Our new kids have been home from Accra Ghana for one year and a month. I am not sure how to word the last year. Its been a journey. A testing of faith a testing of self.
Our daughter came with much fight in her. She is a survivor what her little 8 year old heart has endured is nothing short of a miracle that she just didn't crawl into a corner and die. She was a wild child when she entered into our doors. Orphanage learned behavior. Fight for what you want, lie when you want it, self- sufficient and self persevering. She was a three year old stuck inside of a 8 year old body. Fight, was (is) her survival instinct. She wanted to show me why she was unworthy of love. When I loved her I was telling her that she was a lier because she was (in her mind) unworthy. I have never parented a child like this. I was failing and it was in my face multiple times a day. I was weary from the war scares left by other people on this girl, it was not even my fault but every day it became my fault. I was the one that wanted to love and so I was the wrong in the automatic wrong. So how did we cope?
Entering into a family DOES NOT make everything go away. The journey is NOT over when the paper chase is done. The Hurt and trauma that took a few years to have will often be a lifetime of healing. Going to Conferences such as this one and this one made me much wiser in what I was dealing with and how to heal heal my daughter and son without losing all the brain cells I once had :)! Joining forums and groups that had similar families have been a life saver. Books written from professionals that deal with kids from traumatic backgrounds like this and this were key. Becoming therapeutic parents was the answer. Trying to escape the books we read for our first kids was difficult all the messages we were given for the first kids WOULD NOT WORK on kids like this. Also being a person that has abuse in her background (NOT FROM MY PARENTS...just to clarify!) and has had some deep pain and nasty scars for years because of it, I feel connected in a way I never would have to my daughter. Watching her unfold even a tiny bit at a time has been therapeutic for me. Watching the rage inside her, reminded me of the rage in my own heart. God used her for me and me for her in ways so profound only a Masters hand can be involved in .
Our boy: OH LORD AL MIGHTY! This one came to us at 4 but really at 24 months emotionally. At night the little man became a baby. Baby talk, wanted to be bottle fed. We did. Wanted to be rocked. We did. Wanted to be swaddled. We did. He is also totally a sensory kid. All over the place wild child. Nothing slows him down. He is destructive even though it has slowed down (the destruction) not the energy its still something that lands him trouble daily. Stinker. We had a better bonding experience with little man. No rages, No crazy emotional roller coaster. He is so comfortable with us. Now he openly tells me how much he misses his birth mother. We allow our children the opportunity for this and never shut it down. I want them to miss their birth mothers. If I was in the same shoe, I would want my biological children to miss me. Plus if we speak about it often the less it will come out as an anger outburst. He shares this with us a few times a month. I have found the more open we are of it, the better they both are. Some days I see someone that reminds me of Birth mom and I say "look who does that remind you of, oh she is so beautiful just like ___!'' Or we are at a store and G or E say birth mom would LOVE that. To which I always say something along the lines of "you are probably right, it would be so nice in her pretty dark skin too!" I never get offended. In fact I think of her as a third parent in our relationship her presence is here as long as it is welcomed by them.
Where are we now? One year later. We have come a long way. We have a super long way to go. Sometimes things regress back to the old days. I am better at gauging the future. Some days its very unpredictable some days I say to Chief "this one will send her for a loop, be prepared!" We are MUCH better at keeping our cool. Some times he more than I sometimes I more than him. Sometimes we BOTH loose it, because it can be very draining. Parenting non-traumatized kids can do it to you to!! For the most part our girl is NO where close to what she looked like entering our doors. There is more confidence in her walk. There is more thought process and she makes a choice. There is some days even some good emotion talk " I am so angry right now, I want to throw something! Good talks. There are plenty things still there. We cope, we help heal, we go back to the books and ask questions. We take breaks to give to our biological children and our baby (who is 4..tear), they need us just as much.
ONLY in Gods Grace. Not at all by my own power is this even possible. I fall short, every time. He has to go before me daily. I have never gone to his Throne like I do now.
One year later, I am a different person.