Thursday, March 10, 2011

Relationally Challenged.

Ok, no idea if that is a technical term or if I just made it up,
but regardless,
it describes this sweet one


We are still struggling with his need to be incessantly "artificially" charming.
If we don't catch him quick enough or have a hold of his hand firm enough,
he will climb up anyone and everyone he can get his hands on for a snuggle.
And the words, "I love you"
are like a typical greeting to him.

"Good morning, I love you."
Thank you stuff-mart cashier for handing me the bag, "I love you."
Man holds the door open for him at church, "I love you."
"Mom can I have some water, I love you."
Not good.

Now I get that some of this could be lost in translation and he may just view it as a normal greeting, but gracious, it comes out of his mouth about every 3rd sentence.
And he has started saying it in Chinese as well, so I'm not entirely sold that he does not know what it means.

It's like air to him.
Inhale, "I love you."
Exhale, "I love you."

When we first came home Jacob had, what I would call, a normal reaction.
He was a little freaked out.
Had some fits.
Has figured out that we are pretty cool people,
and now is doing tremendously well.

When we first came home Joey had, what I blogged about, was an abnormal reaction.
He was being too good.
Too cute.
Too snuggly.
Too charming.

And now that I know him better.....
I can see right through it. 

I am convinced that this is how he found love in China.
This is how he was able to get his needs met, and get some extra attention.
Smile the smile, tilt the head, bat the eyes.
Oh yeah,
homeboy got game.

Conversely, when his charms do not yield his intended result you'd better look out.
Cuz for something that weighs 30 pounds dripping wet,
he will turn on you big time.
And stubborn has not known a name until it has met this child.

What he doesn't yet know,
and what we are daily trying to teach him,
is that he doesn't need to be like that.
We already love him.
He doesn't have to try and convince us,
we're sold.
Hook line and sinker.


  1. Sounds like our Jenna. Something tells me that, at least Jenna, got her own way by charming those around her. We've kept her like glue to our sides, no one holds her or gives her food or cares for her except mama and baba. I'm sure some aren't happy with this, and we've finally got over feeling bad about this. But she'll turn on the charm in a heartbeat! They'll get there, like you said, once they learn that they don't have to charm their way into our hearts!

  2. What an eye opening post. I can't help but think there are many families with older (3yr+) adoptions that experience this. What a blessing that the Lord has placed Joey will such a wise momma--able to see and understand and willing to love him through it!

  3. Funny how it was that same gorgeous, charming picture that caused you to fall in love with him months and months ago! Sweet boy! =)

  4. I have to be honest, he's so darn cute I think I'd have a hard time NOT giving in to his every whim!! It's a good thing you're his mom and not me :) And he will learn, slowly, that he can be himself. If he's anything like my girl, he will learn S L O W L Y

  5. Wesleigh had "indiscriminate attachment" when she came home. Any ole mom was good for her. She was younger, though and it was easier for us to hibernate for a while. The important thing is that you understand what is going on and you can tackle it. He is such a cutie though!!!

  6. Praying that he is able to start letting his guard down and realize that he is TRULY loved. He probably doesn't really understand what it means (not the translation, just what the word actually means) because this is the first time he's experienced love.

    I will continue to cover your family in prayer! You are an awesome Mama! And I really appreciate your support too! Thanks!

  7. I tell ya...the mysteries of our's tough and it takes a long time to figure it out. Praying for wisdom for you guys!

  8. Thanks for putting into words what I haven't (at least not as effectively). Shaling's personality is very similar to Joey's. That's why when she started finding out that things don't always go her way, she finally showed us the ability to cry...something we didn't see for nearly the first four weeks we had her.

  9. Sounds like my 17 year old from Nanjing. She was 5 and a half when we adopted her. She learned in about 6 months but it was a LONG 6 months! Hang in there !:)

  10. Mama's got one up on him though, she's got it figured out! Good for you for being on top of it! Children with attachment issues *CAN* and *WILL* heal. It is a process of establishing trust over a long period of time and time you've got! My prayers will continue for you as you work with him to connect the dots between his behavior, his needs and his insecurities. My RADiant one, Sunshine, is 6 and we've spent the last 18 months helping him and his improvement is nothing short of miraculous.

  11. My 11 yr old daughter , adopted from fostercare 3 yrs, is the same. I have had to tell her that it is not okay to run up and put her arms around random adults in church. Of course, these people don't have a clue what is going on and think she is wonderful.She hugs me a million times a day and says,"I love you, Mom." But on the rare occasion I leave her alone with another person, she tells them she has a mean mom. It gets her more attention. I think it will be years before she is ever securely attached, if that is even possible.

  12. Love this post, Sonia! I know it must not be easy going through this with your son, seeing him so uncomfortable in his own skin, but you are doing an awesome job to encourage the real Joey to come out and allow himself to be LOVED :)

  13. I could have written this post. About DD.

    I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop with DS, 5, and home 8 months. So far, not seeing it but I'm on the look-out.

    DD, though, oh she is a charmer. When she started in recently with wanting to live with her PreK teacher (who happens to live down the street), well that was a bright red bulb going off for me!

    So, we circled the wagons and put some things back in place. I thought I had my bed back (with just DH;), but there is room for her when needed and needing it she does.

    This is good stuff to share b/c so many APs are CLUELESS about this stuff.

    Hope overall things are going well. It is definitely a journey isn't it?!