Are you raising adopted children who survived trauma?
We are organizing a new support network for metro Atlanta to:
befriend and support each other,
enjoy each other’s company,
affirm each other’s experiences,
find ways to help our children,
back each other up,
have each other to depend upon
and for everyday help.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Being Traumatized Ourselves
Our families don't fit that mold. Our children were traumatized in the homes of their first families. Some of them were starved, left unattended for hours and even days, beaten, and even sexually abused by the very people that were supposed to love and protect them. When our children's needs were ignored, they began to learn that no one could be trusted. They became anxious, never knowing who or if anyone would ever help them. Over time, it became anger. Eventually, they landed in our homes with new parents ready to snuggle and love all their boo boos away. Some of them showed their anger and mistrust by destroying their nice new things, spitting on us, kicking, hitting, acting out sexually, and some even tried to harm themselves or others to prove they weren't worthy of being loved. Our love was foreign to them.
We stood there and watched all the hoopla thinking we must be crazy. How could this adorable child be so charming and sweet to the check out lady and kick us in the head all the way home in the van? How could you tell your friends and family and make them believe? If you were brave enough, they probably explained how you must be doing something wrong, or it is all typical kids behavior. You began to think it must be you. You questioned your behavior, your motives, your parenting, everything. You searched out parenting books and advice from your doctor. Nothing worked. As your child got worse and became a danger to you or your other children, you began to wonder what you have done to your family. You didn't know what else there was to do. Disruption thoughts began to slip in your thoughts and depression set in.
You are not alone. There are families out there struggling to parent traumatized children and being traumatized ourselves during this process. I can't say this group will fix your problems or save your family. I can say finding a support group that will not judge you can save your sanity and give you the strength to go on when you feel you are at the end of your rope. We can help each other find new ways that will help you help your child learn to trust you. We can support each other when the smell of pee sends you into a sobfest, provide respite for each other when we need some down time, and even help you explain to the school why this isn't your fault and teach them how to help you instead of getting sucked into your child's lies or manipulations.
Tell me what you need. What are you struggling with? What behaviors push your buttons the fastest and are the hardest to deal with? What resources are you having a hard time finding? Are you confused about where to begin to look for help? What can we do for you?