Thursday, May 21, 2009
Milestones - Tears of Joy for a Mother
Adopting older children is so special and challenging in an entirely different way from adopting a baby.
Carter and Maraya did not have anyone to really turn to when they got hurt. So when they would get hurt here at home - they would not react as my other children do - running to me for comfort.
When we first came home - if I heard them crying I immediately ran to them to comfort and help them fix whatever the problem was. As time went on - I had to stop running to them. You see, at some point they need to choose to come to me for comfort. It was hard. I remember watching Maraya crying - usually not over something terribly big - a small scrape, or hurt feelings by a sibling - but she would just sit there and sob. When she was finished she would stand up, look around and then go about her business.
One day - at a park with friends she got hurt - again - nothing very big - but she came running to me crying and wanting a hug! This was so huge for me, as she chose to come to me for comfort - a big step in the bonding process. She hasn't stopped coming to me since.
Likewise, Carter would do his very best not to cry if he got hurt or was disciplined. You know that constant, can't catch your breath thing kids do when they are trying with all their might not to cry - Ya - that is what he would do. It was like he didn't feel safe letting it all go. This would be a big problem as he gets older and deals with his emotions if he can't even get it out now.
Well, one day he did a big thing that he admittedly knew was wrong. He was sent to his room and disciplined - and you guessed it - he tried not to cry. I left the room for a few minutes, really to see if he would cry by himself. He still would not. I entered the room, asked if he wanted to be held - he said yes. I held him tight and just told him over and over "It is ok to cry". He finally did and let it ALL OUT. He held on to me so tight - like a dam had been broken - he let everything out. He still holds back a little - but we just tell him it is ok to cry and hold him and he is fine. He is feeling safe with us - what a blessing.
I don't think they really understood what it meant to be comforted - They were likely too young to remember being really comforted by any family members - and with so many kids in the orphanage and transition house - it seems like they just figured out a way to deal with things on their own.
Don't we also do that sometimes with our Father - our God. Try to handle things on our own instead of running to him - but when we do run to him and let it all out it is always so much better.