Listening to kids disclose abuse is hard. However, we’ve been fostering for more than three years and are not new to kids sharing their traumatic histories with us. In the past, I’ve listened to kids describe how they were choked, beaten with hangers, witnessed violent deaths or left with no food. So I’m kinda surprised that I am finding the revelations of Sweetness and Bold to be tough.
It’s not that I’m now some battle-hardened foster mom whose heart no longer breaks for each child’s unique experience of trauma. Hearing kids talk about abuse or neglect is always hard. But Sweetness and Bold are kind of revealing abuse and kind of not. I think it’s that ambiguity that’s putting me on edge.
See, they’ve been hinting at abuse. Saying things suggestive of abuse. And then saying that they’re just joking.
I really want them to come out and say it, so we can move on to healing from abuse. Or to be clear that nothing’s happened and stop dropping hints.
With this in-between, I am constantly on alert, wondering if they are about to drop another hint. Trying to imagine in my head how I’ll respond so that they feel free to open up.
It’s hard not to obsess as I imagine what to say, as the little voice in my head keeps telling me what to do. Remember to not become upset. Assure them it’s not their fault. Avoid leading questions.
Oh, I really hope that what Sweetness and Bold might be hinting at is not what’s actually happened.