All of my children have had nightmares, some have been more difficult than others, and all of them have met with the same answer: “It’s okay, baby. It was just a dream.” But, today, I had to give a different answer to my littlest.
Our Goose, with tear stained cheeks, came to me this morning to share her nightmare. She dreamed that we could not be her family anymore, and that she had to say goodbye to us. Of course, we are never going anywhere, and I covered her with hugs and kisses and told her of forever, BUT her nightmare comes from her reality.
Goosey was 8 months old when she moved in with us, and has no memories of life before us. We saw her first step, heard her first word, changed her diapers, held her when she was sick, comforted her through virtually every hurt. And, yet, what her mind has forgotten, her body remembers. Her first year of life was full of the trauma of loss. She had 9 months in her bio-mommy’s womb and a month in her arms, and the loss of her first mom will be a pain she will always feel. She lost 2 sweet foster mommies, too, who loved her well for the time they had her. They could only take care of her for a time, but they could not explain to her why they had to leave. She was too little, so she just felt the loss.
L is 4 now and just beginning to grasp the word “adopted”. Having a bigger sister who remembers everything, we talk. We have a photo album full of pictures of her first family, and we talk about “Mommy V” and “Daddy J” regularly. We learned early on that honesty and truth would be the best way to walk with our girls. We could not shield them from hurt through hiding the truth, so we chose to walk with them through their hurts. We encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. I’ve sat in a puddle of tears countless times with N, grieving with her over her loss.
Now I am beginning that lifelong walk with L. It won’t be easy. There will be many tears and probably some anger. I can’t soothe away her pain with a statement or two. She is living a nightmare of loss so big very few could understand. At 4, she is learning that sometimes kids lose their family. Now, it is my job to teach her that I will love her with a never ending, unstoppable love, but, even more than that it is my job to teach her that she has a Father in Heaven that has been with her from the moment she was conceived in her mother’s womb. His love makes my love appear shallow. God’s love will never fail her, and even in the years after I am gone, He will continue to be with her.
Will you pray with me that the wounds of my daughters’ hearts will be healed? Will you pray, also, for the children today in our own cities that are waking up in the middle of a living nightmare? For the children who have lost mother and father and grandparents and siblings and neighbors and all things familiar? Pray that they can know the love of a family, but, more than that, that they can know the love of a heavenly Father who does not leave.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6