That’s what I’m calling this stage. And I’m admitting it. We’ve had failure-to-rememberitis.
Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. Hands down. No competition. And frankly, last year kind of sucked. We were still in limbo and unsure if we would be traveling to get Bertie or not. So, we tried to make it magical for the boys while still being prepared to travel at the drop of a hat.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
So when we traveled at the beginning of the year, I absolutely, 100% could not wait for the holidays. Because our family would be together with a new addition. This was going to be the best Christmas EVER!! In my excitement and planning for the greatest Christmas season ever – full of parades, activities, and Silver Dollar City lit up in beautiful colors – we forgot one major detail: Bertie.
Now, I’m not saying we forgot to include her. Because we were doing this for her and the boys.
No, in all our excitement, we forgot to take her into consideration.
Bertie has been home for 9 months. And while so many of you guys (and briefly us) thought that that should be plenty of time to adjust, it isn’t. Bertie has experienced some real trauma. And now that she is speaking English so well, she’s able to talk about her memories. And she doesn’t always voice them, but tries to process them internally. She tries to keep us out. And that results in meltdowns. MAJOR meltdowns.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working hard with her to remind her that she’s safe with us. That she can always share how she’s feeling without repercussions. Sometimes she’s on board with sharing, other times she isn’t.
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, I shared last week about what we’ve encountered just since the week of Thanksgiving. She was at my mom’s house during Thanksgiving break and had a full blown meltdown: kicking, screaming, hitting, shouting ‘I hate you’, and threatening (and trying) to run away.
Then, a few nights later, another wave with the exact same thing happened at home with KC and I. And the scared little girl we haven’t seen since spring emerged. Guys, this will be a regular occurrence in our lives for a while. Bertie will begin to trust and get comfortable, and then a memory will come to her and she’ll realize that she’s thousands of miles away from where she was born and raised. With a new set of parents.
And she’ll probably struggle internally for a while before it becomes too much to handle and she explodes with every emotion imaginable.
I knew going into this that we’d likely have a day where she told us she hated us and wanted to go back to Ethiopia, but I don’t think I quite anticipated how it tears at your heart – even though you 1000000% know she doesn’t mean it.
I don’t think you understand how it feels to have your daughter look at you with no emotion and say ‘I hate you’ and ‘I will run away when you sleep’.
But here’s the thing, most of the time, she barely remembers what she said or did. She just remembers that she was very angry and sad and she says “I don’t know why I say dose tings Mom. I just get so angry and I don’t know why…”.
And then she cries, apologizes, and becomes incredibly clingy. She just wants to touch you and for you to hold her tight. And I cannot explain what it’s like to see that much remorse in her big brown eyes.
Her little heart needs healing. I can’t imagine how it feels to lose your parents and then have new ones and create new memories…. Does she ever feel like she’s betraying them? That she shouldn’t be happy? I honestly don’t know. But I can’t imagine the internal struggle she deals with regularly at the age of 6.
She is such an amazing little girl.
KC and I experienced the FAILURE TO REMEMBER stage for the first time, and probably not the last time. It kind of creeps up on you after a season of smooth waters.
This holiday season is going to be a bit different. We’re taking a step back and trying “cocoon” a bit to help her feel safe. That unfortunately means staying close to home and adjusting our work days/hours the 2 weeks that the kids are out of school – but I’m thankful that KC and I both are at such great places of work where we can do that.
Maybe this holiday isn’t full of the wonderful ideas we had planned, BUT, our girl is finally home. We love her. She loves us.
And w’re on the road to healing.
I think that’s enough for us this year. ❤️