Thursday, 13 October 2016

Letters - easier than words

This morning was all about letters. We started the day at 5.23 am with a knock on my door saying Snoops wet the bed. After doing the usual things I put him back to bed saying 'it's still early so you should sleep and even if you don't go back to sleep for the love of everything please DO NOT wake your brother'. Of course in 5 minutes I heard both boys were up and being more noisy than usual. When I asked him why he woke his brother Snoops told me it was because 'I don't love you'. This led to a long discussion between him and I and it culminated in him looking angry with me and running into his bedroom slamming the door shut. While I was talking to the little one he passed the first letter to me. 'My heart is broken'.

When I went downstairs to prepare breakfast he marched down the stairs with another letter that said 'I hate you mummy!' (funny though, he only calls me 'Mummy' when he is cross with me, in any other times I am merely 'Mom')

I don't remember now which one of you, lovely adoptive dads wrote on his blog a while back about a similar note, but I remember well his actions so I did the same. I commented on how brave he is to say that to me and expressed my delight that he feels so secure and safe here that he can discuss his feelings with me. I put his note on the fridge door and secured it with some of his favourite magnets. Obviously he was very puzzled and just continued mumbling about how much he hates me. I told him 'that's fine, but I still love you.' 'No, I know you hate me!' Before I could respond Goofs chipped in 'if Mummy really hated you she would kick you out of the house for good'. Well, thanks kiddo, that's technically true, but not a helpful comment at the moment...

Snoops was so terrified of the possibility that his suspicions (I hate him) were correct that he was covering his eyes and could not even look up, let alone look at me. I went through the whole therapeutic damage control of  'of course I don't hate you, I love you very much, you are safe here, you are not going anywhere, you are having some big emotions at the moment, it's ok to feel cross or upset, it doesn't mean you don't love the other person'...etc - the usual stuff I am sure you all know and use on a daily basis.

He kept on saying 'what you say is not true, I know you hate me and I hate you back'. I told him that makes me sad that he feels that way, but that's ok. He then dropped his spoon and ran upstairs. I didn't go after him as I suspected another letter is coming soon.

This latest note said 'I love you so much, but that is not true, I just say it to make you happy.'  Again, taking another deep breath and 'oh, that is a lovely note! I really appreciate your honesty and you are such a kind boy who wants to make me happy, that's very thoughtful of you, I love you and I love this note so thank you so much'. I put this letter next to the other one on the fridge.

Goofs felt left out of the morning drama so he told his brother 'now which one is it, really? You can't hate and love Mummy at the same time. Look at me, I love Mummy so I kiss her <demonstrated> and she loves me back <looking expectantly at me>. After I kissed his cheeky little face he continued 'Mummy, he needs to choose one, right? The other letter should go to the bin!' If I wasn't in the middle of this I would smile at his comments; he clearly wants to fix the problem and doesn't get it that it's not his task, but mine...

Putting on my best therapeutic voice I asked him to go brush his teeth and turned to his brother. We went through the same routine as above and I tried my very best to look at him with love and a smile on my face. He stole a few glances at me and you could almost see the cogs going overdrive in his head. He wanted to believe what was said, but he knew better! Grown ups always lie, they always hurt little ones, nobody likes me, everybody leaves me and there is no way out of this. Ever. EVER!

I kept on talking about the too many big feelings that will make his stomach sick and the 'I wonder if you are feeling...' guessing conversation to show I know how he feels and let him know there is a way out. We eventually got to the point where I could look him in the eye and say 'maybe deep down you love me and you are upset and you feel ashamed and now you worry even more and a good solution would be if you said you are sorry for saying hurtful things to me, I would say it's ok, I would tell you I am not angry, I love you and I forgive you, we would hug and suddenly your big feelings in your stomach would go away...' 

Boy thinking hard if it's worth the risk...
Hours (seconds really) pass by silently...
Boy looks at me over his shoulder...
'Mummy, I am sorry...'

We hug for long minutes, when he sees it in my eyes that I truly am not angry/sad/upset/cross the floodgate opens and he jumps back into my arms sobbing like never before. You could literally hear this heavy burden roll off of his heart and absolution taking over! Then suddenly he ran away again, which was good timing as I was about to burst out crying myself. These are the moments I am reminded again and again why we chose to adopt children. With love and determination it IS possible to change their stories!!!

A minute later he returned with this note: 'I love you Mummy very much and I hope you will have a lovely day (lots of hearts), I love you so much!' And I know this time he meant it with all his heart!

And it's not even 8 am yet!


  1. wow, wow, wow!!!! That's almost a life's story before the morning even started. I'm soo impressed with your patience and willingness to embrace this task. I pray for real, meaningful, lasting breakthrough, sooon!!! You're well on your way. Thanks for making this world a better place, starting with the lives of those two precious boys.

  2. That's me, before my morning coffee and without enough sleep... yeah, that's how I roll...
    Haha, but seriously, thanks for your kind words, it's mostly God and a good dosage of therapeutic parenting course put in action, you also need a brilliant boy to work with and the last 1% I am happy to claim :)