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shattered security

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm sitting in my van typing this live. That's the awesome thing about living in a bigger city - all the modern conveniences. ;>)
I just wish the reason I'm sitting in my van were just as awesome.
I'm waiting for my 10 year-old to get out of AWANA.
Don't get me wrong. I want Alek to attend AWANA...it's a great church program. It helps instill the Word of God in his heart. This kid knows more memory verses than I could have even dreamed of at his age.
Its just that getting Alek here was a test of my endurance. He came up with every excuse imaginable why he couldn't go.

-- He couldn't find his book.
-- K-State was playing on TV tonight.
-- He hadn't practiced his trumpet yet.
-- A sudden headache was 'cramping' his head and he couldn't think straight - although when told to take some medicine and go to bed he was magically cured. (I wasn't born yesterday. ;>)

Finally we reached an agreement. He would come...if I would wait outside for him.
We have been through this same scenario time and time again.
It's the same story any time there's any change in his routine.
He was nervous.
Not the twittery stomach kind. Nope. This is the full blown anxiety attack.
I've noticed it in Q-ball more lately.
He about had a meltdown the day I went to the funeral at the thought that I might not be the one picking them up from school.
When my Mom picked the kids up last week, he had to call her that morning and give her the run down of events to make sure they were all on the same page.
And every night last week while I was gone, we would go through the same routine, the same questions about when I was returning...the time, the airline, the type of plane.
I know that a lot of it is caused by all of the upheaval in his life lately.
But unfortunately, the issue runs much deeper than that.
Of the three oldest children, Alek had it the worst in the orphanage. It was back in the late 90's before international adoptions were common. The orphanage conditions were not good...so much so that we were encouraged not to ask to see the room where Alek spent most of his days.
I guess they thought ignorance might be bliss.
We were young and stupid enough to go along with it.
Alek came home scarred.
He didn't want to be held.
He couldn't be comforted.
He didn't keep eye contact...
He couldn't' feel pain.
He rocked constantly, incessantly...
Attachment was completely out of the question.
Eventually, thankfully, over time, we were able to break through the barriers our little guy had built up to protect himself. He is now a happy, healthy, loving kid, who isn't afraid to give us a hug and tell us he loves us and MEAN it.
But he isn't without his scars.
And the biggest one of all is Alek knows we love him...knows it in his head...but it doesn't reach his heart.
And that breaks mine.
He can't trust that we'll always be there for him.
I can only imagine what is going on inside his handsome head when the anxiety starts.
He gave me a round of 20 questions before he would let me walk out the church door tonight...
'You're going to be in the van, Mom, right?'
'You're not going to move the van, though, right Mom?"
'You won't go anywhere while I'm here...not even Walmart?"
'It's only an hour and a half, Mom. DON'T LEAVE!'
'Don't move the van Mom. I may not be able to find you. It'll be dark.'
'What happens if it gets over early?'
Finally I stopped him, looked deep in his gorgeous blue eyes and said, 'Alek. Have I ever lied to you?'
"Alek, look at me...I will sit across the street in the van, in the same spot we parked in, waiting for you. I won't leave. I PROMISE.'
He finally seemed satisfied and quietly turned back to watching the other kids play.
It's been almost ten years since we brought our scrawny, scrappy little guy home from Russia, and yet, somehow, his past still has the ability to reach through time and grab him, dragging him back to his shattered world of insecurity without warning.
All of this has me wondering...
Do our little ones ever fully heal? Does their history always hang around waiting to raise its ugly head? Is there anything I can do as a parent to get through to him that he CAN trust in our love...in our word?
I know God CAN and DOES heal...and I fully believe He WILL, IF its in His will. But I also believe he uses these experiences and scars to mold us and use us for His glory.
I keep praying for full healing, for all of my children. Full and complete, so they can lead a normal, healthy life.
But I am prepared. God may have other things in mind for my Q-ball.
Either way it's got to be something absolutely awesome.
Update: Alek made it an hour into AWANA before he ran out to the van to 'check' on me...just to make sure I was alright. Sigh. I should have spent this hour praying, instead of blogging. ;)

21 salty messages:

Gail September 17, 2008 at 9:28 PM  

My first thought was 9/11. It seemed like that was all that was on television that day and even our school's here had a "moment of silence." While all that is well and good, it is an awful lot for some, especially children, to handle. Did your children have a lot of exposure to it this year?

Tami September 17, 2008 at 9:51 PM  

Nope. It's not 9/11. The kids haven't ever really had a lot of exposure to what happened that day. Of course they know about it...but we protected them from the images.
I am convinced it has everything to do with his early childhood...living an orphanage (especially one as bad as Alek's) has a long-lasting, profound effect on these kiddos...and I'm not sure the healing is ever complete.

jessy September 17, 2008 at 10:13 PM  

It is a kind of prayer, Tami. Reaching out to God, but also to your sisters in Christ. We are supposed to bear each other's burdens. I am crying for baby Alek. That he was not in a good place. That he was damaged and he still hurts from that wound.
I don't have any answers (you are alot farther down this road than I am...and are probably walking it with a more dignity and grace, too). But I'm with you. I completely understand the emotion of this post.
Now that you are in the "big" city, perhaps you can find a professional therapist. It might be good to begin a relationship with one now, as Alek is on the threshold of adolescence, which is supposed to be when children who are adopted struggle the most. (That sentence scares the life out of me!!)
If in nine years he is not able to fully trust your love, stability, and commitment, it might be time to get professional help.

Suzanne September 17, 2008 at 10:38 PM  

My son's KINDERGARTEN teacher - fully knowing my son's background - taught them about concentration camps. HELLO?

Ceeseelee September 18, 2008 at 1:01 AM  

God has a plan for Alek. His eye was on him while he lived in that orphange, and his eye is on him now. He can make up for those years, just like He made up for the years the locusts took from Israel. For a reason we don't understand He allowed Alek, to live in that way, maybe to play a part in shaping him into the person God wants him to be. His timing is perfect even if it seems like forever to us. Ten years is nothing to Him. Healing takes a lot of time. Who knows how your little guy may be able to use his experiences to help others in the future. Your doing a great job, hang in there. God will complete the work he has begun in your family. He is faithful.

Tina in CT September 18, 2008 at 6:22 AM  

Poor little guy. Wasn't it around a year when he left there to become part of your family? What an effect the orphanage had on his yound mind and heart. Hopefully as the years go by and he has more and more of your love, it will fade more and more.

Anonymous,  September 18, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

It is so ironic that you left this post because i was just watching an episode of nanny 911, and they were also dealing with the seperation from mom thing with a ten year old.He didn't want to go to karate without his mom being there the whole time.The parents thought it was a security thing,but the nanny proved it was that he was being babied to much.Do you think that maybe because he is your first that you are guilty of this without being aware of it? Just something to think about.

Tami September 18, 2008 at 11:32 AM  

Thanks for the comment. While I am convinced it runs much deeper than that, I suppose that is a possibility, although we try to push him to do more things on his own. He is getting better. I sat outside the church - across the street, a big improvement from a few years ago...AND once he is comfortable with the new change he does just fine. I will keep an eye on the babying thing though...you never what I could be guilty of! :)

Jill September 18, 2008 at 6:50 PM  

Hi there. I enjoyed reading this post. I'm that friend of Katie's (Mixed Nuts) and will be traveling to Ukraine next month. I am very interested to see how/where adopted children have become down the road. I'm concerned that even when I will try my BEST I won't be a perfect mom to them. I just pray to God that it will be enough. :o)

Drew Michelle and Luke Paras September 18, 2008 at 7:57 PM  

Alek sounds so much like my son (bio). My son had a head injury 2 years ago which has cause all kinds of emotional problems including security. He would have full anxiety attacks if he didn't see me at pick up. I think I mentioned before we got him a "free" cell phone. It has helped some.

What is strange for Luke is, he can go off on his own terms and not be bothered by it. But if he comes in the house from playing and can't find me he will freak out. I mean a 9 year old boy reduced to tears if I was in the bathroom and didn't hear him calling me.

We discourage sleep overs because I was tired of driving over to the kids house at 2 am and having to wake up the other parents! His fear will consume him.

My mantra "he won't go to college not being able to tie his shoes" or whatever seems to be the issue right then.

Maybe once you settle in a bit more Alek will feel more secure. I am betting your love is reaching his heart and he doesn't even know!

Gail September 18, 2008 at 9:23 PM  

Jessy made some really good points. I agree with looking for some kind of help now before he gets any older. It also breaks my heart to think about what he is going through inside. I'll be praying for him and for wisdom for you and Shad.

MoscowMom September 18, 2008 at 10:01 PM  

Oh, Tami... Big hugs for you and Alek... The way you handled it sounds perfect... I can't help but believe that all the years of your example -- of your always telling him the truth, always being there for him -- will eventually break down those barriers for him... Hang in there; God knew what He was doing when he made you his parents!

MamaPoRuski September 20, 2008 at 2:20 PM  

As a child of a broken past with passive/aggressive tendencies, yes we can heal...with help and support and gradual steps. I still have issues I am aware of the root cause, laugh at my resonse, but am helpless at times to change it! I had to be a mom to fully understand trusting my heavenly father.

annacyclopedia January 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM  

I came over from the Creme and wish Alek and your whole family much peace, healing, and joy in 2009.

Chelle January 2, 2009 at 1:34 PM  

I also found this post via the creme. What an incredible journey for you and your family. You are all so blessed to have each other. What a fantastic mother you are. All of my best to you and your family.

Billy January 3, 2009 at 6:38 AM  

So sad.
But so happy to hear he has you as a family, holding him tight and letting him know you will always be there for him.

Lisa January 3, 2009 at 5:29 PM  

Here from the Creme. I am moved by the beauty of your family and wish you all peace and happiness!

Emily (Apron Strings) January 5, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

Here from Mel's list. Just wanted to say that this post was absolutely wonderful. Thanks fo posting this to Creme de la Creme

JamieD January 6, 2009 at 3:52 AM  

What a beautiful yet heartbreaking post. I can't imagine anything more devastating to a mother than their child not trusting that they will always be there for them.

Wishing you peace and strength . . .

A n T January 8, 2009 at 9:10 PM  

Here from the Creme: From what you have said, Alek had a hard life although he was young, he faced and had to endure some things that we would not imagine. And I think because of that, he does still hurt, he does still remember and the same way we have nightmares about our issues, he has the same. Just continue to shower him with the love that you have been doing and hopefully with time he will grow out of it and blossom into a wonderful, independent man!

JuliaS January 23, 2009 at 1:35 PM  

How heartbreaking - the devastation some of the kids in this world have to deal with completely staggers me.

How fortunate Alek is to have you. My best wishes that he is able to feel the love and security you provide him in his heart very soon.

Creme de la creme 2008

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