On Being Fake


I have heard many different twists to the word FAKE in relation to bonding with our children. The most common one I have read is,  “Fake it until you make it.”
I don’t like using the word FAKE or the connection it has to “shallow” and “deception”.
I also don’t like it because children can very well pick up on insincerity.
Faking something requires a bit of a “lie”.
To Fake something means that you are not sincere. It is to gloss over a very big problem!
Our kids need us to TRULY LOVE THEM from day ONE!

I think “Fake it until you make it” comes from a misunderstanding of love.

LOVE is a verb…. it is doing what is best for your child at all times.  LOVE believes all things, hopes all things, ENDURES all things and it does NOT fail!
Unconditional LOVE does not expect. Unconditional LOVE is not based upon what somebody else can give back… it is FREELY GIVEN. PERIOD.  It does not only act when a “feeling” is there.
It acts unconditionally, and then the feeling follows, if it weren’t there already.
Strangers have to have time to get to know each other!
Unconditional love forgives WITHOUT condition!
Unconditional LOVE does not worry about “Me Time”, but gains strength from the LORD, to press on and be refreshed.  HE refreshes us.  If we try to please ourselves….. it just doesn’t work.
There is a difference between escaping because we feel we deserve the things we no longer indulge in and miss them, than taking time alone for reflection and seeking the Lord for strength and peace in the midst of a storm.
One is escape… the other is a filling up.
I know that when I feel my tank beginning to run on empty, I need to spend some time in devotion, prayer, reflection, reading and just quiet to gain strength and energy.

There are times when we don’t HAVE the means or ability to fill up by having any quality alone time. That is when I think of Susanna Wesley, the mother to the famous Theologian John Wesley.
She had 19 children, but only 10 of them lived.  So with 10 children running around, and a husband that was many times absent, her life was very difficult.  She resorted to putting her apron over her head to signal to the children that she was praying.

When babies are born to us, it takes time to know them. We learn all about their little personalities over the months and years as they are growing and developing.  It is not much different for our children who come to us through adoption. We get to know them over the months and years.

Just as we do with babies, we check them out…. look that their sweet expressions, movements, laughs, giggles, and sweet babbles…. we do this with our older children who come home to us through adoption.  We fall in love with their laugh, smile, mannerism, giggle, sense of humor, and each part of their personality.

We know that our children didn’t get to the place they are emotionally, overnight;  and they will also not heal, overnight, because they are with us.
For the child who comes home at any given age, before coming home, 11/11ths or 10/10th, or 5/5ths  of their lives were CHAOS and TRAUMA after TRAUMA.  It would  be quite unreasonable for us to expect that they be all healed up just because we took them to Chuck E. Cheese, bought  new clothing or provided  a nice bed to sleep in.  It would be RIDICULOUS to expect that they would NOT see us suspectfully, waiting for the next rejection.
AND THAT is why as PARENTS we cannot take the behavior of a child who is afraid to attach, personally. IT IS NOT PERSONAL, IT IS TRAUMA.

 REMEMBER, it was not necessarily THEIR choice to come into a new family.  The other side of being adopted, is being rejected. BONDING to our children is a CHOICE by US!  Our children attach to us… because they feel our love and acceptance for them. I am not talking about perfection here, or an oozing over with gushing feelings of adoration.   If your child has come to you through adoption, they are a stranger!

What does loving a stranger look like?  It is doing what is best for your child at all times.
It is choosing to see the good things and have those in the forefront of your mind and not the bad.
It is studying that child, getting to know them, what makes them happy, sad, fearful, joyful, delightful.   It is allowing your heart to have NO GUARD on it, and giving yourself over to and making yourself vulnerable to that child. NO HOLDING BACK.   It is cherishing the relationship to come, as you dance through getting to know them.
When Sweetie 4 first came home almost 2 years ago, she was a stranger! She lived her first 11 years and 1 month with other people!
While we accepted her with open arms into our home, we still did not know her.  Yet we LOVED her greatly! She is the little one the Lord chose to bring to us.  We studied her, talked with her, communed with her, sang to her, rocked her, and even fed her.  As we poured all of ourselves into her, she responded….. at first just a tiny bit, and then a little more, and then she dove into the pool of love to be washed anew with a new perspective on life, parents, and God.  Sometimes, she gets out of that pool and watches suspectfully once again.  But tends to spend most of her time in the pool of love.  🙂
We picked something each day to find cute about her, or funny about her. She was spunky and funny, and we loved her laugh.

If you are struggling in this area, it is ok!  It gets better.  We can go to the Lord and He will strengthen us and give us wisdom.
Also, making  a list of all the positive qualities about your child and choosing to love those makes  it much easier to foster positive affection, as opposed to being angry or disappointed and making a list of all the negatives!
When you find yourself admiring something about your child, ad something else to that list! 🙂
Don’t fake love…. GIVE YOUR GENUINE LOVE!
It is VERY important that we put  all preconceived ideas of what our future child will be like and instead, prepare for the child that God has chosen for us, warts and all, because we all have MANY flaws!
The “Romance” of adoption quickly ends and reality sets in.  Don’t prepare for for adoption with the emphasis on clothing, bedding and new paint.  Prepare your heart for the LIFE you will share together with somebody very special that the Lord has brought into your life!  Prepare to be humbled, broken,  strengthened and given such JOY, as you find your way through the Journey in Christ.
Sorrow and Suffering are sometimes your friends, as with Much Afraid in the alagorical book “Hinds Feet on High Places”, but remember…… Sorrow and Suffering, turn into Gladness and Joy!

If you are having a difficult time, seek the Lord to give you wisdom and show you how to minister to your child.  Ask the Lord to reveal your own sin, so you can confess it and heal from it, and then see clearly how to minister to your child.

We are all on this journey together!

2 Responses to On Being Fake

  1. EiccaAbigayle says:

    I’ve had to fake my mind into making it at times. It’s not about the deep, honest, God given love I get slammed with from the second I see “my” child. It’s liking them. Some days are just starting bad, everyone is crabby and grumpy. So I give up and tell myself that I MUST like the kids. Which, because I’m pushing myself into not giving in to the chaos, means the kids will also eventually calm down.

    Most of their lives have been chaos. That’s what is normal. Screaming, hitting, being locked in a closet is what is taught to be normal. Me not raising my voice, or hitting, or whatever is not safe to them, and I’m adding insecurity to the mess. A safe, loving family is not security if you are taught that you aren’t worthy of a family. Well stocked pantry is horrible if you’re taught that you only get what’s left. And it’s very hard to change the teaching, because even if you’ve not hungry, you’re not being beat, and you are safe – it won’t last because nothing ever did.

    Fear is the worst teacher, but the hardest to undo. But, I think we’re on the early years compared to your dear Sweeties. Plus, no prior training which must have been good as your blog seems to radiate the love for all your children. But, we’re learning here, and we’ll certainly have issues and mistakes, but I’m willing to keep generally moving forward.

    Yet again, thank you ever so much for being willing to share your knowledge and helping this family across the internet!

    • ChristieM says:

      Yes, you are so right….. Fear is a terrible teacher.
      The thing with our kids is, they may BE safe, but they don’t know they are. Safety vs. FELT Safety….. is a world of difference.
      And then when they start to “feel” safe, they can be reminded of the past, and then act out to make the “normal” come back. The abnormal, normal, the chaos normal that was the only thing they knew. 🙁
      You are most likely in the thick of things…. they will get better, following the principles of unconditional love, acceptance and discipleship.
      Our sweeties have been home 10 years, almost 8 years, almost 7 years and almost 3 years.

      You will find cycles of things happening also. The older they get, they reprocess what happened on a more mature level. The relationship you develop with them now, will help keep them secure when they reprocess their past experiences and sometimes start the grief process over again.
      One of our sweeties realized that she is now the same age her mother was when she was born. It was a shocking thing to think about, but because our relationship is secure, she was able to walk through that, holding my hand and process it without chaos.

Comments warmly welcomed!


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