Trauma Triggers

I Will Never Let you Go

My back is heavy against the front door. I sit on the hard ground, salty tears pouring down my face. I’m crying so hard that speaking is not possible. The pain. My heart feels like it’s breaking. Snot slides onto my lips. But I can’t move. I can’t get up. I can’t leave this door. So I don’t. 

Please let me go Mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

I’ll never forget that moment when I rounded the corner of the house and saw you there. Shoes on. Jacket on. Determined look on your face. I’ve seen this before. I know what is about to happen. Our eyes suddenly meet. Everything turns to slow motion. 

Please let me go mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

My fingers barely grab onto the end of your jacket. You pull away, dragging me with you. I wonder if my fingers will slip off. I’m so scared. My heart is racing. You continue to try to get away, and I somehow get my arms around you. I half pull, half carry you into the house. I lock the door and slide down onto the floor. 

Please let me go mommy. Just please let me go. Why won’t you let me go? 

I pry myself off the ground and make my way over to you. I sit next to you and pull you into my arms. I squeeze you tight and let you know how much I love you. Your whole body shakes as you cry out your pain. My tears join yours as our hearts hurt together. We sit that way for a long time. I rub your back and reassure you that you are okay. That WE are okay. That I will NEVER let you go. 

(Written by me 2/10/17)

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I wrote this not long after one of our children tried to run away. This wasn’t the first time, and it may not be the last. The reality is that children who have come from hard places have lots of trauma, and that trauma doesn’t just disappear no matter how loving of a home they are now in. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. People just assume that once a child has been in your home for a while that things should be going great…that any problems you had at first would be all better by now. But as a foster-adopt mom, let me assure you that that’s not how it works. The impact of trauma is far reaching and long lasting and different triggers can cause it to rear its ugly head.

In our case, when one of our children’s trauma was triggered, they attempted to run away. Our child didn’t really want to leave. Our child was scared of being loved and of loving. Scared because everything this child had loved in the past had been taken away.

The thing about trauma is that you never know what is going to trigger it, or when it is going to be triggered. It could be as simple as a smell that reminds them of something. It could be a word you say. It could be a food that you give them to eat. It could be a situation they are in.

Sometimes I feel like a detective, as I try to figure out what is going on underneath the surface when our children act out in these ways. What part of their story is being triggered? How can I help them walk through what they are experiencing in this moment?

And in case you were wondering, yes, it is emotionally hard when your child does something like try to run away. Yes it is hard not to take it personal. Yes it is hard not to be mad. Yes it is hard to remain a calm presence. Yes it is hard to not feel rejected.

In these moments I have to remind myself that my child has gone through a lot and is responding out of the trauma, not based on whether they are happy here. I also have to remind myself that our children are gifts for us to steward…loving them is about THEM, not about US.

lori

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Secondary Trauma

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First let me say, I am blessed that our children are so affectionate. All three of them…not one more than the other. I have a 10 year old who still loves sitting on his momma’s lap…that’s awesome! And an 8 year old who doesn’t mind holding my hand in front of his friends. All three love cuddles and are quick to let us know how much they love us. Yes, I am blessed.

That being said, I’m tired of being touched. It is almost laughable to me that “touch” has always been my love language. I don’t know if the professionals say that your love language can change, but mine surely has. Though I’m not a professional, I think trauma can certainly change it.

The trauma that can be caused by touch. We are all familiar with the kind caused by abuse or neglect. But to be honest I never imagined you could incur trauma by being touched TOO MUCH. In my case, this is what is called secondary trauma. Secondary trauma is often defined as “the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person” (secondarytrauma.org). To explain what I mean by all of this, let me tell you a story…

Dinner time. Three kids fighting for who gets to sit next to me. It’s your turn, and you lean on me. I feel feet touching me from under the table. Its how you get to touch me from across the way. Dinner is barely over and each of you are yelling over one another to sit on my lap.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

Family movie time. I’m excited about the movie. You are excited about sitting next to me. Three voices fighting over me. Flanked on each side by a kiddo. My third kiddo pushes onto my lap. You touch me. You rub my arms. You grab my hand. You kiss my face. All three of you. All at one time.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

Every day. All the time. Your desire for physical affection is beyond anything I’ve seen. Almost 547 days so far of constant touch. Morning. Afternoon. Night. Morning. afternoon. Night. Morning. Afternoon. Night. Day after day after day.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

My insides cringe. Touch. Touch. More touch.  You sit on my lap and give my face a gazillion kisses. I literally feel anxious. Even violated. I do my best not to show you how I feel even though I’m dying on the inside. I just want 5 minutes where my body is all mine.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

I hate touch. But I let you touch me. I’m your mom. You need my touch. So, when we sit together at church we are like one being. You take turns on my lap. I rub your back. I rub your face. I squeeze you tight. I rock you back and forth. You mess my hair up. You kiss my cheek. You squeeze my arms.

I know you need touch. I will try to provide your needs. It might not ever be enough. You might always be insatiable.

(written by me 2/12/17)

Secondary trauma is a very real thing. In seeking to help your kids who have been effected by trauma, you are now traumatized yourself. This can look so many different ways. In my case, our kid’s lack of love and attention and affection created in them a bucket with a whole in it of sorts. Their bucket of physical affection can never be filled enough. So much so, that in trying to meet this need, I now hate something I once loved. But I am learning to seek to meet their needs and yet provide some boundaries that will help me through my own trauma.

I don’t like secondary trauma. Who does?! But I would do it all over again for our kids.

(How ironic that as I am writing this my son just said, “Mommy can I give you a hug?” Yes son, yes son you can. And he did. 😊) 

lori

I’m just too busy. I can’t find the time. I have too much to do.

I’m just too busy. I can’t find the time. I have too much to do.

These are all phrases I have used in the past when talking about exercise. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that many of you have said these very same words. 🙂

I think I am now busier in life than I ever have been before…primarily because I am now an adoptive momma to three wonderful, yet highly needy kiddos. When they are home, I constantly have to be on. When they aren’t, I have things around the house I am doing for them, advocating for their needs, or therapy appointments I am taking my kids to.

So, it would be beyond easy for me to continue saying, “I’m just too busy. I can’t find the time. I have too much to do.” I know most of you can relate to that.

But no more. I have realized that as a mom I absolutely need self-care, and part of that self-care is taking care of my body. And who knew that in taking care of my body, I would also be caring for my mind and heart as well.

Since the middle of November, this has been my routine: I wake up every morning (with the exception of Sundays)…sometimes much earlier than this night owl would prefer…put my workout clothes on, drink some water, and push play! I do this because I realize that my health needs to be a priority…I can’t be too busy for my health.

Self-care! We all need more of it…

Comment and let me know if you want more information about the next Beachbody fitness group I am coaching, beginning on February 27th. As you all have heard me say, doing these groups, using these amazing workout programs, and drinking Shakeology has been the only thing I could find that actually worked! Life changing!

lori

 

 

Because we can tell you our past 


It’s been several days since you told me. A  beautiful moment mixed with unbelievably deep brokenness. Vulnerable. Real. Brave. Raw. My mind can’t stop thinking about it. My mind can’t stop thinking about you. Your deep wounds. The horrible things.

I am honored. Knowing your story is heavy to carry. How have you done it all these years? But I feel privileged to be the one who now carries it with you. You are not alone. You no longer have to pretend this never happened. You no longer need to keep these secrets. You are safe. We are family.

We sit next to each other at dinner. I pull out tonight’s dinnertime question from the can. Why did it have to ask about why our family is so special?  My heart beats faster. Wondering what you each will say. There are some silly answers. Some deep ones. Some everyone agrees on. One that strikes deep into my heart. That is yours. Your answer my son.

I will always remember your words. You grab my hand before you speak. You look right at me. Then you open your mouth.
Because we can tell you our past.
Because. We. Can. Tell. You. Our. Past.

I am speechless. I see the truth of those words deep in your eyes. I see freedom there. I see love. I see vulnerability. I see longing. I see need. I see trust. I see your deep wounds. I see the horrible things. I see my precious son.

(I wrote this in May of 2016) 

Since we have been on this journey of both beauty and brokenness, it has been so helpful for my heart to just sit and write. To sit and cry and write. To sit and feel the pain and write. To sit and feel the joy and write.  To just feel. Allow myself to feel the pain of my children. Allow myself to feel my own pain. Allow myself to rejoice in the redemption that God is bringing.

lori

Don’t let the name fool you :-)

  • Having the perfect body
  • Looking good in my bathing suit
  • Being skinny

These were NOT my goals as I began my fitness journey. In light of that, you may understand why I was hesitant to try “Beachbody.” To me the name seemed to symbolize so much that I don’t like. I felt like they were making fitness all about the superficial.

In case you are like me and cringe at the name, let me tell you what Beachbody is really about. They are about changing lives. Helping people. Inspiring others. Building confidence in people. Making people stronger, both inside and out. THIS…..this is why I became a Beachbody coach despite my reaction to the name. 🙂

Beachbody coaches lead 30 day challenge groups for people….its a private Facebook page where we encourage each other, motivate each other, check in about our workouts, hold each other accountable, share recipes and health tips. I was a part of 2 different groups back to back, and it really was, in my mind, my last shot. I tried pretty much everything to get to a healthy place…changing medicines (that turned out to be awful), trying other products that are popular out there right now, eating well, exercising a few times a week. And not only was it my last shot, but I frankly didn’t think it was going to work. 🙂 But, I put 100% in and gave my all. And yes, I was completely shocked because it actually worked! Here is my before and after for the 2 challenge groups I did. I am currently now in my third one, which I am helping lead as a coach.

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Yes, I am grateful to be so much healthier. I love feeling physically stronger. But the thing that has been most amazing, and the reason I became a coach, is how much I have grown as a person. This process has been life changing. It is amazing how much being stretched physically, stretches you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. I now know I can do so much more than I ever thought I could. I know that I can push myself much harder. I have inner strength that wasn’t there 80 days ago.

I want to bring hope to those struggling with weight gain due to medicine. I want to bring hope to those who are so stressed that their weight has skyrocketed. I want to inspire and encourage those who feel like they can’t do it. I want to walk alongside people as they change, externally and internally. I want to help women realize that building muscle is important for our health. I have a heart for foster and adoptive moms and special needs moms who are so drained being on all the time…I want to see more moms in general taking time for self-care. It is essential! As a mom, and particularly as a foster-adopt mom of children with high needs, this journey has been priceless! I am more grateful than I can express!

-Lori

 

Foster Adoption Realities

We love our children.

It is hard to believe that the 4 year old girl we first met is going to be 6 in a few short months! When they were adopted we gave each kiddo a choice on whether they would keep their middle name or take one we chose for them. Our little girl was very excited to change hers to Joy. And there is a reason we picked that name. This girl brings a lot of joy and smiles to those around her. She loves helping other people and making things for them.

Our middle boy who practically shares the same birthday as me is 8 now. He is a lot like his momma in his spontaneity, adventuress heart, and out of the box thinking. He gets a kick out of being so much like me in this way. 🙂 This kiddo has a heart of gold. We have often witnessed him seek to comfort a child at the bus stop who is crying, or reach out to someone who seems left out.

Our oldest is 10 1/2! Wow! This funny boy  continues to remind us often that he is a pre-teen. 🙂 This guy can do things I can’t even wrap my mind around. He is much more like his daddy in this. He loves doing scientific type things like snap circuits…I tried to do it with him and boy was I lost! And funny?! Well, actually the correct phraseology would be “punny.” He can make up puns like no one else I have met!

Yes, we love our children, and we are grateful that they love us too. That said, don’t let that fool you into thinking that adoption is easy….for us or for our kiddos. We have often heard, “Your kids must be so grateful to have you.” Though well intentioned and having some truth to it, let’s look at it from a different point of view. Having us in their lives means they were taken away from their biological family. They were ripped out of the home they knew since birth, never to be able to go back. Even though it wasn’t a good place for them to be, it still hurt so much. In fact, it still hurts our kids so much. Can you imagine for a moment what that would feel like?

Some of the hardness for us comes with parenting three children from hard places…children who have much trauma…children who are high-needs in many ways. For our first 9 months together, we were woken up probably 12-15 times a night, and only lived off of 2 hours of sleep. Bedtime routines would take us hours because we had to stay in our kiddo’s rooms until they finally fell asleep. I had to sleep on a hard couch for months because one of our children was too scared for me to sleep in our bedroom. We had to sleep with every light on upstairs or else you would hear screaming and no one would be able to fall asleep. And these are just the sleep issues we have faced.

Adoption is a hard road. It is a beautiful road, but very difficult nonetheless. It is a road in which you often get to come face to face with your own selfishness. It is a road that needs to be about the kid’s, not about meeting some need of your own. It is a road of sacrifice. And it is a road that we would still take, even with all that we have gone through.

-Lori

 

Changes

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Since my life has changed sooooo much in the last year and a half, I updated the “My Story” page. I thought I would share it here with you. So, here goes….

My story is long. It is complex. It is filled with winding roads. It has lots of pain. It is unexpected. It is broken. Yet, it is so beautiful.

I am a woman who has struggled with infertility and can’t have her own biological kids. I am a foster-adopt mom of a sibling set of 3 who officially became ours this past August. Biological or not, they are not second best. They are our children, as though I gave birth to them myself.

I am a wife to a man that is truly my better half. I am a pastor’s wife. I love people deeply. I long to see myself and others continue to grow.

I am a person who has struggled with weight this past year and a half…partially due to some medicine that has this not so lovely side effect, and partially due to the extreme stress hormones of going from 0 to 3 children in the course of one day. I tried everything. Nothing worked. I was about to give up and then I found Beachbody, which changed me not only on the outside, but also on the inside.

I am a Beachbody coach. I get to help people become healthy. I get to connect with other people who have had my same struggles. I get to offer hope to people who have wanted to give up. I get to share my own strengths and weakness and inspire people.

I am an ESFP on the Meyers Briggs personality test. If you know anything about that, you know it means I love creating things. I see beauty where others may not. I love taking something that is thought of as useless or trash and using creativity to make it into something beautiful. I particularly love spreading beauty throughout our home…whether that be in the form of food, crafts, or DIY projects.

This is my story…and these are all things that you will see me write about.

I appreciate you all so much!

Lori