Saturday, July 28, 2012

God is in Control, Even When it Doesn't Feel Like It

Wow, my last post really brought out some controversial feelings from quite a few people.  Not that that is bad, just surprising.

Just for the record, I still believe that God is the ultimate answer and that He is in control.  I also believe that God uses physical hands and feet and brains to minister to people.  I really don't believe that God would want us to "only read the Bible".

I haven't really shared the depth of what we have been living with and going through.  Given this fact, I realize that all this may seem extreme and crazy.  Actually, it is both of those things, our lives ARE extreme and crazy right now in more ways than one.  We needed/need help desperately if we are going to pull out of this intact.

It is only God that gets me through these days and I am keenly aware of this, and I promise you that carrying out the concepts I am learning is NOT easy.  This is HARD, HARD stuff and I have no idea if/when it will get easier.

Therapy on Monday went so well, and as warned, it has been a REALLY hard week around here.  I am jotting notes in a journal about each day and it was good for me to read back over the week and put puzzle pieces together that I had missed in the middle of all the mayhem.

We finally have extra security in place to keep everyone/everything safe, and that is a huge relief.

I am EXHAUSTED in every way, even though today was definitely our calmest day this week.  I think/hope that we are through most of the aftermath, but I am not sure that I am quite ready to head into round two.

Many of you have been praying for us frequently.  I appreciate your thoughts and your prayers more than you will every know.  Some of you took the time to write me lengthy emails of encouragement and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love that I felt through you. Tears welled in my eyes more than once as I felt your warmth and love.  Thank you for being Christ to me in these difficult days.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Somethings nobody wants to talk about!

Reactive Attachment Disorder in adoptions of young children is one of those things.

I have been buried in books for the past several weeks. Desperation is driving me to educate myself still further in the realm of attachment and its disorders.

I love to study. I like understanding all the whys and hows of a subject. I just wish this were as simple and enjoyable as “the art of the perfect pastry shell” or “artisan/farmstead cheeses” or “heirloom garden vegetables”. Things with Happy Endings or Scientific Equations, that if followed carefully will always produce the desired result. Working with people isn't quite so easy, you have that issue of free will, choice, and personality and results aren't guaranteed.

The longer I read, the more I think this is actually a study of the brain.
Attachment and/or the lack thereof, accompanied by therapy and therapeutic parenting,
it's all related to the brain and brain development and early childhood trauma and its drastic effects.

I am learning, and committing myself to this thing called "therapeutic parenting". But just for the record, I will happily take normal standard parenting any do of the week, hands down and no questions asked.

I am discovering that most of what I am learning in the realm of therapeutic parenting is pretty good and (gasp) actually works and minimizes our huge blowups. I don’t have any clue what the long term results will be for Mr. RADish. I do know that it is changing me. If nothing else, it helps me stay sane and calm and all the other good stuff that therapeutic parents are supposed to be so good at. I am learning how to put the fun back into parenting in the middle of all the craziness that each day brings, I am learning how to out-crazy the crazy.

I have a *stack of books on my nightstand and ½ of them have a plethora of pencil markings and notes, the other half are waiting for more of the same.

But tonight I am NOT reading, I am too mad to sit quietly and read. Why on earth has it taken years………… to finally have this material in my hands. It really torques me that I wasn't able to implement this wealth of information years ago when I was searching for answers. He was so young then. I knew something was wrong and I didn't know what.

It's true, I got SOME help and SOME answers, and we made SOME definite progress. But, I can't help wondering if we would be at a different place now, if I had been able to understand all of this from the get go.

I have a whole shelf of adoption related materials that barely brushed or didn't touch these issues at all. I have scoured the internet, and bought armloads of books. So what changed? Well, things have gotten drastic and we finally had a diagnosis which pointed me in a definite direction.

Now that I am here, I honestly believe that every parent who EVER adopts should be pointed to attachment literature. Attachment is such a HUGE issue in EVERY adoption, no matter what age the age of the child, domestic or foreign, state or private. Not every situation will be like ours happens to be, but the information would be a tremendous asset regardless.

What I find the most frustrating is that I HAD made a definite point to talk with a lot of people who should have/could have pointed me in the right direction years ago when we first began our adoption journey. I asked tons of questions. I requested recommended reading lists. I asked for input and direction from those families and individuals that I knew who had walked this path before us. NONE of them gave me any valuable input on attachment or attachment issues.

I actually confronted two of them and asked why they hadn't shared their realities that were painful and offered helpful info with me when I sat in their living room some eight years ago as we started this journey. Or, even afterwards as we began to walk this path and knew we had some issues to work through. (and yes, these families had worked through/were in the middle of tough stuff, as I have since discovered)

They both said they were afraid it would scare us out of adoption. Really?

Instead of scaring us, you would rather have us go raving insane, with no clue what we are up against. Searching madly for answers to things that we couldn't even begin to understand? You thought it would be better for us to “learn the hard way” after we were already stuck and couldn't just opt out? Man, it makes my blood boil.

We have hit rock bottom so hard in so very many ways. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined us were we have been, and I still don’t know where it is all going to end. I am poignantly aware that our story will almost assuredly not look anything like I would like or dream.

I feel that I am making peace with this reality(at least today) and I am learning to be okay with it on a daily basis. It isn't at all the way I would have written my story but after all it isn't really my story, it’s HIS story. That doesn't make it any less painful, or any less crazy but it adds just a wee bit of perspective and that really, really helps.

Exactly what am I reading?

*My current stack of attachment books:

Adopting the Hurt Child – Hope for Families with Special Needs Kids– Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky
Parenting the Hurt Child – Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow – Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky
Nurturing Attachment- Kim Golding
Building the Bonds of Attachment – Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children – Daniel Hughes
The Connected Child – Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine
Created to Connect – Karyn Purvis and Michael and Amy Monroe
Attaching in Adoption – Deborah Gray
When Love is Not Enough – Nancy Thomas
The book and the 8 set DVD series
Parenting with Love and Logic – Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Go ahead, read them, they are DEFINITELY worth your time, especially if your family is built through adoption, or foster care.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Refresh & Refuel

A short respite - time at the beach - reconnecting - recharging - recuperation...........that's a lot of re's and it is exactly what we needed.