Disclaimer… if you want to hear the mushy, I love you, cutesy stuff about adoption please don’t read this. If you want to see the raw emotions of parenting a child with RAD and ODD read on.
New Mama in town didn’t work the way I thought.
I remember when we learned about little R they told us she was a tough cookie. They mentioned homes she had been removed from and behaviors she exhibited. They also told us that she just needed stability and love and she could change. I was asked on several occasions if we could do this and I said “yes”. I can be stern and loving at the same time and guide and nurture. I love kids, I want kids. I yearn for children in my life.
Two years later and thousands of hours of tantrums, screaming, and every type of oppositional defiant behavior later I am not so sure. We are not talking typical kid tantrums here we are talking rage and deliberate defiant behavior and turn of the hat anger with little regard to living things when angry.
I don’t want to get blasted for this post about how I made this decision and so I have to lie in the bed I made. I don’t want to hear about how she will change if I love her. I don’t want to hear about the good job we are doing and how much change she has made in two years. I don’t want to hear about how she MAY grow out of this. It has not gotten all that much better and in fact she has gotten bigger and stronger and the tantrums are scarier now. Her mental stability is unhealthy and unstable and that scares me. We have worked with all sorts of doctors and mental health professionals to make life better for her.
No one is in our shoes on a daily basis. I wish sometimes you could be a fly on the wall to see. It is tough. I am not sure that everyone could do this, I don’t know how I do. This past week alone we have not gone more than an hour or so without a tantrum every single day/hour. Something as simple as “put your shoes away” leads to Screaming and hollering, door slamming, complete defiance, breaking things, and complete disregard for anyone else. Being told I am hated and to stay out of her life. Triangulating one parent against the other is her new favorite. Questioning if her homework is done leads to arguing, screaming and threatening to run away.
She is almost 11. You can say this is hormonal changes, but this is so far beyond that. The rage that we see in this child is terrifying and the anger and defiance is scary. If we ask her to do anything she does the opposite and looks at us and says “what are you going to do about it” and walks away.
Last night I cried myself to sleep. The dream I had of parenting and loving on a girl and enjoying life together seems to have faded into a nightmare of tantrums and having to leave the house to protect my heart and sanity. My marriage is struggling to cope with the constant tension in the house and neither of us have answers and we both want to “fix” the situation. We have come to a crossroads what do we do? What help do we seek out that we have not already? What is the next step to protect us and her?
Why am I writing this? It isn’t to get your sympathy because although I appreciate it, it isn’t going to change reality. I am writing to let any other RAD adoptive mom out there know if you are going through the same thing you are not alone. I feel alone, and most days feel like I am the only one in the world going through this and how I want to love my child and parent her and yet she fights that and doesn’t really want it in return.
Today I feel……empty, dead inside, used, defeated, lost and a failure