Thursday, April 27, 2006

Love in bite-sized pieces

I am told that when someone has been starving it is very important to give them very small meals. They just cannot digest large portions. I am told that they will vomit and be worse off than they were before.

I think a lot of our kids are like that. They have been love-starved. They are undernourished.

Our impulse is to feed them...shower them with love. Pull them into our loving families and surround them with the warm safety of our love.

But it is too much.

So we have to offer our love and affection in believable-sized nuggets.

So we offer acceptance in our actions, but with very few words. We compliment them on little things. We tell them we appreciate something that they have done. Slowly, they get stronger. Slowly they come to accept slightly larger portions.

Only it is not a slow progression that gets better and better. Every so often we give or they gobble too much...and then there is the vomiting (sorry I don't have a nicer metaphor) and the disappointment and the going back and starting over.

We hope that during the time that they are with us they will be able to eat and keep down full meals. Not all of them will. Some of them have systems that will only ever be able to tolerate small portions. Some of them will eventually eat until they are full at one sitting and be nourished and satisfied, but often that will not happen while they are with us.

Sometimes it does not happen until they are adults, learning to love and be loved in other sorts of relationships.

Sometimes all we get to do is to help them accept very small meals in very small bites. Hopefully when they leave us they are better nourished and more able to accept love than when they came.

Hopefully we can accept that as success, because often that is all we get.


  1. That's beautiful. I hope I can remember it if we ever start taking older kids.

  2. That was so well said. And I think that is what happened to my most recent adult relationship. Two starving peopel wolfed down as much as they could as fast as they could and then the vomiting started as it was too much too fast too soon and it just didn't take. so yeah, it is an excellent analogy. But so very sad.


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