Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Childs Sense of Abandonment

When a father leaves a child's life it is very devastating.  What if the child never really know their father?  Do they still have abandonment issues as they grow up? 
I was a single mom once.  This wasn't something I had planned.  It never even crossed my mind that I would be raising my child alone.  Til the day she was born and I held her in my arms.  That was the moment I knew it was going to Be her and I alone on a journey. 
When Audrey and I came home from the hospital we  were living in a house in Terre Haute with her dad.  we spent a lot of time in the bedroom with the door closed.  I did not want to expose her to what was going on, on the other side of the door.  There was usually a lot of people in and out and I usually didn't know who.  I could just tell by the sound of the front door opening and closing. 
I remember that Sunday morning very clearly.  I woke up to feed Audrey and the house was quiet.  This was a rare occasion,  I know I didn't have much time but I knew if I was leaving it had to be now.  I looked out the bedroom window and my car was gone.  So I did what I had to do.  I loaded her up in her stroller, packed a diaper bag full of bottles, food, diapers and clothes for her.  I grabbed her baby book and out the door we went.  I just started walking as fast as I could.  After walking two blocks I realized I hadn't even changed my clothes...I was still in pj shorts and a t-shirt.  After walking several miles stopped at the laundry mat to use the payphone.  Yes, didn't have a cellphone than.  I called my best friend to come and get us.  She picked us up and drove me to my parents house in Brazil.  Within hours my parents and friends had loaded up everything in the house and moved me home.  It was such a relief to be there.  We lived with my parents til Audrey was two and than we bought a new home. 
Over the next two years her dad made several attempts to come and visit her but sadly he could never do it sober.  I had made it very clear....he could come and visit anytime he wanted but it would always be in my presence.  She would not be leaving alone with him.  This was not because I was trying to be difficult it was purely for the safety of Audrey.  He was never in a good state of mind that he could care for a toddler.  He made very irrational decisions and I was not about to allow those drug induced decisions be made for her. He was not happy about this so we ended up in the court system.  Again, the judge agreed and ruled with supervised visitation at a minimum.  His parents were the supervisors in there home and  It only lasted a few visits here and there.  They were usually a no show.  Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching your child watch out the window just waiting for her dad to show and after hours nothing.  She loved her dad.  She didn't know anything other than that's my dad.  The visits became random stop buys every six months to sometimes a few years.  This was usually because he was either in jail or the addiction to meth had totally taken over his life and he had no concept of time.  He had no idea how much time was going by between each visit. In fact as Audrey was getting older after he would leave from a random visit she would ask tons of questions.  Mom, what was wrong with him?  He acts so weird!  Did you see his eyes...they are scary! 
Of course now that Audrey is old enough and knows what was going on all those years she wants nothing to do with him.  He will still randomly contact me blaming me from keeping Audrey from him.  He still believes it was all my fault not his.  It was pretty simple when your sober you can spend time with her.  He made that choice not me.  No mother wants to see their child suffer from the absence of another parent.  I will take 100% credit for giving him ultimatums for the safety of her. 
I know This estranged relationship between her and her dad is painful.  She never mentions him ever.  It's something she holds in.  She doesn't know him.  She has only ever seen him under the influence of drugs.  He doesn't even know himself.  I know there is some sense of abandonment she feels but I also think she knows I would never disappoint her or abandon her which gives her  a sense of safety.
There are so many kids in this same situation.  Abandoned by a parent because of the absent parents own selfishness, because of their addiction, and lifestyles.  How will these children grow up and turn out to be?  Will they follow in the same path?  Will they suffer from pshychological disorders, and experience learning disabilities because they are unable to focus because of  abandonment issues?  Will they experience low self-esteem, the ability to bond, trust, and love ones self and others?  Will there always be that emptiness inside invading them?  Even with the support of loving family members trying to feel that void.  Will some overcome this and become better people because of the abandonment?  Will they learn to heal and forget? 
I am a mother that loves you, holds you, embraces you with love, and never leaves.  A mother that will stand up for you, lead the way by his example, shelter you from storms, give you wisdom, make you laugh, and listen to you.  I will hold your hand, and hug you, and tell you how much I love you.  Encourage you to succeed in all your hopes and dreams.  I will walk with you and teach you how to live life.  I will do my best to feel the void and comfort you. 

Lord, look upon my child with eyes of mercy, may your healing hand rest upon her, may your life giving powers flow into every cell of her body and into the depths of her soul, cleansing, purifying, restoring her to wholeness and strength for service in your Kingdom.

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