It’s amazing what can spark a memory.
Have you ever been somewhere and heard a song or smelled a scent that immediately reminded you of someone or a specific memory?
Well, for Little Brother, I find that many of his memories are instantly sparked the minute I mention “The Children’s Center”.
Today, he had a doctor appointment at The Children’s Center. He seemed somber (as always) when I told him about it this morning (I have learned not to tell him the night before). His last foster parent dropped him off at TCC (The Children’s Center) and as a result, he is very sensitive when I take him there. It has become part of our regular routine at home to remind him that when we go to TCC, I am not going to leave him. He will be with me the whole time and when we are done, we are going home for lunch and a nap. Anything we can do to assure him usually helps him through the tide of nerves he feels……………OK – let’s stop here… Can you imagine the depth of pain a four year old must have felt in that situation? It is so deep that just to mention TCC, he is anxious. Oh, how happy I am that he is home with me now, taking his nap above the dining room where I type.
So….back to this morning.
Little Brother has always been very hungry for physical affection (being held, kissed and cuddled) – which is our forte. But, when he gets anxious, his needs greatly increase. As I was getting ready in the bathroom this morning, he wasn’t letting me out of this sight. He was under my feet and had a pout on his face. I could tell he was feeling concerned about going to TCC.
Out of the blue, he started sharing memories with me – some of which were new to me to hear. He started shaking his head sadly, “Mommy, I remember Miss B (his last foster mom). She was so mean to me.” Even though I have heard MUCH of the story, I still ask him what happened… Today was proof that it will be good for me to keep asking in the years to come.
“What happened Little Brother?”
“She was so mean to me. She would take all the other kids to the park and make me stay at home. They would get to go have fun and I would have to stay at the house.”
“Were you by yourself?”
“No, I would have a mean babysitter and he would shake his fist in my face and yell at me.”
I was shocked to hear this as it was new to me. “Oh, Little Brother, I am so sorry that happened. That must not have felt good.” [By this time, I completely stopped getting ready and was holding him as he talked to me.]
“Yeah, she was not very nice. She always told me that she didn’t want me.”
Even now as I type this, tears threaten to spill. How worthless a child must feel to hear “I don’t want you”. Not to mention that he is my son and someone said this to him…
He continued, “Then there was another family who was always getting me in trouble. I wasn’t even doing anything and they would get me in trouble all the time.”
I could hear his confusion. I have firsthand experienced Little Brother’s behaviors (mostly all completely gone now)… And while he was in the middle of his acting out, I truly don’t think he knew any better. He probably really felt like he wasn’t doing anything wrong at all. Just to hear his confusion over it reminded me just how broken he was in strangers’ homes trying to figure out a new set of rules each time – and not sure how to conform to them. Even in our home, he had a good six month curve before it all began to balance out – and it was very challenging for us.
As I hugged him today, I told him that anytime he wants to talk about his memories, he can. “I am so glad you are here with us. Now, you are safe. God knew just what you needed in a home and brought you to us so you can be taken care of and loved by us. We prayed for children for so long and you are a gift to us… WE WANT YOU.”
I hesitated to share some of this today because sometimes I have a hard time drawing the line on what is “too much” to share. I would, of course, never share anything that would cause Little Brother embarrassment someday – that is a definite line. The part that I struggle with is sharing just how bad his experiences were prior to coming to our home. It is heartbreaking [and trust me this is not even a smidget of all he has gone through] – and I am not interested in accentuating the bad things – when so much good has happened for Little Brother and Little Sister (present tense). At home, we talk about the “bad times” as much as Little Brother wants to… I just don’t usually blog about it.
All that said, I think it is important for you all to know just how much kids are hurting out there. It is not a problem we can sweep under the carpet or walk by. I know this happens to be the particular passion God has planted in our hearts and I am not saying it is for everyone. I know we landed in foster care out of a desire to have kids and help children in need. However, if God is speaking to your heart regarding foster care, he might speak to you out of hearing a little bit of Little Brother’s story.
Maybe there is a child you can one day hold and say, “WE WANT YOU.” Maybe you can be the “next foster home” like we were for Little Brother. Maybe you can look into the eyes of a hurting child and just be there for them in that single moment when they share their pain. What a privelege it is to be THAT person for a child.
I am not trying to convert you – but felt such an urge to remind you all that the need for children is real. Their pain is tangible. They need compassion and safety more than anything else right now.
And – YOU might be the one to provide it.
Here are pictures of our visit to TCC today. After the appointment, we stopped by the TCC playground to let out some stored up energy!