…but always in the hands of the Father. I’m talking about our son, Kooper. Nine months ago we met him for the first time. In April when we received his referral, we wondered why this 13 year old boy had to wait so long for a family to call his own. Little did we know, the more answers we sought, the more questions would arise.
As in many cases, his referral information was outdated, incomplete and ultimately, inaccurate. To this day we don’t know where our son spent the first six years of his life. According to the information, he was at the orphanage, which happens to be a Half the Sky facility, but HTS has no record of his enrollment in their preschool.
As his new language improves, he is able to share more of his past. The biggest obstacle now is the cultural stigma of doing so. He’s obviously never been taught or allowed to express his feelings, therefore causing him to be out of touch or unable to identify his emotions.
He’s also under the impression if he doesn’t talk about it, it will go away or he can pretend the abuse he endured in the estimated nine years with his foster family never occurred. Yes, I said abuse. Our hearts are broken for our son. At this time we don’t know the depths of the abuse, but we know it has calloused his heart. Gradually, he is letting down the barriers. It took six months for him to admit he was abused. We don’t know how long it will take for him to share the rest. We’ve begun counseling, and he is surprisingly open with his therapist.
We’ve explained that his heart is like an open wound (like when he smashed his finger), and it can heal. We’ve learned to read the signals and recognize when the memories haunt him and disrupt his daily life. It’s so hard to be 14…to never know permanency…to experience abuse…to change countries and cultures as a teen…to trust a super-size family who looks, talks and acts different from anyone you’ve ever known…
I’m so proud of how Kooper is adapting to all the changes. There are more to come once school starts, but he is slowly gaining the confidence to accept challenges and trust that we will always be here, no matter what.
The main struggles now are his inability to fall asleep at night, his fear of failure and his desire to be alone. It seems he is consumed by thoughts that keep him awake and cause him worry. Now that we recognize the signs in the morning, we are able to talk to him about his worries and ease his mind.
He’s never been challenged before. In fact, it seems no one had the time to help him learn. Apparently, if he said he couldn’t do something, he was brushed aside and given an easier task or assignment. The truth is, he is a very bright kid whose memory is amazing when exercised! He just lacks the confidence to believe he can succeed.
His ‘safe place’ is to be alone. He doesn’t have to think, talk, feel or try or please anyone. We are learning that he needs some alone time, and he is learning when to try harder to interact with the family. He lacks the ability to solve even the simplest problems. Through a series of questions and demonstrations, we are able to instill confidence and skills to do so.
Though it seems this child has simply slipped through every societal crack, and his past is nearly nonexistent as far as documentation, he has always been in the loving care of the Father, who is ever so patiently drawing him closer!