My kids have been in our home for over 18 months! It has been a crazy time full of highs and lows and stress and sleeplessness and doctor appointments. When the kids first moved in it was as if everyone was walking on egg shells. Unsure of how certain actions or words would effect the other people. Since then we have found our grove and feel like family in all senses of the word. Which is awesome!
But it also makes this hard. Wait what? Feeling like a family makes things hard? That makes no sense! But it does. When my kids first came to us Joel and I were painfully aware of the difficulties they had experienced and how those difficulties may be impacting them and their behaviors. Now that things have settled in it is all too easy for us as parents to just see the behavior as willful and hurtful and unnecessary. Last night we had a family meeting where we all talked about what has been going on and how to fix it. It was during this meeting that it hit me. Something was going on. Not in real current life (soooo much supervision) but in their minds. Preston was the first to verbalize feeling unsafe. When we talked about what was making him feel unsafe he listed names of birth family members and actions of siblings when they lived in birth home. Cayla and Skye both agreed that they were thinking those things too and had been having bad dreams. We talked about what a trigger is and how to figure out what is triggering. We talked about how to calm your body even when you feel unsafe and we talked about coming to mom and dad for help even if you don’t know what’s wrong.
Sometimes I forget just what my kids experienced before us. I wish I could take all the pain and trauma and hardships and memories and deal with them myself and free my kids up to live a happy calm life. But I have yet to find a way to do that (if you know of one let me know). Sometimes when my kids are struggling I yearn to know why.
Sometimes there are no why’s that I will ever know. Sometimes the most I can do is let them know that they are not alone and keep them safe (even from themselves). Sometimes, (ok most times) when these types of times happen I feel inadequate and not helpful. I feel angry that my kids went through this and helpless that I can’t make it better.
Right now we are deep in the middle of our latest sometimes. It’s tough. The kids feed off of each other’s emotions (can you say trauma bond?) and all spiral together. These behaviors for the most part are minor. But the parent in me sees beneath to the scared and struggling child in chaos. I hate seeing that in my kids because that is a crappy way to feel! Here’s hoping we can offer enough stability and supervision and love and grace to get through this latest sometimes together and stronger for it.