I woke up the other day and realized, that for the first time in at least three years, my stomach didn't hurt. The pain from surgery is finally gone and when I take a deep breath, I noticed I didn't have that underlying, constant, gnawing feeling in my stomach that I had grown so accustomed to. It wasn't until I realized that my pain was gone that I was appreciative of the fact that it was gone. I hadn't even thought about it.
And I tried to remember what it felt like. Where did it exactly hurt? What did it feel like? I can't really remember. Was it really that bad? I can't remember the exact feeling, but I can remember the misery. I can remember the longing for something better.
And this made me wonder about the pain my kids have felt throughout their short little lives. Do they remember what it feels like to be hungry? Do they remember their devastation from the loss of their parents? So many memories that I shall never be privy to.
We get so frustrated sometimes because we assume that because of our kids backgrounds, they shouldn't act like spoiled little kids... but guess what? All kids are the same! Josh has BEGGED for a big screen TV for his room (yeah right) since he got here. That's not going to happen! When I said that we have 7 TV's in this house and that is already way too many, he stood firm in his request. When I asked how many TV's he had in Ethiopia, he replied "one." And then followed that up with, "But we only had one room, so one TV for each room..."
It would be easy to assume that they had forgotten their pain. It would be easy to think that they can't remember the pain. But as I tried to remember the details of my own pain, I realized that the memories are there, but so is the hope that the pain is gone.
The challenges related to adopting older children are so much different that the challenges of adopting a baby, but sadly the challenges are just different and not necessarily lessened by the ages. The pain they feel is just the same. And while my physical pain is gone, theirs is emotional and is buried deep within their little psyches. It's hidden far away and covered by years of survival skills and aberrant coping mechanisms.
I believe that one day they will have an awakening, just as I did, to the fact that their pain is gone. I pray for that day. I pray that they will be able to look back and have good memories of their childhood and not just painful ones.