Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Get it out of my brain

I have a child who I find it particularly hard to connect with.
I know....... you're all shocked.
I'll give you a moment while you silently remove my "mother of the century" label from my contact in your phone and text your besties "Did you hear the one about Chrissy.....?!?"
It makes me feel like a failure. And maybe I have failed in a lot of ways so far this morning.

Anyway, this child.
He's a pleaser. He is a perfectionist. He tries WAY too hard.
He whispers when he asks for something. He insists others follow every rule, even some he made up because he thought it was a rule I'd like. He uses phrases he's picked up in the wrong timing like "Hey mom, at least lunch was delicious!"
It has been known to drive me to the brink of insanity and make me say things like
"I just wish ONCE he'd break a rule or do something wrong so I would know he's really a child!"
I know some of you are parenting a child like this...
and you're laughing or maybe just solemnly nodding. 

Moving back towards the point... last night I was given a small gift.

Ahhh, the "golden hour". Some refer to this time period as that magical few minutes when the sun is just creeping below the horizon in the evening and everything is bathed in its glorious golden light... when photos look magical and sparkly and have starbursts of light in the trees. For me, it's those few moments when I tuck the 9 younger kids into bed at night and they give me that last piece of information for the day. I've written about it before, but last night I was given some insight into the WHY behind the crazy-making behavior.

I walked into the room just as this particular child was chastising one of his brothers and saying he was going to "tell mom". Gotta love it. I asked what was going on and when I found out that (as usual) it wasn't tattle-worthy, I asked him why he thought he should tattle or try to get his brother in trouble for something that wasn't a big deal? He answered.. "I don't know... I just thought..." and trailed off in thought.

Then, as if God himself gave me this picture in my brain, I said "Hon, WHY are you always so WORRIED about EVERYTHING?? You live your day WAaaaAAaaaY up here (hands up above my head - frantically shaking)... 'ohmygosh Mom is going to be mad at me! Ohmygosh what if I do something wrong!!' and I want you to bring it WAAaaaaAAAaaay down HERE (hands out at mid-waist - smoothly washing back and forth)... and just relax... breathe...it's all going to be okay. Do you understand?" (This is a very important question when dealing with kids who didn't speak English until they were mid-Elementary school aged.) I could tell he didn't fully get it.

So I walked over, knelt at his bed and said - "You are SO worried all of the time... wanting everyone to follow all of the rules, wanting Mom and Dad to be happy with you, but when you are so scared and worried and 'way up here'... mom and dad get worried and frustrated and get 'way up here' too. Do you know why you are so nervous all of the time?"

I got this small glimpse.
A tiny, itty bitty little glimpse into the world from whence he came.

"In my brain I just still think like I was when I was at the care center. I just still remember the nannies and they were not nice and I just can't stop thinking about them not being nice and I get scared and think I have to be very, very good. I don't think I will ever get it out of my brain." and he started to cry.

I share this not to give too much personal information about our children... as I have not mentioned names or given specifics as to which child I'm referring to. I share because, sometimes we don't really SEE why the behaviors are there. I know I knew on a very logical level that he was pleasing in order to feel accepted, but I had no idea the depth of that fear. And I'm his mom. It's my job to know.

So... I looked at him, touched his face and said...
"Oh, honey. That's not okay with Mom that you're sad. I'm going to help you get it out of your brain. Do you know that the way they treated you was wrong? The way they treated you was not kind. The things they said were not okay. Those ladies were NOT your Mom. They were just women working at their job. That's all. They may have made sure you had food, but they did too many things that hurt your heart, and that's not okay. Jesus is going to get this stuff out of your brain. Did you know that when Mom and Dad got to the care center and we brought you out of there and to the guest house, that was the first day you were really ours? You weren't the "care center boy" anymore. You became OUR boy and got OUR name. That was the OLD you. This is the NEW you. We even gave you a new name, didn't we? That's because we want you to be able to say 'that was the old life, this is my new life.' Those things happened to you, but they are over and done and far away now."

At this point, I'm stuck between anger at the life my kids led for a year and such happiness that they don't have to live that life anymore.

"Any time you feel afraid, or feel like your brain won't let you forget how you were supposed to live at the care center, I want you to pray inside your brain, right where you are, whatever you're doing - 'Jesus, I don't want to be the care center boy ANYMORE! I want to be my Mom and Dad's son. Please change me.' Can you do that?"

I empowered my son to rid himself of the fear, anxiety and distrust he's been living with for so long now. I taught him to lay his stuff at the feet of Jesus and that he doesn't HAVE to be stuck in that place anymore.

What an immense privilege. 
What amazing power we have as parents.
And yet, often times we don't use it. 

And, as I have said a hundred times before...
Because he can't say the words without smiling.
And I know inside he gets warm fuzzies.
Because I do, too.
I looked into those weepy eyes, smiled, and said:

    "I'm my mommy's baby. 
              My mommy loves me. 
     I am precious. 
             I am a treasure."

And he smiled and simply said  



  1. This is a really beautiful, healing story. A reminder that we have a God that cares about our fears and will help us.

  2. whew whew.....yes and that to is the way GOD sees us all when we come into his family....wow awesome testimony that will be forever!

  3. Such true words! what a sweet boy, thanks for sharing. You are a wise mamma

  4. as i sit here crying because i have that relationship with mine too, these are the words i clung to "What an immense privilege.
    What amazing power we have as parents.
    And yet, often times we don't use it."
    time to do something about that. God, give me the strength.
    thank you for sharing your heart< Chrissy.

  5. Chrissy, it strikes me often how I don't see all the way down in to someone and truly understand the pain they are acting out of. Having older adopted children is an eye-opening experience - I pray that it will impact my ENTIRE life experience with others. Oh, Jesus! Give me Your eyes to see with!!!

  6. Hello! I have read some of your post here and found it interesting and it makes a lot of sense. Plus i love your theme here. Thumbs up! Keep on sharing!

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