When Trauma OutweighsTime

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It has been a HARD week… insanely, exhaustingly hard.

4 sick children, extra doctors appointments, and really rough behavior has created a whirlwind of chaos and a very tired mommy.  This week has also been a very clear reminder that so many times in our kids the past traumas last 10x longer than the time away from that trauma… and about 100x longer than you think you could possibly handle! Physical scars are very understandably there for life.  I see a scar, I know something happened there- visible and a concrete.  But underneath that- and often with no visible sign- are emotional wounds.  Fears, anxieties, learned behaviors and different ways of looking at the world.

This week Adrian’s behaviors have been out of control- defiance to the max– I need him to tell me why he is in time out… I tell him why he is in time out and ask him to repeat exactally what I’ve said… and it takes 40 minutes for him to finally break and decide to stop smirking at me and saying over and over “I don’t know”.  He doesn’t want to be touched or talked to my me… yet he actively sought out hugs from his preschool teacher today (ouch!).  You have something- he takes it.  You say something- he argues with it.  You talk- he screams and says no one can talk about him.  You ask him to do something- he says “I can’t”.  It.is.exhausting.

Ty… oh my sweet, complicated Ty.  When dealing with his eating issues he is a complicated mess.  We have worked through the physical aspects of it- chewing and swallowing- but it’s so much more than that.  There is so much fear and anxiety for him when it comes to food.  And that fear comes from… 3 YEARS ago.  Being fed inappropriate foods and drinks before he was 7 months old.  I spoke with a social worker at the doctor’s office during one of our visits and she said “Well, that was so long ago, I would really doubt that’s still the issue today”.  I would say this comment is false.  Me?- I ate soup when I was 5 years old, threw up and… haven’t eaten soup since! I believe the pain and trauma of those first eating experiences completely formed aversions so severe they are still present 3 years later.

I think the same thing that the social worker thought about Ty… but I think it about Adrian.

Surely… after all this time Adrian’s trauma should have lessened.  After all this time surely he and I have formed a healthy attachment as mommy and son.  Surely after all this time he has learned what safety feels like and can stop fighting so hard.

But, I don’t look at Sariyah’s scars and think, “Well, surely after all this time they should have disappeared”.  Why? Because that’s absurd!

I don’t even look at Tyger’s feeding aversions and think, “Surely after all this time he should have learned to enjoy food”.  Why?  Because it is something I can reason with and understand.

The problem with Adrian is that I don’t know and I don’t understand.  I don’t know all the traumas.  I don’t understand all his fears.  I don’t see the world like he does.  And because of that I think “SURELY the time he’s been back with us outweighs the trauma he had without us!”… but it doesn’t work that way.  Just because he was gone 10 months from us does not mean that 10 months with us will fix things… I fear that not even 10 years will completely fix things.

And that’s hard to think about… hard and exhausting.

And so… I breathe, I pray and I push on.

And I have hope that somehow, some day love will outweigh the trauma.  And if not, I will do my best to deal with and lovingly respond to the aftermath of that trauma… and remind myself that it’s been 25 years… and I still haven’t eaten soup again!

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About thefosteringlove

I love Jesus. I love my kids. I am a foster and adoptive mommy. For 4 years my life has been turned upside down and inside out by 8 kids- some who have stayed for forever (my boys were adopted in March 2011 and I was given custody of my daughter in 2010), some who have left our home but not our hearts... all to the glory of God, all for the call I've been given. In the spare moments of my life I sometimes find time to write down my thoughts and my heart... my heart that is working to foster love, hope and safety into every child who we welcome home. Currently I have 3 forever kiddos and one foster baby... it's a good life!

2 responses »

  1. Oh how I understand, my friend. There are so many times when I think – you’ve been with us longer than you were not with us…it’s been almost 4 years…you should feel secure, safe, not be anxious, know that without a doubt, that we are here, we are not going anywhere and we couldn’t love you more deeply if we tried….but – it’s just not reality is it. There is still that flight or fight in our kiddos…we will never know what really happened to them in those early years. Sure, CPS can give us what they know – but is that really it?! And….what happens to each of us is dealt with differently. Soup burned me when I was little and I love it….but it took me 30 years to eat a hamburger from Wendys because it was square! (ha!) As I’ve said many times before – loving our kiddos isn’t hard….parenting them is. Living on our knees and trusting that God is in control. He knew exactly who these kiddos would be, their issues, past hurts and incredible strengths, and CHOSE us to be their mommas….there’s got to be comfort in that. Love ya, my friend. Praying….

  2. But soup is so yummy Joc! You should talk to Kim about Preston. He was taken from them at 9 months (I’m sure you remember) and only for maybe 3 weeks and she was talking when we were with them in Jan. about how he is just now getting over some issues from that. Pretty amazing what a baby can remember. Anyway – when they are here next week it might be good to talk with her about and get affirmation and true understanding from someone who has been there. Love you sweetpea!

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