Monday, January 13, 2014

Cortisol levels

Marin and Nellie will most likely come with elevated Cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a hormone the body produces when it is stressed.

Unfortunately, children from traumatic backgrounds produce it all the time.  All day, all night.  They don't know they are producing it and they don't know how to turn it off.

Why do they?

Imagine you had no one in your life who had your back.  You had caregivers around you but they rotated and you were not in control of their comings and goings.  Some of your caregivers were mean, some gave mean baths, some yelled too much and again, you had no control over this. What if you liked the director of your orphanage?  But why should you?  The last one you "bonded" with left and didn't say good bye.  What if you didn't have enough food and there was no one who "had your back" and gave you food when you were hungry.  You have your peer group but that can change - especially when their are limited resources to fight over.  And the biggest Cortisol stimulant is that when all these things happen there is no one at home who can listen and hear these fears and sadness.

So what does this mean for our little Bulgarians?

It means that some days will be a struggle.  Memories will arise for our newest children that make no sense for us.  A day at the pond with love and kisses and ice cream may cause melt downs and sadness.  They might scream "I hate you!" after a day of fun.  They might be absolutely adamant that they won't bond with us when it is what they crave with all their heart.

We will be rocking, bottle feeding (if wanted), we will wrap them in blankets, we will brush their teeth, we will carry them, we will do all this to stimulate their Serotonin.  We will be staying home for months and making their lives like newborns.  We will be providing them with a therapeutic environment.


This is called "the snuggle chair" in our house. 
We will not be talking about punishments or consequences or limit setting. We will not label their behavior as manipulation.  We will be speaking the language of love.
What can you do to help?

Bring us food (gluten free please), call and check in (or email), love us from afar.  This will be a very new parenting challenge for us.  It might be the hardest one we have ever done.  

But the dividends are sweet.  
This will be the start of their healing.  
Attachment bonds will be started. 
If done well Cortisol levels will decrease.  
They will be able to think and not just survive (it has been documented that language skills increase when Cortisol levels decrease).
They will begin to play and bond with siblings. 
They will begin to relax for possibly the first time ever. 
And they will have the basis set FOR EVERY OTHER RELATIONSHIP in their lives.

Work?  Yes.  Worth it?  YES








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