My hurt child

I want so badly to say we’ve been home 8 months and that we’ve moved past the rough parts. But frankly that just isn’t true. There are so many times that I equate my child’s behavior to “typical two.” For the most part the behaviors he exhibits are just that, “typical two.” But, there are some behaviors that make me stop.

I work two weeks out of the month. I work from home, but I still work. I sit at my computer a little more than normal and the attention I pay to my child is a little less. By the end of my two weeks he is a child on the edge. He’s cranky, irritable, and generally in need of some extra attention. I make up for those two weeks of the extra attention he craves with two weeks of mommy time. We have a pretty good system worked out.

But this time around there is a monkey wrench thrown into the mix. Daddy’s gone. My husband is my saving grace. He plays with the boy in the evenings so I can get my work done. This week we’ve had no such luxury. It is taking its toll on my boy.

Deep down inside my boy is hurting. I am not so sure of what it is, but it is more than that Daddy just isn’t here. There is a hurt in my child and I can see it. It is a hurt that bubble to the surface every couple of months. A hurt that makes me stop and say, what did they do to you?

I’m not insinuating that the hurt is from the act of being adopted. This hurt is much deeper than that. It comes from two years of institutionalization and having to survive on his own. It comes from the deep down feeling that he had to do everything himself. It comes from a residual fear of trusting us. It is a hurt that I can’t just wish away. I can’t love it away. Oh how badly I want to take this hurt away from my child. I see it in his eyes. He wants it gone too. He looks at me as if to tell me, “mommy make this pain go away.” Oh baby, how I wish I could.

Every few months I have to pull holding time out of my parenting tool box. In our house holding time started as a type of control. The boy had no self-control and would melt down at the smallest thing. He was unable to control emotions in any way. Holding time helped him understand that he could trust us and to ask for help. We use it for similar reasons today. Every so often the boy loses control of his emotions. Holding him and letting him work through his pain helps. He sobs and cries and that hurt little boy shows up in his eyes, but afterward he is a totally different child. He sleeps better, he is happier and he and I get along so much better.

It is the best I can do to help him. I wish so badly that I could take away his pain. I wonder all the time what life truly was like for him. I get angry with myself for not being there for him. Of course that is something I had no control over. I guess that is what makes me a mother.

12 Comment

  1. serena says: Reply

    ohhhh, I know what you mean. I used holding time too. Afterward she felt sooo great about herself, she’d run around hugging herself. It also was good for me to sit with her and work on our relationship those times when I would have preferred to put her in the crib and stomped out of the room. She is learning to cope from me (scary thought).

    Now she loves loves to be held. I’ve kept it a part of our lives to hold her on my lap whenever I can. I feel like its really cemented things. Also its a great tool for control when we are out socially and I see her getting wound up. I can calm her down by holding her a few minutes on my lap. Works waaaay better than time out.

  2. Maggie says: Reply

    Oh, this makes me hurt for him and for you.

    You’re right about the mama bear instinct. When I read Slugger’s detailed paperwork there were extreme details of a particularly horrible night in his life. My gut reaction was to be angry and feel terrible that I wasn’t there to protect him. It’s completely illogical because there’s no way I could have been there. But still, I wish I could have.

  3. Lauri says: Reply

    That is so hard and I know what your talking about… so glad that HT is working, for us it helps get the angries out and is a great bonding tool.

    I just want to love away all of Livi’s hurt and fear. We still deal with those hurts and maybe always will.

  4. Lea says: Reply

    It is heartbreaking to think of what they have been through without us. It is hard to not be able to take away their pain.

    Our boys seem to be doing very well right now but I know that does not mean we won’t see issues down the road.

    We used holding time some when we first got home and will certainly turn to it again in the future if we need to. It is a wonderful tool.

  5. I understand what you are saying. Sometimes her pain is too hard for me to deal with emotionally. Sometimes her needs seem to needy and her holes too big for me to fill.

  6. mom says: Reply

    In each of us genetics plays a role in who we are…sometimes we’re prone to depression, are moody, shy, or outgoing. Whatever. That is part of who we are. We’ll never know how much this plays into Oleg’s personality but let me add all parents ache for their children. My heart aches for both of you (Badly) and anyone who’s raised a child can relate. Adoptive parent’s always have ?’s when they are finally blessed with a child, particularly when they weren’t there in the beginning. Hang in there…I love you…good feelings always overcome bad! Lots of the sadness in his eyes will disappear as he discovers in his little world he’s no longer alone. Time heals wounds, even ones we can’t see. Have faith, Lisa…enjoy the good things life has to offer and Oleg will learn from you a new way of thinking.
    Parenting IS TOUGH!!!!

  7. Nicole says: Reply

    Sorry it is so hard. I think that there is a lot of hurting that these kids go through that we dont even know about. Take care!!

  8. Jenny says: Reply

    The rocking the girls to sleep is our holding time. There are soo many times where they throw a fit and the only thing that works is the holding them and rocking. I find I use it alot and I can tell, when they calm down and cling to me and hold my arm that it is working.

    My girls have the hurt too and I see it. It isn’t as severe but it is there. something a little different.

    Take care and you are in my thoughts!

  9. Jenny says: Reply

    This made me cry – for both of you. And I agree with your Mom – but still….

  10. Tricia says: Reply

    hugs to you and pickle. man, i can’t imagine how hard it is to see his hurt. thinking of you.

    have a fabulous weekend. i’m sooo jealous of your sat night.

  11. Mama K says: Reply

    Long time lurker. Not sure if I commented before.

    I think recognizing this and trying to fix it is what makes you a great mother. It sounds like “holding time” is the best thing you can do to reassure him and let him know it’s ok to feel the way he does. Validating that little boy’s feelings is going to help him grow into a healthy, independent man.

    Hang in there mama!

  12. kate says: Reply

    poor, sweet baby. i wish that hurt would just go away.

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