The Darkness Brings the Demons….
It’s 11:45 pm on Saturday November 25, 2006. We just had our second Thanksgiving dinner. As Kim wrote on Thursday, we have dinner at my mom’s home and on the following Saturday we drive to Kim’s Uncle Steve and Aunt Carol’s home in Ventura. They have an amazing home on a large lot. The kids have been looking forward to this trip for over a month. We were worried that Dasha would not be able to handle the trip, the dinner (as there are about 20 to 25 people) and every that goes along with it. Since Thursday’s feast went so well, we decided to make the two hour drive to Ventura. It would have been easy to stay home, but we didn’t want to let Amber, Mitchell and Jacob down. Besides, we’ve already blown the whole isolating for the first month thing anyway. Dasha doesn’t seem any worse the wear, in fact, I would contend that she’s better for it.
The dinner was great, the kids played hard, we watched American Football, not to be confused with the European Football (soccer) that CNN Europe decided to torture me with while in Kazakhstan. USC did a fine job kicking the lights out of Notre Dame’s National Championship bid….I know, what about the darkness.
Dasha has made such amazing progress in the last five days. She plays, she speaks, she runs, she will even give me a kiss on the cheek. As darkness falls in the evening things tend to change. Dasha is not as adventurous, she rarely leaves the line of sight of Kim and is constantly turning on lights. This of course drives me crazy, as every light in our house seems to magically turn on. Dasha’s reaction to the darkness has improved in the last two days. I was worried as we climbed into our car to leave Ventura. It was already dark, and as always, we expect the unexpected with her. We put the movie Elf in the DVD player hoping she would enjoy the movie. It worked, she started smiling and even laughed in the car, that’s never happened. After about 15 minutes, she was sound asleep, and slept the entire trip home.
At this point, I think it’s important to understand what’s been happening at night. As we (primarily Kim) put Dasha to bed the demons come out. We’re told it’s healthy, and I swear my wife is a saint. Dasha begins crying, then screaming and pounding the bed. She cries and screams for “Mama”. Kim is right with her the whole time. Kim knows that she needs to reinforce that Kim is her mama, and will be forever. Kim reinforces that she is here and will always be here. These outbursts last about an hour, beginning as soon as she gets in bed. We are told that Dasha is going through a grieving process. In the morning Dasha is back to being the fun loving kid, with no apparent memory of the prior evenings events.
Generally, Kim has sat in with Dasha during these periods. Tonight, as we got home, I carried her up to her bed. Dasha is light sleeper, and woke as I was carrying her up the stairs. As I laid her down, she began crying for mama. Kim was right there. I then carried Jacob up who was also sound asleep. Put him to bed, Amber and Mitchell went to bed and Dasha kept on crying and pounding her bed.
Jacob, Amber and Mitchell don’t completely understand what their sister is going through. They only know how much she hurts. They try and support her, they understand that mommy is spending a little extra time with Dasha and are okay with it. The other night when Dasha was having a rough time, Jacob asked me why Dasha was so sad? He was afraid she didn’t want to be with us. I told him that Dasha was afraid that she would have to go back to the orphanage. I couldn’t explain to him that Dasha was grieving the loss of her old life, that appropriate anger toward those who had left her and hurt her was coming out or that she was scared because she has moved to a new and strange place. I couldn’t explain that as she lies down at night these demons come out to haunt her. I couldn’t explain to him that it was healthy for her to let these emotions out and purge these demons. His response was pure Jacob, he walked right up into her room and said Dasha don’t worry you’ll be with our family forever, you never have to go back to the orphanage. I doubt she heard him over her cries, but I heard him and thought what an amazing son I have.
Tonight I decided to join Kim, to witness what she goes through every night. It is mind boggling to see our wonderful little child go through all of these emotions. I witnessed her go from sad to angry to scared to bargaining. Kim was so strong. She kept reassuring Dasha, reminding her that she was her mama, forever. Tonight lasted a little over an hour. I was blown away at the ferocity of this little child’s screams. The anguish and pain are almost too much for me bear, how Dasha handles it is beyond me. Did I mention what a stud Kim is through these episodes?
We have no idea how long these outbursts will last. Some say it can last as long as a year! I know God only gives us what we can handle, so I have to let Him take over. I pray for Dasha, I pray these demons go away. I pray that she has a happy and healthy life.
I’m sure some of you are thinking that my use of the word demons is a bit strange, and no I don’t think Dasha is possessed by demons. I mean this figuratively. After witnessing her outbursts it seems to be the best description of what our little angel is going through.
A few months ago Kim and I read about a teenage girl who I think is now in college. She plays baseball and has a great life according to article. She was adopted from Russia (I’m pretty sure it was Russia, but it’s late) at the same approximate age as Dasha. During these difficult times with Dasha, this story gives me hope. All I want is for Dasha to have a great life, no more demons. Perhaps, one day someone will read Dasha’s story and will give them hope as this story has given me.