Monday, August 22, 2016

HOPE is a 4-letter word, and the truth about "rescue" and life after...

i'm going to try to protect my kids story as much as possible, but also be open about the misconception that their "rescue" and "real life" begins after family day (some refer to it as gothcha day....quiet honestly, i hate the cutesy words that describe an event related to the magnitude of trauma these kids have experienced.)

***not all descriptions in here are regarding the Ls lives before coming home, but they most certainly describe common experiences among orphaned children...***

their lives have been wrought from in utero neglect, abandonment, after-birth neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and so on; they also have been wrought through manipulation of caregivers, nannies, foster parents, manipulation by other children in the orphanages, and their learned  survival mechanisms of manipulation.

"family day" ...."gotcha day" is not a cute experience.
strangers who becomes "mom" and "dad" scooping them up, taking their hand, and riding back to a hotel room does NOTHING to erase the years of abuse.  it does nothing to erase the years of a malformed self-image--an identity that tells them they are a three-headed monster, it does nothing to magically instill a sense of trust, security, and family in them. most kids are working in a primitive survival mode brain at this time. honestly, this is why many parents see behavior from their children that mimic growling, spitting, crawling across the floor (talking 8 yrs + kids here...), they pull out their hair, your hair, they claw at their skin and your skin. they grab handfuls of food, any food--all food they see and shove it in their mouth like chipmunks. introduction to new situations paralyzes them...literally, they can diassoctiate, part of the "fight, flight, or freeze" responses. i've seen older children bodies go stiff as a board, and carried back like a 2x4.  their brains are not rewired at the moment a white american smiles at them and says "i'm mommy!".

hope is a 4 letter word, along with the others we try to avoid saying.
it brings the same shame, anger, fear, resentment, rage, frustration, helplessness, and so on that the other 4 letter words bring--or were inspired by those events to be said.

to tie adoption up with a bow and a pat on the back screams that scalding hot baths, taunts of "you no wanted!", punishments of no food, punishments of food shoved down their throats to the point of choking, fists landing across the face, broken bones hidden, scars from inflicted burns can all be forgotten and just "gotten over" by a new address and name.

i need you all, who are not adoptive families, to really really really understand what is needed. we don't need or want to hear how great we are. we aren't.
we get frustrated, we get overwhelmed, and then feel awful because we know our child's history. we don't need you to recommend we read books like "the strong willed child".  our child is not strong willed. their wills were broken. they have no will. they are in survival mode. 
we don't need to hear "it's okay, all kids do that". no. no. no. no. no. no. guess what--NO!!!! freaking NO!
saying "don't worry about it because all kids do it" is the same as saying that a victim of abuse is just being promiscuous because she enjoys being a "slut" and looking past the fact that being raped as a 6,7,8,9,10,11, and 12 year old taught her that was her value, and that is how she will survive.

we need you to take our hand and say "i'm here, let me listen. vent to me. how can i support you?"
give us a kleenex when we look tired, because tears are not far behind.
do not remind us of our children's past. we are aware of it. being reminded of their past when we are already struggling just reaffirms to us that we are failing them.
simply say "i'm so sorry. i'm so sorry."

don't say our adoption inspired you to do mission trips. and then simply come back and post pictures smiling with impoverished children. ask us how you can make a difference. poverty tourism isn't it.

don't tell us about "that documentary" you saw.
don't tell us about that 2nd cousin you have who had a friend that adopted some kids from somewhere in asia, and they are doing great now.

basically just listen. just be there. be here.  love us. love our family. just listen.

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