Today is our first Forever Family Day – the day we met and held Nathan for the first time. These thoughts are inspired by the importance of this day.

Forever

On the spur of the moment I sing new words to an old song.

 I am your Mama

Your forever Mama.

I’ll never leave you, you’ll never leave me.

I’ll always love you, forever and ever.

I am your forever Mom.

*to the tune of You are My Sunshine

I then continue into another…

I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you always

As long as I’m living 

My baby you’ll be.

*to a tune I made up

and then I finish it off with…

I love my baby boy

I love my baby boy

I love my baby boy

to the moon and back!

*a song and tune I made up

Nathan breaks into a wide smile at the first mention of forever, but as I continue his eyes get serious, only an occasional flicker of a smile crosses like a bit of sun on a cloudy day. Most Mamas sing these types of songs to their babies, but not every child soaks them up like a parched flower as much as my boy does. He needs to hear these words. In the deepest part of his spirit is a place that isn’t quite sure that my love his forever, that this family will last, that he can trust me, and that he never has to be alone again.

You might have heard and taken as truth the idea that trauma that happens to young children does not affect them because they are too young to remember. This is a myth. Fiction. A lie.

When children, even babies, experience trauma, it becomes a part of them. Even before the sorts of conscious memories we associate with the word memory form, our bodies have an ability to remember. It gets hardwired into a baby living in an orphanage that they might not matter and that they cannot trust people to care for them. The way this works out in their life varies depending on personality and situation, but the damage is the same.

New mothers hold babies close, cooing, feeding, and staring into their eyes out of instinct, yes, but also out of necessity. This is how babies survive to grow up. Humans need to know they matter and that their needs will be met. They need to know there are constants in life that they can trust.

For a child who has not had early nurturing, who has known months of not having all needs met, who has been moved from placement to placement, fully capable of fear and sadness but incapable of understanding what is happening, life is forever altered. You can heal the scars with care and love and compassion, but you cannot go back and erase the damage.

So I continue to sing my songs and whisper my love in his ear, willing my words to reach down deep inside him and give him the assurance that I hope becomes his bedrock: that he is loved, that he matters in this world, that his life has weight and purpose, and that he never has to be alone again.

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