Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve With You

When you are waiting for your child to come home you have plenty of time to fantasize about the holidays with them. And like so many of our children, we have these unrealistic visions of what our first Christmas should be. You might tell yourself over and over again that your child is not capable of appreciating the gifts being showered upon her. You prepare for tantrums as best you can. You think you are ready, but then the excitement takes over and you start to anticipate that this Christmas might just turn out how you dreamed and then it all comes crashing down. Sweetie, like so many other children coming home from foster care is having huge issues during the holidays. We have been dealing with daily defiance on just about anything. I am trying to create as many moments of joy as I can. Even if it is just for a minute, we need these moments! Sweetie had another rough day yesterday. So I decided we should do a little baking therapy and made some gingerbread cookies. There is always a way to make a mess and a get a good laugh while making cookies! While we were decorating our gingerbread cookies I dabbed frosting on my nose and then Sweetie's nose. This turned into a frosting fight! Sweetie was laughing so hard she pee'd herself. It was awesome to chase her around the house trying to rub frosting in her hair and on her face! It was really awesome to see her so happy. She really is like a toddler when she drops her guard. I love to spend time with this Sweetie. She is the one who yells "Mommy and comes running to my bedroom door the minute she hears me up in the am". Now the "controlling Sweetie" is the one that was slamming the bathroom door repeatedly to wake me up just 2 minutes earlier. But at this stage of development emotionally she does not realize that 2 Sweeties are one in the same. And developmentally this is right on target for a toddler. It's called Permanency. To believe something exist even when you can't see it. It is the most basic of developmental benchmarks and so many children in foster care have a weak version of it or non at all. I do not believe Sweetie has it at all. Out of sight is truly out of mind. As if it never existed at all. I could go into her room any day and remove half her toys and she would not even know that anything was missing. I know because I have done this. When she was in the hospital, Shelli came over and we cleaned up and purged so many toys and clothing. Sh has never even asked about it. Even when she was at Shelli's house and was playing with one of the toys we cleaned out that I gave to Shelli to have at her house for her nephew to play with, she just said "I used to have one of these". This is really important because when she can't see me, it is almost as if I don't exist or as if I am not coming back. She is genuinely excited every time I do come home. She cheers and has a genuine sense of relief. Can you imagine feeling in your core that every time your loved one walked out the door they were not returning. Take that one step further and now imagine that it has happened so much that you are not upset by the fact that that person may never come back. Everyone else goes away and doesn't come back, so why expect that loved one to? That must be a scary place to live. We have been giving a gift or two a day to limit the number of gifts under the tree. Having a ton be here on Christmas morning would completely throw her into a tantrum. She will either love everything, feel unworthy of the gifts and sabotage the or she will feel she didn't get enough and will be mad about that. So either way we are sitting on top of a ticking time bomb. This really was not how I envisioned Christmas at all! These are the real things that adoptive parents face that you don't hear about. We had a wonderful service at church tonight. It was so nice to share that time with Sweetie, to sit with my arm wrapped around her, her head on my shoulder as we sang various Christmas songs. That has been the highlight of my Christmas season. I was so proud of her for sitting through the whole service. She grabbed a program and asked if we could scrapbook about it. My hope and prayer this Christmas is that the seeds that were planted in service tonight will grow and blossom in her. That she will know her worthiness. That she will come to know true unconditional love.That her heart will fully heal from the trauma and be filled with love and compassion for others. It is almost midnight on Christmas Eve and all the presents are wrapped and under the tree. I am sitting here in the glow of the Christmas tree and I reflect upon the crazy year that has passed. What a year it has been. It started as the most incredible year, followed by the greatest heartbreak of my life. But tonight I sit here a mom. Our family may be broken in ways that may never be fixed, but we are a family. We are a family full of love and laughter. That is all I could ever ask for any Christmas.

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