One of the hardest things to understand in loving a child of trauma is how sometimes their view of the world can be so negative. It can be constant and never-ending especially when you are at your weakest. I have always considered myself a positive person, very strength based and my friends laugh and call me “rainbow bright”. I work hard to be one my game when I know these times might happen, but sometimes I just have to reflect and wonder “why?”.

I am guessing that our children deserve to feel this way, because they never asked for the abuse and neglect they suffered in their earlier years. What I wonder is , “How can I help him?” and ” How do I stay upbeat through these times?”. I also know that when you are the “safe” place and the attached parent that these moments fill your life. I always tell myself ” Wow, I am so glad he is connecting to me, I must be doing something right.”

One evening after a really long day of work, I arrived home to fix dinner for my kids. The one thing I decided to do as an adoptive parent is to keep trying to improve everyday what I could because I knew I would need to given the challenges I would face. This evening I had prepared a casserole and was extremely proud of myself ( I am no Betty Crocker! ) and made sure it was ready when my son got home from football practice. The week before he adamantly claimed I was not feeding him right and as a future NFL player he needed nutritious meals.

At the table it began, the endless stream of misery that he believed was his life. Usually I listen intently because I believe he is sharing his view of his day and I have fortified myself enough to smile, nod, and try to ask non provoking questions all because I truly adore my son. My love for him hurts my heart and while I wonder about his negativity I admire his fortitude and strength. It must have been a day he really needed to share because the conversations continued into the night. It ended with me standing by his bunk bed at 12:30 as he recited how he feels I never give him enough time. I was worn out, worn down and I finally lost it. I was a raw and empty 51-year-old mom whose back ached, temples throbbed and whose mind could no longer focus on anything. Still able to speak in my quiet voice, I decided to add some sarcasm and banter back. Against my own rules of non engagement we were now fully in a back and forth opposition which I knew could only end in an escalation. I decided to leave when he became derogatory and was just glad he did throw anything at his door when I left. I thanked the Lord for my empty bed downstairs.

I crawled in bed and I berated myself as a failure, telling myself I was not “good enough” to be what he needed and deserved. In my tired mind I reviewed the conversations and how sad I was that he was so darkly tainted about the good things in his life. I got angry at his birth parents, his previous adoptive parents and the system that had all caused him so much pain and were not able to meet his needs. I prayed in my heart to let go of that anger, but the “why?” just kept vibrating in my head. As I fell into a dark and deep slumber my last thought was… tomorrow is a new day. I will do better. I will try harder.

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