Our daughter Precious was adopted at birth….her birth mom chose us when she delivered her, and after the short week-long waiting period, where birth mom could change her mind, we were able to fly to our baby girl and take her home. This domestic adoption was fairly short…a 9 month period of preparation, the call, a 3 day trip out of state to bring her home. Because she was born a bit premature, Precious slept most of the 10 days she had to wait for us to come get her. She was in a loving foster home and was not harmed or neglected in any way….I am so grateful to know her story, start to finish, from first breath on…..but the story began long before that, when she was being formed in the secret place….and the 8 months she grew in her birth mom’s womb…..that time has a story all its own. Precious cannot tell us that story, but her body tells us. Her body tells us every time she flips her lid and throws a full scale tantrum out of nowhere, or when she smells something unfamiliar and vomits on the spot….or when she can’t leave the house on time because she has to hang from the stairwell railing until her body tells her she can release….our daughter has very deep sensory processing issues that are pre-verbal…and very mysterious. We have been in therapy with her for a few months, and we are learning a lot about the human brain, as well as learning how much we are able to heal ourselves with positive words, attentiveness, forgiveness and physical touch. Our brains were actually formed with a safety plan, so that when re-mapping of our neurons is required, it is possible….with the proper information….and a willing heart.
Things were pretty rough with Precious for awhile, when our traditional parenting was not working and our house was a chaotic time-bomb….and her little three-year-old self had the only control….but thins are getting better here. Mom and dad are learning some skills that take back the control and authority we need to parent our children well. But it is a long,slow process to unlearn old behavior and trust the new behaviors…..
One issue that has always been really tough is the wake up time. Precious wakes up crabby and angry alot. It is partly due the the fact that she sleeps poorly….and restlessly….so she is seldom fresh and rested when she gets up. She stumbles out of my bed (not her own) and makes eye contact with me and begins to tantrum…out of nowhere. I, being a busy working mom with 5 kids, have a short fuse for this in the morning…especially if it starts before I get a cup of coffee…..after all, she has had me up multiple times in the night already. Ive never handled this issue well. Recently, in therapy, we brought it up. Precious gets furious if she wakes up and I have left the bed. She hates waking up alone. She also hates going to bed alone….but the waking up is particularly emotional. We made a plan, that if mom gets up before Precious, I will leave something on my side, where I slept. A doll, etc. Precious agreed to this plan…and all week we have done this and she hasn’t woken up in a snit. She wakes up and sometimes she sees the doll and sometimes she is just ok to come find me….but she knows I leave it in my absence.
This child has abandonment issues….who knew? Somewhere deep in her soul, where all passion and meaning live….she knows that her first mama left her. She is particularly vulnerable in those first waking and sleeping moments, when reason and reality don’t matter…..and she has intense sorrow and anger inside of her in those moments. Rightfully so. I would to. Because we are working to understand and heal and empower our daughter, we will continue to find ways to meet her needs. Needs that go far beyond food, clothing and shelter….far beyond education and family vacation and fun birthdays….there is healing work to be done in her, and only with the help of God can we discover where these hurts are buried inside of her.
I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling with their child to ask for help. A child who feels right acts right. I have always known this to be true, and yet, Precious was such a mystery…..the things I knew were helpful were meaningless with her. I felt helpless and frustrated and completely burned out until we started therapy, with the Karen Purvis/Trust-based parenting theories and techniques…its really good stuff and for us, it works.