Joy in the Journey

He stood there looking at me with pale, icy blue eyes, staring as if through me. He clutched the meager selection of clothing he chose for the one small duffel bag of possessions he allowed himself to carry that cold night he left the family he had known for the last 11 years. This son of mine, barely age 18, who I loved from the moment I met him and his twin as seven-year-old boys from a Russian orphanage. “You don’t have to leave like this”, I pleaded, “you can continue working this stuff out in your head and still live here with your family.” But his jaw was set in that way I knew meant my words had no impact, it was something he had been thinking about for a long time.

“But what about all the kids still left in that orphanage, what about them? Why was I chosen and not them?” Did he really think I had the answer to that? Would he believe me if I answered?

There were other words he said that night. Strong, clear words of his that he’d been taking 11 years to be able to say. Words of a deeply thoughtful but guilt-ridden, troubled child now legally a man. My son.

The night he moved out, he took a piece of my heart with him, and my prayers that he might feel that part of my heart as it went with him into the night and into the unknown. “It might be a while before I see you again, Mom. I’ve got a lot of things to figure out and I need to do this on my own.”

Why o why do we think we have to do anything of this magnitude on our own? We are not meant to figure it out alone. It’s the plight of the human condition. Self-deceived into thinking we have what it takes (the lie of the Garden) at the same time deceived into believing we are not worthy of His Rescue and that we have to do it alone.

Though only one of my sons has formally been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), they both suffer from a difficulty to attach due to complex developmental trauma. I think most people underestimate the value of attachment between children and parents. Attachment is the glue that keeps a family intact, the motivator behind children wanting to do the things their parents ask of them, it is the reason people want to be kind to one another. Remove attachment and you might have a reduced ability to develop integrity, empathy, or real love for another human.

The human condition suffers from an attachment disorder to God. 

Through no fault of their own my sons were subjected to severe trauma and neglect from birth to age 7 such that their brains literally got wired for distrust, working against the very thing it means to be human. “And I need to do this on my own.” So each of my sons struggle in relationships and trusting the very ones who most want to help them.

Does this sound familiar as the human condition with our distrust of God?

It is in the midst of parenting two sons who are terrified of trusting again, I learn about my own terror at trusting God and the result is Joy in the Journey. (James 1:2-8)

Many times over, I am taken to a crossroads. For the sake of my sons, I find joy in the journey because the end is nowhere in my sight, all I can do is trust the Process. When times are difficult, and for their sakes and mine, I retrain my own brain and find joy in THIS MOMENT of victory over the monster of attachment disorder. The crossroads come each time to offer me the choice not to wallow in the what should have beens while missing out on the joys in the little progresses toward connection that they have made since we adopted them and brought them into our family. Because quite frankly when raising children with attachment frailties, and seeing the parallels to the human condition of separations from God, there are times when I need to feel that this moment is enough.

The beauty in every this moment is that I come to the end of myself and relish every victory today toward health and healing. For them. For me. For humanity.  I choose to live in all of the beautiful little THIS MOMENTS. Raising sons with attachment frailties teaches me the journey IS beautiful. Every time either of them call me mom, it is a journey of beauty as they realize their change in status from orphan to son.

And every day we can cry out Abba, Father! And we, too, embrace our change in spiritual status.

“For you have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of divine adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”


father abba

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