Wednesday, May 2, 2012


You will keep in perfect peace 
those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3

 I do not rest in “perfect peace” for very long, or very often.  My mind whirls around “what if’s” more than it is ever steadfast.  I would like to believe I do indeed trust in God.  However, I’m sure there are some who would tell me the PTSD I’ve developed these last five years or so, and the hyper-vigilance in which I live much of my life, proves otherwise.  It is what it is.  I am who I am.  Some people love me.  Some aren’t so fond of me.  I am learning to be okay with that.

I wish so much that my hurt kids – your hurt kids – could learn to be okay with it, too.  I guess if I’m still learning to "be okay with it," then it is a bit much to expect it out of someone so much younger than I, who has been through so much more than I.

“Wait a minute, TMT.  You’re saying YOU have PTSD?  I thought it was your kids that were dealing with complex trauma and attachment issues.”

Yes, Grasshopper.  I have developed my own full-blown case of PTSD.  Going through what I went through in Eastern Europe to get my two youngest children home was enough to develop the disorder.  (Just ask my friend, Diana who had a similar experience.  Like her, “I’d rather shave my legs with a spoon than go through THAT again.”  However, it is the 4.5 years that have followed, parenting two hurt tweens into their teens, that have brought me to my own very real state of not-so-perfect peace. 

For anyone reading who may be a pre-adoptive parent or a newly adoptive parent, PLEASE understand this:  It is still worth it and I’d still do it all again if it meant having The Princess and Youngest Son as MY children.  Heck, I’d go through that and more.  Well, now I would.  (Being honest here.)  Now that I love them and they are fully mine.  But it took time.  We didn’t bond instantly.  I didn’t feel as though they were “mine” for a very long time after they were home, and even that came in stages and is still a process because attachment is a two-way street.  It is worth it.  But it’s not for everyone.  Don’t do it because adoption is the call of the Church, or because all your friends are doing it and are having an okay time through it.  Don’t do it because the kids are cute.  Don’t do it because you want to make a difference.  Do it because you are called and it is your life to do it.  Do it because you know these kids are yours, even if they don’t FEEL like they’re yours and it takes a long time.  It’s worth it.  But it’s not for everyone.  And it’s stinkin’ hard sometimes.  It’s frightening.  It’s not easy to dwell in perfect peace.  Trust is not a steadfast understanding here all the time.  Trust is sometimes hanging on by the fingernails for dear life because you’re completely spent and there’s nothing else to do but hang on.  Sometimes, trust is letting go. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him,
 and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6

 Whenever I begin to try and understand what it really means to raise two teenagers from another culture who have been through the abuse and neglect my kids have been through and yet, are still standing, still thriving the best they know how, still trying hard – really, really HARD – to make it in this world, and that I get to be a part of that with all my faults and failures, I am blown away.  Words don’t come.  Still, the path is far from straight.  So I hang onto the promise that He will make it straight in His time.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

 I definitely have PTSD.  I have been through things with my youngest children that I never really believed I’d be through when I was in the process of adopting them.  They have had reactions to things that have triggered them into post-trauma that took me a long time to understand.  Their actions and words, the fear of “what if,” and the times they did things like “disappear” on me leave me with my own sense of hyper-vigilance.  I am triggered by things I never imagined.  I know am not alone.  You are not alone.  People who parent hurt kids with RAD, PTSD, ADHD, etc. often end up with their own PTSD and even depression sometimes.  Here’s an article to read:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Parents of Reactive Attachment Disordered Children.  If you really want to dig in, here is a Google link with several scholarly articles on the subject.


Back to PTSD and my own triggers.  I know of more than one girl with PTSD and RAD my daughter’s age that is expecting a baby.  We’re talking 13 and 14 year old girls.  Granted, I know that even girls raised from the womb in stable families sometimes get pregnant at very young ages.  However, I imagine kids from hurt backgrounds have a much higher chance of it.  The girls I know about who are pregnant are from hurt backgrounds.  Am I afraid The Princess could make me a Gramma before my adult sons ever do?  Yes!  I’m scared spitless.  I actually lose sleep over it.  I am not at perfect peace.  I don’t want to raise a baby at the age of 50+.

Am I afraid The Princess will go off with “a friend” and get into Lord-knows-what kinds of trouble?  Yes.  She was at an orchestra competition today and the teachers let the kids roam the school, unsupervised while they waited for their events.  She met some boys and “made friends” with them.  Oh, but don’t ask her their names.  She doesn’t know.  She has no clue how much this kind of behavior triggers my fear for her.  She really doesn't see why I'd be upset by knowing she did this.  

For those of you who’ve lived through this, or are living through it right now, know I am praying for you.  I admire you.  You are awesome. 

As for my purpose here with this blog, all I can do is share my own struggles.  I can let you know you're not alone.  I can encourage you to hang onto the promise that our paths will become straight.  I can suggest that, perhaps, "perfect peace" is manifested in the ability to just keep going -- to just keep loving -- to find people that can "be there" for you when things are the toughest, people who will not leave when you need them most -- and to hang on by the fingernails when there's nothing else you can do.  When those times do come, please let me know.  I'll pray for you and I'll be a loyal ear.  We trauma mamas need to stick together. 

1 comment:

Diana said...

Amen and Amen.

Oh, how I wish that I had NO idea what you're talking about...

I wish I could say that healing is linear for any of us, but it's not. We have points when we're doing well and we have times where we hide it well...and there are times when we CAN'T hide how NOT well we are. I've been through all of it. My kids have too.

Love you, Mama. Breath in, breath out, and one day soon you'll come face to face with God's sense of humor like I did last week and you'll be able to give that stupid PTSD a GIANT ninja kick in the rear. :-)