Sunday, September 25, 2011


We all have "triggers" or flashbacks of some sort or the other.  I will hear a song or eat a certain food and it reminds me of my dad who passed away many years ago and those emotions come to the surface in a hurry.  I hear the songs that were played at my wedding and the memories of that day flash before me in an instant.  There are various reminders of my childhood, pregnancy, work, friends, etc.  It seems to be easy to connect the dots on what memory is caused by the trigger.  I can seem to identify the emotions or reactions, because I have previous knowledge of those events.  The problem for me is that even though I can seem to identify my own triggers, it seems difficult to determine what other people's triggers are, especially my daughters.
After leaving Alesha in the church nursery for the first time a couple weeks ago and experiencing the regression in the following weeks, it got me to thinking about "triggers".  Today marks 2 weeks since I left her in the nursery.  She played happily for 1/2 hour and then they called me because she was crying.  As I ran through the church to the nursery a flood of emotions hit me.  I shouldn't have left her, is this going to cause regression?, what caused her to suddenly begin crying?   As I rushed to the top of the two flights of stairs I could her her screams.  As I ran for the door to comfort my sweet girl, I was stunned that she didn't even run to me.  When I opened the gate and walked towards her she just stood there not moving an inch and screaming.  Her eyes were fixed straight ahead.  It was as if she totally checked out.  I called her name as I walked towards her scooping her up in my arms.  She was shaking and screaming as she buried her face in my shoulder.  It took a long time to calm her down. :-(  I asked the workers what happened and they said that she was playing so happily and then all of the sudden she just started crying.  She said it was as if she got bored and realized that I was not there.  This might have been the case, but I think there was a lot more to it with the reaction I saw from my precious girl. I finally got her calmed down and we had a snack together and then we left for home.  I knew she might have a little difficulty with the nursery, but I didn't expect this.

I had tried several times before to leave her in the nursery and it was clear to me that she was not ready.  The week prior to leaving her, I stayed with her the entire time and observed from a distance to see how she would do.  She did fantastic, so I thought it was the perfect time to give it a try.  Clearly this time there was something that triggered inside of her mind and heart to cause such a reaction.  It was not a reaction of, I don't want to be here and I want my mom.  Her reaction was that of  terror.  It took me only a few minutes to reach her, but by that time trauma had occurred.

These last two weeks have been very emotionally draining for me.  To see her become so clingy and not wanting anybody to hold her, but me, brings me back to when we first arrived home from India.  I feel sad and broken hearted that Alesha experienced such trauma.  I try not to second guess my choice in putting her in the nursery.  These events have me praying to God for guidance and insight on what to do in the weeks to come.  I pray that God will comfort her precious mind and heart and help her to feel secure again.  All I know to do is hold her, love her, reassure her, comfort her and pray for her. 

This is the biggest trigger I have seen to date, but there are have been a number of triggers along the way that I have not been able to identify. I am puzzled when we are going about our day and out of the blue I sense her becoming very uncomfortable and she wants to be held immediately as she begins to whine or cry. One example of this is when we walk down long corridors. All is well until we get about half way down and then she begins to panic and wants to be picked up immediately.  I always pick her up and reassure her that everything is okay, but wonder what it is that is causing this reaction. When she becomes hysterical when she sees a balloon floating in the sky (whether it is her balloon or not), it makes me wonder what is the event or memory that triggers such a reaction. At times like these it becomes clear to me that there is a 15 month gap of information that I simply do not have access to. What is going through her mind at these moments of panic? What is the flashback or memory that is causing her to feel so uneasy and scared?
These experiences make me very aware that triggers, flashbacks, and regression can occur at any time for any reason, even after being home for 15 months.  I am aware that I have limited answers for times like these and that I need to rely on God for his comfort and wisdom.  Triggers are a part of life.  Figuring out how to handle them as they arise appears to be the great challenge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Annual Oak's Park Trip - August 31, 2011

For as long as I can remember my kids have participated in the summer read program at our local library.  You are required to read (or be read to) 15 hours.  Once your tally sheet is completed, you turn it in for your prizes.  There are gift certificates to a couple restaurants, local attractions, discounted tickets to a sporting event, and you get to pick out a new book to keep as your very own.  

Our family loves to read so completing the 15 hours is not a problem.  The prizes are more of perk than an incentive.  This year Alesha, participated as well as both boys.  It did take longer to complete those 15 hours for her as sitting still is not her strong suit :-)

The day finally arrived for our annual visit to the local amusement park.  I knew it wouldn't be as "cool" this year since we had been to Great America, but it was still a fun thing to do on a cool summer day.  

Waiting for the ticket counter to open

Chilling out while we wait for the boys to get off the scary ride.

This was the first time she had been on this ride so Luke went with her.  I love how they are holding hands.

I love the smiles on their faces in this shot!

I'm a big girl.  I can go all by myself.  I love how she crosses her feet.

The car ride.  At one point she bumped her head on the steering wheel.  She didn't cry or anything, but then I looked at her forehead and saw this.........

a huge bump starting to swell in the perfect shape of a circle.  It didn't take long to fade away.

Luke took Alesha down this huge slide.  They were both laughing by the time they reached the bottom.

My three sailors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beach trip to Gearhart Condo - August 25-26, 2011

We had planned to go tent camping again up around Mt. Hood.  The problem, a major thunderstorm with hail and lightening was headed in that direction the day we planned to leave.  We decided to wait a day and see if things improved, but they did not.  So onto "plan B".  The Oregon coast looked like it had nice weather so we headed out to Darin's condo in Gearhart.  This was quite a luxury compared to camping in a tent :-)  The weather was really nice and we actually had a chance to play on the beach and get in the water.  It was Alesha's first experience with ocean water and she had a BLAST!  I thought she would be too cold, but she was having so much fun jumping and running around the cold water didn't seem to bother her.

Darin took advantage of the overcast skies in the early morning  and did a mini photo shoot of the kids.  I LOVE these photos!!!!!  Thank you honey! 

These were taken on the balcony of the condo.

Martin (will be 13 in November)

Luke, 11 years old

Alesha, 2 1/2 years old

Then we headed down towards the beach.  These were taken on the hillside right before you drop down onto the beach.

I decided to put some flowers in Alesha's hair and I was surprised at what a difference a few flowers can make :-)

Finally onto the sandy beach!  The clouds started to burn off, the sun came out, and playing in the ocean came quickly thereafter.

Alesha, was hysterically laughing as the water would swirl around her feet as it went back out.  It  was so fun to see her face and hear her laugh with delight!

I love how Luke isn't even touching the ground in this picture.

This last wave got us really wet......... 

so wet, that the pants needed to come off.

My boys decided that rolling in the sand soaking wet would be a great idea.  I believe I heard the words  "Sand Angels"  

We had a fantastic couple of days at the coast.  Thanks mom and dad for letting us use the condo. We have lots of great memories and photos to remember this trip.

Friday, September 09, 2011

India Weekend August 2011

This is a weekend I look forward to every year!  It is a time when friends from near and far gather together to spend a few special days together. This year was so fun to have additional families joining us.  Even though most of do not live in the same state we all have a common bond and that is our children that we have adopted from India.

I so enjoyed seeing all the children playing together.  This year several children had just recently arrived home (Asha, Ajay, and Tanaya).  How fun it was for me to be able to hold Asha and Ajay again.  It had been over a year since I had held them in India when we picked Alesha up.  Ajay, was one of Alesha's cribmates for a short time in India.  It was fun to see them together and get an updated picture of the two of them.  It was amazing how much all the children had changed in just one years time.

Ajay and Alesha (cribmates)
On Friday, we spent some time at Washington Park playing in the sand and the play structures. In the evening we made our way out to Blue Lake Park for dinner and a time of playing in the water and sand.  I loved looking down on the beach and seeing all these beautiful brown skinned children playing together.  I am sure others at the park must have wondered what was going on.  It was fun to talk about our journey to our children, our travels to India, the adjustments of expanding our families, etc.  Conversation is easy when you have all traveled the same road :-).

On Saturday there was another park day and then we met at Lisa B's house for a bbq and a time of swimming in a huge pool.  The water was refreshing for all the kids as it was a hot day!  Again the pool was full of mostly little brown children squeeling with delight.  As my friend, Julie, said it was strange to have to look more closely to find your child. Usually in a pool your brown beauty is easy to spot, but not this weekend :-)

Asha and Alesha playing in the sand
Sunday, was the India Festival in downtown Portland.  As you enter the square where the event is taking place your senses are bombarded with the sounds of Indian music, the smell of amazing food,  and the sights of brilliant colored outfits flowing about as the dancers perform.  The crowds were reminiscent of India as well as the high 90 degree day we were having.  The festival is as close as you can get to being in India while remaining state side :-)

This year, Alesha had a very different reaction than last year.  Last year, she had just gotten home and was still adjusting. I held her most of the time, but she seemed really comfortable with everything.  This year, she seemed really overwhelmed.  It could have been some exhaustion from the previous two days, but she was really clingy and felt really uncomfortable/unnerved.  My friend, Heidi's little girl, who came home the same time as Alesha was having the same reaction.

After we met up with all our friends, we made our way to the food line to get some lunch.  The food was delicious.  Even though Indian food is Alesha's favorite, she really didn't want to eat.  After lunch we made our way to the tent that was doing henna.  I have never gotten henna and figured this was a great time to give it a try.  Alesha, sat on my lap while I had my hand and arm done and then to my amazement she wanted some, too.  As I held her hand in mine, the sweet young girl painted henna on my girl's tiny little hand.  Alesha, just gazed up at her and then her hand and didn't move until it was all done.  I was impressed!  At a concert earlier this summer she cried when we tried to have a ladybug painted on her hand.  It was fun to watch her over the next few days point to her hand and say henna, over and over again.  Eventhough it has long faded, she will still point to her hand and say henna.  It made a lasting impression!

As the heat was continuing to rise and the kids were melting down one by one, we all said our goodbyes.  I so wish we all lived closer together.  The memories and pictures from this year will have to hold me over until we meet again next year.  I am thankful we have email, blogs and phones to keep in touch in the meantime.  What a gift it is to have friends who share such a precious bond......this includes all of my other blogger friends, too :-)

Here is a link to the photos that my husband took on Saturday and Sunday. It is easier to share the link than to download each picture to post to blogger.

Already looking forward to next year!