Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Most common question: "But you got them when they were so young?!"

(little G)

So probably the runner up to "Are they all yours?" is this question.
"But you got them so young!  How could they possibly be that hurt?"
(they were removed at 8 months and 22 months...G was the age that Seth is now)
Many people ask it.
I even thought it.
The thought is, we got the girls so young surely the damage done to them in that short amount of time was minimal, right?!
It may actually be worse than if they had been cared for, for 2 years and then neglected.

Their needs were not met at a crucial time.
The time when a child is learning to trust adults.
"If I cry, Mommy will come."
"If I'm hungry, Mommy will feed me."
"If I hurt, Mommy will help me."

When you look into your newborns eyes and they smile up at you and you can't help but smile back and you get butterflies in your belly because you love this little person so much...
that is the beginning of attachment.
That is also the root of your child's self worth, the foundation of trust and the development of conscience.

I think what made it worse for my girls was that sometimes when their first mommy was there she was very engaged.   
She was extremely affectionate.
But I believe that there were many times she simply wasn't there and there was no one to meet their needs.

I have read that neglect is sometimes more damaging then physical abuse.
Physical abuse says "I see you and you make me ANGRY!"
While neglect says "I don't even see you."
"You aren't even worthy of my anger"- (which is where the deep rooted shame starts)
And right there is where G's foundation was laid.

Her default is,
"I'm nobody" (G-bug nobody)
When triggered you will find her in the smallest part of the room trying to make herself invisible.

I don't think that Jim and I even began to help them with their healing until we got a good grasp of this concept.  Our therapist had us read the book Building The Bonds of Attachment by Daniel Hughes.
I highly recommend it if you are parenting a child with attachment issues.

So that is my long answer.
When I was in the thick of the anger and rage and my house seemed to be constant state of chaos,
I'll admit this question made me crazy!
No matter how well intended the person who asked it was,
what I heard was "are you sure you aren't just making all this up?"
Now, 3 years later, we are seeing major healing, and this question doesn't bother me a bit.
I would have asked the same thing.


Kim said...

Thanks for sharing this. I think it's a great answer. That book is on my to-read shelf, and I think it's time to pull it off.

Laura said...

Gianna is so lucky to have you and your husband as parents. Can't even imagine what little Gianna has gone through. Keep up the good work!