(This is a wounded, open heart post)
When I was younger, my mom, little brother and I watched a movie on TV where a mother admitted her daughter into a drug rehab. During their therapy sessions, the patients would stand up and say "Hi, my name is Anna and I am a drug addict." The rest of the patients would say, "We love you, Anna." This went on and on and on and it grated on my last nerve. So, for years, my brother and mom would just, out of nowhere, say "We love you, Rebecca." It was usually during a pretty dramatic time of my life where my world was crumbling (not really but it usually had to do with breakups, lost friendships, or not having anything to wear on a Friday night).
So, with the title of my post, I am waiting to hear those words "We love you, Rebecca." Because, I am having one of those days! Actually, its been years but I am just starting to realize that I am, in fact, the mother of children who were traumatized. As most of you know, my children did not come to me the good old fashion way and for that, I am thankful and surely blessed! But, my children did experience trauma in their lives, whether it was in the womb, in an institution or both. I can't imagine not knowing the feeling of a mom holding and rocking me tight. I don't know what its like to not eat three meals a day. I don't know the feeling of watching my mother be abused and nearly killed. I don't know what its like to cry for hours and no one know you're even in the room. I don't know what its like to wish every day for a family. I don't know trauma like my kids know trauma!
A couple of years ago, I joined a group of women on Facebook that were all parenting children with major behavioral and emotional issues. We are known as TRAUMA MAMAS! We had our own nightmare going on and I just needed to surround myself with other mothers that knew my day in and day out battles. Unfortunately, we chose to remove the child from our home that was wrecking everyone's life. It was and still is the hardest decision of our parenting lives. But, it was the best decision for her and for our family. I just assumed that she was the only child that had experienced such a traumatic past and that my other children were just fine. I was wrong - you know what they say about assuming!
Today started out with just a simple task. Actually, it started several weeks ago but the deadline has come and gone and I wanted to make sure a particular child finished her assignment. Well, that simple task has taken over 5 hours and lots of sighs, grunts, rolling of the eyes, tears and a nervous breakdown and that was just ME! The child in question is beyond frustrated and what should have taken her just a matter of minutes has become a day long activity. By noon, I was done. I was up to my ears in parenting. I wanted to just grab everything from her and do it myself. But, instead, I took a seat on the back porch and called my husband. He is so wonderful and encouraging. He reminds me all the time that I am doing my best as a mom. He reminded me about GRACE! He offered solutions and practical advice. Sometimes, you just need the basics!
I still feel at a loss but I do see a path. I do see there is a way out of the woods. I do see and hear of people wanting to help me, to help her. I need to swallow my pride and say "You know, I don't care what people think or say, my children have been traumatized and they need help." I need to start by telling myself this and believing it! Its hard to think that your kids need something more than your love. I remember when we disrupted our adoption, I actually had people tell me or have others tell me, "All she really needs is to be loved more." I had others bash me (indirectly) on their blogs of how "adoption is hard" but to never give up - don't dare abandon a child that had already been abandoned, etc. Oh, because they have it all together, I began to feel guilty for not loving our daughter enough and doing enough for her while she was in our care.
So, my mind went back there today with our three here at home, especially one child in particular. I started questioning my parenting skills or lack there of. I began to wonder if I was the right family for this child that struggles so much in our family. I began to question if I've done everything humanly possible to make sure she succeeds. I began to feel guilty. I feel ashamed for not reaching out to professionals sooner and now we are at a huge crossroads. "This is all my fault" I began to say over and over in my brain. I started resenting her a long time ago but this was all my doing. But, my earthly knight in shining armor reassured me, its not my fault. He assures me that there is hope! He reminds me of my ultimate Knight In Shining Armor - my Heavenly Father - who has this all figured out. He has already shown His Grace and Mercy over the last few days. He has already shown me that He holds the future of my child (not me!). He's got this! He is Sovereign and He doesn't need me to accomplish His will. I am here to protect her, to nurture her, love her, guide her, and most importantly - teach her about the Love and Grace of her Savior, Jesus Christ! I plant the seeds, the Lord makes it grow. I need to let go! But, its so much easier said than done!
I need to first admit that I am STILL a TRAUMA MAMA! My kids struggle. They aren't where they need to be academically. Actually, they are behind in many areas of life. They aren't receiving full scholarships to universities. They aren't the top of the class, the Valedictorian, the Prom Queen. They don't thrive in areas of their peers and you know what - IT IS OKAY!!!!!!!!!! I'm preaching to myself more than anyone! I need to hear this every minute of every day! I need to know that I am going to have to repeat myself over and over to these children that just don't get it the first time and most often, the tenth time. I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that I have a child with major special needs. I need to understand that this is the life that God has so graciously given to me and I need to be thankful for it. I need to realize that I don't have it all together and neither do my children and throw out the expectations. I need to stop comparing my children to those that were adopted from the same orphanage at the same time (this is a big one!). My children are blessings, gifts from my Father and He will equip me to do the work He has called me to do.
Most importantly, I should be seeking Christ and His will for the lives of my children. I should trust Him to heal them of the trauma they experienced at such an early age in life. I need to do a lot less complaining when things aren't going as planned and know He isn't surprised by any of it. I need the Lord now more than ever before! I need to not worry about what man thinks of my situation but lean on my Heavenly Father and curl up into His arms and hear him say "I love you, Rebecca."