Welcome to Rob and Candy's Blog

We are going PINK- we are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We'll be sharing our journey to adopt our daughter!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Orphanage Dust

Do you see that?  It's orphanage dust, it's blowing through our house again.  Every time I think it's gone for good it comes back and I am unprepared.  This time it's a small dusting but it still caught me by surprise.  It's  more manageable than previous times but I desperately want it to be gone forever.  The supplements have made a huge difference but some triggers to the past are so strong.... it's really hard to put it all into words....

Tonight Igor was so angry he pulled his pillow and blanket off his bed and crawled under his bed to sleep.  This broke my heart.  To most parents this makes no sense, they think Igor is being defiant.   But I flash back to 2005, I remember the first few months Igor was home.  He would not sleep in a bed.  He would only sleep on the floor.  There was was something about sleeping in a bed that scared him. For months he would fall asleep with me next to him on the floor in his room. Before Rob and I went to bed Rob would pick Igor up and put him in his bed.  In the morning we would peek in on Igor and he would be back on the floor asleep.  We finally decided to let Igor sleep on the floor until he was ready to sleep in the bed.

When I see Igor as an eight year old boy crawling under his bed for safety- I see the frightened 3 1/2 year old boy we brought home from Russia and I want to scream- DO NOT GO BACK THERE!  You are safe with us.  But I don't because Igor cannot really hear me and I don't think he remembers much about his first year with us.  Igor's mind has gone some where else.  He is scared and confused, his body tense with anger.... he is looking for his safe place under the bed. I let him go there for a while.  Then I pull him out and put him in our bed.  He is growling at me, refusing to use words.  His body language tells me he does not want to be in my room, in my bed, his force shields are up but I wait it out.  A few minutes later he gets closer to me.  Soon our legs are touching and then Igor puts my arm around him.  Igor is relaxed now.  He drifts off to sleep.  I get out of bed and he calls out "mom...".  He wants me to come back but he can not or will not say the words.  I sit with him until I hear the deep, slow breaths of sleep.

The selfish, ugly side of me is so tired of orphanage dust.  I think - you have been home with us for FIVE YEARS!  TRUST US!  I'm tired of not knowing what will trigger Igor to go back to his fight or flight ways.  I am tired of my son not trusting me in every situation.  I am tired of Igor thinking he MUST protect himself because we might not.
I am plain old  t i r e d.

I pick up the book Rob bought me for Christmas- Bringing up Boys.  It has nothing to do with orphanages or orphans.  I read this:
Chronic neglect of boy and girls during the first two years of life is devastating psychologically and neurologically.  The brain is a dynamic and interactive organ that requires stimulation from the outside world.  When children are ignored, mistreated, or shuffled form one caregiver to another, terrible losses occur in thinking capacity.  The more severe the abuse the greater the damage is done. 

It was as if God had put that paragraph in the book just for me.  While this was not new information it was a great reminder of what has happened to my son before we brought him home.  I am reminded, when Igor was 1, 2 and 3 years old, his brain was being wired for survival.  He was building up walls, no, something so much stronger... he was building a force shield to protect himself physically and emotionally.  For the last five years we have been earning Igor's trust.  We have been trying to develop new neuro-path ways in Igor's brain to help him better react to hunger, fear, frustration, anger, etc... but it's been a long road.

After reading the paragraph in the book, I am not so tired.  I know that Igor has come so far from the the 3 1/2 year old boy we brought home.  We will continue moving forward together.

I know that I am being refined as a mom by God's own hand. But some days the refining process is a little overwhelming and I'm tired again.  Then I am reminded that we are refining Igor, helping him rewire his brain and I realize he must be tired too.


Karen said...

Candy - you are truly, truly a wonderful mother. Truly. Your family is so blessed to have you. ~Karen Wistrom

KLT said...

I so so so identify with this post. The "orphanage dust" expression may be a little different, but the self-survival mode is just as evident. And I resonate with your expressions of tiredness. But, then, you remember. I reread some of my boy's adoption paperwork this week...and was confronted again with the heart-wrenching past of my son--MY SON! How I wish for him to never have those feelings, the need to utilize those well-practiced methods of coping...but when I think about the reasons why...at least my tiredness has a fullness to it--an exhaustion that comes from giving your all for such a worthy cause. Thank you for having the courage to share this. To encourage others. And to provide a beautiful example of perseverence! May God's grace continue to be with you all the way.

Andrew and Esther said...

A friend of mine sent me the link to your post. Thank you for the courage to share, as someone else also mentioned. Our daughter had a bad night this week, and it's encouraging to see other moms deciding to wade it out, pray it through and love on them. What a beautiful journey of redemption adoption is.

heather said...

Thank you for sharing your heart! I can relate to what you shared and it helped to renew me.


CM and JM said...

Beautifully written Candy!

Apryl said...

Poignant post--the dust never completely goes away. Different with every child, and I always have the same reaction. Tired. Frustrated. Nice to know that I'm not alone, sometimes I have to wonder...question if WE did something different if things would be easier for the kids. Remembering their first years always convicts me and gives me patience, but my first reaction is usually, "Please, are we doing this again?!"

Thanks for sharing,

The Stagers said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is beautiful, heart-wrenching and encouraging. Thank you for your honesty. I think of your family often and I will continue praying for you and your sons and this journey you are on. Thank you so much for leaving that link for me on my blog - I hadn't seen it so I appreciate you thinking of us!