adoption, adoption disruption

A Dream or a Nightmare?

Facebook is telling me to look. “You have memories today,” it says. A notification keeps popping up on my phone, on my computer, on my mind. Look! But I don’t want to look.

I don’t want to remember. It’s too hard. It hurts. I do not want to have the memories today.

I dreamt of him last night. My dream was about Sean but it wasn’t the kind of dream I used to have about him. I used to dream of being his forever mom. I dreamt of giving him love, a home, a safe place to land.

Last night my dream was a nightmare. Sean was already in the house when I came home. He was there with Marcus and they were waiting for me.

“Hi, mom. I’m back,” he said in my dream. “I’m ready to get adopted. Whenever you want.”

He carried a duffle bag full of cash in my dream. I knew he had committed some crime and was charming his way into safety. My heart was racing and I was inexplicably concerned about his proximity to Marcus. Both boys were looking at me.

“Get out.” I said in the dream. “I’m not your mom. I was never your mother.”

I woke in a cold sweat, shaking and crying. My heart pounding in panic and dread. I couldn’t really say why.

I’ve been having these dreams for about a week. Sean has been on my mind one way or another. Sometimes I am remembering the times I thought we were getting close but I was really getting manipulated. Sometimes I am remembering the bruises he left behind on my body. Sometimes I am remembering the bruises he left on my heart.

He contacted me three times since Spring. They were just short Facebook messages but I read them over and over. I dissected each word  trying to see what he was after. Because Sean is always after something. In the end, I didn’t reply at all. But I couldn’t delete them. I couldn’t bring myself to block him on social media.

We adopted three out of the four children we started this journey with. Maybe having Marcus home, the “last one,” brings up Sean for me. Perhaps it’s been on my mind because Carl is now the age Sean was when we met the children. I can’t quite tell. Carl has developed some of the mannerisms Sean had at this stage. They are part teenage boys and part brother. It’s possible they are also part trauma.

I’ve been butting heads with Carl more than usual. Yesterday at dinner we had pizza. Sean used to drown his pizza in ranch sauce. This was a practice I found both disgusting and perplexing. He was morbidly obese at the time, which made it that much more dangerous when he was angry. Lately Carl has been gaining a lot of weight. His hormones must be making him hungry. His fuller cheeks make him look so much more like Sean.

We actually had an argument about it at dinner last night. He was sensitive to any form of food talk. I was sensitive to the mistakes I made with Sean. Whatever the reasons, it was a difficult night. As I sit and type now I can see where my triggers lie. In the moment I was completely lost to them.

As I sit here and type this the last fragments of the dream are drifting away from me. I hope I will not have this same nightmare tonight. I hope that someday the fragments of  of my feelings for Sean drift away, too.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


12 thoughts on “A Dream or a Nightmare?

  1. You share a mix of memories and fears. I hope and pray that you rest well and that what you remember and also anticipate are passed through a filter of wisdom. It’s exhausting to be on edge all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth says:

    big, big hugs to you.

    we have a Sean. She’s a girl, and she lived with us from age 11-13, and everything you write about Sean could have been me. The huggy/cuddliness combined with the refusal to accept any limits, the lying, stealing, food hoarding, mom shopping, conning and manipulating. The false allegations. The guilt and grief and complicated loss we feel in her wake. Your dream got me right in the heart.

    we finalized on our Sean, and although she has been out of our home for a year, and probably will never come back, we still have to try to be parents to her. We have to keep visiting and trying to work with her although she isn’t capable of having a relationship. It’s not exaggerating to say we have PtSD from the experience, and then we have to go and visit the source of our PtSD every week.

    I hope for good things for our girl, and for Sean, and for you and all of us. For better days in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Beth I am sending hugs your way. I really do hope good things for your girl. Our Marcus came around. Our Sean haunts me. I cannot imagine having to visit and relive it every week. If you’d like to share your story I would be interested in featuring you as a guest writer. There aren’t enough of us sharing what this experience looks like. I am sending warm wishes your way.


  3. Praying for your heart. We have similar food issues; one thing that’s worked well for us is avoiding the “food” talk and instead focusing on “health.” Our girl is obsessed with carbs, which is currently okay because she’s growing like a weed, but we’re encouraging her to make choices that include protein, veggies and fruit, focusing on how these things help her brain, muscles and bones grow. I don’t know if that will help with yours…they’re each so different, even with the same issues. When the boy comes home, I think I’ll be simply shopping differently. They can get the food elsewhere in small doses, but if I don’t have snack bars in the house, he can’t eat fifteen in one sitting each night…theoretically…
    Anyway, know you’re not alone. HUGS!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so hard, isn’t it? Triggers rear their ugly heads at the most inconvenient times, and we’re all susceptible to missing them in the moment. Here’s wishing you peace as you work through these issues.

    Liked by 1 person

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