Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembering His Losses

Today, I was talking to a therapist who works with adopted children.  In our conversation I said that adoptive parents don't hear enough about the grief that occurs when our children lose their orphanage friends one by one--a reminder of the incredible pain our children have endured. 

In an effort to share, I am reposting this from 2009.  Please consider adopting an older child who waits, and waits, and waits.  Their loses are great--but their joys in a newfound life are also multiplied. 

This post still makes me cry.

It's Not Fair

I knew he would be sad. I knew he would grieve. I knew he would be confused and emotional and frustrated. What I didn't know was how angry he would be.

I expected him to be angry at me for taking him away from everyone and everything he had ever loved. He's not. But he is angry at me for a reason I never expected--for taking so long to come and get him.

Many kids repress their memories of life in the orphanage. It's a coping mechanism, one that draws a line between before and after; an electric fence that protects.

Some kids keep snapshots or let memories creep out in dreams.

And then some are like Vu. He talks about Vietnam every . single . day. His memories are as bright as a golden dragon--and as dark as a dung beetle. He was loved. He was also left. Over, and over, and over, again.

Vu was raised in the orphanage from the time he was a baby. He grew up with four other children, all the same age and for four years they slept together, ate together, played together. They were like siblings. And there were other children too, many living in foster care, but visiting the orphanage often enough to be close friends. There were babies and toddlers Vu loved--one of his favorite things to do was go play with the babies in the baby room.

And then Vietnam reopened bringing a tapestry of joy interwoven with grief. One by one Vu's beloved friends and babies left; piece by piece, his heart left too. The orphanage began to empty out leaving Vu feeling like the last kid to be chosen for the playground team.

His saddest memory was when Mr. Personality left. Vu tells me, "After he left every day, every day, I had to sleep ALL ALONE! And I was scared!" Vu rarely cries. Vu cries when he tells me this story. I cry too. I cry just writing this.

Vu tells me it's not fair. It's not fair he was left behind. It's not fair that everyone's mom came and his did not. My feeble explanations fall upon ears unable to understand, a mind too young to comprehend, a heart too broken with hurt and ultimately, words cannot explain what even I do not understand. What matters is the truth.

His friends had a Mommy.

He did not.

And it's not fair.

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