Thursday, October 23, 2008

Filling in the gaps

I met with Marilyn today to talk about Mae's treatment. She wants to do some EMDR with her to stimulate the trauma center of the brain, where she thinks Mae is storing pre-verbal trauma related to her abandonment. Today we talked about 'filling in the gaps' of her adoption story. I made her a book for her 2nd birthday that glossed over the actual abandonment. The only words are "Her parents couldn't take care of her, so they brought her to an orphanage." Marilyn thinks, and she has the support of a large committee of social workers who meet to discuss cases on a monthly basis, that Mae is ready for more detail. Because I don't have many facts, it was comforting to hear that "guessing" was OK. Not that I should fabricate a romantic story of her first few days of life, but that it's OK to say, "We don't know why your Chinese parents couldn't take care of you. Maybe they were very young. What do you think?" Similarily, she thinks it's OK to talk about how confused Mae was on Gotcha Day. She's seen the video, but it's brief, and we didn't document the first 12 hours or so of her new life with Ayi SuSu and me, mostly because she screamed that entire time. While I shouldn't be dramatic about it, it's OK to say, "You were really confused. You probably missed your nanny. I'm glad you felt better after your nap that first day," and so on. So, I have work to do to fill in those areas that I've been hesitant to address directly. But she's ready. She's asked me if she drank her Chinese mommy's milk (all these breastfeeding babies everywhere!), whether her Chinese mommy has long hair (she's pretty sure she does!) and we talk all the time about how much she probably kicked inside her Chinese mommy's tummy. She's eager for information. So we'll give her what we know and wonder together about what we don't.
Another (holiday appropriate timing too!) idea Marilyn had was providing her with a simple staple of child play therapists: the soft dollhouse. Get an Asian family and a Caucasian family. Let her play-act her journey. That's on the Hanukkah list for sure. Whew! I'm glad Mae is ready for this, but I'm still not sure I am!!

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