Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

If you don't hear from me, it's because I'm busy...


So, I'm doing this challenge. Yeah, I know it's 3 years old. But that's about how long our Ethiopian crumb snatchers have been on American soil and when the post came out not only were they in utter shock and distress, but they spoke no English, so it wasn't so feasible at that time. Plus, back then I still fell under the blurry haze of a notion that this couldn't go on forever, right? I mean, we would surely be past all the drama and trauma and strain and gut wrenching turmoil by 6 months....a year....two years....three years....

My love, their siblings, our welcoming home, our stable environment filled with food and books and structure and encouraging words and clearly defined expectations would heal their deeply inflicted, primal wounds. I was sure of it. I didn't realize how much we would n e e d attachment developing exercises, like
f o r e v e r.

I was blind. Uncharacteristically, optimistically, strikingly, naively blind.

Don't get me wrong, we've come a long way baby. A long, long way. On rocky terrain that has given me wrinkles and whiplash, we have traveled far. How we have earned every stinking, solitary mile. We are not where we once were. Not by any means. Nor are we where I would like us to be. Not by any means.

I'll give you an example. The other night I was filled with praise and the overwhelmingly irresistible impulse to rejoice because Flint smiled at me and said, "mom, listen to this poem." Then, he read a short poem to me.

With the exuberance I expressed, you would have thought we just scaled the walls of the Empire State Building in full Spiderman raiment, together. Because he initiated a single sentence of conversation with me. Because he called me mom. And because he read me something he thought was funny. Because he reached out to me of his own accord, in some small way. What would normally be everyday occurrences with most of our children, folks. That's the stuff that will spark a two octave rise in my voice as I grin, showing all my teeth while the words pour out, drenching the space between us like real maple syrup, "Good Boy, Flint! You talked to me! I'm so proud of you! Thank you!" One sentence, one poem. How grateful I am for progress, any progress. Yet, I wish we were further along. That's why this challenge spoke to me at this time.

It won't be easy and I'm not under any illusion that quick, overnight, or even over a year miracle cures exist for the exquisite pain and grievous loss and feelings of rejection by their first families our children have endured. These wounds, they scar. And scars remain.

Late at night, when they are tucked into bed and the house is quiet, I often lament, fearing I have etched those scars deeper, made them more raw and pink and tender with my inability to foster adequate healing, to provide the perfect environment they need to come to know a true sense of security.

I am the first to admit that I don't always give my all in promoting attachment. I grow irritated and I grow weary of the immense work required and my reserves run dry and I get tired of being the only one trying and I don't feel like trying anymore. So, I allow us to coast.

Because sometimes not engaging is easier than engaging. And sometimes diving in with them stirs up anger and me. And sometimes we just go through the motions of eating and playing and going places and cleaning house and getting through the days because I can't, I won't, I don't want to dig deep and labor hard and summon the extraordinary patience attachment requires. Sometimes I would rather tattoo my eyelids neon green. And you know what? I honestly believe that's totally ok. Sometimes, both them and I need to take break from it all, to just be. Coexisting. Because this Attachment Business is a whole big huge lot of work.

And then there are weeks to hug a bunch and to bond and to play hard and to work hard.

For the next seven days, we're gonna scale walls together, Spiderman style.

I'll keep you posted...

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