Thursday, August 16, 2012

Holding Time

My heart is sad and heavy. It aches for my child who, at the age of 5, has never been held, never been rocked to sleep, never loved with an unconditional love by another living being.  At 5 years of age she doesn't even know HOW to be held.  You may think that is foolish....everybody knows how to be held. It is not true.  As babies we learn how to be held and how to receive love.  She never spent countless hours in her mother's arms as she sang sweet lullabies, looked her in the eye and told her how beautiful she was or how she was a dream come true, nursed her and rocked her to sleep.  As a result of this, my child has learned how to self-soothe and to put herself to sleep.  This involves some pretty severe behaviors.  She rocks!  And I don't mean a slight gentle rock or even a small sway back and forth. I mean her entire body flails from side to side, quickly, and violently.  All the time she is rocking she chews her fingers...not suck...chews!  She has bite marks on her hands.  We went to the dentist yesterday and he told us that due to this behavior she has completely re-aligned her jaw and will need extensive corrective therapy to repair it.  You can see it in her smile. I thought it was a nervous behavior of chewing on her right lower lip, but it is actually how her jaw is now aligned.

Last night I held her while she flailed, kicked, screamed and pinched me for an hour and a half!  It was not easy, but it was necessary.  She kept wanting to get into her bed and have me leave. I knew why. She wanted to resort to the only way that she knew how to calm herself down and to fall asleep.  She was angry, but I know that it will take time to teach a new behavior to a child who has lived for 5 long years only knowing one way.  We have to teach her how to be loved, how to be held, how to trust.  It is tough. It is exhausting. I wanted to give in...many times.  I found myself angry. Angry that a mother would give her child up knowing that she would never be swaddled or consoled when she was frightened, or sad, or hungry.  I was angry that I never had the chance to have a baby to love on and that God keeps giving us the tough assignments of teaching love to these vulnerable, previously unloved children.  It was a long night and I have to admit I'm not proud of some of my thoughts. But, we persevered by the grace of God. I felt His love flowing through me when my own was insufficient (which was most of the time).

We are going to be doing lots more holding, and touching, and showing love through our actions to this precious child, just as we did with the previous five girls.  If you think about us please send up a prayer, especially at bedtime, which should be a peaceful, quiet time of reflection on the day, prayers and book reading.  It will be a while before we have that scenario in our house again.  It is hard for the other girls to watch and listen to as well.  It has brought up many emotions in them.  But I will save that blog for another time....

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