Although my son would be embarrassed if this were publicly acknowledged - his journey to Parvuli Dei is truly amazing. I am so proud of him, that I just wanted to put my thoughts into writing and share them with you.
Just 3 short years ago my son was such an angry and hostile child, that the though of doing any extra work would have been impossible. He completely lacked the ability to trust the adult world. He lacked the basic building blocks of morality/conscience development. He would have never been able to tackle a project like the Parvuli Dei Activity Book.
My son lived in a Russian orphanage for the first 4 years of his life. By the age of 6 he was diagnosed with several disabilities due to his early years of profound neglect. These included Sensory Integration Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Once linked with properly trained therapists, who specialize in the treatment of foster and adopted children, my son’s turn around has been remarkable.
Reactive Attachment Disorder is very debilitating. It steals away a childhood and a future from neglected and abused children. My son truly had to make the effort to heal himself. I could not do this for him. His therapist could not. My child needed to have the desire and the ability to put forth a tremendous effort in facing the demons of his past. To learn to trust adults, and especially a Mom, he had to figuratively be willing to jump off a cliff and trust that I would catch him. He had to do this despite past experiences with adults who pushed him over that same cliff and left him alone to wither in his pain.
I am still completely in awe of that little boy, who could actually have the Herculean strength to do all that was required to become attached. Watching him struggle in therapy and at home, learning to trust and feel loved - was gut wrenching. My little boy thought he was the lowest form of life possible, lower than the dirt on the floor. His early life had taught him that he was inherently worthless. And yet somehow he had the strength, at such a young age, to rise above all of that and heal.
I now have a 10 year old son, that is excited about his faith. He is proud of his Russian heritage and proud to be an American. He loves being part of a family. He has wisdom beyond his years, and knows what it is like to be hurting and to want. I have seen him use this wisdom to reach out to another hurting child. Yes, he will bear the scars of his past for life. He still struggles with simple things like jumping jacks or handwriting that other kids his age take for granted. He is more sensitive and more easily hurt. But with encouragement, he carries on and perseveres. It is so exciting to watch his future unfold.
Like Saint Francis, I believe my son will use his past, to make his mark in the world.