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Posts: 152
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

We are just crossing the line where we have our girls home longer than they were in the orphanage:  orphanage 2 years; home 2 years 1 month.  This last month, our 4-year-olds have been having a hard time: tantrums, insecurities, acting out, some regression.  I've heard anniversay dates can have an impact on these things, but last year they seemed unphased and this year I wonder when it'll ever end!  Any insight?  Advice?  They're 12-year-old sister wonders what's going on with them, too.  She seems to be doing better than usual at this anniversay date, so what's that about? 

Thanks for any thoughts, Mary

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Posts: 1,061
Reply with quote  #2 

that sounds reminiscent of our traumaversary experiences. The first anniversary I don't think I recognized it much because it was all mixed in with what had been going on anyway---' and my own exhaustion. When I finally had some perspective- oh man- were those tough spots/periods obvious.

If it helps- you may want to try incorporation a few of the same phrases, games, bonding rituals you did early on. They'll be able to remember and experience them in a different way. Other than that, just stay consistent. Each time we go through it- the light on the other side is so much brighter than where we left. 

I'd also add that our milestone/length with me/not with me experience was very different than the one you are describing. But it was clear and obvious as a "whoa--- this is different" - causing me to look at the calendar. But I think every kid handles the same experiences in very different ways. Good luck!!

Shannon & Teg

Started wait 12/31/08
Referral 8/12/09 for 28 mo Boy
Passed Court 10/21/09
Embassy 1/20/10

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Posts: 123
Reply with quote  #3 
I think it is really hard to know what is driving the struggle....though it is always SO much easier when you know the "why" of what is going on.

Some of the guidance we've received that I found very helpful is that setting limits that trigger big emotional outpouring is curative for the child even if the thing they are raging/crying about is superficially unrelated. For example, our son's trauma would manifest itself in him being super controlling about his physical environment: the cup goes here, this toy has to stay here, you have to sit in this chair, etc etc. During times that early trauma was being stirred up (especially around anniversaries), these behaviors went thru the roof. Our counselor guided us to lovingly but firmly set limits so that he could feel the full range of his anxiety and "off load" through crying and tantrumming. Man oh man has it ever worked. For example, a couple months ago I set a loving but firm limit "we need to have your choo-choos in your room, not the living room." He then launched into major fight or flight.....for over an hour he cried, sweated, and raged. I lovingly held the limit and listened to his feelings. The result is always a lighter, looser, less tense kid. Even though his early trauma had nothing to do with trains.....setting a limit here brought up the pain and gave him a chance to off load.

What I love about this approach is all I need to do is recognize the increase in tension....I don't need to know exactly what it is about. Setting a limit around where he is being unreasonable and then creating a safe space for him to "dump" his fear is the fix.

If this sounds at all helpful....and if you'd like to read more about this approach. Let me know!
Hope that's helpful and hang in there!

Ann & Tony
Minneapolis, MN
Referral 11-19-09 for 4-month-old baby boy!
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