Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Child of Trauma

I have posted about educational issues I deal with, with both Hannah and Caleb, just to give an idea of some of the things we deal with on a regular basis with our schooling. Since the kids came home, I have researched educational issues for both of them and am sometimes overwhelmed with what they will face and the daily challenges we will encounter as a result of past trauma and pre and post natal malnutrition.

Some of the new reading I have been tackling is from the Post Institute, to be found at: After reading an article this weekend on trauma and the development of the brain I gained a little insight into how the kids stress systems (my words) are working constantly in the fight, freeze, or flee. I had never seen the 'freeze' put with the others and I think that was what really clicked for me, because that is exactly what the kids do. Put any small amount of stress, real or perceived, and they totally freeze up.

It was explained that the portion of the brain that the part of the brain that receives the stress or threat develops prenatally, whereas the part of the brain that tells how to regulate that stress or fear develops in early childhood. So if there is too much stress and not enough calm, parental influence in those early months, the ability to regulate the stress response does not develop properly and the child lives in this constant fight, freeze or flee, without the ability to decipher whether a situation is serious or not.

So from what I can gather the idea is to help the kids live in as stress free an environment as possible to allow that portion of the brain to develop. What I am still working on, is how much this can repair over time, or will this be a constant factor for them.

Now understanding all of this, imagine trying to produce a totally stress free environment for children who live with so much real and imagined fear, added to the top of this that they are still dealing with attatchment issues and you have an interesting deliema. For now we are trying to reduce the number of questions, not raise our voices and smile even though you feel like saying "why?" in a very loud voice with frustration on your face.

Hope to post more on this later, but my mind is in overload and I need some time to process all I am learning.


Michelle said...

I've been reading info from the Post Inst. as well. It's fascinating isn't it, but really makes quite a bit of sense. I'm part way through Beyond Consequences, but haven't picked it up for a few months. Not sure how into adoption reading I want to get, sometimes it's best to just ignore it all. Anyway, it's a good read and is really challenging my thinking. Will definately pick it up again when the need arises!

Laurel said...

I'm writing a blog post with a link to your blog. I really appreciate all that I have learned from your research, and have thought of emailing you about some of your posts.


mama of 13

Hilltrain said...

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. Did you see the trauma article in the most recent SNAC newsletter?

Jen said...

How are you guys doing? We would love to get together with you again sometime!

The stuff from the Post Inst. is interesting. I think one of the best things we have done for our kiddos is to not add a bunch of stress in the area of academics. We have homeschooled with a serious bent toward what I like to call a "lifestyle of learning" and we have not worried or focused on learning to read, math skills, etc. . . We have really worked on just learning to be a part of a family, what the world is all about, learning to love God, etc. . . .the funny thing is that now (2 years later) they are learning all of that "academic" stuff in leaps and bounds with hardly any stress. . . just some thoughts!