Language matters.

We haven’t had any foster placements for quite a long stretch – about 5 months.  The need seems to ebb and flow, and we are a little grateful for this “ebb.”  May is a difficult month – the little bodies in our home remember difficult transitions that time of year, the routine in school is different, Mother’s Day, birthdays, and the end of the school year that highlights unknowns and feelings of loss….it’s tough!   That chaos of last May (read: 3 kids under 3) almost camouflaged the pain – and although I always appreciate a good avoidance plan, I am vowing to not have that particular relationship with chaos again.   So, anyway, May was really, really hard.  Out of respect for my kiddos, I won’t share details, but I will say that in the midst of it all, the bad days can cause me to forget about the good days. Sometimes, the darkness can feel suffocating, and it’s too easy to allow yourself to ignore the fact that the. sun. will. rise.

So, anyway, none of this is really the point (aside from reminding myself and others that THE BODY KEEPS SCORE).  Tonight, during a casual conversation, I answered a question with “Oh, it was about the time you guys came home.”  J looked at me a moment, took a deep breath, and said – “I have always loved that you call it us “coming home” instead of how other people say it.  Because that’s what it is.”   Language matters.  I have made many, many mistakes in the 4 years since our kids came home, and in effort to “right” some of them – I recently told them to advocate for the language they want used in regards to their story.   This has been a powerful experience for all of us, and for him to take a minute to be vulnerable and express this positive feeling was really humbling for me.  The more I release the inadvertent “hold” I have on their story, their/our contact with first family, etc, the closer we get. The more they let me in.  I wish I could go back in time and assure myself of this back when we started, but I can’t.  Instead, I will write about it, and perhaps someone else will hear it.  You can’t protect your child from their story.  Kids have enough love for adoptive families AND birth families – they don’t have to check a box selecting which one is “real.”  Loss via adoption is ambiguous and really frikking hard.  The body keeps score. Healing doesn’t move in a straight line for anyone.  If you don’t listen, who will?  It’s not about you.  Language matters.