Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Change in season.

YH on the day we met

Spring has arrived in our city. Wildflowers are blooming, and the sun shines more birghtly each day. We've been swimming twice already and turned on the air conditioning once. We spend most of our days outside, chatting with neighbors or strolling through town. The jasmine on our front porch is getting ready to open, filling our home with its sweet scent.

It's a beautiful season in our corner of the world.

Spring has also arrived in our home. And with it comes the one year anniversary of YH joining our family. Feelings are blooming, and the memories sting more each day.

It's a painful season in our corner of the world.

For YH, this month is fraught with "traumaverseries". Intense memories or impressions of the big events that lead up to his separation from his foster family. The many doctors appointments. The trip to the embassy. The last dinner with his aunties. The last night with his foster brother, running wild in the living room while Hyung filmed him laughing and playing "peek-a-boo".

Walking down the street in his neighborhood in Seoul, a bag of shrimp chips in his hand. Sticking his little fist in the bag and cramming the treat in his mouth as he accompanied Appa on one last shopping trip. The dry taste of the strawberry cookies that they bought that night, in preparation for YH's long car ride away from the only family he had ever known.

These feelings and memories are expressed in different ways. Of course YH can't *tell* me "Hey I feel sad today because I am remembering this event."


Instead he has become more clingy, needing to touch me or be held at regular intervals throughout the day. Some of his anxious behaviors have escalated, and he is irritable. He cries. Just, cries. He wants to revisit the book we made that tells the story of how we became a family. He wants to see his grandparents every day, to check in on them and make sure they are there. He wants me to lie in bed with him and press my forehead against his as he falls asleep. At night he makes little moaning sounds. He sucks on his pillowcase when he wakes up, stuffing the fabric into his jaws.

When I am "helping parent" in his preschool classroom he becomes agitated. He does not like other children in my lap, or at my side. He flings his body around, crashing into things in search of a physical sensation big enough to match the turmoil in his little heart. We take a break and head out to a quiet space. He sits on my lap and stares into my eyes as we sing "Row, Row, Row your boat..." The rhythm of the words and the sweeping of our arms, hands clasped to one another, builds a protective cocoon around us.

We take a few steps back.

We are still a few weeks away from the traumaversary of the big hand-over.  The memories of that day are so bittersweet for *me*, I can only imagine how they feel for YH. For his foster family.

On the occasion of our first year together we will celebrate as a family--a beautiful family who loves one another and treats one another well. But we will also leave space for the sad feelings, the hurt feelings, the confused feelings. We will laugh when we need to and cry when we need to.

1 comment:

  1. It's so incredibly complicated, these anniversaries that celebrate the coming together as a family but are also so, so sad at their root. That's why I abhor the term "Gotcha Day" because it's just wrong to only celebrate the good part of the day.
    I think you are doing everything you can, just loving him completely, and taking in all the emotions that come with these days.