I have found SO much support from online groups, fellow adoptive parents and other blogs as I research to try to find healing for the kids in our home. As FPD and I were having a late night “wrap up” chat about the kids, and everything that had gone on during the day, the talk inevitably turned to how we were going to handle tomorrow, and the day after that, and all the days that are yet to come. He made a comment that I will carry with me for a long time. He asked me “remember when our biggest concern was that we’re white and our kids are black?” Yeah. I remember those days. They seem like yesterday in some ways, but they also seem like a life time ago.
This month marks two years since I made the phone call that brought Ghana into my life. Two years since we opened the door to so many bigger concerns. Now we worry about attachment, PTSD and abuse. I read the blogs of people who had adopted older children and were dealing with abuse and I thought “Phew. Thank God that’s not my daughter”. Then, that became my daughter. Then, I read the posts of people who had been affected by sex*al abuse in their children’s histories and I thought “Phew. That won’t affect my family”. Then, it affected my family. I was constantly looking at the people who had it “worse” than we did. Do people read this blog now and think “Phew. At least THAT’S not going on in my home. They have it WAY worse than I do” Did I just become someone’s “worse”?
If I did just become your “worse”, well, all I can say is I’m okay with it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I am grateful that my girls are here with me where they won’t have to grow up in the shadow of the types of abuse that they have encountered. I am thankful that, so far ShyGuy has remained oblivious to most of the worst of it all. But, we’re still prepping ourselves for the fact that those revelations may still come.
I am SO overwhelmingly grateful to my God, and the country of Ghana, for giving me my kids that the after effects of the abuse, well, it all seems manageable. The thing that didn’t seem manageable was tolerating the idea that they might not get here at all. The idea that they might have been left under the thumb of an orphanage that has ruined children’s lives is what leaves a lingering sick feeling in my stomach. It was the orphanage that did this, it was NOT Ghana or Social Welfare. It was one man’s sickness that led to this. I proudly support the country that my children came from. It is a brave and beautiful place.
It’s not any one’s place to decide who has it “worse”. Were the children of Luckyhill abused “worse” than the children at Osu Children’s Home? I don’t know. I can only say that some of the stories my children are telling are starkly similar, so this type of abuse probably happens more than any of us would care to admit. I would never deny any child’s pain by saying to them “well, be grateful that you didn’t live THERE, those orphans had it worse”. It’s all bad. And, every child responds differently to it. I have a child in my home who seems to have remained totally oblivious to it. Then I have a child who responded to it not by remembering any of it, but by having lingering feelings about all of it. Then, I have a child who remembers every detail of it as if it was yesterday, but has only now felt safe enough to tell me that she remembers it ALL.
Which one has it “worse”. It doesn’t matter. It’s all bad. But, IT IS NOT GHANA. Ghana is not responsible for the abuse at Luckyhill. It was one man, perpetuated by the resources that I helped gather, that a lot of us helped gather. There are kids who have been left behind, still in contact with him, and still under his influence. Kids who still live in the cycle of abuse. However sick it is, my children’s orphanage director did provide these kids with food and shelter, so some of them still have trouble trusting that they can reach out for help from others if they need it. How do you learn to trust someone who didn’t see your abuser for what he was? FPD and I were in Ghana FIVE times over the last year. It will take a long time for these kids to understand that we actually see the situation for what it is now, and that we’re still committed to finding help for them. Some of them have reached out, others are still waiting to see. It’s a long process.
who is committed to finding hope for the little corner of Ghana that she helped break.