When one has an attachment disordered child,one thinks quite a bit about what love is-and is not. When the majority of one’s children have been abused and/or neglected by the very people who should have offered care and comfort, love becomes,if not more complicated, at least much less simple.
Some children (and adults) are easy to love. They are fairly compliant. They want to please. They are pleasant to be around. They give in return.
Some children (and adults) are more difficult to love. They argue. They defy. They are difficult to like. They take much more than they give.
Some children (and adults) are next to impossible(without Christ) to love. They hurt others. They attempt to destroy.. They are only likable when it suits them. They only take-never giving anything in return.
The first two groups of children are satisfying to love. The first is a joy.The second is,in some ways,even more satisfying. The children who are difficult to love,respond the most to unconditional love (with behavioral limits). They can,and do,learn to love in return. They learn to channel the behaviors that as children drive others to desperation, into the very skills they need to be successful adults. These children take their fears and rejection and use them to comfort others. Even at their worst, good can be found in them. It is usually just under the surface.
It is the third group that will bring despair.
It is the third group that will test the ability to truely love unconditionally.
That is where Christ comes in.
My husband and I have a dilemma. Originally, it was to be our oldest daughter who will take custody or the younger children in the event we both are killed. For three of the children it isn’t a very big deal anymore. The older two are nearly grown and would only need guidance. The next son may need to live with family well into adulthood. He is a joy and a help. He would not be a huge burden at all. It is our youngest son we are concerned about. We cannot, in good conscience, ask our grown children to finish raising him. The ones who are married have small children.The two who are not married don’t have the resources to finish raising him. There are family members who would have the resources and no other children. They, however,have very little to do with us and have never even acknowledged the adoption. I was discussing this dilemma with my oldest daughter last week. She was appalled we would even consider these other family members.
I tried to explain the safety issues of either she or her siblings raising youngest at this point in his life. Her response surprised me.
” But they don’t love him! Mom, I won’t allow A- to hurt my family. I could have him arrested if I needed to. I wouldn’t want to ,but I could do it. But,mom, even if he were in jail he would still have family that loved him. They (Other family members) wouldn’t love him mom. We do.”
While our dilemma still stands, I am heartened by my daughters unconditional love for a younger brother who has been her brother for less than a year. He hasn’t brought much joy as of yet.That doesn’t matter. She loves him even though he is, at this point, incapable of loving back. She loves him even though he isn’t really lovable. She loves just as he is.
I wish youngest could see this love for the strength it is. If he recognizes love at all,he sees it as a weakness to exploit. He does not understand it takes strength to love unconditionally. It takes faith. It takes Christ. My son sees little need for Christ.
I know that love alone will not heal my youngest son. I also know it is their willingness to love that makes me proudest of my children. It is that ability to truely love that marks their faith. How else will my youngest son see Christ if not through us?????