Four years ago, we stepped off an airplane and started our lives as a family of three.
I have had four years of parenting under my belt. I know Davy Beach better than I know anyone. I love her to the moon and back. I would kick anyone in the teeth who tried to hurt her. I am her momma bear and she is my child. Fuck with her and there will be hell to pay.
There has been a point in my parenthood where I realized that things weren’t just right. Situations that other four year olds could handle, seemed to really throw our girl for a loop. At first I thought, it must be me, it must be that I am a shitty parent. I went to back into therapy because things didn’t seem right. I went to a parenting coach. All the stuff she had me try- really wasn’t working. On the day of our last session she said to me “maybe you should find a therapist for davy”
Now, I consider myself a fairly self away adoptive parent. i am well educated on trauma and grief. Davy wasn’t doing well. She didn’t seem happy. New situations gave her so much anxiety. She regularly growls at strangers. She has a hard time negotiating other kids. Saying what she wants and needs without using her hands (or in some instances teeth). But I chalked it up to her being very shy. Her emotions flood her and when she is seeing red, all we can do is contain her until the storm passes. It’s heartbreaking. Guess what? There is a lot of grief and trauma.
Life at home was (and often still is) WAY out of whack. Davy will argue from sun up until sun sets. Andy travels for work and when he is gone its worse. She is angry and volatile. Life is stressful.
When the parenting coach suggsteed we find a therapist for davy, a huge lightbulb went on. We need help. Davy is in pain and this pain has been with her all along. She is just maturing enough to express it more. We all need to rally around our girl and help her heart heal. We needed a lot of help.
I interviewed several therapists who deal with adoption. Several. The one we settled on, is a youngish woman in NW Portland (the other side of the bridge). She has and adoptive sibling and a foster kid. She wan’t new agey, she was pragmatic and realistic. I liked her immediately. Andy liked her too (which helps because he is allergic to therapy). All of us need to go with Davy. As long as andy is in town, he is coming with us.
So for the last few months we have been going to Davy’s “Feelings helper” whom, davy absolutely loves. We watch her rage in these session. Rage. Throw things, have fits, rage. The therapist has said that davy looks like a fairly classic case of grief and trauma. Grief and Trauma. Building up in our girl.
As Davy learns more about her story, her grief has become more palpable. Just recently she started crying in my arms longing for her first mother. Sometimes she will get quiet and Ill ask her what she thinking about. She will say “I wish A was my mommy”. As a parent who is literally prepared to give this child anything she needs, it is so heartbreaking that I can’t give her that. I understand that she can love her and me. I understand that it is an honor and my responsibility to help her mourn the loss of her first family.
As she becomes more aware and more mature she is able to express her grief. God its so hard. So heartbreaking.
I know that hearts heal. I know that our girls who has endured so much in the first months of her life, will feel better. The depth of her grief is staggering. We need to give her time, and the tools to help her. We need to support her in this and moving though it.
I wish I could go back in time and look at our girl and know what was coming. I feel fortunate enough to know that the act of letting us sooth her is because we have spent the last four years building a strong and loving relationship.
I will say it again, hearts heal. Grief has a beginning middle and end. Core beliefs shift. Our beautiful daughter is SO strong, smart, sensitive and brave. SO brave.
I am sorry this familiversery feels so heavy. We honor our daughter and her first family. All she has gained and all she has lost.