Beautiful Fresh Starts . . . Or Brain Damage?

Some of you may not read this all the way through. I hope some will.
This isn’t my typical kind of post, but my heart is aching; bleeding. I am haunted continually and having trouble sleeping. I have to write this and hope that it will stop some of my own tears, even if I don’t really expect it to stop the horror that is happening daily in our own arms-wide-open America.
Some of you may stop reading right there. After that last sentence. But I will keep typing anyway.
During the last four weeks, Scott and I have had the incredible honor of welcoming Raiza and her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Jhannel, into our family.
From South America.
Their entry into our country has been as safe, as gentle, as stress-free, and as loving as it could possibly be during such a time of drastic life changes, as they have been surrounded by people who love them, care about them, and are excited about their new lives here.
Jhannel has been doted on by our children, scooped up by the two of us (her new Grandmother and Grandaddy), fed nutritious foods, had all of her needs met through each day. But even under these ideal circumstances, her great need to be in close contact to her mommy, to know constantly where she was and that she hadn’t left her, has been huge. Unfamiliar food, people, language, smells all made it essential that she have the familiar sound, feel, smell of her mother by her side at all times during this upheaval in her life.
We’ve marveled at the beauty of the deep bond and attachment they share. A bond that got them through unbelievably hard times, periods of poverty and need, and constant fear about their future before finally coming to America.
After they had been here for a couple of weeks, we came alongside Raiza to help her ease Jhannel into a place of a bit more independence as we all started working together to help Jhannel learn to sleep in her own little Paw Patrol bed. Still in the same room as her mommy, but for the first time in her life, not in the same bed.
It made my heart hurt as we saw the terror she faced that first night when she tried hard to be brave and follow through with her own desire to learn to sleep in her own bed. She loved that bed, but couldn’t find the courage, all by herself, to sleep in it without her mother’s body nestled against her. Something she had felt every single night since the moment God began knitting her together in her mommy’s womb.
But we all three loved her through that transition, and it got easier for her every night — as long as she knew that Mommy was still in the room with her and would be there when she opened her eyes the next morning. She asked over and over and over again for this assurance.
She now wakes up each morning and runs through the house, announcing happily that she woke up in her own bed, and she is so very proud of this little step toward three-year-old independence, knowing that she is safe and that Mommy is still walking by her side.
And then I think of all the immigrant babies being ripped from their mother’s arms at U. S. borders. I don’t know how the parents or the children ever survive this unbelievably cruel treatment. Hundreds of them! 
In our attempt to be better parents ourselves to our own children from trauma, and to help other parents learn to how to understand their children’s trauma and needs, Scott and I have spent the last few years learning more and more about what childhood trauma does to children’s ability to cope in life, to their emotional and developmental state, even to their actual brain development! So much has been discovered just since the time we adopted our first children in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. It’s huge! Both the amounts of damage done, and the amazing healing that can finally take place when the proper understanding and methods are put in place.
But nothing ever completely undoes this damage. These children are forced to live out their lives limping in ways they would not have done if they had never been through the trauma they experienced. 
Being separated from parents is one of the worst types of trauma that can happen to a child. And we, America, are inflicting this permanent damage onto these massive numbers of children! 
How can this be?!? 
This video is about how to help kids from trauma heal, but it also gives a little peek into how all types of trauma, abandonment, and forced separation damage a child’s brain and development. I urge you to take three minutes to watch it.
These children currently being taken from their parents now are almost always already coming from places of trauma, but at least they had the bond with their parents to help somewhat minimize the effects of this damage — until being pulled forcibly from their mothers’ arms and then driven off to cold, overcrowded detention facilities (sometimes not even in the same state!). I cry again just typing these words.  
Please, please don’t remain silent.
Educate yourself about what’s going on. Here are some articles that help explain it all. (Remember to keep scrolling past all of the annoying adds that pop up in the middle of the articles, so that you read each one to the end.) 
Contact your representatives and cry out on behalf of these families who have no voice. This link will take you to the info you need to do this. In the top left-hand corner, you can click on Change Location to get to the right person for your little corner of the world.
Please share this blog post. Everywhere! I actually write this last paragraph with shaking fingers because I know I will be attacked for writing this post. I already have been attacked on social media for speaking out for immigrants. My heart is passionate for orphans and families and children in need. But I am not brave. I wish I were. Oh, I long to be. But I have the kind of personality, passionate though it may be, that would always prefer to find ways to fight quietly in an invisible corner. So it has taken a lot of courage for me to write this blog post. My heart wouldn’t let me stay quiet any longer, especially as I watched the real-life immigrant story unfold in my own home where God has given us the indescribable honor of being a part of this new beginning.
I’ll end this with some beautiful pictures of Raiza and Jhannel’s transition into their new lives.
Raiza Arrives #5

Raiza’s arrival in Ohio after such a long, hard journey

Raiza Arrives #7

Our kids wanted them to know how happy we all are about their arrival

Celebratory Dinner Out

Big family celebratory dinner

Getting acquainted with all new “aunts,” “uncles,” “cousins,” and pets

Jhannel - Week 2 #4

Dancing with a new very blond cousin and best friend while watching Moana together.

Buddies in a Box

Jhannel and Godfrey

Teddy to the Vet

Jhannel Update #2

Doing some preschool activities in our classroom

Playing in the pool with Mommy

Playing with Mommy in the pool

Precious Cousins

True love at first sight

Jhannel's Prize Box

Jhannel’s prize box – part of our plan for helping her learn to sleep in her own bed

Her Own Bed!

Good morning! So proud of herself!

13 thoughts on “Beautiful Fresh Starts . . . Or Brain Damage?

  1. Kathy, thank you for your courage to speak out. The enemy has many tactics to drown out the Spirit and His agenda for the Church of Jesus Christ. One of these tactics has been to politicize the gospel in our country. Personally, I’ve never voted democratic (although I didn’t vote at all in the last presidential election), but many assume I am a democrat because of my concern for the poor and afflicted. I was telling my pastor and friend just two days ago how I marvel at Scott and Kathy Rosenow’s faith and faithfulness by the Spirit’s power. I told him that there is no greater picture of the gospel in my personal circle of friends than your daily choice to love, care for and parent your adopted children. The American Dream is in desperate need of a redefinition for those who are in Christ. I think you are closer to it than almost anyone I have met.

    You have our support and prayers.

    Your brother, in Christ by the Holy Spirit,

    Jefferson Bennett


    • Dear Jeff – your words mean more than you can possibly know. To hear others voice their pain and support for these babies encourages my heart. Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I grieve over the state of our beloved country now. The best phrase I’ve ever heard to describe our personal current political status is “politically homeless.” Whatever else we are, though, (and even if we can’t figure out what we are in this particular area), we are Christ’s ambassasdors to this world. And we are called to care for all the hurting ones. I’m left speechless over the horribly cruel things that are being said and done by those who call themselves children of the King. Much, much love to your family.

  2. Usted y su familia son muy pero q muy valientes tienen un corazón enorme ,mi Dios os bendiga grandemente “” El Amor no hace nada indebido ” un saludo en el amor de Dios ,desde España

  3. Pingback: Our Good, Good Author! | Where Love Learns Its Lessons

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