Monday, April 7, 2008

Trauma

Last night, Abigail sat crying in the bathroom. It is not unusual for her to be overly-emotional when I work 3 consecutive days (12-13 hours/day, with little time to spend with her between coming home and her bed time.) When I went to investigate what the problem was, I anticipated that she would say something like "I miss my Gagie" or "You are never home." Both things are horrible to hear as a parent, but I also realize that the temporary nature of a child's outlook on life means that she probably does feel like I am "never home" on days when I am not with her much.

I was blown away when Abigail's response to my "what's wrong?" was this...

"I am afraid you won't love me anymore."

What? Where did that come from? And why? A little probing by momma revealed that at some point during the weekend, Abigail had heard on TV that "once they have a new baby, your parents don't love you anymore." What a horrible thing to hear as a 5 year old waiting for her new sister!

I reassured her, cuddled her, hugged and kissed her, held her, and prayed for her. I explained that parents never ever stop loving their children, no matter what. I reminded her of all the other families we know who have more than one child, and specifically of (Aunite) Moriah and (Uncle) Josh who just welcomed their second child, Selah, into this world. Did they stop loving Charis because Selah was born? No way! We even called Auntie Moriah to ask her about it, and she should know because she is the oldest of 4 kids! Her mom and dad didn't stop loving her when her brothers and sister were born, and they will never stop loving her.

This was one of my fears with adoption- with adding another child to my family in general. I knew it would be hard on Abigail since she has been an only child for so long. But I expected difficulty sharing toys, sibling rivalry, and the like. I never anticipated this. So, what should I do?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

With our son, we explained that mommy and daddy's love did not have to be 'divided' but that we grew more love with each child. That our love would be the same for him and his new brother and then again for his new sister and that our love just kept growing. We explained that NOTHING would ever make us love him less but that our love for him grew every day. Then we tried to make sure we gave him a lot of 1-on-1 time. What we found out was, he wanted more time as a 'family'. He kept asking for his sister to play with him, etc. Now he's the biggest advocate for adoption. He wants 10 brothers and sisters. oh boy...

Jan

Farmboy and Buttercup said...

Great reminder on what could be lurking in my own kids' minds. A friend with many brothers and sisters said her mom always told them that when another child was born, the parents' love just multiplied. Even better than just adding on. I like that.

Anonymous said...

One other thing that seemed to help was story time at night. I'd tell him about a little girl who needed a family and a family that needed this little girl. I'd vary it a bit every nite but the theme was the same. I'd end it with that little girl is your sister and we are the family waiting for her. I'd tell about all the stuff we'd do, as a family. All the things they'd do as siblings, etc. I tell him all the things big brothers got to do too. You never know what/how kids are interpreting things. So by telling the story over and over but varying it a bit, you might find she'll ask questions and see what she really is thinking. I'd think, whew, I did a great job explaining that. Then the next night, he'd ask the most off the wall question and I'd realize, I'd phrased it in such a way that he got confused. So we'd try it again. It seemed to work for us. Good luck.

Jan

Nnenne said...

I think you answered it spectacularly. I can't even imagine what you were feeling when you heard that. But you handled it well lady.

Kristy -Mom to 4 and soon to be more! said...

You do exactly what you did! Follow those Mommy instincts! It's just something so new and not tangible to her just yet. She'll be the frist in line to give hugs & kisses and share her Mommy with her new sister! Just love her, reassure her, and pray! :-)
Blessings,
Kristy

haze said...

I like how you handled it - great job! Poor little Abigail.

Kerri said...

Poor sweet girl. Sounds like you handled it perfectly.
Kerri and Ruby

elj377 said...

You handled it perfectly and I think that sometimes kids speaking to someone other than mom helps too!

Holly said...

You are doing it Grace! You are a terrific Mom!!