When (a Child’s) Love Comes Slowly

Tonight on Army Wives, Joan and Roland bring home the child they decided to adopt from the state system. The boy is HIV+, yet the couple fell in love with the little boy (about 8 years old) that they threw caution to the wind, and brought him home as their own.

The little boy, David, appeared to be a loving, engaging child at the agency, and seemed to get along well with the baby. But as soon as they got him home, the boy resisted Joan’s efforts to tend to him, pointedly asking Roland to read to him and turning away from her good-night kiss. Roland later finds his wife in tears in the bedroom. “Don’t take it personally,” he urges. “He just lost his mother and grandmother, but he’s never had a dad. It’s easier for him to let me in.”

I was glad to see them portray this aspect of adopting an older child, the long and sometimes painful process of connecting with him (or her). The reasons for this difficulty can vary — perhaps the child is already grieving the loss of one set of parents. Or maybe he is having a hard time adjusting to your home from the institution who had been keeping him.

Sometimes the problem is the letdown that hits some women after months and months of exhuberant waiting, when the honeymoon ends and you are left wiping down walls and day after day of little-to-no sleep. Nerves can wear a bit thin when the reality horns in on the dream.

It is at this point that an Extraordinary Mom is born when she chooses not to give up, but to love a little harder (or a little softer), and take all the time her child needs to settle in.  Love may come slowly, with a lot of effort and perhaps even some outside help. The child may never realize the number of hours his parents have spent on their knees, interceding for him. And yet this, too, is an opportunity: Because of this little one, we can begin to grasp the depts of the love of our Heavenly Father, who made us his children  . . . by adoption.

God in heaven, you can hear the cries.
You see the need, and alone can heal the pain.
Send your angels to surround and protect our family,
And give me strength enough, just for today.

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