These last few weeks have been hard. Being in quarantine with your kids 24/7 is difficult.
It is another level of difficult when you a parent a child that comes with trauma. I have been parenting kids with attachment issues for 16 years.
My child is home all day without a break that we both need from each other. Relationships with kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder are very tricky. After doing this for so long, I have to admit at times my heart is gun shy. Because of his history of trauma, he doesn’t trust me and I don't always trust him. Sometimes it seems like we are circling each other: wary, unsure.
Once again, I am the adult here.
But it is hard. He feels the lack of relationship less than I do, because he does not know what he is missing. He didn’t have parents for ten years. He did not get to bond as a baby to his mama. He had to cry and meet his own needs in an orphanage.
But I know exactly what I am missing.
I have healthy attached relationships with my other children. That is what makes this relationship so painful.
Before becoming an adoptive parent I had this idea of what I thought it would be like. It was not a pie-in-the-sky idea.
I knew there would be difficulties.
But I was not prepared for the reality that is my life now.
It is like buying the house you always wanted- you dream of life in that house. You imagine Christmas lights twinkling, meals around the table, the beauty, the love. You dream of all the great things that will happen in that house.
But then you get into the house and it is not what you expected.
It is worse than you expected. The house ends up a money pit. All you do is try to fix what is broken.
You drain all your resources to fix one problem after another. All the warm cozy memories you had planned to make there never happen. You are constantly dealing with problems.
If you happen to have a moment when things are quiet and nothing needs fixed, you cannot relax.
You cannot appreciate it because you know something is going to go wrong again.
I am not trying to be insensitive and compare my child to a house. But when you live with trauma, out of control and harmful behavior and when there is no trust it is hard to be at peace when things are relatively quiet.
But I have to try.
One way to bear what is hard is to look for the good.
Can relationships grow in the small cracks of relative peace? Like little flowers springing up between the cracks in the sidewalk?
I have to accept this relationship for what it is. It is not what expected.
Focusing in what is not there does not move me forward.
But I can look for the little flowers in the cracks. The times when there is kindness or peace or even an afternoon without drama.
This is the way to bear what is hard, looking for the little signs of life along the way. Enjoying the moments that are peaceful.
We have to look for peace in the small moments.
If you are a mom with kids from trauma, I understand where you are coming from. Please know that you matter, you are seen and loved by God.
Reach out if you need to. I would love to hear your story.