Wednesday, May 31, 2017
So, we were hoping after the adoption a lot of the behavior issues we experience with Khalif would resolve or at least diminish. We didn't find that to be true and after being in therapy for over 5 years, it was getting a little bit old and frustrating. He was given an anxiety diagnosis last summer and his body awareness and ability to feel things (when he has to go to the bathroom, when he is tired, when something is bothering him) is absent much of the time. It is heightened in new situations, so travel is a real challenge and even somewhat dreadful. He also struggles with impulse control and has had ups and downs at school this year and unless he makes some major progress, this will likely get worse since the expectations grow each year. He also has a strong desire to be right and point out when I am wrong or just disagree with me to regain "control". Control is a biggy for him. These behaviors come and go which has been challenging for us because when they are gone, we think, this is it! He has finally overcome these early childhood experiences. What I have learned is that his brain is wired differently because of these experiences and he's in survival mode much of the time (even though he is safe and has been out of that environment for 6 years). He can be thrown into a bad place from a feeling inside that may surface at any time. Ryan did a little experiment with him and Reggie....they were in Hayward and he challenged them to get him home without using Reggie's phone GPS and Khalif was able to get him back to the freeway in a place they had never been. This seems like a great thing, but when you peel it back, it is kinda sad that he can't just sit in a car and be a kid....he has to make sure he will be able to get where he needs to go. I understand where these behaviors come from and why they are present, but it has been so incredibly challenging to see such little progress in some areas over such a long period of time. I heard about a different kind of therapy called EMDR which uses eye movement as you are reliving the trauma, and in a sense it rewires your brain. We started this in February and they are slowly working through his memories (that are so vivid from before he was 20 months old!!!). She took a little break because he had built up a lot of protective walls and wasn't working with the process, but he seems to be on track now. We had some forward progress for sure, but since then a lot of regression which is to be expected given that he is drudging up all these memories. But, we can deal if it means progress! We are hopeful and praying that this will heighten his body awareness, change his thought process and his strong pull to the negative.