I just put my foster son to bed about a half hour ago. He was a little hyper at first, that’s normal. He clung to me as I tried to leave the room, also normal. He asks every night why I can’t stay with him in his bed.
Every night is pretty much the same, some night he’s more hyper than others, some nights he is more clingy than others. After I finally wrestle free of his grasp I go downstairs and do whatever I need to do and about 30 minutes later I go back up and check on him.
This is the part I love. He is usually sleeping peacefully. I am sometimes surprised that he goes to sleep so fast. I imagine that his mind is at ease and he feels safe. I at least hope that is true.
Some nights I can tell that his sleep is not so peaceful though.
He tosses and turns sometimes
I can tell that he is having nightmares. He is all over the bed. I wonder if he is remembering one of the beatings he endured, or maybe it is the emotional abuse. When he first arrived in our home he was convinced that he was “bad”. He thought that everything in the world was his fault. Maybe he is thinking about what his social worker told him today or what his Psychiatrist talked to him about, or his school counselor, or his CASA worker.
I just look down and wonder what it is that is bothering him. He was talking about those things (after a few months) but then he had to face his abuser and now he has clammed up again. I can see that he is dealing with big things, but is not willing to talk about them.
He used to wrap his blanket around his head
Some nights when I check on him he has the blanket wrapped around his head so tight that I am afraid he can’t breath. I gently unwrap the blanket so he can breath. He told me that he is afraid of the “Monsters”. He has slowly grown out of that, until he had to face his abuser again. Now he seems almost as scared as before. Not quite, but pretty close.
Tonight when I checked on him he was sweating profusely even though the air temperature was cool. I can’t help but wonder what could possibly be going through his little mind to cause that?
These are all normal occurrences in our house now. It is incredibly difficult to watch all of these things and we sometimes feel like we don’t know what to do to help him.
What we can do is continue to provide a safe place for him and let him know that we are always here for him. We can love him unconditionally, show him what love really is (because he has a warped idea about it right now), and pray for him.