But I'm not talking about my 12 month old. I'm not even talking about my daughter who has only been home for 6 months. I'm talking about my daughter who was adopted at 16 months and who is excited to celebrate being home for 9 years this week. That's right, my 10 year old. Adopted as a baby!
Some people may think she is manipulating me to get her way, and honestly I thought she might be too. But, when I looked in her eyes there was no manipulating there. Just fear.
Her heart was pounding, and sweat was forming droplets.
Fear that is rooted so deep in her, she was hysterical from pain, yet using every fiber of her being to hold it together, begging me to not send her off.
This precious child who seems to, well kinda does, run our family and keep us all in line, has her breaking point. The fear of her momma leaving her and not coming back is real.
I tell you this to help people realize a few things...
Even though a child is adopted as a baby they will pull from these unconscious emotions forever. The fear of abandonment is real and not easily worked through.
My 10 year old accepted us as her family on adoption day. She cherishes her family and is happiest when the entire, crazy, loud family is together!
But even though she has had a fantastic 9 years with us, and is secure in our love for her, she is still working through deep hurts.
Children from adoption and/or foster care have experienced trauma no matter how young they came to their family. Even in utero, their momma's were more than likely suffering with some type of anxiety, and that is formed in their brains. Even a few months of abuse and/or neglect in utero or as a new born effect a child for life.
In our family, we have children adopted children from 16 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years and 6 years old. Many people think, the older the child, the harder the issues with the child will be. In someways, I disagree- every child who comes from adoption/foster care has emotional trauma, it just manifests itself differently.
In our family, we talk a lot about our pasts. Understanding where we come from, what we have experienced helps us process who we are now and helps us make sense of our actions. The hard part for my 10 year old is that she doesn't remember her past but it is what formed her. She cannot pin point a situation that makes her fear going to a new place by herself. The black hole that is her beginnings is real.
Please be patient when you see someone in pain, or maybe being, what you might think. over dramatic about a situation. We don't know what they have been through and sometimes they don't know what they have been through. Let's just help each other through the pain and fear.