This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New

Recent events, including a nasty bout of stomach flu, have forced me to re-evaluate my life.

As I look at my life with a new perspective, I realize that I have become more and more negative.  I've been punishing myself for not being enough.  Despite knowing that raising RAD kids is tough, one of the toughest tasks a person can take on, I've always looked at my friends achieving great success like Lisa, and all the hard work she's put into helping her daughter J, and decided that my kids' struggles are because I'm not doing enough.  I had decided that it was a failure on my part.

Since shutting down this blog, I have been avoiding my Google Reader.  Mostly because I've been too busy, but yesterday I felt it was time.  I went to Lisa's blog, and she introduced me to Mary.

Mary is parenting adult RAD kids and in one of her posts she talked about referenced an In Touch article about the prodigal son.  Which talks about how the father of the prodigal son, knew his son was being foolish, but had already left home in his heart.  When his son left, did you notice the "father didn't go to search for his son? Even though he knew that pain and trouble would follow such a foolish decision, he chose to trust God instead of trying to fix the situation and protect his son from the consequences of his unwise choice."

I have been blaming myself and my own issues (like my own attachment disorder) for my attitude toward Bear and his recent action.  The reality is that I can't change the extensive brain damage that he had when I met him, any more than his birth family could.  My feelings about him are understandably conflicted.

Bear was almost 14 when I met him, and a very angry young man.  I do believe that you can love an adopted child as much as a bio child, but I know that it takes two.  I've done everything I can to teach Bear reciprocity, love, and trust.  While I've expressed here my feelings of self-doubt and frustration with him, which have increased over the years, I did try.  I may not have the feelings of unconditional love for Bear that I have for my other children, but I do care about him, and I will always have hope that someday he will be able to allow love to develop between us.

I have chosen to accept this as enough.  If you don't agree, that's your problem.


Johanna said...

Mary, I'm so glad your blog is back! I'm catching up with your posts but wanted to say that this post resonates with me. Unconditional love is a tough one for me, even with my biological child. I love all my children and want the best for each of the them, but my mood-disordered and attachment challenged middle child (adopted) makes our relationship very difficult. Despite our desires for the ideal where we could give without any expectation of reciprocity, the truth is that relationships only really work when there is some measure of giving on both sides. We know that the selfishness of small children will change as they grow and have the capacity to start thinking of others. But when you are dealing with a teenager who is still in that small child stage with no sign of ever changing - that is so discouraging to the state of the relationship. I love that you quoted from the prodigal son and it gave me something important to think about. Thanks! And you are doing an amazing job - thanks for sharing the ups and downs and ins and outs.

Hedged in Beauty said...

Hi Mary, I don't go on blogger often, but I noticed a trickle of traffic from your site, didn't realize you had posted about me. Thanks!

I've heard the Eskimos have a bazillion words for "snow" I think our English language could certainly come up with several more words for "love!"

This definition of love is from the Bible... 1 Cor 4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I really believe only God's love is perfect, and we can aspire to emulate His love to others in our lives... we will fall short from time to time... yet the bits and pieces of genuine love we get right... never fail.

You (and so many of us adoptive parents) talk about "feeling" love... toward our adoptees... I kinda put the "feeling" warm fuzzies of reciprocated love in a "we need another word for this" category of love. 'Cause Chapter 13 I think is a totally comprehensive definition of Love... yet mentions nothing about "feelings" of love.

Our Attachment Disordered kids find love painful... and do their best to inflict their pain on us as we love them. Yeah, nothing at all "warm and fuzzy" about that!!!! But... that doesn't mean we haven't loved them... or that our love has "failed."

Despite the lacking of "warm and fuzzies" from our adoptees... I continue to pray I'd be patient... that I'd be kind, that I won't envy, nor boast, nor be proud, nor dishonor others, nor be self-seeking, nor become easily angered, that I'd keeps no record of wrongs, nor delight in evil... That I would rejoice in truth, that I'd strive to always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.

I pray that when given the opportunity I will love... according to this definition... that when I fall short that the Lord would cover my shortcomings... I'm grateful the times I love... (again... not talking feeling warm fuzzy feelings here) it doesn't fail. It makes a difference. It does.

I believe we adoptive parents have MUCH love for our attachment-disordered-children.

The "Love Chapter" says "Love is not easily angered" It doesn't say "love doesn't get angry." We have endured SO VERY MUCH in return for loving our adopted children... and have not "EASILY" gotten angry.

When Anger, and unforgiveness and pain arise in our relationship with our attachment-disordered-adoptees... we continue to pray for speedy resolution of those unpleasant circumstances...

And that is love!

You love your child... and that love will not fail! It is eternal.

marythemom said...

Thank you Johanna! I'm getting ready to review a book called "Can this Child be Saved?" that I'm really getting a lot out of and highly recommend. You might want to look into it. I really need to hear the kind words, so thanks again. Sending hugs and prayers! Mary