Sandra Bullock has opened up about her adopted daughter’s trauma after years in foster care, revealing she would always hide food and prepare to leave.
The 57-year-old actress started fostering Laila, now 8, when she was only 2 years old. But it wasn’t only about two years ago when the little girl finally felt safe to fall asleep without Sandra in the room.
In the new episode of Red Table Talk, Bullock also talked about how she took parenting classes about taking care of a child with trauma before she brought Laila home.
“I knew I would be a mother. I knew I wouldn’t be a mother at a young age,” Bullock said. “I had an extraordinary experience through the foster care system. It was incredibly hard, but, I have the most glorious child to show for what exists within that system.”
However, it was not easy.
“She was in three different systems before I found her, and she was only two and a half,” she continued. “It’s a system that exists and people don’t know about it because it’s a difficult thing to talk about. It gets deep, and it gets dark.
“When I first went through the process myself, you have to prove that you are a capable parent.
“And you’re in the judgment cage. I got halfway through it and I said, ‘I can’t do this.’”
“They literally sit down and they ask you, so what do you think is the worst kind of abuse? What is the worst kind of drug, and alcohol? And I go, I don’t know, they’re all bad. You’re just going, ‘If I don’t answer this right, I’m not fit,’” Bullock said.
She went on: “What I learned along the way [was] that I might see, like — I had my kids in my closet with their little beds because I was so afraid to not have them super close to me.
“And I would walk in and I wouldn’t be able to find (Laila). She’d be in the closet with all her clothes on, she’d be on a bookshelf, she’d be hiding, she’d always be ready to leave. She’s always telling me she’s leaving.”
The actress would tell her: “Just know that you can leave, but I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”
“My partner [photographer Bryan Randall] said to me, ‘When she’s been with us longer than she hasn’t been, I have a feeling we’re going to see a change.’ And you love by leaning in and hugging and holding and letting them know that they are not going anywhere,” Bullock continued.
“I saw triggers happening on a daily basis that I could not identify ’cause I took it personally.’
“It was really hard to separate yourself and not be hurt because all you wanna do is love, but guess what? Your love is not going to cut it right then and there.
“Laila would hide food. You know, and it’s survival. Absolute survival.”
“And her spirit and just who she is has pushed forward beyond the triggers and the fears,” she continued.
“They’ll come up for the rest of her life, they’ll be fears that she has, but she knows that where she chooses to go to school, I’m moving there. That’s the joke in the house. You guys need to pick the same college if you go, the same city to live in, because I’m gonna be living there.”
The actress said that it took years for her adopted daughter to finally feel secure and it only happened about two years ago when she “didn’t have to sleep in the room with her, or we didn’t have to sit with her until she fell asleep.”
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