I’m a child 

I remember sitting in a therapy group years ago. It was well before I was going for myself. I always went in the hopes I could find ways to change other people in my life that I thought needed changing. I wasn’t ready to change me. I was fine. 

In that group I learned about The Inner Child.  Back then Author John Bradshaws ideas of finding the inner child and healing the inner child were big in therapy groups. 

That group was BIG into healing the inner child. We had to get up and speak to our inner child. I hated that.  I was there to fix someone else. I was fine. Yes my dad drank. Yes he had anger issues and yes I grew up in a dysfunctional family but my inner child was fun. I was there to fix a guy. A guy I was dating. 

I still recall the house where we met. It was a funky cottage in an older section of Bethesda, Maryland. Not far from the Potomac river. It was an eclectic neighborhood. And the house vibe wasnt what I would have expected for a therapist but the room with its area to sit in a circle on the floor with pillows lent itself to comfort and a safeness. But when we had to talk to our inner child I thought they were all nuts. I only attended two or three sessions. During the last one I attended a woman a little older than me decided to put it out there for me -she said that I needed to stop and look at myself and ask myself why I wanted to date such people that didn’t want to commit to a full relationship. It wasn’t him it was me that needed to change. 

I was taken aback and left that night never to return. I wasn’t the one who needed to change. It was him. 

I was only 24 or 25 years old. I wasn’t there yet. I was so immature. I didn’t see what the others saw. But good for me to seek therapy. Good for my mother who herself went to therapy over the years even when people made fun of those who sought such help. She taught me not to question therapy it was just something one did like go to the dentist. I saw no stigma.

I just wasn’t ready to search inside myself. 

As the years progressed I went to a number of therapists. Some didn’t jibe with me so I left treatment. Othees worked out well for me and I stayed with them for years. My last one -Barbara-who we (my entire family ) saw died of Colon cancer. I still miss her and haven’t found anyone since that was a good fit for me. But i will. 

But before Barbara there was Claudia. She might even read this as we are Facebook friends. Claudia. She was my therapist right before and a then after I married. She was the perfect therapist for me at the time. She got me to work on me. She wasn’t a Bradshaw enthusiast I don’t think though I’m sure we did work on my inner child in many non-direct ways -like in regression therapy. 

Claudia and I talked, she did Reiki, tap therapy (as I was dealing with terrible anxiety) , hypnosis and more.  She was a kind and caring person. She championed me and I’ll never forget her. 

She made me see my inner self and my inner child. She helped me realize that I was a good person and I deserved good things.  Though I still struggle with that sometimes. 

But I came to realize we never really grow up all the way. And the most evolved humans are the ones who embrace their inner child and spend time healing any brokenness or trauma that child encountered.

 And It’s fun to act child like sometimes. The other day my BFF from childhood -Eileen-sent me a text and in that text she wrote something that made me belly laugh. It hurt too since I’m recovering from surgery! But it’s good to let that child shine through sometimes.  We go back almost 50 years. That’s a lot of lifetime but we still can snicker like the teens we once were. 

My husband gets together with high school friends and they go on and act like they are still 17. It’s a good thing I’ve known a couple of them for almost as long as he has or the jabs and old stories and theimmature  behavior might get old -but I can join in some bc I have old stories with some of them -though I forget many of them but our friend Terry has us doubled over much of the time. That’s the kids in us. Those connnextions are a blessing.  

Tom Atkins wrote a poem about picking a honeysuckle and tasting its nectar and how it brought him back to his childhood. I love the poem be when I read it I felt it. I was picking honeysuckle as a girl and then later with my little kids.  When I read that prom it warmed me ane I felt that child inside me giggle. 

So all these years later I’ve come to know my inner child and I’ve worked on her. I’ve know when I go to therapy I go to help me not another person. 

Little Anne is in there and she has healed a lot over the years because I worked on both of us. We still have a ways to go. I still have a lot to figure out.  

A couple weeks ago I was perusing one of the local online yard sale pages and I saw this Barbie dollhouse. (See below). It came with the furniture and car. My heart jumped. I wanted it. My innner child jumped out and sang “get me that dollhouse”.  I had one as a child though these have evolved and are even better than before.  But I remember seeing that dollhouse under the Christmas tree one Christmas morning many years ago. I still remember how I felt. 

I have no room for such a thing and no reason to buy it- except for the way it makes me feel. Like a kid again. And that’s a good thing. 

I didnt buy it. But I saved the picture. I hope it goes to little girl who will someday when she’s middle aged look at a picture of a dollhouse and feel the way I felt when I saw it. 

I’ve come to love my inner child. For a long time she was hurt and she was ignored. And that hurt child helped facilitate some bad choices bc she was hurt. But Now we are one. I’m am and adult and I am a child and we love dollhouses. 


Screenshot Photo cred: Facebook yard sale site. 
More about the inner child in this great article: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/200806/essential-secrets-psychotherapy-the-inner-child

The day Santa got angry -(with me). 

First Visit with Santa! Dec. 2001 – Luke 15 months

 

Yep that’s me holding the crying baby in the photo above and that’s jolly old Santa…

I officially became a mom the day before Mother’s Day in May of 2001 – except I did not know it yet. I didn’t find out until Mother’s Day – that is when my husband was able to call me all the way from Kazakhstan (it s country far away – look it up here ) where he was in the process of adopting and then bringing our son home. That is were my first child(he is our youngest – it is complicated) was born. I wasn’t in the court room that day in Kazakhstan as I opted not to travel on the trip to get him. My incredible husband travelled alone on an over 2 week journey to get our son. When I answered the phone that Mother’s Day morning and heard ‘Happy Mother’s Day- you’re a mom” my heart melted and warmed and I cried tears of joy. My dream of becoming a mom had come true. I had never met this little 8 month old boy but he already had my heart.

I was 37 years old when I became a mother. I had waited a long time. I remember the first days after Luke and Kevin arrived back home – Kevin was in a stupor after traveling with an infant with double ear infections across the world. Luke cried much of the trip and if it were not for the kindness of some sweet Russian woman who took Luke for a while so Kevin could rest I am not sure my husband and his precious charge would have made it home.  Upon arrival on U. S. soil aside from kissing the ground Kevin became sick with some Kazak bug and slept for 14 hours straight. I had never cared for a baby really and I was thankful Luke slept much of the first day he arrived home- but after that I remember being in shell shock.  You learn fast! How thankful I was to have had many experienced moms to seek out answers from.

I had spent 35 years only caring about myself -and then Kevin- but he didn’t need constant care and attention. At 37 I was so self absorbed but I didn’t realize how much until I had another human to care for 24/7. I was in awe that one little person needed so much. It was in those first months after Kevin went back to work and I worked part-time but spent the rest with Luke that we bonded. I remember the day I realized that I would die for my child- a feeling you can’t explain but parents know it. You don’t have to have a child from your own body in order to love them. It is something we might think in our heads but a human heart is ever expanding when we open ourselves up. Luke changed me – I was his mom.

Having waited for so long to become a mom I wanted to do all the mom things that I had missed out on. I wanted to take Luke to the park – we did that a lot. We joined a mom’ s club and went to their activities. We began parent and child swim class. The list goes on and on an on. I had spent years longing for kids to dress up and take out for Halloween. We were so jacked up about it that on Halloween in 2001 we had a date in court to readopt our son in Maryland court- something we had to do because I hadn’t traveled to Kazakhstan. We took Luke dressed up in his halloween costume to our early morning court time and I think the entire room swelled at the cuteness of the little boy dressed like Tigger with his new parents. I know it was probably the best part of the day for the judge. It was one of the best days of my life.

For so many years before motherhood as I was shopping in the mall at Christmas time I would watch the kids line up to sit in Santa’s lap. Each one cuter than the next. Lines so long they wrapped almost to the escalator. I was not much for waiting in line- I am still not- but I always pictured myself waiting in that line with my future child. At one point the hope of being a mother almost felt like it was being squashed as my husband and I dealt with fertility issues with no cure in site. During that time a long line to see Santa seemed like a reward to be cherished. I wanted that prize.

So you can imagine when Christmastime came around in 2001 I wanted to take my now 15 month old son to see Santa for the first time. My husband and I planned our visit for after dinner so Luke wouldn’t be hungry. We dressed him in little overalls and packed his stuffy and blanket and headed to the mall. We rolled up like excited kids to the long line that wound it’s way down to Santa. I was beaming – probably chatting in line with any parent who would listen. The weariness of parenthood and the apathy that can come with it hadn’t fully set in yet and it was Christmas after all.

I was bone tired though. I didn’t know what tired was until my poor underfed Luke came home. He was waking us at least once a night from the time he came home at 8 months He was making up for lost time, I suppose, and we gladly – and sleepily- fed and changed him. After he reached normal weight (that means on the charts for his age) he began sleeping through the night. It was glorious and sad but not long lived as he made his way into our room for the next 12 years- a common fixture on our bed and when he got too big -on our floor. It never bothered me because I knew very well that he may not have been in my life at all- something that is hard to fathom but is true. So there I stood that evening in that long line with all the other parents waiting to see their kids with Santa. I was in my future- the one I had pictured as I trotted through the malls years before…

Then Santa got mad. At me. Pisser. After waiting in the line for over an hour – and yes even my elation was beginning to fade- we got close to the moment of truth and Santa’s lap – well a bench as it turns out. He had littles on his lap and bigs sat next to him. It was just about our turn. We began to give info to the elves that were helping santa. We paid and began the short walk to Santa’s lap/bench – and then..Luke saw Santa! Oh how his eyes lit up- and his mouth opened – and out came a huge wail! This was not the way I pictured this moment. In my dream, my kid was angelic – a cherub- longing to go into Santa’s arms and sit on his lap. Luke was beside himself -this was not happening- but it was- huge wails of fear. The elves told me to go up to Santa and lets see if we could get him calmed down. (really ? closer?). The closer I got the worse it seemed to get. The elves and Santa seemed determined to get this kid in a photo. So they told me to sit next to Santa with Luke in my lap. I wan NOT dressed to be in any picture. I was still in the “lets make the kid look -good screw how I look” mode of new parenthood. I had to get in the photo? I don’t recall now why Kevin didn’t get in it. Kevin was much better at calming Luke down- he is calmer by nature than I am. Santa was not happy because we were taking up time and also when one baby cries- well- it seems to set off other baby alarms and other babies begin to cry and then its a freakin’ cry fest.

Somehow I sat down with Luke in my lap- he was sweating and I was freaking out inside. The look on my face in the photo is me trying to not cry. We got the shot -up we jumped- see ya Santa. But NO Santa had to make me feel worse… Santa began to scold me -Santa was mad- at me!- he said it was all my fault and that I should have backed up to the bench with Luke looking out at the crowd and then sat down. I made him cry because I came in straight so that he saw Santa. No freaking Elf told me to try that Santa….and eff you Santa! But I said nothing- Kevin and I grabbed our baby stuff and our stroller and went to find a place to calm Luke down while we waited for the god forsaken photo to be ready. Santa had nerve.

They called our name and Kevin went to get the picture. We took a look at it and we broke out in such laughter people were staring. A photo that would live in Sweeney infamy. One that to this day we show Luke – who is now 15- and we all laugh- even him. Sadly we have other pictures with the same Luke scream face…the first haircut- maybe I can dig that photo up…yes Luke was notorious for open mouthed wailing.

Too bad -mad Santa- you didn’t wreck my day. You gave me a great story and I am very thankful for that day no matter how it went-because it was the beginning of many years of parenting- the good and the not so good- but it is a journey I never thought I would be on and every milestone – including the first crazed trip to Santa (we never went back to that mall for a Christmas picture) was a blessing to me. I know how lucky I am that God found this little sweet soul (and he is still sweet in his stinky teen body)to be my son. I will never forget the firsts – we are still living them with all three of our kids. Sometimes we don’t know how lucky we are until we are given something we thought we would never have. I finally got my reward- a photo with Santa and my son.

Thanks for reading…..

PS- Hey Santa I am looking at the picture and wondering where your right arm is????? I think his hand is near my chest—I never noticed this before – holy cow -and he was mad at me!?- LOL

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Another first- Luke at JC Penney. This was his “I am about to cry and then wail” look. I think we got him to stay calm for a few more poses but it wasn’t easy…this is before his first haircut..another first and fiasco!

IMG_1836

Trying not to cry for his first baby picture..why is this so cute to me?

Healing the hurts 

  

He’s 14 now. Hardly a baby. But to me I feel all the hurts the same as I did when my kids were young. See an injury and I get the tingling weakness in my knees and legs. 

He doesn’t need me as much anymore but he called me twice the other evening   – once to tell me he fell at soccer practice and hurt his arm and would I come to get him and the second when I was on my way to make sure I didn’t forget him. (Sorry officer I had to use my phone while driving my kid is hurt). Forget him? I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten him anywhere ever.  

At the urgent care I asked him if he wanted me walk with him to the X-ray room. He said “if you want”. His way of saying yes. 

We worked on pain management with some snack wraps and a vanilla shake. It helped some but when he winced bc he moved it wrong those knees of mine got weak. I don’t make a big deal and I don’t hover but inside I want to make the hurt go away. 

Today we had to wait until late to get his arm set bc I had an appt that went 2 hours over making us miss our original appt at the orthopedic. So I felt bad he had to wait so long. He dealt with it well but I knew he was anxious to get there bc he kept asking when we had to go.  

At the orthopedic he got to pick his cast color and that’s still cool to him at  14.  The doc told him he still had quite a bit of growing to do. He was pretty excited about that as his goal is to be 6ft tall. 

He was in some discomfort after the casting and I had my go to fixes -ibuprofen and food. Somehow I feel like the offering of food will cure the pain at least for a while. And maybe it did. He chose grill cheese and fries. Comfort for sure. 

He’s going to to be fine. He’s already thinking of more exciting stories to tell his friends about how he got the break. I guess a soccer injury isn’t too exciting. Maybe he just wants to razz them a bit like boys do. He tried to get another day off of school but as much as I wanted to let him stay home and hang out  (with me) I know it’s better for him to get back to school and not miss too much school work. I sent him in with Advil. He will be glad to be back even if he has some discomfort today. He will be with his buddies. I can just hear the jokes now.  

It’s hard to watch your child have pain -physical or emotional. When my child hurts their pain seeps into me. No matter how old they are you want to take the away pain. I know it’s that way for my mother as well-and I’m 51. 

Right now my 14 year old doesn’t need  me as much as he used to. That’s ok -it’s how it’s supposed to be. But I suspect we will always need each other in some way. We will always be connnected by the thread of love. I often hear my own husband talk to his now 90 year old mom and I hear the child in him. It’s a beautiful testament to the love that helped him grow, soothed his hurts and then let him go live his life. The connection is always there. 

My kids are still young enough so i have some time to grow the connections and to help fix the hurts. So bring on the hugs, the Advil, and the milk shakes and French fries. Oh and the grilled cheese  

Thanks for reading. 

  

Little pieces of me…

The Who was playing on the radio while I was driving the other day. I had Ozzy with me and a load of groceries in the car. The song took me back- I mean really took me back. I had this flashback for a minute or a nano-second – some form of time. It wasn’t a flashback of a memory but of a feeling. Have you ever had those? Like you might feel for a split second the way you felt when you were ten and you were at the pool swimming for hours, or when you were at your first rock concert in high school (Bruce Springsteen baby!), or you were sitting next to your boyfriend in the car.

I used to wear rose perfume in high school. ALOT of rose perfume.  If I happen to smell rose perfume now its like a vortex grabs me and tries to take me back to 1979. Ditto for Ralph Lauren Polo(all the guys wore it)- early 80’s in college. I am not sure if I can explain this feeling but if you’ve felt it you know. Music and smells seem to do it to me. Its like some past is trying to crawl out from your brain. For me those feelings are usually good – sometimes they are bad. But I feel like something more wants to pop forward. Maybe a full blown memory pictures and all.

Anyway the Who was blasting out a song (and I can’t even recall which one) and I had that feeling. This time I tried to pull it up from inside but it was gone as fast as it popped up. I tried and tried but nah it was gone. But it left me with something good. A good feeling – a lighter sense of me. There was a comfort in it.

More and more over this crazy winter I have felt something lifting.  I have spent the last year in a funk after my cancer treatments and other events of life. I felt a little pummeled, a little shell shocked. Something was missing.  I was down sometimes and inert others – so many things overwhelmed me. And they still do sometimes if I let them. But I feel lighter lately. I can manage better. Now I feel less like I am just floating under the surface and more like I am above it. The days don’t seem so hard.

I have begun making plans for spring and summer. I am not as worried about committing to things and I feel excited about taking a road trip up north in June. I got an email the other day from the caring committee at church asking if I could make a meal for a family this week. At first I balked- it seemed too much. But I stared at the email and thought about it. How many meals had been delivered to my family when I was sick? I had asked to be on the committee so I could give back. It was time. I replied yes to that email and then the old me was back. Planning a meal and looking forward to helping someone else. And it felt darn good- good to help and good to feel like I could.

When I hear those old songs- I get a little feeling of the girl I was in my past – there is a comfort there somehow. Those are parts of me that make up who I am today. I may not be able to conjure up the full memory but the comfort is still there. Slowly but surely I am getting little pieces of me back. They are the parts of me that make me feel balanced and comfortable with who I am.  There is such a relief in that feeling – kind of like the feeling you get if you suddenly can’t see your child on the playground and for a second you are panicked but then you see him coming down the slide and your get that relief and sense that everything is ok and balanced again. That’s how I feel …every time I find a little piece of myself. It’s like a puzzle coming together- the puzzle just is not complete without all it’s pieces. I might not be quite there but I am getting there one piece at a time.

Thanks for reading–

Lets crank up the Who!

Loving the hurt ones – it takes a city…

When you choose to adopt a child your first thought is not  “I am bringing a neglected and traumatized person into my home.” After all we adoptive parents are trying to make a family or add to a family. We are doing something good for the child and for us. The key word here is family. We want these kids to come in our lives and we want them to live happily ever after. We bring them home to be part of our unit and we don’t expect anything can go terribly wrong . We are told – or should have been- of all the risks of adopting these traumatized children. We read the articles on RAD( reactive attachment disorder) , ADHD , spectrum issues, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – on and on. Yet why would we ever think they would be part of our child that we lovingly bring home to our family? We didn’t. We rationalized that our child was coming home too young to have issues. Or we could fix them if they had anything come up.

Not all adopted kids end up with severe issues. We have three children who came to us through adoption. All three are very different but two are related by birth mother and were under five when they came home but they weren’t babies. Those two experienced more trauma and neglect than my first child who came to us as a baby. They have had trauma related issues as a result. Ozzy shows the most issues of the three. We cannot ignore the fact that adoption is traumatic. Things the child faces before we get them and then finding themselves in a strange new family -many never had one- and those who had one may miss the ones they had or may have suffered in the hands of that family- can you imagine how this effects a child?  Can you imagine being plopped down into a family- but to you they are strangers and you may not even speak their language?  We also can’t forget the neglect, the abandonment, the possible exposure to drugs and alcohol as a fetus – any of them can effect an adopted child. Sometimes adoptive parents find they have a child that never responds in love to them. The parent might have tried everything they know but the child cannot respond in kind- but the parents persist and try and love them anyway.  It can hurt – but its what we do.

I have written before that I wish I had been more prepared for mothering these kids when they came home. I had done fine with”L” our child we adopted at eight months, I had no reason to think I would have issues with the next two we adopted. I was in for a shock. I learned early on what trauma and neglect can bring and early on I also realized that we needed help. So we began seeing a therapist to help us navigate the journey of parenting broken children. We added a psychiatrist when Ozzy was only 5. It took me years to know I was doing the best I could. I felt inadequate and guilty for not clicking with Ozzy. I made mistakes along the way and still do but I know now that I didn’t make Ozzy have these problems he has now. His issues came with him and all we can do is try to help him and love him. It’s not always pretty but we try.

This has been one of the biggest challenges of my life- parenting this child. I sometimes feel that I can barely hang on. My husband and I become mentally exhausted trying to get him help- in school, in therapy, with the psychiatrists. Some days it is phone call after phone call topped by email after email. Then its dealing with the behaviors at home and knowing how to properly respond to each issue. We didn’t think we would be dealing with this. It is hard at some moments- but he is our child and even if we don’t like him sometimes- we definitely love him. Yes we do love him and want what we all want for our kids- for him to have a happy life, one where he can support himself ,have a family- have love. So we dig and fight trying to get that for him- sometimes we may want it more than he wants it for himself. Its what we do as parents- not for any pats on the back but for the ability for our kid to be able to have a life. Will he? I don’t know. I think so- he has huge gifts. I pray for him all the time.

I think that it’s important that people understand that many behavior modification tactics that work on bio kids don’t work for adopted kids. Our kids often have no cause and effect understanding, if they are detached they don’t have the need to please their parent. You can’t impose the same consequences or rewards on these kids. They just don’t respond to these things the way kids who are attached and who were properly nurtured since birth will respond. We know this because we have tried them many of them.

Parenting these kids can be exhausting. So many of us stay quiet about what’s happening inside our family. If it is shared or becomes apparent there can be issues. Friends and even extended family sometimes pull away out of fear for their own kids safety or bc they feel discomfort of watching the issues of the child and the reactions of the parents as they try to gain some control over the uncontrollable. Who would understand why a family would have all their kitchen cupboards locked and every bedroom is locked and the parents carry their kitchen knives and any other sharp instrument to work in their car in a Tupperware container, or that there is an in/house surveillance system installed to monitor the child’s movements at night to ensure the safety of the child and the safety of the rest of the family? Who would understand that theses parents know all the local cops by name and are called regularly? Who would understand when a child repeatedly threatens to kill himself and others, rages at their family members one minute and the next is acting like nothing happened? It’s scary and off putting and when you are on the outside its ever so easy to judge – so easy to pull away. Sadly when you are parenting the hurt child you can relate to all of these things when you hear about them. I know I can. We have not dealt with all the things I have mentioned but I can understand them all.

When you are on the outside its so easy to think you could fix this child and you might feel that clearly the family has no clue how to parent at all. It’s easy to play backseat parent. “if I was them I would do this or that…” And I don’t blame people who aren’t parenting these kids for thinking we are doing it all wrong – and on the outside it might look like that. But I think in order to better understand what these parents of the hurt and neglected and traumatized kids are dealing with it would be good to read a bit about it. I’ve posted some links below that might be of help to the ones on the outside. And if you are parenting one if these kids and feel at a loss or guilty or confused read them too. You will at least understand how some of these kids end up with huge issues.You will know you are not alone.

Sadly living with this in your family often isolates the family from others. It can pit grandparents and uncles and aunts against the traumatized family. Oh yes – I did say traumatized family- when you parent these traumatized kids the entire family unit becomes traumatized. Sometimes the hurt kids pull family apart by using their keen skills of manipulation. These families don’t need to be abandoned. The thing they need the most -love and understanding (and maybe a little respite care) – is usually the last thing that is offered to them.

I am thankful to have found a support group that has made me feel not so alone in the struggles we have with our son. I know for a fact I am not alone and for that I’m grateful. I’m thankful for my support group where I can talk about the issues in a safe and caring place. I’m thankful that I can get information from those that have been down the same road. Navigating the mental health system for adolescents is daunting. Understanding legal ramifications is also overwhelming. I’m glad I have a group whose hand I can hold. Many people don’t have this much.

Adoption begins out of a person(s) wanting to love another. Not one person that I know who has adopted ever thought they would be the person they are with their hurt kid. We see the worst of ourselves sometimes but I can tell you we also see the best. We are resilient and though some may think we are evil and mean bc we have to lock down our home or not let our kids have a phone or laptop -we are not evil – we do this bc we love. We love even when we are hated and hit and spit on. We love even if we have to let our child go to residential treatment, or even to another home. We get burnt out and mad and even hateful sometimes but we chose all this because of love. Sometimes it ends up just being too much for the parents and for the child. Sometimes it ends up ok. But we want you to understand a little more about what we deal with and how this happens and what the kids have to deal with in their hurt lives. We don’t want you to turn your backs or abandon us. If my kid had cancer you would rally around me because you understand that. So if you have a friend with an adopted child that is having a hard time- read some of the links I provided below. It might make a difference.

**Authors note- this is not an article to suggest that adoption is a bad thing. Adoption is a wonderful thing. This is how we chose to make our family and I believe God brought us together.. My family is wonderful. I love all my kids with all my heart. If asked, I would be honest about being very aware of issues that can come up with adoption. This is an article written to provide more understanding of the trauma that adopted children have and the issues that can occur. This is meant to help people who are not dealing with these challenging kids to understand where their issues stem from. it is written to help people come together not drive them apart. It takes a village to raise a child and in some cases it takes a city. If you know a family who is struggling be part of the city.

Thanks for reading…

Article by an adoptee:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2014/november/missing-voice-in-adoption-conversation.html?start=3

Articles about early childhood trauma:

http://www.socialworkhelper.com/2014/10/08/children-experience-early-childhood-trauma-just-get/

http://vsn.org/trauma.html

For All of us:

http://onthebeautifuljourney.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-ugly-side-of-adoption.html?m=1

http://onthebeautifuljourney.blogspot.com.br/2014/11/six-things-not-to-say-to-adoptive-parent.html

http://outofshemind.com/2015/01/dear-adoptive-parents-hard-lonely-road/

http://traumamamat.blogspot.com/

 

Moments

My son Ozzy has his struggles as I have written about before and we are facing some new issues and are constantly trying to help him and get him help. Ozzy is a many things. I’m not sure I’ll ever figure him out. But one wonderful thing about him is the little kid in him. Don’t get me wrong I complain that he is immature and he is. Very. And that has not played well for him when making choices. But with this side there is a better side bc Ozzy isn’t afraid to like things a teen might feel is too uncool. He loves puzzles. He loves joke books. He still loves Legos. He loves Rubiks cubes. He embraces his inner nerd and loves Robotics. He’s in the robotics club at school and his first competition is this weekend. He is stoked. When we pick him up from club he talks non-stop.

Maybe it hasn’t occurred to Ozzy that some of this isn’t “cool” to other teens or maybe he doesn’t care. I hope he never loses this part of himself. His inner child. For all the issues he has he is very real when he is doing these things. Yes sometimes he gets mad at a puzzle and I worry he might annoy others in robotics bc he thinks he’s always right. But I am glad he holds onto these pleasures in life. He’s always the one to want to jump in and play a board game. And this year he is the only kid of mine that wanted to help decorate the house for Christmas.

When my mom was here last week for thanksgiving we got the tree out (our Walmart special) and decided we would decorate the tree. I was looking forward to this because my mom and I hadn’t decorated a tree together for many many years. We spent many years together when I was young decorating the tree and I still have some of the ornaments from way back then. My parents divorced so at some point in my early adulthood I was given all the ornaments from my kid years. Many have fallen apart but there are still some great ones and I looked forward to sharing these with my mom.

My two “cool” teens didn’t seem interested in helping us decorate but Ozzy was up for it. So my mom and I and Ozzy set out putting ornaments on our small tree. Ozzy would have discussed each one if he could and he spends much time digging way down into the too full bins to find forgotten ornaments. He would find maimed ones and want to adorn the tree with them. God love him. When we finished the tree we sat down to rest and I never got to the rest of the decorating in the house until yesterday. When I began to go through the boxes who jumped up and asked to help? Not the cool ones. I did get L to put out a few Santas. But it was Ozzy who wanted to really help. He began digging in the bins again and took so much joy in finding things.

I can only smile though. Such a troubled kid sometimes – who has this side of himself- is so endearing. If you just watched that scene yesterday you would never know he has issues. It’s that part of him that keeps me digging to get help for the other parts. You realize that people aren’t all one thing or another. We are like diamonds- multi-faceted. Flaws and beauty. I keep thinking that we can polish Ozzy’s flaws. We will keep trying -everyday- but even a flawed diamond has beauty and value. That’s when I realize that I’m finally learning to appreciate Ozzy for who he is now. I spent so much time focusing on the issues that I forgot about the shiny parts. Now I’m trying to focus on the shiny while still trying polish the flaws. It’s a journey I am just beginning to understand. God gave us this child for a reason and if anything maybe this journey of helping him is actually helping me to grow.

Thanks for Reading…

 

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Unmatched gloves

I  was going through our winter warm weather clothing stash the other day determined to purge all the things we’ve outgrown, ripped, and lost the matches to. I had a load of unmatched gloves. How in the world did I get that many gloves and where were their matches? There were kids gloves, and work gloves , and “nice” gloves. I became obsessed with finding their mates. I had my son bring up any box from the basement that might contain the matches. We found a couple mates but there were a bunch of gloves that remained mateless and would have to go. I was actually feeling sorry for these old gloves. Why do I do that? I am not a hoarder. I like purging stuff but sometimes it’s personal and tossing away stuff is hard.

I think I would feel better if the old gloves had a match and would go in the thrift shop bags for donation. Something about those old gloves going in the trash made me sad. They were part of our lives. They were part of building snowmen and shoveling snow, working in the barn, jumping In piles of leaves.

Funny to feel sad about old cloth- but I did and I embraced it for a bit. After I was pretty sure I had no matches for them I left them to sit out. I knew eventually my need to lose the clutter would land them in the trash. And that is what happened but I’m not going to lie I felt sad!

I have some stuff in my life that has some sweet memories attached to it. Some I’ll hold onto and others I’ll toss or give away. Sometimes I get rid of stuff and feel nothing and other times there is that little pull. With the gloves there was that little pull. It’s time to get new gloves for kids who are just about bigger than I am. Sometimes the purging emphasizes the passage of sweet time. Maybe that’s what gets me. The gloves are gone and there will be other stuff to follow- that’s part of life and part of making sure we don’t become hoarders.

There are some things I’ll never part with. We all have things like that. For me there’s my nana’s china and her hand mirror. Then there are the smaller items that wouldn’t matter to anyone. Like the little blue LL Bean hat I bought my first son after we adopted him. He was the only baby I ever had. My other kids came to us as a toddler and pre-schooler. That ratty old hat brings back so many memories of being a new mom at age 37 who had no idea what being a mom really meant. I had no concept that a little boy from halfway across the world could come and steal away her heart. No that hat isn’t going anywhere.

Thanks for reading.

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Winter from years past…

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My “baby’s” 1st winter hat..he’s 14 now. He’s outgrown it! Ignore the dog hair – its on everything here! It’s part of our DNA

 

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Old gloves – there were more…