I had a very interesting discussion with Hope the other night. While I was putting Hope and Caroline to bed--Caroline asked if Hope had told me about the nightmare she had the night before. I said she had not.
I asked Hope what the dream was about..and she shook her head back and forth-not wanting to fess up. Finally--with tears gleaming in her beautiful black eyes..she told me...
Hope: "Mama-the dream was so so scary. There was a lady-and she came and took me from you and daddy. She took me away in a big van with other babies and we all were screaming for our mama's. I couldn't understand her because she talked really funny. She would never let me see you again--and I screamed for you and daddy, and Hannah, Joseph, Caroline, Charlie and Sam--and she kept me in her house and I never got to see you again. It was the worst dream I ever had."
Now Hope has been home for two years. She was adopted at two and a half. She has never talked much of her Ayi's (nanny's)-or her time in China. We tell her the story often--of how she had a China Mommy, and of her Ayi's--especially the one that she adored--but there is never any recognition.
When we first met Hope-she had to be pried screaming from her caretaker--who was also crying. She wanted NOTHING to do with us. Then we carried her out of the building, into a van, with 10 other families and their screaming babies. Aside from our orphanage visit-she never saw her caretakers again.
He dream is real. It is no nightmare. It is exactly what happened to her two years ago in Nanjing China. She was taken from those she loved, by people that she could not understand, and she screamed and cried-and was expected to just adjust and love her new family and not look back.
She has come so far. She had extreme sensory issues when we first came home--was hyper, and fidgety-and lacked the ability to sit still for more than a nano-second. She has blossomed into a confident, bright, incredibly well-spoken 4 year old. She is still active--but not hyper. She LOVES her brothers and sisters, and has finally completely bonded with her mama and daddy (it took awhile). She seems happy and content.
Yet.....she does remember--even on a sub-conscious level--that security may be a fleeting thing. She obviously deep down still has the fear that the same thing could happen again. This life that she has known could vanish-just like the last time.
How do I reassure her? How can I convince her that we will never, ever leave her? I tried--I told her that she was ours forever and no one could ever take her from us. She just hugged me as tight as her little arms could and said..
"thank you mama".
I just wonder how long before the nightmares stop. How long before that fear is gone? Or will it forever be a part of who she is.
That might be what I fear the most. That the insecurity could creep into her wonderful, confident demeanor and change her. I would not want her past to dictate her future. I want to change the fact that it had to happen like that at all. But I can't.
I can just love her as much as possible, and keep hoping that that will be enough to keep the bad dreams at bay.....