I was sorting strawberries with James and Julie a couple days ago, after picking a boatload of them at a local farm. As often happens, when their hands are busily engaged with work, their tongues move more freely. They shared with me some of the atrocities they've seen over the years at their orphanages. We adoptive parents like to think that, although not the same as a family and home, the orphange is not too bad a place for the kids. They keep them warm and safe and dry and fed. But when the love of a family is missing, terrible things can happen.
My kids told me of children slicing their arms with knives. Pushing needles into their bellies while being kept in "solitary confinement". Looking out the window to see a classmate swinging from a tree, rope around his neck and chair kicked out from under him, and having to run out with teachers and students to rescue him. They both knew of many kids who had hurt themselves, attempted suicide, or ended their lives violently. This is not a case of knowing someone who knew someone who tried it, this is being able to count the lost souls of kids you once knew.
With both hands and voice trembling, I assured my sweet kids that here they are safe and loved. I let them know that they could come to us with anything on their minds. Told them if they feel angry or sad we can talk with them and help them through their feelings.
At some point, when they have a little more English under their belts, I will take them to see a professional who can help them deal with the many things they've seen and experienced in their short lives. But for now, I hope lots of hugs and kisses and talking and snuggling will do the job of making them feel safe and secure and loved.
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