Monday, August 8, 2016

Filling My Daughters Love Tank

In a social context, trust has several connotations. Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterized by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired. Vladimir Ilych Lenin expressed this idea with the sentence “Trust is good, control is better”. 
Taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_(emotion) 

  "Trust is good, control is better"

That describes our children perfectly. Control feels safer to them, when they are in control they can predict the outcome, if they are merely trusting us, the outcome could be something much different than they desire.

The subject of B came up last night. We talk about him from time to time and as happens with grief, the bad times tend to become dimmer as time passes. As the negative memories fade, coupled with the trust issues our children have they naturally have questions. A wise mom who has been through a similar situation strongly advised us to talk about B and not shove the past into a closet. 

   Last night Kiana was struggling with the whole adoption/abandonment/B issue. In her mind those things all get lumped into one "big feeling," that we need to unpack piece by piece over and over again. Her brain has trouble categorizing her memories and emotions into the correct "brain drawers." When she is battling one of the adoption/abandonment/B memories, the other two need to be acknowledged and worked through as well.

   It all started when Tristan found an empty snail shell on a hike and gave it to Lia. Kiana equates love with gifts so when Tristan gave Lia the shell, she knew he didn't like her as much as he likes Lia and the adoption/abandonment/B memory was triggered. She was unable to work through the ensuing emotions so it all came out behaviorally.

  When we got home from our walk, she and I sat down to hash out this by now very familiar set of emotions. She had to think awhile before she was able to figure out what had triggered her but with my help she said she was angry that Tristan gave the shell to Lia and not her.

  I told her that everyone has love tanks, just like our explorer has a gas tank.

 "If I put gas in the explorer will that gas last forever or will I need to put more in it?" I asked.

 "You will need to put more gas in because the tank will get empty."

  "Right, and you have a love tank that is just like the explorers gas tank, we put love into your tank but it gets used up and we need to keep pouring more into it. Your tank gets filled up quickly when we give you gifts because that is the kind of gas your tank likes best but there are other kinds of love such as," and I helped her think of some like, quality time, hugs and talking together. 

"Your tank needs to learn that there are more kinds of love than just gifts. If we gave you all the toys you wanted but didn't spend time with you, do you think you would feel loved?"

 Kiana shook her head, "That wouldn't be nice!"

  "God made our bodies to need lot's of different kinds of love, that is why mom and dad don't always give the gift kind of love, we take you hiking like we did tonight and we sit and talk like we are doing right now."

  "Why did B have to leave?" Was Kiana's next question. 

"He didn't want our love," I explained, "Our love was scary to him because when he was a little baby his mom didn't give him the care he needed. Then when he came to us he began to feel safe but I took him back to see his birth parents when he didn't feel safe with them. He decided that I wasn't going to keep him safe either so he wouldn't take in our love. He needed a fresh start with someone who had never hurt his trust," I explained.

"Why did God make people who don't make good choices?" Kiana asked.

"Umm, that is a good question to ask dad," I said. By now we had been talking for well over 30 minutes and my brain was beginning to feel a little dull.

 Dean explained that everyone has a choice to make, will they follow God or will they take their own way. 

 "Remember how we remind you that you have the option of making good choices are taking the consequences?" Dean asked. (If you are around our family for any length of time you will probably hear the phrase, "Good choices or consequences," when one of the children is contemplating whether or not to obey. This verbal prompt is often all they need to get their brain unstuck)

"Can I make you obey?" I asked Kiana.

She shook her head and with a grin said, "No!"

"Well that is kind of how God works, we each have a choice to make and He won't force us to make a good choice, just like mom and dad can't make you make good choices."

"Oh, well I just wish my birth mom would have taken care of me," Kiana said.

 "I know you do," I assured her, "And that is how it is supposed to be but sometimes it doesn't work out and then children need to move into a home where there is a mom and dad who will keep them safe. Before you came to us, we prayed that God would give us a baby because our family didn't feel complete. When your birth mom couldn't take care of you, God knew we would love to give you what your birth mom couldn't so he allowed you to come to our family."

"I am glad I was adopted into this family," Kiana whispered, burying her head into my shoulder and hugging me fiercely. 

"Me too, Kiana!" and I hugged her back. 

This little miss filled a "Kiana shaped hole" in our hearts!

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