Tonight Katie was reading a book to Ethan and I about a little boy who had the Chicken Pox. As the story unfolded, Ethan began to ask me questions about what Chicken Pox are and how do you get them. Ethan has always been a probing questioner and I thought that this was just the beginning of the usual barrage of questions that are precipitated by some new concept. I was wrong. This question would lead us down a path of discussion that I did not anticipate.
I began to answer his questions about Chicken Pox as soon as the story was done. I explained what they were and I also told him that he had them when he was still in China. The thought of this seemed to really upset him; much more than I knew at the time. He got very quiet which is quite unlike him and then about a minute later he looked up at me with tears in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong; why was he so sad? I could see that he was doing everything in his power to hold the tears back and so I told him that if he was sad that he could tell me what was upsetting him. He began to cry very hard and told me that he was sad and scared when he was in China and was sick with the Chicken Pox. He kept asking why he got them there and where were we?!? I tried to explain in the simplest of terms that we wanted to be there so badly but that we were waiting on permission from the officials in China to come and adopt him. He kept re[eating over and over about about how he was so scared he was when he was sick and that why did those people in China not let us come to get him quicker.....it totally broke my heart. I just held him close and told affirmed that of course he was scared but that he need never be scared again, as he would always have him family around him when he was sick forever and ever.
I know in my heart that this deeply buried memory was really of when he was in the hospital with no one by his side for well over a month for his open heart surgery. How much pain did he endure without so much as a loving touch? How may days did he wake up in pain with no one to tell him that it was all going to be OK and be by his side? He does not consciously remember this but his psyche sure does and that experience lives inside him and impacts how he deals with the world on a daily basis. He has many coping mechanisms that he exercises each day and that we are trying to help him resolve.
We started him in play therapy about 2 months ago and took a break due to finances but now that my new insurance has kicked in we are going to be starting again. I know there are so many feelings that our little guy needs to work through but I am grateful that he felt safe enough with me tonight to begin to release the pain.