Would you still love me if I...
hit you in the face?
steal from you?
tell you I want to live with my birth family?
ask you what you would do if I ran away?
tell you I hate you?
say I don't believe in God?
do some really bad stuff, the worst stuff you could think of?
That's the question that most, if not all adopted kids ask, especially those who have been neglected and abused.
That's the question that my kids ask, even after ten years of living in our home. Maybe it doesn't come up as often or as intense, but it's still there waiting under the surface. The question comes up when there are triggers, when they see an intact family, when they taste Mexican food, when they visit friends, when they are feeling a bit sick, when they are crossed, when they...
The question rarely comes out in an articulated and conscious way. It most often comes with negative behaviors, acting out, or pushing away. It comes with odd questions and statements that seem to come out of the blue.
It's a question that is often misunderstood. I don't always recognize the basic question because I get all hung up on the outward manifestations. I have to ask myself, "what did they mean when they said that?" Is there something deeper behind that statement?
Someone looking at my children's behavior from the outside may think my children are sullen, or disobedient, or bad kids. Other people may not understand why I respond to some things in ways that are opposite to what is expected in a typical parent/child relationship. I respond with time-ins instead of time-outs. Repairing relationship comes before behavior correction. Providing support and protection, especially with Ms. D because of her FAS, comes before letting her have freedom.
My kids are asking a question that comes from deep within. It comes from a place of rejection, either real or imagined. And unfortunately, the rejection was mostly real. The rejections came in a time of their lives when they were the most vulnerable.
They ask the question again and again. Would you love me if...?
So yes, Ms. D and Mr. I, I love you!
I love you even if...