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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grief Revisited


Grief is a process that sometimes comes in waves.  You will be doing just fine and then it hits you once again.  You had a tragedy in your family long ago, or more recently.  Suddenly, grief is upon you and the emotions are there once again because there is something new to process and examine. 

I am the same age that my father was when he died.  It is strange being the same age. It has made me go back and think about him more lately.  It makes me miss him, and wonder what he would have been like as an older man.
Sometimes I miss Mike's dad Ed so very much.  I felt close to him.  His death was a shock and sometimes I go back on my blog and read his comments.  He was a wonderful man.
As an adult, these times come upon me, and they are just out of no where.  It isn't something you can really "control".  However, I CAN control how I deal with grief.  I can choose to do something nice for another older person, or make sure I visit a sick friend, because you never know....

There is also grief that is felt when our nation is attacked.  I have had that grief a few times. It is an overwhelming sadness and the question of why?  It feels like your innocence has been ripped away and that you really are not safe. 
That is how it feels! But it isn't the truth.

For our children who have come from very difficult, complicated backgrounds, grief can come and revisit, even when they have been doing  well. It doesn't mean they aren't doing well, grief visits periodically, unannounced.
  Some might call it PTSD, because something might remind them of a loss from before, and the emotions are there, raw and real, once again. And when grief pays a visit, sometimes they don't handle it so well.

I could sense we were going to have one of those moments with Miss Alli.  She has really grown up a lot in the past 6 months.  She has matured, and become much more fluent in her ability to speak and express herself.  But she is still working on appropriate behaviors when grief comes upon her.

As a young lady who fully understands where babies come from, how parents are to commit to that baby for life, and how it feels when they don't, Miss Alli had some things to work through these last few days.  Her frustration of not seeing her brother and sister, wondering about other siblings, if her mother was still alive and more have been on her heart.  She has mentioned it in a healthy way and we have prayed. 
But today, she took out her grief in a less healthy way.  She expressed it through anger.
But what happened along with it, as we lay on the bed together was DIFFERENT.
She was able to say what was on her heart.
It came out rough.... but it was real.
"You are not my real mother, you are my step mother."  "My real mother lives in Russia!"
Once again, she is processing what happened to her at a new level.  Each of our girls has had to go through this level of thinking.  "What happened to me?" "Why didn't they do better?" 
"Why were they so violent?"  "Was I not worth it?"   These are grief questions.  They are birthed in sorrow and sadness.  And it is O.K.

"No, I'm not your step mother, and I am very REAL.... but I am your adoptive mother."
Do you know that there is a difference between those 3 kinds of moms?
Your birth mother gave birth to you.  It must be very hard to not have her in your life.  It must be so sad to think that you had to be taken away, and that her life was destroyed with alcohol and violence.
But you need to know that it is right and ok for you to love her.  She is your mother too.

A step mother is the wife of your father.  Sometimes she "steps in" and helps to finish raising children.  Sometimes step mothers have great relationships with their step children, and sometimes not.  However, she is not an adoptive mother. 

Mama and Papa adopted you. That means it is as IF I did give birth to you. Our names are on your
birth certificate as if we were there. In my heart, I feel that very way.  And I know this for sure, because I did give birth to your brothers and I love you just as I love them.

Because you are adopted you have an INHERITANCE!  That means you are a Minich and in every way a family member in good standing, who will always have a family name.  It is a good inheritance.
God adopts us as His children.  He has 1 one first born son: Jesus Christ.  But we are  joint heirs with Christ.  God does not have step children. We are His children, period.
Mama doesn't have step children either.  You are a joint heir with all your siblings.

I listened to her as she shared what was on her heart.  We then talked about appropriate ways to express our sadness or frustration, and to remember our history.  Has she learned this in the past? Yes.  She just needed a reminder. And she will probably need one again. :)

The cool thing about Alli is  that she really, really wants to do well.  Sometimes she gets stuck.
But it isn't the same as before.  She collects herself together pretty quickly and thinks things through in the end, coming to repentance and asking forgiveness.

As a side note:  I did find it interesting that her previous two adoptive families did not come up.
She has been with us now for over two years, and I think those experiences are fading into the background.  The memories are less and less.  Most memories now are appropriately going back to Russia, or what we did last year. :)

5 comments:

astudentinkolkata said...

Alli is amazing and inspiring. She does an incredible job of processing these complex, complex feelings at a wee age. These could fell an adult. And you've done an incredible job of giving her the tools to do so.

(I know your other children probably process equally complex feelings. I mention Alli because since the time I've been reading your blog, you've written about her journey more.)

Aus said...

Morning - been a long couple days here too!!

Yeah - grief comes out of no where - and many times we can't find the "trigger" - but maybe we shouldn't - grief unfelt is trauma later - let it come - be FELT - and then resolved!

And as for your previous post - bigots - hate them - but please....I like you - and I value you (and your family btw!!) Please hold your tongue - bigots can be dangerous too - and usually don't need much to be provoked....ignorance is like that!

hugs - aus and co.

Christie Minich said...

I have written more about Alli in the last couple of years because she is our newest daughter. I thought it would be helpful for others to read about our journey from the beginning.
She really is an amazing kid. All of them are....
We love being their parents. :)

Christie Minich said...

Thanks Aus. :)

Emily Minich said...

I can't wait until the boys have the language to be able to verbalize these kinds of thoughts.

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