Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Light bulb Moment

I have been reading the book “Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control (A love based approach to helping children with severe behaviors)”.   There is a chapter in the book about parents being hostile and angry.  It goes on in the chapter to talk about parents becoming hopeless and feeling drained of all their energy and resources. They start to question even having made the right choice to adopt and regret the way the home has changed after the child has arrived.  They feel like after months and years of not receiving reciprocal love and respect and kindness from their child that their full heart of love they started with is now becoming dried up like a desert.  They are angry and resentful instead of loving and open.
I have to admit that this chapter was exactly what I needed to read this week. I have been struggling over the past few weeks with my feelings of hopelessness and feeling drained.  It is hard to explain to someone who has not experienced the day in and day out defiance, running away, tantrums, calls from school and how exhausted your body and spirit become.   I have been feeling defeated, exhausted and not very therapeutic over the past few weeks and I just have not been able to shake the blues.  But something else was said in this chapter that turned on a light bulb for me.
For months now I have been convinced that the lying, sassiness, tantrums, and hurtful things being said to me were targeted directly at me and intentional.  I believed that she knew what she was doing and doing it intentionally.   I was taking it personally and it started to attack at my self esteem and the core of who I am.  I began to take offense and become hurt and wounded each time another comment by Little R was made and I was becoming angry and bitter toward her presence. Please do not judge, anyone who is reading this who has not adopted a behaviorally challenged child cannot fully understand that the bond doesn’t always come instantaneously and it is a journey, and I do hope that one day we will be bonded to each other.  Some days she feels like an imposter in our home as she leaves chaos in her wake. There are days we do not have a quiet moment as she is screaming and throwing tantrums and angry and swearing at us.  Life is not a fairytale it is the reality I live in.  
But this book has given me a light bulb moment a glimmer of hope.   What I took away from this chapter is hope that Little R is not intentionally trying to make me angry and hurt me.  She is struggling with her past trauma and this is her way of expressing it as she is in a state of fear.  We don’t always know why she is afraid it is her past traumas coming to the surface.  But why then if I know this do her actions bother me so much.  The chapter also provided some insight into the fact that during the time of helping your child deal with past trauma some of your own past trauma can start to come to the surface and you also go into a state of fear when you become angry and frustrated and pull away from your child.  I was shocked, and didn’t believe what I was reading until I started to think about what things bothered me most that she does and how that may affect me personally.  I was surprised to find how true it is that some of my past Traumas in my life of loss, esteem issues, fear of failure have resurfaced.
I have more work to do in this area, but it has helped me so much to see Little R’s behaviors in a different light and handle them differently.  I am working on seeing myself in a different light also that I don’t have to be perfect and that when my child is misbehaving in public not everyone is looking at me and thinking I am a bad mother.  I have to remember that when little R says hurtful things to me she is just hurt and feeling scared inside and I need to not take it personally.  I need to remember that God is bigger than the tantrums, and the behaviors and the angry and the past trauma and he CAN heal this little girl and I am just the right vessel to help her do that healing I just have to believe in myself like God believed in me when he brought her to us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life on a measuring Tape

Little R has been struggling lately with wanting to be little forever and also grow up at the same time.  For her she really wants to just start over and be our “baby” as she puts it.  On the flip side she wants to be big so badly.  She is about 5 years old socially right now and wants to be 25. 

On days when she desires to be a “baby” we play blocks and sing silly songs and do patty cake and peek-a-boo and bang on pans in the kitchen.  Sometimes we rock and I swaddle her in a blanket and often she will fall asleep in my arms.  She enjoys these times.  I also do, but it is definitely a challenge swaddling a 60lb child. The benefits out way the challenges though.   She missed so much and we are working hard on trying to fill in the missing blanks.

On other days which is most of the time now, she begged me to wear make-up or have a boyfriend to which I responded with the typical mom response “you are beautiful and don’t need make-up right now.  You are too young to have a boyfriend enjoy just having friends.  When you are older I will teach you how to wear make-up, but for now no.  When you are in high school you can date but for now no” So this weekend she  was soooo mad at me after this conversation that she stormed into her room and started packing all her make-up that had come with her from a previous placement and began hiding it so I couldn’t find it.  I walked and told her that I knew how hard this was and that we needed to throw the make-up away so it wasn’t a temptation anymore.  With lots of tears and “I wish I was bigger” she threw away the make-up.

I then took her to the living room and pulled out a tape measure.  I pulled the measure out to 100 inches and sat Little R in my lap.  I proceeded to show her that each inch was going to represent a year in her life.  I asked her to put a marker by her current age “9.5 inches” and then a marker around 85 or so which is when people in her opinion are really old and die.  I then had her put a marker around 16 when we had talked about make-up and boyfriends being allowed. We put one final marker at 21.

As I sat with her in my arms I had her look at the big gap between the 21 and the 85 and showed her how many years she would have to be an “adult” and do “adult” things.  I showed her the little gap between the 9 and the 21 and talked about how little time she had left to just enjoy being a kiddo and not have lots of adult things to worry about and do.  I then had her look at how little time she has been alive verses how much time she could potentially be on the earth and she was stunned at the difference.
I rocked her and told her I know how hard it is to be a kid and wish you could be older, but you only get a few more years to be little so let’s enjoy all those things now and then we can do all the grown up things for all these years as I pointed to the inches between 21 and 85.   She smiled and said” that is a lot of years”. To which I replied “it is and we get to spend them all as a family”

It is so hard today; kids want to grow up so fast.  Children in my daughter’s third grade class have cell phones, laptops and IPod touches.  When did we lose touch with our kid’s just being kids and enjoying using their imaginations and playing dress up and dollhouse play and swinging at the playground?  Kid’s are growing up to fast these days and life is difficult as it is why add to it by cutting short there kid years?   I am not going to deny her growing up and fitting in , but she is just turning 10 and still needs to be able to be a little girl and enjoy little girl things. 
Looking at that measuring tape myself I realize how much time I have missed in her life and how little time I have left with her as a little girl and I want to maximize my time with her now.  So, she can grow into a well developed adjusted young woman some day.  I pray each day that God would give me the strength to touch her life and help her heal.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When it Rains it Pours

I don't know who came up with this saying, but I have heard it so many times in reference to a bunch of crappy stuff happening all at the same time to people.  So, this week I get to use this saying and mean it.

Last Thursday as my previous post indicated Mike was in a accident.  We have been having trouble with insurance as the party that hit my husband is saying he is not at fault.  So we have had to fill out files, go to the police station, file reports with insurance multiple times ect... just a big pain in the butt.

Then, on Monday I went into work like any other ordinary day and left laid-off from my job that I have had for over 5 years and love.  It was unexpected and shocking to the entire company.  This is a huge financial blow for our family,  we have a bit of time for me to search for a job but the pressure is surely on.

When I arrived home and told Little R that I wouldn't be working at my job any longer and that they didn't need me she melted down into a tantruming rage for about an hour.  I had to remove myself from the room because I was in no emotional state to handle her.  When I finally calmed down I asked if she was scared about my losing my job and she said " we are going to be poor like my birth family and you will have to give me back"   To which I hugged her and assured her we were fine and all is good and let me worry about the job. ( in my mind all I really wanted to do was tantrum with her)

I am struggling with my own emotions over losing my job and haven't handled them very well at times.  I didn't even imagine it would effect my daughter the way it did.  It is so hard to see when the triggers will come or even happen.  I have spent a lot of time this week trying to make sure that her life doesn't change. So it "feels" normal to her.  Kids need security and especially children with insecure backgrounds.  She has had a rough week at school and I think it has to do with both the accident and job situation.  Tough for her to comprehend or understand.

I think that if we didn't have Little R in our lives I probably would have wallowed for a lot longer and not handled the lay-off as well as I did. I had no choice but to pull up my Big Girl Pants and start searching for a job.

In the meantime it is giving me a much needed rest that I have been missing for the past year.  I am going to the gym, cleaning my house, and even went hiking today with Little R.  I spend hours job searching and then the rest is taking care of me so I can stay strong for her.

Life is changing and I don't know what the future will bring but I have my umbrella and I am ready to find out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Best Friend

Last Thursday night I received the one call I never wanted to receive “honey, I have been in a car accident”
Mike was fine, and no one was injured but his truck was significantly damaged and had he been a smaller vehicle we believe things would have been worse.

My adrenaline kicked in and I went into my “work” mode and called the insurance company/rental car company/tow truck.  I checked on my daughter at the grandparent’s house. Made sure my husband was OK and had him call his mother (very important).

It wasn’t until a day later that I realized what had happened and what I could have lost.  I clung close to him that night, needing just to feel him next to me afraid if I let go he wouldn’t be there.  My mind started to wander and I realized that I could have lost my best friend that night.

Mike is not a typical husband.  He is amazing with our daughter, he is patient and kind with her and no matter how he is feeling after a long day at work he comes home and spends time with her and me.  He constantly asks what he can do to help me out to give me time to re-group from a tough day and is constantly picking up the slack where I might lag behind due to running to appointments or spending 2 hours on the floor with a tantruming child. He is still charming and loving with me after all these years.

God knew what he was doing when he gave Mike to me.  Where I am tense and high strung he is calm and in control.  Where I lack logical thinking he thinks things through.  Where I am weak he is strong and I feel like we fit together perfectly.

I could have lost him.  I could have lost the one person that through all this therapeutic Parenting and issues with Little R keeps me grounded.  He has been the face of reason for me on days when I was ready to pull out my hair. He has been the voice of encouragement for me when I didn’t think I could go on another day.  The thought of losing him overwhelmed me and I wept, and I told him “I can’t do this without you”. To which he replied “you don’t have to I am right here.. I am not going anywhere”.   

I thank God that he was not injured and walked away and I thank God that we went though this expeience to help remind me of the special gift that he has given me in my husband.   

Friday, April 1, 2011

Adoption Day

Our adoption day was during the biggest blizzard of our 2011 New England winter.  We woke to almost a foot of snow on the ground and over 700 closures on the TV. The snow continued to come down strong throughout the entire day.

I had prayed the night before in anticipation of the storm.  I remember saying “Lord please let this happen for this little girl, she just can’t have anymore let downs”.

One of the reasons I prayed this prayer was because for a week prior to the adoption she raged.  I was bitten, hit, and kicked repeatedly and obeying was not in the equation.  She was so scared and terrified that we were not going to adopt her.  She had told us that there was no way we could love her enough to adopt her. Can you imagine a child fearing that she wasn’t worth loving? It breaks my heart to even think about it.  She figured if we were not going to adopt her she wanted to be in control of the way she left.  So, she acted out as harshly as she could to get us to “give her back”.  It was emotionally draining and heart wrenching to watch this little girl suffer during the week prior to the adoption which was supposed to be a joyful occasion.  For her though it was the end, a closer, and the end of dreams of her birth mom coming back to “rescue” her.  The reality set in and in fact for her it was a sad day in some ways.  So my prayer was based on my fear of how she would react if the adoption day was cancelled.

We got up as usual and prepared to go to court.  God was 100% orchestrating everything as our court did NOT close!!!  We had rented a stretch Hummer Limo to take our family to court with us and the driver made it in the storm to our house.  God again? I believe so. We sure were glad we got the hummer!!

 My dad was originally not going to be able to make it due to work, but his work cancelled due to the weather so he was able to come with my mom.  God was in control.  All the workers and judge needed for the adoption arrived in the storm as well.

So on January 12th 2011 in the middle of a major snow storm we adopted our 9 year old Daughter.  She looked beautiful that day.  I remember the Judge saying “do you understand that this is forever?” and I thought to myself forever is a long time, and yes I do understand.  The Judge also said “Do you understand that Little R will now have all the same rights and inheritance and privileges as a biological child and you should treat her as such?”  we both said “yes”.

I find it amazing the way that our adoption wording from the judge, follows so closely with our relationship with God. 

He says in Ephesians 1:3-8   Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan

God loves us with all our flaws and short coming’s and still welcomes us into his Kingdom and still opens his arms up to love us unconditionally and give us the greatest inheritance of all Heaven.

I hope that I can love Little R half as much as God Loves me and always keep my arms open to her even with all of her flaws remembering that I to have flaws and God still accepts loves me.