Holding my youngest

My youngest son came running to me for comfort today after he'd been hurt.

As I knelt on the floor beside him to give him a hug, it struck me:

It wasn't always this way.

When Isaias first came home to us from Guatemala, he was nine months old.

I would hold him in my arms, on my hip, and-- his response? He leaned away from me. He arched his back and turned away, wanting to be out of my arms. I wondered at the time if he responded this way because he wanted to get down and play, or if I could attribute this to a lack of bonding between us.

When he was sad, I drew him into my arms so that I could reassure him. He struggled to get free.

When he got hurt, I gathered him into my arms to comfort him. He fought it; he wanted down.

When I put him to bed at night, I followed the same routine I had with my other two. I held him, facing me, my hand behind his head, his head resting on my shoulder. And I rocked him. I sang to him or prayed for him. He screamed. And he fought me. He pulled his head back, flailed his arms, trying to turn away from me.

You can imagine how difficult this was. What should I do-- force him? Somehow that didn't seem right, but then, what was the alternative? Let him go without this affection from his mama? Or did I just need to give him time? Many weighed in on the "give him time" side. Mark and I agonized over this. And we prayed for wisdom. We finally decided that we had to train him to receive affection from us. We chose to gently but firmly persist.

From then on, when I held him in my arms and he wriggled to get free, I kept him there, holding him. It was at my will- not his- that he was able to get down. When he was hurt or sad, I held him for comfort. Oh, it wasn't comforting to him at first-- he wanted no part in it. But I persisted. And at bedtime-- oh, bedtime was the hardest-- I held him against me and he screamed as I sang softly, crying as I sang. And I prayed earnestly that God would soften his heart towards me; that he would be able to rest in my arms, not struggle against them.

There were a few evenings, in frustration and tears, that I did not persist. I felt weary of trying. There were times I let him have his way. I began our bedtime routine, he began screaming, and I gave in. I laid him down and promptly walked out of the room, feeling rejected, hurt or angry. There were times I told Mark, "I can't do this." And I would pass him off to Mark to put down for the night. And then Mark would come to me, hold me in my hurt, and remind me: He just doesn't know, Stacy. He's learning. Be patient with him.

I honestly forget how long it took. But I do remember the first time I rocked him before bedtime and he didn't scream as I sang to him. He still pulled away, but he didn't scream. I came out of his room, jublilant, and told Mark all about it.

And then another night, not long after that one, I held his head against my shoulder as I rocked him. But I carefully removed my hand from the back of his head and he kept his head there on my shoulder. He picked his head up after a moment and I waited, frozen, to see what he would do. And then he laid it back upon my shoulder, content to rest there without my hand directing him.

Today when he came running in to be comforted by his mama, I remembered all that ache in my heart so many months ago as I tried to hold him and he did not want me to. And I realized that God answered those earnest prayers of ours-- for wisdom and for bonding.

Now Isaias reaches for me, constantly. When he is hurt, he turns to either Mark or myself, whoever is nearest. When he is sad, he wants to be held. When I am cooking dinner, he is standing nofurther than two feet away from me, watching intently, periodically reaching up to be held. When I leave the room, he follows me. When I mention bedtime, he comes to me. He lays his head on my shoulder many, many times a day. When I hold him, he snuggles with me. Oh, just for a minute. Then he really does want to go play. He wraps his little brown arms around my neck tightly and he kisses me, hard, on the mouth. Each time I sit cross-legged on the floor, he comes and turns around to sit in my lap. When I read books, he climbs up onto my lap.

God is *so* good. I am thankful today, for this.

One more thing I thought of today: I think we do this with our Father sometimes, too. He wants to teach us something. He is loving and gentle but firm. And don't we resist sometimes? We pull away, not wanting to learn that particular lesson. We fight Him, thinking that we know best. We complain and grumble about our circumstances. We want to retain control. But He lovingly persists. He does not walk away from our stubborness. He does not grow weary with us, and He is slow to anger. And He knows what we do not know as we fight Him: that we need it; this lesson. Just like little Isaias needed that loving affection from me.

1 comment:

  1. Jan. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    I think this is a word from the Lord for many! As I read about you and your son, I was thinking about how God must feel that way about me sometimes, and then you said what I was thinking. Beautifully written.
    And oh, you're husband sounds a lot like mine. We are blessed.


    Jan. 23, 2007 - Persistance
    Posted by sforrester
    What a beautiful, beautiful post! Thank you for sharing this! My DH and I are hoping to have more children (we have two daughters and our youngest is 8) and many times we've felt like this during the process of waiting for God to bless us with more children....rejected, hurt, angry. We know that God will give us the desires of our heart and that we are to make our petitions known to Him. The waiting part is the hard part! So, thank you for this post. It brought such encouragement to me today!


    Jan. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Rebeca
    Thanks for sharing this- it's encouraging to me, and I think I am like that with God sometimes.
    Thanks also for your prayers and kind words.


    Jan. 23, 2007 - What a growing experience!
    Posted by Dana
    And I know I do that to God. "I'm good. Thanks for the time. Now watch me do this, miss independant can do it all. There how's that? And all he wants me to do is sit and be quiet and sing to me." Thanks for sharing this.
    Also - your man, what a blessing to you. A true sweet heart.


    Jan. 23, 2007 - What a beautiful post!
    Posted by Anonymous
    What a beautiful post! Your post really touched me today. My eyes had tears in them as I reflected on how far both of our boys have come. God is faithful and He loves us so much. He has blessed us tremendously with these boys ~ Isaias/Luke AND Mark/Andy. :) Blessings, Amy Crawford


    Jan. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Joni
    Aww, Stacy. Your story really hit a tender spot in my heart today. I am kicking and screaming with the place God has me in right now. He's persistent in taking me very far away to learn to trust in HIM completely. Thank you. This was such a timely and sweet Word from God for me today. What a great illustration to use your sweet little boy to show how we must relate and seem to God sometimes. I've clipped this entry to save.



    Jan. 23, 2007 - Thank you Stacy
    Posted by guatemama
    I am very anxious about the upcoming transition for my little one, thank you for sharing your experience. And yes, we are PINK!



    Jan. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by dinghome
    We also got our daughter at 9 months. She too was like your son. What you wrote was exactly what we went through, though I have to say that we're still experiencing some attachment issues. Thank you for sharing.


    Jan. 24, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by CTdittmar
    What an incredible story. Praising God with you for the progress and heart ties you have been able to form through God's grace. Warmly, Christa


    Jan. 24, 2007 - Hi!
    Posted by dawilli
    Beautiful post! It warms my heart to think of your success in bonding with your little guy, what a blessing, for both of you.
    Did you ever see my response to your knitting question? Or was it not your knitting question? Could've been a different Stacy...
    Oh well, it's late,
    enjoy them,


    Jan. 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    Precious. What wonderful parents - I am so thankful that God revealed to you what your actions should be, and look at the results!
    I love this story.


    Jan. 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    I forgot AGAIN! That last comment was me, Elise, from www.mamahooper.blogspot.com


    Jan. 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    What a testimony. I am glad God answered your prayers and he now wants your love and help. What a true example of us with God at times. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.



    Jan. 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by AutumnTerrill
    Wow, this story really touched my heart. It's so true that we do this with our Daddy God at times don't we?
    Thanks for your welcome and looking forward to getting to know you all.


    Jan. 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Tonia
    Wonderful, wonderful post. I love to hear adoption stories and stories of love tenderly teaching us...

    thank you so much for sharing it.

    Tonia @ the sacredeveryday


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