thoughts on a thursday

today it was the music that took me back there.  to the place where my heart was broken.  i heard the familiar lyrics in Luganda and percussive accompaniment, and tears welled before i realized what was happening.  my mind took me back there, walking towards her tiny frame, huddled protectively in an oversized, tattered dress.  she glanced up at me, but then immediately looked down, thumb in her mouth, and started rocking and humming that haunting monotonous rhythm.  i heard the sounds of the street, the banter of vendors and laughter of children and honking of horns.  but i only saw her.  so broken and vulnerable and alone.


now, as i sit rocking my fair skinned chubby bundle of joy, the tears stream down my cheeks and i am suddenly overcome with grief at how unfair life was for my african princess.  how i wasn’t there to rock her when she was a baby, so she rocked herself.  how i wasn’t there to feed her when she was hungry or comfort her when she was sick.  how alone she must have felt on the hard dirt…she must have been such a gorgeous baby.  did she ever smile? did she play with the rocks and dirt? was it music that kept her alive when love failed her?  was it God? why did she have to wait for 5 years for someone to find her and love her? to finally belong??

she has started asking questions already.  with her expressive language delay, communication is very challenging.  but slowly, we are talking in bits and pieces about her life before we met.  “Miki sick in afwica? why, mommy?” i answer, “because you didn’t have enough food and you didn’t have medicine to help your brain.”  she says, “Miki can’t walk, can’t talk?” I say, “but now you can! and you’re so strong and healthy too.” She usually ends with, “Miki sad?” and I say, “You were very sad and lonely, but now you have a family and we love you very much”.  we have been having different versions of this conversation for several weeks now.  more or less the same thing every day.  i’m not sure if it’s healthy or not, but she always initiates it, so i guess it’s something she needs right now.

IMG_1165while she is doing much better overall, there are still moments of grief laced through our days.  and sometimes i just want to escape the pain…i find myself wishing for a less complicated life, where we wouldn’t have to struggle so hard.  but i know deep down that i was born for this and that this is my purpose in life.  to choose love every day and to rely heavily on God to be my strength when i am weak. that is the beauty of this journey.  the grace that surrounds this rocky road is so very real, and i am so very thankful!


3 responses to “thoughts on a thursday

  1. Christina,
    When Miki asks hard questions about her past and shares difficult feelings with you for what it was like for her, rather than redirecting her by saying, “But, now you have a family that loves you (i.e, think about your present, not your past)………..,” try saying to Miki, “That’s sad and scary not knowing how to walk or talk when you were in Africa.”

    Most the time, the best encouragement comes by trying to relieve the aloneness while in the midst of suffering. Knowing that someone understands how you felt at the time is enough.

    Another exercise you can try is role playing with Miki. When she starts talking about what it was like for her as a baby, you enter into her memories. You ask her to pretend that you really were there as her mother when she was a baby. You hold her, feed her, give her good medicine and keep her safe. You then teach her how to walk and talk. You can also role play with a doll. You can have Miki be the mom who rescues and teaches the baby.

    Next, expressing sadness IN FRONT OF MIKI and with Miki over the fact that you really weren’t there and that she had to suffer terribly as a baby (NOT FAIR in comparison to the love that her little sister has had) may bring healing. It’s good to cry and be mad about Miki’s past along with her, because it wasn’t fair. Again, it’s not always the actual event(s) that cause the most damage, it’s the “aloneness.”

    Doing this type of trauma/healing work with children is taxing to say the least for moms. Be sure to take care of yourself. It’s normal for your to be deppressed and overwhelmed. However, monitor that you are not getting too depressed and overwhelmed.

    You also can plant a special Miki tree in your yard to symbolize life, strength, hope, beauty, overcoming, etc.,.. Have Miki plant the tree and water it. Have a special Miki day by decorating the tree with those that have also endured great suffering. Show her that there is something very beautiful and rare about those who thrive and overcome adversity.

    Does Miki like animals? Try rescuing a neglected puppy, maybe a puppy with a disability of some kind. The puppy will help lead Miki in the right direction if she truly loves it. Animals are very therapeutic for those who love them.

    Teach Miki about others who have overcome great adversity, so that she can see that she is NOT alone in the world as far as enduring great neglect as a baby. The goal is help Miki eventually embrace her babyhood, forgive and be content for how her babyhood has molded her. She may not come to achieve this until she’s an adult. But, you can lay the foundation for her now, so that she one day can acheive this.

    Cindy from Torrance

    • Cindy, this is beautiful! thank you for taking the time to write out some of your thoughts and suggestions! i think of you and your kids often and try to remember the way you responded to the raging. i would love to hear how you guys are doing? could you send me an email if you have the chance? praying for your family as always!

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