By an Adopt4Life Community Parent
The night was short, my brain was overwhelmed with memories that filled me with fears. Pain kept me up, unable to escape through dreamland allowing me for a short moment, to forget. Instead, my brain took me down the alley way of memory lane. The one that someone living with trauma would wish they could erase with a simple snap of their fingers… Gone. Forever gone, the pain and the memories that haunts my day today, and every day.
As a mother of four beautiful children who have all suffered from trauma early in their developmental childhood, I often find myself wondering why they refuse to dig into their past, revisit the pain they lived, though, through no fault of their own. And give back ownership to those who have impacted their short lives in so many ways, through all types of abuse and neglect. Wouldn’t it be better to face reality, stop romanticizing the early figures in their lives that were supposed to look after them, protect them, infuse them with unconditional love, allowing them to grow up with open heart and trust?
As the early morning rose that little voice in me, the one that is so tired of living in a world where hyper-vigilance is a constant reality because four years ago, my trust in humanity was stolen by an acquaintance my husband and I trusted. As tears ran down, I thought of our children and understood the magnitude of the trauma that is impacting their lives. I understood why it is so very difficult for them to accept love and even more so, to give love. In my bones, I deeply understand their lack of trust, especially towards us, their parents. How could they trust, when those who were supposed to protect them, actually hurt them?
Developmental trauma impacts little ones deep within, it prevents them from growing up with curiosity, with a heart open and ready to embrace the world. The journey through adoptive parenting is complex and at time so very challenging. But when we sit still for a moment, and look at how far our children have come in order to develop trust (through their exhausting testing), we are reminded that, healing is possible.
As I emotionally and mentally prepare to repeat and relive my sexual assault this morning, during the final hearing, I am reminded that almost four years have passed since that tragic night where my trust in humanity was stolen and soul broken. I sometimes wish that I could use a magic wand and wash it all away. The reality is, I can’t. I can’t, if I want to live and enjoy life again. I can’t, if I want to help my children see that despite trauma, we can raise, heal and enjoy life.
A few months after my sexual assault, I was walking with my son to the park. But unlike other times we walked, I took a detour to avoid chances of seeing my assailant. I tried to explain to my son why I was so hypervigilant. I asked him, “Do you know what hypervigilance is?”
He responded, “Mom, I know what it is… before I came to you and dad, I would always wet my bed at night. Now that we are living together, I no longer need to.”
Can we heal trauma, developmental trauma? YES—through his young years of trauma, our son has taught me that we can heal with time, commitment of oneself, but also of others in our lives to support us through the hard moments. Healing is a life-long journey, but when support is in place, the journey is more bearable.
In a few hours, I will be closing this chapter in my life, yet my healing will continue throughout my life. But thanks to my son, I know that the future will be bright.