My Family

My Family

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hidden Scars

Many times I am stopped with funny looks in stores.  I have a daughter with leg braces, and as anyone can see multiple special needs.  I am pretty calm and just smile, answer questions, and ignore funny looks.  I don't claim sainthood, but a few years back I may have been the one staring at "that kind of child".  So I practice patience, forgiveness, and most importantly education.  I do not believe in "hiding" her disability.  It is part of her, it makes her unique, and defines the way we see the world around us.

But then you look at my son.
Chances are if you walk into my house you will see a whirling dervish.  A six year old high octane full energy kid whose greatest life achievement at this point is that he has learned to make armpit farts.  The simple joys of childhood.

That is what most people see.  The all American blonde hair, blue eyed kid.  The kid everyone likes. He's funny, loves animals, and hates cleaning his room.  Its what you don't see.  I call it the hidden scars.

My son lived through more abuse and trauma in the first year of life than you could ever imagine.  He was beaten, dropped, neglected, and eventually shaken to the point where he nearly died.  His abuser was a person who was supposed to protect, defend, and love him.  His bio mom.

I made some big mistakes when we first got him.  The biggest one was the lie I bought.  He will be fine.   He will just magically be normal.  But for Marvin that normal never came.

Marvin flourishes with us.  He is like a little plant soaking up sunshine and love.  But Marvin's mind stopped growing when the abuse started.  He has memory loss, numbers and letter look funny to him, and learning new things is a challenge.  He also can have tantrums that last for hours, anxiety attacks, and stress episodes.

Chances are you won't ever see them.  Marvin is a master chameleon.  He has learned how to survive and put on a happy face.  But the scars are there.

Marvin needs support and help to make it day to day.  He has traumatic brain injuries.  He needs constant reassurances that he is safe and supported.  Thankfully we are getting support.  We get support from a trauma specialist.  We basically had to learn to re parent Marvin.  We are in the process of getting him support in school so he can succeed.

Marvin is amazing.  He was a victim of horrible violence and a survivor.  He continues to live day to day and has a zest for life.  We continue to fight for him and advocate for his unique needs.  I also am no longer hiding it.  When we hide abuse and violence we have let the abuser win.  We need to shine light on the deeds done in the dark so we can help victims advocate for themselves.  There is no shame in this.  There is only shame when we choose silence and let the innocent continue to suffer.

I choose to be silent no longer.  For my son's sake I will not pretend anymore.  I am breaking the silence.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cary Lynn is two!!!!

Wow!  The little girl that came into my home has had some major changes.  The biggest one is that our adoption is finalized!!!  Yay!!!!  There was a court photographer and lots of hooplah, but I don't have the pictures yet so I will backtrack to that when I get them.  Let's just say I cried.  A lot.

Then we celebrated.
Every girl deserves a party hat:).  Cary Lynn turned two.  For most children two is another day at the ballpark.  For Cary Lynn it is a big mile stone.  She lives.  It's true that she is still mostly non-verbal, doesn't walk or even crawl yet, but she survived.  That is pretty big in my book.

We kept it pretty simple.  Just grandparents.  We ate, talked, laughed, and ate some more.
My rocking mother in law made a fantastic cake.
With a little help Cary Lynn was able to enjoy cake too:).

So we celebrated.  She got all sorts of toys and loot.  My favorite is the bubble quilt my mom made for her to play on.
Or sleep on.  Birthday are hard work:).  It blows my mind that she has come so far.  That she is growing and thriving.  We still have a long road to walk and lots of progress to be made, but she has come so far.

Happy birthday little girl.  Mommy loves you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Adoption Eve

Tomorrow we go to celebrate a big day.  Tomorrow Harmani Lee Armstrong is wiped from all the books and Cary Lynn Fields takes her rightful place as my daughter.  I take her into my home, life, and family for good.  There is no turning back.  Not that I would ever want to.

It has been a journey.  The first time she was placed in my arms it felt like she had always been mine.
Then she threw up all over me and I knew she was a keeper:).  Or I had been territorially marked.

She was small, she was weak, and she had a disability list that would make some people cringe.  Plus she had nearly died several times so not many people were chomping at the bit to take this little lady home.  But I saw something in her.  Something that others may not have seen.

I saw it four days later when we were in the PICU at our hospital.  When I found out that her foster family had missed out on many major medical appointments.  I saw it when a team of doctors came in and talked over her about all her "problems".
It was her spirit and fire.  The child stuck out her tongue and spit at them after they left.  I was tired and scared and here is this baby acting like its just another day at the office.  So I decided that if she could do it so could I (I do refrain from spitting at people even though I am tempted at times).

My daughter is amazing.  Her adoption is the completion of our family unit.  It is a circle of love that started the day I was placed for adoption.  My biological mother had to give me up.  I know the circumstances and the sorrow.  But what she did, like ripples in the pond, started something bigger. A painful event turned into something good.  It placed in me a desire to adopt and that desire took two abused children out of a horrible situation and gave them a stable loving home.  Because of what I did cycles were broken and these children will be able to raise their children healthy and strong.

Welcome home Cary Lynn Fields.  You are strong, beautiful, and talented.  I am honored to be your mommy.