I Was Thinking…
As I sit here on the morning after....I wonder if all of you that are parenting children who have suffered the loss of their primary attachment really know how important YOU are to the heart of your child. I am fully aware that many of us are struggling with hard stuff as I write this, that the picture of our families will not be on the Christmas cards in the stores next year nor will there be a Hallmark Christmas movie made from our story. I know too that even though there are hard times we didn't take on this job for praise or to win an award - that we too receive blessings from being a part of our family.
But the reality is that YOU are important to your child's future! No matter what they say, no matter what they do, no matter what they seem to believe - you ARE it! Our children are hurt and in trying to survive that hurt they can be hurtful themselves.
Even 13 Christmases later we hit our bumps still. The injuries my children have suffered haven't disappeared! Those injuries are and always will be integrated into who they are. My oldest daughter still really struggles with believing she is worthy of love and good things. Rather than come running towards us in times of trial she runs away believing she has to do it on her own. Then the spin is fueled and the hole she's dug herself gets deeper and deeper. It is such a sad part of our/her story. It's such a maddening part of her/our story! She has SO much potential...she is incredibly smart, beautiful, artistically overflowing with talent, and possesses a loving heart BUT she doesn't trust others - at least not all of the way and most importantly doesn't value herself!
Although to be brutally honest, in many ways our lives would be so much more peaceful if we let her run the other way, this Christmas we chose to fight her irrational beliefs about others (us) and herself, her shame and guilt, her self-defeating attitude. We chose to circumvent the sabotage that was taking place. We fought for her! We could have accepted her stories about how she couldn't come home for Christmas now because of ....this and that. Honestly it would have been the easier route to take. The truth was she was anxious about coming home. She has gotten unplugged from us...her secure base, her safety net! When she loses us she spins...and the further away she gets the worse the spin gets! She goes back to her survivor self who operates with tools that don't work well and only to meet HER needs at any expense to herself.
How we got her home doesn't matter...but what she experienced when we got her home does! It was a physical and emotional re-centering. I chose to put the hurtful and ugly words of the texts and phone calls aside and embraced my daughter and as I did I felt her whole body find it's place. I told her it would be okay. She stopped spinning. She was reminded that she is not alone in this world! It was a physical and emotional experience for her. My daughter did not ask to be taken from her bio Mom, she did not ask to be taken from everything she knew....language, food, culture, way of life. I (we) was part of the group of adults that made that choice for her therefore I believe that my ultimate job is to make sure she NEVER feels alone in this world! So we fought, as we have many times and will many more I am sure, to make sure she knows she is not alone, as best as she can.
The reality is that this journey is hard and the hopes and dreams we had for her and she had for herself are all different then when we started. There are hurdles we didn't take into account. I am pretty sure this path will always be challenging but I know that I can impact this child like no other human being can. I am her Mom the way she needs me to be her Mom. It is my responsibility and privilege to nurture her soul for as long as I am able. Even if it is hard or inconvenient.
I have made plenty of mistakes along the way. I have contemplated giving up, being done. I have hated, grieved, endured, loved and hoped for 13 long years. From where I sit now it is GLARINGLY clear that my mistake was that I ever made it about me at all - easier said than done but hind-sight is 20/20. This is a very hurt child and in an effort to live with that hurt she was hurtful. The part that IS about me is that I AM her MOM (by my choice) and that despite all of the rough stuff I make a difference in her life! I am her solid foundation. I am her HOPE. It is hard for her to admit, honor, understand, use or nurture that in our relationship but that is not about me or my validity to her. It IS about the hurdles she drags along with her every day.
Our daughter was only home for about 30 hours but within the first 3 she was able to come to me to tell me she was so glad she came home. That she felt so much better. I am not saying that those 30 hours were perfect, easy or without anxiety but they WERE healing for her. She was able to stop being in survival for a bit, to rest both physically and mentally. She left again armed with our support, our values, and belief that she does matter. Her Safety Net back in the forefront of her mind as she navigates the world.
Whether you are new on this journey or have been on it a long while take heart in knowing that everything you do DOES make a difference. Sometimes you just have to know it cause your child can't tell you or show you. YOU are so important to your child, to his future...to his ability to believe he is WORTHY of love and is NOT alone in the world! Stay in it friends. Don't give up. Start new as many times as it takes. Being important in someones life doesn't always look or feel like you might think it should - but that doesn't make it any less healing and loving!