Today after church, I felt such a longing to hold the lovely newest baby girl at our church. It's been a LONG time since I held a newborn. A long time.
I knew there would be ramifications for choosing to hold sweet, warm E with her sweet little mouth and cute, cuddly little newborn body wrapped up in a soft pink blanket. Ramifications you say? Oh yes. Definitely.
Katya was happily playing across the church when she looked over and saw that bundle in HER Mommy's arms. Her face immediately look horrified, then angry and scared, and she came rushing across the church, and grabbed the baby and then pointed emphatically at another lady standing nearby, signaling that I should give E to THAT lady! When I gently explained that I am "Katya's Mommy, but I want to hold E. too!" she became even more agitated.
I knew this would happen. But I also knew that I had to go through with this process. I had to.
Yes, we understand that Katya has understandable huge issues with insecurity and fear that if I show any love or attention to anyone else that she will lose me as the person who loves HER. It's entirely understandable to me, given what I know of life in the orphanage. It's entirely understandable, knowing she was NOT anyone's favorite in the orphanage, and didn't get the love or attention that favorites did.
Her fear is entirely understandable given how I watched the caregivers treat their favorites. I personally watched one child be pulled up on the lap of a caregiver at the outdoor play time and plied with candies. When several other children came and stood around, wistfully watching and longing for candy too, they were handed the empty wrappers. There was no candy for them.
Think how that would impact a child just having it happen to them one single time. Think how it would impact you if it happened to you over and over and over again. And not just when it came to candies, but when it came to other things as well. This was Katya's life--the bottom of the stack. The low kid on the totem pole. The child that the same care-giver who handed out candy to her favorite told us had "Nothing" in her head and was "crazy". The child that we were laughed at and mocked for wanting to adopt.
So, if that is how they felt about her to our faces, you can only imagine how she was treated behind our backs. The emotional scars run deep.
Katya feels that she finally has someone who loves her, pays her attention, gives her candy, hugs, and kisses--and she does NOT want to risk losing that wonderful source of attention! This fear is understandable. But while I understand, I do not want to let her live her life mired in that pain and fear. I know no other way than THROUGH this with her. Little by little. Step by step.
And today was a day to take a step forward. I did not immediately give up E., even though I paid attention to Katya and assured her that I was her Mommy and loved her. So Katya began to scream. First not too loudly, and then with an ear-piercing shriek. Again and again and again. Her face was the picture of distress.
Now, you have to understand that not always, but sometimes, I am so sure that I am doing the right thing with Katya that I could pretty much care less what the rest of the watching world thinks. Or doesn't think. And today was one of those days.
Still, it was amazingly wonderful to have our pastor sidle up and say to the onlookers, "This is a grieving process! She needs to be allowed to work it through!" He then spoke lovingly to Katya, trying to reassure her. It didn't help Katya at all that I could tell. But you know what? I am so grateful that our pastor "got it" and realized that it was important that I be allowed to work with Katya in this manner. I'm also very grateful that another man in our church stopped Paul and told him that he understands it's hard for us to go through this with Katya, but he thinks that we are doing the right thing to just go through it with. It can be very draining and wearying to go through emotional things like this again and again and again with our hurting children. Support makes a difference. A big difference.
E. soon became restless and legitimately needed to go back to her Mommy, so I handed her over and scooped my own insecure little girl into my arms for hugs and kisses. Someday, I have faith that she will be healed and free from this emotional baggage and pain. Not yet, but someday. In the meantime, I will continue to work with her to let her know that my love is so big that I have room for her, and yet room to enjoy or love other children as well, including her own siblings.
I want her to learn that as big and as deep as my love for her is, God's love is even deeper and bigger. I hug her and rock her most nights and tell her that Mommy and Daddy love her, and God loves her even more. I don't think she understands what that is really all about yet, but I believe the seeds are being planted. With eyes of faith, I believe that someday she will not only understand how deep and true my love for her is, but even more so how deep and true God's love is for her.
In the meantime, until healing comes, support makes a big difference. I'm grateful for how it came today.
How are you supporting families with special needs children?