One of our adopted children has just recently been exhibiting behavior that we do not usually expect with him. He has been having outbursts of anger at school and at home. We thought about what might be triggering these feelings and sought counsel from an experienced adoption therapist.
As background, eighteen months ago, we decided that the public schools were never going to fit for us. We then home schooled him for a year and a half. It went well academically and important bonding took place, particularly between the boys and my wife.
We really valued the home school experience, but problems surfaced which caused us to have to look for other options. We have five adopted children who are ages two through eight. The strain of having all the boys at home all of the time was just too much for us and we began to feel like the “ship was about to sink”.
I have previously discussed the private school option which solved the problem. The school is both excellent in academics and spiritually sound. There is also a love there that our boys needed.
So why is this child suddenly angry? There are two answers. The obvious one is that the child misses the constant attention and nurture which he was receiving at home. Therefore, whether he realizes it or not, he is upset with us for sending him out five days a week. He is saying things like, “How long do I have to go to school?”
The second answer is more complex. We were warned about this unusual behavior a long time ago by our adoption social worker and our counselor has also confirmed what we are seeing. This time of the year is when he first came to live with us.
Almost four years ago, he was taken from his home and put in a shelter. After a few weeks, he was put in a foster home which could not handle him. After a month, he came to live with us. It is hard for an adult to even imagine the amount of stress that he endured during that time. He was certainly in bad shape when he arrived at our door.
What has happened to trigger this? The weather is changing from winter to summer (we really don’t have spring in Houston). He doesn’t know what time of the year all of this happened and hardly, if at all, even remembers it. But deep down inside, his spirit knows that this is the anniversary of some very disturbing events in his life. Whether or not he remembers, he feels it and it is disturbing him.
Our job is to make sure that he knows that he is loved and that his life is secure. We hope that someday this will not affect him in this way. But for now, we are prepared to help him deal with it. Love heals many wounds.