Friday, January 28, 2011

Pain Uncovered

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 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.


Tammie said...

Oh my gosh! How heart wrenching!

I can't even begin to imagine how Ethan felt during that time. It is amazing how our children have such deeply rooted emotions with things that we don't even think about. Reading this, all I could think about was how much I wanted to hug your little guy to remind him that not only does he now have a family who loves him but a gazillion other people who are always rooting for him.

dawn said...

It is truly heartbreaking to know that we had children that were in a hospital, possibly alone and without the love the deserved. Rosie has memories of being China as well and talks of China frequently upset her too.

You are an amazing Mother and Marc an amazing father and with your love your little boys heart can heal emotionally.

Suz said...

Yes, how sad. And yes, I am so sorry that Ethan has to remember and feel this pain. But bravo for him! He is doing the hard work that he must do to become whole. And bravo to you for being right there, knowing that he needs to face his long stored trauma in order to heal from it.

I remember chicken pox as uchy but as a time on the couch watching my favorite cartoons, snuggled in my quilt, with my mother to wait on me. Julia's memory is so very different. There was so little love and care for our kids when they were sick or healing. There was so little love and care in general, I wonder how much worse it was when they were sick. I wonder if on some level, they were really scared they would die. I am pretty sure that Julia saw a dead baby.

Just wanted to chime in to tell you how normal that boy of yours is! And what a hero! I am in such awe of our kids -- strength and courage and the daring to give his whole heart to his family. GO ETHAN!

Vivian M said...

Oh, I can so relate. I am so very glad your insurance is going to cover therapy so Ethan can resume.
Sending you all huge hugs.

RamblingMother said...

Bless his heart. Such sad memories buried coming to the surface. G is going through something now too. Maybe it is the winter bringing the memories to the front???

Ellie said...

I just stopped over from Gail's blog :)

your poor little guy! It does break my heart for him.

You triggered a thought in me and I'm so glad I read this post. My daughter (4.5 - adopted at 19 months) had heart surgery at 11 months - and for some reason I just assumed there was a nanny there with her. She has serious fears of sleeping alone and being alone and now I'm guessing she was alone in China at the hospital :( I needed to realize that because we haven't been able to figure out what to do.

THANKS!!! and sending hugs for yourl ittle guy.

xo ellie