A reply to: A Letter from Lenora
How happy I was to get your letter!
You’ve raised five little ones! Oh, my! The Mama-Goddesses must be looking after me to send you to me as a pen pal!
I need help! And so does my little Jena.
I’m so grateful that you’ve had experiences with orphans. How old were your children when you adopted them?
Had they come from hardship? Well, I suppose all orphans have, or they wouldn’t be orphans. Imagine–losing a parent, or two. Or a family. Or a whole tribe.
No wonder little Jena feels so sad and lost so often.
I fear that she experienced trauma at the camp in Turkey. She’s Pakistani, but the refugee camp where she was sent was in Turkey. I read online that a Pakistani refugee said he’d go “anywhere but Turkey.”
I guess it’s really terrible there–not just the living conditions, but the treatment.
I try to give Jena as much comfort as I can.
She has moments when she’s content.
When I watch her playing with her dolls, I feel hope that it’s not too late. Maybe she came to me soon enough that she’ll still be able to form healthy attachments.
Her pediatrician says she’s healthy. She was in a hospital here in Windenburg before she came to live with me, and the parasites and infectious diseases were removed. She got all her vaccinations.
But I worry. I’m a mom now, and I guess that comes with the territory.
She has nightmares. She hardly ever sleeps the night through.
Most nights, around 2 a.m., I hear her calling me, and I come downstairs to see her with a look of fear on her face.
I comfort her as best I can. I try to remember all the lullabies my mom sang to me. Usually, I’ll just sing some silly pop song.
And then, we’ll spend the rest of the night eating snacks and “talking.”
I’ll tell her anything. She listens to everything! Sometimes, she’s quiet and just listens, and sometimes she “talks” and I have no idea what she’s saying.
But it’s time together, and that counts, right?
Oh, I make it sound like it’s so hard and terrible. And sometimes it is, but then we have a golden moment and hope flames up in my chest!
Until the difficult moments return.
She rejects me sometimes. Is that normal? I wonder if that’s a trauma response. Do you think it’s a sign of something troubling that she would push me away?
I did something terrible the other day. I hope you don’t think I’m an awful person, Lenora. You seem so kind, that I know that even if I did mess up, you’ll help me figure it out and learn how to do better.
The other day when she pushed me away, I scolded her. “I was only trying to help!” I said. “How can I help if you push me away?”
I felt so badly afterwards. Who knows what she’s going through, and that’s how I responded?
I let her be for a while. I went and painted. Then, she picked up a plate of mac and cheese I’d set out for her, sat on her favorite chair, and stared at me, wearing the biggest pout.
After a few moments of silence, she said, “Ap kaisi hain. Ap kaisi hain? Kaisi hain?”
Over and over. I played along.
I sat with her and talked about the painting I was doing. I told her about space and distance and form and color. She smiled and laughed.
“Kafi weqt se ap ko dekha nehin!” she said.
She followed me into the kitchen while I ate my snack, and she danced. So I think she forgave me. Do you think so?
Oh, goodness! This whole letter has been about me and Jena, and I didn’t even get to your question about how Jena came to be with me! Well, I’ll have to save that for another day, for I can hear her waking up from her nap now. Time for snack, bath, and play time!
Lenora, thank you so much for finding my profile and for letting me bore you with all my new-mommy stories! I appreciate you so much already! Please tell me all about yourself, your life, and a typical day in the life of Lenora Landgraab in your next letter! 🙂
Lots of love–and a world of gratitude!