I've never been a parent to a child who has experienced trauma before now. And no matter how much they think they are preparing you with hours of training and course materials, you can never be fully prepared when the day arrives that the once compliant, sweet child turns confused and angry and who's troubles seem so deep and so out of reach they cannot be touched, let alone healed.
How do you explain to a four-year-old girl who wants to go home that she can't?
How do you assure her that her mom loves her, but then have to explain why she can't take care of her?
How do you love a child who constantly pushes you away because she's so desperately afraid of losing the family she was torn away from?
It is extremely evident that both our foster daughters have experienced trauma in some shape or form, though the details for us are few and far between.
They need to be loved. But love can't take away the fact that the trauma happened. No matter how much love we give, we all have to accept that the effects of the trauma exist and learn to work through it together.
The past two weeks have been full of a lot of emotions. We have been learning little by little how to recognize the effects of the trauma and how to work with our foster daughter to deal with it appropriately. While her new behaviors and confusion have rocked our family significantly, we are thankful to have a wonderful therapist through our agency who immediately stepped in and got involved. Together we are working to keep our family healthy and strengthen the weak areas while continuing to give our girls the very specific love and care that they need. We are taking teeny tiny baby steps, but at least we are moving forward.
Eric and I are hopeful, but exhausted emotionally and physically. If you are reading this post, we would appreciate it so much if you could take a few minutes right now to pray for our family. We are also in the process of making several big decisions about our future that require a lot of thought and consideration. If I do not write very often in the next few months, all of this is why.
On a lighter note, you know that moment when you haven't stepped on a scale in ages and then you take your kid to the doctor and sneakily step on one? Holy moly. I think it finally hit me that I'm actually entering into my fifth month of pregnancy! Maternity clothes are out of the box and teeny baby kicks are in full swing! Nausea is almost gone and appetite is back, along with that special kind of full and utter exhaustion that only comes with pregnancy. The great name debates have begun, and thank goodness we have Lexi! She's determined that the babe is a girl and will be named Sunshine. On the very slight and unlikely chance that it so happens to be the rare and very unexpected boy (but we all know that with four girls already, how could it possibly?), he will be named Rain Cloud. It makes perfect sense to Lexi. :-)
Yep, kinda freaking out about how fast our family is growing, but still excited to meet our little babe this summer! I would post pictures of my rounding belly, but I barely have time to brush my hair these days, so that's not gonna happen!
Back to the serious, we covet your prayers and encouragement. This is not an easy road we are on, but the Lord very clearly led us here and we are walking in confidence that though hard, His way is also GOOD.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Being a mom can be extraordinarily exhausting. This morning my potty training two year old pooped in her pants at the same time I caught Lyla putting Lexi’s baby doll in the toilet and three year old A.K. is crying because my bossy Lexi hit her again for not doing what she wanted her to do. I was feeling nauseated all morning and on the verge of tears and really about to lose it before it was even nine o'clock. Did I really sign up for this?
Eric found half of the leftover pork roast in Lexi's closet the other morning, along with bags filled with crumbs, the empty cookie container, stale pieces of tortillas, and a few other goodies. Funny how it's our own biological daughter that has an issue with stealing and hoarding food while the house is sleeping, when she has never had any reason to, but has been doing it since she could walk.
Lyla is speaking in sentences now. Her most frequently and forcefully used phrases are "NO, I don't want to!" "It's mine!" "I fall down" and "I don't know." Wonder where she learned those from...
But then there are these incredible moments of peace too. Right now A.K. is asleep on the couch while the others are all napping in their beds. She looks so serene. Like an angel and so at peace with herself and life. And I am privileged to be the one that they have chosen to call “Mama.”
Sometimes I need reminders that what I am doing is a good thing and I’m not just throwing my life and prime twenties away by wiping poopy butts and doing mountains of pink laundry and breaking up fights and making piles of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day (we go through almost an entire loaf a day - thank goodness for my bread machine!).
Yesterday at the doctor’s office the receptionist looked at my chocolate colored kids as I was leaving the office after getting their vaccinations and said to me, “I want you to know that I think you are doing a really great thing.” She has not even the tiniest idea how much her kind words meant to me. Because sometimes I really need reminders that my children that I am blessed with truly are a blessing. Sometimes I am tired and the daily grind is overwhelming and I'm still feeling sick with this pregnancy and I lose sight of what really matters. That what really matters is that I am taking in the wounded hearts of two little girls and offering them love and safety and solace.
When people ask me (and they do constantly) how on earth do I manage with all these little kids, I never really know what to tell them. Because I don't do it well at all. God has bestowed an enormous amount of grace on our family and at the end of each day, I know that it is only He that has brought us this far. And I am thankful that I don't have to carry this alone. Because it would be impossible.
Today I am thankful that I don't have to be the perfect mom. And that it's ok to cry sometimes too. Because God's grace is bigger than any of this. And He is enough.
And hey, we made it through the Polar Vortex, so it can only get better from here, right?! ;-) Right.