Have you ever had moments in life where you can predict what the ending will be like? As if you are stuck in the picture, an almost dream-like sequence where the same conversation, words, steps and actions take place? It’s something we experience on a fairly regular basis with our adopted daughters. I don’t know whether it’s based on comfort or a lack of willingness to be vulnerable, but I believe my wife and I stick out our necks when many other people would probably throw in the towel.
Shopping appears to be a huge sticking point. One year we encouraged people to give our daughters gift cards so they could get more of what they wanted a little bit at a time. The following year, they preferred getting actual gifts. Apparently this season, what they both wanted was on different sides of the spectrum- and as a result when one got cards the other didn’t, jealousy came front and center to the household.
When having a discussion we seem to go around in circles without coming to a resolution. Even when my wife and I give particular examples of a feeling, articulating the reason behind the feeling and filling in the details surrounding it, we can’t achieve the same desired effect from our daughter.
You can change the picture at any time, as long as you are a willing participant in the process. Sometimes I believe people struggle getting out of their own way. They become so rigid in their thought process that to attempt something new would seem scary and it’s easier to be helpless and act as if the whole world is conspiring against you.
Maybe I have to look at the cup half full theory. We haven’t engaged in any stomping. We’ve had one crying fit that lasted less than a minute. You just hope that someday the children will be able to let off their tough exterior and show a side of themselves that allows you to cope and love at the same time.
We will be getting outside additional supports in the coming months from the community. These girls will hopefully have mentors they can also lean on when they feel like they need someone outside of parents and extended family to talk to. We’d love for them to gain some form of energetic activity in the afternoons so they can get some of that emotional and physical steam from school and other stresses out of their system in a productive manner.
As we all know, this is a work in progress. My wife and I can’t fix years of abuse and trauma in seconds, minutes or days. We know it takes commitment, patience, understanding and lots of love. We just want the small fires to burn out so we can take on the bigger issues and make forward progress. You just want a eureka moment to come from the sky and hit their minds, telling them that it’s time to go forth on a new adventure with the brightest of hope and possibilities.
Our pictures are worth more than a thousand words, so I still have faith in the power of change. I’ll grow and hope that my daughters grow as well, either through their own example or through life experience.