Monday, December 6, 2010

Empty Tool Boxes

We had an adoption training session this past weekend.  Something being "mandatory" to me usually inspires my rebellion nature.  So despite this training being mandated, I quelled my response and was looking forward to expanding my knowledge.  And it certainly did open our eyes.

Unfortunately these trainings often show the dark underbelly of the fallen world.  This was no different. 

Part of the training was an exercise with laminated cards with a behavior printed on it; and then to place the card into an age group where it might be seen.  This was eye opening because all of the behaviours were things that the agency has seen happen and wee not just random ideas.  Also shocking was that all of these behaviors can be at any age.  Many of these were things I was not ready to consider.  Some of the behaviour is out of not attachment to people/things, some were examples of testing disciplining and love limits, some were just examples of not knowing expectations or what is appropriate.

I mostly hung onto that last group of behaviors.  Mostly the kids may be missing a sense of what is appropriate.  They have been forced to grow up too soon (lost innocence) and not allowed to grow up at all (neglected).  A child can be 13 in age, 6 in development of play (never socialized) , and be 25 in responsibility (caring for siblings).

No matter why the kids are in the system they will have had at least one major attachment/bonding point that has been broken.  Child psych "attachment" is a sense of permanent or reliable safety and love.  If you don't have the tool of understanding (and expecting) proper attachment, you will struggle.  For these kids things have little value; if you had any "stuff" it may have been stolen & sold for drugs.  A child may have never had the "stuff" to begin with.  Most of these kids are just a possession and power ploy for the parents anyway.  The kids can develop a sense that all adults are friends and take on adult behaviors (language and activities).  Or a sense that they are objects (things) rather than a real person.  And then emotionally the kids don't understand a parent for security and love, it becomes tough to know you have a safe falling place.  It is a fallen world.  It is wrong  if a 4 y/o has no sense of appropriate and believes that playing with adults requires taking clothes off.  The fact that ~65% of the kids in the system have some sexual abuse is frightening. 

I think one of the major things I picked up is that adoption is starting from scratch and filling the toolbox.  Give them love that isn't conditional.  Give them respect.  Security.  Safety.  With some basic tools they can build identity.  They can construct trust and meaningful relationships.  Life, love & beauty can grow.

I came out of that training greatly feeling the paradox of life.  I don't want to bring this ugliness into my house, near my kids.  AND I can't ignore the ugliness of the fallen world, I can't just leave kids sitting in there.   While ugly and scary, it was also convicting that you gotta do something.

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