Several years ago when I began my current job, long before starting my own adoption journey, one of the things I had to do was learn quickly about foster and adoption and the effects of kids, parents, families. I had the requisite reading lists and devoured everything I could, inluding Verrier. Out of all I read, I gave probably the least attention to Verrier’s work on Primal Wound. It seemed, plausible, I guess that a child might feel that, but all children are different and parents are different, and not everyone is going to feel the same way. So basically my thoughts were, don’t read so much into behavior and pain. Kids, especially when adopted at birth, really don’t know the difference.
Somebody shoot me, will ya?
Thank GOD, I have been blessed to have people around me, professionally, and online who have led me down another path of thinking. Thank GOD I read enough and spoke to enough people BEFORE we adopted our son, to have a change of thought. My agency sure didn’t talk very much about it.
It is always in my head, I am always aware of what might be lurking there, even though my boy is little and has no words to express the concept. I think I have seen it in action lately.
We had to make two trips out of town within the space of a week for the procedures we’ve undergone, which entailed two nights of us leaving Woob with his Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin overnight on each occasion. We generally don’t leave him anywhere for any period of time, but have started more recently using a babysitter for a short and needed night out. We keep him at the same, small, personal, loving daycare while we work, which I feel enough guilt about, but he likes it there and does well. But the overnights. They have thrown him for an absolute loop.
Last evening when we got home and collected him from daycare after his second overnight in a week, it was obvious, he was undone. Angry. Frightened. Overwhelmed. I truly believe he thought we were never coming back. That he was being abandoned. Again. I have never seen anything like it. My heart hurt, my head hurt, as he raged for the two hours before bedtime. In the few times we were allowed to snuggle him, we reassured him over and over that we will always come back, we will always love him. We acknowledged how scared he must have been. And he’d calm for a little while, but then rage some more.
I believe in primal wound. I believe that on some level, our babies know they were left with strangers by their mothers. Even when they are old enough to express themselves through language, I don’t know if they could tell you what the problem was, as I see it as a body memory as opposed to the picture type memories we hold in our minds. I don’t believe that every behavior is related to that wound, but I think I’d be a fool to disregard it.