Unity…The Art of Building Bridges

Individually, we are one drop Together, we are an ocean Ryunosuke Satoro

The Bridge

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side. They had been sharing machinery, trading a labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference which exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I am looking for a few days of work”, he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes!” said the elder brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother and we don’t get along. Last week he dug a wider passage for water into his farm. But he ended up creating a very wide creek in between our farms and I am sure he did it just to annoy me. I want you to build me something so that we don’t have to stand and see each other’s face from across.”

The carpenter said “I think I understand the situation. I will be able to do a job that will please you.” The elder brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.

At sunset when the elder brother returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The elder brother’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. It was not what he had even thought of or imagined. It was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, beautiful handrails. And to his surprise, his younger brother across the creek was coming to meet him with a big smile and arms wide open to hug him.

“You are really kind and humble my brother! After all I had done and said to you, you still shown that blood relations can never be broken! I am truly sorry for my behaviour”, the younger brother said as he hugged his elder brother. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on”, the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build!”

Moral: There is no shame in accepting your mistake or forgiving each other. We should be kind and humble. We should try to stay together as a family and not break away from it over the petty arguments.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.moralstories.org/the-bridge/

 

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The Love of God

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

How Do We Become True Disciples of Jesus Christ?

The Savior Himself provided the answer with this profound declaration: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”1 This is the essence of what it means to be a true disciple: those who receive Christ Jesus walk with Him.2

But this may present a problem for some because there are so many “shoulds” and “should nots” that merely keeping track of them can be a challenge. Sometimes, well-meaning amplifications of divine principles—many coming from uninspired sources—complicate matters further, diluting the purity of divine truth with man-made addenda. One person’s good idea—something that may work for him or her—takes root and becomes an expectation. And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of “good ideas.”

This was one of the Savior’s criticisms of the religious “experts” of His day, whom He chastised for attending to the hundreds of minor details of the law while neglecting the weightier matters.3

So how do we stay aligned with these weightier matters? Is there a constant compass that can help us prioritize our lives, thoughts, and actions?

Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” He said. “This is the first and great commandment.”4 Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves5—we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.

Why Should We Love God?

God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.

No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.

We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage. What and how we love not only defines us as individuals; it also defines us as a church. Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ.

Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things.

And the greatest of all good things is God.

Our Father in Heaven has given us, His children, much more than any mortal mind can comprehend. Under His direction the Great Jehovah created this wondrous world we live in. God the Father watches over us, fills our hearts with breathtaking joy, brightens our darkest hours with blessed peace, distills upon our minds precious truths, shepherds us through times of distress, rejoices when we rejoice, and answers our righteous petitions.

He offers to His children the promise of a glorious and infinite existence and has provided a way for us to progress in knowledge and glory until we receive a fulness of joy. He has promised us all that He has.

If all that is not enough reason to love our Heavenly Father, perhaps we can learn from the words of the Apostle John, who said, “We love him, because he first loved us.”6

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.7

God does not look on the outward appearance.8 I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.9

How Can We Increase Our Love of God?

Since “God is love,”10 the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love.11 But because a veil separates this mortality from our heavenly home, we must seek in the Spirit that which is imperceptible to mortal eyes.

Heaven may seem distant at times, but the scriptures offer hope: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”12

However, seeking God with all our hearts implies much more than simply offering a prayer or pronouncing a few words inviting God into our lives. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”13 We can make a great production of saying that we know God. We can proclaim publicly that we love Him. Nevertheless, if we don’t obey Him, all is in vain, for “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”14

We increase our love for our Heavenly Father and demonstrate that love by aligning our thoughts and actions with God’s word. His pure love directs and encourages us to become more pure and holy. It inspires us to walk in righteousness—not out of fear or obligation but out of an earnest desire to become even more like Him because we love Him. By doing so, we can become “born again … [and] cleansed by blood, even the blood of [the] Only Begotten; that [we] might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.”15

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.

How Can We Hear the Father’s Voice?

As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.

As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.

During this general conference and later as you study the words spoken here, listen for His voice.

As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.

Listen for the voice of the Father in the bounties and beauties of nature, in the gentle whisperings of the Spirit.

In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice.

If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.

As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. And as we become more holy, we will overcome disbelief and our souls will be filled with His blessed light. As we align our lives with this supernal light, it leads us out of darkness and toward greater light. This greater light leads to the unspeakable ministerings of the Holy Spirit, and the veil between heaven and earth can become thin.

Why Is Love the Great Commandment?

Heavenly Father’s love for His children is the core message of the plan of happiness, which plan is made active through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—the greatest expression of love the world has ever known.16

How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love.17 If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place.

The divine love of God turns ordinary acts into extraordinary service. Divine love is the motive that transports simple words into sacred scripture. Divine love is the factor that transforms reluctant compliance with God’s commandments into blessed dedication and consecration.

Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple’s path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning, and wonder.

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.

Love is the way of the disciple.

I testify that God is in His heaven. He lives. He knows and loves you. He is mindful of you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. He is filled with infinite love for you.

This address is from a General Conference of the LDS church. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was the provider of these remarks. Minor edits to these remarks have been made to eliminate references to members of the LDS faith. Although this address was specifically made to members of the LDS faith, I believe that the remarks by President Uchtdorf are profound and that anyone can benefit.

As an experiencer of a near-death experience, I am aware of the complete and incredible love that both God the Father and His son Jesus Christ have for us. It is because of that knowledge, that I had a special desire to share this address by President Uchtdorf. I know that the words that are shared by President Uchtdorf are true and can and will help anyone know God better who seeks to do so. Maybe, more importantly, utilizing these words and making them a part of our lives will help each of us to know of the total and perfect love that God has for us. I testify that words alone cannot express the love that God has for each of us. Knowing Him in mortality takes work and effort…but every ounce of effort is more than worth it and brings unspeakable blessings!

The following link contains the full address: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/the-love-of-god?lang=eng

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The Gift of Helping Others is Priceless

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up John Holmes

Intermission at a recent concert of mine in California. I was touching up my makeup and hair when someone delivered a note to me in my dressing room. “I’m out here watching you tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder.” Signed, Mrs. Nehrens.

​In an instant I was whisked back more than 40 years to the Professional Children’s School in New York. There was my math teacher, Mrs. Nehrens, her smile brighter than a spotlight and her voice like a trumpet in a jazz band. You had to listen. Still, my mind wandered sometimes—especially during geometry, which I couldn’t make heads nor tails of—and I’d cut up. I loved to do my imitation of Johnny Ray crooning “Cry.” It brought down the house at the Apollo. Mrs. Nehrens was not amused.

“Leslie,” she said, “this is not a stage. This is a place of serious study.”

Professional Children’s was a private school for young performers. In the hallway before homeroom you’d catch a ballerina sewing ribbons on her toe shoes or a violinist studying a score. It was understood that sometimes we had to dart out for auditions and rehearsals. I’d already been excused to sing on Milton Berle’s show and Arthur Godfrey’s. But there was no skipping out on academics. We had to keep up with our schoolwork.

Algebra had been a breeze. But geometry? I couldn’t figure out the difference between an equilateral triangle and an isosceles triangle—or were they the same thing? Many times Mrs. Nehrens stayed late with me after school. She guided me through the theorems and proofs and equations. One summer she even tutored me. She didn’t want me to flunk out.

We never would have been able to afford the school if it weren’t for Aunt Eloise. She was a performer too. She’d been one of the Blackbirds of 1928 on Broadway and sang in Porgy and Bess. “You’ll go to Professional Children’s,” she announced.

“We don’t have the money for that,” my mom replied. She’d quit her job to accompany me on auditions and rehearsals, and Dad had already taken on two other jobs in addition to his regular work as an elevator operator to make up the difference.

“I’ll help out,” Aunt Eloise said.

We lived in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, and I sang at St. James Presbyterian Church on 141st Street. Our choir director was always urging me to blend in better. “Don’t be so loud, Leslie,” she said. Well, I didn’t want to hold back. There was no hiding my talent under a bushel. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” I sang out. The Lord himself seemed to be doing a good job of letting that happen.

Until I turned 12. I wasn’t a cute kid anymore, but a gangly adolescent. Work dried up. I still took singing lessons and dance classes, but that was all the performing I did besides my doo-wopping in the hallway at school.

The biggest blow came that fall. One day Mom sat me down and said, “Leslie, I have some bad news. We can’t afford tuition at Professional Children’s anymore.”

“What about Aunt Eloise?” I asked.

“Work has been slow for her too,” Mom said. “It won’t be so bad. You can go to George Washington right here in the neighborhood. A lot of your friends are there.”

“But how will I be able to go on auditions? How will I get my career going again?”

Mom shook her head. In that instant I saw that light of mine go out. I would never step onstage again. All I could imagine ahead were years of drudgery. Had all the performing I’d done as a youngster been just a fluke?

Both of my grandfathers were ministers, and I was used to hearing their graces before dinner, prayers that went on and on until our food was cold. That night I got down on my knees and started praying like they prayed.

“Dear Father God, I am so grateful for all you’ve given me: Mom and Dad and Aunt Eloise. And my singing voice and my acting. You’re going to have to help me, God, because I want to keep going to this school that helps me do all that…”

But the first day of school I was trudging up the hill to George Washington, not shooting downtown on the subway to Professional Children’s.

That afternoon I sat at the kitchen table, staring at my homework. The phone rang, and I didn’t bother to answer it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. “Yes, yes,” I heard my mother say. “Thank you so much. We can never repay you for this.”

Mom came into the kitchen, tears in her eyes.

“That was Mrs. Nehrens,” she said. Why was my old teacher calling us? “She called this morning and wanted to know why you weren’t in school,” Mom continued. “I told her we couldn’t afford Professional Children’s anymore. Well, she just found a scholarship for you from the Presbyterian Church. It will cover your tuition for the rest of the school year.”

I jumped up and gave Mom a huge hug. And back at Professional Children’s, I gave Mrs. Nehrens a hug too.

That year turned out to be an important one for me. I landed a spot on the TV show Name That Tune and won twenty-five thousand dollars. Record producer and songster Mitch Miller heard me do “The Lord’s Prayer” on the show and signed me to Columbia Records. Later, I was a regular on Mitch’s popular sing-along TV show. And that eventually led to Broadway.

So when I read Mrs. Nehrens’s note in my dressing room, I knew I had a huge debt of gratitude to repay. I stepped back onstage and announced, “Folks, I want you to meet the lady who made it possible for me to get where I am today.” I had the crew shine the spotlight on Mrs. Nehrens, because as I discovered more than 40 years ago, nobody’s light can shine all on its own. It takes help from people like my old math teacher. “Thank you, Mrs. Nehrens,” I said. “Take a bow.”

She deserved it. She taught me a lot more than just geometry.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/movies-and-tv/guideposts-classics-leslie-uggams-on-lending-a-helping

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Friendship and Love…

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love Hubert H. Humphrey

I have been touched recently by the importance of friendship. I am very blessed to share my life with my best friend. He is my husband and sweetheart 🙂  Because I am blessed with that constant arrangement, I have often been more lax about developing and maintaining other friendships in my life.

It’s not that I don’t value friendship – I do. It’s more like I put those relationships on the back burner more than I should have because my needs were already being so well met by my husband and family.

I don’t know what exactly penetrated my heart recently, but I have become more intimately aware of the great family, we as a human family, are. We need each other and we need to support each other.

We all have a profound impact on each other – both small and large.

Friendship, in whatever forms it presents itself in our lives should never be taken for granted. It is a gift that once given, must be guarded like a rare jewel and nurtured like a priceless garden. I am making it a goal in my life to be more friendly to strangers and to reach out more often to my friends that I am blessed to have.

What about you? Has it been too long since you have talked to your best friend? …or have you been in contact recently, but have not taken the time to let them know how important they are to you? Are your best friends your spouse and children? Are they halfway around the world and in harms way? I hope you will take just a brief moment and reach out to a friend today!

Today’s story shares the importance of unselfish friendship. I hope you will enjoy!

A Touching Story about Friendship

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors who have been a good friends, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”

“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”

“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”

“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered “

Moral: For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us (Congregational Prayer). Value your friends, don’t leave your loved ones behind.

Today’s story is shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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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/

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