familial way, though I have some dear friends. It’s an odd, unanchored feeling, but beyond that it is a feeling, a mission, if you will, that I must help fight for others who can be rescued as children. If we are pro-life, we must stop passing around children, stop rejecting the ones with problems too difficult for us, stop valuing our lives over theirs and jump in with our eyes wide open. Thousands of kids need us–they need to attach to us so they can see the value of their lives, and, in turn, see the value of life so one day we will have an answer to the classic pro-choice question:

Story shared from the following website :https://www.liveaction.org/news/my-battle-with-attachment-after-adoption/

No widget added yet.

Life Turns Out Best When You Have a Good Attitude!

Things turn out  best for the people  who make the best  of the ways things  turn out   Coach John WoodenIt is easy to have a bad attitude. It takes work and diligent effort to have a good attitude. Some believe that a positive attitude comes naturally to some people. I don’t believe it at all. I believe that it takes a conscious effort. I also believe it is worth every bit of effort it takes.

I remember reading a story about a kind man by the name of David O. McKay. He was a busy man and advanced in his years. One day, in an airport, as he sat waiting for his next flight, a difficult situation presented itself.

A young man with three very energetic young children sat nearby. The three children were being very noisy and very disrupting to the passengers around them. The father sat in his seat doing nothing to curtail the antics of his children.

The passengers who were waiting nearby began making rude comments under their breath – hoping the man would take the hint and do something about his children.

David McKay took a moment and went over and talked to the young father. He told him that he noticed that he seemed to be deep in thought and wondered if there was anything he could do to help the young man with his children.

The young father then buried his face in his hands. He explained that he and his children had just come from the hospital and that his wife had just passed away. He was still in shock from the loss of his wife.

Mr. McKay then tenderly attended the young father and his children.

As he did, the nearby passengers heard the conversation and were then embarrassed by their behavior – clearly their behavior had only contributed to further hurt and distress to the young man.

What a difference it made when David McKay decided not to make assumptions and instead, decided to exercise some kindness and ask questions before he passed judgement.

I wonder how many times I have been guilty of wrongly passing judgement? I hope the number of times is small and I hope that I have never hurt someone in the process.

I hope you enjoy today’s story – after all, everyone is important!

Everyone is Important.

During Mark’s first month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz. He was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until he read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. He had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name? He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’”. Mark never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Dorothy.

Everyone in your life is everyone just like the people you give importance to.

Story shared from the following website: https://whitepage4u.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/7-inspiring-short-stories-to-change-our-attitude-for-life/

 

No widget added yet.

Setting Goals…A Lifetime Pursuit

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark Michelangelo

Setting goals and making a consistent effort to improve is so very important. What is not important is for your goals to look good to someone else.

My goal of overcoming my fear of snakes may not make sense to you. Your goal of learning to scuba dive may not enthrall me. It doesn’t matter that we woo others with our personal growth. What does matter is that we utilize the precious time we are given for this mortal experience in uplifting, personal growing ways!

I know that the desires that are implanted within our hearts need to be paid attention to. They speak to us of overcoming challenges and manifesting the divine role we are meant to have in this world. Those desires tell us things about ourselves that we may not yet know about ourselves. We may be a Grandma Moses or Colonel Sanders in the making…. However, it is more likely that we have a life mission that is unlike anyone else.

Our life mission may manifest itself early in life or, like Grandma Moses and Colonel Sanders, it may take many years to present itself to the world.

There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to fulfilling our eternal destiny. What is not uncertain is that we each have one and that there is no such thing as a inconsequential life.

We each have a way in which we are meant to leave a positive mark on this world in which we live. The only way that we are going to accomplish that feat is to listen and trust our heart and then set goals. Once those goals are made, we need to work to accomplish them with an unrelenting resilience. (What my dad used to call being “determined to the extreme”.

Today, I share a brief synopsis of the life of Christopher Reeve. I am quite certain that Christopher Reeve inspired others more with the way in which he chose to live his life after his accident than through his screen role of playing superman. The way in which he chose to conduct himself and work to help others was truly the effort worthy of a super hero! I hope you will enjoy!

Christopher Reeve

The man who played Superman becoming a quadriplegic was more than ironic – it was tragic. He never learned to be happy about his situation – who could? But, he did learn to live with it.

“In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry. To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, ‘This really sucks,’ to really allow yourself the feeling of loss. It still needs to be acknowledged.” – Christopher Reeve

Then, he’d say, “And now…forward!”

He had to take a moment everyday to acknowledge where he was, what the reality of the situation was. But, he didn’t allow that to stop him. He traveled widely doing public speaking on behalf of people with spinal injuries, tirelessly raised money for his own and other foundations, and even became a movie director. He took what he had and tried to help others in the best way he could.

Story shared from the following website: https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/failing-forward-7-stories-of-success-through-failure

No widget added yet.

It’s Not How Much We Do…Doing It With Love

It’s not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing. It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into the Giving Mother TeresaWhat we do every day makes a difference. All of our kind deeds,  all of our kind words, and even all of our kind thoughts make a difference.

I find that in working with people, many understand the impact and influence that others have on them but it is more difficult for them to understand the impact and influence they have on others.

As you read today’s story, be sure to think about the small, maybe seemingly insignificant ways that you make a difference for others!

All the Difference in The World

Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home.  There’s a lake located in one corner of the park.  Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her.

This past Sunday my curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped jogging and walked over to her.  As I got closer, I realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap.  There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap.  She had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush.

“Hello,” I said.  “I see you here every Sunday morning.  If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles.”

She smiled.  “I’m cleaning off their shells,” she replied.  “Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim.  It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.”

“Wow!  That’s really nice of you!” I exclaimed.

She went on: “I spend a couple of hours each Sunday morning, relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out.  It’s my own strange way of making a difference.”

“But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells?” I asked.

“Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied.

I scratched my head.  “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent?  I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world.  And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells.  So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?”

The woman giggled aloud.  She then looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbed off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world.”

The moral:  You can change the world – maybe not all at once, but one person, one animal, and one good deed at a time.  Wake up every morning and pretend like what you do makes a difference.  It does.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/05/21/4-short-stories-change-the-way-you-think/

 

No widget added yet.

Do You Worry Too Much?

Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair, a lot of effort goes in but you don’t get very far Corrie Ten Boom

I know people who worry a lot…they are always worrying. They are anxious and unhappy and they refuse to give up their daily habit of dwelling on what is going wrong, what might go wrong and those things that already went wrong.

They are obsessed with all of the possibilities life might provide. They rarely revel in the here and now.

Life is a precious gift. A Gift that is sadly wasted when we don’t properly enjoy the heres and nows because we are so engrossed with the what if’s and what might be’s. Of course, the what if’s and what might be’s rarely materialize. However, when they do, it has been my experience that the Lord always provides a way to deal with them.

I have found that planning for the future and setting goals and then using each day to work towards those goals is a wonderful way to live my life. I love being able to bask in the blessings of each day as they are proferred to me.

If you find it difficult to let go of your worries, try a gratitude journal or a nice long walk with the intent of seeing all of the beauty that nature has to offer. You CAN change your thoughts and you CAN change your perspective if you choose to be deliberate about it!

As you read today’s story, think about your own life. If you had only a year to live, would you want to live your lift differently than you are currently living it?

I hope today’s story gives you lots of food for thought!

Parable About Worry

Joe is a typical guy that has what most of us want.  He has success, a wonderful career, a luxurious lifestyle and a wonderful family.

Still, Joe worries about a lot of things:

  • He worries about his project that’s connected to his promotion
  • He worries about how he can multiply his current income
  • He worries about the scholastic achievement of his first son
  • He worries about winning the golf tournament
  • He worries about his wife cold treatment when he stays up too late working
  • He worries about the island he wants to purchase
  • He worries about getting the presidential position of his business club
  • And his list of worries just keeps on going on

Then one day, he was hospitalized for a week with severe hypertension .  While in the hospital, Joe continues to worry especially now that he can’t perform his usual routines.  The doctor noticed Joe’s “worry behavior” and decided that he was going to do something to make his patient stop worrying or at least minimize it.

With an idea in his mind, he went into Joe’s hospital room.  He told the patient that he has severe disease and that he’s left with a year to live.

Surprised and saddened by the news, Joe’s initial reaction was to again worry until the reality of his illness began to sink in.  He realized that he had a lot of things he wanted to do but he hadn’t because he had been so busy working and making a living. He had spent most of his time working –  thinking that it was important to provide all of the good things he had earned for his family.

Now that he believed that he had only a year to live, he started to think of living his life instead of just making a living. He finally understood that living a life only comes from simple things, like a picnic with his family, traveling to places, playing with the dogs or even attending to family gatherings. These things he didn’t think were important until he was told that he was dying.  And as he started to live his life, slowly all his worries began to fade. As the months passed, he do not see them as relevant like before. His belief that he was dying was a blessing in disguise for him to start living.

Are you like Joe?

Well, Joe is like the many of us.

When a worry knocks at our door, we have the tendency to entertain it and let it sit in our favorite spot. Before we know it, it has found a spot at the window and made itself at home.

Living with our mind worrying on the future causes us to miss out the greatness of now. Living and worrying too much about the future is not living at all because we can only live at a single time, which is now.

Do we really need death to remind us about living today?

Death may visit us anytime and life is a very precious gift – too precious to waste in worrying.

Remember that worry is just a product of our uncontrolled negative thoughts.  One of the keys in eliminating our worries is to taking control of our thoughts.

According to the law of averages, what are the chances that the things we are worrying about will ever happen?  Worrying never give us any answers, it is only good in asking “What ifs?”

Written by: Maria Lourdes Macabasco-Yanuaria

Story shared from the following website: http://lifetofullest.com/about-worry/

No widget added yet.