Something we've seen throughout the entire sibling group is the inability to ask for help when they are in need. One of them will ask for help constantly when they don't need it but none of them do when they are sick or scared. As 3 of them have begun to heal, they will tell me they need meds for an illness or ache, if they are awake. The other three dare you to catch them sick. My son and Patches go out of their way to let you know they have a fever or have vomited. I can't count the times I've found dried puke on their beds they have covered up. The RTC has been equally surprised by this behavior from him.
Logically, I know where this comes from. Their needs were never met as very young children so seeking it now is foreign to them. When they were hungry, no one fed them. When they were dirty, no one cleaned them. When they were tired, no one rocked them. When they were hurt, no one comforted them. Their brains are not wired to expect help. When they are awake, they can think it through and realize that I'm here for them. In the middle of the night, they just revert back to what they know. I've gone out of my way to assure them they are always welcome to come to my room. It doesn't help. Their behavior remains an extreme contrast to my other attached children.
This changed this morning for Patches. I was already awake and waiting for the arm to go off when I heard, "Mom". I nearly crapped myself. I just knew it had to be horrific. I jumped up and ran to her. I asked her what was wrong and held my breath. She began telling me she had a bad dream and every time she fell back asleep, it would continue.
Surprised, I asked her what the dream was about. She told me that we were al on a boat in the ocean and I jumped into the shark infested water. I told Ella to get in and then swam to safety leaving Ella to be eaten since she is not able to swim. Ella has Cerebral Palsy and her legs just can't kick enough to keep her afloat. (In her birth home, her father would become enraged and beat Ella with a belt as she tried to drag herself down the hall. This image has tormented Patches for years and made her feel she is weak and needs protection.)
I think the dream is pretty accurate about how she sees me. She is terrified I'm going to somehow trick her and her siblings into caring for me then hurt them. How could she not feel this way? It's exactly what her parents did. She loved them, they hurt her and refused to take care of her. I'm just some lady who stole her from them before they could get it together and live happily ever after.
I know it seems silly to some of you that I would be so excited over this simple act. Some of you are grinning from ear to ear or welling up with tears because you are living with a child like mine or were a child like her. You know how hard this was for her. What a leap it was for her to trust me enough to tell me she was scared and what abut. It took everything I had not to jump around and squeeze her. I calmly patted her back and told her how strong she was for telling me. I assured her in the only way she will allow me without shutting down. She left this morning without any anger for the first time in weeks.