Sunday, December 5, 2010

Healing reminders

It is incredible that Corazon was able to write that entry into her journal. Our conversation was raw, real and painful. I can see she is on the edge of a major breakthrough and she is scared. Scared to take the next step but also scared NOT to. Her articulation of this wall was amazing partly because it isn't language I have used with her. She has a visual now for her RAD and how she can change it. She WANTS to change it even though she is afraid.

I know she is attached to us, especially me, but healing takes a long time and constant work, effort, and vigilance. When I get complacent and forget that she is still healing, I set us both up. That conversation was intense. She was so articulate about her understanding of her experiences, her narrative, so to speak. There were gaps and pieces missing. For example, she has such ambivalence towards her mother because her aunt was the attachment figure and who she felt most abandoned by. She doesn't really have "conscious" feelings to tap into about her mother although I know they are and will be there as she grows. The raw pain comes from her sense of abandonment by her aunt. I believe she will feel some sense of abandonment from her mother as well as she grows and understands more about these feelings.

One thing that helped in our conversation was our ability to use her younger sister, Milagro, as an example. At one point I asked her to imaging Milagro being taken from us and told she had a new family of wonderful people to care for her. I asked her to imagine what Milagro might feel, think, and do. Corazon was quick to point out that Milagro would NEVER forget us and NEVER accept her new family and NEVER believe we wouldn't come get her. I asked her to imagine the pain, confusion, and anger that our not coming to get Milagro would create.I asked her how willing she would be to accept and believe her new family with those feelings.  Corazon argued that "Milagro is REALLY smart. She would find a way to get herself sent back to us and she would wait as long as it took. She would NEVER let them be her family because we are her family." As she processed how this connected to her own feelings and experiences, Corazon "got it." She got the reasons why she had closed herself off and protected herself from the hurt.  Corazon broke down and cried and cried and cried. As she cried for Milagro she cried for herself. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

We have started labelling the "bricks" of her wall so that she visualize and make tangible that which she is ready to break down and give up and that which she isn't. She is working on a drawing of a brick wall with all the labels. We have things like "lying," "sneaking," "not trusting mom" and "doing things wrong on purpose" on her wall. She keeps adding things big and small to it and it seems to be empowering her. It also gives her a goal so when I tell her we are "practicing" something she understands a little bit of how it connects to her wall. 

I don't know if this will work or not but right now it seems to be where we need to go. I am so proud of her and how hard she is working on this. I am also proud of her because she seems to understand that this is a "we" issue now. I can say "we" are working on such and such and she smiles. For so long the work has been labelled as "you" need to work on (even though of course we were all working on it in different ways and sometimes different "camps.")


Lee said...

You guys are amazing, and your daughter's ability to articulate and process just blows me away.

GB's Mom said...

It was an amazing piece. What is happening between you and Corazon is equally amazing! Thanks for sharing- you made my day!

Integrity Singer said...

if she is a concrete, visual learner, perhaps it would help her to have a brick or two in her room, a visual reminder of what she wants to destroy or change. Maybe three - one to write words on with a sharpie - angry words, hurting words, loving words, all of it; one to paint with pictures - happy pictures or angry, all of it; one to beat to smitherines with hammer or mallet in a safe and controlled environment

RADMomINohio said...

Your daughter is awesome at articulating her feelings. My Penelope also views her feelings as a protective wall. I love the idea of labelling the bricks and working on them together. I think having them in front of you that you can see and touch can help keep things in perspective. I believe there are times when Penelope gives up and shuts down and subconciously reinforces that wall to her own detriment. Maybe having a wall to look at will remind her of this path and keep her goals in perspective. What a great idea you have!

robyncalgary said...

I know this is months old and I'm not an adoptive or special needs mom myself but the first thing I thought of was to imagine her physically breaking down a wall that symbolizes her emotional wall. Like the movie fried green tomatoes, but not on that scale. :)

Dia por Dia said...

It's funny you say that because I have had the same image although I think it actually is on that scale and it is a whole room! I feel like we have whole sections removed and maybe a window or two and even one of those short doors... :-)

She retreats there every so often but she is ALWAYS craving what's on this side which is HUGE healing for her!

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