Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Emotional processing

Monday night, I was down the hall checking in with another family on some activities to do together.  I came back and Pierce was sitting next to Scott on the couch and Scott was crying pretty hard.  I asked Pierce what was wrong and he didn’t know.  When I left, Scott was in the bed taking a nap, but he got up and started crying.  I sat next to him for a while and he seemed to calm down a little.  He just seemed to be out of sorts in many ways.  He had pretty tough day at the medical office as I mentioned in the last post - he needed 4 immunization shots.  Maybe he was in pain or feeling sick from the shots.  I don't know what set him off.  Maybe it would have happened no matter what we did that day.
The encouraging thing was that Scott seemed to be accepting in at least small degrees our efforts to comfort him.  The other family has a 14 year old boy, Judah, they adopted over a year ago.  They offered to have him “buddy up” a bit with Scott while we are here to give him someone to identify with.  I thought maybe it was worth having him come down to talk to Scott to see if there were some things he would share to let us know how to help.  Judah made a valiant effort, but Scott had moved into the bedroom and sheltered himself under the covers.  It was an awkward position to put a 14 year old boy, in fact, he said out loud that he was a guy and guys don't do these things.  Very true.  Judah’s mother and I prompted him on talking points, but nothing really garnered any reaction from Scott.  When we said to tell Scott he was a friend, that got fleeting smile, but Scott soon returned to his covered protection and some light crying.  I was so grateful for Judah and his family and their concern for us amidst their own challenges with their transitioning 13 year old daughter. 
They left and I was still struggling to give Scott some comfort.  I decided to leave him alone for a little while, but checking on him every few minutes for the next hour or so.  At one point he sat up in the bed and gave out a fairly loud yell, pumped his arm in the air and just seemed to be in emotional agony.  He settled back down and I laid next to him, stroking him through the covers.   I sensed that he was working through everything with as much courage as he could muster.  I was praying that he was not having second thoughts and wanting to go back, but those thoughts had to come to his mind.  How couldn't they.  I remember when I was not much younger than him, I had a hard time staying over night with people I didn't know that well during family vacations. No matter how improved the life with an adoptive family may be, it is still uncharted water for these precious souls and all they know for sure is that they are leaving a life that has given them security, structure and consistency.  They had people around them they could depend on.  That is their family.  They just don’t understand what a real family is and can't see the future.
Yesterday morning, when Scott was stirring a little before getting up, I sat on his bed and put my hand on the side of his head.  He gave me a small smile and put his hand on mine.  It warmed my heart and told me he is fighting through this and wants to move forward.   We had a busy day, sight-seeing and shopping most of the day and the circus last night.  That was by design.  I felt that distractions would be good for him.  Maybe it worked or maybe he would have achieved new levels anyway, but when he got up today, Wednesday, he gave me a big hug.

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