Monday, October 1, 2012

Separation Anxiety

This little boy makes my heart sing!!! 
Bei's first baseball game 
A common phrase in the adoption world is 'every adoption starts with a loss'; the loss of the birth family.   Being abandoned multiple times has been traumatic for Bei.   He was approximately one years old when he was left at a hospital.  He spent an entire year in the arms of his loving mother.   Based on our research into Bei's history we believe for the next 15 months he was at the orphanage a short time, fostered and then brought back to the orphanage the week preceeding his adoption.   More abandonment, more trauma...heartbreaking.  
Bei battles separation anxiety.  The beginning of the school year was really hard.  Harder yet is that he is embarrassed by it.   As we drove to school the first day he told me "I hate crying in front of my friends."   And he cried hard that day and several days afterwards and still does most Monday's.   He continually asks why Kai is not afraid to leave me when he goes to school?   He articulates to me that he doesn't think that I am coming back, that in the afternoon he really starts to worry that I won't be there to pick him up.   Coming off the weekends have been the toughest for him.  Last year I sought counseling to help me understand and to provide me tools to help build his trust.   Some of the tools were to give him a picture of us together,  I drew him pictures, love letters, I gave him a pair of glasses of mine that he still carries in his backpack.   The most important therapy tool was for us to develop his being born story and how he came to be our child.  I followed what the therapist said but never really understood how it all worked until I came across this book recently called
As I started reading this book everything the therapist shared with me fell into place.   This book outlines the neuroscience regarding children's brains.   It explains how children use their right side of their brain, the emotional, passionate, illogical side and how the left logical side of the brain needs to be developed.   The book discusses implicit memories, those that we don't remember but they still affect us, like abandonment versus explicit memories those memories that we record our lives by.    It discusses how imporant integration between the right and left brain are to a healthy mental state.   By putting words to Bei's story we may be able to help him understand the separation anxiety.  For us our story with Bei had always began the day that we adopted him.   He loves to hear how I first saw him while he was in the parking lot and I was in the civil affairs building and he looked up through the window and we made eye contact and I waved to him and said "Hi Bei, Bei".   How I fell madly and deeply and passionately in love with him that first day.   How the entire time we were in China he never let me put him down (I have pictures that prove otherwise, but I am sticking with my story).   How he slept on top of me for the first months, how he would kiss me 50 times in a day.   I really LOVE that little boy with all my HEART and SOUL!   But love is not enough.   He needs to be able to understand and integrate his story.  How do you tell a child that he was left, abandoned by people that are suppose to love you forever and ever?   That there are no options for a large percentage of the worlds population?   That what happened to him was unfair to him, to his birth family, to the Chinese culture?   How do you make a child believe that it won't happen again?   Can I promise him I will never leave him?   What if I die?    I am going to choose my words carefully and thoughtfully about Bei's story.  We need to go back further to the very beginning with a mother who had a baby, a baby that was sick, that was going to die. That she loved that baby so much that she wanted him to live even though it meant that she couldn't be his mommy any longer. She made the most heartwretching but most loving sacrifice that a person could do and she chose life for her child.  I am hoping that we can begin working through some of the trauma that Bei has experienced so that he is able to put this fear of abandonment to rest so it doesn't follow him into adulthood.  

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