Once ReMoved=Trauma=PTSD

This video keeps appearing.

 I watch it each time with new eyes and new thoughts.  You know how things keep coming up.. several posts, several blogs, several fb messages are all relaying similar messages, so I’m compelled to write about it.

This time the video was posted on Covenant House FB page.  A portion of Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets proceeds go to support their efforts in assisting kids to find their way in the world in a healthy way.

One of the Facebook posts last night was about PTSD.  The words were so clear that I can’t help but repeat it here.

The mind replays what the Heart can’t Delete

Battles-

wars of mind, of memory, of body

The brain and body don’t forget trauma

The Heart Refuses To

There are over 400,000 children in foster care.  This film brings to awareness what some kids experience and to help adults understand life throughout the children’s eyes.  At the end she says it all;

“I am loveable.  I am worthy of care.”

How applicable in the adoptees world.  I can’t even begin to discuss the “re-homing” issue that is so prominently displayed on Facebook.  Pages, organizations, Craig’s List.  Places where, if you don’t like the child you “got”,  if they are too difficult to manage,  if they don’t suit your “fancy” you are free to re-home them….no strings attached.  Just like the little girl in the video..every day, adoptees appear on Craig’s List as giveaways.

When I was finally taken home as an infant it was on the condition that they “foster” me for two years perchance a boy became available.  If that boy had become available…I would have been given back, just like the sweet child above.  Just like the kids being re-homed on Craig’s List today.

IMG_2473She, with her perfect curls and homemade dress was not aware that her time, resting on the hopeful obtaining of a boy.  In the meantime, she was already being trained to perform on command…just in case.

When you consider the added burden of trauma that most foster, adopted, re-homed children experience, how amazing that many are the most compassionate, caring souls that roam the earth.  It is those who have dug their way out of the dark places and found the light that have the most understanding.  Those, who have lived with little are the first to give to others as they know what it’s like to have nothing.  Those who have had no one love them, no one in their corner are always the first to reach out to others. They know what it feels like to be alone in this world.

You would hope that people dealing with adoptees  (as well as other children of the system) would understand the effects of trauma and PTSD and have more compassion.  Not always.  In the real world, not the work world, it is practically never.  Everyone is so caught up in their own ego driven world they fail to really See,  Hear, Be Present For,  Have Compassion For …those who have struggled to find their way to the surface.

I speak as an adoptee who has navigated many trauma’s, abuse and rapes.  I speak as an adoptee who had held out hope of finding family after decades of search.  I speak as an adoptee who navigated a reunion where there was a Mother and siblings.  The Family I longed for all of my life.

 Looking back, I wonder if I had better understanding, if they had better understanding of my history of trauma, my PTSD, my impending diagnosis of Mastocytosis…would it have been different?

The constant tears, the fatigue, the grief and sadness was partly just that.  I know now that a huge part was mast cell degranulation affecting mast cells in the brain.  If understanding had been on the table on all sides what a difference it would have made.

It could have been a family healing…could have been.

As Bert Hellinger says in his books on family constellations…energetically there is something missing in their world as well, something isn’t right, a piece is missing when a child is given away.  Healing must be done as a whole family.

There is healing.  As the sweet child in the film says at the end;

https://youtu.be/lOeQUwdAjE0

“I am loveable. I am worthy.”

We can, with practice, spiritual or otherwise,  experience beautiful moments of the heart, a return to dignity, to the wise and gracious spirit that is found within always.  As we learn to navigate our difficulties with compassion and grace,  Joy will also return.

Life is trouble.. according to Zorba, and yet, your difficulties and sorrows do not define you.

They do not limit who you are.  Sometimes, when life is really overwhelming and the struggles great, you can mistake them for your life.  They are not the end of your story, they are just a small part of it,  a part of your path to great love and understanding,   Part of the intricate dance of love and humanity.

My hope is everyone will watch the video and give pause to thought.  For all of us,  but especially those of us who have been that little girl….let the spirit of self-compassion grow in you.  Sense how you can carry the soul of wisdom and compassion within your own heart.  Know that you will get through your difficulties with dignity and your capacity to love.

You are more than your story,  more than your trauma and pain,  more than your PTSD,  more, more, more

Remember who you really are and know you are loved

Does it Ever End?

I’m feeling conflicted as I write.  So much in the adoptee world this week about adoptive parents killing their adopted children, keeping them in basements to abuse, selling them on the market for sex, and then, “rehoming them” when they get tired of the responsibility or have outlived their use.

After writing the review for The Declassified Adoptee’s book “Essays of an Adoption Activist” I felt the increasing need to be fighting for change in how the adoption system  works.  The conflict comes, for me, in my own physical ability to do just that, energy wise, because of being ill with Systemic Mast Cell Disease, then I realized that I am, in my own way, fighting as hard as I can by writing Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets  and putting my words, my life, my trauma out in the world for all to see.  It is because of adoption and abuse that I entered in to such a world of trauma.

My heart breaks reading about the last few little babes who were killed and how helpless they were to do anything, say anything.  We have to be their voices.  We can’t be silent any longer.  Each one of us must find our own unique way to advocate for change, foster education, end violence and abuse in the system.

I will be speaking with kids at Covenant House, street kids, adopted kids..kids like i was at age 15.  This will be my activism, practicing compassion, listening to stories and sharing hope.

Taking Wing

This photo by Robin Toma was taken in Vancouver, Downtown Eastside.  A place where I once roamed for a brief time after hitchhiking out west as a young teen.

TAKING WING

For those of us who have taken the journey of search and reunion know that what is lost can be found, but never fully recovered.

Most of us at one time hoped that we would experience a recovery of sorts, find a family, be part of, at last belong, be loved.  What we were seeking may return in many forms but never  the shape of  what might have been.

I’m sure the integration process is ever quite complete, never quite finished, never whole.  We may feel more grounded because we now know our story, or part of, but our lifetime will be spent grabbing onto brief flashes of insight that fly by with the wings on the wind.

Each  flash brings with it tears, grief, loss, sadness.  While reading  this past weeks news in adoption land I was overcome with a wash of sadness and compassion for all of us, for little Hyun-su and those who are still encased in the system

The Buddha taught that a person needs to develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion.  These two qualities work together like wings allowing us to fly or two eyes, allowing us to see deeply.

 Those of us who grew up without love, without a mother, or those stifled by abuse, rapes or violence find it extremely difficult to love ourselves.  Adoptees suffer from the primal wound and of course, if your own mother didn’t want you or love you….  How could you possible love yourself.

IMG_2548_0018

In this picture I was just a bit younger than the latest victim of adoption violence..Hyun-su.  His death twisted my guts in a knot and I felt ill, chills ran down my spine.  Even now when I look at my picture above I get the chills. It could have been me.  I have that blank stare, the detachment, the clenched fist.   Adoptees feel a visceral response to  an others pain.

 Why then is it so difficult to have compassion for ourselves, for our inner child that suffered just like Hyun-su.

It never ends…

It’s important we all work on our own self compassion first.  For many of us that means going back to that frozen place.  That place of abandonment where the other self waits, in tears,  yearning for his/her mother to soothe and love.

  It’s a must if we want to heal and be able to offer our compassion to others.  It all goes back to our deep-seated belief systems and our belief that we are separate from each other, from the universe.  We aren’t ..we are part of…If you hurt, I hurt.  Collectively we all hurt.  If we start being kind to ourselves, speaking with compassion and tenderness to ourselves and others, the world will indeed change.

A subtle form of Activism yet so powerful

Self-Compassion means to be fully aware and to fully BE with yourself in a deeply aware and non-judging way.  As I was writing these last 8 years I have had to relive that little girls pain of the primal wound, the teens pain of rape, the adults pain of not belonging, of not knowing love.  I had to sit with myself with care and concern, solitude, sensitivity, tenderness, acceptance, kindness.

I was terrified. It was so difficult to do.  I shed many tears just holding myself in that place that was so full of pain.  To see myself from a place of non-judgment and feel the pain without covering it up or trying to fix it has been the most difficult journey of all.

 It never ends.

At the core of every wound is a belief that we are not worthy of love.  It’s a belief. Ask yourself if it’s true.   Look at that little girl above.  Is she not worthy of being loved.  Absolutely.  It’s a belief, a belief only I can change or you can change. Self compassion=change.  We have the ability to change beliefs once we recognize they just aren’t true.

We all have our triggers.  As described in A New Earth, our pain body carries our triggers.  Any circumstance that triggers emotional pain is an opportunity to practice self compassion and sit with ourselves in tenderness on a deep level.  If we sit long enough, dig deep enough we find the core shame that is buried in the rubble of beliefs.  It’s an opportunity to heal…use it.

Accepting the circumstances surrounding our triggers is needed to move forward.  All the should have’s, would have’s, why me’s, are a waste of energy.

 It happened.

Ultimately, we are responsible for everything that we’re feeling, thinking, saying, or doing..not the other person.

No, it never ends, but we can make this world a better place by telling our stories with compassion and grace.  One by one.. we are doing just that.  There is a shift happening, not only with our adoption system but with the world and it starts with you, with your own self compassion.

It never ends…but it gets better..Find your Wings