This news story hit my news feed today. An 11 year old girl was “just noticed” to be missing, over a year since she was last seen. Mother refuses to say anything about the girl’s whereabouts and is currently in jail for “contempt of court” for not answering the judge’s questions. My first thought was, OMG, and nobody notices? Neighbors? School? Relatives? Seriously? My next thought was, contempt of court? Are you kidding me? Such a minor charge for such a serious thing!
The final thought I had was, this is what trauma births. Trauma begets trauma. Everyone can rail and scream at the mom, but I am damn sure she is from a trauma background herself. Untreated, most likely. And the kids she had left at home, now in the care of so-highly-qualified-CPS (is there a sarcasm font?), who have obviously been exposed to trauma by the very fact that a sibling is missing and no one else cared enough to report it, but you can bet there’s a whole lot more trauma in their lives than that, are they going to get on a treatment plan to address their trauma, work through it, and deal with it so they can live productive lives as adults? If they live to be grown ups, chances of them living a trauma filled life and causing trauma to their children are so high statistically that no gambler would ever walk away from that table.
Until we wake up (those not in the know, if you’re here, you know already – the hard way, through the innocent cherubs you adopted that turned out to be not so cherub-ic nor innocent), trauma will continue to breed it’s ugliness. Unless we can treat the youngest victims at the earliest stages of their lives, unless we take this seriously, this cycle will continue. How can we (as one in the “know”) make a difference when we’re already so under water with our own family situations we’re using a straw to breathe? For one, speak up. Enlighten those who don’t know. Educate. Yes, in little bits and pieces, not a long barrage of how your life sucks (save that for your support groups or your blog) but educate about trauma and how it effects children. Speak up about the need to revamp CPS to actually “care” about the children. Support each other, either online or in person. Join a support group. Start a support group even if all you do is pass the wine bottle around once a month and pay the babysitters hazard pay. Write a letter to your Congressional and Senate representatives about the need for more support, resources, and aid for foster and adoptive families in your state. Join a grassroots organization that is pushing for these things, I know of several that have been started by personal friends of mine, because they saw a need and didn’t see that need be filled. Even if all you can do is lick stamps or share info on your Facebook page, you’re doing something. It doesn’t have to be hours a week. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars. Another thing you can do is when the public gossips. You know, when the stories hit the news and your friends gossip, your co-workers, etc. Even your Facebook friends. Stand up for what you know to be true. Be willing to get flamed and don’t flame back, but stand up for the truth. An example is the Rosie O’Donnell story where her daughter ran away to be with birth mom. Drug addict, still drunk and high after 18 years, birth mom. Yes, what we all dream of for our kids, to have THAT as a role model. The media, the general public, blames Rosie and believes whatever the media makes up about her or twists the truth into being something bad. Those of us in the know realize that the kid probably had trauma, FASD in utero and could very likely have Reactive Attachment Disorder, or a mental illness, having absolutely NOTHING to do with Rosie or her parenting or her gayness or her celebrity-ness or whatever else someone wants to blame it on, the girl came wired that way. (And for the record, I highly dislike Rosie the celebrity, as a parent I don’t know anything about her parenting, BUT I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and not judge and even defend her to those who are judging because I am “in the know” about trauma kids, lying media, and lying kids, the effects of drugs and alcohol in utero, etc). And maybe Rosie did eff up. I don’t know. But I’m not going to START there because everything that the girl has said that’s been published or posted doesn’t have the ring of truth of actual abuse to it. That’s how we start to change things – by speaking up, for ourselves, for each other, by teaching others. We need to learn everything we can and teach everyone we can. Yes, a lot of times we teach our kids’ counselors about RAD and how to treat it because there are no good counselors in our area within a 4 yr radius. We teach our teachers, our relatives. We get backlash, we get called drama queens, we get called over-reacting. But if we are all speaking up, if we all have the research and the knowledge and we defend each other – won’t that make a difference? Won’t that at least make a statement?