Hey there – Ben here. Life unfiltered is what Threads is all about. Being open, honest, and transparent about life.
Well, my life’s been a bit messy, hectic, and broken lately. But at the same time, there’s some beauty that has been happening along the way.
As you may have heard me mention on previous episodes, my wife and I adopted two children out of the foster care system. I love my kids dearly, and couldn’t love them anymore if they were my own flesh and blood.
But… WOW. Some days are just incredibly difficult and challenging. And then those days turn into rough weeks, which sometimes turn into rough months.
We’re there right now. It has been rough. We are in the process of helping our kids rewire their brains. The trauma they experienced before joining our family has left their brain in shambles.
In a “typical” kid not impacted by trauma, there are neurological pathways in the frontal lobe of their brains that help them reason, process stressful happenings, and filter through negative impulses as they respond.
In a kid with “trauma brain,” the ability to filter through possible reactions doesn’t exist. They do whatever comes to mind, whether that is shouting/screaming/trantrumming or being physically aggressive towards their parents. Kids with trauma brain react impulsively, and tend to over-react in stressful situations. They do not have the ability to moderate their feelings.
BUT, there is hope. It’s like working with a wilting flower. Just when you think there is no hope, the once dried out flower begins showing signs of restored health with consistent watering. With consistent parenting, and consistent love and reassurance, the once damaged/under-developed frontal cortex begins to grow and catch up with “normal” brain development.
Both of my kids had significant moments of “trauma brain” brokenness in recent weeks. I won’t go into the details, out of respect for them… but suffice it so say, we had numerous nights where we were on the floor with them trying to help them come back down to earth, as they were flailing and tantruming about on the floor.
Yet, both kids have had moments where they SHINED and it was beautiful. Our daughter decided that she wanted to be baptized at church, and I had the amazing privilege of baptizing her a couple of Sundays ago. My son scored the first goal of the season for his soccer team. My daughter, who has been SUCH a mama’s girl, CHOSE to spend 1.5 hours sitting with me in my office recliner. We laughed, told stories, watched YouTube videos, and enjoyed spending those moments together. My son turned his grades and behavior around in a class that he had been goofing off in.
Progress is slow… and sometimes the shadows of “trauma brain” prevent me from seeing the growth taking place. Our kids have come so far in the last couple of years.
Parenting – in general, and especially adoptive/foster parenting, is a beautifully broken pursuit. My goal is to focus on the BEAUTIFUL things that happen, while learning from the BROKEN moments.