Daniel makes an impression on pretty much everyone he meets. This little boy is really cute, with his adorable unibrow, long eye lashes, and round little cheeks that dimple when he smiles. He is very charming, saying a cheerful, “Hi-yo!” to everyone he sees. Daniel really does seem to genuinely enjoy people. While he can be very challenging at times, he has lots of good moments, too, and we are trying to focus on the positive and on the gifts that God has given him. Daniel charms everyone we meet. There is a special quality about him that draws people to his sweet, friendly ways. Right now, we are trying to help him to create positive, healthy attachments with me and Todd, as well as his siblings. So if you see us in person and he tries to give you a hug, and we encourage him to give you a “high five” instead, it is because we are trying to help him to discern between people he should be hugging and people he shouldn’t necessarily.
Children who have been abandoned often suffer from attachment issues, having lost that bond that should have been with his or her mother from the start. This loss can occur early in life or even later, and causes children to react in different ways. Eden is very shy when she first meets people, trying to melt her little body into mine, and leaning her head down towards my neck. She follows me around and becomes very distraught if she notices that I am getting ready to go somewhere and thinks that I may leave her behind (I pretty much take them everywhere with me). She is most likely afraid of another abandonment. Daniel isn’t shy at all, and is ready to hug any and everyone whom he meets. This is kind of the opposite problem. Daniel looks for attention and affection anywhere he can get it. Sometimes he still calls random women “mama” (he did that a little more at the very beginning). Now that he has a forever home and family, he needs to learn who “his people” are and begin to make strong bonds with us first. I feel certain that we are making good strides in that direction, and that we will be able, with the Lord’s help, to guide Daniel to a place of healing where he will be able to reach his full potential.
I’m very thankful that he really does seem to want those positive interactions with us. He will often initiate hugs and kisses with both me and Todd. He is learning to relate in a healthier way to the other children. Daniel absolutely adores riding on the tractor with Daddy, and he waits eagerly for “Baba” to get home so he can ride on the tractor. He lets me rock him like a baby and sing to him several times a day, and he enjoys sitting on our laps when we read stories. We dance to music together. We play peek-a-boo, and he laughs hysterically. These baby steps are encouraging as we look forward with hope to the progress we believe Daniel will be able to make while thriving in a healthy family. I love seeing glimpses of who Daniel is behind the hurt, traumatized, and frightened little boy we see so much of right now. Inside, there is a very sweet little boy who loves people and wants those deep connections. His search for that is over, and now he can settle into what it means to have someone love him unconditionally, to have a family that will always be there for him, and ultimately, to know his Heavenly Father who has been his true Father all along. We are blessed to be part of his journey, and we so appreciate all the love and support we have received from all our family and friends.
“A Father of the fatherless….God makes a home for the lonely.”