Adoption · Bonding · Parenting · special needs

Dear Moms Like Me,


I know, it’s been one of those days. I have them too. Days when you feel like everything you though you knew about being a mom, isn’t working. Days when you feel like you need to go back to “Mom School.” Days when you feel that surely someone else out there could mother your child better than you are right now. I know.

Here’s the bottom line. You’re it. You’re the one that’s there in the morning waiting to see if your child is going to wake up in a good mood or a bad mood. You’re the one that shakes your head because your child is hungry, crying for food, yet rejects everything you offer. You’re the one who cringes a tiny bit when you ask your child for a hug because you’re bracing yourself for being rejected again.  You’re the one who is exhausted because it’s been one of those days where your child actually does want you- not only wants you, but won’t let you breath for a minute, and panics if you leave the room.

I was reminded recently that I need to view my child’s emotional limitations and woundedness the same way I would view a physical limitation or wound.  I wouldn’t dream of getting upset with a paralyzed child for not being able to get up out of his wheelchair. I wouldn’t dream of yelling at a child with a crooked back because she can’t sit up straight. It’s sound ridiculous. And yet, because my child’s wound is hidden, I forget some moments, some days, that it is a wound indeed. It’s not my child’s fault that they were deprived of all the basic first needs of life- love, touch, words of affirmation, exercise, nutrition, peaceful sleep…. It’s just not her fault. My child is not out to get me. My child just doesn’t know how to love or be loved. My child doesn’t trust and struggles with fears that I may never truly understand.

The term “special needs” takes on a whole new meaning with an emotionally wounded child. Special needs like needing to say my name over and over and over again just to reassure herself that I am indeed “Momma.” Special needs like the need to push my buttons or repeat annoying behavior, just to see if I will reject her; because rejection is so familiar and for some crazy reason feels safe. Special needs like pressing herself hard into my body with an awkward, tense snuggle because she’s just learning how to snuggle and the sensation of being close to someone warm and safe is overwhelming. It’s good; It’s scary. I like it; It’s unfamiliar.

A wise man once told me, “Your weak love is better than no love at all.” (thanks Derek) I remind myself of this on those days when I feel like I just blew it all the way around. I didn’t really blow it. I was there. I held her. I fed her. I played. I may not have done it all perfectly, but who does. You’ve had those days too. Remember though, tomorrow is a new day. Another chance to stress less and love more. Another chance to see more clearly and not take it personally. Another chance to have a sense of humor instead of a meltdown.

Hey Mom’s like me, you’re doing it. It’s hard work. You’re not alone.  You’re loving those who were once considered unlovable. You’re looking beyond what you see on the outside and not giving up until you find what on the inside. I’m really proud of us.

Much Love,

A Mom Who Knows

PS) You’re not alone. I promise.


33 thoughts on “Dear Moms Like Me,

  1. That was just beautiful. You are someone I deeply love and admire. Your heart is unusually precious and a gift from the Lord that shows His heart. Thank you for being a mom.

  2. *tears* I love YOU!!! thank you for this!!! Thank you for that sweet reminder. I like Derek’s wise words. So good, so true. Oh, God give us grace to love like you love, to be patient, and to be selfless….He’s molding us, isn’t He friend? I’m certain I’ll be more changed than my kids ever will this side of their own parenting! 🙂

    sigh. Oh for more of Jesus! Pour out your mercies, Savior! We are desperate for you!!!

  3. Thank you so much for this! We are leaving next week to pick up our little guy from Ethiopia. Today I have struggled with all of the fear about the what if’s. This truly ministered to my heart.

  4. Wow! Were you in my house or head this week – that was strangely dead.on.! I was just telling my latest treasure (out of frustration) to only say my name once…..just once. 🙂 You read my mind and thank you for the encouragement. Look forward to chatting soon!

  5. Thanks Trac. That helps my heart; that and the link you sent on FB regarding Children From Hard Places. It actually helps me with one of my biological children who always seems to be in a hard place. I can be so impatient and graceless, expecting them to just “get over themselves”. But, the truth is, we all have fallen, insecure natures we are born with and some just way more than others for whatever reasons. God is patient with us ALL.

  6. You just spoke my life….your words are true. Daily I wonder if I will be able to “fix this”, or get through…I am learning about trusting at a new and deep level. Thank you for your word pictures about expectations. I really, really, really needed this!!

  7. Trac,
    Well said, as usual. Thanks for your heartfelt empathy for a fellow momma like me.
    Much love,

  8. Tracie,
    This post brought tears to my eyes as I struggle through the treacherous teenage years. My one son, bio, requires different mothering tactics than my other children and often times he leaves me exasperated, an emotional wreck and just absolutely spent. As I struggle to love him through this period I try to remember that I’m not doing this for me but for the Lord. I love the words Derek spoke to you, he was an incredible man.

  9. Hi,
    I am new to this blog but have been doing a lot of reading about emotionally wounded children–more specifically, those with PTSD and/or attachment disorder issues.
    I am not a mom–although that has been a precious dream of mine that I fear will remain unfulfilled at this point in my life.
    But..I was a wounded child. I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to long term sexual abuse. I’ve had abandonment issues for a long time due to several circumstances including: my parents early divorce, my mom not protecting me despite loving me dearly, being moved abruptly in the middle of the night with mom and new stepfather from one state to another etc. I have recently begun working with a therapist who feels I have unresolved attachment issues. This rings true for me.
    Your post really blessed my heart. In fact, it made me cry! I wish you or others like you and your husband had been in MY life when I was a hurting little girl.
    I am a Christian and have been for a long time. I’ve never heard of IHOP though (Sorry to say that initially I thought you were referring to the pancake chain and couldn’t for the LIFE of me figure out why THEY would want missionaries LOL). Is IHOP all over the world or is it only a church in YOUR area?
    I hope you write more posts about hurting children…
    Warmly, Lori

  10. I’m a new reader… friend of Shawnda’s. Your words were a gift this morning. Though our sweet girlie’s needs aren’t mostly emotional- they are 24/7. As I was reading your post, she, now 12, still wants to be leaning hard on me… oh that I may remember to lean hard on Jesus.

    Thank you for your humility and encouragement! You lifted my eyes to the Savior this morning! Thank you!

    Bless you- Gisele

  11. Just beautiful. I also have a daughter from Ukraine who struggles to trust and who struggles to understand love. But our God is faithful and He is doing a great work in our precious Yana.

    Blessings to you!

  12. Thank you so much. I feel this way and I have not even begun to embark on what you do wholeheartedly.

    Much love,

    Thanks for all you do. It does not go unnoticed. 🙂

  13. Dear Author;

    WOW…What a timely word from above that post was for me!! I am a foster parent here in Oregon and I have recently taken in a 3yr old & 16mo old and the 3yr old is doing EVERYTHING to push me in every direction and I have been shaking me head trying to figure out what “the right thing” to do with him is. I have been frustrated at the top the past 3 days just trying to figure out “how to love on purpose” with this kid & wishing Danny Silk was in my living room giving me step-by-step instructions…but your post is it…THANK YOU!! I needed that wisdom…that reminder of why we do what we do with those who are rejected and what we are called to give…LOVE!! 🙂 Blessings to you…

  14. thx, i’m in tears, so recognizable…
    do you know “He’s my son” from Mark Schultz?
    Also put my feelings in words for my emotional wounded son

    I’ll pray for you and all other parents
    God bless
    Lishe from Belgium

  15. Thank you so much for linking this post on my site. I LOVED reading it. As the mom of a special needs child I really connected with what you were writing. Thank you so much for sharing yourself for honestly. Beautiful…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s